Influencers or Analysts? Who has the most impact on your brand?

The worlds of Influencers and Analysts have never collied more than they are right now in the HR industry. Most of this has to do with the popularity of Influencer Marketing that has taken off in the past decade, and like most things in HR, we are now just catching up with the marketing trend.

Traditionally, in the HR space, companies selling products, technology, and services only really cared about two things: 1. What do our clients think of us, and 2? What do the “Analysts” think of us?

What’s an Analyst? 

Every industry has them. These are basically individuals who work for organizations like Deloitte, Gartner, Forrester Research, IDC, and hundreds of boutique firms specializing in specific parts of the HR ecosystem. The individuals spend a great deal of time understanding the landscape of a specific function in HR, the technology, the processes, what works, and what doesn’t, etc. Then your organization pays its organization a great deal of money for this expert knowledge.

The hope is, using this expert Analyst knowledge will ultimately help you save time, money, and missteps because you’ve hired a firm of experts to help you make the right decisions. Many of these experts have never actually worked a day in HR, but hold MBAs and such. Some of these people are some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and if you listened to them, they could truly help you. Some are idiots working for a big firm.

Examples of Analyst I admire: William Tincup, Madeline Laurano, Trish McFarlane, George LaRocque, Ben Eubanks, Kyle Lagunas, John Sumser, Holger Mueller, Jason Cerrato, Josh Bersin, Sarah Brennanetc. 

This will then beg the question of well, then, what’s an Influencer? 

Influencer marketing has been around for a hundred years, but Kim Kardashian is the queen of modern-day influencers. I’m famous! You see me talking about or using this product. You buy this product. That’s really the backbone of influencer marketing. I mean Kimmy D would never steer you wrong, would she?

An Influencer is anyone in an industry that a measurable amount of people are listening to, which will influence their buying behavior. I write a blog post on some products that I’m using in my own shop. It’s super awesome! You go out, look at it, and decide to buy it and use it with your team. You’ve been influenced.

Most of the influencers in the HR industry are current or former practitioners, they’ve lived your life. Some are super smart and have the resume to back it up. Some are complete idiots. Any idiot can have a blog (I’m a great example!). Most influencers, like an analyst, have a specialty, something they’re better at than other stuff. Some influence full time, but most hold down ‘real’ jobs to pay the bills. So, they probably don’t have the time to deep dive into the industry, as you’ll see with analysts.

Examples of Influencers I admire: Kris Dunn, Dawn Burke, Carmen Hudson, Robin Schooling, Jason LauritsenLaurie Ruettimann, Jennifer McClure, Sharlyn Lauby, Steve Browne, Sabrina Baker, Joey Price, Mary Faulkner, Jessica Miller Merrell, Janine Truitt-Dennis, etc. (there’s really too many to name!)

Many of these people are HR Famous! They have worked hard to create an audience who for the most part listens to what they have to say.

You also have people that fall into this strange middle ground of Influencer-Analysts types that have no name. Maybe they started out as an influencer, then became an Analyst, or maybe they were an Analyst who became popular and started influencing. Examples in this camp are folks like: Josh Bersin, Jason Averbook, Sarah Brennen, Trish McFarlane, Ben Eubanks, etc.

(BTW – All of these people you should connect to! )

So, who has the most impact on your Brand? Influencers or Analysts? 

This is not an easy question to answer because like almost anything it depends on a lot! We all know of a certain product we love and regardless of the influence or what some expert is telling us, we will just buy it because we love it!

We also have an untold number of products and services we buy because someone we trust told us about it, and because we trust them, we go buy it.

If you’re a large enterprise-level product or service, basically selling to companies that have more than 5,000 employees, you better make nice with the Analyst community! They tend to have the ear of more enterprise buyers then you’ll typically see from influencers. I doubt very highly the CHRO of Google is reading this blog! (but I know the CPO of GM is!)

What I see is companies selling to enterprises usually work with both Analysts and Influencers. They want to ensure their message is heard across the buying community, so they don’t miss out on a potential buyer, and they have the money to do both.

Companies selling to under 5,000 employees and it starts to get a little harder to determine the impact of Analysts. I mean how many HR and Talent shops in Small to Medium-sized businesses have the money to pay for Analysts Research? Not many! If you run an HR shop of a 1500 person company, you do not have $50,000 to hear what the best ATS is! The ATS you buy won’t even cost $50K!

Behind the scenes, most analysts understand their biggest impact on the enterprise buyer, and because that’s where the money is, that’s exactly where they want to be! If you have buyers across small, medium, large, and enterprise markets, it then becomes a more difficult decision on how you use Influencer marketing.

The real answer to the question above is you engage with the analyst and influencers that have the most positive impact on selling your product. Unfortunately, most organizations have little or no idea if either side is having an impact on selling their stuff.

Who has the juice? 

I call someone who has ‘real’ influence as having the “juice”. If you have the ‘juice’ you have the ability to influence real buying decisions on a regular basis. Laurie Ruettimann tells you to go out and buy this new great HR product, and that organization will see a measurable sales increase directly tied to the links in her posts. She’s got juice!

I wrote about an HR Tech company a few months ago after a demo and a month later they sent me a bottle of gin because they landed a six-figure deal directly from my mentioning them in a post. That’s gin and juice! 😉

Most people who call themselves influencers in the HR space have little or no juice. Usually, because they just don’t have a large enough, sustained audience who is listening. They might be 100% correct in their recommendations and insight, but not enough people are listening to move the buying needle.

I love what the folks are doing over at Advos because they are actually showing organizations who have the juice and who doesn’t. I can tell you I have the juice and say I’m the #1 Influencer in the HR marketplace, but the reality is, anyone can say that! HRMarketer is actually giving data behind those words to let people know where the real juice is.

The truth around all of the analyst vs. influencer chatter is that you’ll find people in both groups who can help you and people in both groups who are complete idiots and have no value. The best thing to do is build a relationship with both, find out who moves your needle and aligns with the messaging you’re trying to get out, and then measure. Eventually, you’ll find the right mix that will work for your organization.

7 Things Start Ups Teach Us That Will Increase Our Success!

My buddy John Hill works for Techstars as the VP of Network, go connect with him, he’s completely an awesome guy who will sit down and have a beer with you and talk about how to change the world for hours!  Last week he got to meet the latest crop of Techstar startups and came away motivated with some great learnings.

Here are John’s takeaways from the newest Techstar startups:

1. Nothing beats hustle. Nothing.

2. The world is full of good ideas, but only a few will execute them.

3. Relational capital is vital.

4. Networks matter. Surround yourself with those who can help you.

5. There are some wicked smart people in the world.

6. To build a great company you need help with funding, talent, and connections to business/industry to scale and the understanding of how to navigate each.

7. Suspend disbelief!

I’m drawn to each of the seven for different reasons but #2 jumps out because I witness this on a daily basis. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who execute and those who talk about executing. Hire those who execute. Understand that they are rare and you should overpay for this ‘skill’.

Do you notice nowhere on his list does he talk about failure. John is a motherfucking doer! He gets shit done. Techstars will only take a chance on startups led by people who will execute. John talks about ways to succeed not about just throwing caution to the wind and failing. The reality is most will fail, setting yourself up for success is key.

I love that he ends his list with “Suspend disbelief”. The world is a critic. Those who make it big have that special combination of John’s list. Great idea, ability to execute, the right network to make it happen, super smart, etc. What they also have is true belief! At the end of the day, you have to believe 1000% of your idea is going to work. No part of you even questions that it won’t.

If it didn’t work you would be destroyed because your belief was so strong that you never saw it coming when it fails. That’s how most great ideas actually make it. You find a combination of all of these things and you put money and resources behind it.

These 7 learnings aren’t about how to make a startup successful. These are how you make anything successful that you’re working on.

Do you pay a larger employee referral bonus for Black Engineers?

I know a ton of HR Pros right now who have been charged by their organizations to go out and “Diversify” their workforce.  By “Diversify”, I’m not talking about diversity of thought, but to recruit a more diverse workforce in terms of ethnic, gender, and racial diversity.

Clearly, by bringing in more individuals from underrepresented groups in your workforce, you’ll expand the “thought diversification”, but for those HR Pros in the trenches and sitting in conference rooms with executives behind closed doors, diversification of thought isn’t the issue being discussed.

So, I have some assumptions I want to put forth before I go any further:

1. Referred employees make the best hires. (Workforce studies frequently list employee referrals as the highest quality hires across all industries and positions)

2. ERPs (Employee Referral Programs) are the major tool used to get employee referrals by HR Pros.

3. A diverse workforce will perform better in most circumstances, then I homogeneous workforce will.

4. Diversity departments, if you’re lucky enough, or big enough, to have one in your organization, traditionally tend to do a weak job at “recruiting” diversity candidates (there more concerned about getting the Cinco De Mayo Taco Bar scheduled, etc.)

Now, keeping in mind the above assumptions, what do you think is the best way to recruit diverse candidates to your organization?

I’ve yet to find a company willing to go as far as to “Pay More” for a black engineer referral vs. a white engineer referral. Can you imagine how that would play out in your organization!?  But behind the scenes in the HR Departments across the world, this exact thing is happening in a number of ways.

First, what is your cost of hire for diverse candidates versus non-diverse candidates? Do you even measure that? Why not?  I’ll tell you why, is very hard to justify why you are paying two, three, and even four times more for a diversity candidate, with the same skill sets, versus a non-diverse candidate in most technical and medical recruiting environments.  Second, how many diversity recruitment events do you go to versus non-specific diversity recruitment events?  In organizations that are really pushing diversification of the workforce, I find that this figure is usually 2 to 1.

So, you will easily spend more resources of your organization to become more diversified, but you won’t reward your employees for helping you to reach your goals?  I find this somewhat ironic. You will pay Joe, one of your best engineers, $2000 for any referral, but you are unwilling to pay him $4000 for referring his black engineer friends from his former company.

Yet, you’ll go out and spend $50,000 attending diversity recruiting job fairs and events all over the country trying to get the same person.  When you know the best investment of your resources would be to put up a poster in your hallways saying “Wanted Black Engineers $4000 Reward!”.

Here’s why you don’t do this.

Most organizations do a terrible job at communicating the importance of having a diverse workforce, and that to get to an ideal state, sometimes it means the organization might have to hire a female, or an Asian, or an African American, or a Hispanic, over a similarly qualified white male to ensure the organization is reaching their highest potential.

Workgroup performance by diversity is easily measured and reported to employees, to demonstrate diversity successes, but we rarely do it, to help us explain why we do what we are doing in talent selection.  What do we need to do? Stop treating our employees like they won’t get it, start educating them beyond the politically correct version of Diversity and start educating them on the performance increases we get with diversity.  Then it might not seem so unheard of to pay more to an employee for referring a diverse candidate!

So, you take pride in your diversity hiring efforts, but you’re just unwilling to properly reward for it…

If You Are Efficient You’re Doing it the Wrong Way!

I read this interview with Jerry Seinfeld recently and I wanted to share a piece from it below:

A few thoughts on this…

  1. You know I’m all about efficiency when the process calls for being efficient, like in recruiting. When you start talking about being creative, like Jerry is above, that’s when you have to throw efficiency out the window. Genius doesn’t have a timeline. Sometimes working smarter not harder isn’t the right answer.
  2. “Who’s McKinsey? Are they funny? Then, no I don’t need them.” Too often we ask for help from folks who don’t know what we do or how to do it, but they have an MBA from an Ivy League school so they must be smarter than us, right? Right!? Well, they might be smarter at somethings, but you know your business and you probably know what needs to be done. The question is do you have the courage to do it or are you using a consulting firm because you want someone to share the blame?
  3. “The show was successful because I micromanaged it.” When I speak to really successful entrepreneurs almost all are successful because they micromanage the crap out of every aspect of their company. We like to act like this is a bad trait because it can be destructive, but most of the great leaders find ways to micromanage and still treat people really great. It’s not one or the either, it’s both.

 

I love reading and listening to really successful people talk about why they are successful when they aren’t trying to be impressive. When you get the real stuff. I think this was some real stuff from Jerry.

 

Are We Still Pissy About Unpaid Internships?

Back in the height of the Great Recession (think 2008-2010), when we had double-digit national unemployment numbers. It was dark times, especially for those students who were graduating and those trying to get internships.

Most organizations in hard times cut internship programs. It’s not that they are not important to recruiting, it’s just the ROI drops as unemployment numbers rise. If you have a lot of candidates, it’s tough to spend valuable resources on interns who aren’t really adding much value, if any, to most organizations.

Internships, at its core, is mostly a one-way proposition on the front side. We hire you to get experience. We pay you. We hope you’ll come back and take one of our open jobs and in the future help us be successful. It usually works out, but it’s not a guarantee. In hard times, “not a guarantee” is a hard budget item to get approved!

During the Great Recession the idea of offering “Free Internships” was being used by many organizations and a lot of people lost their minds!

“You have to pay people for the job they do!” “All Interns should be paid fairly!”

Basically, this all went away pretty quickly because the economy took off and we got to the point where we weren’t just paying interns, we were competing for interns and developing all kinds of programs and incentives for interns because talent was so scarce.

The argument wasn’t really solved, it just disappeared because it was no longer relevant. Well, say hello to my little friend! The Free Internship concept is back! Thanks, COVID!

Let’s talk a little bit about our current internship situation!

  • Most organizations have canceled internships for this summer. There will be significantly fewer internships for the summer of 2021, as compared to summer 2019
  • As unemployment rises and layoffs grow, more will cancel these programs.
  • New graduates who can’t find jobs, need experiences to build their resumes.

Should we offer Unpaid Internships? 

YES!!! 1000% YES!!!

Now, let me explain. If you can afford to pay your interns, but be a dick and not pay them! If you can’t afford to pay interns, but you can afford to give students and graduates valuable experiences, give them those experiences!!!

I never understood the argument that you must pay interns for their time. I did student teaching as part of my undergrad degree. I worked a full semester as a teacher and I paid full tuition and never got a dollar for that work! My wife is a Physical Therapist and she did many practicums (medical internships) where she had to pay for school, work full time without pay. Many professions have this happening.

We turn a blind eye to these examples and just believe it’s part of getting that degree, but it’s truly no difference. The reality is, the experience you get, the ability to put that brand on your resume and have a professional reference is very valuable. So, working for free almost always works out for the best for those who take on those experiences and give it there all.

For the record, I have paid my interns. I will pay my interns this year. But, I can’t tell you I’ll always be able to pay interns. At that point, I have a decision to make. Not have interns, which only hurts those kids who need an internship, or have unpaid interns. I’m completely comfortable having unpaid interns, as I know the value it gives those individuals.

I’ve gotten questions recently about unpaid internships, as I hear so many people canceling their internships for this summer. “Can we have an intern work remotely and be unpaid?” Well, it’s not officially an employee, but if you want to “mentor” a student, and that student what’s your mentorship, nothing is stopping you from helping that person out!

Understand, if you aren’t going to pay someone, you get what you pay for. But, I also truly believe that a student who says, “Hey, I can give you twenty hours per week to learn the business” we have a moral obligation to help these students out in a time of crisis!

Okay, hate me in the comments – but we need to be open to Unpaid Internships!

Would you choose to live at your job 24/7 for a month? These workers did!

40 employees of Braskem America in Marcus Hook, PA unanimously decided they would lock themselves in their plant for 28 straight days, so they could safely make N95 masks for healthcare workers. Day and night, they worked, ate meals with each other, and slept at the plant to ensure there would be no spread of the virus to the products they were making.

The workers spent 12-hour shifts making polypropylene and a non-woven fiber in N95 masks, hospital gowns, and sanitary wipes.

Braskem has given the workers “enhanced employee compensation” for their work.

They were provided an onsite kitchen and supplies to sustain them as they operated the manufacturing facilities in isolation, according to Braskem.

Workers got TV breaks and drive-by visits from family during the 28-day period.

You might be thinking to yourself, “Well, I would do the same thing!” Especially given that most of us have just spent a full month or more with our families in lockdown in our houses! And I believe many people would have sacrificed as these employees did for the betterment of the healthcare workers who desperately need this PPE.

But don’t kid yourself, I’m sure this was an emotional decision for many! It’s not like the workers of a manufacturing facility do this on a normal basis. Most probably don’t travel for work, so they see their family and friends every single day. Going a month without that contact had to really difficult! I don’t like going for three days without seeing my dog!

The HR person in me loves this story and also knows that somewhere out of this probably comes a wedding, or bad breakup, or a baby! You just don’t keep 40 people together for 28 straight days, day and night, and not have some stuff go down! If HR has taught me anything, it’s humans will be humans!

I know the reality of this situation is this company was doing what companies do. Because of a crisis, they have a very short-term opportunity to make some great money and in the process help healthcare workers, help their employees, and help the stakeholders of that organization. It’s a win-win-win all the way around. It doesn’t stop this being a great story and we need all of those we can get!

So, my question for you today is, would you be willing to spend 24/7, for a month with your co-workers and your co-workers only!? Working, eating, sleeping, side by side? Hit me in the comments!

I loved that one of the workers being interviewed said one of the things they took for granted was being able to work next to someone and sit down to eat next to someone and not have to be six feet apart or even worry about that. When they came out into the ‘real’ world they realized they took stuff like that for granted.

Do you have your CEOs cell phone number?

The world is moving pretty fast right now. Seems like you can’t step away from the news cycle for a minute without something new popping up and changing what we thought to be fact just seconds before.

That’s why I found it refreshing this week when I read a story about Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick giving out his personal cell phone number to all of his employees. If you work for a small or even medium-sized business you might not find this to be a big deal, but Bobby has 10,000 employees!

“The uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic can take its toll on employees. For the 10,000 or so who work at Activision Blizzard around the world, one person they can call is CEO Bobby Kotick

“About a month ago, we sent out an email from my email address with my phone number and we encouraged every single employee that has a concern that relates to their health care to just contact me directly,” Kotick told CNBC’s Becky Quick on “Squawk Box.”

Kotick said “a few hundred” employees have reached out to him since that email. “But we’re fortunate. Very few actually tested positive so far for Covid-19.”

I’ve met a lot of great CEOs in my time. Some wonderful, extremely caring folks, and a few assholes. There are not many who would do this with this number. There would be meetings with PR and Comms and HR, and eventually, there would be this rollout of a hundred underlings who would be taking your call directly.

The decision would be made that the CEO would do a weekly town hall, live, and you could send in your questions to be answered, etc. All of those questions would be washed and pre-loaded, and the CEO would say the exact right thing. That is how the sausage is made kids!

The vast majority of CEOs would tell you they would do the exact same thing as Bobby, but they haven’t and they won’t. I don’t know if Bobby is a great leader, but that was a great leader move.

Your people are nervous and scared and frustrated. They don’t want a perfectly prepared Q & A. They just want to let you know how they are feeling. The best CEOs I’ve worked with would find that information priceless. They search out unfiltered news from the trenches!

Turns out, all you have to do is email your cell phone number out to the email list titled”
All Employees” and hit send!

 

Should the US Women Soccer Team be Paid the Same as Men? No!

How’s that for a clickbait headline! “I knew it the SOB Tim Sackett is a Sexist!” Slow down, read the post, you might be surprised on my take…

The US Women’s Soccer team should not be paid the same as the US Men’s Soccer team. They should be paid more!

Okay, let’s dig into this issue.

The media coverage on this issue is rightly pro-US Women’s Soccer. The US Soccer’s legal team continues to make ridiculous statements in an attempt to fight for their client. That’s what you pay lawyers to do, win your case. The men have more responsibility!? What is this, 1935!?! I’m not even sure how the US Soccer’s in house council even allowed that language to be released!

Here’s the full read of the US Soccer Federation’s legal argument. It’s worth a read if you truly care about this issue.

My first reaction to this case when it first got hot last year was this entire thing is ridiculous. If the women want the same as the men, why not just do straight revenue share that is equal. Both men and women get the exact same percentage of revenue they bring and can split it up in whatever way they deem appropriate for their teams. Seem fair? I thought so.

You bring in more money, you get more money. You bring in less, you get less, but don’t bitch, you brought in less.

My thought process on this issue has changed considerably since my first reaction. I love the logic behind revenue share because the Capitalist in me seems like that is equitable and fair. You make more, you get more. But the reality is, the women, in this case, have not had the same advantages of the men for decades, maybe a century, when it comes to this issue.

Let me break down some points:

– You don’t want to hear this but if the US Women’s Soccer team had the same contract as the US Men’s soccer team, they would actually make less money than their current contract. The US Men would argue and are currently renegotiating, they would make more if they had the women’s contract! From US Soccer, the women actually make more than the men, but the men make more overall because of professional money and non-US Soccer tournaments.

– Men’s soccer has been funded and supported at such a different level for so long, it has given them a giant, one could argue, an unsurpassable advantage in player development, infrastructure, marketing, etc. This is why the US Men don’t require have compensation to play on the national team because they make exponentially more than the women playing professional soccer.

– If we pay the US Women equally to the US Men, the women will actually make less overall, because they don’t have this advantage of time and resources the men have gotten for so long. I don’t think pay equality is what is needed, it’s pay fairness. By the way, if you take a few minutes and actually read the legal documents, this also what the US Women are saying. But, in the media, it wouldn’t play well to say “we want more”! But, what they are actually trying to get, would, in fact, pay them more than the men, when it comes to US Soccer compensation, but not total overall compensation.

– Carli Lloyd, the famous US Soccer women’s player, admitted in her testimony that the US Men actually do have more “skill” when it comes to speed and strength. The use of the word “skill” is really what the media pulled out. The actually tactical and strategic soccer skills, ballhandling, passing, etc. Is way too subjective to argue that men have more skill than women.

– “Women’s Soccer and Men’s Soccer are not the same game.” This was a statement from my wife, a former D1 college athlete and a national team invitee. The name is the same, but we have to get over this fact that men and women playing a similar game is the same. It’s different! I love to watch women’s volleyball. Men’s volleyball is boring. I would rather watch men’s basketball over women’s basketball. If I love “basketball” why don’t I love watching both? Because I actually love watching “Men’s basketball”. Different games.

– The legal argument that US men soccer team members have more responsibility is just an ignorant statement. Again, based on history, awareness, resources, etc. US citizens get super pissed if US “men” lose at anything to other countries because we’ve been conditioned by mostly media, that this is how we should react. If the women lose, we tend to not be as upset. “Oh, they played their butts off! Next time!”  Again, we’ve been conditioned to this response. If we would have been conditioned that losing, men or women in a national team competition, is awful and unacceptable for decades, we would all truly believe this responsibility is equal, which it is, but we tend to think differently about, because of how we’ve been conditioned.

– These are all union bargained terms. This is why the US women have taken their argument public because legally this win will be hard. They bargained fairly and agreed to these terms. Courts love to uphold bargained agreements. You signed the contract and now you think it sucks. Okay, go back to the bargaining table. Isn’t that why you joined a union?

I hear your argument right now. “Tim, more people want to watch men over women, the TV viewership, ticket sales, etc., show this!” The reason women don’t have the same resources is because it’s not the entertainment people want. Well, for decades, men were the only entertainment option we’ve been given! “Tim, men’s football and men’s basketball pay for all those Title 9 scholarships for women!” And every other men’s sport as well. Again, historically we didn’t support women’s athletics even close to men’s. So, if we did, from the beginning, would we even need Title 9? We won’t know, we are where we are right now.

Also, I don’t give a crap that one team was more successful than another. In the world of national teams, that doesn’t really matter. In the US, our best male athletes usually gravitate to the sport that pays them the most money (basketball, American football, baseball, even hockey). Women, again, don’t have those same avenues. The highest NBA player salary in 2019 was $34,000,000 per season. The highest WNBA player salary was $127,000.

The US Women’s Soccer team should not be paid equal to the US Men’s team. They should be paid more. Paying them the same would just be another injustice to female soccer players. We have systematically put women athletes at a disadvantage for so long in the US. Not pay equity, pay fairness.

Google Leading the Way on #COVID19 Gig Worker Response! #Coronavirus

Google has more contractors (gig workers) than actual full-time employees. Did you know this? I didn’t. Google employs roughly 120,000 contractors and has about 100,000 regular full-time employees. Welcome to 2020!

Here’s what most people don’t understand about the contracting world (it just happens to be my world at HRUTech.com!)

  • Most contractors (gig workers) want to make as much money as possible, as such, most will choose to take the highest dollar offer in lieu of medical insurance and paid time off (PTO). Some states require a certain amount of PTO.
  • Running a contract staffing firm, our contractors are our product. If our ‘product’ doesn’t work, we have zero revenue. So, it’s not like we can just have contractors stay home for 14 days and pay them their full-time wage. It’s simple economics, zero revenue in means no money to pay out, plus most large enterprise clients, like Google, are usually out 30-90 days in paying their contract staff invoices.
  • Of course, every contract and temp staffing firm wants to do what’s best. They also want to stay in business.

Google understands this simple dynamic and they stepped up big time this week in making this announcement:

“As we’re in a transition period in the U.S.—and to cover any gaps elsewhere in the world—Google is establishing a COVID-19 fund that will enable all our temporary staff and vendors, globally, to take paid sick leave if they have potential symptoms of COVID-19, or can’t come into work because they’re quarantined,” the post read.

Google relies on approximately 120,000 temps and contractors on top of its 100,000 full-time employees, and not all of them have paid sick leave currently. Google’s post seemed to indicate that the fund would cover expenses for those not already able to take sick leave under current employment arrangements.”

That message right there is coming from a huge place of understanding from Google! We rely incredibly on this pool of talent, our contractors, and we have to find a way to make sure that the suppliers of this talent are taken care of so they can take care of their employees.

Uber and Lyft also came out this week and told drivers that tested positive for COVID-19 they would also pay them their average week’s wage to stay home and not drive. Another giant cost for these companies, but when you rely on gig workers as your business model, you better find ways to take help these folks out when a crisis hits.

Most organizations don’t consider “Total Employment” when a crisis happens. They circle the wagons around their own FTEs and not much else. I’ve spoken to multiple giant enterprise HR leaders this past week and this concept wasn’t even a blip on their radar! They could care less about their contractors and their partners for talent when it comes to COVID-19.

This is ultimately a much bigger problem for these organizations. I preach constantly to organizational TA and HR leaders they should be owning all talent in their barn. Total employment (FTEs, Contractors, Temps, Consultants, etc.). This is who really gets your work done, and if you don’t have awareness of all aspects, you are truly missing the boat.

What do you think? Do you feel your organization should be paying attention to contract and temporary workers during this public health crisis?

Should We Pay Sick Employees Who Have #COVID-19 #Coronavirus?

Yes. Would be the easy answer. The popular answer.

Let me share a little story and then we can really answer this question.

Local hotel in your city down by the local convention center. A national chain, but locally owned and operated. The husband and wife both work full time at this hotel. Every conference for the foreseeable future has been canceled at the local convention center. They went from almost full every week to under 25% full. One of their 150 employees just came down with COVID and now many others will as well. This employee wants to be paid for all 14 days, minimally, they have to be out of work.

Because of the 75% loss of business, the owners are seriously going to have to cut expenses to even stay open and escape bankruptcy. They care deeply for their staff. They consider their staff, family. Many have been with them for over twenty years. These are proud people.

United Airlines is going to have its business crushed as well. Turns out, people don’t want to fly on virus chambers during deadly outbreaks. Plus business travel is being curtailed at almost every organization. A big giant publicly-traded company that probably made billions last year in profit, when times were flying high and the economy was awesome. They could also have an employee come down with COVID-19.

Do you think both employers should pay sick leave for as many employees who need it, for as long as you need it? Just the local hotel? Just United Airlines?

Why?

Business Insider ran an article about how “brilliant” Trader Joe’s is for coming out and saying they’ll pay their employees to stay home until the virus symptoms are gone, flu, COVID, etc. It seems like the ‘right’ thing to do. You have sick employees and you want to protect them and your customers, and your brand, so pay them to stay home.

It’s an easy decision when you make 76% margin on 6 oz. of Organic Wasabi SeaFoam for $12.99. It seems ‘right’ (Editor’s Note: Tim has no idea if Trader Joe’s sells Organic Seafoam or their margins). Rich people buy overpriced, and quite tasty, products, great business model, well run, we’ve got the money, it’s the ‘right’ thing to do.

It’s not the “right” or “brilliant” thing to do for everyone. One organization decides to make that same decision and the entire company goes under. Or they can’t ever recover to the level they did and now they’re being sold to private equity who’s going to chop them up and sell the pieces. Brilliant business decisions are brilliant in very specific ways.

We all have stakeholders that these decisions will impact. Employees. Customers. Shareholders (F! The Shareholders, Tim!). Etc.

The reality is my grandmother and her pension might be one of the shareholders who are super concerned about being able to retire. Joe Plumber might have is retirement in his 401K that has a concern about these decisions. These decisions aren’t linear.

It’s easy to say pay all sick employees for as long as they need. Any moron can say that’s a “brilliant” business decision because it’s always going to be a popular business decision. The brilliant business decision, and maybe the most difficult one a leader will ever have to make, might be to not pay sick employees for their entire time they need to be off.

Each organization is going to have to make these decisions for all involved. It’s multi-dimensional and it’s complex. Before judging someone as being brilliant and an idiot, you would first have to understand each individual situation.

All that being said, we need to find ways to help our employees and their families out during times of crisis. That’s what the best organizations do. It’s not always just more money, more time off, it can be a thousand different things. The key is to have the conversations and be out in front with communications early, so employees aren’t having the additional stress of not knowing.