If Your Company has a Chief Happiness Officer you Should Rethink Your Career Path!

In the past three weeks, I’ve been pitched by some well-meaning PR person about a story on how Google, Salesforce, Zappos, Airbnb, etc., have “Chief Happiness Officers” and how important they are to corporate success. Or at least, how “Happiness” as a measure is important to corporate success.

I’ve been pitched this idea four times, primarily so I would talk about their client, Snappy, which apparently is a chatbot of some kind that asks your employee questions to probably gauge their happiness or something, and in turn, you can then turn to your Chief Happiness Officer to fix the happy that is broken. (BTW – look for my new book in 2020 – “Fix the Happy!”)

Snappy might be some awesome tech, but I don’t like the pitch. I think that pitch is broken, for the real world. The real world is not Google and Zappos. Those are unicorns. Real companies have real issues and making their entitled employees happy is not one of those real issues.

I want to punch every Chief Happiness Officer in the smiling face!

Seriously, how completely warped do you have to be to think you actually bring happiness to another human being, let alone an entire company of human beings!?!

Will Smith is my Chief Happiness Officer:

Turns out CHO’s don’t make employees happy. Employees make themselves happy. No amount of money, or time off, or Taco Tuesdays, or standup desks or seven flavors of Kombucha in the employee cafe, will make a person happy. Happiness is an emotion controlled by the individual, no matter the environment they’re in.

There are great stories of prisoners at Auschwitz that chose love and happiness in the darkest hours and circumstances that anyone could imagine. There are people who win $500M lotteries that blow their head off because of how depressed they are. A CHO can’t change that.

Chief Happiness Officers are what happens to organizations when leadership gets out of control. When we stop actually leading and managing the business, and we ‘become’ leaders. When we start believing our own bullsh*t to a level where we think we actually control the emotions of our employees.

Look, I get it. I also want to drink the Kool-aid and believe in Santa Claus. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful, fantasy-filled life?! But that is life. 99.99% of us have to work to pay bills. Within that, we can choose to be happy, or miserable, or somewhere in between and that actually might have many times in the same day. No one person is going to make me happy or miserable unless I make that choice to allow that to happen.

There you go. That’s my take. Chief Life Officer, out.

2019 Transform Recruitment Marketing Conference

Recruitment Marketing is on the hottest trends and functional areas in talent acquisition right now! I hate even calling it a trend, because the conference is in it’s 5th year, so five years ago it was a trend! Now it’s a must have in your talent strategy!

What I love about Transform is it’s less about “thought leadership” and more about actual in the weeds TA leaders giving the tools and insight to do great Recruitment Marketing on your own. I’m always inspired about how freely they share their knowledge with this community!

The Transform Conference will take place on June 20-21st in Boston and the lineup is a who’s who of RM leaders and strategist including:

  • Holland Dombeck – Delta Airlines Head of Employer Branding & Recruitment Marketing
  • Julie Levy – Global TA Leader at Fiserv
  • James Ellis – Former Head of Employment at Groupon
  • Torin Ellis – Diversity Strategist & Author
  • Erik Qualman – Digital Futurist
  • Leon Logothetis – creator of the Netflix show Kindness Diaries
  • A couple of idiots that call themselves Chad and Cheese! ūüėČ (fyi – the run the single best podcast in the HR & TA Tech space)

Oh, and me! I’ve Emceed every Transform conference because early on they saw I was a super geek for this stuff, so they let me geek out both days and ask the speakers all the dumb questions that pop into my head as a practitioner trying to figure this stuff out!

So, come join me and hundreds of others in the EB and RM space who are trying to get smarter. The space is extremely limited, so don’t delay your decision to attend (No, really, I mean it – this will be a tight group of smart folks at a cool venue that has limited seating capacity)!¬†

You can register by clicking on this link for Transform 2019! When you register use the code: Sackett for an extra $100 off your registration fee. 

Career Confessions of Gen Z – Great Recruitment Content

Welcome to the reboot of Career Confessions of Gen Z! I started this in 2018 with my Gen Z son, Cameron, and the response was off the charts. So, in 2019 I found 8 great Gen Z HR, TA, and Marketing pros to continue the Gen Z content. Enjoy! 

Skyler Baty is a Videographer and Video Editor for SkillScout and lives in the Detroit Metro Area in Michigan. 

Skyler loves doing video work and helping organizations with their video projects. Connect with him, he’s a genius with this stuff! 

My top 5 most read posts of 2018!

I love lists! I love lists when I’m on them. I love lists when I make them. Lists are great!

I had an incredible year. I had the most traffic ever in my decade of blogging. I launched my book, The Talent Fix, in April and the traffic to the blog has been exceptional! I’ve got some great stuff planned for 2019, so please keep coming back and enjoying the content.

Here are my most read blog posts of 2018:

#1 – My New Favorite Interview Question!

This one post was read by over 70,000 people, and I didn’t expect it to actually do this well. Interview question posts always do well. For some reason people Google “Interview questions” a ton, both on the candidate side and the hiring manager/HR side. Want some easy clicks? Write a post on interview questions!

#2 – I’m in Indeed Jail, Help me! #FreeTimSackett

Yeah, my co-dependent relationship with Indeed got me into trouble in 2018, and it all started with this post. I wrote another post later in the year – Indeed takes away free traffic from Staffing firms! Which also got a ton of traffic, and I thought was pretty ‘fair and balanced’ from the Indeed side.

#3 – The Reason You’re Being Ghosted After an Interview

Like I said above, interview content tends to be popular! In 2018 we saw a ton of ghosting happening on both sides of the fence. Companies are ghosting candidates and candidates are ghosting companies, and apparently we have all lost our minds! I mean come on, treat others like you want to be treated!

#4 – The Top 100 Applicant Tracking Systems in 2018!

Hat tip to my buddy Rob Kelly, this was actually mostly based on his content, which I sited and love! Turns out most of us have issues with our ATS systems and we love seeing what everyone else is using, because it must be better than what we are using! BTW- we started using Loxo in 2018 and LOVE it!

#5 – Lifesaving Advice I Gave My Son When Someone Starts Shooting Up his School!

This one breaks my heart. This post was directly from my heart, shouting out to the world, as a father, for help. A lot of people agreed with it, and yet, here we are basically in the exact same place.

Transform Recruitment Marketing Conference is Back for June 2019!!! @Smashfly

Transform is Back!!!

Smashfly Transform is the bold community that‚Äôs impressively grown from 200 at the first-ever Recruitment Marketing Conference in Boston in 2016 to more than 10,000 strong across the globe today. Transform is the place for this community to come together. I was the Emcee for the very first Transform in Boston, and I’ll be the Emcee once again for this event!

Attendees are the rebels, the early adopters who want to transform the Talent Acquisition industry.

What is Transform…

  1. Brings together this unique segment of thinking in TA to create better, smarter experiences through recruitment marketing, technology, and innovation
  2. Is a place to find and connect with the people who get it, the people who want to change the industry through new tech, strategies, data, Marketing techniques and more
  3. Introduces these leaders to each other for support, for ideas, for inspirations, for community, for validation
  4. Gives the recruiting revels a path forward through dialogue, interactive brainstorms, tactical sessions, and strategic keynotes.

Transform is NOT a user conference… We’re still working on the agenda, but we’re planning two days of content including keynotes, super inspiring speakers, break-out sessions and workshops. Transform is one of the only events that takes peer-to-peer learning to the next level.

Each speaker is vetted, coached and their content is completely unique to Transform. No out of the box presentations that you will hear at any other event. We will have some more user-focused content to help with product adoption, but those will be breakouts/opt-in.

Sponsors are invite-only, the leading vendors in the space who get it. This is a unique chance to meet with these technology providers face-to-face and demo their products.

Overall, Transform is an experience. A place to grow in your job, your careers, and as a person. Our speakers challenge more than just the status quo of recruiting, they push you outside your personal comfort zone so you leave the conference with tools the work-belt and the personal-belt.

We don’t skimp on experience, and the food is incredible. The welcome party will be on the rooftop of the Revere Hotel overlooking the Boston Skyline and (fun fact) when you check-in there is a pillow menu in your room to select the type of pillow you want to sleep on.

Sounds like the one conference you can’t miss if you are in Recruitment Marketing, Employment Branding, or have responsibility over those strategies in your organization.

Click Here to Get More Information on Attending Transform on June 19-21 2019! 

Gen Z HR Pros!! Are you ready to blog or vlog? I want you to join me!

So, this summer my son, Cameron, and I started up this series on my blog called, “Career Confessions of Gen Z”. He did an awesome job finding his voice and creating compelling content that was coming straight from the mouth of Gen Z, and not some old washed up blogger, like me, who claimed to know what Gen Z was all about.

I loved it! The audience loved it!

He went back to school, got busy doing school stuff and Career Confessions just sat there.

Another crazy thing happens in HR blogging. If you look at most HR Bloggers, the vast majority are Gen X, older Millennials, some Baby Boomers. So very few are actual Millennials and almost zero are Gen Z. While our executives still like to believe all young employees are still Millennials, we know in HR that Gen Z is the newest generation we need to pay attention to entering our workforces.

So, Gen Z HR and Talent Pros РI need you! 

What’s the gig?

HR and/or Talent Blogger for The Project – specifically under the “Career Confessions of Gen Z” series.

How much do you have to write?

Once per month, every 4-5 weeks. Each post would be anywhere from 400-800-ish words, or a video-blog (vlog) 3-5 minutes. The initial project is for 12 months, so if you get invited to join the team, you’ll be asked to write 12 posts in 12 months.

What can you write or speak about?

Anything work or career-related, as long as it’s interesting or entertaining or educational, and hopefully a combination of all three!

Can I do this anonymously? 

Hell no! Why would you?! This is your big break and a big platform – let yourself shine!

What do I get for doing this?

Fame mostly. I mean micro-fame, but it’s still fame. You might get invited to attend some HR or Recruiting conferences for free. We can be friends if you’re not super annoying. I’ll tell people you’re awesome. If I find a sponsor for the series I’ll split the cash with you.

How can I apply? 

Simple. Send me a writing sample of what you would do on the blog. Don’t suck. Have an opinion. Don’t tell me you first have to run it by legal for approval. Send that sample to: timsackett@comcast.net or just Venmo me $1000 and consider yourself 100% on the team! (jk – don’t do that) Deadline for submissions is December 19th – that’s 2 weeks! So, get going!¬†Invitations will go out on or before January 3rd for those selected to join the team!

HR and TA Leaders РRecruitment Marketing and Employment Branding leaders Рthis is a great stretch assignment for the Gen Zers on your team for 2019! Send this to them and get them to submit!

I’m looking forward to reading your work!

Turning in that ‘work related’ strip club expense!

It’s 2018 and Under Armour, this past week wanted to make sure that their staff knew it was no longer okay to turn in receipts for business expense reimbursement from strip clubs! From the Wall Street Journal article:

“on Monday, the Wall Street Journal¬†reported¬†that the sports apparel company Under Armour had ended the ‚Äúlong-standing company practice‚ÄĚ of letting employees expense strip club visits to their corporate cards…the story¬†reported¬†that ‚Äúover the years, executives and employees … went with athletes or co-workers to strip clubs after some corporate and sporting events, and the company often paid for the visits of many attendees.”

So, not at all surprised, this type of thing is going on in corporate America, because at one¬†point in my career I actually approved these types of expenses! Now, this was two decades ago, and I wasn’t in a position to change this policy at the time, but I know firsthand this type of stuff goes down!

It brings up an entire issue around what is appropriate work-related, client entertainment options. So, we are saying in 2018 going to the strip club is not appropriate, I think we can all come to an agreement on this, that is unless your actual profession is running strip clubs!

So, let’s start adding to this list of inappropriate work-related, client entertainment options:

Vegas-style Burlesque Show – basically any show that is showing naked bodies for the sake of showing naked bodies, right?

Any venue that includes prostitutes – So, taking a client to Ruth Chris is fine, taking a client to Ruth Chris with a hooker is not fine. Top Golf is awesome, Top Golf with strippers or prostitutes is not awesome unless it’s a bachelor party, not mine, honey, someone else’s.

Marijuana dispensaries – Sure it’s legal in a lot of states, but let’s not take our clients out and break a federal law.

Crack Houses – No explanation needed – No strip clubs and no crack houses.

Church – Oh, what!? Yeah, look I don’t want you taking a client to Church and you better not try and turn an expense in for the $10 bill you threw into the offering plate!

Skydiving or similar activities – Killing a client is never a good business development strategy. So, let’s just take off activities that might kill someone.

Apple Orchard, Pumpkin Patch, Hayride places – I’m just putting my foot down on the losers that actually think this is entertainment. It’s apple cider and donuts. If that’s your idea of entertainment you should be fired.

Any Running-type races – Marathons, 5Ks, Tough Mudders – Running isn’t entertainment, it’s a punishment for when you don’t play a real sport well, or you screw up a play for the tenth straight time, or to get away from your screaming kids and nagging spouse, but it’s not entertainment.

Massages – I love a great massage, but I’m never taking a client to get a message! That’s super creepy! Just don’t ever turn in that receipt!

A Nickleback concert – Or really any concert that takes place at an Indian Casino. No, I want to support the tribe, I don’t want to support dried up entertainment acts! Let’s treat our clients better than that! Sure I love Hall and Oates to, but I don’t love Hall and Oates when other people are signing their songs and they’re just standing on stage as props. That just makes me and my client sad.

Okay, hit me in the comments on which work-related, client entertainment we should add to the list!


Where are you spending your HR Technology Marketing budget?

I saw the graph below the other day and it got me thinking about where should we be spending our budget to get in front of the right buyer?

If you’re in HR or Recruiting you can’t help but take notice of how and where vendors are trying to catch your¬†eyeballs!

The classic play is by Ultimate Software, Oracle, and Workday when you watch a Professional Golf Association (PGA) event. All the big HCM payers sponsor pro golfers. In fact, Ultimate Software is a grand slam, err hole in one, when Patrick Reed (see pic above) won the 2018 Masters! You can’t buy that kind of promotion! Literally! You never know if your person will win or not!

But, is Ultimate and the rest making the right call? Do you think 64-year-old white dudes are the ones making the call on enterprise HCM buys? I tend to believe that probably not the demographic of an HR technology buyer, but it is probably the demographic of the decider, right now.

I’ll say, this isn’t a rip on Ultimate, or any other vendor, Ultimate also sponsors the NBA Miami Heat and the Ultimate logo is on the Heat’s jersey. So, they are also covering the younger side of the sports watching base as well! Infor also got in the business with the Brooklyn Nets this past year.¬†Of course, Golden State plays in Oracle Arena.

When I think of the best possible ways to get your brand and logo in front of the buyers of HR and Recruiting technology I first think of the demographics. Most of HR and Recruiting is female dominated. Women, statistically, like to watch the NFL and College Football, then pro and college basketball, followed by baseball and soccer.

The NFL is super expensive, so that’s a really hard get. MLS soccer might be the most accessible and cheapest opportunity to get!

I like to believe, depending on your market, that major college sports are always a big draw, and the Olympics are always giant, especially the summer Olympics. They didn’t have ‘Gaming’ on this chart, but eSports is growing like crazy and that would be another segment to take a look at in terms of relatively inexpensive ways to get your brand in front of a younger buying group and build brand awareness.

Where should you be spending your HR Tech Marketing budget? 

This changes quite a bit whether you’re selling to enterprise versus selling to large, mid, or small sized organizations. Why? Enterprise purchases happen through an RFP process for the most part, so those marketing dollars are really spent on brand awareness. Just get invited to the RFP, and then win from there. Some large-sized organizations will RFP some stuff, but not all purchases. Almost no RFPs are done on mid and small sized organizations.

I think almost every HR Technology company discounts the impact that individual contributors and mid-managers have on the buying process!

I’ve worked in and ran large to small HR/TA organizations and the one common component was the people doing the day to day work were usually the ones bringing ideas and options to leadership around technology. “Hey, Tim, I was just on a webcast and XYZ company is using this new tool to hire more college kids, blah, blah, blah. We need to demo this!”

Of course, the ultimate decision to hit the budget is made by some sort of leader, but rarely do I find leaders are the ones bringing possible technology solutions to their teams. And if they do, it’s almost always via a question like, “hey, have you guys heard of XYZ product?” Which opens the gates to discussions, which leads to other possible tools, which leads to demos, etc.

I tend to believe those organizations that focus on selling to users get better traction and higher adoptions of their products, that those who do nothing but try and get in front of executives. I said this consistently for 2-3 years if you’re trying to sell a TA product and you’re not at SHRM Talent, you have no idea how to sell. There will be 3,000 TA Pros and Leaders at the conference, and the ratio of companies in the expo is super low as compared to other conferences!

Why? The feeling is individual TA contributors, TA managers, TA directors, don’t have enough juice to buy, so why go? It’s a mistake. Some of the fastest growing TA technologies on the planet are going grassroots and making fans out of the users, who are then pushing them up the chain to the decision makers. When the entire industry is just trying to talk to executives, maybe you should be talking to users!