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    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 211 - The NBA Playoffs Prediction Show

    HR Happy Hour 211 - The NBA Playoffs Prediction Show

    Recorded Monday April 20, 2015

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Featuring: Ben Eubanks

    Listen to the show HERE

    Fresh off the fun that was the HR Happy Hour Oscars Preview Show a few weeks back, Steve and Trish take a a look at and make their predictions for the just-started 2015 NBA Playoffs, in HR Happy Hour Show style. Translated: As in the Oscars show, one of your fearless hosts knows probably too much about the NBA, while the other brings a unique style and perspective to making their selections and predictions as to which NBA team will be raising the championship trophy in June.

    Let's just say things like local cuisine, team tie-ins to 'Keeping Up With the Khardashians', Las Vegas wagering, and where people we know reside all play an important role in the selections. NBA fan or not, you will not want to miss Steve and Trish's takes on the NBA playoffs.

    Additionally, Ben Eubanks stops by with Ben's HR Book Review, Steve and Trish discuss what states are actually in the 'midwest', we get a German Rondo reference, and we all learn if actually having seen an NBA basketball precludes someone from betting on basketball games. Hint: It probably does not.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or 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.

    This was a really fun show, and we hope you have as much fun listening as we did recording the show!


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 210 - LIVE from Equifax Forum 2015

    HR Happy Hour 210 - LIVE from Equifax Forum 2015

    Recorded Live from New Orleans on Wednesday April 15, 2015

    Hosts: Trish McFarlaneSteve Boese

    Guests: Dann Adams, Mike Psenka, Scott Collins, Equifax Workforce Solutions

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve and Trish recorded a special show LIVE from the Equifax Workforce Solutions Forum 2015, an annual event for Equifax customers and community. We were joined by Dann Adams, Mike Psenka, and Scott Collins from Equifax for a fun, informative, and wide-ranging conversation on some of the most important challenges facing HR leaders today - managing compliance in a complex environment, the continuing need to stay on top of evolving ACA requirements, and how modern technology solutions and approaches are enabling HR leaders to move from simply collecting data, to gaining valuable business insights from that data.

    Additionally, we learned about how two Equifax customers, Tyson Foods with their amazing support of disaster-hit areas, and Team Rubicon, who have engaged significant numbers of returning veterans in their disaster relief efforts are doing incredibly valuable and important work in the communities they serve.

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

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


    The Equifax Workforce Solutions team not only has developed a powerful set of HR technologies, they also understand the importance of true partnership - with their customers, their employees, and their communities. This was a fantastic, fun, and very informative event, and many thanks to everyone at Equifax for the warm hospitality.

    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.

    We hope you enjoy the show as much as we did recording it! 


    Not Haunted

    Take a look at the pic on the right side of this post. A 'For Lease' sign spotted in the French Quarter in New Orleans the other day.

    Pretty funny and clever bit of advertising by the leasing agent. It is always kind of refreshing to see something so familiar, like a 'For Lease' sign, taken in a slightly or even entirely new direction. 'For Lease' signs are everywhere, they tend to kind of blend in to the surroundings like so many other aspects of the urban landscape. But this one, with the 'Not Haunted' sign stood out. In fact, in the five minutes I was standing near the sign, at least 4 or 5 other folks stopped to take the same pic of the sign that I did.

    It is pretty easy to see something like the 'Not Haunted' sign and have a reaction along the lines of 'Look at this example, HR/Business professional, and try to make your communications, job ads, emails etc. more punchy so that folks will stop and actually read/remember them.'

    But I think you also need to be careful with that kind of approach and advice. You can reasonably go two ways with dropping the equivalent of a 'Not Haunted' in your standard communications.

    The first way is that you actually do get folks to stop and notice your communication or job ad with some kind of edgy line or element. Just like people stopped on the street to laugh at and take pictures of the sign, mostly tourists that had no intention of actually inquiring about the apartment lease, your folks, many of whom that might not be in your target audience, will stop and notice/engage with your content.  That is a win, mostly, but only a win if you have built up at least some credibility and trust as a communicator, and your moment of edginess has at least some context to support it. The 'Not Haunted' sign works in the French Quarter of New Orleans because in that place, themes of strangeness, weirdness, voodoo, and general fun prevail. 'Not Haunted' fits there. 

    And that takes us to the other way the equivalent for you of something like 'Not Haunted' can turn out, as something that seems completely out of place, or creates a suggestion or an implication of an experience that you can't deliver. If you suddenly start punching up job ads will all manner of clever and newly invented titles, edgy statements of company culture, and describe the ideal candidate in some kind of a combination of rock star, champion athlete, and Don Draper-level creative, you run the risk of coming off as a little bit insincere, and trying a little too hard.

    'Not Haunted' works on the New Orleans sign because it fits the context, it's quick to digest, and it shows that the communicator understands the place and the mindsets of their audience. It's easy to tell folks they should be more clever and funny in their communications. It's much harder to do well. And it's even harder than that to do it quickly and concisely.

    Take a lesson from the 'Not Haunted' sign sure, but make sure that lesson is that great, funny, memorable communications are a job for real pros. Like Don Draper maybe.

    Have a great Tuesday!


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 209 - Castlight and Enterprise Healthcare Management

    HR Happy Hour 209 - Castlight and Enterprise Healthcare Management

    Recorded LIVE from the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference April 9, 2015

    Hosts: Steve Boese, Trish McFarlane

    Guest: Maeve O'Meara, VP Products Castlight Health

    Listen to the show HERE 

    US organizations spend about $620B annually on employee health and benefits programs and up to 30% of this enormous spend is wasted according to some estimates. For most employers, health and benefits is a Top 3 cost, but most have also only managed these as costs, i.e., as needing to be controlled, managed down, and to be shifted more to employees in the form of greater employee contributions towards care and benefits. But for many organizations, employee benefits have moved from a cost to be managed towards an important asset to be leveraged for employee well-being and organizational success. 

    Today on the show, Steve was joined by Maeve O'Meara, VP Products from Castlight Health, an HR technology solution provider that has created a platform for what is becoming known as 'Enterprise Healthcare Management'. The Castlight platform helps employees access and utilize benefits and health programs and provides them better information, educational resources, and transparency to guide them in actively managing their care. For employers, the platform provides rich analytics about employee use of benefits, trends that are impacting and indicative of workplace challenges and tools to better predict what will happen next with employee benefits utilization. This leads to better experiences for employees and better outcomes for employers.

    You can listen to the show on the show page here, or 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 Maeve and Castlight Health for joining us!


    UPDATE: The Microsoft Band and the Future of Wearables at Work

    Do you wear a fitness tracker like a Fitbit or a Jawbone? Or maybe you are planning to jump on the Apple Watch fanboy train in a few weeks and take advantage of that device's ability to track your activity. Lot's of folks are keeping closer track of their workouts and activity today.

    A few months back Microsoft launched its first entry into the wearables market with the Microsoft Band, a wearable tracker that possesses a variety of sensors including a microphone, a GPS location sensor, motion sensors, an optical sensor that measures heart rate, a sensor that tracks skin conductance, which can reveal levels of stress, and even a UV sensor to calculate sun exposure, delivered in a black bracelet with a rectangular touch screen.

    At that time, your humble blogger, (me), shared some thoughts about why this particular wearable smart device could be the one that has the greatest potential for near-term impact and relevance to work, workplaces, and employees. Namely, because Microsoft has such a choke hold on most organization's email, calendaring, and document management that it would be both natural and powerful for a Microsoft wearable to be integrated with these existing and traditional workplace tools.

    You can read my entire take here, but at the risk of getting too meta and quoting myself, below is the gist of my argument back in October 2014:

    I can think of a couple of really compelling use cases for this kind of integration right off the top. 

    One - how work itself effects employee health. Does someone's heart start racing in every staff meeting? Do they begin to get twitchy when called upon to present to a group? Does a certain interaction with a colleague result in three nights of poor sleep? And then what can organizations then do to better understand and potentially align individuals with projects and team members that can aid their ability to perform, while not making them crazy? How do schedules, (and in particular over scheduling), impact employee health and activity? Do we need to be more mindful of how overworked and over scheduled many of our people are?

    Two - Insights into who in the organization inspires, challenges, and lifts people up, and who serves as essentially the corporate buzzkill? Imaging a meeting with 10 people inside, all wearing the MS Band. One person dominates the meeting, maybe it is the boss, and immediately after the other 9 people begin to show signals of nervousness, irritability, or even lethargy. Maybe email and collaboration patterns in the team begin to show signs of changing as well. Perhaps some members of the team skip their normal workouts for a day or two in the aftermath. Maybe some folks don't even turn up the next day. 

    Clever stuff, right? Why bring that back up again today? Well, check the comments from a recent piece from a few days ago that was posted on the MIT Technology Review site - Microsoft's Wristband Would Like To BE Your Life Coach:

    During a recent interview at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, headquarters, Matt Barlow, general manager of marketing for new devices, said the company is investigating the kinds of insights it can share with users by matching up biometric data with other sources of information like their calendar or contacts to show things like which events or people may stress them out.

    In the coming months, the Microsoft Health app is poised to gain the ability to compare calendar or contact information with your physical state as measured by the band—your heart rate or skin conductance level, for instance—so the app could nudge you with detailed observations about how those things might relate. For instance, the app might send you an alert like, “I noticed you have a meeting with Susan tomorrow, and last time you met with her your heart rate went up 20 beats per minute and stayed elevated for an hour. How about trying this deep-breathing exercise that you can use with the Band?”

    Initially, these kinds of scenarios are expected to become possible through an integration with Microsoft Office services, though over time it may branch out to include other services as well.

    Hey - the Microsoft dude is essentially touting the same kinds of capability and interesting workplace data integrations that little old me talked about in October. But not to say I told you so...

    But the real point of resurfacing the old post and topic was just to remind you that even though wearables and fitness trackers have been around for a while now, we really are just still in the first inning of a long game. Trackers and biological/physiological sensors won't really start impacting the way work gets done until they actually are integrated with the tools of work - email, calendars, meetings, etc.

    Stay tuned...

    Have a great week!