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    LIVE Tomorrow - #HRHappyHour Show - 'Heartland HR'

    HR Happy Hour 189 - 'Heartland HR'

    LIVE Thursday August 14, 2014 at 8:00PM ET

    Call in 646-378-1086

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest : Dwane Lay

    This week the HR Happy Hour Show returns with a special LIVE show on Thursday August 14, 2014 at 8:00PM EDT. Steve and Trish will welcome guest Dwane Lay, Head of HR Process Design for Dovetail Software, author, speaker, and excellent karaoke singer to talk about his and our experiences and observations from a summer hitting up the HR circuit and talking to lots and lots of HR pros across America. Talent management, a tightening recruiting market, and even HR professionals looking to further their own personal professional development were just some of things we've heard this summer and we will hit up those topics and more in what should be a fun and lively conversation.

    We will also open up the lines for you to share what is on your mind as an HR pro for the balance of 2014 and beyond.

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

    Listen To Business Internet Radio Stations with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio


    And of course you can always catch the replay on the show page, on iTunes for Apple devices, or for Android using an app called Stitcher Radio. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' and add the show to your podcast subscriptions to be sure not to miss an episode.

    It should be a fun show and we hope you can join us LIVE this Thursday August 14, 2014 at 8:00PM.


    CHART OF THE DAY: Hoping it doesn't rain

    Today's Chart Of The Day comes courtesy of the Federal Reserve Board's recent and definitely interesting Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2013.

    The report, an in-depth look at the state of the American consumer/citizen in 2013 across a wide range of topics (debt, savings, job readiness, confidence in the economy, etc.), has a plethora of great insights and data sets about the economy and I probably could have picked about 15 different charts/tables to call out here.

    But the one I was most interested in is below, having to do with American's readiness or ability to withstand economic hardship like a job loss or a major (and costly) health crisis. Turns out, many of us are not at all prepared for those situations. Here is the data, then some comments as per usual from me:

    Wow, well over half of the survey respondents, (survey group and methodology here), report that they have not saved or set aside a 3-month emergency fund as a hedge against a sudden or unexpected loss of income. That is pretty bad, and even worse still when you think that many financial planner/advisor types will push their clients to have a 6-month rainy day fund at all times.

    While many of the macro-economic indicators have begun to show an improving economy, (unemployment rate, ratio of unemployed to job openings, even most of the major stock market indices), this kind of a statistic on the relative lack of preparedness for unexpected financial distress reminds us that the effects of the recession are much longer lasting than we perhaps like to think.

    If your employees are at all closely aligned with these results, then that means that perhaps half of them are much closer to personal financial crisis than they should be. And that is kind of a drag, and kind of a heavy burden to be carrying around. It also can make people 'play it safe' a little too much, over-compensating against any perceived risk in their decision making, as they get consumed with fear of losing their income if they were to get sacked for making the 'wrong' decision.

    I think people probably perform better when they are excited at their jobs, not when they are afraid to lose them.

    Have a great week!


    You have to get lighter as you get older

    Recent buzz around NBA circles, (no, this post is not ANOTHER one just about basketball, I promise - just hang with it for a second), has been the off-season weight loss of superstar player LeBron James, (see the new, slimmer LBJ from a crop of one of LBJ's Instagram pics for some visual evidence).

    The general line of thinking around LeBron's trim down this off season is that as NBA players get older (and LeBron is not 'old' in the normal sense, but he does have 10+ years in the NBA at this point), carrying less weight helps to keep knees, ankles, backs, etc. less likely to break down over the course of a long season. It is a pretty simple and obvious realization for basketball players and anyone else really - the less bulk you are dragging around makes it easier on the other parts of the body that are tasked with hauling that bulk. And for us non-NBA players, being lighter makes it infinitely easier to just navigate daily life - hustling through airports, getting in and out of your car, tossing the ball around with little Timmy or the frisbee to your adorable little dog. Being lighter just helps sometimes.

    But I think that advice, You have to get lighter as you get older, doesn't just apply in that literal, physical sense, it also has some value in a mental/emotional way as well. We are not just carrying around with us the physical accumulation of all the bad decisions we might have made at the buffet line or the donut shop, most of us our lugging around a pretty sizable collection of guilt or resentment or disappointment or even clinging for too long to some kind of romanticized version of the past that was probably never that romantic back then, and is certainly not ever coming back even if it did exist once. At work, we might be carrying around the excess weight of outdated processes, legacy technologies, and a history of 'that is the way we do things around here' that may no longer have value or relevance to what you and the organization really needs today.

    Letting go of things, both physical as in a weight loss or with cutting loose material possessions like cars or houses or old clothes, or simply dropping bad habits as a way to move forward is not some kind of new idea or concept, and certainly not one I claim any specific insight towards. It's been talked about and done for ages. But I do think in some ways modern technology and social networks and our tendency to want/need/have to be always connected, makes letting go a little bit harder than it used to be. It seems like sometimes the digital connections (combined with the ease of which most of us can be contacted via these networks), make getting lighter harder than in used to be, and harder than it should be. Someone is always out there on the the end of their iPhone and is either trying to actively hold us back or is just making it more difficult to move forward because we know they're watching. And that kind of stinks.

    But putting that aside, I also wanted to mention that LeBron looks really happy in most of these latest 'Slimmer LBJ' pictures. And while it is easy to say that LeBron should be happy all the time, after all he is a mega-rich superstar athlete, he is underneath it all a person like anyone else. He probably isn't happy all the time, even if most of the rest of us can't relate to that. He also, like most of the rest of us in our careers, need to make changes and adjustments to prepare for the next phase of his career that he is moving towards, one where he will soon be an aging player that needs to adapt to remain on top.  

    If getting lighter as you get older and to move forward works for the most famous athlete in the world it will probably work for you too. 

    Have a great weekend!


    In a same-day delivery world, does waiting two weeks to get paid make sense?

    I am a big fan of Amazon Prime and its subsidiary Zappos which take a very similar approach to package delivery. On either Amazon or Zappos, one or two clicks to find the item you want, one click to order, (at least for Amazon), and boom - a day or at the most two days later the goods are at the door.

    But even next day delivery isn't going to be good enough for these eCommerce leaders, the game is moving towards same-day delivery, at least for the larger markets. Whether these same-day deliveries will be facilitated by the usual shipping companies like FedEx and UPS, managed via centralized drop-off/pick-up locations and lockers, or even executed by Jeff Bezos' armada of flying drones, one thing is for certain - consumers are going to receive (and demand) goods even faster than ever before.

    And it is not just package delivery where consumers expectations for speed are increasing. Who wants to wait 7-10 business days for concert or sports tickets to be printed and mailed? We just have a code on our iPhones scanned at the turnstile. Don't want to walk tediously through the aisles of the grocery store? Fire up an app, make a few selections, (or just tap 'Send me my usual order') and an hour or so later you are swimming in Ritz crackers, Campbell's soup, and Mountain Dew. Heck, even the drive-through at the Starbucks is not enough of a time saver, soon the Starbucks app and some GPS location chicanery will have your order waiting for you the instant you pull in to the lot, (and it will be paid for too).

    I could go on and on like this, but you know the point - technology is making it possible to deliver goods and services and experiences of every type faster and faster - to the point where many of them are almost now 'on-demand' and in almost real time. And that is what we, the consumer, wants and demands. 

    While these trends are influencing all manner of enterprise and business technologies, call them consumerization of IT if you like, one area where the 'instant access' kind of paradigm has not really made any headway in HR tech is in the area of payroll - specifically in hourly payroll where most workers have to wait days if not weeks to actually get paid for the hours they have worked. 

    The main reason is the typical corporate payroll cycle for hourly workers - most often paid on a bi-weekly basis, one week or so after the two-week reporting period concludes. Hours logged on the first day of a cycle might not actually show up in a paycheck for something like 18 or 19 days. And that is kind of a drag for workers that might be living paycheck-to-paycheck to make ends meet. This kind of problem, workers having financial obligations that do not usually wait for the corporate payroll cycle to complete has led to the rise of the Payday loan indusry, where people can get loans/advances on their paychecks from third-parties, usually at ridiculously high interest rates. Workers do get early access to their pay, but at such a high cost that for many it just starts a cycle of debt and fees.

    A new startup called ActiveHours is attempting to end the need for these kind nasty Payday lending practices with a platform modeled after a simple principle: Employees are entitled to the pay for the hours they have worked immediately after those hours are recorded. Here's how it works from a recent review in TechCrunch:

    The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company has come up with a radical new way to charge for its mobile payment service that flips the lending model on its head. Activehours is selling a service that lets its customers get paid for the hours they work, without charging any interest on the payments that its clients receive. Users simply take a picture of their time sheet and specify how much money they would like to get paid from their earnings up to that point in the pay cycle.

    The service means hourly workers can get paid as they go, enabling them to spend their wages however and whenever they see fit. Activehours only receives a service charge which is determined by the user themselves. The company has no set fees, nor does it charge interest on the money it disburses to customers.

    Pretty simple, and kind of radical too. Employees take a picture of their time sheet, get verified by ActiveHours, then get essentially a free draw on their bi-weekly net pay at any time during the pay cycle, without have to pay the exorbitant kinds of fees and rates that the Payday lenders have typically demanded.

    ActiveHours only gets paid through user-decided service charges, (a model while extremely worker-friendy, is certainly not sustainable, but still), and the employees can get at their earnings as they work, not only after some corporate-payroll calendar tells them they can.

    Here is the money quote from ActiveHours founder Ram Palaniappan:

    “Every year, more than $1 trillion of hourly pay is held back for two weeks because of the way pay cycles work today. Yet, more than half of hourly workers in the U.S. live paycheck-to-paycheck or borrow money to stay afloat,” said Ram Palaniappan, Activehours founder in a statement. “It doesn’t make sense to incur overdraft fees or take out payday loans when your workplace owes you money. If you work everyday, why can’t you get your pay every day?”

    Kind of a good question, and one that ActiveHours is setting about trying to answer. 

    Note: I have never talked with anyone at ActiveHours and this is not a sponsored post in any way, I just think it is a cool idea.


    Selling your non-glamorous city: 5 observations from 2 days in Cleveland

    I spent a couple of days last week in the lovely city of Cleveland, Ohio to attend the (really fun) DisruptHR Cleveland event, and then took some time doing a bit of a city tour with some really cool people, (see the pic on the right for the crew taken in the Cleveland Indials Social Suite, which was a fantastic place to catch a ball game from).

    Robin, Frank, Tammy, Trish, and me (L-R)

    One of the big themes that seemed to permeate everything about the visit to Cleveland was that just about everyone from Cleveland that I met was pretty heavily invested in convincing me (and everyone else), that Cleveland is, in fact, a really cool place to live, work, play, socialize, etc. Said differently, people from Cleveland are REALLY in to being from Cleveland. They love and are proud of their city, and try really hard to let you know how fantastic it is. Even though they seem to think that most of the rest of the world sees Cleveland as a kind of last century place and not one that holds much allure for non-natives.

    But I think there are probably some ways that are more effective than others in 'selling' your less than glamorous city to potential employees or investors. And since Cleveland is not unique among Midwest, Great Lakes, rust belt kinds of places with having a bit of an image problem, (the place I live, Rochester, NY is right in that mix), it makes sense that lots of HR/Talent pros have to sell their cities all the time. So based on two days of listening and learning from the good people of Cleveland, here are my top 5 observations on the best/worst ways to sell your non-sexy location to someone that is inclined to believe the worst about your beloved hometown:

    1. Don't constantly remind people that they already believe your city is horrible

    Lots of the conversations I had (and a few of the DisruptHR presentations too), seemed to start with a statement like "I know you think Cleveland is old/backward/dirty/boring/horrible/whatever, but I am going to tell you why you are wrong..." And then they would get into the specific elements and attributes of the city that were positive to try and change my (perceived) opinions about Cleveland. But what if I didn't actually have a negative pre-conception of Cleveland? What if I didn't know much at all about the city? Don't make the first notion in my head a negative one with a "I am sure you heard that Cleveland is terrible" statement. Just lead with the strengths and drop the 'I need to change your mind" stuff.

    2. If you have something cool that NO ONE else has, then talk about that. Talk about that a lot.

    Every decent sized city has some amount of the following things: sports teams, art museums, zoos, theaters, fancy restaurants, concert venues, parks, and probably a dozen more things common to cities. While these are all interesting and important, they (typically) don't do much to convince any but the most passionate that your city is somehow superior to some other city. But when you have something really cool, something that no other city can replicate, then you lead with that. In Cleveland one such example is the (very cool) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The ONLY one of these is in Cleveland. I would spend probably 80% of my time talking about these kinds of unique elements if I was trying to sell someone on my city. "We have a nice library" is not really a differentiator.

    3. Don't fixate on a local problem that visitors are likely not familiar with

    In only about 48 hours in Cleveland I learned that the lack of downtown parking seems to be a REALLY BIG issue. Everyone seemed to mention it at some point, and two DisruptHR presenters talked about it as well. Parking seems to be a big problem, but the only reason I know anything about it is because the natives kept on bringing it up. I would not have known or realized this was an issue on my own. But since the locals seem really worrried about this, now I have in my head that parking is a problem in Cleveland. A better strategy is to not constantly remind visitors or potential transplants of what is a local problem until really necessary. Unless the local problem has something to do with random shootings, carjackings, that kind of thing. Those are the local problems I feel entitled to a little warning about.

    4. People at different life stages want different things

    This is kind of obvious, but still worth mentioning. Where you are in your life and career, significantly impacts the kind of places you are drawn too, and the types of features of a city that seem most attractive. The most successful cities are the ones that offer the kind of variety in housing, entertainment, employment, social, and recreational options that appeal to a wide range of people - from hipsters to young professionals to blue collar workers and to experienced professionals. Once the options that appeal to a group (in general), start to wane and they leave for other options, then a part of the city kind of falls away with it. The most vibrant cities, and sections of cities, have a diverse mix of not just people, but uses as well. If your downtown is all office buildings with limited residences and shops, then it will be a ghost town after 6PM.  I am not sure this is really a Cleveland problem or not, but I think it is important to mention regardless.

    5. Everyone comes from somewhere, and most people have an irrationally elevated opinion of how great their own 'somewhere' actually is.

    I am not sure I have ever been to a city where the local residents are as proud of their city as Clevelanders are about theirs. Everyone I met was really in to being from or living in Cleveland. In some ways, I felt like the visitors were being 'sold' all the time. While being proud of where you live is a great, great thing, I think you also have to be careful (and be a little rational too). Lots of cities are really cool places to live. Lots of cities have most of the same kinds of things you do too. People are nice and friendly all over the place, not just where you live. My point is, sell your city, and what makes it great, but remember that the person you are selling to probably feels the exact same way about their own city too. Keep it in check and be honest - folks will appreciate that more than being fooled. Just ease off on all the parking talk.

    I had a fantastic time in Cleveland. And I can't think of better ambassadors for that fine city than our gracious hosts and guides Frank Zupan and Tammy Colson.

    I do think, in fact, it is true - Cleveland rocks.

    Have a great week!