Employee Holiday Gift Guide

It’s usually HR’s job to come up with the annual employee gift. Most companies are lame and will do the exact same thing every year. If they don’t give a turkey on Thanksgiving, they’ll definitely give out turkeys at Christmas. If they did give a turkey at Thanksgiving, you’ll likely get a ham or a fruitcake for Christmas.

Can I just say Christmas, instead of the “holiday season” or list all the possible options? My family is Jewish, but we get it, almost no company will ever recognize Chanukah, and if they do, it’s usually insulting, “Oh, isn’t that the Jewish Christmas?!” Ugh. Most of the American workforce follows some Christian-based religion that celebrates Christmas, so it’s just easier to play along with the majority.

At some point, usually, right around the pagan holiday of Halloween, someone in HR will raise the question to leadership, “Hey, what are we doing this year for ‘Christmas’ for the employees?”  What they really are asking is, “How much money are we spending per employee for some gift that looks more expensive than what it really is?”  Depending on the organization, it’s a wide range!

Here are the worst holiday gift ideas to give your employees:

  • Company Logo Portfolio – you know those fake leather bound binders with a legal pad inside. Twenty years ago those were so hot! Now, they’re sad. If you give this out as a gift you should be shot. “Oh, great, thanks, a pad of paper I can’t wait to take a picture of this and post it on my Snap making fun of the lame company I work for!”
  • Company Logo Bag – Any bag really. Duffle. Messenger. Backpack. The only time this isn’t lame is when it’s a really nice bag. Meaning the bag, minus your stupid logo, better cost at least $100 per bag. Your $12 limit per employee just makes any bag you choose, sad. Oh, it’s a Herschel bag, okay, you’re good, send me one to!
  • Any Company Logo Item Your CEO Wouldn’t Buy For Themselves – Let’s face it no one wants a crappy polo shirt, or cheap hoodie, or water bottle made in China. If your leadership team wouldn’t buy this on their own and use it, don’t buy it for your employees. If your CEO is a cheap SOB, ignore what I said above and just skip logo items altogether!
  • Any Mass Pre-packaged Food Items – You know what really sucks? Getting a gift basket of elf-sized trial-sized food items made to look gourmet that were probably made seventeen months ago.
  • A Charitable Gift in “My” Name – I love being charitable. I hate when some tries to be charitable on my behalf. You don’t know what I support! I might hate sick puppies and I don’t want money going to them. That’s not your call. My favorite charity is my kid’s college fund! Are you giving me money for that?

Employee gift giving, especially the bigger your organization is, is a tough game.  You don’t want to be cheap, but if you have 10,000 employees, that one endeavor becomes super expensive! The best thing to do is just stop it all together!

You go through one negative year of people complaining they didn’t get their lead-based painted candy corporate logo candy dish, then the next year no one remembers. Instead, let your hiring managers throw potluck lunches and have some fun. People will remember those, have more fun, and they might actually interact with each other!

5 Great Excuses for Missing a Co-worker’s Wedding & 3 Bad Ones!

I had one of my Recruiters ask for some advice this week. It wasn’t work advice, it was a little more personal.  She had told a person she would attend a wedding of a family member with them but was having second thoughts. It was one of those Holy Crap moments! I don’t really like this person that much, and I don’t want to go to a family wedding with him and send the wrong message.

So, what was my advice?  It started out pretty straight. Tell them the truth!  “Look, dude, I’m just not that into you, and the last place on earth I want to be on Saturday evening is sitting at a table with your parents and Aunt Betty with them thinking “ours” is next!”

As you can imagine, that wasn’t going to do.  Not that she didn’t want to tell him the truth, but she also didn’t want to hurt him. She was looking for a softer way to cut him loose.  You know! A how-do-I-get-him-to-not-want-me-to-go excuse – like he can’t stand my breath or I have hammer toes or something!?

Now, she was truly diving into my end of the pool!  You want a “Fake Reason” why you can’t go!  YES! I’m in HR. I’m in Recruiting. I’m the king of fake excuses for why people don’t get the job!  I’m on it!

So, here’s the first 3 I gave her:

  1. You have “Explosive Diarrhea” (No one ever follows that up with another question! Okay, thanks, good luck with that…)
  2. Your Dog has Cancer! (Sketchy I know, but girls and their pets…this one might work.  Funny Fact: Her dog actually did have Eye Cancer but was cured, so not technically lying…)
  3. You have to Babysit for a Co-worker! (Now this one is fraught with a problem – guys have gotten this one before and they might pull a. “Oh, I’ll come and help!” then you’re stuck and have to find some brat to babysit for the night. Funny Fact: She was like “Oh, Hell No! I have a Real Job, why would I babysit!”)

All of this brainstorming got me thinking of how I’ve personally gotten out of going to Co-workers Weddings that I didn’t want to go to.

Here are my Top 5 Excuses to  Miss a Co-worker’s Wedding:

  1. I’ll be on Vacation! This is good because you usually find out about the wedding of a co-worker way ahead of time. All you have to do is actually plan for this and take your vacation during the weekend of the wedding. Far, far away from the actual wedding.
  2. My kid has a sports tournament out of town that weekend.  A little sketchy, but it is really hard for them to verify you really didn’t have a sports tournament, and let’s face it, I’m going to my kid’s sports game (the 127th of this year) vs. your once in a lifetime moment.
  3. I came down with the “Flu”!This one nobody believes, but it’s the go-to excuse because everyone uses it and it has been internationally certified as an acceptable lie to get out of anything.
  4. My Mom/Dad/Grandma/Grandpa/Great Aunt Betty/etc. fell and are at the hospital. I needed to go see them. They needed my help. It was serious.  Let’s face old people fall. In fact, it might be the only thing they have left to do. You hear about old people falling every day. Very usable excuse in a pinch because it’s somewhat believable and old people don’t remember later on when someone asks “How are you doing after your fall?”, and they’ll go “better” and then complain about their aches and pains.
  5. I’ve got another Wedding that same day! Again, believable, but what you’re really saying to the person is “I’ve ranked you lower than someone else in my life. I hope you understand, but I didn’t buy you a place setting off your registry!”

What is your top excuse for not going to a co-worker’s wedding?

DisruptHR Detroit 2.0 – September 20th! Tickets Available Now! #Detroit #DisruptHR #HRParty

Detroit Metro HR and Talent Peeps!

We’re back!!!

On September 20th in Midtown Detroit, DisruptHR Detroit 2.0 will be taking place onsite at our host Quicken Loans! The cost to attend this event is $30 which includes some great food and drinks, an exceptional list of speakers, and great prizes!

Here are our 2.0 speakers for this event:

Speakers for the 2018 DisruptHR Detroit 2.0:

Tina Marie Wholfied

Don’t Fear The Peacocks! Embracing Organizational Change through Diversity

Melissa Fairman

Make Work Suck Less! 

Melanie Stern

Hiring for Culture Fit Not Add

Becky Andree

CODE RED!  Leadership Development has flatlined!

But I have a Defibrillator!

Kimika Garrett

Planning with a Twist

Danielle Crane

Nobody Smokes in Church

Kat Hoyer

Stop trying to make your employees Happy

Josh Schneider

The Tingly Feeling Compass

Michelle Clark

The Power of Purpose – Stop Sucking the Life Out

of Your People!

Chris Groscurth

Hustle Smarter: Future-Ready Human Resource

Leaders

Iris Ware

They said we couldn’t do it, but we did!

Cody Grant

The Dynamic Art of Job Descriptions

Not only will this event be awesome, but this year we added an “After Party” to take place onsite for continued networking with peers and friends!

DisruptHR Detriot 1.0 had over 200+ participants and it was a sellout. This event is almost half sold already, so get your tickets today!

Register for DisruptHR Detroit! 

 

Announcing the HQ for HR Game Show – Sign Up to Play Today!

Most of you know I founded another site called Fistful of Talent  we are getting ready to do something cool based off of the HQ series many of you play and have some fun in the process…

Fistful of Talent has teamed up with Paycor to bring you HQ for HR every Tuesday at 1 PM, starting May 1st. We’ll air five episodes with fifteen different HR leaders! Watching this could be the best 15 minutes of your day!

Here’s how it works – hit the link here or below to register for HQ for HR, and you’ll automatically receive email notifications each week about when HQ for HR is going live each Tuesday.  Click the link and join us and answer 12 HR body of knowledge questions digitally while you watch your peers answer them live on air.  You can do it from your desk or your phone, we just want you there!
After every episode, we’ll post a top 10 leaderboard at Fistful of Talent and here at the Capitalist showing who among the participants is an HR LEGEND.  We’ll use that leaderboard to invite you on the show live the following week – we’ll keep working down the list until we have 3 takers!  The top 5 cumulative scores across the 5 episodes will receive a major award to be announced during Episode 1.
PS – no Google allowed – or even Bing, people. We trust you because you look trustable, and let’s face it, most of you are in HR.
Check it as FOT’s Tim Sackett and your friend KD get down to the nitty-gritty with some of the sharpest minds in the HR/Talent industry!

3 Ways Employers Should Be Encouraging March Madness!

For those that know me, I’m a huge basketball fan.  Pro, college, AAU, high school, hell, if you really dig into my past you would probably find me hanging out at some playground breaking down the defense effort of a pickup game between grade school kids.  So, when March Madness time comes around each year I’m like many of your employees.  I’m trying to find the best ways to work and watch basketball, or at the very least stay up on my brackets and see who is getting upset!

With all the hype over the past few years about lost productivity, do to March Madness, in the workplace.  I felt it was my duty to provide HR Pros with some helpful tips and tricks to get your staff to highly productive during this time of year.

Here are my ideas:

1. Put up TVs throughout the office.  Let’s face it, you really only have one or two hoops junkies in the office, and those folks usually spend vacation time to ensure they don’t miss a minute.  Everyone else just wants to see scores and highlights.  They’re a casual fan.  They’re willing to work a perfectly normal day, and will probably be just a productive, if not more, with the TVs steaming all the games in the background.  Plus, if you get a close game or big upset, you’ll get some team excitement in the air.  This also stops most of your staff trying to stream the games on their desktops for the entire afternoon.

2. Call off work those afternoons.  Let’s face it, March Madness is pretty close to a national holiday as we will ever get.  Doesn’t matter if you’re female or male, young or old, what religion you are, we all love the drama and excitement of March Madness.  Just close the office.  Make a deal with your staff to reach certain goals and if they’re met, take them to the local watering hole yourself and have some fun with it.  Employees like to rally around a fun idea.  You don’t have to make everything fun, all the time, but once in a while, it helps to lift productivity.

3. Shut off all access.  Yep, you read that correctly. Have IT shut down all access to anything related to March Madness.  Threaten to fire any employee caught checking scores on their smartphone, or calling a friend to see how it’s going.  Fear!  Fear is a great short-term lifter of productivity.  Whether we like to admit it, or not, it’s true.  If you went out right now into your office and told the entire staff at the end of the day you’re firing the least productive person, you would see productivity shoot through the roof!  You would also see about half your staff, the half you want to keep, put in their notice over the next 4-6 weeks.

The reality is, most people will do business as usual.  While the CNN’s of the world love to point to the millions of dollars American corporations lose during March Madness, it’s no different than so many things that can consume our thoughts in any given day.

I do think HR and leadership, each year, lose out on a great way to have fun and raise engagement during March Madness.  It’s something most of your staff has some interest in, and depending on your city and the schools your employees went to, it can get heightened pretty significantly.

For the record, I’m not picking Michigan State.  I want to with all my might, but I’m nervous that my bracket mojo would work the opposite, so I’ll pick someone else, and feel awesome when Sparty wins and I lose my bracket!

 

How Many Beers Does it Take to Get Your Employees to Peak Performance?

Did you see that winter Olympic athletes were using beer as a recovery drink!?

The science says that non-alcoholic beer, used as a recovery drink for sports, is better than normal sports drinks like Gatorade. From the NPR article:

Appalachian State University’s David Nieman has studied phenols’ health effects. On the whole, phenol-rich diets tend to lower inflammation and reduce the risk of sickness, he says. “[Polyphenols] have a very unique molecular structure that can actually regulate the genes that control inflammation,” in addition to general antiviral properties, says Nieman.

In 2011, Nieman and the University of Munich’s Johannes Scherr investigated the effects of beer, which contains around 50 phenols, on athletes — whose intense physical activity can compromise their immune activity. When marathon runners were instructed to drink 1.5 liters of nonalcoholic beer a day, their risk of upper respiratory infection was reduced. The activity of white blood cells, a good indicator of inflammation, was lowered 20 percent.

All over the world, we were trying to figure out why the Germans were kicking our butts in all these events and the secret was they drink a bunch of this new ‘sports’ beer!

If non-alcoholic beer helped athletes recover more quickly from grueling workouts, then it could allow them to train harder. Scherr credits the nonalcoholic beer’s salubrious effects to its high concentration of polyphenols, immune-boosting chemicals from the plants with which its brewed.

“After that, we really had the proof: It’s really healthy and not only a marketing gag,” said Holger Eichele, the chief executive of the German Brewers Association. From 2011 to 2016, German consumption of nonalcoholic beer grew 43 percent even as overall beer consumption declined, according to Euromonitor International. New brewing techniques helped to diversify and improve the flavor, and now there are more than 400 non-alcoholic beers on the market in Germany. Germans drink more nonalcoholic beer than any nation, except Iran.

So, making beer available to our employees became super popular as a ‘benefit’ to offer up over the past decade, as employers looked to attract millennials and show how ‘super cool’ they are to work for. Work hard, play hard!

What we didn’t know, was that we had it just a tiny bit wrong! We should be giving beer to our employees, but it should be non-alcoholic beer, not the normal stuff!

The one aspect of both articles I thought had particular interest to employers was the social aspect of drinking beer. All over the world, people drink beer in mostly social settings. We tend to see drinking beer as a social activity.

So, having a beer at work isn’t necessarily a bad idea, if it was non-alcoholic and it increased our employees to interact more with each other. Plus, if it actually helps your employees recover faster from those grueling all-night coding sessions, heck, we better give it a try!

GenZ Doesn’t Want Your Stupid Millennial Office Happy Hour!

Guess what 2018 will be the year GenZ’s get us to stop talking about Millennials and this just in, all those ‘after hour’ work happy hours you think your employees love so much, well, GenZ hates them and they’ll hate you for expecting them to go to them!

Hello, Employee Experience! Turns out all of us don’t like the same things, and GenZ is much more cautious and career-focused than their much older Millennial peers. A recent article in Wired had this to say:

The college student survey allows a more precise look at in-person social interaction, as it asks students how many hours a week they spend on those activities. College students in 2016 (These are GenZ, not Millennials)  (vs. the late 1980s) spent four fewer hours a week socializing with their friends and three fewer hours a week partying—so seven hours a week less on in-person social interaction. That means iGen’ers (or GenZ) were seeing their friends in person an hour less a day than GenX’ers and early Millennials did. An hour a day less spent with friends is an hour a day less spent building social skills, negotiating relationships, and navigating emotions. Some parents might see it as an hour a day saved for more productive activities, but the time has not been replaced with homework; it’s been replaced with screen time.

Basically, GenZs don’t want your forced socialization. They would rather be at home gaming, watching Netflix or hanging out in much smaller more intimate settings. So, your weekly office happy hour is like torture to GenZers.

Another factor playing into this is alcohol is more unpopular with GenZ than any generation before them. So, if you are having a group office interaction, your youngest employees would more likely prefer it be a non-alcohol affair, especially if it’s a work event.

GenZ has grown up with Snap and IG and they know better than anyone what happens when you get in drunk in front of people – it lives on forever and is embarrassing!  Combine this with being more career-focused as a generation and GenZers would just prefer to have other types of fun than drinking.

It’s not that they’re completely different than their older peers, but from a career standpoint, they’re probably more like they’re GenX parents in terms of thinking work is about work and not a party. They go to work to focus on their career, not socialize.

So, what should you do for GenZ when replacing the office happy hour? Here are few ideas:

Weekly Netflix Series “Meet”-Up – Everyone in their own comfortable place all watching the same show at the same time and interacting on Twitter or Snap or IG or whatever messaging app fits your culture. But without actually physically meeting up!

Encourage smaller one-on-one employee interactions – It doesn’t mean these younger employees won’t create many relationships across your company. They would just prefer one or two people at a time versus larger social interactions.

Plan fun events that are dry, or that aren’t centered around alcohol. GenZers are not prude, and they are fine with people making the decision to drink, but they won’t want to choose to hang out at a work event where the sole purpose is getting drunk.

Ahh! Something and someone new to talk about! Isn’t this refreshing!?

Let’s face it, we love pretty people!

So, you’ve probably heard by now that some companies in Silicon Valley decided to hire models to attend their annual holiday parties and act as friends of executives. The purpose was not to show the executives had pretty friends, but to add some ‘prettiness’ to the party:

Along with a seemingly endless string of harassment and discrimination scandals, Silicon Valley’s homogeneity has a more trivial side effect: boring holiday parties. A fete meant to retain all your talented engineers is almost certain to wind up with a rather same-y crowd, made up mostly of guys. At this year’s holiday parties, however, there’ll be a surprising influx of attractive women, and a few pretty men, mingling with the engineers. They’re being paid to.

Local modelling agencies, which work with Facebook- and Google-size companies as well as much smaller businesses and the occasional wealthy individual, say a record number of tech companies are quietly paying $50 to $200 an hour for each model hired solely to chat up attendees. For a typical party, scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 8, Cre8 Agency LLC is sending 25 women and 5 men, all good-looking, to hang out with “pretty much all men” who work for a large gaming company in San Francisco, says Cre8 President Farnaz Kermaani. The company, which she wouldn’t name, has handpicked the models based on photos, made them sign nondisclosure agreements, and given them names of employees to pretend they’re friends with, in case anyone asks why he’s never seen them around the foosball table.

So, my HR brothers and sisters lost their minds over this on the social webs!

There were many comments all going down the path of: “Gross”, “Pathetic”, “Trumps America”, etc.

I have a different take. This is Recruitment Marketing in the real world. Most of us don’t live in Disneyland, and the real world of hiring is a bit different for the majority.

Here’s the deal. Tech hires are mostly men. White men, brown men, black men, really, really pale white men, but mostly men.

If you have a holiday party at a Tech company and it’s all dudes, well, that’s not very exciting. In fact, it’s pretty sad for all the dudes standing around looking at each other. If you were part of that party, as a dude, you probably wouldn’t tell your friends to come work with you.

Now, if you go to a party and there’s a bunch of hot women, hey, this place is pretty great! I’ve got a chance. Now, if you knew all that ‘talent’ was paid for, now it becomes depressing again. But, if you thought, these are just ‘friends’ of some of the other employees who got invited and they just love to hang with techy dudes, now it feels a bit better, again.

These models aren’t hookers. They’re at your company party to make the ‘atmosphere’ better. Basically, these models, are like the free laundry service and ping pong table you provide. It makes the environment better. You like where you work more. You don’t tell your employees, “Hey, we offer dog walking services for free because it really has been shown to help retain you.” Everyone kind of gets that.

This is no different. Having good-looking people at your employee events, makes it seem like this place is cooler than it probably really is. By the way, these pretty people, are in on the game! They are making money using their god given assets. Just as the techy people are using their big brains.

We love to hate. The reality is, America is addicted to pretty. We made the Kardashians millionaires for absolutely no reason except for their looks. We want to be pretty. We want to hang with pretty. We are a nation that values pretty over almost everything else.

Is that right? No! Is that part of the game we are in right now? Yes.

Pro Tip: I get around hiring pretty models (male and female) at my holiday party by just hiring pretty employees to begin with! Stay thirsty my friends.

 

The Sackett Office Holiday Party Rules!

Today is my annual office holiday party. The HRU Holiday Parties are pretty freaking fun! Probably like most recruiting shops and groups of elementary school teachers, we know how to let our hair down when the time is right!

You will see about 500 articles and blog posts how this season on Office Holiday Party Etiquette. Especially, with all the craziness going on with the very public sexual harassment allegations! The one thing we know about office parties is once you add alcohol stupid stuff happens.

To help everyone out, in my own Sackett kind of way, I decided we probably needed a few ‘rules’ around this year’s holiday office parties.

The Sackett 2017 Office Holiday Party Rules! 

#1 – Have a designated driver or offer up the paid Uber/Lift option right up front. It sucks trying to talk a drunk employee out of driving, they’re drunk and usually don’t want to listen. So, just make it easy and tell your employee if you’ll be drinking, just take an Uber to the party and back home, and the company will pay.

#2 – No one wants to see your junk. Okay, maybe someone wants to see your junk, but you better make sure they ask to see your junk before you start showing your junk. In fact, if I’m you, I might actually get that on video! “Hey, before I show you my junk, do you mind just looking into the camera and just saying, ‘Hi, this is ‘state your name’, I want to see your junk!”

#3 – Don’t complain about the party, the food, the drinks. You look like a douchebag when you do this. Look, someone, or some people, put this together trying their best to make everyone happy, knowing you can’t make everyone happy. If you hate the food, don’t eat and then get something you like afterward. Smile. Be thankful. Stay as long as you need to, to make your showing, then go on with your life not being an idiot. “Yeah, but there wasn’t enough chicken tenders!” Yeah, we get it Brad, here’s twenty dollars go someplace else and find some tenders.

#4 – Talk to executives before you get to your third drink. This is important because drunk talking to executives only plays well if they’re drunk too, and that probably won’t be the case. Also, don’t use the holiday party to launch your ‘big’ news about a project you want to start that is going to change the face of the company. No one wants that crap at a holiday party.

#5 – Don’t bring creepy or weird dates. This usually comes in a couple of flavors. Office dude brings a super slutty date. Great for the office dude for later, but you are the immediate joke of the party. Or super sweet office lady brings Dungeon and Dragons dude to the party who is trying to talk to everyone about the 5th dragon in world 9 that is impossible to kill without a Merlin magic mushroom, and well, yeah, that’s creepy.

#6 – Don’t say you’re coming then not come. If you don’t want to come, make that known up front. When you don’t come, after you said you were coming, and then come up with a lame excuse, it shows that you’re not fully engaged with the organization and it gets noticed. Find that excuse up front and make it known you won’t be coming, but you wish you could.

#7 – Talk to spouses! Spouses of co-workers hate coming to office holiday parties, mainly because they’re bored. Make an effort to engage them and get them joined into the conversation. One cool thing I love to do is talk to spouses and tell them really good things about their partner. Nothing feels better to your partner than to hear other people talk about how great you are!

#8 – If you start to feel tipsy, that is not a sign to start doing shots. I know this can be really confusing, right!? When you start to feel tipsy, this is your body trying to tell you that you’re about to make an ass of yourself in front of people who will share the story long after you have left this job.

#9 – No really, no one wants to see your junk! 

#DisruptHR Detroit was a Yuuggee Success!

Hey, gang! It’s Friday and I’m buried from a busy week. Do you feel me!?!?

We held the first DirsuptHR Detroit event this week in midtown Detroit at the Graden Theater. We sold 330 tickets for a space that held 300, we had 50 people on a waiting list. The space was awesome. The speakers were awesome. The food and drink were awesome. The crowd was awesome.

I have to give up to the DisruptHR Detroit Team – Kristen Cifolelli, Patrice Matejka, Ursulla McWhorter, Colleen Schmerheim, Bridgette Morehouse, Christie Hecht, and Christie Reeves. It takes a village and this team was awesome!

Also, I have to thank all the sponsors who made this wonderful event possible: American Society of Employers, Marsh & McClennan Agency, Ultimate Software, Grace & Porta Benefits, Cambridge Consulting Group, QuadWest Assc., Walsh College, Sift, HRU, and Qualigence. Plus, a special shoutout to SkillScout who did all of our videos for the speakers!

So, it was a great night, that was until one nice young lady decided that somehow I reminded her of Donald Trump! WTF!?!?! You can see the picture above I had on a Tiger’s cap (yes, very disruptive at an HR event!), so I’m still perplexed on how I reminded of her Trump because I was super careful not to say anything racist while on stage!

We can’t wait for the next event! More details on that coming soon. In the mean time, if you want to speak at the next DisruptHR Detroit – send me a message and I’ll make sure to invite you when we open up speaking submissions!