When Turnover Is High But That Means You're World Class...

Good leaders attract followers; great leaders create more leaders.

Turnover sucks.

Except when people promote themselves by leaving you, and you have a track record of that being the primary cause of your turnover. Saban

Football season is upon us, and no one has more people leave them for a better job than University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban.  Consider the following stats from Inc:

Let's talk about Nick Saban, the head football coach at the University of Alabama.

Among other things, his teams have won six national championships (five at Alabama and one when he was the head coach at Louisiana State University). But now, he's getting credit for something else -- a statistic that might seem a mixed blessing, but one that truly great leaders will recognize for the compliment that it is. 

It's that Saban's team endures (or maybe "enjoys") near-constant churn among his assistant coaches. 

In fact, as The Wall Street Journal points out, not a single on-field assistant coach remains on the team today who was there when Alabama last won the national championship in 2017.

Fully 38 assistants have moved on since 2007. A key point here is that most of the assistants leave for jobs with a higher profile or more responsibility elsewhere.

As of 2018, USA Today calculated that there were 15 former Saban assistants in head coaching jobs in either the NFL or college football. That list doesn't count Michael Locksley, who left Alabama earlier this year to become the head coach this year at the University of Maryland.

It also doesn't count former assistants who are now working at a higher level -- but who aren't head coaches in their own right.

Saban is known as a hard boss - see the endless videos of him losing his sh#t towards an assistant on the sideline - but people don't want to work for him because they'll be treated with courtesy. They want to work for him because the assignment is a springboard to better things.

If people hate you and leave for lateral moves, that's on you and it's not great.

If people like or hate you and leave for a better position after a short period of time, that's a compliment.

Context matters with turnover.

#wareagle


The #1 Way For Recruiters To Build Creditability With Candidates...

If a recruiter is good at what they do, they'll talk to a lot of people in a given week.

Some of those conversations are short, some are long. There's a variety of information traded between candidate and recruiter - it's a two-way exchange. Phone

But some recruiters are better at building credibility with candidates, which further results in trust, transparency and most importantly - great information.

The #1 way recruiters can build creditability with great candidates is pretty simple:

Great recruiters always include an examination of whether the job is right for the candidate - AS A PART OF THE CONVERSATIONS THEY HAVE WITH THE CANDIDATE.

The intent and meaning behind proactively examining whether a proposed career move makes sense with the candidate is simple:

1--You don't want quick churn as a recruiter, so it make sense to the get the candidate's view of the opportunity, judging what they value most about job in question.

More importantly, here's what making the time to talk about career arc means to the candidate:

2--You're not a transactional recruiter looking to slam bodies into a company. You're looking for true fit.

3--You care enough about candidates that you don't want them to take a step back in what they're trying to accomplish.

Does building creditability with candidates in this way really matter?  That depends on the type of talent you're trying to recruit.  All recruiting is tough in a peak economic cycle, but recruiting entrenched candidates is difficult at best.

If you're looking to hire someone with a lot of options, building creditability as a recruiter could be the most important factor in them making a decision to move from their current company.  You always have imperfect information when you make a career move, so having a recruiter helping you analyze whether a move makes sense is not only comforting, but a competitive advantage.

Of course, if you're recruiting candidates from the lowest of tiers, maybe building creditability doesn't matter to you. 

Good luck with that.


Bernie Sanders: Proving the Compensation Side of the People Business is Problematic...

Let me start by saying this is not intended to be a political post. It is intended, however, to show the complexities of running a SMB (small to medium sized business).

Need a case in point?  Try Bernie Sanders.  Sanders is a Democratic presidential candidate, and part of his platform has been the need to pay workers a living wage.  No one really Bernie argues that this is a good idea, but once you get into the execution of the idea, it gets complex.

Let's look at the Minimum Wage in America.  Sanders is on record that the minimum wage should be at $15 per hour nationwide, etc.  That's where it gets tricky as he attempts to build out his campaign organization for his presidential run.  More from the New York Post:

"The Vermont socialist senator made history by agreeing that his paid 2020 presidential campaign workers would be repped by a union, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, with all earning $15 an hour. But now the union complains some employees are getting less. Worse, someone leaked the whole dispute to the Washington Post. Worse yet, Sanders’ response could be a violation of US labor law, all on its own.

The union’s gripe centers on the fact that field organizers, the lowest-level workers, often put in 60 hours a week but get paid only for 40, since they’re on a flat salary. That drops their average minimum pay to less than $13 an hour.

“Many field staffers are barely managing to survive financially, which is severely impacting our team’s productivity and morale,” the union said in a draft letter to campaign manager Faiz Shakir. “Some field organizers have already left the campaign as a result.”

The campaign’s immediate response, now that it’s all gone public, is to restrict the field workers from putting in more than 40 hours a week. Hmm: If it then brings on more unpaid volunteers to pick up the slack, that’s a different union grievance."

The HR pros who read the Capitalist - regardless of political orientation - know that Sanders has experienced the following:

1--He believed workers should be paid no less than $15 per hour.

2--While he partly accomplished that with how he set up his organization, he either didn't understand or cut a corner by classifying field organizers as "exempt".  My guess is he told his people his intent and they found the path of least resistance to make that marching order a reality while maintaining cost certainty - aka, salary over hourly.

3--The good people that read this site understand it's debatable that field organizers would be classified as "salaried" under the FLSA.  But collective bargaining with a union pushes some of the burden of classification to the background - at least initially.

4--Overtime pay kills all SMBs.  The Sanders campaign has a budget - they can't reclassify those workers to hourly status and make their budget (paying them $15 per hour for all hours worked and OT for hours past 40 per week).  Also, if they reclassified, they'd be on the hook for back pay for OT.  So they do what the only thing available to them - telling salaried field organizers to stop working at 40 hours.

What Bernie Sanders has ran into is a classic small business problem. As a business owner, you'd like for the vast majority of your workforce to be salaried - so you have cost certainty and instruct workers to work until their objectives are met - no overtime. The FLSA exists to provide legal boundaries for SMBs (as well as large companies) related to classification of workers.

The devil is always in the details.  There's never enough resources when you're attempting to bootstrap an organization, and that fact makes you look for the most affordable labor possible in some situations.  

Bernie Sanders is bootstrapping an organization in America.  It's an interesting contrast of ideas, market forces and math.


Let's Look at the Numbers Behind Amazon's Program to Retrain 100,000 Employees...

Odds are you’ve heard that Amazon plans to make a huge investment in retraining its existing workforce, partly due to the displacement of employees by emerging automation and A.I., and partly due to scarcity of talent in key job families.

I want to take a look at the Amazon re-skilling investment with a critical eye, but first here’s a primer of what Amazon has planned for the uninitiated: Amazon

"Amazon (AMZN) today pledged to upskill 100,000 of its employees across the United States, dedicating over $700 million to provide people across its corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retail stores, and transportation network with access to training programs that will help them move into more highly skilled roles within or outside of Amazon.

Amazon’s Upskilling 2025 pledge invests in a range of new upskilling programs to serve employees from all backgrounds and Amazon locations. Programs include Amazon Technical Academy, which equips non-technical Amazon employees with the essential skills to transition into, and thrive in, software engineering careers; Associate2Tech, which trains fulfillment center associates to move into technical roles regardless of their previous IT experience; Machine Learning University, offering employees with technical backgrounds the opportunity to access machine learning skills via an on-site training program; Amazon Career Choice, a pre-paid tuition program designed to train fulfillment center associates in high-demand occupations of their choice; Amazon Apprenticeship, a Department of Labor certified program that offers paid intensive classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships with Amazon; and AWS Training and Certification, which provide employees with courses to build practical AWS Cloud knowledge that is essential to operating in a technical field."

700M is a lot of money. Let’s do some simple math and then start evaluating how to the investment could intensify if it wasn’t spread evenly (which is never is):

--First the simple match.  700M across 100,000 impacted employees equals a base investment in retraining/upskilling of $7,000 per employee. Compare that to the average annual per employee investment in Learning and Development cited by Bersin ($1,200), and the investment seems solid above and beyond what Amazon already does.

--Now imagine a world where the investment isn’t spread out equally across all employees.  Since the Amazon upskilling initiative will have a voluntary vibe to it (similar to AT&T’s upskilling efforts require the employee to proactively opt in and spend their own time preparing their skills for the future), it’s not hard to imagine the opt in rate won’t approach anywhere near 100%. 

--Spread the 700M investment over 50% of the employees, and you’ve got an investment of $14,000 per employee.

--Spread the 700M investment over 30% of the targeted employees, and you’ve got an investment of over $23,000 per employee.

The devil, as it always is, is in the details.  It's a cool program. Will Amazon spend the same total amount of money if just 30% of the impacted employees opt in to the program? The presence of pre-paid tuition and certification programs suggests no.

The voluntary, opt-in nature of the Amazon Upskilling 2025 program is necessary. After all, employees impacted by A.I. and automation have to WANT to improve their long term career prospects. That's why so much of this program will have to be completed after work hours.

That's going to sound like a second job (unpaid as well) to a lot of employees. That means Amazon likely won't spend as much as projected.

If you were in Vegas, you'd take the "under" related to the bet of whether Amazon will spend more or less than 700M by the year 2025 on this program.


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.

 


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.


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.

 

 


Does a Full Email or Voice Mail Inbox = Low Engagement?

You've dealt with it too many times to count.

You want to leave an email or a voice mail for someone, and your wish is denied.  Their inbox is full. Emailbox

And you start judging them.

"get your #### together"

"that is one of busiest people on earth"

"organizational skills?  Probably not"

"they've reorged to the point where this is happening at this company"

"he has ceased...caring"

If you notice those hypothetical reactions you could have to a full email or voice mail inbox, you'll notice they are part accusation and part empathy.  

The reality is the same - a full inbox can mean a variety of things.  The person with a full inbox can be overwhelmed - a white flag if you will that no person could reasonably be expected to deal with the volume and demands they're under.  Combine that situation with an aggressive IT policy related to the size of email and voice mail storage, and you'll see the white flag early and often.

Of course, there's a harsher reality at times as well.  A consistently full email (also non-responsiveness to email) or voice mail box can mean someone has checked out - part of the issue may be workload, but another part of the issue may be general engagement levels.

How do you tell the difference?  My take is that you can usually tell once you have the opportunity to talk with the person - 1-on-1.

The disengaged person isn't going to have much passion or sense of urgency about what they're doing.  The simply overwhelmed person, on the other hand, is going to have plenty of passion and still show the spark for what they do for a living.  But they're in obvious need of help - the type of help may differ by situation.

Full email and voice mail inboxes always mean something.  You just have to talk to the person to confirm what the reality is.


Google for Jobs: A Stat That Will Make Go Hmmmmm...

First, a quick definition - in 2017, Google launched Google for Jobs, a service dedicated to making Google a primary job search source for all.  It works like this - Google scrapes all the jobs from career sites across the world, and by coding your jobs/career sites in a certain way, you can do your best to ensure the jobs at your company perform well when candidates search for jobs (think, "Financial Analyst") in the geographical area they are interested in.

The big news in 2017 and beyond that Google was getting into job search/job postings.  Since so many candidates start searching for jobs with search engine query, the reality of what Google was doing - putting a big listing of jobs from G4J at the top of search results on anything resembling job search - was thought to be a threat to all who market and sell job postings.  This obviously impacts the future business results of Indeed, LinkedIn and the traditional job boards.

Early results show that the change, i.e. the potential to put other companies out of the job posting business (or hurt their financial results), has been slower than expected to materialize. 

But to really understand the potential impact, you simply need to look at other industries.  Here's a stat that should make us think it's only a matter of time before Google for Jobs is completely dominant:

On mobile devices, 62% of searches never leave Google. Google’s desktop dominance is also growing: Between 2016 and today, desktop searches that never leave Google have risen from 9% to 35%.

You may have noticed that in a lot of Google searches you do, Google provides enough information in a dialog box, and you don't have to leave Google to get to another site.  That's by design - Google’s goal is to provide info directly, without having to refer users to other websites.  The stat above tells you how good they are getting at providing enough info/value so you don't have to click and go somewhere else.

The latest news covering this trend  - song lyric site Genius.com has accused Google of scraping its site.  More from Mashable:

"Lyrics annotation service Genius.com has accused Google of scraping its site and stealing its content, the Wall Street Journal reported this weekend. However, a lyrics data provider at the center of the controversy claimed on Monday that those allegations were without merit.

The Journal reported that Genius had been complaining to Google about the alleged theft for some time, with Google consistently denying the allegations. To prove its point, Genius proceeded to alter lyrics hosted on its site with a variety of different apostrophes.

The company alternated between apostrophe styles in a frequency that allowed it to embed a secret morse code message into the text. The message in question: “Red handed.” Soon after, the modified lyrics, complete with the hidden message, showed up on Google.com, according to Genius."

Why the drama about song lyrics? Genius.com says its traffic is dropping because, for the past several years, Google has been publishing lyrics on its own platform, with some of them lifted directly from the music site.

In other words, when Google provides its own data rather than referring web searches to other sites, life gets hard.

The fact that Google does that in 35% of all web searches today - with an eye to take a lot more market share - should make everyone who relies on referral traffic really nervous.

Google for Jobs hasn't put anyone out of business in the job posting industry  - yet.  But, it feels like we're in the first quarter of this game.

Diversification of business model seems like a smart play for those in the crosshairs.

 

 


But Will They Stay? (Weak Things HR and Business Leaders Say)

Ever hear managers, executives and even HR say some weak things?

Of course you have. For me, there's one thing that rises to epic level when it coms to weak: Kawhi

"I like them as a candidate. I'm just worried they won't stay."

This mindset values retention over talent, performance and more. The candidate is strong and wants to come. Yet, there's something about the work history (too heavy), the comp (we can't provide as much as we would like) and a myriad of other factors that make your hiring manger wring their hands about offering a job to the candidate in question.

As I write this, the Toronto Raptors are set to clinch the NBA championship tonight over the dynastic Golden State Warriors. The Raptors are up 3 games to 1, and their success is driven by the acquisition of Kawhi Leonard, for whom the Raptors traded another all star for, even though Leonard only had one year remaining when the deal was made.

That means contractually the Raptors traded for an employee who would open up their recruiting process one year later, and faced a heavy chance they wouldn't retain him.

"I'm just worried they won't stay."

The older I get, the more I'm convinced that if you can keep great talent in your company for a stint of 2-3 years, you're better off for having had them, reaping the contributions they make - than never having them at all.

This obviously refers to the top 10% - the most talented among us.

The Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard and knew that it was highly likely they would have him for a year. They did it anyway. Now, they're about to win a title.

Unwillingness to bring in top talent - long term retention risk be damned - can say a few things about your organization:

1--I don't think we're very good and I'm sure they won't stay.

2--We're OK, I know we can get better, but I'm not sure we'll improve quick enough to retain them.

3--We're not going to be able to comp this person they way they'll need to be comped to retain them.

4--I'm personally threatened by hiring someone this good. I'd prefer to have village idiots around me.

But what if you put any and all of those fears aside and hired the best person available, then got the **** out of the way and let them do their job?

They might be gone in a year. But that year might have been a hell of run.

Just ask the citizens of Toronto.