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    Entries in Human Resources (18)

    Wednesday
    Sep202017

    How important is knowing the product for a new hire?

    I riffed yesterday about how JetBlue is leaning into a pretty serious shortage of pilot candidates by expanding the talent pools and significantly increasing their investment in training and development in order to essentially 'build' the candidates they are having trouble finding otherwise. And while 'airline pilot' seems like one of the last kinds of job ads you'd see with a 'no experience required' listed in the job req, JetBlue is trying to make it work in order to meet their recruiting goals.

    I thought about that case study/experiment again this morning when I saw the announcement of the newest appointee to the Twitter Board of Directors, (not quite having the responsibility of an airline pilot, but hang in their with me for a minute). Turns out the newest member of Twitter's board is not really a user of Twitter.

    From a piece in Business Insider titled Ex-Google CFO Patrick Pichette is joining Twitter's board, and he just tweeted for the first time:

    Twitter's board is swapping Pepsi CFO Hugh Johnston for ex-Google CFO Patrick Pichette.

    Johnston is leaving Twitter to join Microsoft's board, he said in a series of tweets Tuesday. Pichette is joining Twitter's board after retiring as Google's CFO in 2015 and completing a two-year sabbatical.

    Interestingly, Pichette doesn't seem to be much of a Twitter user. His account says he joined the service in February 2017 and his first tweet was published Tuesday announcing his appointment to the board

    Ok, so the dude was a successful C-suite exec, had a high-profile gig at one of the world's most admired companies, and then cashed out to take two years having fun and whatever it is people with lots of cash and time on their hands like to do. He didn't have time to Tweet at all, but then again, being CFO of Google probably consumes a ton of time and energy and those two-year sabbaticals can be exhausting. I mean, just think about how you feel after your two-day sabbatical at the end of every week. Then multiply that feeling by 350 or so.

    But I digress.

    The point is the newest member of the Board of Directors for Twitter, a company that has been around for a decade, and for better or worse, has been a pretty significant influence on news, politics, social causes, and more for most of that time, has never really used Twitter.

    I would imagine in the last ten years there must have been a time or two where Mr. Pichette at least considered setting up a Twitter account and testing out the product/service and each time decided, 'That's not really for me.'

    Which is certainly his prerogative. I imagine there are lots of successful, accomplished, smart types who have decided not to engage on or otherwise use Twitter. But usually those kinds of people don't get appointed to executive or board-level roles on Twitter. And this isn't a knock on Mr. Pichette and his ability to do a great job on Twitter's board. His CFO experience might be just what Twitter needs right now.

    But just like the JetBlue story, the appointment of Pichette, seemingly a person who does not know all that much about the product of Twitter to the Board speaks to the increasing importance in tightening labor markets of taking a more expansive view of the addressable talent pools.

    Train someone to be a commercial airline pilot who has never flown a plane of any kind? 

    Sure.

    Put someone on the Board of Directors of a company who has never used or experienced the product?

    Ok.

    Hire someone for your next Marketing Manager role who doesn't actually have 'Seven years of progressive experience doing exactly the job we want you to do here in the same industry that we are in?'

    Why not?

    Have a great day!

    Wednesday
    Apr052017

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 280 - Dave Ulrich, Victory Through Organization

    HR Happy Hour 280 - Dave Ulrich, Victory Through Organization

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Dave Ulrich, University of Michigan, RBL Group

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve and Trish welcome Dave Ulrich, author of the recent Victory Through Organization, over 30 other books, Professor at the University of Michigan, one of the foremost experts on Human Resources, and known as the "Father of modern Human Resources" back to the Happy Hour to talk Human Resources, creating organizational capability, and how Human Resources can continue to evolve to support the organization.

    Dave talked about the new book, the key can be summed up in the very first sentences of the book - "HR is not about HR. HR begins and ends with the business." From that launch point, we talked about Dave's research (with data from over 30,000 respondents), the importance of HR as the enabler and driver of organizational capability, why the famous McKinsey "War for Talent" is only partially relevant to HR leaders, and some of the ways HR leaders need to adapt and grow in order to support the creation of organizational capability.

    We also talked about NBA basketball, the Oscars, and the Spice Girls, (yes, and every one of those topics tied back to the overall theme of the show, that organizational factors have a far greater impact on business performance than do individual factors). 

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

    Dave's most recent book, Victory Through Organization, is available here.

    And thanks to the HR Happy Hour Show sponsor Virgin Pulse, learn more at www.virginpulse.com.

    This was one of the most interesting, informative, and fun shows we have done. Thanks Dave for joining us!

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and all the podcast apps - just search for HR Happy Hour to subscribe and never miss a show.

    Thursday
    Mar092017

    HRE Column: HCM Trends and How HR Can Take Advantage of Them

    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, I take a look at the recently released Deloitte 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Report, which was also the subject of a recent HR Happy Hour Podcast we did with Josh Bersin.  This annual report, now in its 5th year, has emerged as one of the HR and HR Technology industry's 'must-reads', so for the benefit of HR Executive readers that may not (yet) have listened to the podcast, I tried to capture the content and the spirit of the conversation I had with Josh in the HRE column.

    So in this month's HR Executive column I examine a a few of the themes or trends that were identified in the Global Human Capital trends Report, and how these trends will help inform and shape the design, development, and deployment of HR and workplace technologies in 2017, and beyond.  This was a fun podcast with Josh, and a fun exercise for me, and I hope you get some ideas and insights from this review as you plan out your year and make your workforce, workplace and HR technology decisions in 2017. 

    From the HRE piece:

    Recently, Deloitte released its annual Global Human Capital Trends Report, which, in just its fifth year of publication, has become essential annual reading for HR, business and HR-technology leaders. The report combines findings from a comprehensive survey of more than 11,000 respondents, interviews with multiple HR and business leaders, case studies from many leading organizations, and insights from Deloitte's human capital management analysts and consultants. The result is an insightful report that sheds light on trends, challenges, and opportunities for HR and business leaders who are all tasked with driving business results through their people.

    I had one of the report's principal authors, Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte, as a guest on my HR Happy Hour Podcast on the day the report launched to discuss some of the key findings. For the benefit of readers who have not (yet) had a chance to listen to that interview, I thought I would share some of it here.

    Rethinking the Organization

    Building the "organization of the future" was cited by 88 percent of Deloitte's survey respondents as being an important or very important challenge. What is driving this imperative for many HR and business leaders? Primarily, it’s the need for the organization to become more agile, to be able to adapt more quickly to changing market and competitive conditions, and to increasingly embrace new and more flexible forms and sources of talent. The catalyst for at least some of this need is the increased volume and importance of more flexible labor/talent arrangements, i.e. contractors, consultants and other “gig” workers. As these sources of flexible and contingent labor have continued to evolve, HR-technology solutions such as Upwork, Wonolo and Toptal have become increasingly important sources of talent that HR and business leaders are relying upon to execute their rapidly changing workforce needs.

    But it is not just the increased reliance on contingents that's driving the need to rethink the organization. The way work gets done in organizations today -- increasingly, via short-term, purpose-built and cross-functional teams, and not in formal, functionally defined hierarchies -- is also forcing HR leaders to reconsider how the organization should be designed. The need for increased agility in the assembling and disassembling of these teams requires HR and talent leaders to have better insights into individuals’ skills, as well as any overall organizational skill deficiencies. The need for robust talent-management, workforce-management, learning and development, and organizational collaboration technologies to support these rapid shifts in organizational dynamics places primary importance on a close connection between business, people and IT strategy in order to ensure that the organization can react as the market demands.

    The Employee Experience

    On the podcast, Bersin told me "the employee-engagement market is over." On first blush, you might think that was an odd thing to say, given that employee-engagement levels remain persistently low, and most HR and business leaders have bought into the notion that increasing these engagement scores would be a good thing for retention, morale and productivity.

    Read the rest at HR Executive 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-seen you lawn, take the car for a wash, or help you plant your spring flowers. I especially like alstroemelias.

    Have a great day!

    Wednesday
    Feb222017

    The Uber HR mess, it probably starts at the pitch meeting

    I don't have a lot more to add to what has been voluminous coverage over the last several days of the recent expose of Uber's (probably) hostile work environment, particularly for the women at Uber. The process of the shocking reveal of what is was really like to work at Uber from a former employee, the wide and far calls of condemnation and Uber boycotts, followed by the quick (and high profile) reactions and vows to 'fix' things from Uber's CEO and their celebrity board member are playing out more or less how you would expect them to.

    Whether or not Uber can, wants to, or will really be able to 'fix' things remains to be seen, and is probably the less important of the things that the rest of us can take away from this mess. It is probably more useful for us to think about how Uber (and others like them), got to this point in the first place.

    Recode has a good piece about how Uber insiders attribute a large portion of the situation at Uber, the ineffectual support and response of internal HR to employee complaints, to the HR culture at Uber of being 90% about recruiting, and 9% about terminations, with the leftover 1% spent doing the necessary admin functions. I made up the percentages, but the idea is clear - Uber was scaling up at a rapid pace, hiring was critical to meeting their business objectives, and it seems likely once people were hired, they were more or less on their own.

    And while the Recode piece makes some great points, and I have no reason to think it is not accurate, I would add one more possible 'cause' to all this mess at Uber, (and the many, many other tech companies that continually struggle with these issues). And it is this - from the earliest stages of the enterprise, the initial presentations and investor pitch decks that the founders use to raise funds, building and supporting diverse teams of people is almost (I can't find one example) never mentioned in these contexts. The 'formula' for raising investments does not include things like a diversity plan or strategies to incorporate talent from underrepresented groups as a key element that will lead to business success.

    It is just never mentioned. What gets mentioned, (and rewarded), are the product ideas, the 'briliance' of the founder, or the reasonable line of sight the investor can assess from the idea to some kind of highly profitable outcome. 

    I did some quick searching this morning for 'Best Pitch Decks Ever' or 'Top Pitch Decks of All Time' and I looked through about 20 of them and did not find one mention of diversity, inclusion, or a stated goal to build a more open, welcoming, fair, or equitable workplace. Note, I am certain this exists somewhere, but I could not find an example right off the bat.

    So back to the question of where to these problems start at places like Uber?

    I think they start from that very first slide deck and from that first presentation where I bet no one talks about these issues.

    Should they be raised at that early point in a company's growth? I will leave that up to the professional investors and founders I guess.

    But having said that, leaving that question up to those two groups has led us to places like Uber.

    Have a great Wednesday!

    Friday
    Feb102017

    Signs of the Corporate Death Spiral #5 : Have we learned nothing from Yahoo?

    Every once in a while, I still come across a story about a book or books being banned, or even burned, in a local area or school system. And every time I hear a story like that I make the same , bad joke - "They are burning books? Burning them? I mean, have we learned nothing from Footloose?"

    And every once in a while we come across stories of organizations that, in the spirit of the formerly great tech company Yahoo, pulling the corporate version of banning books, except is it about banning telework or remote work arrangements.  You probably caught the news that this week IBM's Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Peluso is effectively banning remote working arrangements for IBM's US marketing organization. Staffers will have to report to, (and in some cases relocate within commuting distance of), one of six US offices and (in her words), sit "Shoulder to shoulder" with their colleagues.

    IBM Marketing employees who are unable or unwilling to cease remote work arrangements and report to one of the six offices will be essentially tendering their resignation, (according to reports).

    Call me cynical, but my guess is Ms. Peluso herself will not have to suffer a 'forced' relocation to keep her job. I bet she already lives near enough one of the six offices. 

    But the larger point, like Yahoo, Comcast, or any other organization that resorts to the 'No more remote working for anyone' card is sending a signal that they are kind of out of ideas on how to generate better ideas.

    So they pull the 'More/Better ideas get generated when people are physically together' line and issue edicts like Ms. Peluso's and Yahoo's Marissa Mayer before that. And they are at least (partially) right. Sometimes great ideas do get generated when people are physically together.

    But also true is that great ideas get generated when people are walking their dog, are in the shower, or sometimes when they wake up in the middle of the night and scribble something down on a pad. Keith Richards dreamed the riff for 'Satisfaction', woke up a 4AM and played the lick into a tape recorder on the night stand. He didn't come up with the legendary tune as Agenda Item #6 in an official Rolling Stones band weekly status meeting.

    It seems like these kinds of blunt, non-differentiated, unscientific, (does IBM really know that working in the office will lead to better performance?), never work out in the long run.

    The best talent that feels negatively impacted by this policy change will find their way to greener pastures. And other folks will feel forced by their employer to make incredibly disruptive life changing decisions in order to keep their jobs.

    Ever have to hell an 11 year-old they have to relocate to a new city, new school, and make all new friends? Have fun with that conversation.

    I don't know what is going on at IBM in a big-picture sense. But I do know the various IBM folks I have dealt with and do work with now (some are in Marketing), are all dedicated, intelligent, considerate, and a real pleasure to work with.

    I hope things work out for them the way they want them to.