THE HR FAMOUS PODCAST: E2 – MCLOVIN: WORKPLACE DATING AND HOOKUPS

NOTE FROM KD: Back with episode 2 of “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 HR Famous - e2please hit iTunesSpotify and Google Play to subscribe so you get notified whenever there’s a new show on your phone. Click here for Episode 1, where we talk about the title of the show and share a bunch of stories about being less than famous.

In Episode 2 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee, Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn get together to discuss Workplace McLovin – relationships, dating and hookups that occur inside your company between employees. The HR Famous team tells stories and talks about the role of HR and whether there is a need for deep policies to protect your company when people fall in love, as well as when Outlook Exchange and a digital copier are involved. Email subscribers click through if you don’t see the player below or click here for a direct link or hit iTunesSpotify and Google Play.

Show Highlights:

3:00 – The gang discuses KD’s choice of hotels, whether you can say “white” these days and if white is a primary color.

4:00 – JLee lays down the science behind how long you can say “Happy New Year” and Tim and KD turn it into an manager access issue and a discussion of the Chinese New Year.

5:50 – KD kicks off the topic of C-level McLovin and dating in the workplace with a review of the McDonalds CEO and the Alphabet/Google Legal Counsel going down for relationships at work.

8:40 – Tim and JLee discuss whether companies and the HR leaders need to be the relationship police, including risk management, positional power and more.

13:20 – The gang gathers around the campfire and listens to the gripping story of young KD’s first exposure to C-Level McLovin(s) and KD advocates for relationship policies being like a DUI Checkpoint. Tim and JLee weigh in with policy impact, including level considerations, reporting relationships, asking for waivers and potentially asking people to leave the company or change jobs as a result of falling in love.

31:00 – Tim tells his story from Applebees, which is epic and should not be missed, including perceived benefits that don’t have a Summary Plan Description or an Explanation of Benefits.

34:00 – KD breaks down another McLovin C-Level story that felt like the Matrix, and tells the gang why all McLovin sightings seem to happen around elevators.

Subscribe today at iTunesSpotify and Google Play.


MORE MUSIC TO WORK BY: Anna Meredith

Who out there likes to work to music?

When you're working on your laptop, music can either help or hurt your attention.  For me, Anna it's always felt better to have the TV in the background as music has generally interrupted my flow.

I've found exceptions to that rule - most notably, the soundtrack from the movie "The Social Network", created by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.  You remember the movie from 2010, chronicling the rise of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. 

What makes for good music in the background to work to?  One word - "ambient".  Here's the definition of ambient music:

"a style of gentle, largely electronic instrumental music with no persistent beat, used to create or enhance a mood or atmosphere."

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross created great ambient music for work with the soundtrack from "The Social Network".

Good news - I have another recommendation for music that's great for the background while you work - Anna Meredith.  Here's a description of who she is:

Anna Howard Meredith MBE (born 12 January 1978) is a British composer and performer of electronic and acoustic music. She is a former composer-in-residence with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and former PRS/RPS Composer in the House with Sinfonia ViVA.

In 2016, Meredith released her debut studio album, Varmints, to widespread critical acclaim. An electronica-based release, the album won the 2016 Scottish Album of the Year Award.

Meredith first came to widespread public attention through her work froms created for the 2008 BBC Last Night of the Proms which was broadcast to 40 million people. She has since written another BBC Prom commission, her first opera (Tarantula in Petrol Blue – with libretto by Philip Ridley) and collaborated with the beatboxer Shlomo – writing the Concerto for Beatboxer and Orchestra. Meredith has been a judge for BBC Young Musician of the Year, a mentor to Goldie for the TV show Classical Goldie and is a frequent guest and commentator for the BBC Proms and other BBC Radio 3 and 4 shows.

As an alt rock/hip hop guy, Anna Meredith would not ordinarily be on my radar , but I caught a fragment of one of her songs - Orca - in the background of the Paul Rudd Netflix series "Living with Yourself", which I also recommend.

Link to the Anna Meredith cut "Orca" here, spotify player below (email subscribers click through to see player). To check out the catalog of Anna Meredith, use this Spotify link.


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)

 


Unions and Your Company: A Cautionary Tale (The Ringer)...

Most of the readers of this blog are leaders, managers of people and HR pros. That means many of you have union avoidance either directly or indirectly in your job descriptions, meaning part of your job is to create a culture and employee relations environment where unions aren't necessary.

But some of you have probably thought, what would a union look like - would it be as bad as Ringer2I'm told?

I'm here today with a brief story that most of you probably missed in the news this week. Note that this is not a terrible tale of union relations or behavior gone bad (I'll leave that to the experts), but a cautionary tale of what can happen when you grow soft and allow others to drive your point of view related to whether unions are a good thing or not.

Here's the story.

I'm a big fan of a sports site called The Ringer, founded by long time sports personality Bill Simmons, a talented guy you can read about here.  Here's the chronology of what has gone down:

1--Bill Simmons founded The Ringer in 2017, investing his own money and taking capital from entities like HBO.

2--Bill Simmons is a slightly left of center sort, and has openly talked about his displeasure with the Trump administration, etc - specifically on podcasts on The Ringer. He also had a long history of issues with management when he was an individual contributor at ESPN.

3--Sensing ownership that grew up in the journalism business, was left leaning and might be more open than most owners to a union, staff at The Ringer made the aggressive move at organizing and announced their intent to organize in August 2019 via social media, which by the way, is a big part of how to The Ringer markets to the world.  You can see that tweet announcing the intent by clicking here.

4--The public display of organizing had the intended affect of pressuring Simmons to recognize the union without a process or election. As writers at The Ringer came forward one by one to announce their support and liberal Twitter weighed in, the pressure on Simmons was real. He had attempted to build something different at The Ringer and succeeded, but he had been anti-management during his time as a high-paid employee of ESPN and was on the record politically.  To take the organizers through a process saying that they didn't need representation would seem hypocritical.

5--Simmons ultimately folded. Less than 4 days after the group announced their intent to organize, Simmons opted to voluntarily recognize the union without a process. For all the aforementioned reasons, he didn't much of a choice, and he may have thought this was a great outcome.  See the story of the recognition in Variety here.

6. Everybody celebrated and went back to work.

7. January 2020 (that's right, 4 months later): Spotify is reported to be in talks to buy The Ringer, with the true target likely being the 20-30 podcasts that the Ringer has built - not the website. Business rationale - podcasts at the Ringer are very successful, and every minute Spotify pushes users to original content is a minute they don't have to pay royalties to the music industry. 

8. After Spotify's M&A intent was reported, The Ringer Union (that's what they call themselves on twitter) started demanding access to information repeatedly and generally flopping around with the expectation they have perfect clarity of any intent by Simmons to sell and what it means for them. You can see the frantic tweets here and here.  There's a bunch more, and a bunch of retweets of their messages. Of course, I'm not an attorney, but I'm pretty sure with Spotify being a publicly traded company, there's no way for Simmons to satisfy his union here.  Information=Insider Trading.

9. The lesson? There are many unintended consequences of the path taken by The Ringer Union and Simmons.  I'm detailing them below:

--By voluntarily recognizing a union, you're likely to making the entity brash and bold for the future. The public tweets from The Ringer Union during the M&A activity are exhibits 1-29.  They actually are asking for a Slack update on the negotiations. 

--The fact that you've activated a vocal union is likely to impact negotiations on any strategic deal you want to make. Whoever the stakeholders are related to ownership, it's not going to been seen as a positive and could impact the deal size or the willingness to close.

--Now for the real issue. By this union being bold, vocal and critical, management serving up voluntary recognition and the vast majority of the union members not being in the part of The Ringer that Spotify values in the acquisition (podcasts), the entire scenario of events leading to recognition actually makes the union members LESS SECURE in a Spotify acquisition than they would have been if they were union-free. Put yourself in Spotify's shoes - if you're buying the podcasts and aren't sure you want to continue with the money losing website, you might look at the vocal union and say... No thanks. We'll take the podcast operation only.

Of course, Simmons can be a hero and say no if Spotify has the intent of dismantling the website/traditional news/social media operation. But the path to quickly voluntary recognize the union has actually made the union employees LESS SECURE in a world where The Ringer sells, which it was built to do.

I like the journalism at The Ringer. I hope the website survives. But there's a big chance it won't, and recognition of a union plays a part.

Unintended consequences everywhere.


GUY TO GUY HUGS AT WORK: Let's Agree To Get Our #### Together...

My best friend Tim Sackett is an expert on workplace hugging. 

Tim even incorporates hugging into his speaking appearances.  When you go to watch him speak, get ready for what I like to call the “Tim Sackett package”.  He starts by announcing himself as the world’s leading authority on workplace hugging, shows a picture of him and his dog Scout (with Scout licking his face), then invites an audience member up to show what a warm workplace hug looks like with a willing partner (which is usually a woman, because guys don't want to hug).

As an expert in workplace hugging, Tim's next chapter should be to save the world from bad guy-to-guy hugs.  If he agreed to do this, he would be the hero we need in a broken world.

When you greet a guy professionally - as a guy - you've got two choices:

--Standard handshake.  Hard to go wrong there.

--Man to Man business hug.  Hold up.  This ###* is broken in today's workplace.  How many disjointed attempts at this have you seen in the workplace?  I've seen a lot.  The worst usually involves white guys.  But regardless of the Title 7 combos you throw into a man-to-man hug, the most important thing is that both parties know how it's going to go down.

If both parties don't know the rules of a man-to-man hug, one of the those parties is going to get awkward - like they're trying to get down to the latest Migos (shoutout to the ATL) cut at CPA convention.  Which begs the question about how Migos ever ended up on a playlist involving CPAs.  But I digress.

THERE ARE RULES TO PARTICIPATING AND EXECUTING A MAN-HUG IN A PROFESSIONAL SETTING. 

It's OK.  Here we go:

1--Start with a Soul Shake.

2--Move Soul Shake in and up to your front right shoulder.  (Note - your right shoulder should be across from your target's right shoulder and now almost touching your partners shoulder, but your soul shake is in the way)

3--Now that you're in side hugging position, give a light back slap with free left hand.

4--Release within 1-2 seconds.

5--Proceed with meeting on the Berkowitz Project.

It's in the manual people.  Let's get our #### together on this and stop looking uncomfortable.

UPDATE - My Twitter friend Vadim Liberman reminds me to expect different hugs from gay men.  Good point, see his advice here and here.  My experience tells me a hug between and gay and straight man goes better than most between two straight guys, if only because one party is at ease and knows how he wants to hug.


Framing As A Working Professional: What It Is and Why You Should Do It...

“The most talented successful people in the workplace consistently “frame” their goals, work and outcomes via varied communication strategies.”

-Kris Dunn, aka “KD

When someone quotes themselves, hold on tight!  Buckle up! Framing

What is framing? It's not being a victim. It's being proactive. It's getting your story out there as a professional, "framing" the dialog about who you are, what you're working on and most importantly to you - how you're doing.

It's using of a variety of communication techniques to ensure all know what you are working on - including face to face, email, reporting and more.

Framing includes:

--Communicating what your goals are for a specific period.

--Communicating your challenges and progress.

--Communicating your wins and finished work product.

--Communicating your opinions and takes on what's going on around you in your area of subject matter expertise.

How's not bothering people with your goals, progress and outcomes going?  Not great, right?

You should frame more.  Don't let others build the narrative about who you are or how you are doing - take responsibility for the story. 

Framing is necessary for your career. Framing, for lack of a better word, is good.

Framing works. Do it - stop being shy.


Ask The HR Capitalist: I Work at Tesla, and I'm Tired of the S**t...

From the mailbag:
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KD -

I first ran into the HR Capitalist based on you writing on Tesla and our founder Elon Musk.  I work in The_doctor_is_in a professional grade position managing people in our Fremont location. I've been at Tesla for a little under 8 months, and I'm exhausted. While I expected the pace to be fast, the blurred line between work and life is tough for even me - a long time believer that people who work hard get the most done and deserve the rewards.  While I love the Tesla mission and product, the grind is too much.  Based on what I've described about myself, what advice can you give me for the best way to leave?  I almost quit before the holidays, because the end of year at Tesla is a big bag of coal for most employees.  I've never been at a job less than 3 years, but there's no way in hell I can make it that long here.

--Name Withheld by KD

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

Hey My Friend- 

It's a tough spot for sure, but I've got a couple of things for you to consider:

--Don't quit before you have another job. It's always easier to get a job when you already have a job, and if you quit, there's always people who will hold it against you that you didn't stick it out.  

--Don't quit or take another job before you get to the 1-year mark in your current role at Tesla. Based on what I hear from people like you, 1 year at Tesla is like 7 years everywhere else.  If you can get to the 1-year mark and then accept another position at another company, it automatically crosses a threshold of acceptability in the marketplace, and you'll carry that premium for the rest of your career on your resume.

--Since you're a manager of people, don't forget others are facing the same struggle. The more you help them and listen, the more you'll be providing therapy for yourself as well.

In short, start your job search in earnest at 11 months and leave after you cross the one-year mark. It's cool that you did the Tesla thing, but if it's eating you up, find someone who values that experience (many will in the marketplace) and make your move. But you need to survive until you get to the year mark at Tesla.  #optics

--KD


2019 Employer Brand Song of the Year Winner - Amazon!

It's the end of 2019 and reflection time. One reflection I've had this year is how much Amazon is dominating my life.

As a consumer, it's obvious and great. I can get anything I want without leaving my house, and it generally comes no later than 2 days after I ordered it.

But as a citizen, you have to be a bit wary of what Amazon has become, both as a partner and an employer. The Bezos creation has so much market power and smartly reinvests most profits back into the business to build for the future.  That was really cool to write about in the past. No profits, all reinvestments. Then something happened and it went from being smart to also having some pretty remarkable societal impact. Consider the following:

--Amazon has long been written about as a hard place to work - both in professional grade positions and in warehouses. My favorite related piece of this was the trademark application that had humans in cages while the machines zipped around.

--Amazon's also having a well-documented impact on retail. We spent a decade complaining about WalMart putting small stores out of business. That seems cute now.

Being a hard place to work and representing the Grim Reaper of Retail still holds true for Amazon. But there are other trends that are newer, but just as troubling:

--Amazon's a tough partner. Their recent decision to build their own delivery fleet of transport jets is the right business decision, but looks pretty hard towards UPS and FedEx. That's life in the show. Read this great post on this impact on FedEx here.

--Amazon's also putting together it's own network of local delivery, but they're pushing the responsibility to aspiring entrepreneurs to invest in fleets with the promise that Amazon will always have work/volume for them. In this way, they're also deferring the tough responsibility of running fleets of drivers to anyone that can finance a few 100K to ramp a franchise up.  Is there any doubt the cautionary tale from UPS/FedEx will hold true here as well?

--There are lots of tax issues with Amazon (meaning they don't pay a lot of them).

At the end of the day, things evolve. Change happens. Jobs and companies are destroyed and new ones emerge - I get that. And I'm certainly addicted to Amazon as a consumer. Their ability to create a marketplace and invest in money-losing free shipping as a means to put other people out of business is genius. You and I would do the same thing if given a chance.

But a couple of months ago (before the Christmas rush) I had the moment. I had ordered a pair of slacks from Amazon, and I got the notice they were being delivered - on Sunday. An hour later, there he was. A delivery person employed by a third party, looking like he had been in the van for 12 hours already.

Do I really need a pair of ####ing slacks on Sunday?  That's what Amazon has taught us to expect.

I got my slacks on Sunday, but a whole bunch of people got used in the marketplace and supply chain to make that happen.  That's why my 2019 Employer Brand Song of the Year award goes to Amazon and is - wait for it - "Use Me" by Bill Withers.

As Amazon continues to grow, everyone's getting used a little bit.  Song embedded below - click through for the post if you don't see it.  Worth a listen.

My friends feel it's their appointed duty
They keep trying to tell me all you want to do is use me
But my answer yeah to all that use me stuff
Is I want to spread the news that if it feels this good getting used
Oh you just keep on using me until you use me up
Until you use me up

I returned the slacks to the Amazon return center at Kohl's 29 days later.  Damn.


AWAY BAGS: When Your Horrible People Practices Turbocharge Sales...

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity. That might be true.

For proof, look to Away Travel, which is the maker of the ultra-hip and ultra-cool Away Suitcase.  It's a Away trendy product, but one that I had an only passing awareness of.

Of course, that's before the shit hit the fan. My awareness is incredible now - more on that later.

Many of your are aware of a scathing article about Away that published on The Verge, detailing a bullying culture based on the communication tool of Slack. The gist is this - Away promoted radical transparency and attempted to force all communication on the public tool that is Slack, and as a result, there was little to no privacy in communications. When a diverse set of employees tried to set up their own private Slack channel, a high ranking exec popped in to monitor/participate in the group, even though she didn't fit the diversity the group was based on.

A few days later, members of the group started being fired. The Verge article hit, and it was an internet sensation for a couple of days. If you want more detail about what's being called a toxic culture at Away, go read the Verge article now.

But I'm here to talk about what happened AFTER that article hit.  Here's the chain of events that I saw:

1.  Within days, CEO Steph Korey stepped down amid criticism of the ruthless internal culture at the luggage startup she co-founded.

2.  Away named a new CEO.

3.  I listen to a pretty ruthless podcast called Pivot with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway. They had Away on their list of things to talk about during the week it all broke. That wasn't going to go well for Away, because these two are ruthless with bad stuff at companies.

4.  Away didn't run. Instead, they leaned in and sponsored the podcast. I've never heard Away as a sponsor of this podcast, so I'm assuming they bought the ad rights to the episode that aired with their news.

5. Scott Galloway, one of the hosts, did a live read as a result - in his usual personality, having fun with it.  They had already made the call with the CEO, so the talk was more about the action the company took rather than the bad cultural stuff.

The lesson here? If you act quick enough (fire the people in question) and lean in to the coverage, you can actually create buzz around a product and turn the negative talk into a business opportunity.

Here's what I did after hearing the podcast - 

  1. I went and checked out the product.
  2. I'm at least 50/50 to buy an Away bag as a result.
  3. I never would have gotten that close to purchase without the hard lead in on the podcast and controversy by Away.

The lesson?  Act fast when bad stuff happens and don't hide.

If you run the right type of business, you might just end up with a boost to your business. While that's not a recommendation to bully people on Slack, it's a case study on how to react when bad stuff happens.

BONUS READING: A Guide to Away Bag Knockoffs on Amazon


BREAKING: Big Data Is Going to Tell Us Our Workforce is Hopelessly Flawed...

If you're a leader, you probably understand that the workplace is flawed. Whether you believe it is merely flawed or hopelessly flawed probably depends on your natural outlook and disposition.

Glass half-full? You know the workplace is flawed but you're confident we can make it better. Glass half-empty? You're jaded and shaking your head at what Skynetgifyou see.

But there is one emerging trend that's going to make even the most optimistic, Ned-Flanders types incredibly jaded.

Big Data.

If you mine the data from the systems you have access to, you're going to see a lot of ugly humanity. The smarter we get about ways to mine data and automate observations/trends, the more access we're going to have to the underbelly of human nature at work. Once these systems advance to a certain level, the only thing saving us from becoming incredibly jaded is....a Concern for privacy.

Case in point - a company named Synergy Sky, which has the following mission:

Synergy SKY that can leverage data from sensors, behaviour and your calendar to make all meetings more efficient.

We make use of the smart sensors in Cisco Room Series and third-party sensors for all other meeting rooms to achieve smarter utilization of meeting resources, through features such as no-show detection and booking vs actual usage reports.

Daaaaaaamn. Here's a recent press release on a product from Synergy Sky called Synergy of Things. Enjoy the total commitment to full control and the need for perfect efficiency:

New data from meetings technology providers Synergy SKY reveals 10% of workers are regularly booking fake meetings into their diary to keep colleagues thinking they are busier than they really are. 

The study conducted by Synergy SKY, who's meeting technology Synergy of Things tracks almost every possible conference call metric including “no-show detection” allowing managers to see stats on meeting attendance, reveals the average UK worker that books fake meetings is clocking up some 3 hours a week or over 150 hours a year in "fake meeting time". That works out at just over a whole month of deliberately wasted meeting-resources & time per year!

The study which analysed over 2500 meetings conducted via its software in 2019 was able to identify clusters of repeat meeting behaviour and it was on this basis Synergy SKY decided to conduct this study and uncover the truth.

Synergy SKY’s products Synergy Analyze and Synergy of Things were able to analyse over 2500 meetings and look at how many meetings were being booked but nobody was attending as the software tracks physical attendance through motion detection in meeting conference rooms and seamlessly synchronises with users personal calendars therefore allowing more insight into meeting events and workers schedules. 

It's coming for all of us. There's going to be as much data as we want, and we're going to have to make decisions on what data matters and what doesn't. If you believe that fake meetings are a problem, you'll want this type of solution. Of course, what you do with that information and how you engage your organization with this access to data depends a lot on your values as a company or leader.

You know the values I'm talking about...Trust, Respect for Privacy, Autonomy...LOL.

Put on your helmet folks, the privacy issues you've been exposed to are only the tip of the iceberg.