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    Monday
    Jun202016

    Reunion

    Yesterday was Father's Day here in the US and I hope any Dads reading this had a fantastic day basking in the adoration of your kids and the rest of your family. I am sure you deserved all the gifts and accolades you received.

    I am a Dad myself, and I had a great day with my son even as he was applying a pretty comprehensive beat down on me in tennis. I chalk it up to a slightly injured shoulder. Let's not quibble about the fact that the injury is to my right shoulder and I play tennis as a left hander.

    Father's Day naturally makes you think about family, and the value and importance of taking time to get away from the grind and spending time with family, friends, and even just doing the things that make your happy, and that help you remain energized to come back to the office on Monday ready to kick some butt.Maesta - Sean Scully

    I don't think we, as individuals and as organizational or HR leaders think about that as much as we should. I mean consciously thinking about how what we do and how we spend our time outside of work (usually) matters far more than the 36 new emails we are going to have in our inbox by 8:40 Monday morning or whether or not we got invited to the 'big' meeting on Thursday.

    In what might be classified as ironic, I spent a decent amount of time over the weekend reading and thinking about a recently published study titled Overworked America, by Heather Boushey and Bridget Ansel. In the paper, Boushey and Ansel report that average working hours, particularly in many higher wage, professional occupations continue to climb, at the same time as hours for many lower wage and hourly positions are falling.

    You really should read the entire report, but here is the overview so you can get a feel for the research:

    Hard work is part and parcel of the American Dream, but at a certain point, working excessive hours can be detrimental to families, businesses, and the U.S. economy. While there are federal laws that govern work hours, these legal protections have slowly eroded, and some Americans are putting in more time at work than ever before. What's more, the United States has seen a polarization in working time, meaning that some segments of the labor market have seen a rise in work hours and others are working much less.

    This report looks at the rising number of employees working long hours—sometimes earning high salaries or overtime pay, but too often not—and the implications for individuals, families, businesses, and the U.S. economy.

    There's a lot to take from the report - not the least of which is the really interesting theory that the job roles where people tend to work the longest are also the one with the most supply ready, willing, and able set of lower-paid replacement workers. But the big takeaway from me as I read the report was that we all probably should be doing more to find better balance - as individuals that often should be more available and present for our families and friends, and as organizations who should realize that working people excessively is bad for business and for employees too.

    I have to admit I did not think about or do any 'real' work on Father's Day. 

    I hope you didn't either.

    Have a great week!

    Friday
    Jun172016

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 249 - HireVue, Digital Disruption, and the Big Lies in HR

    HR Happy Hour 249 - HireVue, Digital Disruption, and the Big Lies in HR

    Recorded LIVE at HireVue Digital Disruption 2016, Park City, Utah

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Mark Newman, Founder & CEO, HireVue

    LISTEN HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve was joined by Mark Newman, Founder & CEO of HireVue, the leading technology provider of video-based technology solutions for talent acquisition, assessment, and talent analytics. HireVue essentially created the category of 'video interviewing', but now are much more than just that, with new technology on assessments, coaching, and deep learning now a part of the overall talent platform. On the show Mark shares the larger HireVue story and then talks about the three 'Big Lies' in HR and Talent - one, We NEED more candidates;, two, Millennials don't want long careers with any one company;, and three, The War for Talent is back on.

    Mark shared some great ideas on how organizations can avoid getting trapped by these 'big lies' and how technology plays a role in managing these challenges.

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

    This was a fun, and really interesting conversations with one of the most interesting technology leaders in the HR tech space.

    Many thanks to HireVue for having the HR Happy Hour at Digital Disruption this year.

    And also thanks to our sponsor Virgin Pulse, learn more about them at www.virginpulse.com.

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or any podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to never miss a show!

    Thursday
    Jun162016

    The obligatory Microsoft - LinkedIn take

    If you regularly write or otherwise opine about technology, HR, HR tech, recruiting, or pretty much anything to do with enterprise technology, then Al Gore and the rest of the creators of the internet have decreed that you must have some kind of a take, any kind at all really, about this week's big news of Microsoft announcing its plans to acquire LinkedIn for $26B large.

    So while EVERYONE else has probably weighed in on this a couple of days ago and the immediate window for 'newsy' analysis is past, I am going to direct my take in a slightly different direction.

    Aside - before getting to my point I just have to laugh (once again), at all the experts and analysts and pundits who within hours of this announcement somehow were able to crank out 1,000 words explaining to the rest of us what this news really meant. No one, I mean NO ONE, was thinking about Microsoft making this move before it was announced, then to suddenly act as if you have it all worked out within an hour is laughable. And also a little insulting. And like this take, everyone will forget what you wrote after the fact. Tell us it's going to happen BEFORE it happens sometime and you will impress us. All of us can wax profound after the fact. Ok, rant over.

    There was one slide in the official Microsoft public presentation and announcement on Monday that really caught my attention and that of all of this, might be the most interesting aspect of this deal in the coming years. Here's the slide from MSFT, then some free-range, organic, farm-raised comments from me.

    Since the quality of the image isn't all that great, I want to repeat the key part of the text on the left side of the slide - "There is no one source of truth for an individual (that's me and you by the way), profile... In the future, a professionals profile will be unified..."

    Those are the lines that I noticed the most in the entire announcement, and here's why I think they are interesting and potentially troubling for MSFT, for your organization, and for all of us as professionals.

    Why? Three reasons...

    1. While just about all of us have come to a reluctant realization that we probably should and do have a reasonably complete professional profile and history on LinkedIn, that realization comes from years of consideration about LinkedIn, and what LinkedIn was doing with our data. We may not love the fact that LinkedIn became a $26B company largely on the value of our profile information we supplied (for free), but we came to decide the personal value to us was at least worth the tradeoff that has now made lots of LinkedIn investors rich.

    But will we be ok making those same kinds of tradeoffs knowing 'our' data and profiles are now owned by Microsoft? Will the 400M or so users be readily willing to give Microsoft the same kind of pass that we gave LinkedIn, given the perceived value to us? I am not so sure. Or at least I am not that sure it's a given that people already on LinkedIn won't be too bothered by this. And I know it is not a given that people who ar not yet on LinkedIn won't be given at least some pause turning over their profiles and history to an even more gigantic company in Microsoft.

    2. From an organizational standpoint, just how excited are you as an HR or business leader with Microsoft's plan to make its (LinkedIn/Office/Skype/Whatever else they have) data become the "unified" professional profile for your employees? Aren't you at least a little bit concerned by having more and more of your employee's data about what they are working on and who they are collaborating with becoming at least potentially part of some LinkedIn-based unified and possibly public profile? Are you sure that this won't be even more of a competitive issue for you and your organization? There are still companies and leaders that would prefer their employees not be on LinkedIn at all - so they are not as likely to be recruited away by a competitor. 

    3. Finally, from a personal angle how much do most professionals want their current organization to be even more aware of what an employee is doing on LinkedIn? Would you somehow get 'red flagged' as a flight risk if Microsoft's big data engine spots and alerts your organization's management that you recently looked at an external job posting or have just connected with two or three third-party recruiters? I know some of what all of us do on LinkedIn is potentially visible to our current management and company, but an even more embedded and universal profile (LinkedIn based), that in theory becomes the de facto internal corporate identity as well just exposes more and more of your LinkedIn actions to your employer, whether or not you want that exposure or not.

    Ok, that's it for me, let me know what you think - am I wrong to not be leading the cheers for this acquisition?

    Wednesday
    Jun152016

    The 8 Man Rotation - 2015 Season - #8ManRotation

    As an HR/Talent pro I am on record as stating that you can learn just about everything you need to know about leadership, management, performance, assessment, teamwork, engagement, culture, succession planning, the workplace and ultimately winning from watching sports.

    In fact, not only do I believe that to be true, my 8 Man Rotation pals Kris DunnTim SackettLance HaunMatt Stollak and I spend lots of time, energy, and pixels all year long trying to make that point through the numerous posts we craft that hit upon the themes of Sports and HR.

    And each year our pal Matt Stollak compiles these pieces into The 8 Man Rotation E-book, which the boys and I are proud to release today.

    The 8 Man Rotation: The 2015 Season is 106 pages of our best takes in 2015 on the themes of HR strategy, analytics, talent management, performance, recruiting, compensation and more - all with a connection to the wide, wide world of sports.  The 2015 Season I have to confess, was probably our finest season yet.

    Please check out The 2015 Season, (embedded below, email and RSS subscribers will need to click through)

     

    Huge thanks go out once again to the fellas for letting me be a part of the crew and to Matty Ice in particular for doing all the hard work to bring the Ebook together each year. 

    Monday
    Jun132016

    Signs of the corporate death spiral #3 - Fifteen years between new products

    Some death spirals are shockingly abrupt, (the 'Secret' app, Theranos), and some others are so slow, and play out over such a long time horizon, that at times it must seem like the organization really isn't in a death spiral after all.

    But then something happens to reassure and remind everyone that indeed the organization is on the decline, just a little bit slower and a little harder to detect unless you're watching closely. Submitted for your consideration a recent announcement from the good folks at General Mills, a company you probably have not thought much about, if at all, in ages.

    From the piece 'This is General Mills' first new cereal in more than 15 years'

    General Mills the creator of iconic cereals like Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and Trix, is adding a new brand to its fleet. The cereal is called Tiny Toast, which the company describes as “tiny pieces of crunchy toast covered with even tinier pieces of delicious fruit.”

    It’s available in two flavors, strawberry and blueberry, and it’s made with whole grains and flavored with real fruit and other natural ingredients. According to a press release obtained by Fortune, the cereal contains no artificial flavors or colors.

    Though the food giant has consistently released new versions and flavors of its already-existing brands, this is the first all-new cereal that General Mills has launched in more than 15 years.

    To be fair to the folks at General Mills it isn't as if they have not introduced any new variations of their products in 15 years. After all there are at least 14 different varieties of Cheerios, many of which have been launched more recently. So it's not like the General Mills folks have been doing nothing over the years and have been just sitting back, contentedly counting those great Lucky Charms profits.

    General Mills is kind of in a rough spot for a few reasons. Cereal sales have been in decline for a decade or more, and folks that eat cereal tend to be loyal to one or two brands. So from General Mills perspective, it probably has not made a ton of sense to invest too much in new product development and market research in order to launch new brands of cereal into a declining market. 

    But still, nothing truly new, (and the 15th variety of the Cheerio isn't really 'new'), in over 15 years is definitely a sign of the death spiral, even if it is a long, slow, and hard to notice decline.

    What is the larger message that we can try to take from the General Mills situation?

    Probably that if you are thinking about your career, and the kind of organization you want to be a part of, taking a close look at the pattern and cadence of new product/service development and innovation is an important consideration. 

    Would you be happy sitting in a brainstorming session discussing what other fruit flavor you can sprinkle on top of a Cheerio? How about Pineapple Cheerios?

    Or would you rather be a part of an organization and an industry that is constantly looking to create, to invent, and to re-invent?

    Have a great week!

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