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    Entries in Employees (9)


    A reminder that any 'skills gap' is also an employer's problem to solve

    Whether or not there is a true 'skills gap' crisis in the US labor market is certainly subject to debate. For every analysis that indicates that the pipeline of qualified candidates that colleges and other training programs are producing are not meeting the demands of employers for specific skills, you can pretty easily find other data that suggests the US has more than enough of available talent to meet most employer needs.

    But while the data and thinking around the existence of a true skills gap can seem contradictory, the investments and ownership by employers of the problem (assuming it is a problem), has tended to shift in one consistent direction. Namely, over time employers have tended to want to invest less in development, apprenticeship, and other initiatives for either entry level employees or for more experienced hires who require more advanced and specific experience and skills.

    Most employers these days, it seems, want new hires whatever the level or role to walk in to the organization immediately ready to be productive without needing long ramp up times and without having to make extensive and expensive investments in training.

    But what if the roles that the company needs to fill are so specialized, require an incredibly specific set of skills, and that these skills have been demonstrated and certified with proof of thousands of hours of practice? For these kinds of jobs, companies have to become more involved and invested in developing candidate pipelines you would think. It is either that, or face a candidate shortage, experience longer fill times, and likely suffer serious adverse businss impact in the form of lost revenue, poor customer service, and missed deadlines.

    One company, faced with exactly this recruiting and development challenge, and facing an extremely tight and competitive candidate market is doing almost exactly the opposite of what many companies have done with respect to investment in new hire development. They are expanding the market, looking beyond their normal sources for candidates, and most importantly, taking ownership of the 'skills gap' challenge.

    The company is JetBlue Airlines and the hard to fill role is commercial airline pilot.

    From a recent piece on PSFK on how JetBlue is trying to address this recruiting challenge:

    The airline company developed Gateway Select, a special training program for its pilots that took people with little to no flying experiences and turned them into pilots. The program worked out so well for the company that they are once again looking for new recruits. The first round opened in 2016, with 24 chosen applicants out of a pool of 1,5000, including a grocery store clerk, an accountant, and a baggage handler. Trainees will learn about meteorology, aerodynamics and aircraft systems, go through flight simulators, and get in the necessary 1,500 hours of flying experience.

    Think about that a little bit.

    One of the most specific, demanding, and important jobs in the world, commercial airline pilot, and JetBlue is essentially looking past traditional candidate pools and feeder programs, (mostly the US military which has their own pilot shortages they are dealing with), and taking ownership of their challenge by thinking differently about what constitutes a good candidate.

    If JetBlue is willing and able to train the 'right' candidates for pilot roles, even if they are currently accountants or store clerks, then what is holding you back in expanding your own ideas about candidates and their suitability for your open roles?

    Think about that when you post your next position for a finance or HR or marketing or operations role where you require 10+ years of relevant and specific experience doing exactly the same job that you are hiring for.

    If JetBlue can turn store clerks into pilots, then you too can think more expansively and creatively about who is qualified for your roles.

    Have a great day!


    The one HR tech feature you'll regret not asking to see in the demo

    I have seen lots of HR software, done more than a few of my own selection processes and subsequent implementations, worked on an HR tech product team for awhile and even been an end user of a bunch of different HR technology solutions over the years.

    And if I have, in all these years and in these varying roles learned any single thing about HR technology I think it might be this: In the sales/evaluations stage almost no customer asks their potential HR tech vendor that will be supplying technology solutions that will (hopefully) be used by every person in the organization to review and demonstrate perhaps one of the most important feature/functions of the software, namely, the 'I forgot my password' process.

    I don't know why, and I suppose I may be wrong about this as I am not actually sitting in every HR tech vendor demo going on (shock), but I know that I have never seen, nor asked any vendor to discuss and/or demonstrate that actual process that employees would have to follow when they forget their passwords. And they will forget their passwords. Probably every few months. And if the 'I forgot my password' process is slow, clunky, and hard to complete they will become more enraged than they were before. 

    So the 'use case' for the "I forgot my password' process flow also needs to factor in the increasing frustration and impending rage of an employee, who has just tried three or more times to (unsuccessfully) log in to the HR system, likely because someone told them they have to, and now the technology tosses them into the 'I forgot my password' abyss. This seems like an incredibly small thing, but for some reason I think it is more important than we tend to believe. 

    You have an already unhappy customer who is not able to log in to the system. Make sure the process for welcoming them back into the system doesn't make them even more unhappy. Make sure you take a look at the 'I forgot my password' process when you evaluate any HR tech supplier.

    Happy Thursday.


    WEBINAR: From Employee Engagement to Employee Experience

    Quick pitch for a FREE Webinar that I am co-presenting along with the nice people from Globoforce this Tuesday, Feb. 23 (that's TOMORROW), at 1PM EST titled Changing the Conversation in 2016: Moving from Employee Engagement to Employee Experience

    Here's the quick pitch (as if you needed one to get on board with this idea):

    Surveys consistently show that only about 30% of employees consider themselves 'engaged.’ And improving engagement in a meaningful way has proven elusive for many organizations. What if instead HR started focusing more on the overall employee experience?

    It’s time we stopped treating branding, onboarding, coaching, and development as separate entities. By approaching these employee interactions in a more holistic manner, we have a huge opportunity to really “wow” our employees.

    Join Steve Boese (that's ME) and Lynette Silva from Globoforce as they discuss how recognition plays into engagement and some useful metrics for measuring the employee experience.

    What you’ll learn: 

    • How to think about the employee experience from a customer experience point of view
      • 3 primary components of the employee experience
      • Errors in how we’re pursuing engagement (and how to fix them)
      • Specific ways to elevate the fundamental value you offer employees
      • And lots more...

    This is going to be a fun, and pretty lively conversation with some (hopefully) good ideas you can use in your own organization to begin to create the kinds of 'wow' experiences that marketers strive to create for their customers.

    You can register for the FREE webinar, Changing the Conversation in 2016: Moving from Employee Engagement to Employee Experience on Feb. 23 at 1PM EST by clicking HERE.

    Hope you can join us tomorrow!


    Uber drivers: Employees, contractors, or something else?

    A primary issue with the so-called 'sharing economy' (companies like Uber, TaskRabbit, Lyft and a bunch more), is a classic HR issue: whether or not the people delivering these kinds of on-demand services should be classified as independent contractors, or regular full or part-time employees of these companies. 

    Uber has argued, (sometimes unsuccessfully), that it's drivers are actually independent contractors as each driver gets to choose when and where they work, provide their own vehicles, and usually have other sources of work/employment besides working as drivers of the Uber service. The arguments for classifying Uber drivers as regular employees center around the significant rules and conditions Uber sets for the delivery of the service, its driver rating and evaluation system, and the types and conditions of the vehicles that drivers can use.

    This 'contractor vs employee' argument is going to take some time to play out in the courts, in the court of public opinion, and maybe even in the next presidential election. And where your take falls in this debate seems to me is mostly going to be influenced by your own capacity for risk and willingness to take ownership of your own career. But at least in the case of the 'shared ride' services like Uber and Lyft, this debate is probably only a temporary one. Soon, perhaps as soon as within the next 5 years or so in some areas, it won't matter if the Uber driver is an employee of Uber or an independent contractor, because the Uber driver won't be a driver at all.

    Check this quote from 2014 by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick during an interview on the ride-sharing service:

    During the interview, Kalanick was asked what he thinks of self-driving cars.

    "Love it. All day long," said Kalanick.

    "The reason Uber could be expensive is you're paying for the other dude in the car. When there is no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere is cheaper. Even on a road trip."

    Kalanick said that self-driving cars ordered up through a service like Uber will eventually bring the cost of ridership so far down that car ownership will "go away."

    At least in this exchange, the Uber CEO had clearly envisaged a world where the 'employee vs contractor' discussion has been rendered moot, and the drivers, 'the other dudes in the car', transitioned out of whatever kind of employment relationship they had (or didn't have), and the costs to the customer driven down since the 'other dude' is automated away.

    And I think this, this threat, (and likelihood) of automation of this kind of work, and for 'normal' taxi, truck, and even limo drivers, is the really important discussion that people who care about the future of work and workers should be having. Whether or not some Uber driver is a contractor or an employee in 2015 is mostly an issue of regulations, taxes, and some benefits. It matters, but only in a limited sense if the real future of work is not really about employment status classification but rather about if there will be human employment at all.

    Have a great weekend!


    The disconnect between the skills that get you hired and the jobs most workers have

    Wow, that was a long post title. Sorry. The post won't be that long at all, trust me.

    All I want you to do is look at two charts and then draw your own conclusions about the significance, if any.

    The first, courtesy of the world's largest professional network, LinkedIn, who published some data they call 'The 25 Hottest Skills That Got People Hired in 2014', (from an analysis of member skills, employment changes, and recruiter interest on LinkedIn). 

    Here is the chart:

    Now for the second chart I'd like to bring to your attention, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics a look at the Top 10 occupations with the highest employment (dated from May 2013, so it is slightly older than the LinkedIn data, but it was the latest I could find after about 5 minutes of exhaustive research)

    Here goes:

    See any differences between what gets people hired, at least people on LinkedIn, and the kinds of jobs that are held by the largest numbers of people in the USA? These Top 10 occupations make up about 22% of overall US employment, in case you were wondering.

    Wonder how far down on the BLS list (and you can check the full list of occupations as defined by the BLS here), you have to go before you run in to 'Statistical Analysis and Data Mining', the top 'hot' skill for 2014 as per LinkedIn. I will save you a click and let you know that all the occupations that the BLS rolls up into 'Computer and Mathematical Operations', (where most of LinkedIn's Top Hot skills would likely map), account for about 3.7M workers, that is just under 3% of all the jobs in the country.

    Ok, since I said I was going to just show the charts and leave it up to you to think about, I better shut up.

    Have a fantastic day. And don't spend so much time on LinkedIn.