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    Entries in work (207)


    CHART OF THE DAY: This labor market data point just hit a 44-year low (and low is good)

    It feels like its been awhile since I have busted out a new Chart of the Day post so what better to dust off the fan favorite feature than another look at one of my pet subjects, namely, the US labor market.

    While I have posted a ton of labor market charts over the years, I am pretty sure I have not talked about today's data point - Weekly Initial Jobless Claims. This data point is the total number of people making new claims for unemployment assistance for the weekly measurement period. And as you can surmise from the definition, lower is better with this metric. The fewer folks making unemployment claims the better.

    So here's the data, initial weekly jobless claims for the last 10 years or so, courtesy of our pals at the St. Louis Federal Reserve, then some comments from me after that. As always, my comments are absolutely free of charge but sadly, are non-guaranteed.

    The data please...

    Three quick thoughts about the data...

    1. The number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time totaled 222,000, the lowest since March 31, 1973. That's a long time ago. So long ago that the Knicks were about to win the NBA title in a few weeks.

    Lower initial claims leads to lower (over time) unemployment rates, fewer people truly out of work, and the need for HR and recruiting to essentially have to make two arguments when attempting to fill open roles. One, that the role itself presents the candidate great opportunity and value. And two, that the new opportunity and value somehow are better, more compelling than their current set up. Fewer and fewer of your candidates and prospects are going to be desperately seeking something new. You job continues to get harder.

    2. I know you, or more likely your CFO, won't want to hear this. But if you have persistently hard or long to fill roles you are working on, you have to sweeten your offering. And for the most part that means compensation. Fewer unemployed folks, more candidates already not sure they want to leave the good thing they have, and like the real estate market in San Francisco, potentially juggling multiple good offers. All that adds up to you left with empty chairs if you can't/won't compete on compensation.

    3. In a tightening labor market you know what else becomes important? Yep, retention. At the same time you are scouring LinkedIn profiles of people working at your competitors to see who you can poach, their recruiters are doing the same with your folks. What can/are you doing to strengthen your own value prop to try and build a moat around your best people? Because with each passing week, it is going to get harder and tougher to fill the spots of the faithful departed.

    When talent gets scarce, and their options multiply, the HR/recruiter role becomes that much more important in the organization.

    In fact, you might be getting offers yourself right now.

    Because in a really tight, competitive market the only thing that might be more valuable than talent to the organization are talented HR and recruiting people.

    Happy hunting.


    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!


    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.


    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...


    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.

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