Is it okay to be biased for underrepresented communities in hiring?

I’m a big podcast listener. It’s one of the reasons we started HR Famous because we loved the format! One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is The Prof G Show with Scott Galloway.

If you aren’t familiar with Scott Galloway he’s a New York University professor of marketing and hugely popular. He’s a liberal and rails openly against Trump and also his own industry, Higher Education. I’m a moderate and he’s so freaking smart, I could care less about his political leanings, I just get smarter listening to him.

Besides being a professor, he has started and exited a few technology companies, sits on boards, has school-aged kids, and talks a ton about the stock market.

On a recent pod, Elitism: Money vs. Influence, he gave his top 3 attributes the top-performing employees of the companies that he has started. These are:

  1. Most likely Female. “First they were female. If they were male I couldn’t say this but it’s okay because as long as you are biased for underrepresented communities your okay, but we try and ignore that…” (42:03 in the pod)
  2. Graduate from a world-class university. Ivy League, Penn, Michigan, Stanford, Berkley, Vanderbilt, etc. “Better schools matter…more applicants…start with better core human capital…better screening.”
  3. Athletes are very successful. They understand teamwork, discipline, they can endure and push themselves harder. “Someone who can finish an Ironman isn’t lazy”, says Galloway.

So, Professor of NYU, former business owner, and thought leader says it’s okay to be biased in selection.

I’m not sure I agree we should ever be biased in our hiring selection practices, but Galloway points out a reality in our culture. As long as we aren’t biased towards the majority, we will look the other way and ignore it.

What Galloway is saying is not different than how the vast majority of hiring managers are making their final selections. They take a look at past and current performance and they make some educated inferences about what those top performers have in common. Based on this knowledge, it will shape their hiring selection. Does this, or could this, lead to bias? Yes.

Does it make it wrong?

That’s the big sticky question, isn’t it?

We want to say, no, it’s fine, continue to hire the females if those are your best performers. But, just because your current females are your best performers doesn’t mean they’ll be your best moving forward, or that maybe one of the males will be even a better performer.

Flip the scenario.

Galloway now tells us that one of the three attributes for high performance is they are “male”. Do we have a problem with this now? Most likely, you do have a problem with it based on hiring equity issues, broadly, but it’s hard to say specifically since maybe this organization doesn’t have gender equity issues.

Want to know what Inclusion is difficult when it comes to organizational dynamics? It’s because what Galloway laid out is exactly what every organization lays out. The difference is, it isn’t always friendly to the underrepresented community.

Like I said, regardless of your feelings on this one subject, Galloway’s podcast is money! It’s on my must-listen to pods each week.

Give me your thoughts on this in the comments?

What can we really hope for out of a work experience?

I heard this quote recently, it was used by an old football coach to his players:

“It’s hard, but it’s fair.”

He wasn’t the first to use this and probably won’t be the last – but the line stuck with me because of how I don’t think many people in today’s age really think this way.  Many want to talk about what’s fair, few want to discuss the ‘hard’ part.  The football coach’s son described the meaning of what he feels the phrase means:

“It’s about sacrifice,” Toler Jr. said of the quote. “It means that if you work hard that when it’s all said and done at the end of the day, it will be fair based on your body of work. It’s about putting in the time, making sure that you’re ready for the opportunity.”

I think we all think our parents are hard on us growing up.  I recall stories I tell to my own sons of my Dad waking me up on a Saturday morning at 7 am, after I was out too late the night before, and ‘making’ me help him with something, like chopping wood or cleaning the garage out.  He didn’t really need my help, he was trying to teach me a lesson about choices.  If I chose to stay out late at night, it was going to suck getting up early to go to school.

He shared with me stories of his father doing the same thing, one night my Dad had gotten home late, so late, he didn’t even go to bed, just started a pot of coffee and waited for my grandfather to get up, figuring that was easier than getting a couple of hours of sleep and then hearing it from my grandfather the rest of the day.

As an HR Pro, we see this every day in our workforce.  There are some who work their tails off, not outwardly expecting anything additional, they’re just hard workers.  Others will put in the minimum, then expect a cookie. It’s a tough life lesson for those folks.  Most usually end up leaving your organization, believing they were treated unfairly, so they’ll go bounce around a few more times.

Eventually, they’ll learn to put in the work, put in the time, and more times than not, things work out pretty well.  Sometimes it won’t, so you go back to work even harder.  It’s been very rare in my 20 year HR career that I’ve truly seen a really hard worker get screwed over. Very rare! Now I know a ton of people who think they work hard, but they don’t, and they’ll say they get screwed. But the reality is they don’t work hard, they do the same as everyone else.

Do some idiots who don’t deserve a promotion or raise sometimes get it? Yep, they sure do, but that doesn’t happen as much as you think. The hard workers tend to get the better end of the deal almost always.

I hope I can teach my sons this lesson:  Life is going to be hard, but if you keep at it and put in the work, it’s going to be fair.  I think that is all we can really hope for.

Should Your Employer Brand State its Political Beliefs?

Oh, no, Tim’s losing his mind! He’s going to talk about politics!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am a Raging Moderate! I will fight until my last breath to keep myself firming on the fence in the middle, open to actually having an opinion that might fall on either side depending on the subject!

Here’s the thing, though, 63% of people are more likely to “buy” from a brand that speaks out about politics!

If that’s the case, and the main goal of great employment branding is to clearly let potential employees know who you are, so they can self-select in, or self-select out, it would seem like we should be stating our political leanings in our employment branding and recruitment marketing!? Right?!

It’s a tricky question!

Most organizations would claim they do not have a political identity. They would claim they are a-political accepting candidates and employees who believe all kinds of politics across a vast spectrum. That is actually the reality for many large employers. And, it’s not the reality.

When you dig into exit interview data, and reasons why folks do well in some organizations and struggle in others, many times you find that “fit” was all about either the political leanings of the micro-culture they worked in or the political leanings of the macro-culture they worked in.

It then truly comes down to the goals of your leadership team. What is it they want to portray to the world? Your customers. Your stakeholders. Your employees, and your future employees, candidates.

The reality is, if you are a small to a mid-sized organization (0-500 employees), you probably lean one way or another on the political spectrum, many times you are leaning really far to one side! Your senior-most leader probably has stated publicly what they are politically, and/or who they will vote for. Most likely, the folks they hire will be similar in their political beliefs, and it all rolls downhill.

The farther away from senior leadership the more likely you will have hires make into the organization they see the world completely different, politically, as you will get left or right leaders who hire folks who don’t carry the same strong leanings one way or another.

BUT – if the true goal is to get people who “fit” your culture, shouldn’t we tell them who we are?

Can you imagine applying for a job at a 1,000 person organization and on their career site they have something like this listed:

After the Most Recent Political Election, our employees took an anonymous survey of where the fell politically. Here are the results:

  • Democrat – 52%
  • Republican – 35%
  • Libertarian – 3%
  • We hate politics – 10%

Automatically, you get a feeling if you want to work at this company or not, just by looking at the breakdown! If you are a major conservative, you probably will question whether you want to join, or even apply, to this company. Or, if you are liberal, this data might truly push you to want to join this organization!

“But Tim! We want to be ‘Inclusive’!”

Really? Are you sure? Have you asked your CEO that question and then asked them why they’ve made it public where they stand, politically?

If the best employer brand helps you attract the talent the best fits your organization, then you probably aren’t being fully inclusive. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true. Great employer brands are exclusive. This is exactly who we are, and this is exactly who we want to work here. That might mean we are a diverse set of men and women of all colors who like old school hip-hop and Minecraft, who are also mostly Catholic. Cool. I either want that, or I won’t, but now it’s my decision.

Bad employer branding is to say we are everything to everyone, come join us, when you actually aren’t, and you actually don’t want to be that. It’s not popular to say out loud. We are supposed to be fully inclusive. I want the Trump hat-wearing dude and the rainbow flag wearing lesbian and that one girl with black lipstick that doesn’t talk much, but damn can she code! Unfortunately, that isn’t the normal reality.

I’m going to say that 99.9% of TA and HR leaders would say, “NO!” when asked if they would want their employer brand to state their political beliefs. The reality is, it does, and you’re just ignoring it.

When Employees Pass Around the Office Salary Spreadsheet! #HRFAMOUS

Pay transparency! It’s a buzzword that means many things to many people. Can you be pro-pay transparency and skeptical of reporting that involves a salary worksheet, no details, and a subsequent article implying that pay issues at a company are widespread?

Why yes! yes, you can.

In the latest episode of HR Famous, Kris Dunn and Jessica Lee discuss a recent Bloomberg article that attempted a takedown vs Blizzard Entertainment related to pay issues – including some employees passing around a cloud spreadsheet listing salaries they make at Blizzard. Along the way they discuss what quality reporting looks like around this type of issue, messaging as part of damage control when a company finds itself under scrutiny, and they also look for clues related to the depth of pay issues at Blizzard on the company’s Glassdoor page.

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Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player below) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

1:30 – Tim is gone (again) this week on another vacay! KD and Jlee talk about what they think Tim is doing on his Lake Michigan getaway. Ginger people don’t tan!

12:00 – Next topic of the day – Blizzard Entertainment, famous for making many popular video games like Call of Duty, has a situation where employees circulated a salary document internally that showed major pay disparitiesThe salary document was first reported by Bloomberg – but the gang has questions.

15:00 – Jlee praises the person who circulated the Google sheets form for being efficient. If anyone has the link to the spreadsheet, HR Famous would love to see it! KD wonders aloud how many columns are on the spreadsheet?  Are they names? The gang doubts it.

18:00 – An Activision spokesperson says that they compensate their employees fairly and gave their top performers a higher salary increase than in prior years. KD compares this issue to an episode of The Office where they have to decide who to give raises to and how.

21:00 – KD comments on the quote from the Activision spokesperson that says “a 20% increase in salaries compared to other years” was questionable language. KD and Jlee give high marks to this language that is a little clever to the untrained eye.

25:00 – KD points out that Blizzard has thousands of employees and not everyone could be consulted for this article. He’s kind of over articles that splash, but make no mention of how many employees a reporter talked to.

26:00 – What do you think Blizzard’s Glassdoor rating is? KD is a little surprised by Blizzard’s rating and thinks that their rating isn’t indicative of some of the problems this article addresses.

29:00 – KD finds the reported Blizzard salaries on Glassdoor by job and finds that many aren’t too far off the industry average/ KD guesses the problems are in customer service and QA based on low hourly rates.

32:00 – Jlee feels for Blizzard and their HR department in these tough times for their company. KD wants reporters to tell a full story and do their job right. He encourages them to take their clickbait titles for traffic, then tells the whole story.

#CoronaDiaries – The Travesty of Hero Pay!

I’m back in the office and I’m feisty as ever about all this “Hero” pay going on across the world! I love Heros, I mean who doesn’t love Heros, but…

Can I be real a second?
For just a millisecond?
Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?

Also, beyond excited that Disney+ is releasing the Original cast of Hamilton on July 3rd! In the comments give me your over/under number of the amount of times I’ll watch Hamilton on Disney+? (I’ll tell you what my wife’s number on me was after a bit!)

Who are the best companies to work for? And why?

I don’t put much stock into “Best Company to Work For” lists. That said, the data provided by Universum in there World’s Most Attractive Employer Report is pretty cool and gives you some insight on how you can help move your organization in the right direction.

What’s wrong with the best places to work lists?

  1. It only measures those employers who actually do the work to be considered for the list.
  2. It’s based on data that someone, other than yourself, decided was criteria for being a great place to work. And that might not align with what your org considers to be a great place to work, or the talent you market to, etc.

All that being said, I find that organizations, every single one who tries out for these lists, probably care about their employee and candidate experience at a pretty high level. Are they really the ‘best’ place to work? I don’t know, but they’re trying and that’s more than most of us can say!

So, who are they?

So, you can already see the bias, right? Tech, Business services, big brands. There isn’t one company on the list you haven’t heard of. Doesn’t that seem strange? You mean in the top 50 companies in the WORLD, there isn’t one company we haven’t heard of who is just great? Well, it’s the “World’s 50 Most Attractive”, so the one thing about being “attractive” is you’re probably known, when it comes to lists like these.

What makes you an “Attractive” employer? 

1. The ability to have high future earnings (you can make a lot of money) – 49.1%

2. You’ll get professional training and development – 43.8%

3. The job is secure (you won’t get laid off) – 39.1%

4. Working for this brand will help your career in the future – 38.8%

5. You have the ability to be creative – 38.7%

6. The company is successful within the market they compete in – 38.5%

7. The company encourages you to go home once in a while – 38.2%

8. You like the people you work with – 38.2%

9. You have leaders who support and they know how to develop talent – 38%

10. Competitive base salary – 37.6%

Anything pop out at you from the list?

What about #1 and #10? Oh, so, really base salary doesn’t mean anything, as long as I make a lot of money from what I’m doing!?! Turns out we release research and data for a reason. If you’re trying to sell employer branding software, it’s important for employers to understand it’s not about how much you pay because at that point you don’t need a brand, you need to pay the most.

But, it’s not what this data says. Like all modern research around this topic, what you make, is significantly more important than things like ‘being developed” and having “challenging work”. The person has to know and understand that financially this will work out very well for me, and then, all the other stuff becomes important once that question is satisfied.

You can not act like the most important thing on the list (#1 – High Future Earnings) is really that different than the last thing on the list (#10- competitive base salary). Those things are married at the hip if we have any inkling about basic compensation theory on where someone starts their career in base salary vs. the impact that has on future earnings, in the millions of dollars, going forward.

Let’s face it, as an employer you want to be able to deliver each of the ten things on the list in a really good way. If you do, you will not have trouble attracting talent or keeping your best talent.

When in Doubt, Hiring Attractive People Usually Works Out!

The first time I wrote that in a post, it was 2012 with a post called, “Hire More Beautiful People!“. In 2014, it was, “Do Managers Have a Bias for Hiring Attractive People!” (Spoiler Alert – Yes!) In 2016, I doubled down as the science continued to tell us, pretty people, make the best employees with, “Pretty People Make the Best Employees!”  In 2018, it was “The One Big Problem with Being Pretty!

All of them pre-Internet outrage wars. So, the fall out was minimal. A few ruffled feathers from some ugly folks, but all in all, people believe science! That’s hard for the extra-libs! They want to kill Trump for not believing science, but then it’s hard for them to kill me when I’m using science.

So, here we are in 2019, the height of #outrage culture and Business Insider feed my obsession to write about the Attractiveness Bias in hiring with, “11 Scientific Reasons Why Attractive People Are More Successful in Life!” I love science!

I think I write about our need to hire attractive people so much because it’s right there in our face and yet no one wants to admit to it! You see, I was raised a red-headed stepchild. I know what it’s like to not be attractive and lose out in life to some idiot who looks like Brad Pitt. To me, it might be the biggest travesty of our time!

So, what does “science” tell us about being attractive (remember – this is science, it’s not me!):

Since I’ve been writing about this concept of “Hiring Pretty” I haven’t really changed my position. When in doubt, hire an attractive one!

It’s a bit fascinating to me that there is so much research about this topic. But, like me, I think dorky smart people, who most of us wouldn’t consider attractive, are trying to prove all of this wrong, but we can’t! Those damn pretty people still keep coming out on top! It’s like they have pretty privilege.

There is one giant reason most people don’t get upset by this concept of “hire pretty”. For the most part, we all think we’re fairly attractive! Not all the time, but at our best, when our game is flowing great, we look in the mirror and go “yeah, I’d hit that!” Come on! Be honest! You believe that!

I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a hotel room getting ready to go down and speak and look in the mirror and think, “yep, they’re about to get destroyed by you, beautiful bastard!” Then, sixty minutes later, I see pictures of myself on social media and I look like a troll! A f@cking TROLL!

Every time I’ve ever struggled with getting a hiring manager to actually make a decision to hire, and they just won’t, I know the problem. I haven’t given them someone pretty enough to hire! Once I find an attractive candidate, they always pull the trigger and make the hire. It’s science, we can’t stop it.

So, kill me in the comments. I’m just sharing our reality that we continue to ignore. We love to hire pretty!

The Employee Walk of Shame

I’ve lost jobs and I’ve called old employers to see if they would want to hire me back. I’ve usually gotten a response that sounded something like, “Oh, boy would we want you back but we just don’t have anything. Good Luck!”  Many of us in the talent game talk about our employee Alumni and how we should engage our Alumni but very few of us really take true advantage of leveraging this network.

I was reminded of this recently when a friend of mine took a new job.  You know the deal, shorter drive, more money, growing company and oh, boy, just where do I sign!?  The fact was, it was all they said, shorter drive, more money and they were growing, but they forgot to tell him was our operations are broken beyond repair, you will work 7 days a week and probably 12-14 hours per day because of the mess we have, but keep your head up it’s the only way you won’t drown here!

So, now what does he do?

He already had the going away party, bar night out with the work friends with the promises to do lunches and not get disconnected, packed up and unpack the office into the new office.  Let’s face it, big boy, you’re stuck!  Not so fast.  He did the single hardest thing an employee can do he called his old boss after 7 days and said one thing, “I made a mistake, can I come back?”

Luckily for him, his past boss was a forward-thinking leader and so this past Monday he did the 2nd hardest thing an employee can do he made the “Employee Walk of Shame“.

You can imagine the looks from people who didn’t know him well, “Hey, wait a minute, didn’t you leave?” Having to tell the same story over and over, feeling like he failed, like he wasn’t good enough to make it in the new position.

HR plays a huge part in this story because it was HR who can make this walk of shame a little less rough.  Let’s face it, it is different.  You just don’t leave and come back as nothing happened. Something did happen, there was a reason he left and that reason isn’t going away.  A transition back needs to be put into place even though he was gone seven days.  It’s not about just plugging back in, it is about re-engaging again and finding out what we all can do better so it doesn’t happen again.

It’s also about making sure you let those employees who you truly want back, that they are welcome to come back (assuming you have the job) and not just saying that to everyone.  There are employees who leave that you say a small prayer to G*d and you are thankful they left!  There are others where you wish there was a prayer you could say so they wouldn’t leave.

Make it easy for your employees to do the Walk of Shame, it helps the organization, but realize they are hurting, they are embarrassed, but they are also grateful!

It’s Super Hot outside, do I need to come to work?

With all the heatwave stuff hitting the news this week I’m assuming someone has gotten this request. I get it, if you’re working outside, this could be dangerous! I’m not talking to you!

I’m talking to the moron who works a job inside, but somehow they think it’s too hot outside to get their butt to work and work in air conditioning! The true HR pros know what I’m saying!

I’m in the north, in Michigan, so we get this when it gets super cold in the winter. Again, if you work outside, super cold is dangerous so it’s a concern for us as HR pros and leaders. If you work inside, what you’re really saying is “yeah, I hate to work. I hate this job. I hate this company. I’m trying to figure out anyway not to come to work…”

Nope! You don’t need to come to work! In fact, you don’t ever have to come to work again. You. Are. Fired! (Like “fire” Fired with hot flames, beat it!)

I want to hear from you on this super hot Friday! Hit me in the comments!

Have you, or do you expect, getting some calls today from any of your employees asking if they need to come to work because there is a heat emergency on the news!?!

Enjoy the Nelly cut!

DisruptHR Detroit 3.0 Speaker Applications Now Being Accepted!

For those who don’t know, I’m involved with DisruptHR Detroit with an amazing team of HR pros and leaders, and we are putting on our 3rd event on Thursday, September 19th at 6 pm.

Great DisruptHR events start with Great content and we are now Accepting Speaker Applications for DisruptHR Detroit 3.0!

Due Date is August 2nd!

Tickets for this event will go on sale on August 5th and we’ll announce the full slate of speakers and the agenda on August 9th.

The location of DisruptHR 3.0 will be downtown Detroit at The Madison. Click through to the DisruptHR Detroit site for more information.

Who makes a Great DisruptHR Speaker

Anyone with a passion for HR, Recruiting, People and pushing the envelope around what, why and how we do what we do every day in the world of work!

We especially love practitioners of all experience levels. You don’t know have to be a twenty-year vet to be great at DisruptHR! You can be an HR pro in your first year on the job. It’s all about passion and ideas!

So, what makes a great DisruptHR Talk?

  1. It’s 5 minutes – so you better be tight around what your topic and idea is!
  2. 20 slides that move every 15 seconds – you don’t control this, we do. So you better practice!
  3. No selling products or services – Yes to selling ideas and passions!
  4. Make us feel something – laugh, cry, anger – have a take and be proud of that take!
  5. We see and feel your passion.

We’ve built DisruptHR Detroit to be a supportive hub of HR and Recruiting. We want people to come and challenge us, but know you’ll be rewarded with an audience that will support you and cheer you on. These talks aren’t easy, and we get that! The audience gets that!

How can you speak at DisruptHR Detroit 3.0?

APPLY to Speak it’s easy! It’s a great development opportunity for those looking to get on stage and have some professional experience speaking. You actually get a professionally produced video of your talk that you can use as evidence of your ability. It’s also a great networking opportunity with the Detroit metro HR and Talent community!