Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


E-mail Steve
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    Listen to internet radio with Steve Boese on Blog Talk Radio

    free counters

    Twitter Feed

    Entries in surveys (6)


    n = 1

    1. Tariffs: I am not an economist, and I don't even play one on TV. But these blanket tariffs, (code for taxes), sort of feel wrong to me. It is super complicated for sure, but the idea that in 2018 we (America), wants to value one kind of industry over another, mostly based on some romanticized recollection of the past, is misguided. We will see how this pans out of course, and like lots of these kinds of things the impacts will likely be less dramatic in the real world than the current headlines suggest.

    2. TECH: Yesterday I shared some data about the growth and marker share of the 'smart speaker' market - Echo, Google Home, etc. I am incredibly bullish on how these devices and voice assistants in general are going to impact workplace tech. In my down time I have been working on a little project for the Amazon Alexa platform that I hope to get launched in the next week or two. Stay tuned for that.

    3. Winter: it is still snowing here in Western NY. That is not surprising so it can't really be described as disappointing. It is sad though. A few items below there's another observation about Rochester, NY that will make more sense when considering how long and cold and miserable the winters can be here.

    4. HR Happy Hour: Lots of great stuff on the HR Happy Hour Show and the HHH family of shows. Go to the HR Happy Hour Show Page to get caught up, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. We started the HR Happy Hour way back in 2009. Amazing it is still going strong after all this time.

    5. Sports: I have never been less interested in my New York Knicks. Once franchise player (and hopefully savior), Kristaps Porzingis went down injured the team has become simply unwatchable. I think I can name more players on the US Olympic Curling Team than I can on the current Knicks. Dreadful.

    6. JOBS: Writing this over a coffee as the monthly US Employment report hit the news. Wow - 313,000 jobs added in February 2018. That's a huge number. Unemployment rate held at 4.1% due to lots more people re-entering the labor force - makes sense since the economy is adding so many jobs. Have fun recruiting for those 'hard to fill' positions. Maybe, just maybe it's time to raise wages?

    7. Location: On the same CNBC show that I caught the Jobs report update, one of the 'expert' analysts was discussing job and skills training, and the role of the private sector vs. the public sector with respect to re-skilling workers who are impacted by automation and shifting labor market needs. My ears perked up when explaining why companies need to 'own' training current and future workers he remarked, 'Let's say you own a company in Rochester, NY, (NOTE: Where I live). No one is relocating to Rochester, NY to take your open jobs. You have to re-train the people who are already there if you want to fill those jobs." Ouch. Probably more or less true. I am about 15 months from getting out of here myself.

    8. Oscars: Trish and I did pretty well on our Academy Awards Predictions on the Happy Hour. Sufjan Stevens was robbed in the Best Song category though. (Embed below, email and RSS subscribers click through)

    9. Social Media note of note: I have pared down my social media use to (mostly automated/scheduled) Twitter updates and (oddly enough) posting travel pics on the Chinese social media app WeChat. Over a decade on various social apps has me burned out from them. I have not logged in to Facebook in probably a year, (although links to the blog still post there) and stopped posting (and checking) Instagram last summer. Not that anyone cares. But once in a while someone tries to get in touch with me on one of those apps and I just wanted to let anyone who does care know that I don't see any those messages. I kind of feel like I'm not alone in drifting off in terms of social media use/addiction. Who knows, maybe blogs will stage a comeback!

    10. FOOD: Shamrock Shakes are back. Enough said.

    Have a great weekend!


    Two important engagement questions that employers never ask

    Caught this fascinating piece over the weekend from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Monthly Labor Review publication titled Worker's expectations about losing and replacing their jobs: 35 years of change. The piece describes changes over time in American worker's feelings about job security, confidence, and (I would argue), their ability to focus wholly on doing their actual job well, and not just trying not to lose that job.

    This data about worker's expectations comes from analysis of data from the General Social Survey which has been administered each year since 1972. The results of the General Social Survey are representative of the adult population of the United States, as the respondents are in line with population characteristics drawn from the population in surveys of the U.S. Census Bureau.

    In the piece, author Charles Weaver notes that:

    "Workers were less secure about retaining their jobs in 2010 and 2012 than in 1977 and 1978; they also were less secure about the ease with which they would find a comparable job if they were separated. As might be expected, the two measures of job security track unemployment, although other factors certainly play a role as well"

    This conclusion is drawn from the responses to the following two specific survey questions (repeated every year in the survey)

    1. Thinking about the next 12 months, how likely do you think it is that you will lose your job or be laid off—very likely, fairly likely, not too likely, or not at all likely?

    2. About how easy would it be for you to find a job with another employer with approximately the same income and fringe benefits you have now? Would you say it would be very easy, somewhat easy, or not easy at all?

    As Mr. Weaver reports, over time the number of workers who felt it was very likely or fairly likely to lose a job or be laid off rose to 11.2% from 7.7%, while only 48.3% felt it would be very easy or somewhat easy to find a comparable job, down from 59.2% in the late 1970s.

    So in the period from about 1977 to 2012 job security on the macro level had declined, while confidence in one's ability to find a comparable job had also declined. There are potentially thousands of reasons for these declines, and while important, and interesting, are not why I wanted to post about these findings today.

    What I thought about was the two questions themselves, and how an individual worker feels about them might relate to their job satisfaction, performance, and potentially their engagement.

    Are you in fear of losing your job or getting laid off? If you were laid off, how easy/hard could it be to find a comparable job?

    The answers to these questions can tell you plenty about workers. They speak to uncertainty, fear, anxiety, etc. about work and their livelihoods. The less optimistic one feels about job security, the more likely they are to approach work as something to fear, a place not to screw up, and I think these kinds of fears might improve short-term performance, (and other things not directly related to performance, like showing up on time, following rules, etc.)., but a anxious worker is not going to be a happy worker, (or an engaged worker) very long.

    For those reasons, (and probably more), employers would probably like to know how their employees would respond to the two questions above. Wouldn't you like to know if your workers are tiptoeing around, hoping the other shoe isn't about to drop?

    Sure. But here is another sure thing. You will never find either of those two questions on any internal employee survey. 


    CHART OF THE DAY: Is today a good day?

    Is today a good day? A bad day? Or just a typical, run-of-the-mill kind of day? 

    Maybe it is still too early to tell.

    But the answer someone is likely to give to the 'Is today a good day?' question could be highly dependent in which country you live. Take a look at today's CHART OF THE DAY, courtesy of the fine people over at Pew and taken from their Spring 2014 Global Attitudes survey, and of course some FREE commentary from me after the chart.

    It may seem odd or counter-intuitive, but many of those in the poorer countries surveyed were more likely than those in richer nations to say that the day, and this is just a randomly selected day, was a good one.

    When looking at this question by national income, there is a slightly negative correlation between respondents reporting that the day is a good one and their country's per capita GDP. The USA being the major outlier on this measure. The USA has the highest GDP per capita among the countries surveyed by Pew and these American respondents were more likely to rate a day as particularly good than people in other rich nations. But across the board in almost all the surveyed countries, the most common response to this question is that the day was just “typical.”

    Kind of interesting, even if it is hard to know what, if anything to make of it. On the one hand it is noteworthy that with the exception of the USA, the relative wealth (as expressed in per capita GDP), doesn't seem to predict general happiness, (or at least contentedness). But the fact that across the world most people's are just 'meh', seems more interesting.

    Think about your typical day. Today even. 

    Good, bad, or 'meh'. 

    How about yesterday? The day before?

    When was your last really, really good day?

    I hope it is today.

    Happy Wednesday.


    Trends in Onboarding and Retention in 2013

    (Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by Allied Van Lines®, a leader in the moving and storage industry with more than 75 years of experience. For a second year, they are championing a research project, Allied HRIQ, aimed to provide business professionals with data on current workforce trends. We also have an exciting LinkedIn group~ Allied HR IQ~ where HR professionals can network and share ideas about happenings in the HR space.  I encourage you to join today!  I have partnered with Allied Van Lines® in the past and am excited about this year’s survey results.)

    Trying to find and then take the time to make sense of and look for valuable and relevant takeaways from the multitude of research and surveys about the workplace, talent management, and management trends can be quite challenging for most of us with busy, full schedules. And the folks at Allied get this, which is why they have asked HR bloggers like myself, Trish McFarlane, and Sharlyn Lauby to jump in and not only take a look at the recently completed data from the Allied HR IQ survey, but also to highlight what we felt like were some of the most interesting and important findings.

    As Sharlyn shared earlier this summer, the Allied HR IQ survey put out some great information on telecommuting.  Give her article a read because, as we all know, this issue is still on the minds of many professionals. And later in the year, Trish examined the recruiting and relocation survey focus areas in her piece here.

    I’ve been asked to look at the onboarding and retention components of the survey results.  I have to tell you, the full survey results are well worth your time to read, but in case you’re pressed for time, here are my key takeaways on these important topics:


    Some key findings from the data about new employee onboarding:

    While onboarding is usually ‘owned’ by HR, (83% either led by corporate HR and/or Unit HR), there is usually not a specific budget allocated for the process, with 87% of respondents indicating that onboarding costs were simply baked in to overall HR spend.

    In onboarding, success is not totally tied to the size of an organization’s budget - companies that evaluated their onboarding process as ‘Highly Successful’ spent, on average, over 50% less than companies rating themselves only ‘Somewhat Successful.’  However both groups spent significantly more on onboarding than the ‘Not Successful’ group.

    Highly successful onboarding programs distinguished themselves in several ways - by clearly communicating employee expectations, incorporating formal and informal coaching and mentoring programs, and encompassing senior and line managerial participation in the onboarding process.

    Finally, and perhaps the most interesting data point related to onboarding,  respondents indicated it takes about 8 months for new hires to be fully productive in the organization, a time horizon that did not vary much no matter how small or large the organization.

    What can you take away from these findings?

    Clearly, the best onboarding programs are ones that maintain a high degree of personalization, i.e., where the individual employee needs and situation are being considered and valued. Elements like specific goals and expectations, a high degree of managerial and leadership involvement, and the realization that onboarding should start sooner (even before the first day on the job) and last longer are just some of the hallmarks of successful programs. As we will see in the data about employee retention, a successful employee onboarding experience will pay dividends far into the future, and will clearly provide a fantastic return on investment.

    Turning our attention to the Retention portion of the study... 


    Similarly, several interesting findings were revealed from the survey respondents’ assessment of their retention strategies and their success (or shortcomings).

    The Allied HRIQ survey participants indicated that only 76% of their new hires remained with the organization for one full year. Given the 8-month time to productivity finding from above, losing a full quarter of new hires before one year is kind of a distressing statistic.

    To build upon the first point, only 62% of new hires who were retained for a full year were viewed as ‘Meeting or surpassing expectations,’ meaning 38% were performing at a sub-optimal level.

    Why are so many new hires leaving before one year? Not surprisingly, the number one factor reported by the survey respondents was the employee’s ‘Relationship with their manager.’ This finding supports that often-repeated maxim that ‘People join companies, but they leave managers.’ Career advancement opportunities ranked next on the list of leaving reasons, reminding us that even new employees are concerned about their future career prospects with the organization.

    Lastly, many companies, even quite large ones, are not doing a good enough job of asking and assessing executives’ willingness to relocate, even while reporting that this willingness and ability to actually relocate is an important factor for their advancement opportunities.

    There are several interesting implications of the retention data from the Allied HRIQ survey, but if I could focus in on one element, it would have to be the level and attention of the employee’s direct manager and how that affects outcomes. As we saw in the onboarding data, a high level of managerial involvement led to better onboarding programs. And this type of attention and personalized development and management seems to also have a profound influence on retention. The data suggest that the most important factor in an employee’s first months with the organization is the relationship they have with their manager. So smart HR leaders will strive to ensure they work closely with these critically important managers to provide them the tools, resources, and capability they need to effectively guide new employees in their first months with the organization.

    Final thoughts

    Onboarding and retention will continue to be two necessary and important functions for the HR leader, and while most organizations feel like they are doing at least an adequate job in these areas, as the Allied HRIQ survey reveals, there is always room for improvement.

    I encourage you to check out the full Allied HRIQ survey results here, where you will find lots more information and insight that can help to make your onboarding and retention efforts even more effective.


    Your Help Requested: The Only HR Technology Survey that Matters

    You know I don't ask much from you, gentle readers? 


    I grind away over here in the sub-basement cranking out posts asking really nothing from you the readers. Day-in day-out, week-in week-out, and really only with the hope that if I could impact just one little kid out there, who may have been thinking about dropping out of school, but found the blog and decided to stick to his studies with the dreams of a great future in Human Resources or Technology that it would have all been worth it... 

    I kid, I kid, (kind of).

    Seriously, today I am asking for a bit of a favor from those of you that are HR practitioners, and are at all interested, impacted by, and involved with workplace technology. That is, essentially, all of you.

    Each year HR Technology industry legend Lexy Martin and her colleagues at CedarCrestone sponsor the most important survey of Human Resources Technology, titled the CedarCrestone 2012–2013 HR Systems Survey: HR Technologies, Service Delivery Choices, and Metrics, 15th Annual Edition. That's right, now celebrating it's 15th year of tracking the adoption, deployment approaches, and value realized from Human Resources Technologies by organizations of all sizes.

    My favor is to ask you to take 15-20 minutes out of your Friday, or your weekend, and take the survey.

    If you want to learn more about the survey itself, you can check out the introduction letter from Lexy, which nicely (includes a strong pull quote from the most interesting man in HR, Bill Kutik). If you are already sold on the value of this annual survey to the greater HR and HR Technology community, (and you should be), you can launch the survey here

    It will take 15, 20 minutes of your time, max. And in addition to having my enduring appreciation, and the good feeling that by sharing your experience and insight to this survey you are contributing to our increased industry understanding, you'll also be eligible to win some really cool prizes, (like $100 Visa gift cards).

    Look the chance to win a prize for participating in the survey is cool, but for real, you should really want to take part because it truly is the most important HR Technology study that I know of, and the only one that I would be willing to make an (extremely rare), ask of my blog readers.

    So here is what you need to know one more time:

    HR Systems Survey backround and welcome letter - here

    Take the survey and be a good HR citizen - here

    Survey responses will be accepted until July 2, 2012.

    Thanks so much for the indulgence, and now I will return to the basement to get cracking on next week's content.

    Have a great weekend - and many thanks!