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    Friday
    Jun232017

    UPDATE: Ways to describe a basketball player's talent, ranked

    NOTE: Ran a version of this post 2 years ago the day after the 2015 NBA Draft, the draft were my New York Knicks did indeed select the 'Unicorn' Kristaps Porzingis in the first round. Fast forward two years later and these same Knicks apparently are flirting with the idea of trading the Unicorn, who is quite literally the only player worth watching on what has become a terrible team. If they do indeed decide to trade Porzingis, I want to make it publicly known that I am no longer a Knicks fan, and will be in search of a new team to support.

    Having said all that, let's take another look at the many ways that the NBA analysts and pundits have come up with to describe a basketball player's skills and talents. Did you think 'fast', 'tall', or 'can jump high?' were good enough? Oh no, my naive friend.

    After watching about 5 hours of draft coverage, (and pre-draft and post-draft shows), I offer up ways to describe basketball talent, ranked, and as always, these are unscientific, unresearched, and 100% correct.

    Here goes...

    15. Floor spacer

    14. Efficient

    13. Switch-capable

    12. Rim-runner

    11. Twitchy

    10. Bouncy

    9. Wingspan

    8. Fluid

    7. Motor

    6. Elite-level athleticism

    5. Second jumpability

    4. High ceiling

    3. Grit

    2. High basketball IQ

    1. Tremendous upside

    As always, you can disagree with these rankings, but of course you would be wrong.

    Have a great weekend!

    Thursday
    Jun222017

    HRE Column: An HR Technology Conference Preview #HRTechConf

    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, as I have been wrapping up the program development for the upcoming HR Technology Conference that will be held at in October, I take a look at some of the more interesting trends and themes in HR tech that have emerged from reviewing about 450 proposals and talking with dozens of HR leaders and technology service providers. These issues demand continuing focus for HR leaders and the spotlight will be placed on them at the Conference this fall.

    So in this month's HR Executive column I examine a a few of these technologies and trends that are continuing to be top of mind for HR leaders and HRIT leaders and that will be on display at the Conference in October. There are of course a few other themes and trends that are important, but I could not fit them all into the HRE piece. I will probably touch upon some of them in next month's column.

    I am super excited of what is in store at the event and plan to share as many of the big ideas that will be showcased there in the next few months both at HRE and here on the blog as well as the HR Happy Hour Show.

    Here's a taste of the HRE piece:

    As I write this article, I'm in the process of putting the finishing touches on the program for the 20th Annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition®, which will be held from Oct. 10 through Oct. 13, 2017 at the Venetian Las Vegas. Creating the program for the HR Tech Conference is always a challenging but rewarding process, as working through literally hundreds of speaking proposals, participating in dozens of phone calls, and attending numerous events and conferences provides me with a valuable, interesting and, I think, unique perspective on the most pressing HR, HR technology and workforce challenges facing organizations today.

    Looking back on my five years working on the conference, and a little bit further back to the conference's founding 20 years ago, I can't help but notice the incredible change and innovation that's taken place. The power and promise of HR technology have never been greater.

    I've written before that we have entered the "Golden Age" of HR technology, with the capability, availability and affordability of HR technology solutions advancing in unison. Innovative start-ups, large enterprise providers continuing to improve their technologies, and the pressures of increased competition have all combined to create new and better tools for HR and organizational leaders. Nowhere is this "Golden Age" more completely on display than at the HR Tech Conference.

    Specifically, I'd like to focus here on three important HR technology areas and how they will be addressed at this year's event.

    Employee Engagement

    Consistently, or perhaps persistently, aggregate employee-engagement levels or scores have hovered at around "30 percent engaged" for years. The stubbornness of the engagement problem is surprising, given the time spent and investments made (largely in the form of annual employee surveys and subsequent analysis of survey results) to better understand and successfully address the employee-engagement problem. Despite these investments, it seems as if HR often falls short of the mark. Something has to give.

    Fortunately, in the past several years, two things have happened in concert that offer renewed promise that the employee-engagement conundrum can actually be cracked. The first is that progressive HR leaders have begun to think about the engagement challenge more broadly, moving past singular scores or levels on an engagement survey and framing the conversation around the overall employee experience.

    The employee experience encompasses all the interactions between the employee and the organization. By assessing and evaluating the touchpoints of the employee experience (including those occurring in recruiting, onboarding, training, benefits and compensation), HR leaders can identify targeted opportunities for improvement, and make sure that HR interventions and investments can actually positively impact the employee experience -- eventually driving greater engagement.

    Naturally, when HR and organizational leaders identify a new area of focus, such as the employee experience, new and innovative technologies are developed to help. Many of these, of course, will be showcased at this year's HR Tech Conference.

    The employee experience will be explored at the conference in several ways. First, there will be a panel, moderated by employee-engagement expert Jason Lauritsen, featuring executives from some of the leading solution providers in diverse areas such as wellness/well-being, performance and talent management, total compensation and rewards, and employee feedback and recognition. They will address the fundamental question, "Can HR technology drive improved employee engagement?" This conversation will be an important one, as it will set the stage for additional content and discussions about how specific technologies and strategies are impacting engagement in today's organization. 

    Read the rest at HRE 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-surface your driveway, take your dog for a walk, or help you weed the garden.

    Finally, I hope to see many readers out at HR Tech this October. You can save $200 off the current registration rates when you sign up HERE use offer code STEVE200. See, I am looking out for you!

    Tuesday
    Jun202017

    Life at 2.0x Speed

    I was talking to some folks I met recently at an event about the HR Happy Hour Show, and the cool things that are happening there with the other HR Happy Hour Network Shows, (I admit to talking about this a lot. I'm sorry). During the conversation, one of the persons at the table indicated that she would love to listen to more podcasts, but she (like many of us, I suppose), felt like she just didn't have enough time in her day/week to fit them in. With work, family, friends, community involvement, etc, spending a couple of hours a week listening to all the great podcasts that people tell her about just seems not doable for her right now.

    At that point another person who was sort of half-participating in the conversation chimed in that he had the same challenge finding time for podcasts too, but he's 'solved' it by now listening to his favorite podcasts at 1.5x or sometimes even 2.0x speed. For those who don't listen to podcasts regularly, or who just may not be familiar with the speed adjustment feature of podcast apps, all of them allow you to increase the speed of the podcast stream to 1.5x or even 2.0x the normal speaking rate. So at 1.5x speed, a 30 minute podcast could be listened to in 20 minutes. At 2.0x you could cover it in 15. It just speeds up everything you hear. It is kind of like the old speed reading craze, except with audio.

    But, and this could be just a personal issue for me, listening at 1.5x or 2.0x speed is really unsettling. The podcast hosts and guests all seem really amped up on six cups of coffee, everything about the conversation feels nervous, and listening to people talk that fast for that long, never taking what would seem to be natural pauses or breaths is just really off-putting. But technically you can listen that fast if you, as our friend above, are so pressed for time that turning 30 minutes into 20 is important in your day/life. But I still think you shouldn't do it. It's too weird.

    Why do I care about this enough to blog about it?

    I probably shouldn't care, but I have thought about that conversation and mister 'I listen at 2.0x' guy a few times since it happened a couple of weeks ago. And I kind of felt bad, (and a little guilty too).

    Bad for a guy who is just a representative of our hyper-focused, productivity over all, 24/7, 'more-more-more', professional climate that seems to value doing as much productive work as possible at all times. And in this instance, turning the concept of time itself into something that can be bent to the gods of productivity.

    And guilty for the fact that I don't speed up the listen rate when I play back podcasts, I do, often, find myself trying to make people get to the point faster, cut to the chase in emails, and text me instead of calling me - lest an interaction that can be reduced to 16 seconds actually take 3 minutes.

    I don't speed up my podcasts, but too often I (try) and speed up lots of other things. And that is probably as unsettling as listening to sportswriters talk about the NBA draft at double speed.

    NOTE: I spent 28 minutes writing this post. With any luck, next time I can get it down to 21.

    Monday
    Jun192017

    Diversity and Inclusivity Starting with the Job Application

    I'm not a user of Snapchat. Mainly because I am an adult, I was never able to figure it out the two or three times my HR Happy Hour partner Trish McFarlane tried to explain it to me, and also because I am an adult.

    While 'maturing' as a platform, (I bet following the same pattern as Facebook, as the parents of the pre-teens, teens, and young adults who were the primary users of the network are 'forced' to sign up in order to keep and eye on what their kids are up to online), Snapchat is still by and large an app/social network predominantly used by people under 34. And this totally fine. I personally don't get it, and I look a little side-eyed when a 46 year old man asks if I 'Snap', but at the same time I totally understand why a 17 year-old would be on Snap all day long. That same 17 year-old would laugh at LinkedIn the same way I scoff at Snapchat.

    I thought about this after reading a piece on Business Insider about McDonald's plans to use Snapchat, in the form of something they call a 'Snaplication' as a launch point in the recruiting process that has a goal of hiring about 250,000 new employees this summer.

    The basic idea is that an interested candidate would log in to Snapchat, find the McDonald's careers 'page' or account or whatever it is you call such a thing on Snapchat, and view a 10-second video from McDonald's employees. The version of the process in Australia also allows candidates to record their own 10 second 'Snaplication' to send to McDonald's. From there, the app allows the candidates (via a swipe) to launch an actual job application process in the app.

    Sounds really cool and innovative, if a little cheeky. But I do applaud McDonald's for pushing the technology and candidate engagement envelope with this initiative. They (probably rightly), see that users of smart phones, (just about everyone), and who also use Snapchat, (probably lots and lots of people from 16 - 30), line up pretty well with their typical or targeted employee profile.

    But what I worried about when I read the story, (and after I stopped rolling my eyes at the concept of a 'Snaplication'), is that this kind of a 'front door' to the recruiting process would almost certainly screen out a pretty significant cohort of potential applicants who don't use Snapchat, would have no clue how to figure out how to send a 'Snaplication', and rather than try and figure it out, would just walk next door to Chick fil-A to apply there. That cohort would be made up of mostly older people, folks like me for example. 

    And if you were surprised to learn that a 'Snaplication' is a thing, you might also be surprised to learn that on average, fast-food workers are getting older too. There are a few different sources of this kind of data, and the numbers are not all consistent, but this example from the BLS suggests that median age of all food service workers is about 30. And I bet if you hit up a McDonald's for your McMuffin and coffee fix this morning you are likely to finds as many 30+ folks working the counter and grill as you are the more typical Snapchatter.

    Now I know that you don't 'have' to use Snapchat to apply for a job at McDonald's, and the traditional methods that older candidates would be more familiar with are still available, but that is not really the point.

    The point is that every decision an organization makes about how it will find, attract, and engage candidates has an impact on the organization in the long run, particularly its diversity and inclusiveness.

    Pushing 'Snaplications' will drive more applicants from a certain, younger demographic, just like working an on-campus recruiting event at the University of Pick Your State will drive more applicants from that particular school's demographic. Running targeted job ads on any website or social network also (by design), shapes, influences, and limits the candidates you are likely to attract.

    None of this is new thinking, smart HR and recruiting folks know this for sure. But I am not sure candidates do. 

    Or said differently, when I read about the 'Snaplication' program, the first thing I thought of was that there's no way I would ever do that. And that is ok I suppose, as I probably would not be applying to McDonald's anyway.

    But I bet there are at least some, maybe quite a few actually, interested and desirable candidates that McDonald's might be turning off with a program like this. And the real lesson is that we all need to be really careful and considerate about how the places, methods, requirements, and technologies that we use in the candidate attraction and application process can have downstream impacts on the organization overall.

    'Snaplications' sound dumb. But they matter. All the choices we make that impact who we bring in to the organization matter.

    Have a great week!

    Friday
    Jun162017

    n = 1

    1. Three trips to China in the last three years and I am pretty sure it is the most fascinating place I've ever been and may ever get to. HR Tech China was amazing. Shanghai is probably the best city I've visited. I didn't get to see this when we were there, but check out this self-driving convenience store (yes, you read that correctly), coming soon to Shanghai.

    2. One of the harder things for independent consultants, contract workers, or other 'gig' economy types to manage is time out of the (home or otherwise) office. Unlike our corporate colleagues, there is often no one to delegate responsibility for work or even just responses to inquiries to when a gig workers is on vacation or traveling. Consequently, stuff piles up even more than usual. Once I dig out and some of the dust settles, I am going to figure out once and for all an email management system that can work for me. Until then, you can re-send if you are waiting for something from me.

    3. Due to above-mentioned travel, I missed 85% of the recently concluded NBA Finals series between the Warriors and Cavs. What a letdown. I probably watch (at least parts of), 400 NBA games each season. To miss the conclusion was kind of a drag. Thanks to the Delta Sky Club in MSP for having the game on this past Monday night while I was waiting out a 3.5 hour flight delay. 

    4. But now that NBA season is over, I am officially going to join the ranks of 'cord cutters'. Spectrum, look out for a call from me this weekend. In a related note, in the US, Netflix now has more subscribers than 'normal' Cable TV providers have.

    5. If you haven't yet, have a look at the latest shows on the HR Happy Hour Podcast Network. We've been producing some great content lately on HR Tech, Employee Wellbeing, Employee Engagement and more. 

    6. I am a huge fan (as a consumer/user) of Uber. But with each passing week we hear more and more of what a disaster of a company culture that has been allowed to develop over there. But yet, I still am compelled to call an Uber when I need a ride to the airport in Phoenix. I am not sure how to feel about all that. Have you dropped Uber the more you have learned about their culture?

    7. Speaking of Uber, in one of their 'healing' meetings recently, their new HR head asked employees to stand up and hug each other. This is a terrible idea on every level. Mark me down on the side of 'no hugging at work ever' policy. In fact, I am not that big a fan of hugging in real life outside of work as well. I think Jerry has it right in this clip (email and RSS subscribers click through)

     

     

    8. This is a really interesting longer read on corporate branding and logos from Fortune. I didn't know that the Bass Ale 'red triangle' logo is generally considered the first corporate logo, dating back to 1870. 

    9. Which companies generate the most revenue per employee? If your guesses start with Apple or Amazon, keep guessing. Some fascinating data from Visual Capitalist. If you could pick just one metric for the condition of your business, revenue per employee would probably be the smartest choice.

    10. I gave myself exactly 23 minutes to write this post, and I am at minute 22. So it ends here. Have a great weekend all!