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    Thursday
    Aug182016

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 255 - Modernizing Performance Management

    HR Happy Hour 255 - Modernizing Performance Management

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Rajeev Behera, CEO, Reflektive

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the show, Steve and Trish were joined by Rajeev Behera, CEO of HR technology solution provider Reflektive, who are helping over 175 organizations modernize their approach to performance management by making the process faster, centered around coaching, and enabling managers to become true 'people' managers and not 'task' managers. We talked about the challenges that traditional performance management processes present to organizations, like ones that focus primarily on a rating or a score above all else.

    Many large organizations have moved away from traditional performance management processes, and on the show Rajeev shared some insights and ideas on how the organizations Reflektive works with are successfully combining modern technology solutions with fresh approaches to coaching and mentoring to improve individual and organizational performance, and better engage employees in their own personal and career development.

    We also talked about the launch of the HR Happy Hour Podcast Network, summer vacation, and how much we all love Disneyworld.

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

    Performance management is undergoing significant and important change in many organizations. Reflektive is at the forefront of many of these changes, and this was an interesting and informative discussion.

    And be sure to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or your favorite podcast app.

    Wednesday
    Aug172016

    VIDEO: "Alexa, I hate my boss"

    Earlier this year I blogged about and Trish McFarlane and I did an Episode of the HR Happy Hour Show loosely based on the annual Internet Trends Report by famous analyst Mary Meeker. In the most recent report, a fair bit of time was given towards the increase in capability and use of 'voice interfaces', e.g. tools like Siri, Cortana, and Amazon's Echo device.

    Check out the video below from HR Tech provider ZipRecruiter on what an HR/Recruiting use case of the voice interface might look like incorporating Amazon Echo, (and it's 'Alexa' persona), and ZipRecruiter's database of open jobs. The video is really short, take one minute to check it out, then some closing thoughts from me after the clip. (Email and RSS subscribers click through).

    Pretty cool, right? I admit it is kind of a simple, almost too simple example of the voice interface, (and I grant that this may even be 'real' functionality, just kind of an example), but I still was intrigued by the possibilities and potential of voice interaction with smart applications like Alexa to facilitate finding information and effecting interactions.

    You could pretty easily imagine this video continuing with Alexa alerting the job applicant that her application is being considered, and suggesting a few times for an interview with the recruiter or hiring manager. Or maybe even the pre-screening type questions could just be 'asked' by Alexa right after the application is received, and the applicant can just have the conversation with Alexa rather than a HR phone screener.

    At any rate, I thought the video and the application was very cool, I am not aware of any other HR tech provider working on something like this, so cheers to ZipRecruiter for thinking about the future and how technology will change the way we interact with talent and talent technologies.

    Happy Wednesday.

    Tuesday
    Aug162016

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 254 - Introducing We're Only Human

    Two weeks back I shared the HR Happy Hour Podcast Network launch announcement, and last week we had the debut of the first new show on the network - the debut episode of Research on the Rocks, with hosts Madeline Laurano and Mollie Lombardi of Aptitude Research Partners.

    And this week I have a great thrill to share the details of the next new title on the network - the first episode of We're Only Human, featuring host Ben Eubanks of Lighthouse Research & Advisory

    Here are the details for the first episode of We're Only Human:

    HR Happy Hour 254 - Introducing We're Only Human

    Hosts: Ben Eubanks

    Listen HERE

    Host: Ben Eubanks

    The HR Happy Hour Podcast Network is happy to welcome our newest show, We're Only Human, with Ben Eubanks.  As Ben will share, new technologies and ways of working are driving change in the workplace.  Is your company ready? Employees are demanding a more mobile, social, and engaging technology experience, whether it's around scheduling a shift or tracking performance. 

    A key part of this new reality is analytics and data-driven decision making. Ben Eubanks, the show host, offers up a funny, yet helpful, story to illustrate the intersection between data and humanity in the workplace.

    In addition, the first episode of We're Only Human provides an introduction to the host as well as a roadmap for the topics that will be covered by the podcast, including the changing nature of work and how it gets done, the technologies that enable this shift, and ever-increasing innovation in the HR industry.

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

    We hope you'll listen in and look for Ben's future episodes!

    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.

    Monday
    Aug152016

    Learn a new word: Asymmetric Information

    Let's go with the definition first, a decent example of challenge that asymmetric information causes in a non-HR and workplace context, and then tie this up, (and this is the real reason I wanted to talk about this), with a great example of how this is playing out in HR/Talent and is being exacerbated by a recent legislative change in Massachusetts.

    Asymmetric information - In contract theory and economics, information asymmetry deals with the study of decisions in transactions where one party has more or better information than the other. This creates an imbalance of power in transactions, which can sometimes cause the transactions to go awry, a kind of market failure in the worst case. Examples of this problem are adverse selection, moral hazard, and information monopoly. Information asymmetry is in contrast to perfect information, which is a key assumption in neo-classical economics.

    Asymmetric information plays out all of the time, in just about every negotiation or contract that most of us participate in. When sellers know more about the value of products and services than buyers do - say in the case of a used car, or even a hotel room, then often we as buyers can be left uncertain and anxious about the prices we pay. Conversely, when buyers know more about the value of an item than the seller, think of a rare baseball card discovered at a garage sale in a bin offered for $1.00, then sellers can get underpaid for their offerings. 

    The internet, social networks, online sites designed to 'uncover' or reveal the true value, (or at least what other people have or would pay for a given good or service), have gone far to reduce the potential negative impact of asymmetric information in many markets. TrueCar provides insight into new and used car prices, SeetGeek aims to let you know if the tickets you are about to buy for the ball game represent a good deal or not, and auction-type sites like Ebay and Priceline put much more power, (if not always perfect information), in the hands of buyers of goods and travel services. 

    But even in the age of TripAdvisor and Glassdoor, many of the markets in which we transact are still pretty far from exhibiting so-called 'perfect' information, where buyers and sellers are equally informed, (or can reasonably obtain such information), thus resulting in efficient functioning. Are you really getting a good deal on that refirgerator or car or flight to Phoenix? Who knows.

    That's what takes me to the HR/Talent example I mentioned that the top, specifically, the recent move by Massachusetts to prohibit asking candidates about their current or prior salary history during the interview process. This legislation, according to Massachusetts officials, is designed to combat wage inequality - the theory being that if women or other groups have been unfairly underpaid in the past, then making their current salary an anchor point in negotiations for their next salary will simply perpetuate this wage inequality.

    And the other, unspoken, impact of this legislation will be to reduce, (but not eliminate), the asymmetric information condition that exists in any salary negotiation. In any potential job offer/negotiation the employer knows certain pieces of information that the candidate has almost no way of determining on their own. The salary budget (or range) for the job, the salary of the last person who had the job, the overall financial/budget situation of the organization, and the 'wiggle room' that the hiring manager has to negotiate the offer.

    In this negotiation the candidate has exactly one piece of information that the potential employer can probably guess at anyway - their current, or most recent salary at their prior job, and ostensibly, the baseline to figure out what kind of a bump (fifteen, maybe twenty percent?), it would take to get the candidate to make a move. And lots of recruiters, and even many online job applications, press the candidate to divulge this bit of information, their only potential edge in any negotiation, very, very early in the process.

    Recruiters and hiring managers will line up to bemoan the Massachusetts law, (and the others like it in states like New York and California that will almost certainly follow), clinging to the 'Let's not waste everyone's time if the salary for the job is not sufficient for the candidate'. Better to find that out up front, they argue. But figuring out the ballpark range a candidate might be willing to consider is part of your job, Ms. Recruiter. And there are other, less lazy ways that simply demanding that candidates turn this information over to you before you've even spoken to them.

    Asymmetric information plays havoc in all kind of markets. It's bad economics, bad policy, and bad for the person who is sitting on the wrong, or less-informed side of the table. And it doesn’t matter how rational, or well-intentioned people are, or how well the process/markets are set up - asymmetric information throws a wrench in the works, one that many candidates can spend a career trying to recover from.

    Have a great week!

    Saturday
    Aug132016

    REPRISE: 10 reasons why you should quit the NFL for the Premier League

    Note: Today is the launch of the 2016 - 2017 season in the English Premier League. This is the sport you should adopt as your favorite this Fall. In that light, I am re-running a piece from last October where I laid out the case for you. Go Liverpool!

    10 Reasons Why You Should Quit the NFL for the Premier League

    October 31, 2015

    I am up early on a Saturday taking in Barclays Premier League match between my beloved Liverpool Reds and Chelsea, the defending Premier League champions currently mired in a slow start to the new season. I watch a fair bit of sports on TV, (I have pretty much no life), but after many years of increasing interest and appreciation of top-level soccer, I have mostly given over my Fall and Winter weekends to the Premier League, and have pretty much lost interest in the much more popular, (here in the US anyway), American football games (both college and in the NFL).

    Why is that? Why have I basically given up on American football, with only a passing interest in the country's most popular sport? Here are 10 reasons, just off of the top of my head. And if you are saying to yourself, 'Who cares what sports Steve likes?', I would answer, 'Probably no one. But it is my blog. And I am up early on a Saturday and this is what I feel like writing about.' So there.

    Ok, here are 10 reasons why I, (and maybe you too), should quit the NFL for the Premier League:

    1. Soccer has about 3 rules you need to understand in order to appreciate the action. Sure, there are more rules than that, but the essential ones are very few, they are pretty simple, (we teach 4 year olds how to play using these rules), and you can grasp them in about the first 15 minutes of watching a game. American football, and the NFL in particular, has about 3,593 rules, many if not most of them are incredibly complex, vary in their application, and even 'experts' of the game often fail to understand them. NFL football is akin to the worst of governmental or corporate bureaucracies - hopelessly dense, complex, and often unexplainable.

    2. Because of this complexity in the rules, NFL games are interrupted dozens of times (and on EVERY punt or kickoff it seems), by penalty flags, interminable on-field conferences amongst the numerous game officials, and delays in the game for video reviews, often frame-by-frame, of controversial plays. Again, the NFL resembles the worst in big corporations in that the games are really just a few seconds of actual things happening that are interrupted by meetings of paunchy, middle-aged men discussing and attempting to explain what just happened. 

    3. Let's talk about the actual game action then. A Premier League game consists of two 45 minute halves with the clock running constantly, with a few minutes of 'extra' time usually added for injuries and other delays. Add in a 15 minute halftime break, and the normal (meaning EVERY one), Premier League game takes a bit under 2 hours to complete, start to finish. It is a perfect amount of time to dedicate to a sporting event, a movie, a dinner with your in-laws  - pretty much anything. NFL and especially college football games regularly require 3 to 3.5 hours to complete. And for the amount of actual action that occurs in a game, (see Point 4), 3.5 hours for a sporting event is just insane.

    4. It has been estimated that the average NFL game, the game that takes about 3.5 hours to complete, and has 60 minutes of official game time, actually has only between 7 - 8 minutes of action, i.e., where the players are actually PLAYING football. The rest of the time consists of players walking back to the huddle, standing in the huddle, walking back to the ball from the huddle, and waiting for the quarterback to scream a series of incomprehensible commands and making wild gesticulations. The ball is then put into play for a few seconds, (the average NFL play lasts about 7 seconds), and the entire process is repeated. Unless it is interrupted by a penalty flag and a corporate board meeting by the aforementioned old men. Football is 3.5 hours of almost nothing happening.

    5. Premier League soccer (and all soccer really), consists of 90 minutes of almost constant action. There are no 'time outs', there are fewer delays for penalties and fouls. When there is a foul the one on-field referee in charge makes the decision, and the ball is put back into play quickly. There are no meetings to talk about the fouls, there are no lengthy delays to 'check the video replay', and there are no 'coaches challenges' like in American football. Soccer realizes, correctly, that it is a GAME, and not every tiny decision needs to be examined under a electron microscope.

    6. While the rest of this post is a little cheeky, this point is pretty serious. While injuries happen in all sports, and sometimes they are serious injuries, for the most part soccer at all levels is much, much safer than football. Despite all the advances in protective equipment, the nature of football leaves almost EVERY player injured at some point. While NFL players are grown men, and are compensated well to accept these risks, the culture of American football extends much further into society, where the participants are neither grown men or compensated at all for these risks. This season alone 7 high school football players have died from direct football related injuries. Read that again. SEVEN high school kids have DIED from playing football. I find it incredible that 99.9% of American society is ok with that. 

    7. In the US, Premier League games (that last a total of 2 hours like I mentioned), are played in the morning across all US time zones. That means you can wake up early, take in a couple of matches, and still be free by Noon or so to do whatever it is you SHOULD be doing on the weekend instead of sitting on the sofa watching sports. You can get your fill of game action and still not be a jerk to your family or friends who don't care about your fantasy team and want you to be an actual contributing member of society on Saturdays and Sundays, and not some loser who is constantly checking his phone to see how many receiving yards Odell Beckham Jr. has racked up. 

    8. The match commentators for the Premier League games are exceedingly better and more entertaining than their NFL counterparts. Premier League commentators use words like 'comprehensive' and 'beguiling' and describe players with phrases like 'He is a wily campaigner'. NFL game analysts mostly like to talk about what team coaches said to them in meetings the day before the game. When NFL commentators try to move past the obvious 'The team that makes the least mistakes will win today', and get into the intricacies of the game action, 'Tampa rolled their high safety over to the weakside to guard against the naked bootleg action from Seattle', almost no one watching the game has any idea what they are talking about.

    9. And speaking of TV coverage, in the US anyone with a decent cable sports package has access to EVERY SINGLE Premier League game on LIVE. Every game is on TV. In the NFL, America's most popular sport, the only way you can get access to every game live on TV is to subscribe to the satellite TV provider DirectTV and order a premium NFL package to get access to all the games live. There are a couple of ways to get access to streams of NFL games as well. But in 2015 the fact that I as a subscriber of Time Warner Cable, one of the largest cable companies in the US, can't order up or subscribe to any NFL game that I would like to see on my TV is absolutely insane.

    10. (I promise this is the last one. If you have made it this far well, bless your heart). The pinnacle of the NFL season, the Super Bowl, is primarily enjoyed by millions not for the actual game, 'Who is playing again?', but for the TV commercials. The actual game is just a side note for the commercials, the halftime show, the endless tweets and columns about which big corporation 'won' the game by having the best TV spot, and the discussions of what kind of plausible excuse can you come up with to call in sick to work the next morning. Aside for the fans of the two teams playing, and the people who have bet on the game, no one really cares which team wins the game. Let's talk more about that Doritos spot instead.

    That is it. I am out. Thanks for indulging me. 

    And by the way, Liverpool 3 - Chelsea 1 - Full Time. Go Reds.

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