DisruptHR Lansing! March 19th – Call for Speakers is Open!

Lansing, MI is about to get all Disrupted and Stuff!

Everyone already knows I’m a big believer in DisruptHR events. I’ve spoken at many, I’ve been on the team running DisruptHR Detroit from the beginning, and I decided to start DisruptHR Lansing in my own backyard!

Our first event, DisruptHR Lansing 1.0 will take place in Downtown Lansing on March 19th in the evening (more details to follow) at The Exchange. Great speakers, free food and drinks, and disruptive HR talks throughout the night!

What is DisruptHR?

  • 5-minute hr-based micro-talks. Might be HR, talent, employee experience, leadership, rap music, who knows!
  • Each talk has a very specific format – 20 slides and each slide moves automatically every 15 seconds.
  • The goal is to be fast and challenge the status quo of the people side of the business!

CALL for SPEAKERS is NOW OPEN! 

We’ll be selecting a great group of speakers. I encourage HR pros and Leaders from the Mid-Michigan area to throw your names into the hat for speaking spots!!! It’s a great way to get yourself on stage with a group of fellow HR peers who’ll support you and laugh at our bad HR jokes!

Speakers also get a professionally recorded version of your talk. This is an awesome parting gift for your own development, and to show other conferences, etc. if you decide you want to speak in a longer format in the future. Almost every conference I know now asks for some proof of your ability to speak, as such, this becomes a very valuable piece of content!

Why Speak at DisruptHR Lansing 1.0? 

1. Well, I’ll be there!

2. Lansing, MI is the capital of Michigan. The epicenter of all things people in our state. It’s also might be the one place in Michigan that needs the most HR disruption!

3. HR pros need a network. We need to support each other. This is a great event to make that happen!

4. Cocktails & Hugs! (which ironically is the name of one of my upcoming future books!)

5. I’ll owe you!

Let’s face it. It’s March 19, 2020. We’ve just spent the last 120 days in pure grayness. We need to get out and do something! The event space will be intimate, the energy will be high, and we’re going to have some fun! Come join us! Tickets will go on sale after the holidays. We wanted to open up the Call for Speakers first!

If you want to get an email when tickets go on sale, leave your email on the comments below and I”ll make sure you’re the first to know!

Your Weekly Dose of HR Tech: @TryVantagePoint – Virtual Reality Harassment Training!

Today on the Weekly Dose I take a look at the HR technology startup VantagePoint. VantagePoint is a virtual reality(VR) learning technology company that has produced both sexual harassment and diversity and inclusion training, as well as a training metrics dashboard to go along with their VR training.

I’m not sure we are even close to what VR can become in the HR world. Clearly, there is a great use case for it in training and we see organizations are beginning to start testing it, but to this point, it’s still rather uncommon in most organizations. In fact, it’s uncommon in almost every part of our lives. Only 2% of people in the world have ever even tried it! But, it’s growing like crazy, basically doubling in usage every year.

All that said, it’s actually super cool and fun! Now, if you ever had put on a VR headset and did a fly through the grand canyon, or taken a trip on a roller coaster, you could probably see how that might get old, are nauseating, very quickly! If you have watched a live NBA game from the first row at half-court, through VR goggles, you start to understand how totally awesome it can be!

VantagePoint’s CEO, Morgan Mercer, was early in on the VR tech and it’s potential use to train our employees in how to be better with sexual harassment and has also added in content for D&I as well. VR is only part of what VantagePoint is about. Doing great VR means you have to have great content for your employees to get emersed in. Ultimately, VR is the training delivery tool, but what VantagePoint understands is you better deliver great engaging content is you want great training.

What do I live about VantagePoint? 

– When you go through harassment training with VR goggles and headphones on, you feel like you are witnessing harassment happening, live, right in front of you. You’re uncomfortable. You want to do something. The fact is, doing training in virtual reality forces the user to be totally focused unlike any other kind of training I’ve ever done.

– VantagePoint has figured out, as LOD and HR pros we don’t really want to mess around with hardware (VR goggles, etc.). So, part of their strategy is to just bring everything to you, have a person on-site, and take away any pain or frustration that might go along with that side of training. You just have them show up, and they take your employees through the training. (You can also do it on your own if you like)

– The harassment training isn’t just watching this stuff happen on VR. The user also gets calls on a pop-up looking iPhone with a call from HR telling the user what they did right or wrong, etc. If you get something wrong, you get thrown back into the experience to do more work.

– I love that you can measure not only the compliance side of the training, but you can also see who is actually getting it, and who isn’t with the metrics dashboard they’ve developed.

We all know we can and have to do better when it comes to sexual harassment training in our workplaces. Traditional, classroom-style training just doesn’t seem to cut it, because it doesn’t grab the attention of the audience. No matter how well done. VantagePoint has figured out a better delivery tool, and one that will be commonplace in the very near future when it comes to all kinds of training.

The price point is actually less expensive then I thought it would be, and I would think most organizations of every size will be able to afford the VantagePoint VR training. I do think Morgan, and her team, are just scratching the surface of what’s possible when it comes to this kind of training in our workplaces. But, great VR content is also labor-intensive to pull off well.

I would definitely recommend a demo, especially if you’re looking for a great alternative to traditional harassment and D&I training. This is training that your employees will definitely remember and pay attention to!

The 12 Steps to Recovery for Being a Passionate Asshole!

I wrote a post titled, “The 5 Things HR Leaders Need to Know About Developing Employees“. In that post I had a paragraph:

When I was young in my career, I was very ‘passionate’. That’s what I liked calling it – passionate.  I think the leaders I worked with called it, “career derailer”.  It took a lot for me to understand what I thought was a strength, was really a major weakness.  Some people never will gain this insight.  They’ll continue to believe they’re just passionate when in reality they’re really just an asshole.

I then had a reader send me a message and basically said, “This is me!” And I was like, “That was me too!” And then we kissed. Okay, we didn’t kiss, but it’s great to find another like yourself in the wild!

The reality is, I’m a recovering Passionate Asshole.

What’s a “Passionate Asshole” are asking yourself? Here’s my definition –

“A passionate asshole is a person who feels like they are more about the success of the company than anyone else. I mean everyone else. They care more than everyone! And because we care so much, we treat people poorly who we feel don’t care as much as us!”

Passionate assholes truly believe in every part of their being they’re great employees. You will not be able to tell us any differently. They are usually high performing in their jobs, which also justifies even more that they care more. But, in all of this, they leave a wake of bad feelings and come across like your everyday basic asshole.

You know at least one of these people. They’re usually younger in the 24-35-year-old range. Too early in their career to have had some major setbacks and high confidence in their abilities.

Here are the 12 Steps of Recovery for Passionate Assholes:

Step 1: Realization that your an Asshole, not the best employee ever hired in the history of the universe. This realization doesn’t actually fix the passionate asshole, but without it, you have no chance.

Step 2: You understand that while being a passionate asshole feels great, this isn’t going to further your career and get you to your ultimate goal.

Step 3: Professionally they have knocked down in a major way. I was fired. Not because I was doing the job, but because I was leaving a wake of bodies and destruction in the path of doing my job. You don’t have to be fired, demotion might also work, but usually, it’s getting canned.

Step 4: Some you truly respect needs to tell you you’re not a good employee, but an asshole, during a time you’re actually listening.

Step 5: Find a leader and organization that will embrace you for who you’re trying to become, knowing who you truly are. You don’t go from Passionate Asshole to model employee overnight! It’s not a light switch.

Step 6: Time. This is a progression. You begin to realize some of your passionate asshole triggers. You begin to use your powers for good and not to blow people up who you feel aren’t worthy of oxygen. Baby steps. One day at a time.

Step 7: You stop making bad career moves based on the passionate asshole beast inside of you, telling you moving to the ‘next’ role is really the solution to what you’re feeling.

Step 8: We make a list of people we’ve destroyed while being passionate assholes. Yes, even the people you don’t like!

Step 9: Reach out to the people you’ve destroyed and make amends. Many of these people have ended up being my best professional contacts now late in life. Turns out, adults are actually pretty good a forgiving and want to establish relationships with people who are honest and have self-insight.

Step 10: We are able to tell people we’re sorry for being a passionate asshole when find ourselves being a passionate asshole, and not also seeing the passion within them and what they also bring to the organization is a value to not only us but to the organization as a whole.

Step 11: You begin to reflect, instead of reacting as a first response. Passionate assholes love to react quickly! We’re passionate, we’re ready at all times, so our initial thought is not to think, but react decisively. You’ve reached step 11 when your first thought is to no longer react like a crazy person!

Step 12: You begin to reach out to other passionate assholes and help them realize how they’re destroying their careers and don’t even know it. You begin mentoring.

I know I’ll never stop being a Passionate Asshole. It’s a personality flaw, and even when you change, you never fully change. But, I now understand when I’m being that person, can usually stop myself mid-passionate asshole blow up, and realize there are better ways to communicate and act.

 

 

Adoption of HR & Recruiting is NOT Hard! #iNFLUENCE19

Hey, gang! I’m out this week spending some time at iCIMS Influence event. It’s part analyst event, part iCIMS customer event. Basically, bring a bunch of recruiting nerds together, that think alike, and see if some cool stuff happens. Turns out, no matter where you are in the world of TA, we all basically have the same problems! We need to fill jobs.

One of the topics that came up is the adoption of the recruiting technology we purchase. How do we get higher user adoption, etc? A very classic issue that won’t go away and there’s all this wonderful research around how we should ‘gamify’ and ‘reward’ and tell folks how great they are, even when they aren’t!

I get that ‘forcing’ someone to do something they don’t want to do, does not have great long term success! Especially in an ultra-low unemployment market. I get that we want our recruiters to have a great experience and love their jobs. I get that we want candidates to have a great experience and love our companies. I. Get. All. Of. That.

So, can get real for a second?

The adoption of technology is not difficult. It’s actually a super easy concept. Here are the 4 steps:

1. Integrate your actual work processes within the technology so that work can’t be completed without using the technology. I.E., Workarounds will not show up on data, virtually meaning, the work did not happen.

2. Do you believe the technology you purchased actually makes you a better organization? If so, then it is a condition of employment that we/you/they use the technology to make our organization more successful. Yes, Karen, that means you’ll have to change and use the new system, even though you’ve used the old way for 32 straight years. If you decide not to use the technology that will make our organization more successful, we will find someone who will. Period.

3. Part of technology adoption is a continued desire to test and innovate, so ensure our technology is still our most successful choice, or maybe something better has come along and we need to adapt and adjust. So, we’ll have an actual measure around testing potential new technology to replace or enhance our stack.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 on an ongoing basis.

Numbers one and two should be very clear to you. Great process design fully utilizes your tech. Great performance management ensures your people use the tech.

Number three is the one some folks will decide isn’t needed, but here’s why it’s critical! Billy decides your tech sucks and his way is better and Billy goes rogue. You tell Billy that a decision, above his pay grade, has been made that to ensure the success of our organization we are going to utilize the technology we’ve purchased to its fullest capabilities (step 1).

You also let Billy know that he will not be forced to use this technology, and we will certainly miss having him around the office. (step 2). But, Billy, we have another option for you, because we love you and value you, we want you to work the tech we have 100%, but we have a side project that we want you to test, and maybe, this side project will demonstrate to our decision-makers there is a better, more effective way to run our process (step 3).

Adoption is maintained. Billy is helping us get better. All is right with the world.

The adoption of technology is not a technology problem, it’s a leadership communication problem, and it’s easily solved.

 

Is There Really a Problem with the phrase – “Ok Boomer!”?

You’ve probably heard it by now, the phrase “Ok Boomer!” Which blew up (cool graph showing how fast here)recently when Chloe Swarbick, a 25-year-old MP and spokesperson for New Zeeland’s Green Party. She was speaking to New Zeeland’s Parliament about climate change when she got heckled by an older member. Her response is below in the video (it happens at- :31 on the video) –

So, let me start by saying Ageism is undoubtedly a very real and serious issue we are facing in workplaces! I’ve written many posts on Ageism in hiring and selection, and I’ve witnessed hiring managers, executives, TA pros, and HR pros who show their ageism bias time and time again at organizations large and small.

The only people we hate to hire more than fat people are old people!

So, on the outset, you would feel that this is just one more form of Ageism. It’s definitely a slam and derogatory towards older thinking for sure! “Ok Boomer” is the same thing as saying “Ok Kid” when someone younger says something you think is naive at best. Chloe is talking science and she’s passionate about the climate, and she knows she’s surrounded by older members who don’t have much care for this issue.

Also, let’s put into the context of how “we” (media, speakers, leaders, trainers, etc.) basically spent the better part of a decade talking down to Millennials for believing their snowflakes (another trigger word) and not having a clue about real life. Gen Z comes along and they are just getting thrown into the Millennials bucket by most folks that don’t have a clue these are actually two very separate generations.

So, Chloe and Gen Z are fed up! When we get fed up, when we feel like no one is listening to us, we usually react in frustration and most of us say stuff that we believe will get the attention of the audience that we want to listen. Many times what we say is offensive to some, like, “Ok Boomer!” Okay, you dumb old person who won’t listen to real science and facts and you keep pissing away the future because you’re almost dead and don’t care!

I’m not a fan of name-calling, on either side. I don’t like it when we try to throw an entire generation into a bucket, because the moment you do that you meet someone from that generation that believes in the exact same things you do, and might even be doing more to fight for those beliefs than you are. Chloe knows this, but she was in a passionate speech to save her planet and some stupid person decided to interject and interrupt her and she came after them in a brilliant way to shut them down immediately and return to her speech. Go for her!

If you’re going to play the game, you better come ready, because the person you try to embarrass might come back on you in a much better way! That “Boomer” wasn’t ready and like “the kids” like to say, he got “served”! Okay, the kids haven’t said that for about a decade, but I’m GenX I basically only use historical pop culture references.

Good News, Bad News, and Important News. What’s your strategy?

It’s been a common strategy for corporations and their PR and Communications teams to send out bad news around 4 pm on a Friday. Why? Because it dies almost immediately. No one really pays attention to the news cycle on the weekends and by Monday morning something else happens – we release all of our great news because we want it to run all week!

So, bad news gets released on Friday afternoon, our good news gets released early on Monday, when do you then release your “important” news? The news you need your employees, customers, clients, stakeholders, etc. to pay attention to?

A recent study showed that late in the week isn’t the time because you’ll get these results:

  • 34% less social media mentions
  • 23-66% less mentions in articles
  • Up to 51% are likely to never receive the information at all.

The problem is we tend to work all week to make communications perfect and typically release important news late in the week when it’s going to find fewer people. The better idea for important news and information that you need people to pay attention to is to release it first thing on Monday, and then trickle out bits of information about the main message all week to gain more and more viewers of your message.

It takes most people five to seven times of seeing and/or hearing the information you need them to know before it clicks, so you can’t just do one main release and hope that everyone gets it. They won’t and you’ll be frustrated that your message didn’t have the impact you wanted.

Right now, so many organizations are doing their Open Enrollments around their health insurance for next year. Most will spend weeks preparing the communication, but put very little thought into how do we best amplify this message so everyone gets what we need them to get.

The strategy should be one big splash announcement, and then highlight announcements on an ongoing basis over the next 7 days for so. It might look something like this:

Day 1 – Big message!

End of Day 1 – A “USA Today” version of the big message. “What you really need to know about “X”!

Day 2 – 1 really important fact about “X” you have to know, or you might die (or something almost as dramatic!)

Day 3 – “Did you know…The top 3 things that are changing”

Day 4 – Story from the field, the most asked question of “X”

Day 5 – Before you leave for the weekend, Are you sure you and your family will have insurance this weekend?

Day 6 – Probably the next Monday – A message from our CEO on “X”

Day 7 – Last call – the final things you need to know before “X” runs out (aka – At this point, it’s your fault you’re not covered!)

This example is mostly about open enrollment, but it can really be used for any big change you’re trying to make internally or externally within your organization.

The other side of this has to be how and when you release these messages. In corporations we tend to rely on email, but we have to send out more than just email. Leverage text messages, social media messages, signs where you get the most employee traffic, etc. Think about the one thing every employee would do each week and try to wrap your message around that.

What is the biggest driver of Employee Engagement?

I got to see Marcus Buckingham speak at the HR Technology Conference in Vegas a couple of weeks ago. I think it’s the 2319th time I’ve seen him speak. I’m not sure if I’ve seen Marcus or Josh Bersin speak more, it’s probably almost a tie. Basically, if you go to HR conferences, you get to see those two dudes speak, a lot!

That’s not a bad thing. Both bring great data and are strong presenters, Marcus has the English accent which all American’s love. Marcus and ADP’s Reseach Institute released some new data on Engagement and that was the main focus of the talk. The research shows that 85% of employees are just showing up to work, because only 15% are ‘fully’ engaged, and if you’re not fully engaged, you’re basically showing up to collect a check.

That was pretty shocking, but the most shocking piece the research showed was the number one driver of engagement in any organization had to do with one simple thing: Are you a part of a team.

The research shows that being a part of a team is the strongest predictor of full engagement. There are others, like being new to an organization is fairly strong and makes sense. When we first start working at a new job, we are usually more engaged. Do you trust your team leader is another strong predictor, but first you better be on a team!

Being a member of a team.

It seems fairly simple, but for those of us who are constantly working on teams, we know it’s not. You could simply just throw everyone who works for you on teams and think, “okay, I just fixed engagement!” It’s really more about the dynamic of being on a team where you feel you belong and have a role that is valuable to that team.

Belonging is a big part of being on a team and being fully engaged. There are plenty of people who are on teams but don’t feel like the team they’re on needs them or wants them. Or you are on a team that isn’t successful. Turns out, failure is a big deterrent to engagement as well.

Once you are on a team, it then becomes critical that you trust the team leader. Lack of trust of the team leader is another negative driver to engagement. This then becomes more about the leader themselves establishing trust, and having team members who are open enough to first assume trust. Too often we get on teams and immediately believe the team leader is keeping things from us, probably because many times they are.

In any team, in the beginning, or when new team members come in, they should do a transition meeting. A meeting designed to establish trust from the beginning. It’s a time to get everything out in the open, at the beginning (or when it’s new for someone else) and do things like ask all the questions that usually go un-asked but then become issues down the road, establish communication likes and dislikes, share items that you should know, but might not, etc. I always have this facilitated by someone outside the team, so the leader doesn’t try and control the outcomes.

Go download the research paper, there’s great information about how to drive higher engagement in your organization and more information about the importance of the team dynamic.

The 7 Words That Turn Candidates Off!

Communication is a tricky thing. It’s so easy to turn off another party by simply using just one wrong word, especially when you’re trying to build a relationship with a candidate you potentially want to hire.

I think there are some words and phrases that have a high probability of turning off a candidate to want to come work for your organization. I speak to students a few times a year about interviewing and I tell them something similar, which is what you say can automatically make a hiring manager not want to hire you!

Think about being an interview and the candidate starts to tell you why they’re no longer working for ACME Inc. “Oh, you know it was just a ‘misunderstanding’, I can explain…”

“Misunderstanding” is a killer word to use while interviewing! It wasn’t a misunderstanding! You got fired! The ‘misunderstanding’ is you not understanding the crap you were doing was wrong! 

So, what are the 7 Deadly Words you should never use as a recruiter? Don’t use these:

-“Layoff” – It doesn’t matter how you use it. Even, ‘we’ve never had a layoff!’ “Layoff” isn’t a positive word to someone looking to come to work for you, so why would you even add it to the conversation!

-“Might” – Great candidates want black and white, not gray. “Might” is gray. Well, we might be adding that tech but I don’t know. Instead, use “I’m not sure, let me check for you because I want to get you the truth.  Add

-“Maybe” – See above.

-“Unstable” – You know what’s unstable? Nothing good, that’s what! If something isn’t good, don’t hide behind a word that makes people guess how bad it might be, because they’ll usually assume it’s worse than it really is!

-“Legally” – “Legally” is never followed by something positive! “Legally, we would love to give you a $25K sign-on bonus, but…” It’s always followed by something that makes you uncomfortable. When trying to get someone interested in your organization and job, don’t add “Legally” to the conversation!

-“Temporarily” – This is another unsettling word for candidates. “Temporarily” we’ll have to have you work out of the Nashville office, but no worries, you’ll be Austin soon enough! Um, no.

-“Fluid” – Well, that’s a great question, right now it’s a fluid situation, we’re hoping that hiring you will help clarify it! Well, isn’t that comforting… Add: “Up in the air” to this category!

We use many of these words because we don’t want to tell the candidate the truth. We think telling them exactly what’s wrong with our organization, the position, our culture, will drive them away. So, we wordsmith them to death!

The reality is most candidates will actually love the honesty and tend to believe they can be the one to come in and make it better. We all want to be the knight on the white horse. Candidates are no different. Tell them the truth and you’ll end up with better hires and higher retention!

College Students: Are you adding your side-hustle to your resume!?

I got killed a few weeks ago by some trolls on Twitter over posting this tweet:

I get that many people need to work side hustles to make ends meet in today’s world. I wasn’t talking about these folks working their butts off to make ends meet. I myself work side hustles.

In today’s #outrage culture, this tweet was seen as insensitive by some folks who spend way too much time on Twitter and not enough time on their professional role! Also, I’m clearly not Gary Vaynerchuk, the king of hustle porn, who could tweet this exact tweet and get 5 million likes before the end of the day!

Turns out, Recruiters are now encouraging college students to put their side hustles on their resume and profiles. Why? Because employers actually really like candidates who aren’t afraid to work! It’s the #1 thing that executives tell me when we talk about their pain points around hiring. “Tim, we just need people who want to work!”

So, what are the top side hustles you should be adding onto your resume and profiles? The folks at The Knowledge Academy did a survey and found these were the most popular:

  • 85% of US recruiters recommend those college students who buy items from garage sales and then sell them online for a higher price, to include it on their resume/job applications
  • 67% of US recruiters believe college students that create/modify products to sell online, should have it on their resume/job applications
  • 60% of US recruiters think college students who offer photography services for hire, encourage stating it on their resume/job applications

I really think as a candidate, any skill you believe adds to your overall value as an employee should be something you add to your resume and/or profile, but just know that some HR/Talent/Hiring Managers will look at this in different ways. If you’re an engineer and you’re also driving for a ride share service, you probably need to explain why the full-time gig isn’t enough. “I’m also supplementing my income with weekend and evening ride share to help pay off my student loans quicker!”

The survey found that –52% of recruiters feel companies who know an employee has a growing ‘side hustle’ should take an active approach to support them (i.e. offering flexible working hours). Um, what!? So, Mary is our accountant and we love her, but she also has a growing cupcake business on the side and I should give her time off to go do that and not fulfill her duties in a full-time role? I’m not sure I 100% can buy into this philosophy from a business standpoint!

I would probably go back to that employee and ask them if they started their own business, like this side hustle, and had to hire folks, who then wanted to not work their ‘real’ job, but put more time and effort towards their own thing, how would that sit with them? I already know the answer. They want and need workers who are committed and get their jobs done like everyone else.

It’s definitely a different world we live in. Side hustles become full-time hustles for so many folks. I definitely see this when someone is working a full-time gig that they hate, and a side hustle that they love. Like Gary V would say, you need to then adjust your lifestyle to fit your side hustle, and not your full-time gig if that’s what you desire to do. What you can’t do is think just because you love petting puppies, doesn’t mean you can do it full-time without giving up some stuff. It’s hard to make those Tesla payments on a puppy petter salary!

Want to build a community?

I get asked quite often by folks who want to build a community and/or are already starting a community to be apart of their community. My first question is always, “Why do you want to build this community?” It’s pretty straight forward. It should be simple to answer.

Most will go all guru-like about wanting to get like-minded folks together, etc., but in the end, it’s mostly about starting a group so they can sell them something. Almost 99% of the time this is the reason. Which is actually fine, if you follow the steps and don’t actually sell!

Here is really the only way I’ve found to build a successful community:

Step 1 – Find some folks who are like you.

Step 2 – Announce that you are starting a community together.

Step 3 – Draft the purpose and some ground rules around that community.

Step 4 – Show up every day, even Saturday and Sunday.

Step 5 – Never sell your stupid shit.

Step 6 – Give.

Step 7 – Go to Step 6

Step 8 – Eventually the community will give you more than you ever gave it.

It’s super simple, and super hard, to build a community, because it’s all about you giving, and giving, and giving, with absolutely no expectation that you’ll get anything back from the community. Those who go into building a community with this mindset and action, though, almost always get more out of it than they put in it.