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    Entries in HR (357)

    Wednesday
    Jun282017

    REPRISE: You probably can only do one important thing each week

    I saw this piece, 'If you must hold a team meeting, schedule it during this one hour' on Inc. this morning and I thought, 'I should blog about that', followed by 'I am pretty sure I have already blogged about that.'

    And it turns out I had, kind of, a little more than a year ago when I deduced from various pieces like the one above from Inc. that attempt to give us advice as to the optimal time to schedule a job interview, important meeting, big contract negotitation, etc. Since in a year's time not much has changed it seems, and we all, still have a tiny window of prime productivity each week, instead of coming up with a new take on the issue, I will just re-run my piece from 2016 - You probably can only do one important thing each week.

    Enjoy.

    I caught this piece the other day on Business Insider - When to Schedule Your Job Interview, that quotes some research from Glassdoor from a few years back which indicates that all things being equal, the optimal time for a candidate to schedule a job interview is 10:30AM on Tuesday.

    Even without data to back up that claim, it at least makes intuitive sense to me. Mondays are terrible for everything. Many folks mentally check out by Fridays. That leaves Tuesday - Thursday as options for any kind of important meeting, like a job interview. Let's automatically remove anything after lunch, as you never know how a heavy meal, quick workout, or a couple of shots and a Schlitz are going to have on the interviewer.

    So that leaves Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. Let's rule out Thursday since it is close enough to Friday to catch a little of the 'Is it the weekend yet?' shrapnel. Now we are in a tossup between Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. And since even by only Wednesday, lots of folks might already be thinking 'How can it only be Wednesday, this week is taking forever?', Tuesday seems like a safer choice. As for a time - use the Goldilocks approach - not too early, not too late (and too close to lunch), which lands you at 10:30AM

    As I said, it makes perfect sense, but it also sounded terribly familiar when I read the advice.

    I feel like i had heard some variations of the 'Tuesday at 10:30AM' advice before. 

    As it turns out, it is pretty common scheduling advice for other kinds of work/business events as well. This piece recommends scheduling important presentations for Tuesdays.  And this article also strongly suggests a combination of 'Tuesday' and 'late morning', (also known as 'Tuesday at 10:30AM), is an optimal time to conduct any type of negotiations.

    If I had more time, and I wasn't staring down the weekend myself, I would do some more searching and I am pretty sure I'd find a bunch more examples of how Tuesday mornings are the best time to do anything important at work. So Tuesdays at 10:30AM it is.

    Which is good to know and sort of sad at the same time. We work ALL OF THE TIME. We are chained to our email 24/7 with our 'smart' phones. We are (mostly), evaluated and assessed by our success in the workplace.

    And yet there is only one 'good' time each week to do anything important. 

    Tuesday at 10:30AM.

    It's only Wednesday right now, so you have a couple of days to plan your attack for next week's sliver of time where you can actually do something important. 

    Don't blow it. It won't come around again for an entire week if you do.

    Have a great day!

    Monday
    Jun262017

    Get Lucky

    This weekend, a decent, reasonably warm beginning of summer weekend in Western NY, while in the car on my way to either the gym or the gun club or my volunteer work with the homeless, 2013's song of the summer, Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky' came on the radio.

    You have to remember 'Get Lucky'. It was peppy, infectious, ubiquitous on the radio and on play lists just a few year's ago. The perfect summer song, probably. For some reason after hearing the song again, and for the first time in a while, I thought about a profile/interview of the guys in Daft Punk, (hardly anyone knows their real names, so I won't bother with them here), that ran in GQ, right around the time when 'Get Lucky' was on high rotation.

    If you don't know much about Daft Punk, you probably know at least this - 'Get Lucky' was their biggest commercial hit, and that Daft Punk are the guys who wear the robot helmets, and have almost never been photographed without them (see pic on right).

    The reasons for the helmets, disguises if you will, are as inscrutable as the performers themselves, but probably are not too hard to at least guess at.

    By wearing the helmets the Daft Punk guys get to concentrate on the art, not some kind of curated image, (actually it is a curated image, it's just one they define and control 100%), and also get to enjoy life outside of Daft Punk and the helmets as more or less 'normal' people. For international pop stars, the ability to walk down a street in New York or Paris or anywhere else and not be bothered by selfie-seeking fans has to be pretty valuable.

    But back to the reason why I thougth about this and wanted to write about a four year-old song and interview.

    In the GQ piece, the writer tries to learn more about how some of the songs on Daft Punk's new album were put together. Specifically, he asks which of the two Daft Punkians were responsible for a particular robot voice sound effect that is present on much of the material, as the effect stands out quite a bit.

    The answer from Daft Punk?

    "It doesn't matter.

    Love that answer. The two guys in Daft Punk have their partnership and process down so much, and are so comfortable with each other's position that they don't need to claim ownership of any particular aspect of the creation. 

    Can you imagine McCartney or Lennon answering a similar question about 'Hey Jude' the same way?

    If you are really, truly, going to have a successful partnership or a team, one that can withstand all the ups and downs that naturally are going to test you, I think the Daft Punk position of 'It doesn't matter who did what, just listen to the result" might be the most important and telling condition for that kind of success.

    If the robot on the left was interested in tying to make sure he got the credit and the acclaim for every element that he specifically contributed to the results, then you don't really have Daft Punk any longer. 

    You have two guys dressed in robot costumes.

    What's the song of summer 2017? 

    Have a great week!

    Thursday
    Jun222017

    HRE Column: An HR Technology Conference Preview #HRTechConf

    Once again, I offer my semi-frequent reminder and pointer for blog readers that I also write a monthly column at Human Resource Executive Online called Inside HR Tech that can be found here.

    This month, as I have been wrapping up the program development for the upcoming HR Technology Conference that will be held at in October, I take a look at some of the more interesting trends and themes in HR tech that have emerged from reviewing about 450 proposals and talking with dozens of HR leaders and technology service providers. These issues demand continuing focus for HR leaders and the spotlight will be placed on them at the Conference this fall.

    So in this month's HR Executive column I examine a a few of these technologies and trends that are continuing to be top of mind for HR leaders and HRIT leaders and that will be on display at the Conference in October. There are of course a few other themes and trends that are important, but I could not fit them all into the HRE piece. I will probably touch upon some of them in next month's column.

    I am super excited of what is in store at the event and plan to share as many of the big ideas that will be showcased there in the next few months both at HRE and here on the blog as well as the HR Happy Hour Show.

    Here's a taste of the HRE piece:

    As I write this article, I'm in the process of putting the finishing touches on the program for the 20th Annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition®, which will be held from Oct. 10 through Oct. 13, 2017 at the Venetian Las Vegas. Creating the program for the HR Tech Conference is always a challenging but rewarding process, as working through literally hundreds of speaking proposals, participating in dozens of phone calls, and attending numerous events and conferences provides me with a valuable, interesting and, I think, unique perspective on the most pressing HR, HR technology and workforce challenges facing organizations today.

    Looking back on my five years working on the conference, and a little bit further back to the conference's founding 20 years ago, I can't help but notice the incredible change and innovation that's taken place. The power and promise of HR technology have never been greater.

    I've written before that we have entered the "Golden Age" of HR technology, with the capability, availability and affordability of HR technology solutions advancing in unison. Innovative start-ups, large enterprise providers continuing to improve their technologies, and the pressures of increased competition have all combined to create new and better tools for HR and organizational leaders. Nowhere is this "Golden Age" more completely on display than at the HR Tech Conference.

    Specifically, I'd like to focus here on three important HR technology areas and how they will be addressed at this year's event.

    Employee Engagement

    Consistently, or perhaps persistently, aggregate employee-engagement levels or scores have hovered at around "30 percent engaged" for years. The stubbornness of the engagement problem is surprising, given the time spent and investments made (largely in the form of annual employee surveys and subsequent analysis of survey results) to better understand and successfully address the employee-engagement problem. Despite these investments, it seems as if HR often falls short of the mark. Something has to give.

    Fortunately, in the past several years, two things have happened in concert that offer renewed promise that the employee-engagement conundrum can actually be cracked. The first is that progressive HR leaders have begun to think about the engagement challenge more broadly, moving past singular scores or levels on an engagement survey and framing the conversation around the overall employee experience.

    The employee experience encompasses all the interactions between the employee and the organization. By assessing and evaluating the touchpoints of the employee experience (including those occurring in recruiting, onboarding, training, benefits and compensation), HR leaders can identify targeted opportunities for improvement, and make sure that HR interventions and investments can actually positively impact the employee experience -- eventually driving greater engagement.

    Naturally, when HR and organizational leaders identify a new area of focus, such as the employee experience, new and innovative technologies are developed to help. Many of these, of course, will be showcased at this year's HR Tech Conference.

    The employee experience will be explored at the conference in several ways. First, there will be a panel, moderated by employee-engagement expert Jason Lauritsen, featuring executives from some of the leading solution providers in diverse areas such as wellness/well-being, performance and talent management, total compensation and rewards, and employee feedback and recognition. They will address the fundamental question, "Can HR technology drive improved employee engagement?" This conversation will be an important one, as it will set the stage for additional content and discussions about how specific technologies and strategies are impacting engagement in today's organization. 

    Read the rest at HRE Online...

    If you liked the piece you can sign up over at HRE to get the Inside HR Tech Column emailed to you each month. There is no cost to subscribe, in fact, I may even come over and re-surface your driveway, take your dog for a walk, or help you weed the garden.

    Finally, I hope to see many readers out at HR Tech this October. You can save $200 off the current registration rates when you sign up HERE use offer code STEVE200. See, I am looking out for you!

    Friday
    Jun162017

    n = 1

    1. Three trips to China in the last three years and I am pretty sure it is the most fascinating place I've ever been and may ever get to. HR Tech China was amazing. Shanghai is probably the best city I've visited. I didn't get to see this when we were there, but check out this self-driving convenience store (yes, you read that correctly), coming soon to Shanghai.

    2. One of the harder things for independent consultants, contract workers, or other 'gig' economy types to manage is time out of the (home or otherwise) office. Unlike our corporate colleagues, there is often no one to delegate responsibility for work or even just responses to inquiries to when a gig workers is on vacation or traveling. Consequently, stuff piles up even more than usual. Once I dig out and some of the dust settles, I am going to figure out once and for all an email management system that can work for me. Until then, you can re-send if you are waiting for something from me.

    3. Due to above-mentioned travel, I missed 85% of the recently concluded NBA Finals series between the Warriors and Cavs. What a letdown. I probably watch (at least parts of), 400 NBA games each season. To miss the conclusion was kind of a drag. Thanks to the Delta Sky Club in MSP for having the game on this past Monday night while I was waiting out a 3.5 hour flight delay. 

    4. But now that NBA season is over, I am officially going to join the ranks of 'cord cutters'. Spectrum, look out for a call from me this weekend. In a related note, in the US, Netflix now has more subscribers than 'normal' Cable TV providers have.

    5. If you haven't yet, have a look at the latest shows on the HR Happy Hour Podcast Network. We've been producing some great content lately on HR Tech, Employee Wellbeing, Employee Engagement and more. 

    6. I am a huge fan (as a consumer/user) of Uber. But with each passing week we hear more and more of what a disaster of a company culture that has been allowed to develop over there. But yet, I still am compelled to call an Uber when I need a ride to the airport in Phoenix. I am not sure how to feel about all that. Have you dropped Uber the more you have learned about their culture?

    7. Speaking of Uber, in one of their 'healing' meetings recently, their new HR head asked employees to stand up and hug each other. This is a terrible idea on every level. Mark me down on the side of 'no hugging at work ever' policy. In fact, I am not that big a fan of hugging in real life outside of work as well. I think Jerry has it right in this clip (email and RSS subscribers click through)

     

     

    8. This is a really interesting longer read on corporate branding and logos from Fortune. I didn't know that the Bass Ale 'red triangle' logo is generally considered the first corporate logo, dating back to 1870. 

    9. Which companies generate the most revenue per employee? If your guesses start with Apple or Amazon, keep guessing. Some fascinating data from Visual Capitalist. If you could pick just one metric for the condition of your business, revenue per employee would probably be the smartest choice.

    10. I gave myself exactly 23 minutes to write this post, and I am at minute 22. So it ends here. Have a great weekend all!

    Wednesday
    Jun142017

    CHART OF THE DAY: The Aging Global Population

    I am just back from an extended trip that included stops in China for HR Tech China as well as Japan - two places, Japan in particular, who are dealing with the economic and social challenges of an aging population.

    Usually the 'aging' statistics of a country's people is represented by two statistics. One, the percentage of the population age 65 or older. And two, the ratio of people aged 18-64, (and expected, mostly, to be in the workforce), to people 65 and up, (who, mostly, are no longer in the workforce). This ratio is called the 'dependency ratio' and reflects about how many workers and contributors to a country's social insurance schemes are there for each possibly retired person, many of who need income support from these social programs. 

    Said differently, the higher the ratio, the more workers for each older person, the easier it is for a country to keep their social insurance programs funded and solvent.

    With all that said, I was thinking about this more lately after spending time in Japan, where this challenge is especially acute. But as the data below shows, this challenge of an aging population is more widespread than you might think - and, in time, will surface here in the US as well.

    Take a look at the data below on the dependency ratio worldwide, courtesy of Visual Capitalist, then some FREE comments from me after the chart:

    While many countries face obstacles with aging populations, for some the problem is becoming severe.

    A dependency ratio below 5.0 is generally considered to be the mark by which a country has an 'aging' challenge. Countries like Japan, Italy, Germany, Canada, France, and the United Kingdom all fall below this level.  The United States sits in a slightly better situation with about 27.9% of its population expected to hit 65 or higher by the 2050 – and a dependency ratio of about 9, but in time the US (and the 2nd largest global economy, China), will both face looming demographic issues.

    What does this mean or suggest for organizations and for HR pros?

    Well, depending on the location, industry, and global nature of your business, chances are pretty good that the average age of the workforce is trending up. And it is also likely that since your competitors will be facing these same kinds of challenges that the competition for newer/younger workers to replace retirees or folks transitioningto fewer working hours will become more intense. Lastly, you may sooner than later be forced into thinking about and implementing changes to work practices, structures, and technologies that can better support an older workforce.

    It is an interesting time for sure. I am feeling a little older each day. Good to know it is not just me.

    Have a great day!