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    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 333 - How AI in HR Will Enhance the Employee Experience

    HR Happy Hour 333 - How AI in HR Will Enhance the Employee Experience

    Sponsored by Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Jeanne Meister, Future Workplace

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, hosts Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane are joined by Jeanne Meister for a conversation on Artificial Intelligence in HR and how it will enhance the employee experience. Jeanne shared her insights on how AI will impact HR, how the skills and roles of HR will adapt and change over time and supported by AI technology, the connection between customer experience and employee experience, and gave HR leaders some advice about how to begin to introduce AI into their HR practices and programs.

    We also got an update on the Logic concert, Steve's acute 'uncoolness', a James Taylor update, and previewed some of the AI related content that will be showcased at the upcoming HR Technology Conference.

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

    This was a fun show, thanks Jeanne for joining us!

    Subscribe the HR Happy Hour Show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Google Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts - just search for 'HR Happy Hour'.


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    1. Beloved footwear brand Crocs is in a bit of trouble. Might want to stock up on some just in case. I did the same move when I learned that Twinkies were being discontinued a few years back.

    2. There was some really interesting coverage on what auto manufacturer GM is doing to try and better control employee healthcare costs and improve outcomes. It is clear that all of the traditional strategies they have been trying up until now have not moved the needle.

    3. One of the biggest stories in college sports was recently broke by a reporter that ESPN laid off earlier in the year. Tough to get 'scooped' by someone you decided was not essential to your business.

    4. From Academia - 'Compensation and Incentives in the Workplace' by Edward P. Lazear. "A sample of some of the most applicable papers are discussed with the goal of demonstrating that compensation, incentives, and productivity are inseparably linked."

    5. Still more from the market for truck drivers from Fortune. Between automation influences, labor force demographic changes, and increasing regulatory pressures, hiring truck drivers has never been harder.

    6. Infographic (are they still a thing?) 'Debunking 8 Myths about AI in the Workplace'

    7. The English Premier League season kicks off this weekend. If you need a team to support, I recommend Liverpool. This is our year for sure.

    8. Trish McFarlane and I did a great HR Happy Hour Show earlier this week with guest Erica Volini from Deloitte on the 2018 Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report. You can listen to the replay HERE or on your favorite podcast app.

    9. Speaking of the HR Happy Hour Show, our new version of the show for the Amazon Alexa platform just crossed the 50 episode mark. To listen to the show just add the HR Happy Hour Skill to your Echo device's Daily Flash Briefing.

    10. It's one month until the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas. Check out the agenda and register here. Use my code STEVE300 for $300 off your HR Tech Conference pass.

    Have a great weekend!


    A (slight) pause in the robot job takeover

    Quick report for the last day of July from the robots are taking all the jobs frontier. It looks like, at least for now, one of the important, (and widely held) jobs that has seemed most vulnerable to eventual robot takeover may remain the province of humans a little bit longer.

    The job is over the road truck driver, a job that has been in the news plenty lately, mostly in the context of pretty significant labor shortages. Shipping companies and manufacturers are having a hard time recruiting new truck drivers into what is a demanding profession, the existing supply of truckers are starting to age out of the workforce, and efforts to improve pay and conditions for truckers, (which in theory helps with recruiting and retention), have so far had mixed results.

    These factors, combined with the seeming dozens of high tech companies actively working on self-driving transportation technologies have led many industry observers to predict that self-driving trucks and associated technologies would sooner than later begin to be introduced into the industry. It makes sense for sure, the combination of a human labor replacing opportunity, with a technology that has been in development for quite some time, and a clear economic need that continues to grow have created what most industry experts considered a kind of perfect storm for truck drivers. In fact, all the coverage and noise about how the profession of truck driving is doomed, (for people), probably is contributing to the current truck driver shortfall. Who wants to enter an industry where 5 or 10 years from now you'll be replaced with a self-driving truck?

    But some news broke a couple of days ago that may give this entire narrative pause. Our pals at Uber, long-considered one of the leaders in developing self-driving trucks and technology is stepping back from their development efforts. From a piece covering the news in Venture Beat:

    Uber is shifting resources away from the self-driving truck unit within its Advanced Technologies Group, the company announced today in an email to reporters. For the time being, it’s ceasing development on the autonomous freight platform it acquired from autonomous tech company Otto.

    “We’ve decided to stop development on our self-driving truck program and move forward exclusively with cars,” Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, said in a statement. “We recently took the important step of returning to public roads in Pittsburgh, and as we look to continue that momentum, we believe having our entire team’s energy and expertise focused on this effort is the best path forward.”

    It's a pretty interesting move by Uber, who has had a bunch of other problems to deal with over the last couple of years, but to shift their self-driving tech development and focus from trucking to cars probably indicates the trucking problem is much tougher to solve than they realized.

    Truck drivers, as it has been reported, do plenty of other things besides keep the vehicle between the white lines on the freeway. Load inspection and balancing, monitoring vehicle performance, consideration of local weather and traffic conditions, and finally, negotiating the often tricky and challenging last miles of a delivery and plenty more. Uber likely has found that solving all of these problems and delivering true 'self-driving' trucking solutions has turned out to be harder than it seems.

    And that is probably a lesson we can take in other domains as well. As robots and technolgy advance in capability, it can be easy to underestimate all the added value and unique value that humans bring to their work. It's not easy building a self-driving truck that can replace a human truck driver.

    It's probably not going to be easy to build technology to replace you or me either. (Let's hope).

    Have a great day!


    No more free lunch, at least for some tech workers

    The on-site, catered, or in-house chef-prepared free lunch (and potentially even breakfast, dinner, and endless snacks and drinks) has long been a stable of high-tech companies all over the country, but is most typically centered on the Silicon Valley and San Francisco startup scenes.

    Free meals and snacks have become so commonplace (and celebrated), that many companies see the benefit/perk as simply a cost of doing business in order to attract and retain the best talent, (and probably to keep them on-site and working longer hours, and less distracted throughout the day). Heck, most of us are too busy to do much more than have a sandwich and an Diet Dr. Pepper at out desks for lunch anyway - who has time to head out to a restaurant? So making that grab and go and devour lunch in 12 minutes routine much more satisfying by making the food both free and delicious at least gives many tech workers a benefit that the rest of us can only admire from afar.

    Well if some Mountain View and San Francisco public officials get their way, the free lunch benefit may finally succumb to the old maxim 'There's no such thing as a free lunch.' Details of what these city leaders have in mind come from a recent piece on Business Insider - San Francisco Bay Area Cities are Cracking Down on Free Food at Facebook and Other Tech Companies:

    It's no secret that Facebook employees love their office meals. On Instagram, there are countless photos of free meals — from sushi to tacos to coffee waffles — served at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, California.

    But come this fall, when the tech giant moves to a new Mountain View office complex called the Village, that perk will no longer exist.

    That's because the city is prohibiting companies from fully subsidizing meals inside the Village, a rule that could spread to other Bay Area cities in the future. Free food is a popular perk at tech companies throughout San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

    On Tuesday, San Francisco legislators proposed a similar ban, the San Francisco Examiner reports. If passed, it would adjust zoning laws to bar new construction of on-site workplace cafeterias. (The ban wouldn't be retroactive, however, so on-site food at companies like Google and Twitter would still be available.)

    A quick look at the details of the rules in Mountain View and the proposal in San Francisco do show that there are or could be at least some decent-sized loopholes that companies can walk through in order to keep providing employees free lunch. Companies already providing the perk are exempt from the new rules, and the "fully subsidized" language in the rule seems to open up the opportunity for companies to at least heavily subsidize or discount food they bring into the office for employees.

    But having said that, let's contemplate for a moment what might happen if these rules/bans actually do stick and new companies or new developments from existing companies discover that the on-site free lunch truly gets eliminated for their workers. 

    Would there be some kind of a worker revolt? An "We Demand Our Avocado Toast and Cold Brew" march on City Hall? Would some workers actually leave or refuse to join a tech company that actually made employees leave the office and buy their own food? Might a tech company or two simply relocate or decide to build their new facility in a more "free food friendly" location?

    Why am I asking so many questions about free lunch? Probably because I have not worked anywhere that offered such an awesome perk.

    Because if I did, I'd probably still be working there. 

    What do you think, should governments be regulating the perks that companies can offer their workers?

    Sounds like a bit of an overreach to me. Now you will have to excuse me, I have to go make my own lunch.

    Have a great day!


    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 331 - Accountability, Culture, and Workplace Investigations

    HR Happy Hour 331 - Accountability, Culture, and Workplace Investigations

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Dana Barbato, InvestiPro

    Sponsorsed by Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, hosts Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane talk about workplace investigations with guest Dana Barbato, Founder and CEO of InvestiPro, a cloud-based employee relations platform that supports HR through employee incident reporting, automated workplace investigations, and timely prevention analytics. On the show we talked about the current climate of HR and workplace investigations, how it probably has never been a more important topic in HR, (think about Uber, Intel, Papa John, and so many more current examples), and how when done right - workplace investigations can strengthen an organization's culture, create accountability, and show employees how much the organization is committed to their values and mission.

    Dana shared some of the most important things to remember when carrying out effective investigations, and how modern technologies can assist HR leaders in creating the consistency needed to undertake the investigative process, and reach the best and most fair outcomes.

    Additionally, we had a heated debate on the merits or demerits of flavored or 'stunt' Oreo cookies and the importance of air conditioning in the summer.

    You can listen to the show on the show page here, on your favorite podcast app, or by using the widget player below:

    This was a really interesting show, thanks Dana for joining us.

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show wherever you get your podcasts - just search for 'HR Happy Hour'.