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    Job Titles of the Future #13 - Video Game Coach

    Last September I posted 'Job Titles of the Future #11 - Minecraft Coach', essentially referencing some speculative pieces on whether or not parents would one day, (and soon), look to hire professional Minecraft and other popular video game coaches for their kids, much like parents hire tutors or sports coaches today. The conclusion of the piece I cited, as well as my own take was that yes, Professional Minecraft Coach would probably become a real job, and fairly soon.

    Fast forward just a few months, and I present for your consideration this recent piece from Fortune, 'You can make $50,000 a year as a video game coach', where we see that in this short time, video game coaches are becoming true, real gig. 

    From the Fortune piece:

    As the world of e-sports heats up, and players battle for prize money that can reach into the millions, the activity has given rise to a field of coaches who want to cash in on training these keyboard-using champions.

    An e-sport coach can make anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 a year, which is pretty much in line with a minor league baseball coach, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    One assistant coach of a group called Team Liquid, which competes in the “League of Legends” tournaments, told the paper he makes in the mid-$30,000s annually plus a performance bonus and health insurance. That’s not too shabby when you consider that the annual income for all coaches and scouts in 2012 was $28,360, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    E-sports are a growing industry that is showing no signs of slowing down - in fact with millions of fans, higher and higher amounts of prize money and player salaries, and even PED testing for the top E-sports competitors, it is getting harder and harder to make a logical argument that E-sports really aren't just 'sports.'

    And we know how sports has always had coaches and consultants and gurus - an entire set of professions around trying to help athletes to perform their best and to guide teams to championships. And E-sports seem to be evolving in a similar manner - celebrity gamers, high-profile and lucrative competitions, drug testing scandals, and yes, people whose job it is to train, coach, and develop game players.

    So considering all of the evidence, and the growth of E-sports, it is probably time to re-classify 'Video Game Coach' as a 'Job Title of the Present, and not something we think will happen in the future.

    Man, why didn't we have this for Ms. Pac Man or Galaga back in the day? My whole career could have taken a different path.

    Have a great week!



    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 218 - HR in an On-demand World

    HR Happy Hour 218 - HR in an On-demand World

    Recorded Wednesday July 29, 2015

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve and Trish talked about Steve's trip to China, the myriad of HR issues surrounding Uber and other companies in the 'on-demand' economy, and how the workplace and HR will be changed by these trends. It seems like every day another story drops about the HR implications of these classification issues for companies like Uber. What does HR look like in a world where more and more of the talent the organization relies upon are not actually regular employees of the company?  

    Additionally, Steve wondered if he could identify the state of Arkansas on a map, we talked about how cool St. Louis is, and Trish shared her favorite summer vacation spot, (hint it is in Florida).

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

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


    This was a really fun and lively conversation and we hope you enjoy the show!

    Many thanks to our friends at Equifax Workforce Solutions for both their hospitality in hosting Steve out at the ball game in St. Louis and for their support of the HR Happy Hour show.

    Remember to download and subscribe the the HR Happy Hour on iTunes, or using your favorite podcast app for iOS or Android - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to never miss an episode.


    Communication in a post-email world

    It is no secret to long time readers of the blog, and also to some folks who have tried or are trying to get in touch with me, that I have a long-standing hatred of email. The specific reasons are not really important and the moment, a quick search of this blog archive, or even Google will provide ample ammunition for why email is terrible. But I bring it up again because of a post I came across on the blog of Forrester analyst Julie Ask, titled How Will You Communicate With Your Customers if they Don't Read Email?

    Check out Ms. Ask's rundown of the various messaging apps and platforms she is currently engaging with, and the current state of unread messages in them:

    A summary of my communication (or lack thereof) shows:

    • 24,998 unread personal emails (okay, mostly from marketers)
    • 4,937 unopened work emails
    • 272 unopened SMS messages
    • 45 unopened/read messages on WeChat (these are from marketers)
    • 0 unread notifications from Facebook (and I average 23 per day)
    • 0 unread notifications from Slack (and I average 87 per day)

    The reasons and reasoning that Ms. Ask offers for this current state of (mostly) ignored emails is instructive and probably similar to what many of you, your employees, and your job candidates/prospects are finding. Namely, our email boxes (both personal and professional) are overrun, we have recently adopted more and newer messaging tools (like WhatsApp or Slack), and we elect to migrate only a small subset of our universe of contacts into these new, preferred platforms.

    Check one more excerpt from the Forrester piece, and note, I am going to swap out the work 'marketer' with 'recruiter' and 'customer/consumer' with 'candidate'.

    Marketers Recruiters and really anyone looking to engage with consumers candidates thought they had checked the box with gaining consumers’ candidates' trust when they gained permission to send emails. Think about how many times you’ve made a purchase online and the box to “receive additional promotional materials” is already checked for you. You have to opt out rather than opt in.

    Mobile came along and changed the game. Now digital business professionals and marketers recruiters worked hard to drive app downloads. They wanted to own their mobile moments with their customers candidates on mobile phones. Each download was considered a win.

    But then consumers candidates stopped opening or using the applications. Only a few marketers recruiters have realized that they have to do more. Now if Marketers recruiters want to reach consumers candidates, they have to gain consumer candidate permission to receive push notifications.

    The bar keeps moving for marketers recruiters who want to reach consumers candidates on their mobile devices. Permission lies with each application. At a time of hyper-adoption when consumers candidates can switch apps in less than a minute and migrate their base of friends or colleagues in a matter of days or weeks, marketers recruiters can’t rest.

    This is really good stuff from Ms. Ask, and totally relevant for any of us who are trying to capture attention in a highly-fragmented and rapidly evolving communications technology landscape.

    I guess the bright side could be that no, people are not ignoring your email. They are ignoring all of their email.


    My one piece of advice for anyone trying to demo HR software

    I get to see an almost ridiculous number of demonstrations of HR technologies as a part of the process of selecting the participants for the HR Tech Conference's "Awesome New Technology" sessions in October.

    The specific number of different solutions that I see in the course of a year doesn't really matter, (and I don't try to count), but it is safe to say it falls on the higher end of the scale that starts with 'More than 99% of people I know' and 'All of them'.  And it is particularly busy this time of year as I try to narrow down the field to make the selections/invitations for the show in October.

    So from all of these demos, and the ones that I have seen over the years when I was working in other capacities in the industry, I feel pretty confident as to how to answer a question that I get from time to time. Namely, 'What is the one piece of advice you have for solution providers to help them deliver a more effective demonstration?'

    Here it is, and it is neither profound, complex, or some kind of a secret, but I do get surprised how often I feel the need to offer such advice after a demo that ends up less than satisfactory...

    Tell a story that I can relate to in your demonstration, don't just show me a bunch of software features.

    I know, it seems so obvious, but I can't keep count of how many demos I see that seem to be more or less a rundown of all the different buttons to click, and boxes to check, and menus to navigate, each one promising even more capability. 

    All of that capability is great, don't get me wrong, but none of it means very much without context, particularly context and backstory with which I can easily identify.

    HR pros don't really want to know ALL the things your software can do, they just want to know if it can help them solve their problems, allow them to better compete for talent, and make them look like the rockstars they aspire to be. 

    And for me, selfishly, I want to see the most amazing, innovative, modern, and relevant technologies to showcase for my audience - those same HR pros who want to be able to envision how these technologies can fit and thrive in their organizations.

    Features and functions remain important, no doubt. But they rarely excite anyone at least on their own.  

    What is exciting is the ability to clearly see how a new technology will make my life better, and that is all about the story and has not much at all to do with how many buttons there are to click, or menus to navigate.


    Signals of the Corporate Death Spiral #1 - Talking about dress codes

    We have probably all been, at one time in our careers, in an organization where things were not going so well. Maybe sales were down due to increased competition, maybe our products and services were not in alignment with what the market was demanding, or maybe we flat-out had exhausted the supply of every customer who might want one or two of whatever it is we were offering. There are probably thousands of reasons why once successful organizations can fall on hard times. 

    But often, especially when working in a classic support function like IT or HR, we are not immediately aware of just how bad things are becoming for the organization overall. Sure, the CHRO probably has some idea of what is going on, when he/she is asked to provide some numbers on potential staffing reduction scenarios, but often awareness of these plans does not reach very far down into the organization until, of course, it is too late for impacted folks to react or 'pro' act, if you get my meaning.

    So for rank and file folks, who are always the last to know everything, it pays to get attuned to the signs or signals that things in the organization might not be going as well as they once were. These are smaller, more subtle kinds of things that are not as dramatic as a layoff or a C-level shakeup, but might be as important nonetheless, as they point to a present and future that might not be as fun and gamesy as the past. 

    What are some of these signals? First up, courtesy of our pals at venerable technology giant HP is the 'Dress Code Crackdown'. Check this excerpt from The Register:

    Troubled HP has hit upon what it thinks is a terrific idea to revive its fortunes: tell techies to leave their T-shirts and shorts at home and obey the corporate "smart casual" dress code instead.

    Some R&D teams within HP Enterprise Services were sent a confidential memo this week reminding them to follow the IT giant's rules against workplace fashion faux pas, The Register has learned.

    "If you aren't dressed like the models in the posters that HP displays around its locations, then your appearance is sapping the productivity of the workers around you," one source, who asked to remain anonymous, quipped.

    The dress code memo was sent out because higher-ups believe customers visiting HP's offices will be put off by scruffy-looking R&D engineers, we're told.

    The order to tuck in shirts and smarten up for guests has not gone down well, apparently: some HP developers, who do not deal with customers directly, were quite enjoying wearing T-shirts and shorts at work during these warm summer months.

    According to HP, men should avoid turning up to the office in T-shirts with no collars, faded or torn jeans, shorts, baseball caps and other headwear, sportswear, and sandals and other open shoes. Women are advised not to wear short skirts, faded or torn jeans, low-cut dresses, sandals, crazy high heels, and too much jewelry.

    The Enterprise Services division employs more than 100,000 people across the world, from the UK and Australia to India and Germany, as well as cities in the US.

    "There are customers around, and HP doesn’t want them to think riffraff work here," one source told El Reg.

    Nice. At least HP is sticking to the script and the classic reasoning of the dress code police - that 'customers' somehow might be offended if they spot a coder in a T-shirt and a hoodie. 

    What matters here has nothing at all to do with customers, or even if there are really some technical folks at HP that are going a little too far with 'coder casual' attire at work. No company has a 'dress code' problem. They might have a few people here and there that need a little bit of guidance, sure. But when organizations, especially massive ones like HP start going off with internal memos about dress codes and posting up examples of 'acceptable' dress, then you can be sure there are problems far, far worse than the Queensryche T-shirt that Jeremy wore last Tuesday.

    It is a signal, and an ominous one at that. 

    When you are talking about dress codes you are not talking about things that really matter. And often it is because you've run out of ideas for how to attack the things that do matter.

    If you are in a company and get one of those memos, take it as a sign that worse news is coming. and maybe sooner than you think.

    Have a great week!