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    Entries in Employees (12)

    Wednesday
    May302018

    Corporate uniforms and what they say about the workplace

    My airline of choice is Delta, the best airline in the world, (or at least that flies out of my home city), and because of my loyalty to Delta I read with interest a recent piece on Business Insider, 'Delta's 64,000 employees now have new designer uniforms', covering the news that soon Delta's uniformed employees would soon be wearing a new set of uniforms designed by Zac Posen. See below for a pic of the new duds:

    They look pretty sharp, right?

    Seeing the pics of the new Delta uniforms got me to thinking about workplace 'uniforms' more broadly - not necessarily for airline staff or retail workers or any kind of business that actually has an official uniform - but rather the kinds of uniforms or perhaps more accurately, how standards of dress come to be adopted in workplaces and industries where people have a wide set of options about how they dress in the workplace.

    And by that, I'm not talking about 'dress codes', that fun HR topic from the 90s, but rather the more subtle, cultural drivers that lead people to dress in certain ways, what 'looks' are accepted and which are not, and how adaptive and flexible workplaces are to fashion trends and evolution. Thinking about this quickly, (and with the caveat that when I'm not on the road, I work from home, so NBA t-shirts are the 'dress code' most days for me, and that I am largely considering this from a male POV), I think what, how, and when people make certain choices about workplace uniforms break down into the following categories:

    We all wear the same five things- Doesn't matter if your workplace is business, business casual, or casual - everyone's work wardrobes revolve around tiny variations of the same five pieces. If it is business, think gray and navy suits, white or blue shirts, brown shoes, etc. If it is business casual, everyone wears the same khakis, gingham or polo shirts, blue blazer if things are a touch more dressy, and brown/tan loafers. Think what an accounting convention looks like - a sea of middle aged dudes in blue jackets and tan or gray pants. Finally, if the office is totally casual - jeans, t-shirts, and hoodies. Stan Smiths or if you are a flush tech company - Yeezys.

    There's a little bit of experimentation, but it helps if the boss signals approval- this kind of workplace is almost the same as the above, but where it differs is how/when new trends are adopted and embraced into the uniforms. A great current example of this is the new'ish trend in men's sneaker fashion - the recent increase in higher-end, expensive, 'dress' sneakers as an alternative to dress shoes in business casual situations and even sometimes worn with a formal suit. The key here is do you as a cog in the machine feel emboldened to be the first person to rock a new trend like this at work, or do you need to spy the CEO wearing a pair of Lanvins before you think it is ok to wear your new pair of Greats to the office?

    Role-based uniforms- pretty straightforward and pretty common. Sales dresses a certain way (what they think will impress prospects), Execs wear nicer, more expensive versions of what Sales wears, back-office staff more or less follows the rules above, and 'technical' folks are left to their own devices - since no one wants to dare offend their delicate sensibilities by trying to place any guidelines or expectations on them. 

    Pretend Steve Jobs- this is more of an individual choice rather than a workplace norm, but it is worth mentioning because some high-powered types like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Barack Obama became associated with the idea of wearing exactly, or almost the same clothes every single day, as a way to lessen 'decision fatigue.' If you rock the same dad jeans, black turtleneck, and New Balances every day, the thinking goes, you have more mental bandwith for the important things at work. If you have one of these kinds of guys in your workplace, be wary, chances are they are no Steve Jobs, and are just doing the turtleneck thing to make people talk about them.

    No one really cares - probably only really exists in really small organizations, where entire departments consist of one person. If there is only one person in Finance, what he/she wears sets the tone for whoever comes next. And so on across the company. Nothing resembling a uniform code forms in a department until you have at least three people. You need the dynamic of two people being able to sneak off and talk about what the third person is wearing, (behind that person's back) in order for some kind of cultural direction to take form.

    That's it for today, have fun out there in your uniform of choice.

    Note: My pal KD over at the HR Capitalist has promised me an in-depth look at one of the new trends I mentioned above, the 'dress' sneaker, so be on the look out for that.

    Tuesday
    May152018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 321 - The New CHRO Agenda and a ServiceNow Update

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 321 - The New CHRO Agenda and a ServiceNow Update

    Sponsored by VirginPulse - www.virginpulse.com

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guests: Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer, CHRO; Deepak Bharadwaj, VP, GM, HR Business Unit; Jen Stroud, HR Evangelist, ServiceNow

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve recorded live from the recent ServiceNow Knowledge18 event in Las Vegas.

    In this two-part episode, Steve was joined by ServiceNow's CHRO and Chief Talent Officer Pat Wadors to talk about some of the key findings and trends that were discovered in ServiceNow's recent research report titled 'The New CHRO Agenda'. Pat talked about HR and digital transformation, the role of the CHRO in employee collaboration, and her view that 'HR is Sexy' and how the fundamental role of the HR leader is to unlock people's power and potential.

    Then in Part 2 of the episode,  Deepak Bharadwaj and Jen Stroud from ServiceNow shared some details about the ServiceNow platform, its history in IT and Customer Service management and how that benefits and informs their HR solutions, and how some organizations are leveraging the platform and its new capabilities in automation, AI, and chat to help create great employee experiences.

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

    This was a fun show - thanks to our friends at ServiceNow for having us at the event.

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on Apple Podcast, Stitcher Radio, or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour.'

    Wednesday
    Dec132017

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 306 - New HR Tech: Connecting Employees with Trusted HR Pros

    HR Happy Hour 306 - New HR Tech: Connecting Employees with Trusted HR Pros

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guests: Toby Hervey, Sarah Sheehan - Founders of Bravely

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve is joined by Toby Hervey and Sarah Sheehan, Founders of Bravely, a new HR tech startup that connects employees with trusted HR pros to help them resolve workplace issues. 

    On the show, Toby and Sarah shared the reasons behind their decision to launch Bravely -  workplace environments that are more stressed and with more conflict, with many employees feeling reluctant or afraid to bring their concerns to their boss, colleagues, or internal HR resources, and an ever changing and stressful set of conditions in many workplaces.

    Based on their work experiences, Toby and Sarah decided to launch Bravely - a tech-powered platform that allows a company's employees to have confidential conversations and receive advice and input from experienced and neutral HR professionals in order to help employees work towards a solution to their workplace issues. As we all know, these often difficult conversations are hard for many employees to raise, and can be ones where they feel scared to even start. Working with Bravely's vetted and experienced pros and advisors, employees usually find a way to make progress, to get past the fear of having hard conversations, and resulting in a better outcome for both the employee and the company.

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

    This is a really new, interesting, and important new tech, and I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

    Learn more about Bravely at www.workbravely.com.

    Thanks to show sponsor Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com

    And remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.

    Tuesday
    Sep192017

    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!

    Thursday
    Mar102016

    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.