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    Thursday
    Jan182018

    UPDATE: Amazon just told you the top 20 cities for business investment in North America

    Surely you heard about Amazon's announcement of their intentions to build a second company headquarters, the so-called HQ2, in the coming years, and the widely covered RFP process to help them identify candidates (cities and regions), for this new HQ2. I wrote about the process last October here.

    Over 238 cities submitted bids to become the home of HQ2, and this week, Amazon named a short list of 20 cities that have made it to the second round of consideration, where Amazon will work more closely with these cities to dive deeper into the proposals, to get additional information, and to winnow down the list to the eventual winner - the home of the new HQ2.

    This is a big deal for these 20 contenders - $5B in investments and as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.

    Here's the list of cities that made the short list, as well as a map showing the 20 - more on that in a bit.

    Atlanta, GA
    Austin, TX 
    Boston, MA 
    Chicago, IL 
    Columbus, OH 
    Dallas, TX 
    Denver, CO 
    Indianapolis, IN 
    Los Angeles, CA 
    Miami, FL 
    Montgomery County, MD 
    Nashville, TN 
    Newark, NJ 
    New York City, NY 
    Northern Virginia, VA
    Philadelphia, PA 
    Pittsburgh, PA 
    Raleigh, NC 
    Toronto, ON 
    Washington DC 

     

     

    Kind of the 'usual suspects' list I suppose, but a couple of things stand out for me.

    One, nothing in the NorCal/Silicon Valley area. Probably a couple of reasons for this. Amazon has always seemed to indicate that it wanted more of a geographical balance between its current Seattle HQ and the eventual HQ2, pointing to a midwest or eastern location as a more likely selection. And two, I wonder if Amazon just wants no part of the already overheated market for talent, real estate, and inflated cost of living that comes with the Valley.

    Also, from the long list of 238, which certainly included a lot of places that had no real chance at meeting Amazon's requirements for population, talent availability, access to transportation hubs, etc., the final 20 does not include even one true 'outlier', a real longshot location that would have at least made things interesting, (if you are a betting person, anyway). Pretty much any of the 20 on the short list would seem reasonable should they eventually win the bid and become the home of HQ2.

    Finally, in case you or your leadership were wondering just what were the best locations in North America to consider a similar, major investment, well, Amazon might have done the first wave of analysis and due diligence for you. You can almost look at the Top 20 list from Amazon as a starting point and work from there. And believe me, even the 19 cities that don't win this bid will remind you and everyone that they were a finalist for one of the largest US corporate investment initiatives ever.

    And since everything is more fun when there is something on the line, I present Steve's opening odds for each of the 20 finalists to be named the home of the new HQ2.

    Atlanta, GA - 4/1
    Austin, TX - 5/1
    Boston, MA - 7/1
    Chicago, IL - 8/1
    Columbus, OH - 25/1
    Dallas, TX - 10/1
    Denver, CO - 12/1
    Indianapolis, IN - 20/1
    Los Angeles, CA - 15/1
    Miami, FL - 15/1
    Montgomery County, MD - 20/1
    Nashville, TN - 25/1
    Newark, NJ - 20/1
    New York City, NY - 10/1
    Northern Virginia, VA - 15/1
    Philadelphia, PA - 12/1
    Pittsburgh, PA - 12/1
    Raleigh, NC - 10/1
    Toronto, ON - 20/1
    Washington DC - 15/1

     

    Reminder: These odds are presented for entertainment purposes only, please, no wagering.

    Have a great day!

    Wednesday
    Jan172018

    HRE Column: Looking ahead to HR Tech in 2018

    Once again, I offer my semi-frequent reminder and pointer for blog readers that I also write a monthly column at Human Resource Executive Online called Inside HR Tech that can be found here.

    This month, I talk a little about the planning process that goes into programming and developing the content for the next HR Technology Conference and review some of the key issues, themes, and the implications for the future of HR Tech that I am thinking about as I look to create the program this year.

    In the piece,  take a look at some of the more interesting trends and themes in HR tech that we have been hearing about for some time now, and some newer ideas that have emerged in the last year or so. These issues, challenges, and opportunities will demand continuing focus for HR and business leaders in 2018 and beyond, and I imagine will be a big part of my planning for HR Tech in 2018.

    Here's an excerpt from the piece in HRE Online:

    Some initial themes and topics that could find their way into the upcoming HR Tech conference include creating business value from HR tech, artificial intelligence and digital assistants.

    When talking about raising kids, parents sometimes say, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Even when things on any given day might seem tough, time slips by quickly, and before you know it, the kids are all grown up.

    I was thinking about that expression recently for two reasons. One, my child has an upcoming birthday which made me wonder, just where has all the time gone? And two, while it seems to many (especially me) that last year’s 20th Annual HR Technology® Conference and Exposition just concluded, I am already knee-deep in the planning process for the next one, coming this September in Las Vegas.




    A large part of conference-planning process is thinking, reading, researching and talking to HR and industry leaders about the most important themes and trends in HR, workplaces and HR technology, to ensure we are adequately reflecting these at the conference. While the preparation for the event is still in the early stages, I thought it would be interesting and also helpful to me to try and use this first Inside HR Tech piece of 2018 to explore some initial themes and topics. Hopefully, these will also be helpful for HR leaders to reflect upon as you begin your own HR and workplace technology planning, purchasing or implementation activities this year.

    Creating Business Value from HR Technology

    I was doing some research recently and was reminded that the first iPhone launched just over 10 years ago. I mention that for a couple of reasons. Just like in the quote about the passage of time for parents, it does seem as though the iPhone and its cousins have been with us forever. And, after a decade-plus of having access to smartphones and similar technologies, we as consumers have become much more educated and demanding, and our expectations for “value” that we require from these devices (which have all gotten more expensive) have increased substantially. When these new technologies were first introduced, we were excited just to have them and we accepted their capability and functionality at face value, mainly because we didn’t know any better, and didn’t have much of a context or framework for comparison.

    Now that we are (or believe that we are) expert, discerning and informed consumers of these technologies, our demands from them and the pressure we place on the providers of these tools have both expanded and evolved. That is the case with any maturing technology, as well as with much of the HR and workplace technologies that companies rely upon...

    Read the rest at HRE Online....

    If you liked the piece you can sign up over at HRE to get the Inside HR Tech Column emailed to you each month. There is no cost to subscribe, in fact, I may even come over and re-surface your driveway, take your dog for a walk, rake up your leaves, and eat your leftover Halloween candy.

    Have a great day!

    Monday
    Jan152018

    Striking for a 28-hour work week: What happens when workers feel like they have the upper hand

    Over the weekend while taking a break from freezing and shoveling snow, I caught this recent piece from the Guardian - German workers strike for the right to two-year, 28-hour working week'.

    Turns out in Germany the combination of the traditionally strong position of workers and worker's groups, historically low unemployment, and a robust and growing German economy have conspired to put industrial workers, in this case the Metal Workers Union, in a place where they can hold 'warning' strikes against employers as they advocate for a new benefit - the ability to reduce their hours to 28 per week for a period of up to two years. More details from the piece in the Guardian:

    Workers have downed tools at more than 80 companies across Germany as the country’s biggest union stepped up its campaign for a 28-hour working week to allow employees to improve their work-life balance.

    In what is shaping up to be the biggest industrial dispute in the metalwork sector in three decades, more than 15,000 employees took part in warning strikes at factories including those of the carmaker Porsche.

    The IG Metall union, which represents around 3.9 million workers, wants every employee in the metal and electrical sector to have the option to reduce their working hours for a total period of two years, with the automatic right to return to full-time employment afterwards.

    Later in the piece we learn that this reduced working week proposal is centered around the need for improved work-life balance for workers, particularly in times when they have more elder or child care responsibilities. Certainly anyone who has dealt with or is currently dealing with the constant struggle to balance family and personal care needs with work would appreciate the benefit for which the German workers are advocating.

    Before you pass off this as another 'Coddled European workplace' story and dismiss its importance or relevance for most of the rest of us, think about this.

    The conditions here in the US are not all that different than what is happening in Germany, and in many other developed countries right now. Unemployment is at or near decades-long lows. Skilled workers are incredibly hard to find (and to retain). In manufacturing and other heavy industries, long tenured and older workers are retiring much faster than they can be replaced with new talent. And finally, more and more American workers are also struggling with elder and child care needs, and making the balance with work and these personal obligations work. In fact, we did an entire recent HR Happy Hour Show on this topic.

    The main difference, you would rightly point out, in the story in Germany and the labor relations environment here in the US is the US worker generally does not have strong union/labor council representation that can advocate for these kinds of benefits and policies. And that is a big caveat, I admit.

    But all the other conditions are present, if not more acute here in the US. In fact, the US unemployment rate is about 4.1%, much lower than in Germany right now.

    So the thing to think about might not be 'What will I do when the workers agitate for 28-hour weeks?', but rather, 'Am I / we prepared for a labor environment where we (the employer), have even less power and influence than we have today?'

    And, 'Are we prepared for a world where we don't choose employees, but rather one where employees choose us?'

    Have a great week!

    Friday
    Jan122018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 309 - The Importance of the Manager - Employee Relationship

    HR Happy Hour 309 - The Importance of the Manager - Employee Relationship

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest: Adam Rogers, CTO, Ultimate Software

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve is joined by Adam Rogers, CTO of HR Technology solution provider Ultimate Software to talk about some recent research Ultimate published on the manager - employee relationship,  why it matters, and how managers can make this relationship stronger and better.

    In late 2017, Ultimate partnered with the Center for Generational Kinetics to undertake and publish new research on the manager - employee relationship, to better understand how managers and employees see and perceive things differently at work, and then to help create solutions, both managerial and technical, than can improve and strengthen this critical relationship.

    It has been said often that 'people don't leave companies, they leave managers', and on the show Adam shared both what the research found about this idea with respect to how employee retention and engagement is shaped by these relationships, as well as his personal observations as a manager and leader of an organization.

    Additionally, we talked about the importance of openness, transparency, and trust, the need to provide training and resources to managers - especially new managers, and the need to focus on how the manager - employee relationship drives employee satisfaction and engagement.

    And we also managed to fit in some winter weather updates, college football, and NBA talk as well! 

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below:

    This was a fun and interesting show, many thanks to Adam to joining us.

    To learn more about the research we talked about on the show, register for an upcoming webinar on January 23 at 2PM ET with Adam and Jason Dorsey - more information on the webinar is here.

    Thanks to show sponsor Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com, back as an HR Happy Hour Show sponsor in 2018.

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or wherever you get your podcasts.

    Thursday
    Jan112018

    CHART OF THE DAY: The Changing Composition of the US Workforce

    There are only two websites you need. Actually three, if you count this one. And hint, none of them are Facebook. I promise you that one day you will regret all the time you wasted with Facebook. But I digress.

    One is BLS.gov, the Bureau of Labor Statistics site where all the employment, industry, productivity, time use, compensation (and more) information you need on the US labor force is located.

    The other is the Federal Reserve of St. Louis' fantastic FRED site, where you can download, graph, and track over 500,000 data series covering the economy, employment, demographics and much, much more. Data geeks like me can get lost in the FRED site for hours.

    I was using these two sources to update my notes and perspective on US aggregate employment across industry groups, useful information that helps me guide and shape the specific industry focus that results in both the content for this blog, topics for the HR Happy Hour Podcast, and the program for the HR Technology Conference.

    This data is also useful to consider in a larger sense - like when thinking about governmental policies and investments, the focus of secondary and higher education and training, and even when answering questions like 'Just what is our country good at?' from a business/economy perspective.

    Have a look at today's Chart of the Day - (built at the FRED site) aggregate US employment since 1980 in the largest category components of the labor force, then some comments from me..

    We all know that 100 - 120 years ago the US shifted from a largely agricultural economy/labor force to a manufacturing, shipping, and trading workforce. And then, slowly but surely, beginning in about 1980, a shift started to occur. Manufacturing employment began to decline while professional services, health care, and retail began to climb.

    Here's the snapshot of latest employment numbers for the categories in chart, (Nov 2017).

    Manufacturing, while pretty apparent to most casual labor market observers, has fallen below professional services, health care, leisure and hospitality, even retail employment in terms of its overall share of US employment. For some perspective, as of November 2017 total US non-farm employment was about 149 million. At that level, manufacturing now represents only about 8.5% of US employment.

    In terms of where most observers see these trends continuing out into the future, the aging US population seems to clearly indicate that health services and health care will be the largest growth area moving forward. Retail jobs are under threat from automation, online shopping (and the efficiencies and lower labor costs associated), and by the constant chase for less expensive goods produced and shipped in lower cost countries. The same threats also impact manufacturing. Even the largest, new manufacturing plants require far fewer workers than the ones of just 10 - 20 years ago.

    There's lots more to think about when looking at this data. I encourage anyone interested to join me in a deep dive on BLS.gov and the St. Louis FRED.