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    Friday
    Aug102018

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    1. Beloved footwear brand Crocs is in a bit of trouble. Might want to stock up on some just in case. I did the same move when I learned that Twinkies were being discontinued a few years back.

    2. There was some really interesting coverage on what auto manufacturer GM is doing to try and better control employee healthcare costs and improve outcomes. It is clear that all of the traditional strategies they have been trying up until now have not moved the needle.

    3. One of the biggest stories in college sports was recently broke by a reporter that ESPN laid off earlier in the year. Tough to get 'scooped' by someone you decided was not essential to your business.

    4. From Academia - 'Compensation and Incentives in the Workplace' by Edward P. Lazear. "A sample of some of the most applicable papers are discussed with the goal of demonstrating that compensation, incentives, and productivity are inseparably linked."

    5. Still more from the market for truck drivers from Fortune. Between automation influences, labor force demographic changes, and increasing regulatory pressures, hiring truck drivers has never been harder.

    6. Infographic (are they still a thing?) 'Debunking 8 Myths about AI in the Workplace'

    7. The English Premier League season kicks off this weekend. If you need a team to support, I recommend Liverpool. This is our year for sure.

    8. Trish McFarlane and I did a great HR Happy Hour Show earlier this week with guest Erica Volini from Deloitte on the 2018 Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report. You can listen to the replay HERE or on your favorite podcast app.

    9. Speaking of the HR Happy Hour Show, our new version of the show for the Amazon Alexa platform just crossed the 50 episode mark. To listen to the show just add the HR Happy Hour Skill to your Echo device's Daily Flash Briefing.

    10. It's one month until the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas. Check out the agenda and register here. Use my code STEVE300 for $300 off your HR Tech Conference pass.

    Have a great weekend!

    Wednesday
    Aug082018

    Culture, Experience, Dedication (and a little summer basketball)

    Warning - This post seems to be about basketball. It is not entirely about basketball. Maybe 87%.

    Basketball is largely a year-round sport these days, but during the period from the end of the NBA's official Summer League in Las Vegas, (absolutely the most fun trip I make every year), and the beginning of training camp for the new season, usually there is not much happening in the sport. For hoops junkies like me, the eight or ten weeks or so with no real basketball to watch can be a little bit of a bummer.

    But four years or so some enterprising entrepreneurs decided to try to fill that hole in the basketball calendar with a new concept - a $1M dollar, (since increased to $2M) winner-take-all single elimination tournament called, simply, The Basketball Tournament (TBT)  The teams that comprise the field in TBT are made up of some combination of former college players not good enough for the NBA, professionals playing in one of the numerous pro leagues in Europe, Asia, the the Middle East, and a smattering of retired players looking for one more run with some good competition, (and a chance to grab a share of $2M).

    TBT has kind of caught on among hard-core basketball fans, and for a couple of weeks in July, (supported by coverage on the ESPN networks), TBT becomes almost the most interesting story in the basketball world. Assuming, of course, we are not waiting for LeBron to pick a new team.

    But the real story of the four years of TBT has been the story of the team named Overseas Elite, the still undefeated and now four-time winner of TBT, and winners (remember this is a winner-take-all event), of $7M over their run, a prize shared by players and coaches. Overseas Elite, a team made up of players who have almost no NBA experience at all, most of whom were not even decent NBA prospects, and who now play professionally in places like Dubai and Morocco, has delivered a stunning 25-game win streak, (again, this is a single elimination competition), across four tournaments, while defeating many teams that on paper, had much more talent than they possess.

    Here's the part of the post where we shift from a sports story to an HR/Talent story.

    So to what can we attribute Overseas Elite's string of remarkable success?

    Three things that have resonated with Overseas Elite and can be applied to building teams in just about any endeavor?

    Culture- When Overseas Elite, then the 3-time TBT champion, had to fill two open roster slots for the 2018 tournament, they didn't just seek out the best of most talented players they could find. “We don’t pick just any guys,” team leader DJ Kennedy said. “We pick guys who fit our team as far as high character and not being selfish and guys who can really mesh together.” 

    Experience - With most of the roster consisting of relatively older players with years of experience at the pro level from playing around the world, Overseas Elite always played with poise, didn't panic when things were going against them in a game, and over four years and 25 wins under pressure, have found ways to win every time. Knowing what to do in almost any situation only comes from hard-earned experience, and often this experience can make the difference against a more talented team. Our lesson? Don't underestimate or undervalue experience on your own teams in your organizations. Having been there before is a kind of skill you just can't teach.

    Dedication- Amazingly, in the world of TBT and professional basketball, six of Overseas Elite's 10-man roster have been with the team for all four tournaments and have won four championships. Sure, these six guys have stuck with the team because of all the success, (and prize money), but have the success and prize money been a by product of the core of the team remaining intact over the four year run? Probably some of both I guess. While it is hard to know for sure what the real value of this kind of 'core team' consistency is, it has to have at least some value. If you trust the process on the recruiting and hiring side, and you have a decent strategic plan, then letting the team stay together to figure things out can lead to more sustained success over time.

    Ok, so this post was mostly about basketball. Apologies. But I love the story. I hope that Overseas Elite can keep it going next summer. I for sure will be watching.

    Have a great day!

     

    Monday
    Aug062018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 332 - The 2018 Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report

    HR Happy Hour 332 - The 2018 Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report

    Sponsored by Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Erica Volini, Leader, US Human Capital Practice, Deloitte

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, hosts Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane are joined by Erica Volini from Deloitte, to take a deep dive into some of the most important themes and trends from the 2018 Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report.

    On the show, Erica shared some of the insights that the Deloitte team gained from their in-depth survey of over 11,000 global HR and business leaders. Some of theme and trends we talked about on the show are the emergence of the social enterprise - the idea that organization need to think more broadly about the value they create in society, the need for HR and business leaders to think about designing and supporting employee careers as set of experiences, and how more organizations are embracing holistic approaches to employee wellbeing as a driver of business success.

    There is so much great information, data, and insights in the report, we honestly just scratched the surface of what is truly relevant and important for HR leaders. We plan on doing a follow-up show this fall to dig into the data even more.

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

    Thanks to Erica for joing us and get your free copy of the report HERE.

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show wherever you get your podcasts - just search for 'HR Happy Hour'.

    Thursday
    Aug022018

    HRE Column: The Three Things I Think About the Most When Thinking About HR Tech

    I have been a little slack in posting links back to my monthly column over at HR Executive Online but fear not gentle readers, I have not abandoned this essential public service.

    So without further delay, here is the link to my latest Inside HR Tech piece at HR Executive - 3 HR Tech Topics I Think About the Most.

    From the piece:

    I have recently had many conversations with speakers, exhibitors and HR tech-industry experts to finalize sessions, schedules and plans for the HR Technology Conference in September. In one of these conversations, a representative from a major HR-technology provider asked me an interesting question that I don’t recall ever being asked before: “When you are thinking about HR technology, what do you think about the most?”

    At the time, I tried to stammer out a reasonably coherent answer, as I was not expecting the question. I’ve been thinking about it ever since and decided it would be a good topic to explore here, because elements of HR tech I consider may also influence how you think your current and future tech.

    With that said, here are the categories I most often come back to when I think about HR tech.

    The War for Talent

    Regular readers might recall that I think about, talk about and write about macro labor-market data and trends almost compulsively. The monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics “JOLTS” report is the highlight of most months for me, and I track data points like the labor-force-participation rate and the quits rate like I used to track the batting averages of the mid-1980s New York Mets.

    You probably don’t have to be a labor-market wonk to know the U.S. market continues to tighten and become more challenging for employers. Unemployment is nearing low, “full-employment” levels and the number of posted, open jobs—as well as the rate of voluntary separations (or “quits”)—is at all-time high since the BLS began its measurements. Essentially, most, if not all, employers are facing difficulty for finding, attracting and retaining workers.

    So back to the HR-technology angle. When I think about HR technology I tend to first think about how a specific technology can help an organization better compete in this extremely difficult environment...

    Read the rest at Human Resource Executive Online...

    And remember to subscribe to get my monthly Inside HR Tech column via email on the subscription sign-up page here. The first 25 new subscribers get a new set of steak knives. Well, maybe. 

    Thanks and have a great day!

    Tuesday
    Jul312018

    A (slight) pause in the robot job takeover

    Quick report for the last day of July from the robots are taking all the jobs frontier. It looks like, at least for now, one of the important, (and widely held) jobs that has seemed most vulnerable to eventual robot takeover may remain the province of humans a little bit longer.

    The job is over the road truck driver, a job that has been in the news plenty lately, mostly in the context of pretty significant labor shortages. Shipping companies and manufacturers are having a hard time recruiting new truck drivers into what is a demanding profession, the existing supply of truckers are starting to age out of the workforce, and efforts to improve pay and conditions for truckers, (which in theory helps with recruiting and retention), have so far had mixed results.

    These factors, combined with the seeming dozens of high tech companies actively working on self-driving transportation technologies have led many industry observers to predict that self-driving trucks and associated technologies would sooner than later begin to be introduced into the industry. It makes sense for sure, the combination of a human labor replacing opportunity, with a technology that has been in development for quite some time, and a clear economic need that continues to grow have created what most industry experts considered a kind of perfect storm for truck drivers. In fact, all the coverage and noise about how the profession of truck driving is doomed, (for people), probably is contributing to the current truck driver shortfall. Who wants to enter an industry where 5 or 10 years from now you'll be replaced with a self-driving truck?

    But some news broke a couple of days ago that may give this entire narrative pause. Our pals at Uber, long-considered one of the leaders in developing self-driving trucks and technology is stepping back from their development efforts. From a piece covering the news in Venture Beat:

    Uber is shifting resources away from the self-driving truck unit within its Advanced Technologies Group, the company announced today in an email to reporters. For the time being, it’s ceasing development on the autonomous freight platform it acquired from autonomous tech company Otto.

    “We’ve decided to stop development on our self-driving truck program and move forward exclusively with cars,” Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, said in a statement. “We recently took the important step of returning to public roads in Pittsburgh, and as we look to continue that momentum, we believe having our entire team’s energy and expertise focused on this effort is the best path forward.”

    It's a pretty interesting move by Uber, who has had a bunch of other problems to deal with over the last couple of years, but to shift their self-driving tech development and focus from trucking to cars probably indicates the trucking problem is much tougher to solve than they realized.

    Truck drivers, as it has been reported, do plenty of other things besides keep the vehicle between the white lines on the freeway. Load inspection and balancing, monitoring vehicle performance, consideration of local weather and traffic conditions, and finally, negotiating the often tricky and challenging last miles of a delivery and plenty more. Uber likely has found that solving all of these problems and delivering true 'self-driving' trucking solutions has turned out to be harder than it seems.

    And that is probably a lesson we can take in other domains as well. As robots and technolgy advance in capability, it can be easy to underestimate all the added value and unique value that humans bring to their work. It's not easy building a self-driving truck that can replace a human truck driver.

    It's probably not going to be easy to build technology to replace you or me either. (Let's hope).

    Have a great day!