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    Entries in HR (329)

    Thursday
    Mar302017

    Career and Life Advice #1

    New series on the blog, (calling it a series in case I decide to try this again, if so it will look like it was some kind of a plan all along), titled 'Career and Life Advice'.

    What makes me qualified to give either career or life advice?

    Nothing!

    That's why the plan is to share career or life advice from folks who have had  pretty demonstrable career success or plain to see amazingly cool lives. Ok, maybe I will try to sneak in some of my own thoughts down the line, we will see.

    First up, some career and life advice from San Antonio Spurs head coach, and noted curmudgeon Gregg Popovich, from an article where Pop was discussing the coaching ability of one of his assistants Becky Hammon, who many NBA observers feel will one day become the first female head coach in the NBA.

    What is one of Hammon's qualities that contributes to her success according to Pop, (and here comes the advice part):

    "She's been perfect," Popovich said. "She knows when to talk and she knows when to shut up. That's as simple as you can put it. A lot of people don't figure that out."

    Boom.

    Solid career and life advice in three sentences.

    And advice we can all learn from.

    Know when it is time to talk and perhaps more importantly, when it is time to shut up.

    In trying to follow said advice, I am going to shut up now.

    Have a great day.

    Tuesday
    Mar282017

    Don't assume everyone knows diversity is an issue at your company

    Pop culture fans probably know the name Aaron Sorkin - Oscar and Emmy award winner of movies/shows like "A Few Good Men", "The Newsroom", and "The West Wing", to name just a few. Sorkin has been a successful Hollywood creative type for years, decades even.  A Few Good Men was written in 1992 for a bit of reference.

    So since at least the release of the movie version of A Few Good Men, (late 1992 and  for which Sorkin wrote the screenplay, and is essential cable TV movie watching to this day), Sorkin has been an important, active, and influential Hollywood person. Around long enough to understand how the movie and TV business works, to know scores of company executives, producers, investors, as well as creatives like himself - other writers, actors, and behind the scene professionals.  

    Around long enough, (and making the assumption that he is not some kind of anti-social savant who only emerges from his office once every two years with his latest script), to be aware of one of Hollywood's most pressing, current, and heavily-discussed industry issues. Namely, the past and ongoing challenges for access, opportunity, and reward that have faced people of color, women of every color, and other less-represented groups. Last year's Oscars brought many of these issues to wider exposure with the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and discussion.

    So you would think, or assume, that a Hollywood veteran like Sorkin - experienced, successful, extremely well-known and with a pretty high profile, would have interesting or at least some kind of a view or opinion about Hollywood's ongoing diversity challenges.  You would think he may even have some advice, or a solution to propose. 

    You'd think wrong, apparently.

    According to a report in Variety, and expanded upon in Business Insider,  Sorkin expressed a lack of awareness of the issue, (not a lack of understanding, I am talking simple awareness here), of these issues that was kind of shocking.

    From the Business Insider piece:

    It's really hard to hide from the diversity issue that's plaguing Hollywood, unless apparently you're Aaron Sorkin. 

    The Oscar-winning screenwriter and creator of TV shows like "The West Wing" and "The Newsroom" sounded legitimately shocked when the topic came up while he was onstage at the Writers Guild Festival on Saturday, according to a Variety report of the event.

    While Sorkin looked back on his career and talked about issues of the day with moderator Elvis Mitchell, the topic moved to the need for more diversity in writers' rooms for TV shows. It seemed like Sorkin had genuinely never realized it was an issue in the industry.

    “Are you saying that women and minorities have a more difficult time getting their stuff read than white men and you’re also saying that [white men] get to make mediocre movies and can continue on?” he asked the audience, Variety reported.

    While conversation shifted to other topics, Sorkin still couldn't let go of this new insight.

    “You’re saying that if you are a woman or a person of color, you have to hit it out of the park in order to get another chance?” Sorkin reportedly said.

    Kind of amazing, it seems to me, that an industry vet like Sorkin would have been that unaware or indifferent to an issue which as recently as last year, dominated the discussion surrounding the most important industry event and awards show, a show which Sorkin might even have attended himself.

    But let's assume that was indeed the case, and Sorkin's success over the years, and his position as, well, an older white dude, has kept him pretty insulated from Hollywood's diversity discussion. It's not cool, but it is at least plausible. And if we take these quotes from Sorkin at face value, it seems at least mostly true.

    What do we take away from this, i.e., why should it matter to us and our organizations?

    Because the story reminds us that we can never just assume people with experience, who have been successful in their fields, who are perhaps the leaders in our organization, (and who might, possibly, have a little bit of 'Sorkin' in them), actually are cognizant to the potential diversity and inclusion issues in our companies and in industry more broadly.

    There are probably at least some leaders or influential people (say a hiring manager that hires for a large volume of positions), that might be of the mindset, like Sorkin, for whom these issues are just not a part of their experience and not on their radar as they make people and talent decisions.

    Sure, they may have glanced at your gender and diversity reports on hiring or promotions, but did they really interpret these the way you intended? Are you sure they understand the importance of this issue? Really sure?

    From the Sorkin story we are reminded not to assume the most successful people in the organization are aware of an issue that you think is obvious, that everyone has been talking about, and that you have actually taken proactive steps to address.

    It is probably worth checking on. You might end up as surprised at what you learn, just like our pal Aaron.

    Monday
    Mar202017

    CHART OF THE DAY: More on the increasing 'Quits' data

    Quick shot for a busy 'Can you believe my Gamecocks are in the Sweet 16?' kind of a Monday.

    Here's just one chart from the latest release of what regular readers recognize as my favorite labor marker report - the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey - aka the 'JOLTS' report. 

    This chart illustrates the amount of 'Quits'  better known in HR speak as Voluntary Separations, compared with the amount of Layoffs and Discharges, AKA, 'Pack your things, son, it's time for you to go' deals.

    Here's the latest chart of this data, then as we all have come to expect by now, some FREE comments from me:

    Three quick observations...

    1. Really interesting right now that these two lines continue to get farther apart, and the gap between Quits and Layoffs/Discharges continues to increase. The delta between the two series is now 1.6 million, with Quits hitting 3.2 million in January, against 'only' 1.6 million Layoffs/Discharges.

    2. The continuing increased in the level of Quits is generally seen as a proxy measure for the overall health of the labor market. The thinking goes that when employees feel more confident in their ability to find alternative work, (either at another company or for themselves), then they are more likely to 'quit' the job they have now. It is a seller's market for labor in some sense. 

    3. If this trend continues, and labor markets continue to tighten, (you can also look at total job openings to get a sense of this), then employers will (according to the immutable laws of supply and demand), be forced to take counter measures. They can either look to reduce 'quits' by raising wages, improving benefits, or striving to become less crappy places to work. Or, they can look to alternate sources of labor - offshoring, outsourcing, automating, etc., in order to find the talent/labor they need.

    The slow and steady economic recovery since the bottom of the last recession marches on. Unless something changes relatively soon, 2017 is shaping up to be a good year for folks who are in demand, have negotiating leverage, and are feeling as confident as ever in their ability to control their careers.

    Have a great week! 

    Go Gamecocks!

    Thursday
    Mar162017

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 278 - The ACA in 2017: What HR and Benefits Leaders Need to Know

    HR Happy Hour 278 - The ACA in 2017: What HR and Benefits Leaders Need to Know

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guests: Shan Fowler, Benefitfocus, Chris Condeluci, CC Law & Policy

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, recorded live at Benefitfocus One Place 2017 Conference, Steve Boese is joined by Shan Fowler of  Benefitfocus and Chris Condeluci of CC Law & Policy to talk repeal, replace, reconciliation, and all things ACA in 2017.

    Any HR and Benefits leader who is following the news surrounding the potential repeal and replacement of the ACA is no doubt facing questions and concerns about what is really happening in Washington, what these potential changes mean for employers, and how best to keep informed and prepared for the future of the ACA and whatever may come next.

    Chris and Shan talked about what is most likely to happen with the current legislation under consideration, a timeline of what seems likely to occur in the next several weeks, and what might happen in the balance of 2017.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or using the widget player below (Email and RSS subscribers click through)

    This is an important, fast-moving, complex, and fascinating topic, and one that all HR and Benefits leaders need to have top of mind as events unfold. Listen to the show to learn more about what is happening, and how you can stay ready for what might be coming soon.

    And Steve gives a solid 'Schoolhouse Rock' reset along the way.Thanks to Shan and Chris as well as everyone on the Benefitfocus team for hosting this special episode of the HR Happy Hour Show.

    Learn more at www.benefitfocus.com.

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.

    Wednesday
    Mar152017

    The Outsiders characters, ranked

    Over the weekend I caught the news that 'The Outsiders' by S.E. Hinton is 50, that is five-oh years old.

    A classic, and long a staple of middle school reading lists everywhere, I think a fitting honor for the book's 50th is a treatment on the VERY popular 'ranked' series here on the blog.

    Reminder, these rankings are unscientific, unresearched, subjective, ill-informed, and 100% accurate.

    Here goes - (Note: Character name is followed by the actor or actress who played that character in the 1983 movie)

    10. The rest of the nameless Socs (various)

    9. Bob Sheldon (Leif Garrett)

    8. Two-Bit Mathews (Emilio Estevez)

    7. Cherry Valance (Diane Lane)

    6. Steve Randle (Tom Cruise)

    5. Johnny Cade (Ralph Macchio)

    4. Sodapop Curtis (Rob Lowe)

    3. Darrel (Darry) Curtis (Patrick Swayze)

    2. Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell)

    1. Dallas Winston (Matt Dillon)

    Of course you could disagree with these rankings but of course, you would be wrong.

    Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.

    Happy Wednesday.