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    Wednesday
    Apr122017

    It's better to have a job when you're looking for a job

    As the 2007-2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic recession fade further and further into the distance, we don't in 2017 talk about unemployment all that much. The sustained recovery in the labor market has pushed unemployment to near "full employment" levels of about 4.5% in the US, and in many sectors and job roles most employers would report 'good help is hard to find'. Until the robots take over. But that is a different story for another time.

    Back to unemployment though. In 2008 and 2009, there was plenty of discussion about the best ways to help the many, many folks who were out of work to get back into the labor force. Lots of job search gurus appeared online, plenty of networking and support groups were created, and certainly significant governmental support, (cars, banking, insurance), was marshalled to try and stop the bleeding in the labor markets and help get people back to work (or keep them in work).

    Around that time, as the unemployment rate topped at about 10%, one peculiar storyline emerged, and pretty consistently as well - namely that folks who were unemployed, and 'actively' looking for work, were often characterized as less desirable candidates than say someone who was currently employed, and may not even be actively looking for something new. The dream 'passive' candidate if you prefer that term. Lots of anecdotes about hiring managers passing on any candidate who was out of work were shared, and plenty of folks, (I possibly was one of them), opined about how unfair that this kind of (for lack of a better word) discrimination against the unemployed was seemingly more and more prevalent. And anecdotal or not, it certainly seemed that looking for a job when you did not have a job was much, much tougher than looking for one when you were already employed.

    But just how much tougher is it, really?

    A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York looks to put at least some data around these anecdotes by looking at job search activity by unemployed workers, by employed workers, (both passive and active), and people out of the workforce. The entire report is interesting and worth a read but I thought I would tease out two of the report's most interesting findings about job search, and more importantly, job search outcomes.

    1 - Lots of employed people are actively looking for work - almost one quarter of them 'actively' searched in the trailing four weeks of the survey period

    Not shocking I guess, but also the 23.3% doesn't account for the probably much larger number of employed workers that would be open to at least discussing new opportunities, even if they were not in active search. Said differently, one of the reasons contributing to a bias in favor of employed workers is the fact that just about all employed workers are still in the candidate pool anyway. At least partially in.

    So how does this perceived bias influence outcomes? Here's the money chart from the study, depicting how search behavior and application intensity translate into positive outcomes, i.e. job offers.

    I will help you with the fine print here. Unemployed workers make up about 7 percent of the survey sample. They send out 40 percent of the total job applications, but receive only about 16 percent of the total job offers.

    In contrast, folks who were employed and were actively looking for work make up about 20 percent of the sample but receive almost half of all offers. Further, the employed not looking for work (and who do not apply for any jobs), receive about one‑fourth of all the offers in our sample—more than the unemployed who are the most active searchers and applicants.

    So how much better is it to be employed when looking, (or in many cases not looking) for a new role?

    Well, according to this data, much, much better. Roughly it takes eight times the effort in terms of time spent and four times the application rate for unemployed folks to generate a similar rate of job offers that employed workers realize - many of whom are not looking for work at all.

    Hopefully we won't have another dramatic economic or market shifting incident like the financial crisis that drives up unemployment and will make these findings and their impacts top of mind again. But it is good food for thought for any of us who may not love the job we have now, and are looking for something better.

    We just might want to hold on to that crappy job as long as we can, because having it makes our odds of finding the next (hopefully less crappy) job that much better.

    Monday
    Apr102017

    HRE Column: #HRTech and Diversity and Inclusion

    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 take a look at some of the HR Technology developments that are helping organizations work through the challenges and opportunities of an increased focus on diversity, inclusion, and fairness. Some of this work has been top of mind for me due to the time I am spending on organizing the second Women in HR Technology Summit that will be held at the HR Technology Conference in October. And the continuing focus and spotlight being placed on these issues, especially for tech companies, make this issue and the technologies that can help with it, an incredibly important focus area for HR tech.

    So in this month's HR Executive column I examine a a few of the technologies and trends that are becoming more important in this area, and how these technologies can help inform and shape the design, development, and deployment of programs and initiatives in 2017, and beyond.  

    This is an important issue, that we will be covering in more depth as 2017 progresses, and of course, at HR Tech in October.

    From the HRE piece:

    One of the highlights of last year's HR Technology Conference® and Exposition was our first-ever "Women in HR Technology" summit on the first day of the event. This session was developed to focus on and raise awareness of many of the issues facing women in technology roles generally, and in the HR technology industry more specifically.

    Additionally, we also tried to showcase many of the individual success stories from the many HR and HR technology leaders who participated in the summit, with the idea that their stories of personal and organizational achievement and impact would help educate and inspire the audience. The program was received positively, with standing-room-only attendance, and I have since been acting on numerous recommendations to expand it at this fall's conference.

    Tech firms' ability to attract, recruit, develop and fairly compensate women and other underrepresented groups is an issue that continues to be top of mind for many HR and business leaders. And when there exists a compelling business or workplace need or opportunity, HR technology solutions and services will be developed or be adapted to attempt to meet these needs. Increasingly, a number of HR technology solutions have been created or have been enhanced to deliver functionality and insights to help HR and business leaders attract more diverse candidates, reduce the impact of bias in talent management decision making, and monitor and audit compensation programs and practices for fairness and equity across the organization.

    Let's examine a few of these new and emerging HR technology solutions that help HR and business leaders promote and support the increasingly common and important goals of workplace diversity, inclusion, fairness and equity. We'll also explore how these technologies can help make a difference for organizations working towards meeting these goals.

    Talent Sourcing

    One of the primary reasons cited by organizations for their inability to build more diverse teams -- particularly for technical or engineering functions -- is a lack of qualified candidates at the beginning of the recruiting process. Many organizations say they would love to hire more female engineers or more people from underrepresented groups for these roles, but they simply are not able to find interested and qualified candidates. While there is debate over whether there's truly a so-called "skills mismatch" for these roles that is driving this challenge, there are some HR technology solutions that have been developed to address this "top of the funnel" issue and help HR and business leaders find more diverse candidates.

    Entelo, a past recipient of the "Awesome New Technology for HR" recognition at HR Tech, has a product called Entelo Diversity that allows organizations to find and identify candidates based on gender, race or ethnicity, and even veteran status. This information and these indicators are layered on top of the candidate's skills profile to help organizations see a complete picture of the candidate, which will support diversity recruiting efforts. The Entelo algorithm is designed to help identify candidates who may meet these criteria without relying on specific keywords such as "black," "female," "veteran," etc. Using data about a person's academic history, social affiliations and job titles, the algorithm determines his or her likely gender, ethnicity or race, and whether the person has military experience. Tools such as Entelo Diversity and other advanced candidate-sourcing tools can augment the networks of an organization's recruiters and hiring managers, which may be otherwise lacking members of many underrepresented groups.

    Read the rest at HR Executive 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-seed you lawn, take your dog for a walk, or help you plant your spring flowers. I especially like alstroemelias.

    Have a great day!

    Saturday
    Apr082017

    Situations where you should mark Emails as "Urgent", ranked

    It's Saturday!

    Woo hoo!

    I woke up this morning to the sun shining, the snow melting, (yes, it was STILL snowing yesterday where I live), the birds chirping, my Liverpool Reds on TV, and not one, but two early morning business emails both marked as "Urgent".

    Since I believe many readers would benefit from a better understanding of when, why, and in what circumstances one should mark an email as "Urgent", I present my unscientific, unresearched, subjective, and COMPLETELY biased breakdown of the situations where you should mark an Email message as "Urgent".

    Here goes....

    10. Never

    9. Never

    8 - 2. - Never

    1. Never

     

    Never mark an email as "urgent".

    If your message is truly urgent, then email isn't the medium to convey that message. Call, or text. Or get off your butt and walk down the hall to my office.  And besides, who are you to decide your problem is really "urgent" to me? Maybe I don't really care. Maybe I have 37 other problems that are more pressing. Maybe that little red flag you just dropped in my Inbox has the opposite effect that you intended, and I shuffle it to the bottom of the 'respond' pile because I just got annoyed.

    And if you are the boss, or CEO, or owner, then you don't have to make your messages as "urgent", if the folks on your team are not reacting to your directives in the way you see as appropriate, then you have a people problem, not an email problem.

    Never mark email as "urgent". Especially on a sunny, springtime Saturday morning.

    Of course you could disagree with these rankings, but of course, you would be wrong.

    Have a great weekend!

    Wednesday
    Apr052017

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 280 - Dave Ulrich, Victory Through Organization

    HR Happy Hour 280 - Dave Ulrich, Victory Through Organization

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Dave Ulrich, University of Michigan, RBL Group

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve and Trish welcome Dave Ulrich, author of the recent Victory Through Organization, over 30 other books, Professor at the University of Michigan, one of the foremost experts on Human Resources, and known as the "Father of modern Human Resources" back to the Happy Hour to talk Human Resources, creating organizational capability, and how Human Resources can continue to evolve to support the organization.

    Dave talked about the new book, the key can be summed up in the very first sentences of the book - "HR is not about HR. HR begins and ends with the business." From that launch point, we talked about Dave's research (with data from over 30,000 respondents), the importance of HR as the enabler and driver of organizational capability, why the famous McKinsey "War for Talent" is only partially relevant to HR leaders, and some of the ways HR leaders need to adapt and grow in order to support the creation of organizational capability.

    We also talked about NBA basketball, the Oscars, and the Spice Girls, (yes, and every one of those topics tied back to the overall theme of the show, that organizational factors have a far greater impact on business performance than do individual factors). 

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

    Dave's most recent book, Victory Through Organization, is available here.

    And thanks to the HR Happy Hour Show sponsor Virgin Pulse, learn more at www.virginpulse.com.

    This was one of the most interesting, informative, and fun shows we have done. Thanks Dave for joining us!

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and all the podcast apps - just search for HR Happy Hour to subscribe and never miss a show.

    Monday
    Apr032017

    Most of us are on Plan B (or C or D)

    What do you want to be when you grow up?

    Ask any 8 - 12 year old that question and you will probably get one of the following careers in response - Movie Star, Pro Athlete, Musician, Astronaut, Firefighter, (increasingly) Video Game Developer, or maybe YouTube star, (apparently that is a thing now).

    What you won't get much of in response are more common occupations like Office Clerk, Home Health Aide, Salesperson, or Bus Driver.

    Not a shock, right? But I wonder if there isn't more to think about from the disconnect between what we really wanted to be doing with our careers, and what (many of us), end up actually doing in our careers. A recent survey of more than 400 teens conducted by C + R research suggests that most of today's teens have career aspirations that are extremely out of synch with the true nature of the labor market.

    For example, 20% of surveyed teens expressed a desire for a career in "Arts, Design, Entertainment, Media, & Sports", a field that makes up only about 1% of American jobs in the workforce. And fully 0% of teens indicated a desire to move into "Office and Administrative Support" occupations, (like HR or IT), even though that category encompasses fully 15% of American workers today, making it the largest segment of the labor force as tracked by the BLS. 

    This is not surprising data; I mean who wouldn't rather be a relief pitcher for the Mets or a Hollywood movie producer than say, an HR manager? 

    Heck, even to this day when people ask me about my career goals, 'Point Guard on the Knicks' still comes up as a delusional option.

    Why does any of this matter? Who cares what your boss or your colleague or even you wanted to really do with your life when you were 12 or 14?

    It is possible that it does not matter. 

    But it is also possible that it is a good idea to be reminded every once in a while that most of us are not really doing the thing we used to dream about doing. 

    That does not mean we can't love what we are doing now, and be excited about how our careers have panned out, I am not saying that. And even if we can't be doing the thing we'd really want to be doing, (I am too old, slow, and have too unreliable a jump shot to actually play for the Knicks), I think the key to making peace with the Plan B ( or C or D), that we landed on is finding some elements of Plan A inherent in what we ended up with.

    If you really wanted to be an artist or an athlete or an explorer, then what can you find in your (less glamorous), HR Manager role that at least hints at or reminds you of why you were attracted to those childhood dreams in the first place? What can you invent to make the role you have more like the one you always wanted?

    How can you become the most artistic, expressive, courageous, legendary HR Manager ever?

    If you can, then you probably will accomplish your version of "Point Guard for the Knicks".

    Have a great week!

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