WORKPLACE ARTIFACTS: "Patient Zero" Drives Dress Norms at Your Company...

Ever notice that everyone in your company pretty much dresses the same?

Me too.

Note that you didn't hire with this criteria in mind. Before joining your company, your employees had a much greater degree of diversity in the way they dressed.  Then once they joined your organization, conformity and groupthink became the order of the day, and something called "regression to the mean" occurred.  Examples of groupthink dressing in the workplace include:

--Patagonia vest for hedge fund people

--Dress sneakers for tech company people

--Blue Blazers and specific pants choices for white guys over a certain age EVERYWHERE (click the links for my takedowns on these topics)

--and countless more examples.

It's sociology 101.  Norms, customs, etc.  I was reminded by the consistency of the pack by the following from Esquire:

"I work at Morgan Stanley."

Pause.

"It's a bank."

I fight the imminent eye roll with my entire being, like you'd fight an alarming wave of nausea in public:

"Oh, wow! Cool! Are you, like, a bank teller?"

Unidentified Banker No. 1 and I did not speak again after that. He wasn't a teller. (Of course.) He was an analyst. (Of course.) But not just any old analyst. He was a capital B Banker. He lived and breathed the lifestyle, the attitude. He was a douche bag. And, like any true capital B Banker douche bag, he carried the bag. The Douche Bag.

If you're unfamiliar, the Douche Bag is a small-sized duffel bag (the "good" ones are navy), with straps embroidered with the name of the bank the bag's owner works for. The owner is probably a dude. He's probably an analyst. He definitely peaked in college.

The bag itself has many names. It has been called the "corporate duffel" (by the issuing firm), the "deal bag" (by Bankers), the "banker bag" (by New Yorkers), and the "douche-tastic man purse" (by my fellow misanthrope, Renata Sellitti). And, of course, the Douche Bag. By me.

It is a known quantity: the mark of a first-year associate, and a symbol of belonging to the trade. But it is also a known problem. I am not the first person to rail against the obnoxiousness of the banker bag. I'd even call the argument tired, if it weren't for the fact that nothing thus far has stopped these guys from treating promotional canvas duffels like they're limited-edition Louis Vuitton holdalls.

What gives with the follower/norm/desperation to fit in related to workplace dress? I thought about it for awhile. What causes people to conform and who leads trends in your company when they break?  Here's my thoughts:

1--People follow trends inside companies and conform to norms because existing outside of the norm can introduce risk. If there's one thing that average performers don't want, it's more risk.  

2--The older someone is at your company, the less they want risk.  They've made it this far, have closet full of clothes of the existing uniform, and they really don't care about fashion. Translation - they're not picking up a fad or trend at your company - you guessed it - unless NOT picking up the new trend presents them with risk.

3--Changes in dress trends at your company are usually introduced one of two ways - by overall societal trends or industry specific changes.  Industry specific changes are things like the duffel bag above, the Patagonia vest in hedge fund land, etc.  A trend starts at one company in the industry, then is shared via conferences and other forms of networking and spreads like wildfire.

4--Whether changes in the dress norms at your company are due to broad fashion trends or something industry specific, there always has to be a "Patient Zero" at your firm (aka the first one at your company/location to break ranks and embrace the new fashion).

5--"Patient Zero" - the one who embraces the new trend at your company - must be considered trendy enough for people to follow, but also be viewed as a high enough performer to modify the norms at your company - aka, if he/she did it, no one is going to call BS on them because they produce results.  

When patient zero picks up a new dress trend and 3-4 people quickly follow, you've got change when it comes to dress norms at your company.

The patient zero of dress trends at your company is generally not only a high performer, but a manager of people as well.  After all, there's nothing that will make the lemmings be fast followers quicker than their upwardly mobile manager trending a certain dress direction on a casual Friday.

Look around - odds are you have a Patient Zero at your location. Don't smile the next time you walk by them.

 


Firing Lab: Dairy Queen, a Birthday Cake and "Moana"...

It's judgement on terminations day here at the Capitalist. HR pros get their stripes from helping the business decide when employees need to stay, and when they need to go.

The decisions are probably most important for what we'll call "overall judgment in critical situations."  You know the deal on these - an employee is thrust into a situation involving an interaction with a customer/client, a co-worker or a manager - and their judgment is on full display.

The question of whether to term based on a single event of questionable judgment is something HR pros deal with all the time. Moana

Today's lab exercise: A Dairy Queen employee fielding a customer request for a birthday cake involving "Moana."  Here's more on the DQ situation from USA Today:

"A cake mix-up that went viral is drawing national attention, but the whole scenario is a nightmare for one Georgia woman who lost her Dairy Queen job.

The incident started gaining attention on July 2, when Kensli Taylor Davis shared a Facebook post with a picture of her 25th birthday cake purchased from Dairy Queen. The cake shows a marijuana leaf and what appears to be a high "My Little Pony" smoking with bloodshot eyes. 

Davis said her mother asked for a "Moana"-themed cake from a Milledgeville, Georgia, Dairy Queen. Instead, she got a marijuana-themed cake. The post has garnered more than 12,000 reactions and has been shared more than 13,000 times, mostly by people laughing at the mix-up. 

"I think they thought that she said 'marijuana' because we are from south Georgia and kind of have an accent. So, 'Moana,' marijuana?" Davis told WMAZ-TV in Georgia.

That's your situation. Here's how it went down in the workplace:

Cassandra Walker, the Georgia mother of two who made the cake, isn't laughing. She told USA TODAY she made the cake after her manager, who she says misheard Davis' mother, told her it was OK. Walker said Dairy Queen fired her for the mistake on Monday, which was her birthday. 

"The manager stood behind me while I pulled the images off the internet," Walker said. "She walked by as I decorated the cake. As I boxed the cake up, she was the one who walked it up to the front."She said she was told by Al Autry, who is one of the Dairy Queen's owners, that she couldn't be employed anymore.

"This was a simple misunderstanding from the beginning," Autry said in a statement to USA TODAY. "Our cake decorator designed a cake based on what she thought she heard the customer order. When the customer picked it up and said it was not what she ordered, we immediately apologized for the error and offered to redesign it the way she originally intended. The customer said it was fine, paid for the cake and left."

The statement did not address Walker's claim that she was fired. 

So what say you? Do you fire this employee?

My takes below:

1--The employee went through the manager and the design was approved.

2--The customer picked it up, laughed it off and had some fun with it.

3--Most HR pros wouldn't support a term in this circumstance.

If you're digging in from a investigation perspective, the fact that a manager saw and approved the design is a key thing to verify, as is the alleged fact that the manager actually took the call.  Confirm those two facts are true, and you really can't term.

But even if the employee rolled out that cake on her own - the fact that the customer laughed it off and took the cake means a term probably isn't in order.  

Notable in this situation is that Al Autry, identified as the owner of a DQ, is likely a franchisee, which at times can struggle with a lack of deep HR support from people like the ones reading The HR Capitalist.

VERDICT: The fact that pot is generally illegal in GA means you need to do a written warning (don't create work product that illustrates illegal activity), but a term is over the top. 


How to Respond to Negative Glassdoor Reviews...

You love to hate Glassdoor.  You feel like the negative reviews are disgruntled ex-employees who can hide behind not disclosing their identities. 

You're halfway right. There's still plenty of disgruntled takedowns of your company that are probably unfair.  But remember we are living in the review economy, with sites like Trip Advisor, Yelp and Amazon making the process of reviewing products and services feel commonplace to a higher percentage of your workforce.

The review economy means a greater total percentage of your employees are open to reviewing you on Glassdoor - which means you're going to be treated more fairly than you were during the dark days of Glassdoor Glassdoordisgruntlement 5-10 years ago.

You should ask good employees to write fair reviews as a result of the review economy. But that's a post for another day.

Today, I'm here to give you some simply templates to help you respond to Glassdoor reviews. Note that I'm not going to write them for you, but instead show you the elements of a solid response that doesn't attack the reviewer in question. The goal here is to give a playbook to respond to 4 types of reviews:

--The "You're the Best" review. (5 stars)

--The "You're Pretty Good" review. (4 stars)

--The "Balanced" review. (3 stars)

--The "Negative Takedown" review. (1-2 stars)

Ready? Let's do this.

1--The "You're the Best" review. (5 stars)

Believe it or not, you should take a victory lap and reply to this review.  The template goes something like this:

"Tim, thanks for taking the time to submit your thoughts on working at ACME.  While we have things to work on, we're glad you've sensed the <insert positive factor 1 identified by the employee> and <insert positive factor 2 identified by the employee> that we've worked hard to make part of our culture at ACME.  We appreciate everything you do for us and look forward to working hard to make ACME the best place possible to work and build a career."

Note the "we have things to work on" is key.  Humility is the right way to go with the stellar review. We're never satisfied!

2--The "You're Pretty Good" review. (4 stars)

Now we get into mixed feedback a bit.  Take the components of the 5-star review response and address any cons the employee lists in this still overwhelmingly positive review:

"Tim, thanks for taking the time to submit your thoughts on working at ACME.  While we have things to work on, we're glad you've sensed the <insert positive factor 1 identified by the employee> and <insert positive factor 2 identified by the employee> that we've worked hard to make part of our culture at ACME.  When it comes to <insert negative factor 1 identified by the employee>, we have some room to grow and are looking to <insert ongoing or planned initiative 1 to address the concern> and <insert ongoing or planned initiative 2 to address the concern>.  We look forward to hearing how you feel about the progress in this area, and thanks again for leaving this review."

Things are still pretty good in this review, but you're starting to address the negatives head on - with existing or planned initiatives in the area of concern.

3--The "Balanced" review. (3 stars)

Probably the most valuable of all reviews, the balanced review doesn't say you're the best - it says that there are pros and cons to working for you, which by the way, is the majority of workplaces that exist. Because the review doesn't imply that you're awesome, you have to back off taking too much credit and make sure you acknowledge the concerns.  It goes something like this:

"Tim, thanks for taking the time to leave this review.  We are working hard to build a good culture at ACME, and we're glad see the value in areas like <insert positive factor 1 identified by the employee> and <insert positive factor 2 identified by the employee>.  That's great feedback for us.  When it comes to <insert negative factor 1 identified by the employee>, we are working hard in this area and are looking to <insert ongoing or planned initiative 1 to address the concern> and <insert ongoing or planned initiative 2 to address the concern>.  We appreciate everything you do for us and thanks for being at ACME"

Note that you can repeat the insertion of areas of concerns and add additional initiatives you are working on to address concerns. A good rule of thumb is to address no more than two concerns, primarily the ones you have great traction on and active initiatives addressing the areas of concern.

4--The "Negative Takedown" review. (1-2 stars)

Here's where it gets dark.  The negative takedown review gives you credit for nothing, and provides a long list of problems and issues at your company. Allegations of hard working conditions, managers who don't care and general cultural dysfunction are common in the Negative Takedown review as well.  Most of these reviews will come from ex-employees, many of whom didn't perform well at your company.  With this in mind, the key is acknowledge the level of negativity in the review (even saying you're sorry they didn't have a good experience), then transitioning to promoting the fact your company isn't for everyone.  The response to the 1-star review using this model goes something like this:

"Tim, thank you for sharing your thoughts about your time at ACME. I'm sorry you didn't have a great experience during your time here, and it's true that working at ACME isn't for everyone. Change is constant in our business, and we ask our team members to be incredibly nimble as we serve customers in an industry that changes daily. Related to your comments on <insert negative factor 1 identified by the employee>, we are working hard in this area and are looking to <insert ongoing or planned initiative 1 to address the concern> and <insert ongoing or planned initiative 2 to address the concern>.  Thanks again for taking the time to leave this review and we wish you the best in your career."

Note the acknowledgment that the ex-employee did not have a great experience in the template above, including you sharing regrets if your brand will allow that - it's all about humility.  Once that's out of the way, you want to say that working at your company isn't for everyone, and the pace of change and related challenges is the best way to identify the profile of someone who can be successful at your company.  That effectively neutralizes the negative review to the extent you can by referring to motivational fit as a key to someone being successful at your company.  Once you have acknowledged the negative review and shared regrets the ex-employee didn't have a great experience at your company, you're on to show you're working on one or two of the areas that the review took you to task on.

The biggest problem HR faces when it comes to Glassdoor reviews is how to respond. If you're someone who hasn't got around to being consistent with your responses, I hope my templated approach helps you.

Naturally, context changes slightly related to whether the employee in question is a current or past employee. Also, you'll need to change up you intros and outros so every response doesn't sound the same, but insertion points for positive, negatives and what you're working on as a company to resolve generally will work as described with every review.

Get busy responding. Don't be a victim, HR.


Great CEO Quotes: "My Superpower is Change"

You know you love this post series here at the Capitalist - Great CEO Quotes.

Today's entry comes from WeWork CEO Adam Neumann:

"My Superpower is Change"

That's heavy, my HR friends.  When you work for a line of business boss who is on record with this quote, it's either going to be a fun ride - or you're going to hate life.

It's less about them than it is about you. They aren't going to change, so this really comes down to if you can tolerate the low rules/high change boss. Here's a couple Weworkof snippets on Neumann from Business Insider:

"Bloomberg observes that Neumann is served a bowl of super oats with what he calls "amazing qualities" midway through the interview, his cofounders go around wearing shirts with slogans like "High on We," and WeWork's walls are adorned with signs telling tenants to "Hustle Harder."

Toward the end of the piece, Neumann asks Bloomberg journalist Ellen Huet what her superpower is, he then responded with his own. "My superpower is change," he said, "and change is painful."

I'd categorize Neumann from WeWork as the visionary, low rules boss who trying to create a new category of business and generally disrupt an industry. For those that don't know a lot about WeWork, here's a quick description:

"Think of WeWork as an office leasing middle man. The company rents space and makes it pretty, you need space, so they rent that pretty space to you. On the most basic level, that’s all they do. More specifically, WeWork leases floors of buildings, entire structures, and any primo, available real estate they can get their hands on. Note that WeWork isn’t actually buying any space, just leasing it from owners and property managers."

WeWork wants to become your landlord. They initially were focused on renting space to individuals, but increasingly are signing deals with companies. They believe in the power of office space to drive culture and great work. They think they can do it better than you can do it for yourself, better than traditional commercial real estate firms, etc.  They're probably not wrong, but fulfilling a visionary, Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG) like reinventing how workspace gets built and leased is hard.

Find a crazy hard BHAG like reinventing (and more importantly monetizing) office space, and you'll find a low rules, high change boss like Neumann.

His superpower is change. He said so.

Can you survive and thrive with a CEO like this? It's more about you than it is about them.

Look inward, my HR friends. That cool office space affect will only last for so long.


The Complex Relationship of A.I. and Labor's Share of GDP in the USA...

Will A.I. take jobs away? 

Of course it will. The only question is whether the jobs it eliminates are replaced by other jobs up the food chain, in different and perhaps yet unknown industries and job classes.

The world has seen various waves of automation and globalization over the last century. Name the game changing technology, and there was paranoia that jobs were being eliminated and workers would be idle, never to find work to replace what was lost.

Through it all, a little talked about stat called “US Labor Share” has tracked the worker’s share of the economic pie.  For the uninitiated, here’s the definition of US Labor Share from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

"The labor share is the percentage of economic output (GDP) that accrues to workers in the form of compensation. It is calculated by dividing the compensation earned during a certain period by the economic output produced over the same period."

For the sports fans out there, think about this as the salary cap number for the US non-farm workforce.  For the non-sports fans, think about your company’s salary budget as a percentage of revenue.

A quick historical look at the Labor Share (nonfarm business sector) chart from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that from the 1950’s through the year 2000, Labor Share remained fairly steady at 62% to 64% of US GDP.

Then, things changed. Labor Share started dropping hard in 2008-2009 (both in and coming off the recession) dropping from 60% of GDP to a level now looking to at the 56% range. According to Fortune Magazine, that equates into about $11,000 less in annual income for the average US household when compared to an economy that provides a 65% percent share to the US workforce.

Here's a look at the chart (email subscribers, please click through if you don't see the image):

Labor share

Machines displaced a lot of farmworkers in the 19th century, but millions of new jobs in manufacturing were created.  When the manufacturing sector in the US took a hit in the 50’s, 60’s and 70s’, new jobs in services became a much larger part of the economy, and Labor Share remained steady between 62% and 64%.

And here we are – at 56% - in a peak economy. What gives?

It all comes down to job creation as the term automation gets replaced by A.I.  What’s the new sector of jobs that’s coming online as A.I. – the new, at times scarier version of automation – displaces human labor?

Factory workers became truck drivers across the Midwest when factories went away. What blue collar profession do they turn to when automation/A.I. fully delivers self-driving, autonomous vehicles to the transportation industry?

White collar workers have been impacted by automation as well, but globalization and the impact of cheap labor available overseas has had greater impact. What happens when A.I. delivers a seamless tax return or handles coding at a deeper, more self-aware level that transcends the age-old argument of chasing cheaper white collar labor in the Philippines?

Read enough, and you'll find opinions that A.I is the beginning of the end, or overhyped to a large degree.

I’m a fan of technology and progress. I’ve always believed that jobs eliminated by technology would re-emerge up the food chain.

The current Labor Share chart in the USA is making me think deeper. We’re almost a decade into the expansion, the toughest recruiting environment for employers imaginable, and workers still can’t get theirs?

Buckle up.  The next couple of decades are going to be interesting.


Are HR Leaders Ready to Hire Candidates with Criminal Histories? #SHRM19

If you’re a SHRM member or even remotely following major initiatives within the world’s largest association of HR professionals, odds are you’ve heard of “Getting Talent Back to Work”, a pledge drive to promote the hiring of candidates with criminal histories.

Which begs the question – are HR pros really open to hiring people with criminal backgrounds who are available in the talent marketplace?

I was reminded of “Getting Talent Back to Work” at the SHRM National conference, when SHRM GTBTW CEO Johnny Taylor promoted the cause during his address to the general assembly.

Taylor is easily the best presenter SHRM has had as a CEO.  More on that in a bit.  First, let’s do a level set and tell you what “Getting Talent Back to Work” is as a program/initiative/platform:

"Getting Talent Back to Work is a national pledge open to all organizations that was signed even before the formal announcement by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation, the American Staffing Association, SHRM, Koch Industries, Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation and more.

Organizations are pledging to give opportunities to qualified people with a criminal background, deserving of a second chance, which creates successful outcomes for employers, all employees, customers and communities.
 
Ninety-five percent of people in prison will be released—that’s more than 650,000 people every year. As they re-enter society, people with criminal backgrounds are deprived of employment opportunities and organizations are deprived of qualified talent, creating harmful consequences for millions of people."

Getting Talent Back to Work was launched in January 2019, and SHRM immediately got criticized for the inclusion of Koch Industries in the list of organizations agreeing to the pledge.  Koch is run by the Koch brothers (Charles and David), who moonlight as political fundraisers/operatives on the Republican side of the aisle.

I discounted the criticism at the time due to the list of organizations beyond Koch Industries that signed the pledge. Any time you have the National Retail Federation and the National Restaurant Association sign off on a pledge to do something differently in the realm of employment, it’s meaningful.  But seeing Johnny Taylor - a pretty dynamic mix of presenter and disrupter as the CEO of SHRM - go after the issue hard at SHRM made me want to dig in on the issue a bit.

So, I asked 15 Director/VP of HR types at SHRM National what they thought about “Getting Talent Back to Work.”  Here’s a summary of what I heard:

1—Everyone understands the idea has merit.  As our society has become more progressive, it’s clear that most of the people I talked to supported the spirit behind the pledge. Most of us believe in second chances.

2 –The devil, as it turns out is in the details. Here’s where it gets dicey. What jobs are available to those with criminal backgrounds?  Concerns from my groups of HR Directors/VPs are raised where you would expect – in financial jobs, jobs which provide autonomy of work using expensive tools, etc.  If we restrict access to only the lowest level jobs with limited risk, is attempting to employ those with criminal histories still meaningful?

3--Most feel there will be resistance to the idea across the leadership teams they belong to back at the home office related to the concept. While the HR leaders I spoke to get the intent of the Getting Talent Back to Work pledge, most indicated there would be friction and blocking activity as they tried to execute changes to existing policy related to hiring candidates with criminal histories.

4—Hiring Managers are also thought to be a major roadblock. As expected, most of the HR leaders I spoke to thought hiring managers would be less than supportive to this type of hiring policy change. 

With all that in mind, my takeaways after these conversations were simple. HR pros are open and welcome participating in Getting Talent Back to Work, but they’re also unclear about the best way to proceed in knocking down barriers that exist in their organizations.

That means Getting Talent Back to Work as a SHRM initiative has legs, but the next step in the program for SHRM will need to focus on helping HR leaders make the business case to skeptics back at the home office.  While most of the HR pros I talked to were generally unaware of the toolkit that exists here, a review of the resources makes me recommend the toolkit will need to expand provide a base-level communications campaign that a normal HR leader could use to make presentations, send emails and general communicate the policy changes they're asking for. 

The tools that exist are strong, and the next step probably needs to be ghostwritten materials that show an HR leader step-by-step what they can do to initiate change in their organizations.

I like what SHRM is doing in this area, and the fact they stayed on message at the national conference. The next step is to push HR leaders to take action inside their companies and start the necessary dialog.

Change is likely to be slow, but it's a conversation worth having.


Would You Fire Starbucks Employees Who Ask People to Leave for Questionable Reasons?

If you're reading this while sitting in a Starbucks, be aware - you're sitting a location where bad things can happen.

Starbucks - with its 30,000 locations and 300,000 employees - has become a lighting rod reflection of polarization in America.  Just over a year ago, a Starbucks Cops
manager in Philadelphia had two black men arrested because they sat in a restaurant and hadn't ordered anything.  It turned out they were waiting for another man to start a business meeting.  After that debacle, Starbucks instituted an open-door policy. Anyone could be in Starbucks for any reason, as long as it wasn't illegal or disturbing anyone else.

In July 4th, 2019, six police officers ordered drinks at a Tempe, Arizona Starbucks.  Things were normal until a barista asked them to either move out of the sight line of a particular customer who felt uncomfortable or leave.  The police did the latter and another controversy began for Starbucks.

With an infinite number of customer interactions every day, Starbucks has an interesting HR question to ponder - Do you counsel employees who make wildly bad judgements that blow up nationally or do you fire them?

Like most things in HR, the choice of counsel or fire when incredibly bad things happen isn't an easy one. You obviously want to help the person in question grow, but that person showed such poor judgement that the incident in question is the headline in USA Today.

What's your call?  Would you counsel or fire the person who asked the cops to leave?

Here's the checklist I would use as an HR Leader before I sign off on the decision to fire the employee:

1--Give me all the context. I know the broad details of the two examples I led with above - two black men in Phili and cops in Tempe.  What's the context I'm missing before the request was made by the employee in question?  Is there more to the situation that I don't understand? 

2--What's the history of the employee in question? Tell me about the person who made the call that led to national headlines. Are they a good employee? Do they have a history of making rash decisions? What have we done previously if so?  A history of bad decisions makes me less likely to want to make a save.

3--Is anyone in the organization telling me it would be an awful outcome if this person got fired? Big events should lead to someone telling me if would be a complete shame if this individual lost their job - if they're a great employee in many other ways.

4--How much political capital am I burning if I make the right call to save the employee when others want them fired? Real talk. If the mob and leadership I'm a part of want/need the employee to go, HR is generally the last line of defense to represent it might be best if they employee stays.  If you or I make that call, we need to understand the costs associated with that decision.

5--I'd remind myself that people generally show us who they are with the judgment calls they make. You can't ponder whether to fire/counsel without remembering this fact. People tell us who they are all the time by the judgment calls they make. We should look for all the facts/the entire picture, but when they tell us who they are, we should listen.

Note that I'm not advocating that the Starbucks employee in either situation should be saved.  BUT - the highly publicized employee issues at Starbucks provide a great backdrop on making employment calls when single, really bad events happen at a company.

Good luck with the judgment calls - here's hoping yours don't land in the Wall Street Journal.


Women’s Soccer: A Primer on Success in Equality Legislation

Congratulations to the USA Women’s National Soccer Team winning the World Cup.

Fun to watch and amazing all at the same time.  But there’s more! WWC

Let’s look at the impact of Title IX on Women’s Soccer in the United States.  Not sure what Title IX is?  Here’s a quick primer:

Title IX is a federal civil rights law in the United States of America that was passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. This is Public Law No. 92‑318, 86 Stat. 235 (June 23, 1972), codified at 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681–1688. It was co-authored and introduced by Senator Birch Bayh in the U.S. Senate, and Congresswoman Patsy Mink in the House. It was later renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act following Mink's death in 2002. The following is the original text as written and signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1972:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

While the reach of Title IX is broad, a visible outcome was the law’s impact on sports. In a nutshell, Title IX’s application in sports mandated that girls/women have equal opportunity to boys/men. In college athletics, that mandate was further refined as the number of overall athletic scholarships for women being equal to what was offered for men.

With football providing high scholarship numbers to college males with no female equivalent, the outcome over time was simple.  College sports kept the football scholarship numbers high, which meant new levels of funding for women’s athletics (as well as many smaller, non-revenue scholarship sports being discontinued for men – which is why you don’t see sports like wrestling at most American universities these days).

Women’s soccer is one positive example of Title IX’s impact.  Here’s your girls’ soccer participation numbers across time:

1976 – 10,000 girls participating in High School Soccer

2000 – 270,000 girls participating in High School Soccer

Women’s soccer is a great example of the positive impact of equality legislation. Title IX is a driver of the growth in high school girls’ soccer over time.

World Cup titles are nice. More girls having access to sport and the lessons that come with participation is better.

Title IX is a huge early win in equality legislation.


PODCAST: e3 - This is HR - Employee MBA Debt, Employer Brand Lies, EEOC Male Dress Code Hardships

(Email subscribers, if you don't see the podcast player, click here to see the podcast)

In this episode of THIS IS HR, Tim Sackett (President of HRU), Jessica Lee (VP of Brand Talent, Marriott) and Kris Dunn (CHRO at Kinetix) cover the following topics:

--recent research from BusinessWeek that shows Top Tier MBA programs saddle 50% of their graduates with six-figure debt. The gang discusses whether they would push high potentials in their organizations on that traditional path with that set of economics in mind (3:30)

--a recent HBR op/ed piece that attacks how your company is approaching employer brand, citing an industry of 40 companies solely focused on the EB market, a number the gang thought was too low (15:12)

--Recent EEOC guidance that says males may be discriminated against via the use of traditional dress codes, guidance which the gang loves and hates at the same time (26:12). 

KD closes it out by going to the mailbag and getting a simple question about the thing HR Pros do to build culture that usually doesn't work (31:26)

BONUS: Disclosure that JLee isn't even in America on the 4th of July.  

What could go wrong?  Take a listen!


Glassdoor Should Try This If They're Concerned About Employers...

If we've learned anything in the world of HR Technology, it's that there's always a hook that vendors/partners are creating scale and mass around.

In no area is this more true than the Talent Acquisition/Recruiting side of the house.  Consider the following areas of our world dominated/owned by specific partners/vendors in recent history:

--LinkedIn - owns eyeballs related to the world's largest candidate database

--Glassdoor - owns eyeballs related to company reputation/reviews

--Indeed - owns SEO on job search (by its very definition, eyeballs), although many expect that to change as Google for Jobs comes to scale

What's interesting about each one of these plays designed to create scale of users and overall interest is that the real product isn't what I've listed above for each vendor.  

If you use a site and it's free, the product - as they say - is you.

More to the point, the real product is Job Postings.

I know, I know.  You can get your head around that being the case with Indeed (duh), but LinkedIn sells a variety of things beyond job postings and Glassdoor wants to charge money to help you manage that very average reputation you have on their site.

But when you really dig into the packages offered by all of these vendors, the hook is what they're known for (biggest database, SEO, company reputation) - but make no mistake, the monetization is job postings.

Why? Because that's what people like you and me most want to buy. We want ROI on our recruiting budget. If a site has enough attention and a connection to the workplace, there's a chance that job postings might work, and more importantly, it's WHAT WE WANT TO BUY.

Let's look specifically at Glassdoor. The fact that monetization for GD is really found in user traffic that sees job postings and converts to applicants at your company means the model won't change, even when it's obvious that it would help users.

Here's an example of a tweak that is needed on Glassdoor.  If GD really cared about employers/your company (and I could argue candidates looking to do research), they'd make it simple for you to search reviews by current employees vs past employees.

You know what doesn't drive as much traffic to Glassdoor?  Balanced reviews.  We live for the car wreck in turn four - the flaming review that's fun to read and just really takes apart the company.

But if we're honest with ourselves as candidates, we don't value that review (or the 5-stars) as much as we value the balanced 3 star review.  

So Glassdoor should change that. But it won't because the car wreck 1-star review from a past employee drives eyeballs.  Eyeballs are traffic that see job postings and covert (hopefully) to applicant flow.

Simple search of reviews by current employees vs past employees won't happen anytime soon on Glassdoor.

The product is you/me/us.  The Glassdoor 1-star review by a disgruntled, anonymous employee is the equivalent of a TMZ camera catching Bernie Sanders exiting an Applebee's drunk and belligerent and being available for viral distribution within 30 minutes.

Traffic always wins.