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    The Company Soundbite

    Recently the Tech news aggregator Techmeme, launched a neat little sidebar titled 'Who's Hiring in Tech', that contains a list of some of the biggest names in the tech space that are actively looking for talent.

    Not terribly interesting on the surface, many companies, especially tech enterprises are facing targeted talent shortages, and increasingly pitched battles to duke it out for the best developers.  But the cool aspect of the 'Who's Hiring in Tech' ads, are the little soundbite messages that follow the company names, that according to Techmeme, are written by the hiring companies themselves.

    Take a look at the image on the right and see what you think of some of the even-shorter-than-a-Tweet taglines that attempt to answer the 'What's it like to work here?'  or the 'What do we actually do here?' questions. 

    What taglines seem to connect and resonate with the most?

    I kind of like Zynga's - 'It's fun over here. Let's play.' and Foursquare's funny URL redirect that actually takes you to their home page, (it might have been smarter to have the kitten URL redirect to their Careers page, but still it is kind of neat).

    It is interesting to see these mostly recognizable and complex organizations try to distill their employment branding message down to a short phrase, and kind of instructive as to the aspect of their company that they decide to emphasize, when clearly the format allows only an incredibly targeted focus.

    I would think it would be a good exercise for those corporate recruiters and talent pros to undertake, to see if you could distill the essence of your unique employer value propostition to a short phrase. 

    I suspect if your phrase comes easily to mind, or if you ask 10 people to craft one, and 7 or 8 of them are really similar, then you likely have a pretty good idea of what your company offers current and prospective employees.

    On the other hand, if you struggle to come up with your tagline, or if their are widely divergent opinions on what the tagline should read, then it may be time to step back and sort out what you do indeed want to portray to the outside world of candidates and prospects.

    What do you think? Does it even make sense to try and sum up an EVP in about six words?



    The Wisdom of Jeff Van Gundy - Part V

    The sage was at it again the other night during the Oklahoma City - Memphis NBA playoff game.

    In case you don't know what I am referring to, former NBA head coach, and current TV analyst Jeff Van Gundy (JVG) dropped another bit of simple, yet essential knowledge about basketball that I think is also directly applicable to the workplace, management, and organizational dynamics.

    By my reckoning, that is nothing new for JVG, and if you wish - you can check out the previous installments of the JVG 'wisdom' series here -  (Parts I, II, III, and IV).

    But back to the story. During the game Oklahoma City forward Nick Collison made a smart play on defense to cause Memphis to lose the ball, hustled to the offensive end of the floor, and then positioned himself properly to make a scoring move when the ball was rotated to him in the flow of the offensive play. It was a brief series of actions that were not necessarily terribly athletic or skilled or even that remarkable, but as a kind of orchestrated series did add up to an excellent and winning (apologies Chas. Sheen) play.

    Immediately after Collison, who is not a starting or star player on the team, completed the play, JVG observed that winning teams need guys like Collison, players that may not have all the physical skills of the top players on the team, but have found ways to contribute using capabilities and attributes that are mostly 'choices' and not simply genetic gifts.

    The money line from JVG:

    'Guys like Collison, guys that grind, are essential. The best ones are coachable, accountable, and professional. And you can win with guys like that.'

    Coachable - willing to accept suggestions, able to make adjustments in style of play to fit the team goals, and cognizant that what may have worked in the past (in college, or on former pro team), might not be the desired behavior on the current team.

    Accountable - understands the role, knows how the role impacts and contributes to the success of the team, makes the effort to put himself in the right situations, and simply does his job fully knowing the rest of the team depends on him to meet his objectives. And if other guys on the team, maybe the star players, are having an 'off' night, then he knows when to try and give a little more than normally needed.

    Professional - in the narrow sense, we are all professional, i.e. we are paid to perform. But what JVG really meant was a level of personal integrity, pride, and dedication to himself as a player, to his teammates, and to the supporters of the team. This means showing up and giving your best effort even when times are tough, when the team is down, or when you are not meeting your personal objectives. It means being proud of your contribution in every game, and even every practice. It means setting an example for others to follow, even if you don't hold a formal title or leadership role.

    Coachable, accountable, professional. All important. All under your control every day. Super talented people in any game or industry or field can get away with only one or two of these, and can still make incredible contributions to the organization. But if you are like most people, and are not in that rare category of naturally talented superstars, just focusing on being coachable, accountable and professional will go a long way in determining your success in any role.

    And stacking your team, no matter what the game, with those kinds of players will make you look pretty smart as a leader as well.

    And that my friends, is the Wisdom of Jeff Van Gundy.


    HRevolution 2011 - Thoughts and Thank-You's


    What a fantastic event.

    HRevolution 2011 took place over the past weekend in Atlanta, Georgia and at least for me, was the best of the three HRevolution events we have put on thus far. And certainly as one of the members of the HRevolution organizing committee I could be accused of having a biased opinion. I freely admit it - I am biased. So if you don't want to take my word for it, connect with any of the 130 or so people that attended, keep an eye on the Twitter stream for the tag #HRevolution, and read some of what are sure to be dozens of reflection blog posts that will be posted in the next few weeks.

    I am not so biased though as to suggest that somehow HRevolution is better than other events, be they large and traditional major conferences like SHRM, or the many other 'Unconferences' that one can find these days. But I do believe HRevolution is different, and really kind of unique in the space, and really quite special. The level of commitment, passion, engagement, and enthusiasm for this event, at least for me, surpasses what I have seen and experienced for any other event in our extended industry.

    Attendance at professional conferences and events can be driven by many reasons - some are attended for specific learning opportunities, some for the chance to meet and network with one's colleagues in a professional community, and some simply are used to re-charge and energize and hopefully re-ignite passion for one's career. I think HRevolution succeeds as an event because it offers attendees all of these things. Intelligent and insightful session leaders, relevant and engaging content, a format that encourages connection and engagement, and finally the chance to spend time with 130 other folks as passionate as you are about the worlds of Human Resources, Recruiting, Talent Management, HR Technology, or whatever precisely matches your interest.

    After the event one of the attendees Bonni Titgemeyer tweeted the following:

    It is a fantastic and interesting question, and I think gets to some of the core or the essence of why so many people feel so passionate about the HRevolution event.

    Particularly for first-time attendees, the event can be seen as a bit of an enigma. It kind of looks like a 'regular' conference - we were in a large, professional conference center, there was an excellent catered lunch and a General Session room and smaller breakout rooms; some of the sessions had elements of more traditional presentation formats. But other sessions had attendees standing in front of the room holding up posters of cartoon characters and rap stars, and as Matt Stollak and Dawn Hrdlica-Burke both observed, the F-Bomb was dropped sort of casually and reasonably often during the day. But contrast that to the big-brained Josh LeTourneau exploring the depths of complex Social Network Analysis, a topic and conversation to challenge your ideas about talent management to their core.

    So is HRevolution a phenomenon, movement, or a cult?

    I am not sure. Maybe it is all three. For a small event, the HRevolution manages to be a collection of different, complementary, and interesting elements, and to me, that is why it really is unique and special. Maybe the event is anything the attendees want it to be.

    Lastly, many, many thanks for all who attended, presented, supported, and come toghether to make this event what it is.

    Most importantly, my thanks and undying respect and admiration for Trish McFarlane, Ben Eubanks, and Crystal Peterson. It is an honor and pleasure to work with you.


    Expectations and Surprises

    Today I am on my way to HRevolution 2011, the 'Unconference', (I really don't like that word), for Human Resources professionals that I have had a small part in organizing, along with my colleagues Trish McFarlane, Ben Eubanks, and Crystal Peterson. The event will most certainly be fantastic, I am excited to see so many old friends and also to meet many new ones, as the event has grown over the years there always seems to be a new class of HRevolutionaries it will be my privilege to meet.

    Today I fully expected to post about the event, to thank our generous sponsors, and to otherwise promote and recognize the many, many people that make the HRevolution event so worthwhile and special.

    But on Thursday I received some surprising news, that changed both my short-term plans for today's post, and certainly my plans for the future.

    On Thursday I was informed that my position, along with several of my colleagues, have been eliminated due to an organizational restructuring.

    On the blog, and in the other social circles I travel, I have not talked very much about my 'day job'. That was a conscious decision - I never got the sense that what I did on the blog, on the HR Happy Hour Show, at any Human Resources conferences or events, and really anywhere that was not 'work' was understood all that much or really appreciated by the decision makers there. And that is perfectly understandable and acceptable, I never had the expectation or assumption that any employer would or should care about what I was up to in my spare time.

    But unexpected changes and surprises are just that - surprising. And while I did have the sense that in the long run that I would likely need to move on to something more closely aligned with my interests, skills, and leveraging the strengths that having developed properties like this blog and the radio show have given me, I was not really prepared to commence that process on the day prior to the HRevolution event.

    But the reality is I need to move on to the next phase in my professional career.

    And it is kind of hard to think about that, mainly because of concerns about the team I am leaving behind. In my time with them, I found them to be extremely dedicated, competent, and a real pleasure to work with. I hope that I was able to help them, at least a little, and that whatever changes are in store for them will not be too difficult.

    For me, I plan on flying to HRevolution, enjoying time with friends and colleagues, and sure, talking some about my next phase and potential career opportunities, but hopefully not dwelling on that so much as to detract and distract from the HRevolution event itself, one that myself and the team have worked on so much over the last few months.

    When I get back from Atlanta, it will be time to sort out the future.

    If you are interested in talking about what that future may look like, either at HRevolution or after, I would love to hear from you.

    Find me at:

    Email - steveboese@gmail.com

    LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/steveboese

    Phone (I promise I will try to answer) - 585-317-7492

    Twitter - @SteveBoese

    or via the contact form on the right side of the blog.



    The 8 Man Rotation - Ebook

    Today I am really pleased to support the launch of a little not-so-secret project that has been in the works for the last few months - an Ebook called 'The 8 Man Rotation', that I have the pleasure and honor to have played a small role in creating.

    The good Dr. Matthew Stollak, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at St. Norbert College, author of the excellent True Faith HR blog, and one of the most passionate sports fans I know hatched the plan to collect, curate, and organize some of the best 'Sports and HR' blog posts written in the last couple of years from a fantastic collection of writers, and create a free Ebook from the hundreds of pieces.

    The roster of contributors for The 8 Man Rotation Ebook reads like a who's who of dudes whose better athletic days are far behind them, but whose passion for sports, and the lessons and insights sports can offer to our profession, our workplaces, and our relationships continues unabated, and in spite of withering criticism from some who would hold that the endless sports analogies are tiresome and irrelevant. Haters.

    The starting lineup:

    Kris Dunn - The HR Capitalist

    Lance Haun - ReHaul.com

    Tim Sackett - The Tim Sackett Project

    Matt Stollak - True Faith HR

    and little old me.

    The Ebook covers topic ranging from Workforce Planning and Strategy, to Recruiting, to Performance and Talent Management. Of course with a heavy mix of basketball, football, and baseball mixed in.

    The PDF version of the Ebook can be downloaded here, and also can be accessed on Slideshare here (also embedded below, email and RSS subscribers may need to click through).

     The 8 Man Rotation Ebook

    View more documents from steveboese

    Many, many thanks to Matt Stollak for having the idea for the project, sifting through many hundreds of posts about LeBron James, and compiling this really awesome publication of which I am proud to be a small part.

    Now download the Ebook and keep it handy while you watch the NBA Playoffs tonight!