COVID-19: It's Probably Time You Doubled Down Professionally On You...

Here we are - calendar dates vary widely, but by mid week, I'll be entering week 4 of my personal decision to shelter in place. I say personal decision because like a lot of states, mine was a bit late to the whole "mandate" thing.

COVID-19 sucks. I hope you're healthy. If you're not or you're taking care of people who aren't healthy, Hader godspeed to you.  

With that in mind, I'm going to switch gears and talk about everybody else. If you're still employed as a white collar professional, you fall into one of 2 camps regardless of the industry or your profession (HR and recruiting pros aren't exempt from what I'm about to say):

1--You've got a lot to do. Based on the circumstances and your company, your hair is on fire and you're working long hours with no breaks. Thank you. Nice job.

2--You don't have a lot to do. Many of you will refuse to put yourself in this category, mostly because it's dangerous thing to admit to yourself - and it comes with current and future responsibilities. But for any business with declining results, no one buying and an employer fortunate enough financially to retain you - many of you are in this group.

If you fall into group #2, this post is for you. I write it out of respect, with compassion, etc - but mostly to give you some tough love.

So you're still employed as a white collar professional and you don't have as much to do. You've probably got at least another month at home and some hours to fill.

Stop reading the news, get off your a**, out of the fetal position and use the hours you have - as well as the relative peace - and invest in you.

Get busy building the projects, work product or skills you always said you would do/chase if you weren't so busy.

The next month is a tale of two professionals in your industry/at your career level. You both have the same educational background, relative skills and career attainment at this stage in your career.

One of you is going to stay in the fetal position over the next 3 months (regardless of when you return to the office, things are going to stay slow, I'm calling it a minimum of 3 months, more likely 6), talking about how bad everything is, bitching about their 401k, etc.

The other one? That person is less available on demand to hop on a social Zoom call or a Slack/Glip/Whatever chat like everyone else.

The reason that other person is a bit less available? Because they're in the lab, taking blocks of time to work on the aforementioned projects, work product or skills that will add value to their company or themselves after this thing ends and the economy recovers.

The person in the lab becomes at least 5% more valuable to their company and the marketplace at the end of this 3-month period.

COVID-19 and what it's done to the world is awful. Most of us have some form of fear on a variety of levels. Take care of yourself and others, enjoy some time being physically close and present to your family, and meditate a bit.

But if you have down periods at work, It's time to flip the switch. Start planning and working for the June 1st or September 1st version of you.

Being 5%-10% better than your peers might make all the difference in the world over the 12 months - for you and your company.

Stay healthy. Do you.


#COVID-19: The Truth About Video Calls and Your Career...

Time for some tough love. If you're a white collar worker and you've been moved to WFH (work from home), odds are your team/company is experimenting with video meetings/calls to keep you connected with your team.

They providers are many - Zoom, Go To Meeting, WebEx, Skype, Microsoft Teams, etc. Video

The provider really doesn't matter. Here's a piece of advice on team video calls from your friend, aka KD:

Don't get comfortable. Get your head around how to separate yourself from the pack on video meetings/calls.

The tiles I've seen of people sharing meetings of 15-20 people in a Zoom meeting show the humanity. It's a freak show.

Why is this on my mind? Just got done taping an episode of The HR Famous Podcast, with Tim Sackett and guest Dawn Burke (Jessica Lee on break), and some of the things we worked through were best practices for making yourself look great during video calls, but more importantly, the game behind the game with video calls.

A lot of white collar workers are new to the video meeting/call game. Let me give you three pieces of solid advice:

  1. Frame yourself well - head and shoulders shot, pec level and above. Be seen in a good way.  See this awesome video by Craig Fisher (aka Fishdogs) for the basics, but get to head and shoulders in your framing. Now that the basics are covered, let me break down the most important things for your career...
  2. Look into the camera. It matters more than you think it does.
  3. When important people to your career are talking - look into the camera and give non-verbal cues that you're listening and agree - head nods, etc.

I'm guessing 20-25% of all white collar work hours were remote in nature before COVID-19. It just went to 95% plus. That means a lot of you need someone to tell you the truth related to how to do video meetings at work the right way.

The workplace has always been competitive. If you're part of a 5-10 person team that is meeting virtually for the first time, you've got an opportunity.

The opportunity is that no one is coaching you on how to do video right. Do the three things I've outlined above, and subconsciously, the people that matter and have influence in your career are going to feel better about you vs your peers who aren't following the same advice.

You - framed well, took Fishdogs buying guide, looking at the camera and nodding when important people are talking (do it when everyone is sharing thoughts if my "important people" advice is troubling).

Them - not framed well, never look at the camera and zero non-verbal cues that they are listening and engaged.

Who wins that battle if you're the boss looking over a team? 

Who wins that battle when tough decisions are made to decide who has the capability to work from home in an uncertain economic environment moving forward?

You win, that's who - if you follow the basic advice.

It's me - KD - with real talk. Your friend. Don't think your normal approach works on video. Get connected and be present on video calls. The tiles I've seen of people sharing meetings of 15-20 people in a Zoom meeting show the humanity.

We're in uncertain times. You think you're a high performer if you've read this far.

Go perform and win in the video call, my friends. It matters. 


THE HR FAMOUS PODCAST: E4 – Microaggressions

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

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

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

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

Show Highlights:

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

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

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

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

Covered in this game:

--Where are you really from?

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

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

--You don't speak Spanish?

--No, you're white!

--Hey Guys!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources:

Jessica Lee on LinkedIn

Tim Sackett on Linkedin

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

HRU Tech

The Tim Sackett Project

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Kinetix

Boss Leadership Training Series


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

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

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

OLD PEOPLE.

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

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

Fearless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be curious. 

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

Improve your knowledge and skills accordingly.

Upgrade the way your dress to fit the times.

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

Perform.

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

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

Don't discount great older talent.

Older talent - be better.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


THE HR FAMOUS PODCAST: e1 - Who Is HR Famous?

NOTE FROM KD: Here's a new podcast from me, Tim Sackett and Jessica Lee called "The HR Famous Podcast". Take a listen and we'll be back on a weekly basis. See player below (email subscribers click through if you don't see it), and please hit iTunes, Spotify and Google Play to subscribe so you get notified whenever there's a new show on your phone.

In the first episode of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee, Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn get together to brutally make fun of themselves, explain the tongue in cheek title for the podcast, talk about their long-term friendship as HR pros and generally discuss the low wattage impact of being "HR Famous." 

Show Highlights:

1:35 - JLee comes over the top to correct Kris for his pronunciation of Marriott, even though the way he says it is how the rest of the world says it.

3:00 - KD, JLee and Tim discuss each other's backgrounds, starting to write and speak on all things HR and the impact all of it has had on them.

7:59 - The gang discusses their nicknames and JLee breaks the news that if she would have taken her husband's last name, future projects inside the team could have been named "Chun and Dunn."

10:05 - Tim breaks down the inside joke and self-deprecation of the name of the podcast, "HR Famous."

13:40 - Jessica, Tim and Kris discuss their top HR famous moments, which is enough to be recognized occasionally but quickly followed by something that returns them to reality. Highlights include bosses not realizing they write/speak, being asked to take selfies of other people after they speak, occasionally being recognized on airport walkways before boarding in coach, their likeness being broadcast on a book and friends/colleagues seeking to protect their rights, and being awful with names.

27:50 - KD Shares the origin story of how the gang met when he onboarded Jessica and Tim at Fistful of Talent.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--KD

DOWNLOAD THE PDF BY CLICKING HERE (short registration required)

 


Are There Any New Ideas in HR and Recruiting? The Difference Between Trademark/Copyright/Patent...

There's gon' be another cat comin' out
Lookin' like me, soundin' like me, next year I know this
They'll be a flipside, do whatchu you do
Somebody'll try to spin off like some series

--Everlast, "Rock Superstar", Cypress Hill

We love to talk about doing things differently in the worlds of HR, Recruiting and Talent. Innovation matters, and that's a good thing.

But what if you truly came up with something new? How would you protect your IP? Let's start with a refresher course on the differences between trademarks, copyrights and patents, because these are referred to horrifically wrong about 50% of the time in our industry.

For those in need, here's the difference:

--A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

--A copyright protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. 

--A patent is a limited duration property right relating to an invention, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in exchange for public disclosure of the invention. Patentable materials include machines, manufactured articles, industrial processes, and chemical compositions. 

(email subscribers, click through for graphic below on the differences between the three, including length of protection)

Trademark vs copyright

Innovation naturally begs the question whether you're doing something truly different or simply repackaging someone else's past ideas.

Does most of your innovative work in HR, Recruiting or Talent rise to the level of a Copyright or Trademark?  The answer is no.

You might have a new company - with a logo, descriptive tagline and color palette - go to town, pay an attorney and get a Trademark if you think that's necessary. If your revenue is under 1M, I'm not sure you're focused on the right things.  But you do you.

When it comes to ideas, most of the work we do in HR/recruiting and talent doesn't rise to the level of a copyright. You put a new program together, but you're like the Cypress Hill lyric above - you're borrowing from others, and when you're at your best, you create your own flavor - a flipside of the work of others, with some value added by you.

When we're at our best in HR, we're stealing stuff from the smartest people - and proud to do it.

It's interesting to get clarity on the difference between trademark/copyright/patent.

It's humbling to know that most of us will never have the need to file for any of these creative protections.

It's smart to acknowledge the most talented of us are repackaging the ideas of others and focusing on communications and execution.

Alot of a...sharks out there...try'na take a bite of somethin'
What's hot
Lot of chameleons out there...try'na change up
Anytime somethin' new comes along...everybody wants a bite
Don't happen overnight

--Chino Moreno, Cypress Hill

 


Comparing Job Offers: Always Pick The Best Boss...

From our Kinetix Tips series (email subscribers click through for photo):

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 6.54.10 PM

Of course, I was operating with limited characters in that space, so one elaboration. A potential boss's comfort with that question really doesn't include him automatically saying "yes".  The comfortable potential boss reflects on that question and compares the good and bad he/she brings to the table.

A quick "yes" to the question, "are you a good/best boss?", probably means they're not great at managing talent. Because it's way too hard to be that cocky about being good.

 


What I Hate About SharkTank...and How to Deal With It...

And as you might suspect, it's linked to leadership and talent.

I love SharkTank as a show - when I'm not sure what to watch, especially with my teenage sons around, SharkTank is the go- Shark-tank-to.  It's entertaining, educational and conversation-provoking with my sons able to think about deals, negotiation, etc.

But there's one thing that drives me crazy:

I absolutely hate it when a shark makes and offer and tells the target he/she has to decide RIGHT NOW!!!  Without entertaining other offers...

I know what you're thinking.  "That's why they call it SharkTank, KD."  "Grow up, KD."  "Sucks to be them, KD."

You're right.  BUT - the very things people like Mark Cuban value most in a partner are the things they're trying to bully them out of.  Standing up for yourself - keeping deals/offers afloat why you shop for something better, etc.

The sharks in SharkTank would never be bullied like that.  But, they have people in front of them that value their involvement, want to go away with a deal, etc.  I'd say over half the time the strategy works.  The other half of the time the entrepreneur fails to deal with the expiring offer/bullying tactic in an effective way.

That's why it's about time for the pitching entrepreneurs to wise up and have a strategy to deal with the bully.  Here's the strategy they should use whenever a Shark makes them an offer and tells them it goes away unless they accept immediately without hearing other offers:

1--Thank them for the offer.

2--Remind them of the type of partner they want. "Mr. Wonderful, I know you're going to expect me to negotiate for you/us if we become partners, so please allow me to hear any other offers.  Since you were first, I'lll guarantee I'll come back to you and give you the right of counteroffer/first refusal if someone else makes an offer that's better than yours."

3--Proceed.  If they go away, they go away.

4--If you proceed and there aren't any other offers or you want the original offer, come back to the Shark who tried to use the bullying tactic and say, "Mr. Wonderful, your offer expired and I told you why I wanted to do what I did.  I'd love it if you came back in with that offer.  While I didn't heed your ultimatum, you now know I'm a partner that can seek the best deal for our business if I'm in a environment that requires negotiation."

I'm shocked more people aren't prepared for this tactic when they appear on SharkTank.   

The only time entrepreneurs who appear shouldn't use this talk track is when the Shark gives them 100% of what they asked for, or when 3 or more Sharks are already out.  That's common sense. 

But if a Shark gives you a lower than expected offer (as the first or second one in) and tries to bully you to accept right then and there, have some spine people.  Be prepared and use the talking track above in your own words.  It effectively turns the energy against the Shark and forces them to publicly confront what they want in a partner.

Oh, and never take an offer from Mr. Wonderful.