How fake is your employment brand?

I think most employment brands are completely fake. The reason I feel this way is because HR and Executives approve the messaging.  We, HR and Executives, are the last people who really know what our employment brand truly is.

So, we end up with stuff like this:

Seems really cool!  Makes us feel good about ourselves and our organization.  But for the most part, it’s one big lie.

That’s marketing.  It’s not marketing’s job to tell you the truth.  It’s marketing’s job to get you to buy something.  Sometimes it’s just some crappy product or service. Sometimes it’s the church down the street with the cool young pastor and rock band.  Sometimes it’s working for your organization.

Many HR Pros and Executives get really pissed off when I say something like this.

That’s because they drink their own Kool-aid.  They truly believe the messages brought forth are the truth.  Those messages are what they hope and dream the organization to become, so they’re all bought in on making it happen.  I actually really like these people. I like people who are bought into making their organizations what their commercials are telling us they are, even when they aren’t.

Who wants to go work for an organization that puts up a commercial of some manager unable to communicate what needs to be done, and Bobby down in the accounting bitching he only got a 14 lb. turkey from the company when last year he got a 15 lb. turkey?

No one!

But that’s truly your organization.  Organizations are like families. You have some folks in your family you don’t want the rest of the world to see, but when you take the family photo it looks like everyone is fairly normal and well adjusted.

So, how fake is your employment brand?  On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being Goldman Sachs and 10 being Google, where does your organization fall?

Follow Your Talent…Not Your Passion!

The worst advice you can get as a new professional in the world is to follow your passion. I’ll blame social media and the fake B.S. that proliferates Instagram, TikTok, etc. This one phrase, “Follow Your Passion” is probably the main culprit for the growth of the entire life coaching industry, and has probably ruined more careers than alcohol and drugs combined.

This is the first time I’ve written about this. I love puppies. Petting puppies is my passion. Puppies are awesome! Turns out, no one wants to pay me six figures a year to pet puppies. Ugh…there goes my passion. Honestly, from a talent standpoint, I’m not even sure I’m very good at petting puppies. I mean, I love it, but I don’t think I am necessarily better at it than anyone else.

The other day I heard someone say, “Follow your talent, not your passion.” and I thought, Oh, I like that!

When I tell some young person, you’re stupid, don’t follow your passion. I look like an old ogre who doesn’t get it. I mean I do get it, but when you’re young the world hasn’t beaten you down enough yet to understand what’s real vs. what’s fantasy. What every person can easily understand is “what is your talent”, what are you good at. There might be a number of answers to this. Some of the answers might seem like there isn’t much value, at least to a young person.

“I can easily talk to people I’ve just met.” What value does that have?! Oh, boy, let me tell you! You can work in all kinds of great positions because that skill isn’t something everyone has. I went to school for marketing, and I can talk to people easily, and I actually really like technology. Okay, now we are building up some really great skills that lead to some cool career opportunities.

We all have talents. Individually some of those talents don’t seem like much. You might have a talent of I can get up each day full of energy and ready to work. Great! That isn’t as common as you think! The reality is most of our talents, by themselves don’t seem like much, but when we combine them with other talents, and training, and the right culture fit, some amazing results can happen.

Follow Your Passion is the World’s Worst Advice

Unless your passion has some real value. That part is always missed by people giving that advice. Usually, those giving out that advice have abnormal passions. “My passion was coding and developing game theory and design…” Oh, really, well following that passion in this economy is probably a great idea!

The combination of talent + passion is really difficult for most people. People would say, oh, you love puppies, you should become a breeder or trainer of dogs. No, I have no desire to watch a dog give birth, yuck! Or work with dogs and train them, I just like snuggling them and petting them. I have passion, but no talent.

So, we begin to see there are caveats to following your passion. Basically, you should follow your passion if:

  1. Your passion has real value to earning a living.
  2. Your passion aligns with your talents.
  3. Your passion doesn’t cost your parents their retirement.

Now, my friend, Kris Dunn, believes that the most talented people you will run into usually have a high passion for the industry and/or profession they are thriving in. I believe this is true. So, in that case, yes, follow your passion. But, I wonder, is this a little bit of the chicken or the egg scenario. Do I have passion for this job, because I happen to be really freaking good at this job?!

I think many of us found success in professions we never even thought about doing when we were young. I know I wasn’t in high school thinking, “Oh, boy, I can’t wait to be a Recruiter!” I wasn’t in college thinking that either! But, I became a Recruiter, I became successful recruiting, and I’m really passionate about our profession! I love it! I talk about it every day! I’m proud to call myself a Recruiter.

My passion in college was coaching volleyball. Not very many people know that about me. I was actually pretty good at it as well. Turns out, coaching pays for crap for a lot of years and there aren’t many jobs that pay well. So, I had to make a business decision. Be a poor volleyball coach, or go make some good money and then do some coaching on the side. Some folks will say, I should have stuck it out with my passion, but it all worked out well for me in the end, and I found a passion I didn’t even know I had.

You will never hear me in front of young people telling them to follow their passion. At best, that statement is incomplete and bad advice. I will tell young people to try all kinds of stuff. Find out what you’re good at and determine if that thing is also something you can see yourself doing for a long time. Follow your talent and see if it might turn into a passion. At worse, you’ll be successful, but unhappy with your choice, and still have choices, because you’re successful.

The #HRFamous Future of Work!

On episode 86 of The HR Famous Podcast, longtime HR leaders (and friends) Tim SackettKris Dunn, and Jessica Lee come together to discuss new Peloton users, Blink 182, how to multitask during in-person meetings and Adam Grant’s future of work.

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

Show Highlights

1:45 – We have a new Peloton user! KD is now on Peloton and JLee picked his username.

6:45 – Tim asked KD to make a meme with the “change my mind” format. He added the text “Michael Bolton should be at SHRM every year.”

8:40 – JLee proudly notes that while Kim Kardashian has been staying in NYC, she’s been choosing to stay at a certain Marriott hotel (location undisclosed).

10:00 – This is now a Blink-182 podcast!

11:30 – JLee is stressed because of the impending return to office. She’s worried she can’t openly multitask during meetings. She asks her co-hosts for some advice.

13:40 – Tim reminds us that people often had laptops open during in-person meetings and many of them were not just taking notes.

18:30 – Recently, Adam Grant wrote an essay in the Wall Street Journal titled “ The Real Meaning of Freedom at Work”. He discusses the Great Resignation and notes that this is part of a longer shift in work trends that has been happening for a long time.

22:00 – Tim notes that Adam Grant’s perspective on work is probably very different than most due to his job as a college professor at an elite university.

25:15 – JLee discusses how the notion of “positive liberty” entails some privilege and that those within the service industry are most likely not able to exercise this liberty.

28:45 – Everyone brings up individually and how a lot of the population doesn’t want to have their own freedom in the workplace and just wants to be told what to do and how to do it.

How many hours a week should you work?

What if it’s not 40?

On episode 88 of The HR Famous Podcast, longtime HR leaders (and friends) Tim SackettKris Dunn, and Jessica Lee come together to discuss the differences between Big 10 and SEC football games, how many hours a week we work, and whether America is ready for a four-day workweek.

Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/20921912/height/90/theme/custom/thumbnail/yes/direction/backward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/87A93A/

Show Highlights

2:00 – Tim recently visited KD in Alabama and went to an Auburn football game. He said it was very different from the Big 10 football games he’s accustomed to.

6:00 – Tim is upset with KD because he didn’t prepare Tim with the right gear for an Auburn football game. Everyone wears polos and Tim didn’t have one to fit in with the other men.

9:00 – The only person that Tim found that matched him was an elderly woman at a pizza restaurant.

12:00 – Tim found that the consumption of alcohol at an SEC game is about 50% less than a Big 10 game. He also found that the fans get to the games a lot earlier than at Big 10 schools.

16:45 – Atlassian put out an article titled “This is how many hours you should really be working.” The World Health Organization found out that around the world, working 55 hours or more a week can put serious risk on your life.

18:30 – JLee says she works about 55 hours a week. Tim doesn’t think she does and thinks she only works 40.

23:00 – KD asks Tim how many hours a week he works. He says that he doesn’t really know. At first, he thought he would say 40 hours but he now thinks it might be a little bit more.

26:00 – KD says on the flip side of “hustle porn,” there is “work-life balance porn.”

27:45 – Tim asks the ultimate trigger question: “Do you work more or less hours at home than when you worked in the office?” JLee says she works more at home for sure, since there are less distractions. KD says the opposite, but he’s been in a hybrid model for 10 years.

As a Boss, should you send an email out at 9 pm?

On episode 84 of The HR Famous Podcast, longtime HR leaders (and friends) Tim SackettKris Dunn, and Jessica Lee come together to discuss business travel during the pandemic, sending late-night emails, and whether you should opt-out of a group message.

Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/20865626/height/90/theme/custom/thumbnail/yes/direction/backward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/87A93A/

Show Highlights

3:00 – KD asks Tim what his favorite OG from old-school rap is. He loves LL Cool J, and JLee likes Dr. Dre because of his purple satin suit.

5:15 – KD has been hitting business travel hard over the last few weeks. He has been in four different locations after not having much at all for the last year and a half. He has really started to notice the different mentalities to Covid precautions/mask-wearing in different parts of the country.

8:00 – KD was surprised by the strict mask mandates that were in place in Las Vegas when he and Tim were there for a conference.

11:00 – JLee is happy that the housekeeper at the hotel that KD stayed at felt empowered enough to enforce a mask-mandate policy.

14:30 – On a Southwest flight recently, KD heard the initial reactions of Southwest employees to a vaccine mandate.

17:00 – Tim mentions how some airlines offered early retirement to pilots during the pandemic and are now begging pilots to come back to work.

20:00 – KD wrote a post recently titled, “Are you a jerk for sending an email at 9 pm?” KD references a study where they looked at this and they found that receivers of late emails overestimated the quickness of response needed.

23:00 – JLee thinks that people in their mid-career won’t care when emails are sent and more senior employees may be more careful with their messaging.

25:30 – If the future of remote work offers more flexibility, Tim thinks that email send time doesn’t matter as much anymore (with caveats).

28:45 – There are folks out there that are very anti-after-hours emails.

32:00 – Tim doesn’t understand the people that want to have their cake and eat it too. How are we going to be working flexibly and then also defining after-hours?

37:30 – JLee thinks it’s a power move to opt-out of group messages, like group texts or chain emails. KD thinks it’s better to opt-out instead of not participating at all.

DisruptHR Lansing is Back! Oct. 21st!

I’m hosting DisruptHR Lansing next Thursday, Oct. 21st at 6-8 pm at Urban Beat in Old Town Lansing, MI. We have a few tickets left if you would like to come and we have a great lineup of Michigan-based HR speakers! ONLY A FEW TICKETS REMAIN! Also, some great Sponsor Gift Giveaways!

DisruptHR is a live event where speakers get 5 minutes to share an idea or thought they have on subjects around HR, Talent, and leadership. Besides the 5-minute time limit, they also have a PowerPoint deck with 20 slides that automatically moves to the next slide every 15 seconds!

These talks are fun, fast, and enlightening!

The Speakers!

Me! Of Course! My session title – The Future of Work? Adulting!

Greg ModdTrenches of HR: Troopers Enlist

Justin Caine Your Company’s IEP

Julia Keider Gen Z: Your New Talent Pipeline

Kat Hoyer Holistic Workplace Development: Woo Woo, Woke or Warranted?

William MaurerYou’re worse at this than you think, an intro to evidence-based selection

Tina Marie Wohlfield Only YOU can prevent HR Fires!

Brian Town Advertising for talent hasnb’t changed in 50 years!

Jen LaidlawAre your company values more than just some words on a mousepad?

April Callis-birchmeierLeading others out of the valley, and into successful change

It’s a great time to get back out an network with the local HR and Talent community!

See everyone in downtown Lansing!

Shout out to our Sponsors!

CareerBuilder’s New Look!

Okay, I’m just going to come right out and say it, this is probably a mean post. I mean marketing is freaking hard! Logos are impossible. Everyone is a critic.

If you didn’t see it recently, CareerBuilder (the job board – I feel like I have to tell the younger crowd what CareerBuilder is for some reason) came out with a new logo. Now, this is the 4th logo I know about since I started following the industry, there might be more.

At one point, probably like 8 years ago, CB was a client of mine. I did a bunch of work and they had a really great marketing team. They were also a cash cow and printing money, then came along this little startup called Indeed, that at the time they probably could have bought for next to nothing, but when you’re the biggest, baddest job board in town you just laugh at the young, little startups.

When I first started using CareerBuilder as a rookie recruiter this was their logo:

Original OG Logo when they were on top of the world

At some point, when your sales start to decline the first rule of marketing is to rebrand and seem new again, and more relevant. This was the first attempt:

The CB Trivial Pursuit Pie Logo

I can’t even tell you the amount of money and time that went into producing this “new” brand. Shortly after this, almost everyone who was anyone left CB for greener pastures.

As the private equity folks begin to start sniffing around some consultants came into put some lipstick on the pig and this was the next iteration of the CB logo:

But wait, what color of pie pieces do I have?

I actually don’t hate #3 – it’s clean and I like the color navy. But #1 is still my favorite.

And now to our most recent CB Logo change:

This is a joke, right?

Okay, have you guys seen @EmilyZugay on TikTok? She’s the logo girl. She actually takes famous logos and does a redo on them, and she is hilarious! The only thing I can hope for the marketing team at CB is that they are working with Emily! Please tell me you’re working with Emily!

I can’t even with this logo. The best part is they trademarked it like someone was actually going to steal it!

As I said, mean, petty post. Sorry, CB marketing team. I hope this is a joke because it would be amazing if it was. If it’s not, I get it, marketing is super hard! I hate my own logo, sorry for poking fun. Also, call Emily and pay her a few thousand and this becomes an amazing story!

What I learned at #HRTechConf 2021!

I’ve had a chance to sit down and go through my notes from one of my favorite conferences of the year and here are my 50,000-foot takeaways from The HR Technology Conference!

– The numbers were way down from 2019, but almost every single person I spoke with knew that would be the case, but kudos to LRP and the team for moving forward and finding a way to make this work. The Expo was still fantastic. The keynotes were still great. Those that showed up were as active in engaging as ever and it was a thoroughly enjoyable week talking shop with peers and friends.

– There are way too many “Coaching” technologies on the market and trying to come to market, and it’s strange. I get it, everyone, except me, wants to be a life coach. But honestly, most of this tech is some form of vaporware or marketplace, not actually technology, and I don’t see any HR Leaders clamoring for Coaching tech. I would estimate of the startups I saw, 30% were some form of coaching tech.

– I moderated the best panel at the conference! I’m just going to state the facts! I had Kris Dunn, Madeline Laurano, and Kyle Lagunas on a TA Tech panel I moderated and it was magic! Why? We are all friends, we love this industry, we do our homework, and it literally becomes an unfiltered great conversation amongst peers about stuff and questions people really want to know about. No agenda trying to position a product or sell a service, just real practitioner talk. Many attendees came up afterward and said that the panel was the best thing of their entire week at HR Tech!

– The 3rd Annual Pitchfest was again one of my favorite events. OnwardsHR won the contest, and second place went to Sciolytix. OnwardsHR is separation management technology and Sciolytix is assessment technology specifically for hiring sales professionals. Ironically, both of those came out of the semi-final that I was judging and Emceeing. That’s one of the hard things about the competition. I actually thought in my semi-final I had 4 of the best startups out of the entire 33, but only 2 from each semi-final can move on. Maybe a nice addition might be giving each judge a “Golden Ticket” to give to one company that can also make it into the final. I had great judges with me, but we are all looking at things from a different frame of reference. Also, I don’t know the exact percentage, but it felt like 50% of the startups were either female, non-binary, or trans-led, which was amazing!

– Who would have got my “Golden Ticket”? The team at Shaka! GenZ, Female Founded employee engagement, connection, and culture technology. In my opinion, they had the cleanest pitch of anyone, truly polished, and understood the market. Strong tech, strong branding. If I had to put money on a startup that I think will make it long-term, with the little we find out about them in an event like this, I’m betting the team from Shaka.

– As you can imagine, the TA Tech space is totally going insane right now. Internal Mobility is another piece that folks are pouring money into, and we are starting to see hybrid-work tech emerging. How do we manage the logistics and performance of disparate teams and work environments?

– The two names I heard more than any others from attendees were “HiredScore” and “Eightfold“. That’s awesome for those brands. One of the problems is, along with the name I was asked, “Now, what do they do, really?” Nice to have that brand awareness, but this demonstrates one of the issues we have right now. All of the TA Tech companies are bleeding into each other and they can do a lot of stuff, including these two. So, defining who and what they are is a challenge. If a buyer can’t define you, they tend to shy away. But, that doesn’t seem to be the case for either of these technologies as I think their client base is driving referral sales from positive interaction and results.

I’m looking forward to The HR Technology Conference 2022 being held back in Las Vegas on September 13-16th! See you there!

The ATS is not Enough! State of TA Tech. #HRTechConf @madtraquin

I’m out at The HR Technology Conference this week and caught my friend Madeline Laurano‘s session title ‘The State of Talent Acquisition Technology! The ATS is not Enough”. If you don’t know Madeline, connect with her, she is, in my estimation, the number one analyst in talent acquisition technology in the world. Truly. Great content and research.

Madeline and I catch up a lot on what’s happening in recruiting technology and I think we both see the world about the same when it comes to the industry we both love. There’s a game that takes place between big suite ATSs (Workday, Oracle, SAP) and the best of breed ATS players (Greenhouse, SmartRecruiters, iCIMS, Jobvite, etc.). The game is, to whoever is using them, we are basically all you need, our tech does it all, buy us. At the same time, all of these ATSs have these vast networks and app stores of add-on recruiting technology you can buy, so clearly they don’t do everything.

I wish just once in an ATS sales pitch the vendor would just go, “Look, we’re good, and here are the other products you’ll need to buy to actually do want you want it to do…” That never happens! NEVER! But, after you buy and implement, you get to a point where you go, “well, g*d dammit, we need to buy some more stuff!”

So, Madeline is completely accurate in her presentation, the ATS is not enough if you truly want to attract, source, and hire high-quality talent. In fact, there isn’t one ATS on the planet that will do everything you need. The problem is, and this is why it’s so hard building ATS technology, every single organization needs different stuff. Sure, many could use the same stack, but everyone always has something “unique” and “special” about them where they need a tweak here or there. TA Insider Tip: None of us are unique nor special when it comes to recruiting!

So, what do 90% of us need that our ATS don’t have?

  1. Automation – Okay, all of the ATSs I listed above, both large HRM recruiting modules and the best of breeds do have some automation build into their ATS. The problem is, it’s fairly light in the functionality and is hard to customize to your individual needs and desires. So, we have an entire crop of great recruiting automation techs on the market, like Loxo, Eightfold, Candidate ID, Paradox/Olivia, etc.
  2. CRM – Yes, again, almost every ATS has some CRM, but it’s really CRM light for the most part, and it actually works rather well for the day-to-day recruiter working openings. Full-blown CRM tech (Beamery, Avature, Phenom People, Acendify, etc.) is awesome, but it’s really designed for Enterprise level organizations with dedicated people running this tech every day. It’s not designed for the everyday recruiter.
  3. All the AI stuff – AI by itself isn’t recruiting tech, it’s built into almost all of the recruiting tech, but it includes automation, matching, data, chatbots, etc. Again, every new ATS on the market has some AI buiilt into it’s technology, but you can buy all kinds of cool add-on technology that enhances your ATS through the use of AI driven recruiting technology.
  4. Sourcing – Most ATS have some light sourcing, but it does’t go as deep as most recruiters want. Technoogies like Hiretaul, SeekOut, Visage, etc. Also, if you want specific help around DEI sourcing and recruiting, you’ll mostly have to go outside of your ATS for this help. Greenhouse does have some good internal built tech within their ATS around DEI, I will say.
  5. Interviews and Assessments– Whether it’s video or just structure, every ATS has some stuff to help you with interviews, but it’s not like the stuff you can buy on the outside that will give you really engaging, structured interviews with great insights. Also, almost no ATS has built in any real modern assessment science to help you weed through and find the best candidates.
  6. Data/Business Intelligence – Every ATS has reporting, but when it comes to true business intelligence it starts to fall down. Great you gave me my days to fill, but what I really need to know is what are my best soures of hire by cost, and who are the recruiters on my team that are really making the biggest difference, or how can I help a recruiter who is struggling? This one perplexes me because every ATS has this data, but they seem to mostly ignore how they could help TA leaders run better shops.

And we didn’t even talk about career sites, job posting distribution, programmatic job advertising, onboarding, etc.!

Yes, you need an ATS, just like we need an HRIS for our employee records, but you can’t go ATS shopping and truly believe that is all you need. The larger and organization is the more add-on recruiting technology you’ll need. For organizations with over 5,000 employees, on average, you probably have 18-25 different recruiting technologies. Even dynamic SMB recruiting shops probably have ten!

The state of talent acquisition technology today is that all of these technologies are beginning to blend into each other because the buyer (all of us) actually believes they just want one system that does everything. But, that’s the problem. Your “one” system and my “one” system are different systems! So, mass confusion ensues. Also, there is so much money going into this area of technology that you have more and more people jumping in to solve our problems, by adding more options.

More options do not equal solutions, just more complexity and more confusion for the buyer!

2021 HR Technology Conference Pitchfest Participants Announced! #hrtechconf (HR Tech You Want To Know About!)

I’m out in Vegas this year (for the third time in like 6 weeks!) and I’m both a judge and Emcee of The HR Technology Conference’s 3rd Annual Pitchfest! It’s one of my favorite events and sessions of the year because we all get to see what is the latest and greatest new technology that is having an impact on our day-to-day lives as HR and Talent practitioners!

The winners of this year’s event get a $25,000 cash prize and a booth at the 2022 HR Technology Conference Expo! Second place gets a set of steak knives! No, just kidding, they get $5000!

Who are the participants of this year’s event?

Blossom.team (Coaching Tech)MyExcelia (Coaching Tech)
Cauldron (Recruiting Tech)NoahFace (Workplace Security/Tracking)
centralFOne Donation (Employee Giving)
Charthop (People Data Tech)Onwards HR (Separation Tech)
Clovers AI (Interview Tech) Phoenix Technology Systems (HRIS)
Compa (Job Offer Tech)Pointers (Talent Management)
Culturora (Culture Tech)PTO Genius (PTO Tech)
Edammo, Inc. (Business Intelligence)Public Insight (Talent Analytics)
Equality AI (Ethical AI) Sciolytix (Training Tech)
GraceBlocks (HR Architecture) Sentinel Pay Analytics (Pay Equity Tech)
ICC (Innovate. Coach. Consult.) (Coaching)Shaka Culture Application (Employee Engagement)
Included (DEI Analytics) Stayhome Inc. (Hybrid Office Mngt)
Insurights (Healthcare Tech)STEERus (Talent Development)
INTalent (Architecture) Translator, Inc. (DEI Tech)
InternConnect (Internship Tech) Viveka (Coaching Tech)
Learn In (Employee Development)Workrowd (Hybrid Work Tech)
MeBeBot (Employee Experience) WORQDRIVE (Internal Mobility)

The HR Technology Pitchfest takes place Tuesday and Wednesday at the expo at the Pitchfest Theater! Come check it out, it’s a great way to see a ton of technology in a one-hour time slot to see if you want to find out more.

Pro Tip to Startups!

If I “Google” your product name and “HR Tech” I better be able to find you, or you better fire your marketing person! LOL! I can’t tell you how hard it was to find the website address for each of these companies listed above! It. Should. Not. Be. Hard. To. Find. You!

So, if your name is mentioned above and the link goes to the wrong company, I’m not apologizing! That’s on you! Get a better name with an easy-to-find URL!

See everyone in Vegas!