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    Entries in career (115)

    Wednesday
    Sep022015

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 220 - Kathryn Minshew from The Muse

    HR Happy Hour 220 - Kathryn Minshew from The Muse

    Recorded Tuesday September 1, 2015

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Kathryn Minshew, Founder and CEO, The Muse

    LISTEN HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve and Trish welcomed Kathryn Minshew, Founder and CEO of the wildly popular website The Muse to talk about the next generation of workers, and how organizations can best engage with and attract this highly sought-after talent pool.

    Kathryn shared insights on the kinds of resources for career planning and development that these millennial workers are seeking out, the need for more simple and relevant content for early career professionals, and how at The Muse Kathryn and her team have created a large and engaged community of 4 million monthly users to learn more about work, workplaces and employers.

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

    Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio

     

    This was a fun and really interesting conversation with one of the leaders helping to shape the modern workplace and in many ways the new paradigms that organizations will operate within as they strive to describe their unique company culture and their value proposition to the next generation of the workforce.

    We definitely recommend that HR and Talent Acquisition leaders take a look the The Muse to get a look at what many forward-thinking organizations are doing in their efforts to promote their companies and brands and to connect with their next great hire.

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes or your preferred podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to add the show to your playlist and never miss an episode.

    Many thanks to Kathryn and everyone at The Muse!

    Monday
    Aug242015

    Job Titles of the Future #14 - Cultural Intelligence Agent

    What kind of organization do you think would benefit from someone who could 'Harness industry trends, insights and resources to help fuel an environment of disruptive growth and innovation?'

    Additionally, the person who would excel in this role would also be able to 'Mine the cultural landscape to identify emerging trends and influences in the areas of Music, Gaming, Design, Tech, and Culinary.'

    That all sounds really cool and fun and vaguely hipsterish. I am pretty sure I am not qualified.

    But to go back to the initial question, what king of organization in what type of industry would you guess is right now looking for someone with these skills? 

    Smart guesses would be advertising, media, (especially 'new' media), entertainment, or maybe even old school publishing. How many guesses would you have to make before you arrived at Soft Drinks and Snacks? Because at least in today's specific example, the company that is right now looking for this kind of talent for a role they call a 'Cultural Intelligence Agent' is PepsiCo.

    More details from the PepsiCo job listing:

    PepsiCo is looking for a Cultural Intelligence Agent with a passion for culture and experience working within or across creative industries including Music, Design, Gaming, Tech &/or Culinary. This role will be responsible for leading a team to harness industry trends, insights and resources to help fuel an environment of disruptive growth and innovation. As an Agent in the Creator Culture Catalyst group, you must demonstrate the ability to become a trusted advisor and thought leader to cross-functional business, brand and innovation leaders. The Agent also will drive and manage cross-functional projects that support creative initiatives and foster innovation

    What do knowledge of music, gaming, design, etc. have to do with the ability to create and sell Pepsi?

    Well maybe nothing directly. But indirectly, understanding, interpreting, and responding to cultural trends helps you understand people. And understanding people is pretty much the key to success in any business.

    Cultural Intelligence Agent sounds like a pretty awesome job. Not quite as fun as Relief Pitcher for the Mets, but still pretty sweet. I hope the folks at PepsiCo see this post and let me know how the recruiting for this position turns out. Because the kind of person who will make a great Cultural Intelligence Agent sounds like a really fun person to know.

    What about in your organization? Does understanding culture matter?

    Note: Further reading for anyone interested in how culture impact business: Chief Culture Officer by Grant McCracken.

    Have a great week!

    Tuesday
    Aug182015

    The obligatory Amazon take

    By now you have read (or at least heard about), the New York Times' blistering takedown of life working at Amazon, your favorite online shopping destination for just about anything you'll ever need, (and lots and lots of things you don't). If you are interested in work, workplaces, culture, and performance, the piece is definitely worth a long read, and it just might make you pause for a moment before you order your next shipment of stuff from the giant retail machine.

    Most interestingly, the Times' piece largely focuses on working culture for Amazon's white collar or professional workers, and not on the many, many thousands of Amazon employees and contractors that toil away in their massive distribution centers, often in extremely harsh conditions. Most Amazon customers already know how tough the warehouse workers have it at Amazon, and judging by Amazon's continued revenue growth, we have shown that we really don't care about people in the warehouses all that much. We just want our stuff faster.

    The responses to the Times piece have more or less fallen into two camps - one; Amazon is a horrible, terrible, dystopian place and shame on them for not (for some inexplicable reason), treating their white collar professional staff 'better' than their front-line warehouse staff; or two, creating a high-performing organization demands focus, dedication, long hours, and most importantly, no tolerance (for long anyway), for average performance. No exceptions. And as the Times reports this lack of tolerance for anything less than high performance and an almost singular dedication to the Amazon cause can look really cold, ugly, messy, and heartless.  

    So where does the 'truth' lie in all of this? Kind of hard to say unless you have direct experience working at Amazon. Chairman and Founder Jeff Bezos issued a kind of non-denial denial of the Times piece. Something along the lines of 'This is not the Amazon I know. This can't really be true or no one would want to work here.' That sort of thing. Note he didn't really say 'This is NOT true, just that it probably can't be true.'

    And ultimately, like in most other complex situations the real truth is somewhat blurry, inconsistent, and as always very, very subject to interpretation and bias. What do I think? Well since it is my blog I get to share.

    I think that any organization that, at least for a time, was willing to subject any of its workforce to the kind of brutal conditions like at the 115 degree Pennsylvania warehouse where workers had to be carried off by paramedics, has pretty much determined that performance, or rather the ability and willingness to sacrifice in order to achieve high performance, is what matters most. 

    Amazon is/has been willing to push warehouse workers to the point of heat exhaustion and collapse, why should we be surprised (and angered), that it is willing to push its professional staff into 80-hour weeks, emails and texts at all hours of the night, and has, if the Times piece is true, to have persistently pushed employees to think of their work first, last, and at every time in between?

    I think, more or less, this 'outrage' against Amazon is at least a little misplaced. Most of us, by virtue of how we spend our money, (and let's not even talk about under what conditions our iPhones are assembled), don't really care how badly most companies treat their workers. 

    We only start to care when these workers begin to, uncomfortably, look a little too much like us, and do the same kinds of jobs that we do.

    Monday
    Aug032015

    Job Titles of the Future #13 - Video Game Coach

    Last September I posted 'Job Titles of the Future #11 - Minecraft Coach', essentially referencing some speculative pieces on whether or not parents would one day, (and soon), look to hire professional Minecraft and other popular video game coaches for their kids, much like parents hire tutors or sports coaches today. The conclusion of the piece I cited, as well as my own take was that yes, Professional Minecraft Coach would probably become a real job, and fairly soon.

    Fast forward just a few months, and I present for your consideration this recent piece from Fortune, 'You can make $50,000 a year as a video game coach', where we see that in this short time, video game coaches are becoming true, real gig. 

    From the Fortune piece:

    As the world of e-sports heats up, and players battle for prize money that can reach into the millions, the activity has given rise to a field of coaches who want to cash in on training these keyboard-using champions.

    An e-sport coach can make anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 a year, which is pretty much in line with a minor league baseball coach, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    One assistant coach of a group called Team Liquid, which competes in the “League of Legends” tournaments, told the paper he makes in the mid-$30,000s annually plus a performance bonus and health insurance. That’s not too shabby when you consider that the annual income for all coaches and scouts in 2012 was $28,360, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    E-sports are a growing industry that is showing no signs of slowing down - in fact with millions of fans, higher and higher amounts of prize money and player salaries, and even PED testing for the top E-sports competitors, it is getting harder and harder to make a logical argument that E-sports really aren't just 'sports.'

    And we know how sports has always had coaches and consultants and gurus - an entire set of professions around trying to help athletes to perform their best and to guide teams to championships. And E-sports seem to be evolving in a similar manner - celebrity gamers, high-profile and lucrative competitions, drug testing scandals, and yes, people whose job it is to train, coach, and develop game players.

    So considering all of the evidence, and the growth of E-sports, it is probably time to re-classify 'Video Game Coach' as a 'Job Title of the Present, and not something we think will happen in the future.

    Man, why didn't we have this for Ms. Pac Man or Galaga back in the day? My whole career could have taken a different path.

    Have a great week!

     

    Friday
    Jul242015

    On tackling that project you have been avoiding

    Every job, no matter how perfect or ideal has at least some element that is less than exciting. 

    Even my dream job, relief pitcher for the New York Mets, must have some aspect that is not so appealing, (relatively). I can imagine sitting in the bullpen and having to shake sunflower seeds out of your shoes once in a while might get a little tedious.

    But most of us are not professional athletes, and thus, the less exciting elements of our jobs are much more mundane, unglamorous, but still (usually) necessary. So how can we best deal with these aspects, the parts of our jobs we really are not at all excited about, or that project that we have been dreading and avoiding? I have a couple of ideas...

    1.  Break it up into smaller tasks - You know what is awesome? Crossing something off of your 'To Do' list. If you have a project or major task that you have been dreading, it helps to try and break it down into smaller, more manageable elements which you can then complete more easily. That way even a small amount of progress on the project or task feels like victory. Of sorts.

    2. The stale sandwich - This is a strategy I like to use. Basically you 'sandwich' the less than exciting work with tasks you are much more enthused about attacking. Start the day with something that really jazzes you up, then spend an hour or so on the thing you have to do but you have been avoiding, then jump back into something cool to get the bad taste of the lousy project out of your mouth. 

    3. Get up early and knock it out - Once your day gets going, your email inbox starts filling up, and the day gets consumed with meetings, you are almost certainly not going to drop what you have to do, and what you would rather do, to work on that project you have been avoiding. Every second that passes after about 8:30AM reduces the likelihood you will take on what you are dreading by a factor of 100. So you might have to just bite the bullet, get up at 6, and spend 90 minutes or an hour just banging out what you know you have to do, but won't be able to later on. Sure it will stink, but it might not ruin the rest of your day if you can knock it out by 8.

    4. Give yourself a prize - Chances are there are there are not any 'official' rewards heading your way for completing this lousy project. The boss just thinks it's your job, and get it the heck done and shut up about it. So any extra rewards that might help to motivate you have to come from you. So place a prize or incentive for yourself at the end of the slog. It could be a nice dinner out, that expensive bottle of wine you've been eyeing, or maybe just an afternoon off - doesn't matter. Just treat yourself a little. It's ok, I promise.

    5. Find ways to never be in this situation again - Chances are once this terrible project is done, sometime in the future it, or something closely resembling it, will cross your desk again and the vicious cycle of dread will resume. Now is your time, while the stench of this ordeal is still in the air, to think about and implement ways to outsource, eliminate, streamline, or otherwise reduce the pain associated with this task in the future. Even if you can find only a 10 or 20% reduction in the stink, you will be better off the next time. So once the project is done, give yourself an hour or two, (block your calendar), and find at least one way you can make this better for the next time. Do this three or four times and who knows? Maybe this lousy project won't be so lousy in the future.

    Ok, that is it I am out for the weekend! Enjoy the summer sun.