Good Call Center Jobs Teach You a Lot - But We Might Wonder Why You Didn't Get Promoted...

I love what jobs early in our careers teach and say about us.  There's literally 8 million stories in the naked city, and this is just one of those stories.

But in its own little way, it matters - a lot. Workaholics

This story is about what happens when a new graduate takes a customer service job at a big company. You know the person, the company and the type of job I'm talking about.

Person - New college grad or a person with a high school diploma who has had a couple of jobs where they strung a bit of success together.  If you're a new college grad, you probably have a business, marketing or liberal arts degree - you're not a STEM major, which is 100% ok.

Company - A big company with a professionally run customer service function - think more than 100 FTEs, and at times 1,000+

Type of Job - Sit your *ss in that chair and take the abuse make our customers happy through 80 inbound calls a day.

While a lot of these jobs are getting replaced by technology, they still exist, and in the opinion of this humble observer, they are great training grounds for a career in the business world. 

95% of graduates aren't STEM or technology majors, and they don't come from the Ivy League. The call center job is a natural starting point for a career, if you can land this job in a big company along the lines of what I described above.

You know what's sad? We've created an artificial expectation of careers via a cocktail of social media, college propaganda and related bulls**t that these types of jobs aren't good starting points for a college grad. Talk to new grads, and their expectation is that they should come out of the gate earning 60K. It's a lie for most of the world. Fewer kids are ready to work these days.

But (and there is a but) there's a Darwinian thing that happens in a professionally run, modern call center for a reputable company.

Promote or become staler than the 5-day old bread you left open and out on the porch. Career pathing happens, and the reps who do the work and are good at what they do get promoted - both up the ranks in the call center, and out into other areas of the company. That's how it should be.

But it begs another question.  What does someone in the same modern call center role/job with a big company for 3 years (no inline promotion, no career ladder move or anything else) mean?  It means they're well-placed and lost in the generally open bid for promotions, transfers to other departments, etc.

While the current crop of college grads doesn't want to pay dues in the call center, there's another reality. The world is quick to coddle the same grad who's spent 1 year in the same professional call center job and tell them things like this:

It's not your fault. The system was rigged. There's a bunch of favoritism associated with promotions in that arena.

Nope. You got beat, you didn't get it done. The professional grade call center that's internal at blue chip, well run companies knows what it's doing. You weren't good enough. You being in the same role in that company with a LOT of opportunity within the call center (not even looking at promotions to other areas) means you weren't in the top quartile, and you may be closer to the 50th percentile.

If you have a kid with a degree who's struggling to find his path, encourage him/her to find a great company with a good call center/customer service function, apply and win a job, then go compete like crazy.

Promotions for youngsters in well run call centers matter. They're literacy tests for the ability to grind, perform and compete in a career.

All other things being equal, I'd take a person who put on the headset and went to compete over one who hasn't.  


COVID Economy: There's Probably Some Big WARN Notices On The Way...

Our economy during the COVID crisis has been a strange beast. The stock market rebounded in a strong way after dropping 35%, even though unemployment remains high. We're in a recession, and while the layoffs and furloughs have occurred, the federal government acted quickly and provided job-saving stimulus in the way of the Payroll Protection Act (for small businesses) and stimulus for entire industries like Airlines, Healthcare and more.

Those programs came with strings - namely that employment had to be protected to a large degree for a significant period of time, even if work wasn't available. As these protection periods end, we're looking at a lot of big company/big organization moves to potentially layoff tens of thousands of workers.

Case in point - United Airlines, which just submitted plans and documentation required via the WARN act to layoff as many as 36,000 workers, or half of its workforce. More from Business Insider: United

"United Airlines said on Wednesday that it would warn 36,000 frontline employees of potential furloughs and layoffs, representing about 38% of the company's workforce of 95,000.

Travel demand had begun to recover since April, when coronavirus lockdowns drove demand down as much as 97%, but the airline said demand fell again in recent weeks as virus cases spiked in several states.

The affected employees will receive Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notices, or WARN notices, this week, with a final notice about their status in early August. American Airlines began informing some employees of furloughs in late June.

The affected frontline employees constitute 15,000 flight attendants, 2,250 pilots, 11,000 customer-service and gate agents, 800 catering workers, 1,000 contact-center employees, 225 network-operations workers, 5,500 maintenance workers. An additional 1,400 management and administrative employees could also be affected.

While airlines are prohibited from furloughing or laying off workers until October 1 under the terms of the payroll support they received from the CARES Act, most employers are required to give 60 days of notice when possible under the WARN Act.

The airline said that not every worker who received a WARN notice would be impacted and that the final number would depend on how many more employees take voluntary leave and buyout packages, as well as whether demand makes an unexpected recovery by next month."

BUCKLE UP.

I think the federal government did a great job of getting stimulus out in the March/April time period. The longer this thing goes on, the less the government can do.


The Danger of the Combative, F-You Style Reply on Email (Woj and ESPN edition)

Late last week I covered the decreasing dominance of Adrian Wojnarowski, an NBA reporter who has an incredible run of being THE source for breaking news in the NBA. Read that post and you'll see that "Woj" (as he's known to the masses) is increasingly being challenged by Shams Charania, a writer at The Athletic. He goes by "Shams", and recently has been breaking as much news as Woj, to the point where followers of the craft are mocking Woj for reporting news that Shams beat him to, if only by seconds or a few minutes on Twitter.  

More bad news for Woj late last week and over the weekend... Woj responded to a PR firm of a US Senator challenging the NBA for its stance on China with a simple response delivered via a two world email Wojreply: 'F**k You."

Here's a few simple details via Bleacher Report:

"ESPN has suspended NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski after he wrote "f--k you" in response to an email from Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley's press office, per Ryan Glasspiegel of Outkick.

Wojnarowski has been suspended without pay, per Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, who offered further details:

"ESPN declined comment, though their actions will likely become obvious this week when the ultra-prominent Wojnarowski is not on the air. The end point of Wojnarowski’s suspension, if that has been defined, is not yet known."

The suspension occurred after Wojnarowski made the remark in reply to a press-release blast from Hawley, who said the NBA was "kowtowing to Beijing" and "refusing to support U.S. military and law enforcement."

Here's the email response from Woj to the PR firm served up - of course - by Senator Hawley (email subscribers click through for the tweet):

So that's a lot. But I want you to step back, take all the politics out of it, strip all of the partisan BS away. I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican. Doesn't matter.

Woj screwed up. Something came across his desk that he either didn't agree with, or his political view of the person sending it got in the way of good judgment. So he went back with a harsh reply. And in the process, gave all of his power away. He allowed someone he disagreed with to take his reply and position it any way he wanted.

The older I get, the less email I send - especially that could be consider combative. Better to be neutral and better yet, not respond at all.

By winning the email chain (in his mind) and losing the bigger battle (suspended, more importantly, looks erratic to many moving forward), Woj loses. Shams has already eaten away at his dominance. Woj deals in confidential conversations where stability is key. He also deals with lots of NBA front office officials who don't want China to be on the mind of anyone when thinking about the NBA after the Darrly Morey incident in 2019.

When you make your money by being trusted, erratic is bad. Erratic is a reason not to give you the information you need to do your job.

Managers/Leaders, take note. Being erratic, while it may feel great in the moment and while you may feel you're 100% right - is a good way to get shut out over time. Stay away from any type of messaging that can be forwarded and spun without your control.

On a final related note, Shams (Woj's competition) liked an anti-Woj tweet on the matter.

Take politics out of the equation. Erratic behavior loses in the business world. Unless you're 100% in charge and/or on top of the world, which Woj is not.


What Are The Compensation Questions Your Managers Should Be Able to Answer?

Putting together an online version of our BOSS Training (Compensation Module) for a client this week, and while our training on the topic is great, there's no question a fully functioning manager or people has to be really knowledgeable on the comp front to successfully answer all tough questions they're going to face.

What questions, you ask? He's a few of the infamous comp questions we base our manager training Boss Redesign - to the right
around on this topic:

--“Why doesn’t our company pay people enough? Can I get a raise?"

--“What is the pay range for my job?”

--“Why are you asking me to do things that aren’t part of my job? Do I get paid extra?”

--“What type of salary do you need to take this job and make a move from your current company?” (LEGAL ALERT. LOL)

--“I worked my tail off last year and all I got was a 3% increase. What do I need to do to get a big increase this year? Why should I try?”

--“Mary just told me what she makes and it’s a bunch more than I make. How is that fair? I need to be raised to her pay rate ASAP!”

--“Glassdoor shows that most companies pay people in my position more than I’m currently making. Why are we so cheap?”

--"I heard Google pays mailroom boys 100K." (not a question, but a test!)

Damn. There's a lot on a manager's plate related to be ready for comp questions from their team. If you have down time during COVID, it's a great time to think about doing some learning sessions to increase readiness and KSAs with your managers of people.

Introduction of basic concepts +role play/skill practice = success.


Do You Have a Direct Report With Writing Talent? You Should!

Look, I get it - some of you won't be hiring for a while based on COVID and the resulting economic struggles. 

Which makes now the perfect time to look at your team of direct reports and ask the following question:

"Do I have someone to carry the writing load in this department?"

I'm not talking about hiring a writer as a standalone position. I'm talking about the need for you to always have someone on your team of direct reports with writing as a key secondary skill. Why is this important? Because you need someone to take the great reactions/outcomes/action plans from you and your team and create effective communications to the masses.

Simply put, you can be a great leader with a great team - but if you can't effectively win in how you communicate what's going on to the masses, you'll never realize your potential as a leader or a department.

If you're not managing others yet and think you have the ability to write well in a professional setting, it's time for you to figure out a way to make writing one of your key differentiators.

The topic of great writing on teams is why I taped an episode of BEST HIRE EVER (my podcast on recruiting topics) with Lance Haun, a former HR pro turned professional writer and editor. Take a look at the rundown for the podcast below and give a listen (please subscribe and rate if you like it).

--KD

----------------------

In Episode 5 of BEST HIRE EVER, Kris Dunn connects with Lance Haun (Starr Conspiracy, ERE, Former HR Pro) to talk about why hiring at least one great writer for your team makes incredible sense as a leader – regardless of your functional area or line of business. Lance and KD chop it up about how to spot, find and engage a candidate with writing skills in your hiring process, and how professionals looking to leverage their writing skills for career gain can get noticed.

Never satisfied with one great topic, KD and Lance also explore the Haun family’s history of sustainable meat and how Lance’s dad sees an explosion of business at his butcher shop when things like COVID hit the American marketplace.

Please subscribe (Apple) and follow (Spotify) to get the latest delivered to you.  Email subscribers click here if you don't see the player below:

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:

1:35 - KD starts by calling Lance Haun a killer writer. Lance blushes and begs off and calls his writing history a humbling experience.

2:04 -  KD breaks down Lance. HR pro at the start, starting one of the first HR blogs, then becomes a professional writer in our space at ERE and Starr Conspiracy. Lance describes when he knew writing was his differentiator.

7:30 -  Lance talks about “social proof” as being the addictive side of writing. Translation – reactions to your writing are good.

9:05: Lance and KD talk about the need for great talent to have writing skills. Lance talks about learning styles still including and being influenced by the written word. KD balks and says he thought that the world was being changed forever by video. #joking

12:55 – What’s the best way for a leader to test and confirm that someone can add value as a writer on their team?  Lance recommends communicating more than normal via email as a test – long email threads.  In addition, getting into someone’s process of creating written work product is key to understand their approach to the craft.

16:00 – Lance talks about knowing who the communicators are in your workplace and how that can help drive internal mobility in your company.

19:30 – KD talks about why all leaders – even if they are great writers – need to hire for writing skills so that leader can become an editor rather than a production writer.  #delegate

20:00 – Lance and KD talk about the right way to show your writing skills as a candidate. Maximizing your LinkedIn profile and presence is the path of least resistance and greatest reach for most professionals.

24:00 – Lance and KD talk about negative bias that may exist towards professionals who share their thoughts via blogs, LinkedIn and social.  Being vocal and sharing your thoughts may limit overall opportunity, but you’ll be a candidate of choice for many of the companies and hiring managers that remain.

28:30 – Lance talks about his dad, the butcher shop and how his dad’s business has gone up during the COVID crisis. KD thinks Lance could be the Gary V of meat. Lance talks about surprising his dad by running Facebook ads to drive traffic to the shop during normal times.  Haunsmeats.com


Links for Lance:

Lance Haun on LinkedIn

Lance Haun on Twitter

Haun’s Meats in Walla Walla WA!

KD's GPS

Kinetix

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Boss Leadership Training Series

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

Kris Dunn on Twitter

Kris Dunn on Instagram

 


The HR Famous Podcast: e19 - Starbucks Uniform Woes and Hourly Hiring...

In episode 19 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Tim Sackett, Kris Dunn, and Jessica Lee are back to discuss a number of topics about diverse hiring. The trio talk about Adidas’s new hiring goal, tech companies’ contribution to the BLM movement, and Starbucks’ uniform debacle. Later in the episode, Tim is joined by HR leader Jonathan Zoob about hourly hiring and sitting courtside at an NBA game. 

Click through if you don't see the player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!

1:30 - The gang is finally back together! It’s been a few weeks, but Tim, Jlee, and KD are all back on the podcast this week!

2:30 - First topic of the day: popular brand pronunciations. Apparently, the US says everything different than the rest of the world. 

3:45 - Adidas has announced that 30% of their hires will be diverse hires. The gang praises Adidas for putting a number out there to start progress but they question where the hiring is going to cause change. 

8:40 - Tim discusses a goal that he had at a previous company for diverse hires in leadership roles. He talks about push back from hiring managers and other certain people that feel victimized by diversity hiring goals. 

10:30 - KD talks about his favorite “Tim working at Applebee’s” story. Tim says that Applebee’s restrooms are like “a war zone”.....

11:30 - CNBC compiled a list of different tech companies and what they’re doing to support the BLM movement. Every company on the list contributed lots of money, but only one organization announced a change in leadership, when the CEO of Reddit stepped down from his board seat to fill it with a POC. Tim accuses many tech companies of “buying their way out of this conversation” instead of making real change happen. KD thinks that monetary contributions are still commendable but they need to effect real change too. 

14:45 - “You have to have money but you also have to have tangible movement”. 

16:30 - Starbucks’ employees were told that they could not wear apparel supporting BLM to work. They received backlash because Starbucks’ allows their employees to wear Pride-related uniforms in the month of June. They have pivoted since their original decision. Jlee praises them for pivoting and listening to their employees and what they want. 

20:00 - Tim thinks that Starbucks’ and other companies that enforce uniforms should standardize their uniforms and not allow anything other than a standard option since it is easier to manage and can raise many issues. He says that you can support diversity and other causes and keep a plain uniform. 

22:00 - “Print the shirts” -KD

23:30 - Time for this week’s special guest! Jonathan Zoob from Fountain has joined Tim for the second half of this week’s episode to talk about hourly hiring. 

25:00 - Tim and Zoob talk about their bucket list to sit courtside at a NBA game. They’re both Golden State Warriors fans!

27:00 - Back to business talk. Tim discusses hearing about pre-pandemic struggles to hire hourly workers and he asks Zoob what is going to change about hiring hourly workers. 

30:00 - Tim asks Zoob why companies should use different systems for hourly workers. 

32:30 - Are new hiring practices for hourly workers causing companies to lose the traditional experience of finding the best candidate? Zoob discusses how his company’s work allows non-HR professionals to find more and better candidates. 

34:30 - Tim brings up issues about hiring to create a diverse workforce and how training hiring leaders may not be enough. Zoob discusses how often those doing hiring won’t get diversity and bias training. 

36:00 - What do Fountain’s clients see getting better when using the Fountain system? Zoob says their time to hire decreases significantly. 

37:15 - Tim asks Zoob how fast time to hire should be and Zoob answers that companies must engage candidates in the application process to really get them to stay interested. 

39:00 - Last question of the day: will mass hiring start to happen without interviewing in the coming years?

40:20 - Find Jonathan at fountain.com for a demo or on LinkedIn! 

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


BEST BOSS EVER Podcast: e3 - Pat Lynch and the State of Outplacement During COVID-19

Welcome to Best Boss Ever, the podcast dedicated to helping you develop managers who build great teams. In this episode, Kris Dunn talks with Patrick Lynch, President of CMP’s Southeast Region, to talk about the current state of outplacement during COVID-19.

Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Play. Rate and Review if you like what you hear!

On to the show (email subscribers, click here if you don't see the player below)...

Show Highlights:

1:15: KD intros with the topic of Outplacement and introduces guest, Patrick Lynch (Who insists we call him Pat) who will be our tour guide related to what’s going on in the world of Outplacement.

3:05: Pat tells us about what he does and what CMP does. CMP helps companies and individuals with outplacement and career transitions.  They also do about executive search needs, assessments for selection, hire and development as well as executive coaching.

4:34: KD asks Pat: What’s changed in Outplacement in the last few months with COVID? Pat says pre-COVID, outplacement levels were down overall, but despite a skyrocket in unemployment, they haven’t seen the same uptick in outplacement. There are a few reasons for this, being on furlough is a big one and they delve into the details.

8:15: Pat says things are different from 2008/2009 because employee brand is so important. Companies are trying their hardest to avoid layoffs. KD comes in and they talk about the message of hope – are we springing back or entering a recession?

10:45: KD asks Pat about levels of Outplacement Packages. Pat says the programs are based on time periods, level of service and seniority, and helping those in outplacement with access to resources. He says CMP works with people until they’re re-employed.

17:30: Pat gives some career advice during outplacement: Don’t waste your time applying for everything. Instead, ask what are your highest levels of opportunity and focus on those. Pat continues to give tips on the most important steps to take when job hunting.

25:45: Pat and KD go into the details of how some companies are handling COVID outplacement, and how Airbnb’s leaders handled the outplacement with empathy and sincerity.

33:00: KD says, even if you can’t afford Outplacement, call Pat. Pat compares Bryd to Airbnb with their Glassdoor reviews, how you handle the outplacement will matter for your company’s recovery.

37:45: They close it out talking about what’s to come, and what resources are available for the future.

Resources:

Boss Leadership Training Series

Patrick Lynch on LinkedIn

CMP Website

Kinetix

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

KD's Book - The 9 Faces of HR


 

THE HR FAMOUS PODCAST: e15 - Is Your Company Ready for RTW?

In episode 15 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee and Kris Dunn come together to discuss Tim’s extravagant Southern Utah adventure, return to work plans, Twitter’s WFH forever proclamation, and Microsoft Teams. The team discusses the different return to work plans and ideas, new office norms, and a potential boom in the workplace real estate market.

Listen below (email subscribers click through if you don’t see the player) or click here for a direct link. Be sure to and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review via iTunesSpotify and Google Play.

Show Highlights:

1:00 - No Tim on this episode! Are we sad or happy? Stay tuned to find out ;)

2:00 - Is JLee still a kid? Sound off in the comments

3:30 - Tim Sackett is a jerk!!!! His Instagram is making the HR Famous crew jealous with his Southern Utah golfing, jeep trips, and luxurious escapades. Safe travels Timmy!

4:30 - Today’s topic: return to work! Some companies have their plans ready to go but all companies are going to have to get ready for “the new normal”. What is that going to look like? Are you ready?

7:00 - RTW = return to work

7:30 - Jlee sounds off on the differences of work returns there can be and the potential anxiety employees could bring with them. Will there be a major fear from workers?

8:45 - KD is taking the approach of surveying his employees on how they want to return to work. Who wants to stay home? Who wants to return to the office? Who is unsure and has concerns? 

9:40 - One size fits all? Not for RTW plans.

11:15 - KD fills us in on how Kinetix is facing RTW: Branded face masks: check! How do you feel about the decorative/branded face masks?

13:15 - Sexy brand check! Jack Dorsey has announced that all Twitter employees can work remote forever. What really is forever? Jlee thinks it’s a cool idea but may be too early to make this call. Only a diamond is forever ;)

16:00 - Will there be an increased need for real estate for workspace? Due to physical distancing needs, there may need more space needed to ensure employee safety. 

18:00 - Have you ever had an employee sit on the floor in your office during a meeting? Jlee hasn’t but she thinks that cramped small office meetings are on the way out and virtual meetings are here to stay.

20:30 - KD and Jlee are turning this into a Microsoft ad! Microsoft Teams chat is the new norm for Jlee but may be NSFW because of their raunchy gifs.

22:30 - KD thinks that Eric Schmitt’s perception of a workspace real estate boom is a little tone deaf. With more WFH employees and financial troubles, there may not be a real estate boom especially in spaces made for small to mid-sized businesses. 

24:00 - Should we be celebrating companies and CEOs who pledge not to lay off employees? The crew thinks it’s unrealistic to raise the expectation that companies should not lay off some workers in this pandemic, especially in service industries. 

26:10 - “Up your sunscreen game” - KD to Tim Sackett. 


There Are Six "Manager of People" Brands - Which One Are You?

Any manager of people has a lot on their plate. After all, a general pre-requisite to getting your first manager job is being a great individual contributor. Then, at some point in your first month in your new manager role, you realize the reality – you still have a bunch to do on your own as well as managing your new team.

Just because you're a manager doesn’t mean you stop cranking out individual contributor Proposalgreatness. You’re expected to that PLUS lead a group of people to team greatness, individual success and career fulfillment.

Inside all of us there’s a preset – a type of manager we’re most likely to be based on our behavioral DNA, the folks who have managed us in the past, etc.  Who you are and how you were raised in corporate America has a lot to do with how you manage.

What type of manager are you?  What’s your brand as a manager?

To dig into this topic, I reached out to my good friend and BOSS Leadership facilitator Dawn Burke to record an episode of my new podcast - BEST BOSS EVER - and talk about the "6 Manager of People Brands" I have identified - Doer & Individual Contributor, The Friend/Pushover, The Control Freak/Authoritarian, Trend Spotter/Reader of the Best Seller, Performance Based Driver, and The Career Agent.

Take a listen and be sure to subscribe via the links below as well!

-------------------------

Welcome to Best Boss Ever, the podcast dedicated to helping you develop managers who build great teams. In this episode Kris Dunn talks with colleague and friend Dawn Burke, facilitator for BOSS Leadership and senior consultant at Recruiting Toolbox, about managing people and the six types of manager brands.

Don't forget to subscribe, rate and review wherever you get your podcasts - Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play.

Show Highlights:

4:00: KD brings in the topic, what is your manager brand? Dawn claims a lot of managers don’t know what their brand is, it even took her some time to figure out her brand.

6:22: A Manager’s brand is based on their behavioral DNA and how they were raised. Dawn says that’s a classic case of nature vs. nurture. Both play a part into a manager’s brand, and a lot of times we fall back on our nature but it’s important to focus on the qualities of leaders we admire and seek training and guidance to form a brand.

8:45: KD and Dawn run down the list of the 6 manager brands: The Doer & Individual Contributor, The Friend/Pushover, The Control Freak/Authoritarian, Trend Spotter/Reader of the Best Seller, Performance Based Driver, and The Career Agent.

11:09: “The Doer.” The first-time manager brand. Dawn talks about her personal retail experience with her first manager roles and the struggles first time manager. KD says: don’t change too much – it’s okay if this is your brand to an extent. Be a doer – but you need to grow your people, too. You can’t do it all yourself. Find training and learn to delegate and lead.

15:38: “The Friend/Pushover”. KD talks about how this brand showing up in a lot of former teammates that become managers. It’s also in folks who have high levels of empathy in their DNA. Dawn says you can make the best of the past team relationships by keeping the trust throughout your working relationship. She also asks “How much are you complaining about working together?” It might effect your credibility.

18:50: Dawn says “The Friend” also applies to managers who come in, and is a manager who tries to be friends, which isn’t inherently bad, but if you’re relying too much on the friendship, you’re heading in the wrong direction. KD says past friends especially have trouble as new managers if they are low on the assertive scale, Dawn says you can mitigate this with a 1:1 reset with those friends, acknowledging the new structure in the team and what it means. KD says you’ll have to be assertive to do that, which is why training from other managers is good to have!

21:22: “The Control Freak” introduction. KD talks about a recent WWII watch that was riddled with authoritative manager brands. Dawn says she’s seen this in new managers, too. When they become a manager they are thinking about their past managers and maybe more old school managers. She claims this brand doesn’t work anymore, even though it still exists in certain work places.

26:52: “The Trend Spotter” KD says reading and growing is good, but you can’t change up your brand every time you read a new book. Dawn says this has good intention but it’s gone off the rails. You can be a life long learner, that’s a sign of a good leader, but you take the best of what you’ve learned or read and build your own style/brand – you can’t copy and paste.

29:59: “The Performance Driver.” This brand is all about the performance, they aren’t hesitant to ask their team to reach those organizational goals. Dawn says every manager’s brand should include a little bit of the Performance Driver. KD says sometimes you can be a little detached with your humanity here – just driving for results is okay, but it’s not growing your employees and as a result, over time it can fall flat.

32:22: “The Career Agent” KD claims this is the fully-evolved manager. The Career Agent is approaching their team to get the results through the lens of the employee. It benefits the company and the employee. Overall, Dawn agrees this is the fully-evolved manager. KD says part of being a career agent is investing, developing, and helping people grow and approaching every conversation from the view of the employee – what’s in it for them?.

37:50: KD runs us down the six brands again and the team closes it out.

Resources:

Boss Leadership Training Series

Kinetix

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Dawn Burke on LinkedIn

Recruiting Toolbox

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

KD's Book - The 9 Faces of HR


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.