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    CHART OF THE DAY: All email, all the time

    So I have a theory about this week, the week leading up to the long Labor Day weekend in the USA, and the unofficial end of summer. After Labor Day the kids are all back to school, vacations have pretty much all been taken, and all of a sudden you realize that there are still 18 big unfinished items on your 'Things I wanted to get done in 2015' list.

    So this week is it, the last 'fun' week more or less, before the end of year holidays kick in. So have fun. And don't expect too much out your humble correspondent this week either. I want to enjoy the end of summer too.

    Full disclosure: I did not want to blog about email AGAIN. Even I am sick of it. And it kind of doesn't matter anyway. But over the weekend I (once again) received at least a dozen or so work-related emails, none that I would classify as urgent, and by the end of Sunday night I couldn't help but have email (again) on the brain. 

    Please stop emailing people on the weekend. Really. I am begging you. 

    Anyway, here is the Chart of the Day, I almost forgot that was the point of the post. According to some recent data spotted on Business Insider it seems like for most folks email is either an obsession, or something you don't care much about at all. 

    Let's take a look at the data, then some FREE comments from me after the chart:

    What to make of this data - where the vast majority of people either are on email all day long or just once or twice a day?

    1. It should be really, really easy to figure out what kind of person (a check all day or a check once a day type) you are dealing with after one of two email exchanges. From the data we see that from the wide divergence in how often people like to deal with email making any kind of assumption about expected email responsiveness is probably a bad idea.

    2. People who check email all day long every day often cannot understand and have little patience for folks who fall on the other end of the spectrum. Think about your own preferences and usage of email. If you are constantly on your email all day long just how frustrated do you get with people who do not share your email obsession/enthusiasm. 

    3. This isn't an email-specific take, and really doesn't have anything at all to do with the chart, but I wanted to share that I finally came to my senses and turned off just about all visible and audible notifications in my phone. The only time my phone now 'pings' me is when I am getting a call or a text. No more email notifications, no more 'someone mentioned you on Twitter' alert, no more 'breaking news' type messages. It is remarkable how much better and I hope healthier I feel about my relationship with my phone.

    Ok, that's it, I am out. It is still summer after all. 

    Have a great week!


    CHART OF THE DAY: Surging Investments in HR Tech

    Really a simple and self-explanatory Chart of the Day for a busy Tuesday, this one courtesy of the Wall St. Journal. Take a look at the chart of venture capital investment in the HR and Recruiting technology market from 1998 to the present, and as you expect and demand, some FREE commentary from me after the data.

    Some quick takes:

    1. First, to level set, the first half of 2015 with investment of about $811M is almost greater than the highest-ever yearly total of $859M back in 2000. Ah, 2000. The 'dot-com' era.  Good times.  But looking at the data you could argue that the HR tech market for VC investment really did not recover from the dot-com crash until very recently, like last year. So it could be that a prolonged period of under-investment is partially to account for the dramatic increases in 2014 and so far in 2015.

    2. Let's go ahead and assume that most VCs have plenty of options and opportunities for investment. If that is the case, then this windfall of money flowing into the HR tech space is good news for a large array of industry players - folks who can sell HR tech solutions, marketers, analyst firms, HR conferences, and even little 'ol bloggers like me, who have lots of products to see, think about, and potentially write about.  It is a sure sign of an industry that is primed for growth when the investment levels are surging upwards as we see in the WSJ. It's like the dot-com years all over again. At least let's hope we don't crash like we did from '02 - '04.

    3. What does this mean for the really important players in the HR tech market - the actual customers? Well in the broadest strokes it is mostly positive. More investment creates more competition which leads to better products and more customer choices. And while sometimes it seems like in HR tech that the bigger, more established players have gobbled up via acquisition many of the new entrants, I can assure you that judging from the number of HR tech startup demos I have been doing that there is no shortage of new ideas and innovation in the space.  This is a great time to be a customer of HR Tech, even if the market can be a little tricky to navigate.

    But like I said, good times all around - for the VCs, for the startups, and most importantly, for the customers and HR leaders who have access to an ever-expanding set of tools and technologies to help them improve results in their organizations.


    CHART OF THE DAY: Competition is global - at least one-third of it is

    Today's installment of the Chart of the Day series I think represents perfectly why I like to run these posts - it actually uses hard data to reveal the reality about a topic about which it can be really easy to sort of just accept without much research or questioning. 

    Quick - before looking at the data, try to take a stab at answering this question: In the modern, connected, networked, and global economy, about what percentage of revenues of large US-based companies (represented for the sake of argument by the members of the S&P 500), are earned from outside the USA?

    About half? Maybe more? I'm not sure, but I bet it is a lot?

    Let's look at the data, then a couple of quick, FREE observations from your pal. That is me.

    Some quick takes:

    1. It may be a little hard to read, so I will break out the important numbers. Total revenues earned outside the US by the members of the S&P 500 companies is about 33%, with the largest share of non-US revenues coming from EMEA, (12%), and APAC, (8%). I am not sure about you, but when I saw this data, I was really, really surprised still in 2015 how much domestic revenues dominate the mix in America's largest companies. I mean I feel like we have been hearing FOREVER how all competition is now global, and that in order to grow most companies have to look outside the USA. So while I do think that is still true, I was surprised by the extent to which neither of those things are really happening in a significant way.

    2. Having said that, your organization's best opportunities for growth may still be in the USA. If nothing else, these statistics reveal still how hard it is for US-based companies to compete in foreign markets. At least 25 years of attention to places like Asia and Europe still have not generated much more than about 10% of the S&P 500 companies revenues, respectively. If you are a smaller company, perhaps you should still keep your primary and secondary growth strategies focused on the domestic market, even if you feel like it is a tapped out. Upselling, expanding your target customer size, making adjacent market moves are all much, much easier on familiar territory than they are in one of the hundreds of places in the world who have no idea who you are.

    3.  It is more important to have diversified customers, no matter where they are, than customers all over the world. Reducing your organization's reliance on one market, even one the size of the USA, sounds like a smart strategy. But if the reality of the difficulty in cracking markets overseas makes the 'global' strategy too hard to execute, then domestic diversification is the next best, (maybe even the best) thing. It is more important to make sure that one or two massive customers don't represent half of your revenues than it is to worry that 96% of your total revenues come from inside the USA. 

    So that's my take, I found this data really interesting and surprising too. Would love to hear if you felt the same.

    Have a great Tuesday!


    CHART OF THE DAY: On Tesla and Disrupting Markets

    Quick question for a busy Monday - which auto maker have you seen the most reporting and commentary about in the last few years?

    Maybe General Motors - the largest US auto maker and who has been in the news plenty in recent years, mostly for a slew of recalls.

    Or possibly one of the major Japanese or Korean manufacturers like Toyoata or Hyundai that seem to be continually closing the gap in US market share from the traditional leaders, GM and Ford.

    No, I bet the auto maker you have read and heard the most about lately is the electric car maker Tesla, who for lots of reasons, (innovative products, charismatic leadership of Elon Musk, and interest in modern and ever cloud-based technology for cars), has garnered insane amounts of press and media coverage. 

    So here is another question for you, and the subject of today's Chart of the Day - How much market share does Tesla actually have in the USA? Take a look at the chart below, courtesy of The Truth About Cars, then some quick comment from me. And as always, comments remain FREE.



    Some thoughts:

    1. So according to the chart for the first half of 2015 Tesla's USA market share is, well, we don't know what it is because on this chart Tesla does not actually register. They must be included in the 1.9% of 'Other'. 

    2. According to a similar data set over at Autonews.com, we see that for the first 6 months of 2015, Tesla sold about 10,200 cars in the US out of a total market of approximately 8.5 million vehicles.  So if my math is right, that puts Tesla's US market share for the first half of 2015 at 0.12%. That's a little bit more than a tenth of a percent. Other makers in the same general space in the market as Tesla include Maserati, Bentley, and SmartUSA.

    3. Here is why this is interesting to me, and where I think that there are some parallels to what we see in any technology market. There is a completely outsized focus on Tesla relative to their actual position in the market and one could argue, the market value of their business, when placing it in context. The pundits and the media, even what passes for the HR/Talent media, love, love, love to focus on the 'new' story, often at the expense of the most relatable story for their audiences. Chances are you have seen 1,493 stories about Tesla in the first 6 months of the year. Chances are also pretty good you don't know anyone that actually owns a Tesla.

    4. It is awesome in HR and Talent to think about what is next, what is likely to dominate how organizations are organized, how people are engaged, how workplaces will function in the future, but the truth is the vast majority of us, (and our leaders), have to think about the next 6 months of 2015, not what the world of work will look like a decade from now. It is important to think about this when reading about HR's version of Tesla, which of course is Zappos, and whatever new experiments they are running over there.

    5. Tesla probably is the most disruptive and innovative auto maker in the world, but the truth is the real impact of their disruptions won't be seen until they truly can deliver sufficient volumes of more mass-market cars, (Tesla's are $100K or so, high-end luxury cars today), and/or the big boys like GM or Toyota decide to try and compete more directly in this segment. It is the same in HR whether it is Holacracy or 'no resume recruiting' or 'no more performance reviews'. It takes a long time in mature industries for these disruptions to move past 'niche' and into the mainstream. Your challenge as an HR/Talent pro is to know when to move with the Teslas and Zappos of the world and when to lay back and lease the newest Camry. 

    Interesting stuff...

    Have a great week!


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 216 - Keeping HR Data Secure

    HR Happy Hour 216 - Keeping HR Data Secure

    Recorded Friday June 19, 2015

    Hosts: Trish McFarlaneSteve Boese

    Guest : Roland Cloutier, VP, Chief Security Officer, ADP

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the show, Steve and Trish were joined by ADP's Chief Security Officer, Roland Cloutier, for a fascinating discussion on organizational and employee data security.Roland discussed the primary issues and concerns that HR and business leaders have with data security, the best ways for HR leaders to engage with their solution providers and their internal teams when navigating issues of data security, and offered insights on how to continue to secure critical employee information in an environment of multiple systems, platforms, and data integrations.

    This was an extremely lively and fun show, (don't let the dry-sounding topic fool you), about an important and timely issue facing all HR and business leaders today - keeping your employee and organizational data secure in an environment where threats to that data's security and integrity are just about everywhere.

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

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


    And of course you can listen to and subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or via your favorite podcast app. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to download and subscribe to the show and you will never miss a new episode.

    Thanks to Roland and the team at ADP for making this important topic understandable, relatable, and yes, even kind of fun. Every HR leader's job is employee data security, and as such, you don't want to miss this discussion.