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    Entries in work (196)

    Tuesday
    Oct242017

    Everyone wants a piece of Amazon HQ2. Except in these places.

    Amazon's call for proposals from states/cities to be the location of their planned second headquarters location, (HQ2), closed a few days ago.

    As has been widely reported, Amazon claims that the location that is eventually selected, (sometime next year), to be the new site for HQ2 will benefit from something like $5B in investments and as many as 50,000 well-paying jobs (again, eventually). As you have read, and should have expected, the competition has been pretty fierce, with many cities staging pretty elaborate stunts to get Amazon's (and other companies, surely), attention, and even some pretty embarrassing gimmicks as well. Mayor of Kansas City, who personally left 1,000 product reviews on Amazon.com extolling the virtues of his city, I am looking at you.

    After the close of the submission process, Amazon announced it had received a total of 238 submissions from 54 states and regions across North America who want to be the home of HQ2. Below is a map that shows from which states and regions Amazon received proposals, (aggregated, sadly, it would have been more interesting if they broke out all 238 proposals).

    What's interesting about the map of locations that submitted at least one proposal to be the home of HQ2 is not so much just how many of the states and regions wanted to have their hats in the ring, I mean, what city or state wouldn't want the influx of investment, jobs, and attention that the selection and eventual construction of HQ2 will bring? If you are the Mayor of the city that lands this deal, chances are, you'll never have a re-election worry and never have to buy your own beer in town again.

    No, there are actually two interesting things in the chart to me. One, that lots of cities and locations that truly have no realistic chance, considering Amazon's own list of requirements for the HQ2 location, submitted proposals anyway. While these proposals are on paper for consideration for HQ2, they are really public statements of interest, cooperation, and positive attitude towards the hundreds or even thousands of smaller business location (or re-location) decisions that are made every year in North American. Making a claim to be ready to be the location of HQ2 is a public statement that your location is ready to be the home of any business really. That of course is likely not true, but I think it is better to compete above your weight class and get on the radar of the folks who advise companies on these decisions.

    And the second thing that I thought was interesting on the map above are the locations that did not have a submission for HQ2. In the US, the only states not submitting a proposal are Hawaii, Vermont, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota. These are all relatively small states, lacking the people, infrastructure, and other resources Amazon is seeking, and thus were never going to land HQ2 anyway,

    Wait, there was one more state that did not formally submit a bid for Amazon's HQ2 - Arkansas.

    Hmm, that one is more curious. While not the largest state, and having only one big 'city', Little Rock, still it does seem curious that they didn't even submit a token bid alongside just about every other location in the US.

    Wonder why that didn't happen.

    I will have to ask someone from Arkansas. I only know a couple of people there. They both work for Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas.

    Oh, I get it now.

    Have a great day!

    Monday
    Oct232017

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 299 - Dan Heath and The Power of Moments

    HR Happy Hour 299 - Dan Heath and The Power of Moments

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Dan Heath

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, we welcome Dan Heath, co-author of the new book The Power of Moments, as well as previous best-sellers Switch, and Made to Stick

    On the show, Dan talked about how moments - those memorable, life-changing, and elevating moments in our work, social, and personal lives are so meaningful and memorable, and how HR and organizational leaders can craft more of these moments in our workplaces.

    Often the opportunity to create these moments happens at important life and workplace transitions - like finding out you have been hired for a new job, your first day at the new job, when you have achieved an important performance goal or milestone as so on. But too often, organizations fail to truly make these opportunities for meaningful moments live up to all they can. be. 

    Dan shared some specific examples from his research on how to create more of these important moments, and how why understanding the key elements of these moments - elevation, insight, pride, and connection, HR and business leaders can be more deliberate and intentional on creating more moments that matter at work and for employees.

    Listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below:

    You can learn more about the book at www.thepowerofmoments.com and order at Amazon.com here.

    This was a fantastic conversation and many thanks to Dan for joining us.

    Thanks to show sponsor Virgin Pulse - learn more at www.virginpulse.com.

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on Apple podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or wherever you get your podcasts.

    Wednesday
    Oct042017

    The sometimes fine line between retention and regrettable turnover

    Your pal Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine passed away last week at the age of 91.

    While you probably now plenty (maybe more than you care to know) about the Playboy brand and Hef's pretty remarkable life, you might not know the impetus for him setting off to create Playboy magazine and launch 294,295 'I only subscribe for the articles' gimmicks.

    According to the Chicago Tribune's accounting of Hef's long life, at 26 years old Hef left his copy writing job at Esquire Magazine to launch Playboy after the prescient folks at Esquire denied his request for a $5 per week wage raise.

    After being rebuffed by the thrifty team at Esquire, Hef cobbled together about $8,000 of investment and borrowed funds to debut Playboy in 1953 and the rest, as they say, is bunny-eared history.

    No one is likely around who was in the meeting at Esquire when the 'We can't give him $5 more a week' decision came down, so the rest of this is pure speculation. But that kind of decision really reeks of process, politics, salary review periods formalities, and a bunch of other formal HR and talent management 'rules' that can often get in the way of managers and leaders doing right by the business.

    Hef does not get the extra fiver per week, and out the door he goes and eventually, (actually it happened pretty quickly), becomes a legend in the magazine industry. 

    Oh yeah, the same industry he was working in that thought he was not worth a sawbuck every pay periiod.

    It can be a fine line, a really fine line, sometimes between what good, valuable, productive, and 'want to be loyal' people want and what might send them out the door.

    In this case it was $5.

    In your case, it could be your best support person wanting to flex her hours once a week, or your third-best salesperson not wanting to show up at the office if he doesn't have outside calls one morning, or the 3rd year pro who is killing it in the marketing team and that you know you seriously low balled when you brought her in in 2014.

    RIP Hef. I am kind of glad Esquire wouldn't pay up back in 1953.

    I mean, if they had paid up, I would have missed LOTS of great articles...

    Thursday
    Sep282017

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 298 - HR and the Productivity Network

    HR Happy Hour 298 - HR and the Productivity Network

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Mike Psenka, President & Founder, Moovila

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve and Trish talk with Mike Psenka of Moovila, a technology solution designed to help people work together more effectively. While we all know that email is likely the worst tool for supporting collaboration and execution of important projects and goals, so many organizations continue to resort to email to facilitate how work is done. And the newer generation of enterprise collaboration tools that are 'chat' centric, have the potential to reduce organizational reliance on email, have their own limitations as their unstructured nature makes it hard for people to leverage them to tackle important and complex projects and tasks.

    On the show Mike discusses these challenges, and how he and the team at Moovila are taking a different approach to collaboration, execution, transparency, and accountability. By making collaboration more purposeful, the activities and contributions of team members more visible and open, and creating a platform designed to support the real goals and vision of the organization, and not just collaboration for its own sake, Moovila is breaking new ground in the HR and workplace technology market.

    Additionally, Steve provided a solid 'I hate email' rant, Trish shared some perspective on the upcoming HR Tech Conference, and we learned the true meaning of the word "Moovila'.

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

    Thanks as always to the HR Happy Hour Show sponsor Virgin Pulse, learn more at www.virginpulse.com.

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show wherever you listen to your podcasts - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.

    Wednesday
    Sep272017

    Protests, free speech, and how the 'Work/life blend' people got it wrong

    Your right to free speech in the workplace has largely been a settled matter, at least here in the US. 

    Essentially, you don't have any such right in the workplace. Or said differently, if you attempt in going too far in exercising what you think should be your right to free speech in the workplace, the company that employs you can and possibly will relieve you from your position without much deliberation and without recourse.

    And most employees, I think, more or less get that. They understand the tradeoff, they know that the company does not exist to create a forum for employees to exercise their rights to free speech as and when they like. 'On the clock' time belongs to the company. Computers, phones, and other company owned devices shouldn't be used for activities that are not a part of your 'official' role.

    Like I said, most of us get that. Back when email was first introduced into organizations as a work tool, we (tried) not to use it to email all of our non-work friends. We (tried) not to make a bunch of personal calls from the office phone. And (if we were smart), saved any break room or water cooler talk to last night's game or episode of The Sopranos. 

    The time and place for provocative, controversial, or potentially divisive speech or conversations was pretty much understood to be when you were not at work, and not in the workplace. And that worked (reasonably) well for most folks for a quite some time. 

    Even as technology modernized, and tools like PCs, home broadband connections, and later smart phones and social networks became more ubiquitous, there still was a decent understanding that work time was work time, and non-work time, (and freedom of speech time), was non-work time.  But just like water finds its way to fill up all available space, work too, tries to find its way into more and more of our personal space.

    Over time, it made sense for many companies and for their employees to think a little more fluidly and creatively about 'work' and 'non-work'. The above mentioned technologies, along with more employee's desire to be more present and fulfilled in their personal and family life, and in the last seven or eight years and increasingly tight labor market have all combined to drive many workplaces and roles to be designed much, much more flexibly than in the past. 

    Lots of folks no longer think about work as a place they go and a set of tasks they perform at specific, defined times each day. Usually Monday to Friday by the way. But the tech and the demands of work and employee desires have made it so that 'work' is not so much a place or a time but rather just a thing(s) someone does.

    Who cares if you take the conference call from your kitchen table or if you work on the presentation at 9PM on a Saturday or that you skip some boring all hands meeting to catch Jr's soccer game? When work isn't a time or a place and it just is something you do, then when and where you are at any given time is irrelevant. You do what you need to do (at an acceptable quality level or not).

    But what happened next is that more and more organizations and people too came to find that all this flexibility and fluidity came with an unexpected cost. 

    Work, like water, never stopped flowing. Even when we were almost certain we were not working. Like when we were at that soccer game. Or on vacation. Or at 9AM on Sunday morning. Work became a constant companion, in a way that non-work, despite skipping out from the office to catch a 3rd grade recital never did.

    As the balance between work and not work shifted more and more towards work, then we were suddenly informed by small but loud subset of 'experts' that we needed to stop talking about work/life balance, (which we were told we could no longer achieve), and focus on something called 'work/life blend'. 

    The 'blend' agenda, was/is more or less an admission no longer can work be safely and easily partitioned off from non-work. Sure, you might be able to get away with taking an hour away from your email when you are at the recital but you better check in when you get home or at halftime of the soccer game. Weirdly, being available, accessible, and responsive all the time has become a badge of honor and value for lots of folks. And more and more an expectation of their employers.

    Once you buy into the 'blend' argument, then work is never really something you can completely place aside. Not for long anyway.

    And that might be perfectly fine most of the time for most people. Being able to not be tied to a specific workplace location for specific times has been an incredible benefit for lots and lots of people, (and has increased attendance at elementary school plays immeasurably).

    But recent events in the news help remind us that this 'blend' also comes with a cost beyond just 'My Saturday night might be interupted by an email I have to answer'. The 'blend' also comes with a potential loss of one of the freedoms that most of us take for granted. 

    When you buy in to the idea that 'balance' and by implication 'separation' between work and non-work is no longer possible, then you have tacitly bought into ceding more of your rights and protections than you probably think.

    We've heard and read a lot of talk about how no one's freedom of speech fully extends to the workplace.

    What happens when the workplace extends out to us, to everywhere we go, to everything we do?

    Enjoy that blend.