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    Wednesday
    Mar042015

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 204 - Customer Success and Advocacy

    HR Happy Hour 204 - Customer Success and Advocacy

    Recorded Tuesday March 3, 2015

    Hosts: Trish McFarlane, Steve Boese

    Guest: Howard Tarnoff

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Trish and Steve were joined by Howard Tarnoff, Senior Vice President for Ceridian HCM, and the person responsible for launching and overseeing the Ceridian's award winning Customer Success Program "XOXO".

    On the show, Howard shared some of the pretty unique approaches to Customer Success and Advocacy that Ceridian has put in place - creating ways for customers to connect and share information and best practices, highlighting success stories for both organizations and individuals, and engaging customer advocates at numerous points along the HR buying journey.

    Everything has changed about how organizations and individuals conduct product and market research, how they find and engage with trusted advisors and colleagues, and how they expect the relationship between solution provider and customer to evolve. Innovative approaches like Ceridian's "XOXO" customer success program represent how modern, empowered, and mutually beneficial provider/customer relationships have adapted to meet these changes.

    We also lamented (yes, again), about the terrible winter weather, Steve pitched his idea for a 'Snow Day' on May 22, we previewed some upcoming events on Steve and Trish's calendars, and dropped the first hint about an exciting HR Happy Hour announcement that is coming soon.

    You can listen to the show here, or using the widget player below, (Email and RSS subscribers will need to click through, or go to the show direct link)

    Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio
     

     

    As always, you can listen to the current and all the past shows from the archive on the show page here, on our HR Happy Hour website, and by subscribing to the show in podcast form on iTunes, or for Android devices using Stitcher Radio (or your favorite podcast app). Just search the iTunes store or your podcast app for 'HR Happy Hour' to add the show to your subscriptions.

    This was a great show, and many thanks to Howard and everyone at Ceridian for being a part of the fun. 

    Tuesday
    Mar032015

    The Wisdom of Jeff Van Gundy Part VII - On Visible Failure

    Over the weekend as I was doing blog writing/research, i.e., watching NBA basketball, I caught the better part of a game between the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Clippers. At a few points in the game the Bulls invoked a strategy of intentional fouling commonly known as 'Hack-a-Shaq', named after NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, a notoriously poor free throw shooter. The idea of the 'Hack-a-Shaq' gambit is that since the player targeted to be intentionally fouled is such a poor free throw shooter that he would likely miss both free throws most of the time, thus resulting in an 'empty' or non-scoring possession for his team. Stack a few of these empty possessions in a row, and the fouling team could conceivably stake a large lead, or close a large deficit.JVG

    In the Bulls v. Clippers game, (ably announced by Mike Breen and former NBA coach and the star of this semi-regular 'Wisdom' series on the blog, Jeff Van Gundy), the Bulls' target for executing the 'Hack-a-Shaq' strategy was the Clipper center DeAndre Jordan, who like Shaq himself, is a terrible free throw shooter, making only about 40% of his attempts from the line. To set some context, the league average is about 75% accuracy, with the best free throw shooters making about 90% of their attempts.

    So Jordan is bad, really, really bad at shooting free throws. And the Bulls exploited that weakness in Jordan's game by repeatedly and intentionally fouling him, and he proceeded to make only 5 out of 12 attempts on the game. And each time he was fouled, he had to stand on the foul line, alone, while all the players, fans, and TV viewers got to watch him struggle, and fail quite a bit during the course of the game. It was during one of these potentially embarrassing Jordan trips to the line where Van Gundy, (JVG), dropped this little nugget of wisdom, (and note, I am paraphrasing here, I was not recording the game so I don't have JVG's quote word for word):

    Everyone needs to stop stressing about the 'Hack-a-Shaq' and how poorly DeAndre Jordan is shooting free throws. He is the league's top rebounder and one of, if not the best, defensive center in the game. He does so many other good things on the court that contribute to a winning team that we need to lay off about the free throws. Every player has weaknesses, his are just more noticeable to the naked eye because he's up there on this own at the free throw line where everyone can see.

    A super point by JVG, not just the one about Jordan's other demonstrable and measurable positive attributes like rebounds and blocked shots, but rather that since Jordan's struggles at the line are so obvious and clear to see, that we over-emphasize them, and hold Jordan somehow more accountable than we do for other player's whose weaknesses might be so apparent.

    There are lots of players who don't really play effective team defense, who don't set solid screens for their teammates, don't contest opponents' shots, or who fail to box out on the defensive glass - but these weaknesses are hard to see, really hard to see for the casual fan. But excelling in these areas all contribute to winning, and also happen to be areas where Jordan himself excels.

    We can 'see' Jordan fail at the free throw line. It is visible failure, even. But we fail as observers when we don't see all the less obvious things he does well. And this is not solely a basketball or sports phenomenon.

    (Here is the part of the 'Sports and HR' post where the formula tells me I have to relate this tale back to HR or Talent Management or some such)

    You know what, I think I am going to skip that part of the formula, I think you can probably make the connection.

    Have a great Tuesday.

    Monday
    Mar022015

    What kind of a company are we? Take a look at the expense budget

    Take a look at the graphic below which shows how some of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies allocate funds to marketing and to Research and Development (spotted on the Big Picture blog):

    As you can see from the chart, 9 out of 10 of these massive pharma giants spent more in 2013 on marketing efforts than on R&D. Disclaimer - I am by no means an expert in big pharma, so I can't and won't declare this seemingly reversed set of spending priorities as somehow 'wrong' or even unusual. But it is, to an outside observer at least a little surprising. We think, or at least I think, of these kinds of companies dedicating immense budgets to finding, developing, testing, and gaining regulatory approval of their products, not as massive marketing operations. 

    Step back from the pharma industry for a second to think about what this kind of data suggests more broadly. How these companies, and any company, decides to allocate their expense budgets says heaps about what kind of a company they are, or are intending to become, (or are being forced to become).

    Moving funds over to marketing and sales and away from activities like R&D or customer support isn't necessarily a bad or less noble thing, but it is something. 

    The natural evolution of growing and maturing companies often dictates this kind of transition in spend and priorities. But when this shift happens and then takes hold over time, it eventually defines the company to some extent. One could argue that some of these big pharma companies are really marketing and sales organizations that do some product development to just keep the pipeline running.

    Company culture is one of those HR blogging evergreen topics. It will be written about and discussed forever. But I can't recall the last time I saw a 'culture' piece talk about one of the most important 'tells' about what a culture really is and what is values. And that is how the 'culture' decides to spend its money.

    As an HR/Talent pro it is probably worth a periodic check - how is your company allocating its funds, how are these allocations trending, how does that stack up with your peer companies?

    The kind of company you are is as much defined by the expense budget as it is by anything else we do in HR.

    Have a great week! 

    Friday
    Feb272015

    Job Titles of the Future #12 - Professional Selfie Retoucher

    According to Business Insider, the reality TV personality Kim Kardashian spends upwards of $100K to keep a 'professional selfie retoucher' on call, who stands (or sits more likely) at the ready, poised to edit, smooth, crop, and apply just the right Instagram filter (I am a 'Hudson' fan myself), to her selfies and other photos prior to posting them to her millions of social media followers.

    If it sounds ridiculous, it is because it is ridiculous. But I think at least half of why it is ridiculous is the kind of silly name this job has been bestowed, and the kind of silly protagonist of the story. Kim Kardashian retaining a professional selfie editor to be on call is comical, but what about an author, sports figure, politician, or CEO engaging consulting services to protect, augment, and improve their online personas? Maybe not so silly.

    It must be a really big deal, and a important part of her business strategy, for Kim to be seen in a certain manner in her social media posts and activity. She must have figured out what her fans want and expect, and paying $100K to make sure she delivers on those expectations must be worth it to her in the long run.

    But in some ways it is not just reality TV stars or athletes or actors that rely on social media image and presence as a big part of their business strategy. Lots of 'normal' people do to. We are all, as long as we participate in blogs or on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, placing some importance (and risk) in how our intelligence, professionalism, and value are interpreted via our posts and pictures and, yes, our selfies.

    And lots of us try to be really careful about what we post. Not just in that 'I better not post that pic of me and the boys doing tequila shots', but also along the lines of 'Does this picture make me look smart/cool/happening/likable/on 'brand'?' You know you think about that. Everyone does. Think about how much you crop and filter and edit those Instagram and Facebook pics before you load them. It isn't just about you wanting to be the next Ansel Adams.

    It's just that you and me and almost everyone else makes these determinations and manipulations of our preferred version of reality for ourselves - it's only people like Kim K. who can dish out $100K to worry about that stuff for her.

    There have been PR agencies and image consultants and even 'personal brand coaches' (that title just made me gag a little), around for awhile, so the idea of a 'professional selfie retoucher' may not be all that new or novel, and just may be the logical extension or modernization of these roles for the social media age.

    But still, something about it, the on-the-nose way it describes the function seems new to me, and thus I officually welcome 'Professional Selfie Retoucher' as Job Title of the Future #12.

    Have a great weekend!

    Thursday
    Feb262015

    The Cold Changes Everything

    I have had about 25 or so phone calls this week working on the program for the 2015 HR Technology Conference, (note, registration is officially OPEN, please see www.hrtechconference.com/register.html for more details), and I bet 24 of them have started something like this:

    Me: Hi, this is Steve

    Person A: Hi, Steve how are you? Are you getting all that snow/surviving the winter/staying warm?

    Me: Oh man, it has been brutal. <at this point I go on for a minute or two, lamenting the cold, the snow, the giant icicles hanging off of my roof, the fact I have been stuck in my car a couple of times, my kid's school has been closed due to the -25 wind chill, etc.>

    Person A: Wow, that is terrible. It is freezing here too <and then Person A takes their turn listing their tales of excruciating snowy woe>

    You get the idea.

    For most of the eastern half of the USA, the last six weeks or so have been a relentless, crushing, and demotivating series of snow storms, Arctic cold, and more storms.

    This kind of sustained period of misery begins to get to you after a while - you lose energy for the things you want to do (creative work, spending time with family and friends), because you have to expend so much more time and energy dealing with the impacts and exigencies of the weather (clearing snow, chipping ice off of the car windows, sitting in traffic jams or waiting out airport delays).

    It's has been bad, really bad - and if you are lucky enough to live and work in a part of the country/world that has not had to deal with this winter then you are really fortunate and smart. Also, I hate you.

    I don't have a solution for this, except perhaps to say we ought to do something for our teams and colleagues that have been dealing with this ongoing, frosty nightmare.

    Maybe give everyone at work a free 'Snow day' off. Except save it for say Friday May 22 - the last day of work before the long Memorial Day weekend. Your people will appreciate having a snow day that is not, you know, actually snowing and one they can enjoy.

    So there it is. I am declaring an official 'Snow Day' on May 22. I will bring the BBQ.

    Stay warm out there my friends.