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    Entries in work (81)


    CHART OF THE DAY: Unemployed workers per job opening

    The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) was released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and it showed that US job openings as of May 2014 stood at about 4.6 million, up from 4.5 million in April.

    Taking the JOLTS openings data and combining it with gross unemployment data (also from the BLS), and you get the chart below that shows the trend over time in the ratio of unemployed workers per job opening. Take a look at the chart, (from Business Insider) and then some comments from me below.

    1. The latest ratio of unemployed workers to job openings is 2.11, the lowest level since early 2008, and extremely lower than the post financial crisis high water mark of almost 7 in mid-2009. 

    2. The trend seems to suggest a continued lowering of this ratio, as increased hiring will likely be only partially offset by more entrants into the labor marker, (students leaving school, folks getting coaxed back into the labor market due to improving prospects).

    3. As an HR/talent pro, you might start finding for more jobs a relative reduction in the number of applicants for your open positions. Unless you are offering so-called 'good' jobs, have a compelling employer value proposition, or have a proven pipeline of candidates, there will be, at least in aggregate, fewer available people for your jobs. 

    4. As a consequence of this labor market tightening, your Econ 101 book will tell you that wages are going to have to begin rising more steeply. Again, this is what the economists predict, but for you, all Economics is local. If indeed you are finding it difficult to attract adequate numbers of qualified candidates, then you are going to have to take a long, hard look at the compensation you are offering for these roles. More and more categories of workers are going to at least perceive they have more leverage, (same goes for existing employees too).

    5. With fewer unemployed people per job in the labor pool, it is going to be paramount, even for many entry-level jobs, that you get better at identifying talent from competitors and companies in adjacent industries in order to maximize your candidate flow. It could be the days of simply posting a job online, or placing a Help Wanted sign in the window simply to get the candidates you need are disappearing.

    OK, that is it on this from me. What do you think, are you seeing the markets for your open jobs getting tighter?


    NEEDED: The universal "Out of the Office" notifier

    I took a day off yesterday (a real day off, not that fake kind of half working/half not working but still checking email every hour kind of day).

    And since I am conscientious, I activated the requisite "Out of the Office" auto-responder on both my corporate email account, as well as on my Gmail account (where I do have lots of 'official' work-related correspondence going on as well). My OOO message basically said I was offline and if you had an 'urgent' matter that needed immediate attention to text me, otherwise I would get back to you as and when I could.

    For the most part, the strategy was successful - I did of course get a bunch of emails to both email accounts that my OOO auto-responder handled. Three people saw the OOO message and did indeed decide their issue was 'urgent' and elected to text me during the course of the day. Putting aside the fact that in the work that I do nothing is truly ever 'urgent' in strictest terms (no life or death decisions, etc.), let's just say that I had a slightly different take on the relative urgency of the items that were texted to me yesterday. But that's fine, I offered that up as a way to get in touch with me even when I was out, so it is really my bad if I truly did not want to be contacted all day.

    But what I didn't have a good way to address were the other 4 or 5 ways people seem to like to try and contact me these days. LinkedIn messages, @ messages and Direct Messages on Twitter - heck someone even sent me a Facebook message that was work-related. Aside - please do not send me a Facebook message about work. That is terrible. 

    I even got pinged with a message informing me I had a voicemail left on Google Voice. I did not even realize I had Google Voice.

    What I really wanted yesterday is a kind of universal, covering all potential ways of getting a message to me, "Out of the Office" auto-responder. So no matter if it was an email, a Tweet, even a random Google Voice (still can't figure out how that happened), anyone trying to contact me would have been informed that at least for one day, I was probably not getting back to them.

    Unless they sent me an urgent text. Then I guess I would have to. Even if it wasn't urgent.

    Have a great day!


    How far would you commute each day for your dream job?

    How far would you be willing to commute, (to keep it simple let's assume we are talking about commuting via driving your personal car), in order to work at your dream company/job?

    I have to admit it is not a question I have personally thought about very much these last few years as my 'commute', if you could call it that, has typically been taking a short flight of stairs to my lower-level office/lair/Fortress of Solitude.  But lots of folks, heck still the large majority I think, are making the pretty much daily grind to an office, store, warehouse or whatnot. Despite how much we like to talk about the nature and practice of work and workplaces changing, for most of us 'work' remains a place we physically go to just about every day.

    So how far of a drive is too far?

    I only thought about the question this week after reading a post on the LinkedIn blog titled, Inside Story: LinkedIn’s VP of Mobile on Driving in the Snow, Houzz and Anticipatory Computing. I clicked through to the piece because of the 'Anticipatory Computing' phrase, that just sounded really interesting and cool, but as it turns out the more interesting nugget from the post was about how this VP from LinkedIn (Joff Redfern) had a ridiculous commute his first four years with the company.

    How ridiculous? Check this Q and A from the piece:

    Q: What’s not on your LinkedIn Profile?

    A: During my first four years at LinkedIn, I had one of the longest commutes. I lived in Lake Tahoe, California, but worked out of headquarters in Mountain View, California. It’s about 250 miles each way, so I put over 110,000 miles on my car. That’s the equivalent of driving around the world more than four times. It gave me lots of time to think and one of the benefits is that I’m pretty awesome at driving in the snow. 

    Did I read that correctly? 250 miles each way to get to the office? Even taking into account the fact that there was probably no way Mr. Redfern was making a 500 mile round trip every single work day, even still, just a couple of times a week that kind of a grind will be almost impossible to sustain.

    How someone could manage a commute that crazy, and not go insane is kind of an interesting question I think, and you could substitute '500 mile commute' with, 'Has to work 18-hour days for a year in order to ship our first product'. I think there are at least three key elements you'd have to have in place in order to make it work:

    1. The work itself has to be an ideal (for you) combination of challenge/excitement/opportunity/reward that will set you up perfectly for the next 10-15 years of your career such that you simply have to bite the bullet and devote yourself to that work for a year or two (or four).

    2. You either have to have just about zero responsibilities outside of work (no spouse/significant other/kids/dog etc.) that might either literally starve (in the case of a dog) or be starved for attention (every other person in your life), since you are working all of the time. Or, you have someone in your life who has decided that they will take care of everything outside of work for you while you are working all of the time. I suspect it would be really tough for anyone to pull off a regular 500 mile commute if they had a spouse, a couple of kids maybe, at home that they actually wanted to see awake once in a while.

    3.  You have to be (reasonably) healthy before taking on such a grind. The combination of working crazy long hours and a long commute will start to break you down physically (and likely mentally too). You will eventually start eating poorly, not getting enough exercise, definitely not enough sleep and that combination starts to take a toll. If you are not set up to reasonably handle that kind of physical punishment you are more likely to end up in an ER somewhere than accepting a fat bonus check or a bunch of stock options for your hard work. Everyone can handle a long day or two or maybe five, but keep stacking them up, week after week and month after month? Good luck with that.

    So how far are you willing to commute for your dream job?

    Ok, that's it - I'm out for the weekend.

    Happy Father's Day to all the Dads!


    VIDEO: Wearable tech in the oil field

    Quick shot for a busy Friday - if you are at all interested in how, where, and for which type of workplace use cases are likely to be impacted by the introduction of wearable technologies like Google Glass, then check out this short video from Wearable Intelligence, a developer of custom applications for industry that can be deployed on the Glass platform (Email and RSS subscribers will need to click through).

    In the video embedded below, we see how custom apps overlaid on the Glass device, allow field workers to access training information, log status reports, verify safety procedures have been followed and more - all while keeping their hands free to actually get their work done.  

    Really interesting and definitely cool, right?

    Glass and probably eventually other wearable devices are going to become one of the essential tools for the types of field workers that need to simultaneously access and interact with lots of data and content, but also can't have their hands tied up with smartphones or tablets, since they actually have to work with their hands.

    It is early days, but as you can see in the video the possibilities are almost endless.

    And one more thing, I doubt any Glass-hating types would dare to hassle any of these oil field workers that you see in the video for wearing Glass. The irony in all this? Glass and other wearables might end up developing into a real working person's tool as much as a prop for the snobby elites.

    Have a great weekend!


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 184 - Work and the Next Generation Leader

    HR Happy Hour 184 - Work and the Next Generation Leader

    Recorded Thursday May 22, 2014

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest: Lindsey Pollak

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve caught up with bestselling author, and expert on Millennials in the workplace, Lindsey Pollak to talk about some of the most important developments and trends that are defining and impacting work and the workplace.

    The next generation of workers are already here - and increasingly these members of the millennial generation are assuming important and leadership roles in organizations. The smartest and most successful organizations are embracing these shifts in workplace composition and creating environments where millennial employees and leaders can make their mark in the workplace.

    Lindsey also had some great information to share about her work with The Hartford on how to better understand and plan for millennial leadership and also shared some observations and recommendations for HR and talent leaders on how to best navigate these workforce changes.

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

    More Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio


    Additionally, you can subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or for Android device users, from a free app called Stitcher Radio. In both cases just search for 'HR Happy Hour' and add the show to your podcast subscription list. 

    This was a fun and interesting conversation and many thanks to Lindsey and the folks at The Hartford for making the show so much fun.