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    Entries in workplace (91)


    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 306 - New HR Tech: Connecting Employees with Trusted HR Pros

    HR Happy Hour 306 - New HR Tech: Connecting Employees with Trusted HR Pros

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guests: Toby Hervey, Sarah Sheehan - Founders of Bravely

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve is joined by Toby Hervey and Sarah Sheehan, Founders of Bravely, a new HR tech startup that connects employees with trusted HR pros to help them resolve workplace issues. 

    On the show, Toby and Sarah shared the reasons behind their decision to launch Bravely -  workplace environments that are more stressed and with more conflict, with many employees feeling reluctant or afraid to bring their concerns to their boss, colleagues, or internal HR resources, and an ever changing and stressful set of conditions in many workplaces.

    Based on their work experiences, Toby and Sarah decided to launch Bravely - a tech-powered platform that allows a company's employees to have confidential conversations and receive advice and input from experienced and neutral HR professionals in order to help employees work towards a solution to their workplace issues. As we all know, these often difficult conversations are hard for many employees to raise, and can be ones where they feel scared to even start. Working with Bravely's vetted and experienced pros and advisors, employees usually find a way to make progress, to get past the fear of having hard conversations, and resulting in a better outcome for both the employee and the company.

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

    This is a really new, interesting, and important new tech, and I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

    Learn more about Bravely at www.workbravely.com.

    Thanks to show sponsor Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com

    And remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.


    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 305 - Workplace Movie Hall of Fame: 'Big'

    HR Happy Hour 305 - Workplace Movie Hall of Fame - 'Big'

    Hosts: Steve Boese, Trish McFarlane

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, it is the return of the popular 'Workplace Movie Hall of Fame' series with a look at 1988's massive hit 'Big' starring Tom Hanks, America's 2nd most popular and acclaimed actor. 

    On the show, Steve and Trish break down the workplace themes and issues that 'Big' explored - ideas of how young people think about work and careers, how incorporating new ideas and creative thinking from diverse sources almost always benefit workplaces, and how office politics and stodgy cultures can often get in the way of progress and innovation.

    'Big' is mostly about the tension and conflict that arises from growing up and a huge part of growing up is finding your career calling and navigating the world of work. 'Big' offers the opportunity to think about modern work and workplaces and to think about what we all expected from work and careers when we were younger.

    Additionally, Steve continued to pitch Tom Cruise as America's greatest actor, we discussed how willingness to adopt new technology has always been a great way to advance your career, and whether or not you need to say 'Spoiler Alert' when discussing plot points of a 30 year-old movie.

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

    This was a fun show and we hope you think so too.

    Thanks to HR Happy Hour Show sponsor Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com.

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


    The rules for when you request a meeting with someone else

    WARNING: Some borderline old-guy 'get off my lawn' about to follow...

    The situation: You have the kind of job where a fairly large, variable, and growing collection of folks are contacting you to set up meetings and phone calls. These are usually for valid work/business reasons, so the requests themselves are reasonable, but I have noticed with more frequency that folks are not following (at least what I think are) the normal, customary, and pretty simple steps, and protocols in this situation.

    So because no one asked, herewith are the rules for when you request a meeting with me, (not actually me, just using the collective me here. Is that a thing? Who cares, it's my blog).

    1. If this is the first interaction you are having with this person, explain (succinctly), who you are, what you do, the company you are working for or represent. Make sure you convince the person you are not insane.

    2. State clearly the purpose and goal for the requested meeting. Bonus points if the purpose/goal of the meeting actually helps this person solve one of their problems, and not just helps you.

    3. Adapt to the technology, communication, and other preferences of the person who you are requesting to meet with. This means adapting to at least the following:

    A. Communication preferences - email, text, LinkedIn, etc. Example, and this one happens to me a ton, if you send me a LinkedIn message asking for a meeting, I am 99% of time going to provide my email address and ask you to email me details, an invite, etc. This is due to the fact that I, along with just about everyone else in the world, manages my time on a calendar that is integrated with my email. No one manages their time on with a LinkedIn calendar because such a calendar DOES NOT EXIST. I'm ok with being contacted on LinkedIn, but I am not ok having to manually update my calendar because you prefer to use LinkedIn.

    B. More about calendars. If you are requesting the meeting from someone else, DO NOT send them a link to your own Web Calendar or scheduling tool as ask them to find a time for the meeting. YOU are asking for the meeting. It is really cheeky and presumptuous to make a meeting request and then ask me to do your work (managing your calendar) for you.

    C. Adapt to the time zone preferences of the person you are requesting the meeting with. Again for me, I am usually on ET. Your request or offer of day/time options for the meeting needs to state the time in ET. It is ok, even preferable, to list your time zone too, (if it is different). But don't ask me to have a meeting at 3PM Mountain Time and force me to figure that out. I know this is a small gripe, but once again, you are asking me for my time.  

    4. Confirm the meeting is set by 'accepting' the calendar invite. This is really for both parties of the meeting, but we really don't need another round of emails that 'confirm' the meeting is set. 'Accepting' or 'Replying Yes' to the calendar invite is the confirmation.

    5. Sometimes, the person you are requesting the meeting with does not or can't meet with you. It happens. And sometimes they either don't give you a reason for declining the meeting or give you a reason that you don't like. It happens. Accept it. You are still a wonderful person, I promise.

    That's all I have for a quick rant on this. I didn't even mention at the top that I am writing this in my favorite writing spot ever, the Delta Sky Club. Nice to be back out on the road. And solid upgrades on the snacks, Delta.

    Did I miss any 'meeting request protocol' rules?

    Let me know in the comments.

    Have a great week!


    Most of the time, distractions are your fault

    I had an acquaintance reach out to me recently who wanted my advice on an issue he has been experiencing in his workplace since, as he said to me in his note, 'Know something about HR'. While that is entirely up for debate, I had the sense that this person didn't really have many options to look to for some help, so I agreed to try to help and we had a talk.

    The gist of the problem, without getting into the details and the original causes of said problem, as they don't really matter, was that he has had a series of run-ins, arguments, and increasingly loud and hostile disagreements and interactions with a co-worker in an adjacent department. He and this person don't directly work on the same team, but their paths do cross from time to time on larger projects, division meetings, in the hallway, etc. There have been a couple of nasty email exchanges, allegations of some office refrigerator lunch shenanigans, and last week, a loud, screaming really, argument that was so loud that it caused the VP over both their departments to emerge from her office and send both parties home for the day. And to be clear , this is just personality conflict kind of stuff, nothing physical or sexual harassment related at all.

    When I talked to him, my acquaintance was exasperated because, at least according to him, none of this was his fault, he was not the source of the hostile behavior, and he really wants nothing at all to do with this co-worker. He just wants to show up, do his job, and go home. Which I suspect most of us do too. But for some reason, my acquaintance claimed, the HR folks who have gotten pulled in to this matter, and the VP and department managers are 'blaming' (his word), him equally for these workplace dramas and interruptions, and have not seen his side of the story. And this, he claims, is not fair. (I can read the minds of just about everyone still reading this laughing at the idea the the workplace should be 'fair'. But I digress).

    After hearing all that, again, just the one side of the story but coming from a person I think is pretty honest and trustworthy, I had to at least try to offer some advice. Kind of like when the contestant on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire uses their 'Phone a Friend'. Even if you have no idea of the name of the 17th European Monarch who lost some obscure battle, you better at least take a guess.

    So here was my guess/advice.

    These continuing issues that take time and attention from managers, colleagues, HR, and even execs get lumped into a large bucket called 'distractions', i.e., 'Stuff no one who has other things to do wants to deal with.'

    It doesn't matter who is 'right' or 'wrong' in this. If my acquaintance and his co-worker can't figure out a way to work this out, or effectively ignore each other, it is pretty likely that the VP will hit the point of 'I don't need to keep hearing about this nonsense' and one of the two people involved will have to go. Maybe a transfer, (might be unlikely because it is a small company), but more likely a 'Clean out your locker, it's time to go' for one or the other.

    And it won't matter which one started it or is 'wrong' or is being the bigger jerk.

    To many leaders, owners, execs, and even HR folks the solution to the problem isn't about sorting out who's right or who is wrong. The solution is about eliminating the distraction.

    That's why companies like Yahoo and IBM, after unearthing a few cases of remote workers more or less slacking off, decide to do a wholesale revocation of their work from home policies. That's why ESPN, after a couple of instances of on-air talent posting some arguably controversial content on social media issues a new, updated, and broadly worded social media policy that specifically requires employees to avoid posting content that would 'embroil the company in unwanted controversy.' And you know what 'unwanted controversy' is? Yep, another distraction.

    So I left the call with my acquaintance with this thought - if what you are doing (or being pulled into), is helping to create the same kind of 'unwanted controversy' or 'distraction' that no one with an important title wants to deal with, then you had better be prepared to be told it's time for you to go.

    I don't know if that was good advice or not. But it seems like if he fails to understand that things at work are often not fair, and distractions are like Superman's Kryptonite to business leaders, then he could be in for some bad news.

    Have a different thought on this? Let me know in the comments.

    Have a great day!


    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!