The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

This is HR’s go-to advice for employees who put in their two-week notice, especially if that employee is heading to a competitor:

“Just remember! The grass isn’t always greener!” 

HR is mostly right. I’d say here’s the actual breakdown of ‘greenest’:

  • 50% is actually about the same shade of green. You’re moving to just move. You’ll find the job, the people, the money, everything is almost the same. The only change is the name and maybe the location by a bit.
  • 30% is going to be a nice shade of light brown, meaning the grass isn’t green at all, it’s dead! HR wants to believe this number is higher but it’s not, but it’s high enough to give some folks some pause before making such a big decision.
  • 10% is way greener! Like green M&M green. Dream job green! Everything is better and you’re so happy you made the move. You found your dream job!
  • 10% isn’t grass at all. Someone replaced the grass with some other material, like in Phoenix where grass can’t grow so they pave the front yard and paint it green, or just put in rock and cactus. This is completely something you didn’t expect. You were hoping for a better job, and you got something that isn’t better but not worse, it’s not even the job you expected, so you can’t really compare.

So, you have about a 10% chance of getting what you think you’re getting. Not good odds, but like I said, most employees way overthink their odds on this and probably believe they have a 70-90% of bettering themselves when they move. Most will just stay the same or get slightly worse.

Why do we believe moving is better?

1. You’re being sold. Sold by a recruiter and a hiring manager that you’ll be moving from a trailer park to Disney World. You really, really want to believe that’s true, so you buy!

2. You over-value that what we don’t know, over what we already have. This happens in so many areas of our life. Relationships. Jobs. Table at a restaurant.

3. You over-value what others have, over what you have. Think about this for a minute. You’re so eager to get out of this job, yet others are so eager to get this job. What does that say? You’re brilliant and everyone else is an idiot? Probably not. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

Everyone keeps telling me all these ‘new’ young workers just want to jump from job to job. They don’t have loyalty, etc. The reality is much less about their desire to move, and more about them being more naive to the realities of changing jobs.  We all loved changing jobs until it backfires and you leave something good, for something crappy.

Once that happens, you’re less likely to change jobs the rest of your career, even if you’re in a bad job! Don’t underestimate what you currently have. It’s probably way better than you’re making it out to be, and the new gig isn’t as good as it sounds. That’s not sexy, that’s just reality.


The True Cost of a Bad Hire

If there is one constant in HR and Recruiting it is the fact that no one will ever agree on how much a bad hire costs an organization!  Never!  It doesn’t matter how much time you put into coming up with some algorithm, how much research to back up your numbers, it’s still going to be 90% subjective/soft numbers at best.

This is the main reason executives in our organizations think the majority of HR/Talent Pros in the world don’t get business!   We come to them with stuff like this:

“We need to reduce turnover because of Engineer who leaves us, costs the company $7,345,876.23!”

Then you go through a 73 slide PowerPoint deck showing how you came up with the calculations all the way down the parking meter expense during the interview, and when you’re done, no one believes you’re even close to an actual number.

The gang over at National Business Research Institute put together a pretty good infographic proving my point – take a look:

NBRI - The Cost of a Bad Hire Infographic

97%+ of the ‘lost’ cost is from “Training” and “Productivity Loss” and those, my friends, are considered very subjective measures in almost all organizations.  What that says is, ‘Oh, Jimmy isn’t working out – fire him – and because he wasn’t working out we lost ‘X’ percent of productivity over any other possible replacement (which in itself is a whole other leap)’.  And, we lost 100% of training we put into Jimmy because he is now not here.  Which again is subjective, since most training isn’t one-on-one, and resources used to train are almost always not used just on one person, etc.

What that says is, ‘Oh, Jimmy isn’t working out – fire him – and because he wasn’t working out we lost ‘X’ percent of productivity over any other possible replacement (which in itself is a whole other leap)’.  And, we lost 100% of training we put into Jimmy because he is now not here.  Which again is subjective, since most training isn’t one-on-one, and resources used to train are almost always not used just on one person, etc.

So, here’s a better way to figure out the cost of a bad hire:

1. Ask your head of finance or accounting what they think it costs? “Ballpark it for me?”  $10K? Sounds great! We’ll use $10K.

2. Use $10K as your cost of bad hires.

Your reality, HR’s Reality, is it really doesn’t matter what the number is.  Only that the powers that be in your organization all agree on the number. Stop wasting your time trying to come up with a better number, just come up with a number that those signing the check agree is probably legit.

Would You Be Willing To Pay For Interview Feedback?

I get my ideas in the shower. I have a busy life, so it seems like my down time is that solid 5 to 10 minutes I get in the shower. I usually shower twice a day—once first thing in the morning, then before I go to bed. That’s 10 to 20 minutes daily to think and clean. I like going to bed clean. I like waking up with a shower. You’re welcome. You now know my daily cleaning habits. Thanks for stopping by today!

I’m not sure why ideas come to me. My wife says I’m not completely “right.” I get weird things that come into my head, at weird times. This morning I decided to stop fighting the candidate experience freaks (those people that think candidate experience actually matters, which it doesn’t) and finally help them solve their problem. You won, freaks. But I damn well better get a lifetime achievement award at the next Candidate Experience Awards!

Here’s your solution: Charge candidates a fee to get feedback on their interviews.

<Drops mic, walks off stage, give me my award.>

Yeah, that’s what I just said. Let me give you the details; apparently, a couple of you just spit out your coffee.

Candidates want great feedback on their interviews, desperately. When someone really wants something, that certain thing becomes very valuable. HR shops in organizations have the ability to deliver this very valuable thing, but they don’t have the resources to do it well. By well, I mean really well: making that feedback personable, meaningful, and developmental.

Are you willing to spend 15 minutes debriefing a candidate after an interview… a candidate you don’t want? Of course not. What if that candidate paid you $10 for that feedback? That’s $40 per hour you could make just debriefing candidates. Couldn’t you go out and hire a sharp HR pro for like $30 per hour to do this job?

Yeah, that’s why I deserve awards. My ideas are groundbreaking. It’s a big burden to carry around.

Think of this like an airline. Airlines figured out that certain people are willing to pay an extra $25 to get on the plane first, or to be first in line. This is all you’re doing. You’re not taking advantage of anyone; you’re just offering a first-class candidate experience for those willing to pay for it. For those unwilling to pay for first class, they’ll get your coach experience. They’ll get a form letter that says thanks, no thanks, here’s a 10% off coupon on your next use of our service, or whatever you do to make that candidate experience seem special.

A first-class candidate experience for $10. Do you think candidates would pay for that? You’re damn straight they would! Big companies would actually have to establish departments for this! Goldman Sachs, give me a call, I’ll come set this up for you! GM, Ford and Chrysler, I’m like an hour away, let’s talk, I can come down any day next week.

It’s easy to dismiss a crazy idea that some guy came up with in the shower—until your competition starts doing it, it becomes the industry norm, or Jobvite orHireVue or Chequed builds the app and starts selling this a service. My Poppi (that’s what I called my Grandfather) always use to say, “Tim, it only costs a little more to go first class.” People like first-class treatment. People want first-class treatment. People will pay for first class treatment.

Would you pay for great interview feedback, so great it could be considered personal development? How much?

The Greatest Retirement Benefits You Can Give Your Employees

My Dad retired this past year. I’m already ‘leveraging’ him for some time. He has so much of it now! It’s like he won the time lotto and he’s throwing it around because he’s got so much of it. “Hey Dad, can I borrow a couple of hours!? It’s a busy week! I need you to pick up the kids!”

I read this article, The Huge Retirement Benefit You Probably Aren’t Expecting recently:

America is reaching a tipping point. Adults in the busiest phase of life, juggling kids and careers, number about 40 million, which is roughly equal to those near and in retirement, who typically have time on their hands. But the number of adults pressed for time is projected to grow slowly, reaching 49 million by 2050. By contrast, the number of retirees with plenty of free time will explode to 88 million, as more and more boomers retire.

When you add it all up, retirees will have 2.5 trillion hours of leisure time to fill over the next 20 years. This free time will redefine their habits and priorities—even their identities. And yet almost no one is planning for this sweeping change, according to a report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Age Wave.

Time is going to be the new currency of future generations. It’s like lake front property, there’s only so much. Unless you live in Dubai and have billions, then I guess you can make new lake front property!

The crazy thing is, organizations aren’t really putting that much effort into figuring this whole thing out. We’re treating it like we’ve treated retirement for decades. “Well, Bill’s retiring, let’s throw him a party, buy him a walker with a horn, and give his work to the new kid.” We aren’t thinking in a new context of what do these ‘new’ folks who are retiring really want?

What I’ve learned from Dad is we in HR are missing some things. Here are some ideas of Retirement Benefits you could offer, but you haven’t even begun to think in this new way of time:

1. Part-time, flexible Mentorships – Some people can’t wait to stop working for your organization. Many feel they’re being ‘nicely’ pushed out, or society makes them feel like ‘it’s time’ to leave. The reality, so many of your retiring employees would love to keep in touch. Help out the new kids. Lead mentor groups on how to deal with customer issues, leadership dilemmas, customer/client feedback, etc. And most would do it for free! They would volunteer their time!

2. Corporate Community Volunteer Programs – Remember, these super valuable, experienced, loyal former employees who love your brand, have a couple trillion (with a T) hours on their hands! Can you imagine how much good will you could leverage in the community if you activated your retirees as volunteers with some direction and leadership!?  It could transform your corporate presence within the markets you serve. BTW – hospitals do a great job at this! There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to do this in your organization as well.

3. C-Suite Bullship Detectors – Your executives don’t always know what’s really going on because they have a bunch of VPs kissing their ass telling them what they think they want to hear. Retirees are a great mechanism to tell your executives what is actually going on, versus what they’re being told. They’re like highly paid consultants, without the highly paid part!  We all need someone without a vested interest to tell us like it is, even when it stings a little. Your retirees would love to do this. Works really well for newer retirees who are still close to the business. Not so well once they get a ways out. You will be shocked at the bond your executives will build with these folks!

Something to think about. How are your new retirement benefits helping your former employees spend and invest their most precious commodity? Time.


The Best Recruiters are Competitive, A Hypothesis

I’ve worked in recruiting and HR for about twenty years. At this point in my career, I estimate that I’ve hired about 100 Recruiters.

I’ve hired recruiters that come from almost every environment and education. I’ve gone the Enterprise Rent A Car route and hired college athletes. I’ve gone to colleges and hired HR graduates. I’ve hired seasoned recruiting veterans from both agency and corporate. I’ve hired uneducated individuals from service backgrounds. I’ve hired specific practitioners who have deep knowledge of what they’re recruiting – nurses, IT pros, etc.

None of these things made one bit of difference when it came to performance as a recruiter, in either environment, corporate or agency.

The only thing I’ve found to be a differentiator of true recruiting performance is the level of competitiveness an individual has internally. This is why it’s so popular to hire former athletes as recruiters, we assume since they are athletic, that they must be competitive. But, this also fails, many times.

You see, you don’t have to play sports to be competitive.  You might just be that kid you threw the Monopoly board across the room when you lost to your sister. You might be that person who can’t stand that your neighbor’s lawn looks better than yours. Who knows why and what you’re competitive with, but it’s the key to being great a recruiting.

Many will wrongly assume that males are more competitive than females. In my experience, I’ve found this not to be true. Both sexes can be very competitive, it’s finding which ones are competitive that becomes the difficult thing.

So, why does being competitive help make you a great recruiter?

I believe competitiveness is a great trait for recruiters because it leads them to want to ‘win’.  What’s the win in recruiting? It’s filling the position! Recruiting is just one small game, after another. Each one that is slightly different, with new complexities to complete.  Each time you fill an opening, that is like making a point on your scoreboard.

If you put a group of these people together, even though they’re all working on separate openings, they see each other making placements and they want to do this as well. This competitive drive, alone, makes an individual succeed or fail at recruiting.

This becomes the main issue of why selecting non-proven recruiters is such a crap shoot. It’s very difficult to measure someone’s competitive drive accurately, and interview questioning is unreliable. In my 100 hires, I would say I’m 50/50 in getting it right. When I talk to other agency executives and TA Leaders, many share the same ratio.

Want to hire better recruiters?

Focus completely on finding ultra competitive people, who love keeping score, and throw them into the game.  I like to say Recruiting isn’t hard, but I know that it is.  Recruiting is easy if you’ve got the right people, who will do whatever it takes to win. That’s the competitive difference!

The First Rule of Recruiting

Sometimes we go so far into the weeds in recruiting we forget what is really important.

We have to have a brand!

We have to have an ATS! Or a new ATS!

We have to have a CRM! What the hell is a CRM!

Our job descriptions need to be better!

Our career site sucks! Don’t they all!?

We need to relaunch our employee referral program!

There are literally a million things you could focus on in recruiting and you still would have a list of crap you never even got to.

You know recruiting isn’t difficult. It’s not like we’re trying to launch the space shuttle. Recruiting is finding people for your organization. People are everywhere. We just need to talk them into coming to work for our organizations.

It’s the first rule of recruiting – Just let people know you’re hiring.

We make it so difficult when all we have to truly do is let people know we actually want to hire them. Do you have any idea how many people would really want to work for your organization, but they never know you are hiring or were hiring?

Recruiting is really only that. Just letting enough people know that you want them to work for you until you’ve reached the right people. It’s okay that you will reach some you don’t want. That’s part of the game.

To reach the people who you want, and who want you, you have to let a lot of people know you’re hiring.

Letting people know you’re hiring goes beyond your career site. It goes beyond job boards. It goes beyond employee referral programs. It’s a philosophy throughout your organization. It’s about an understanding that you want everyone to know that you’re hiring.

Most organizations don’t do this. It’s a combination of issues, but mostly it’s conceited belief that letting people know you’re hiring seems desperate. That we are too good of an organization to let everyone know we are hiring, because we don’t want everyone, we only want a few.

This is why most talent acquisition departments fail. Simple conceit.

Great recruiting isn’t conceited, great recruiting is about being humble enough to let people know you want them.

Google Announced They Discovered The Secret to a Great Workplace!

Over the past five years, I’ve been outspoken over my dislike of Google HR.  But I have to give them credit now, because they spent years of work, really digging into the concept of teams and employees to figure out how we, HR Pros, help our organizations make the whole thing work. Kudos to you Google!

Here’s what they found:

“The tech giant charged a team to find out. The project, known as Project Aristotle, took several years, and included interviews with hundreds of employees and analysis of data about the people on more than 100 active teams at the company. The Googlers looked hard to find a magic formula—the perfect mix of individuals necessary to form a stellar team—but it wasn’t that simple. “We were dead wrong,” the company said.

 Google’s data-driven approach ended up highlighting what leaders in the business world have known for a while; the best teams respect one another’s emotions and are mindful that all members should contribute to the conversation equally. It has less to do with who is in a team, and more with how a team’s members interact with one another…
Matt Sakaguchi, a midlevel manager at Google, was keen to put Project Aristotle’s findings into practice. He told Charles Duhigg of The New York Times how he took his team off-site to open up about his cancer diagnosis. His colleagues were initially silent, but then began sharing their own personal stories.
At the heart of Sakaguchi’s strategy, and Google’s findings, is the concept of “psychological safety,” a model of teamwork in which members have a shared belief that it is safe to take risks and share a range of ideas without the fear of being humiliated…
…In short. Just be nice.”
Wait, what?
Be nice.  That’s what Google found after ‘years’ of work? Be nice!?
You got that HR pros? Just tell your employees to be nice.  Google has it figured out. You can stop working now. Just listen to Google. They spent three exhausting years of research on this.  RELAX. They know what they’re doing. They’re Google. We all just want to be Google.
Mrs. Wilson was my kindergarten teacher. She was this young, beautiful black woman who seemed to be about 7 feet tall. To be fair, I was five and three feet tall, so she might have only been around 5’7″. Anyway, in 1975, she told me something very similar. In fact, I think she used those exact same words, “Be nice, Tim.”
Maybe Google should have just hired Mrs. Wilson, and saved all that time and work. Apparently, she also figured out the secret to a great workplace!

Chipotle’s HR Just Had a Major Screw Up!

If you pay attention to the news at over the past few months you’ve heard about the E. coli outbreak at a number of Chipotle restaurants all over the U.S.:

“The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with state and local officials are investigating two separate outbreaks of E. coli O26 infections that have been linked to food served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in several states.

As of January 27, 2016, the CDC reports a total of 55 people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC (Shiga toxin producing E. coli) O26 from a total of 11 states in the larger outbreak: California (3), Delaware (1), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Maryland (1), Minnesota (2), New York (1), Ohio (3), Oregon (13), Pennsylvania (2), and Washington (27). There have been 21 reported hospitalizations. The majority of these cases were reported from Oregon and Washington during October 2015.”

No restaurant wants this to happen, ever! It has an immediate and lasting impact to sales. I worked for Applebee’s, one of the largest restaurant chains in the world, food safety was our single biggest focus and a constant worry.  Chipotle’s entire company went into immediate crisis mode when all of this was going down.

So, much so, that they decided to do an unprecedented all store closing to ‘re-train’ all employees on current, new and additional food safety measures. From Fast Company:

The company is still not clear on which ingredient brought on the E. coli outbreak, though it again confirmed that the norovirus was spread through employees who came into work while sick.

“If you are feeling sick, or if you have vomited, either at work or at home, you need to tell your manager or field leader immediately,” co-CEO Monty Moran told workers. Managers are also expected to report if an employee gets sick at work, and if a worker or customer vomits in a restaurant, the location must be shut down immediately.

Most people won’t catch what just happened. E. coli is major! Both Chipotle and the CDC never found out where the E. Coli came from. Norovirus is completely different. Restaurants have norovirus outbreaks. It’s not frequent, but more frequent than you think. It’s usually caused by a worker with stomach flu coming to work and spreading it to cooking areas, thus giving it customers and other workers.

Two very different things!

But, since we can’t find out where the E. coli came from, which was more than likely a supplier of some fresh ingredient – since it showed up in so many states and so many locations, not connected any other way, let’s show our customers we solved something else!

The problem is, Chipotle doesn’t really have a Norovirus issue. Sure they might have had one or two restaurants with an outbreak, but that is solved with a good bleach cleaning and some retraining.  Chipotle’s executive team and HR went off the deep end and instituted the following things:

  • Sick employees who have vomited at work or at home, now get 5 paid days off before they can return to work. 
  • If an employee or customer vomit at a restaurant, that restaurant must be closed down immediately. 

This is unsustainable. HR should have advised the executive team that this isn’t sustainable.

Do you know who goes and works at a Chipotle? Mainly college aged kids who love to drink and eat giant burritos!  Can you imagine the number of Chipotle employees who will be calling in sick the Monday of Spring Break to tell their manager they just vomited!? Sorry, but I’ll take my five days of pay, and I’ll do my recovering someplace warm!  I can see Chipotle restaurant managers pulling their hair out already!

Also, dumb drunk people throw-up all the time at restaurants. They don’t have Norovirus. They have the brown bottle flu! You don’t close a restaurant over that.  You clean it up really, really well. Investigate the circumstances and make a decision on what you really need to do. Chipotle just made a black and white decision, that will hurt their company.

So, I’m so freaking smart, what would I have done?

1. Give individual restaurant General Managers and Area District Managers more control over how to handle these situations, like when to close, or force an employee to stay home, and make sure it doesn’t hurt them financially by making these decisions. Local managers don’t want to close a restaurant because it impacts their bonus, which is a huge part of their compensation.

2. Hire a PR firm to explain to America that what happened at Chipotle, what really happened with the E. coli outbreak, had nothing to do with local restaurant food safety procedures. Also, what they did to ensure a higher level of safety moving forward.

What they did was all smoke and mirrors, to make people feel like they have the problem handled. By the way, they probably could have done nothing and still be in the same position. Young people are notoriously forgiving on these types of cases because they believe it still won’t happen to them!

Okay, I’m off my soapbox. What do you think?

T3 – Modern Survey

This week on T3 I review employee engagement and talent analytics technology Modern Survey. I’ve been aware of Modern Survey for the past five years or so, as a great employee engagement survey technology. I’m glad I took a recent look because they’ve grown up over the past few years into a really advanced human capital measurement technology.

They still do employee engagement really well, but they also do performance, onboarding, exit interviewing, 360s and a really powerful analytics dashboard that will fully integrate with your enterprise level ATS, HRIS and CRM HR systems. It’s a content agnostic system as well, which basically means if you have a survey tool you currently use, they can integrate that into their platform.

Modern Survey’s platform has seven different modules that you can mix and match with: their business intelligence tool “Heat”, mThrive for employee engagement, m360, mPerformance, mExit, mSpark for onboarding and mReasearch which manages all of the content on the platform.

5 Things I really like about Modern Survey: 

1. Modern Survey has taken continuous measurement of your employees to the next level with employee engagement pulse surveys, onboarding and exit surveys all integrated into your existing HRM systems.

2. mSpark their onboarding tool is a game changer. Not only does HR find out about potential trouble early on, the predictive analytics basically tell you who is going to turn before they even know themselves!

3. Modern Survey is a true business intelligence tool for HR.  Some vendors are beginning to sell this out in the industry, but none have it figured out on the HR side of the business like Modern has currently. Their HIPO and High Performance 9 box analytics is something you need to see. Perfect to use for workforce and succession planning.

4. Modern Survey goes beyond just giving you your own data and has integrated great benchmark analytics into their platform to give your HR team the decision-making tools it needs.

5. Modern Survey goes one step past most technology vendors and gives you the knowledge you need to go with the tools. They just don’t provide software, but they also provide the consulting you need to kick off a major project like implementing new employee engagement surveying!

Modern Survey’s President is Don MacPherson.  He’s one of the good guys, Minnesota born and bred.  Rides a white horse type of guy. Sure he needs to make money, but I truly think he would rather put out a great product then make money! Because of this, you won’t find a better vendor to work for.

Modern Survey is blowing up right now and has taken on a number of large enterprise clients, but they started in the mid-market space.  Their sweet spot is going to be 1,000 employees and above.  They work across all industries: retail, healthcare, manufacturing, entertainment, etc.  Well worth your time to check them and demo!

T3 – Talent Tech Tuesday – is a weekly series here at The Project to educate and inform everyone who stops by on a daily/weekly basis on some great recruiting and sourcing technologies that are on the market.  None of the companies who I highlight are paying me for this promotion.  There are so many really cool things going on in the tech space and I wanted to educate myself and share what I find.  If you want to be on T3 – send me a note.

Have You Noticed, Most Companies Suck at Recruiting

Recruiting isn’t about hiring one person. That’s easy.

It’s about consistently hiring one person, and that person should be, at the very least, as talented as the last person you hired. But, really more talented. Then, continually do that, hire better talent, over and over.

To do that, you have to be able to continually build a better mousetrap. You have to continually get better organizationally and individually.

The reason we suck at recruiting is we get satisfied with making that one hire.

“Yay! We did it.”

“Now, what?”

Great recruiting organizations aren’t satisfied with one hire. They aren’t satisfied with having all of their positions filled. They only get satisfied when they are replacing lower talent, with higher talent.

That’s a really hard place to get to. 99.99% of organizations will never get there.  It’s really hard work. Heavy lifting.

So, we give up. Screw it. We’ll just keep filling these one positions.

This is why you suck at recruiting.  Your goal is fill positions, not to make the talent in your organization better.  If increasing the talent was your goal, you would do things differently. You would act differently. Your sense of urgency would be different.

Talent Acquisition isn’t about acquiring bodies.  It’s about making the talent in your organization better. Every day. Every week. Every year.

Most companies suck at recruiting because they see recruiting as filling positions.