T3 – BlackbookHR – Sense, RNA and Presto

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

So, I’ll start about saying I’m a proud member of Blackbook HR’s Advisory Board, along with some other great HR pros. But, even prior to that I was a fan of their products – my review of Sense. This review is highlighting two new products that Blackbook HR has launched – RNA and Presto.

First, let me say that I’m not the only one who is really liking what Blackbook is doing.  They were named one of the 2014 HR Tech Conference Awesome New Startups (don’t worry, I’ll be highlighting many of these others as well!).

RNA (Relationship Network Analysis) is one of Blackbook HR’s newest offerings.   When I saw the demo of this at HR Tech I was blown away.  It basically shows you your organization chart, but not by title, by influence!  It’s super cool, and the application of uses for retention, performance and succession are really limitless. One customer is using it to transition new leaders into the organization, so they know which players they need to connect with immediately, and how their organization is really getting work done!

Some of the other really cool things RNA can do if allow you to search your organization by skills. Not only self-reported skills, but all the employees in your organization can also rate each other on those skill levels.  So, you need someone for a new project that has project management skills?  What about the one person in your organization that their peers rate them highest in that skill!?  It does that.  Losing folks to turnover or retirement and need a pool of potential replacements (Succession), you can source that data here.

Also, think about any change management. Who are the most important employees to ensure are bought into the change before rolling it out?  That’s critical for success in any change, and RNA can give you these connections.  You can now go out and work with these individuals first, and let them help drive the change, positively, forward. Merger and acquisitions would be another way I could see this data being extremely important.

I will say, this is much more of an enterprise type of solution.  Most SMB’s probably don’t have enough data to really take advantage of this type of solution. But, if you are in the 2500+ employee range, this will blow your mind.  It’s fairly inexpensive, and the analytics you get from this data are crazy, it’s well worth a demo for sure!

RNA

 

Presto, is Blackbook’s other new product, and it’s totally free to use!  Basically, Presto is a survey App you can use within your organization, department and group.  It doesn’t even have to be used for business, but that’s what it was originally designed for.  Let’s say you just came out of an executive meeting and one of your senior leaders wanted to know how an announcement of some big new project was being ‘viewed’ by your employees.  You could within seconds put out a survey question to your organization, and watch in real-time the survey results come back to you.  Not only do you see, but everyone who participates can see the results.

I even joked you could send it out to your department to see what people wanted for lunch, and the entire group could see what everyone preferred!  It’s basically a real-time way to gather feedback in your organization. Totally free.  Completely simple to use.  I can think of a hundred ways I could use this, or coach my hiring managers to use this in an organization.  While this is a mobile app, the users can also log into a dashboard that gives you tabulated, colorful graphs, that are easily manipulated to share with your organization in which communication way you would like.

Yeah, I’m a fanboy of Blackbook HR.  The thing I like is the people running the company aren’t designing things thinking, ‘what will sell’.  They’re designing things thinking, ‘how do I solve this problem?’, then going, oh crap, how do we make money on this!  That gives them some of the best technology on the market, which you can actually buy or in Presto’s case use for free.

Next Tuesday I’ll be looking at recruitment marketing solution SmashFly!

A Job Post with Your Name On It!

I was in a conversation the other day with another Talent Pro and she was asking me for some advice on getting better applicants to apply for her postings.  I asked a number of questions but one that really got the conversation moving was:

Do you know who you want to apply for this position?

She told me “Yes” and then went on to give the specifications of the job description.  I said “No”, do you know the Name of the person you want to apply to this position?  She laughed – she thought I was joking – I wasn’t.   Well, I half-wasn’t.   It was a quirky idea, but in the right environment and small to medium community you could really make a splash by actually naming your post after the person who you really want to take the job.  Can you imagine!

Wanted “Michael Smith – Chemical Engineer” – please apply today!

The obvious issue at play here is – well – if I knew the name of the person I wanted, why wouldn’t I just call them up and ask if they wanted the job!?  GREAT question – why don’t you?  It’s actually fairly easy to find names of competitor employees you might want to hire.  So, why don’t you call them up and ask them if they want the job you have?  You know why?  Because it’s F’ing hard to do!  That’s why the search industry is a multi-Billion (with a “B”) business.

So, instead of calling them – just make a job posting with their name on it – and go float it around town – through your social channels, on your website, maybe a job board posting, etc.  Believe me – it will get back to the person you are looking, and if they are interested – they will come calling.  Seems silly, but I bet it would work far more than it wouldn’t.  People like to feel wanted.  How much more wanted can you get than a company creating a job posting with your “actual” name on it!  THIS job is for me! You would say to yourself.

In a tough talent marketplace, sometimes it’s the easy, simple things that make the difference.  Sometimes people just want to know they’re wanted.  We make this search game so difficult sometimes.   I always tell people I have the easiest job in the world.  I just have to ask people if they are interested in a job, I have open.  Pretty easy!  I’m not trying to launch the space shuttle or fix someones heart – I just need to see if they would have interest in making a job change.  The rest is just market variables, all of which, are probably pretty similar to the next guy.  Many times, it comes down to only one thing – me showing interest in them, and their current company not showing the same level of interest in keeping them.

I say give it shot – what’s the worse that can happen – you get your community talking about your company and how aggressively you’re going after people?  That’s not all bad – either way!

Recruiting is Worthless

Paul DeBettignies recently had an article over at ERE – Where Have All the Recruiters Gone – which gave me the idea for this post.  In Paul’s post he wonders why recruiters are networking face-to-face anymore. I think many of us in the recruiting field who have been in the field pre-internet, probably wonder this and many more things as we look at how the industry has totally transformed over the past 20 years.  A person today can get into recruiting, sit at a desk, have great internet skills, marginal phone skills and make a decent living.  They probably won’t be a great recruiter – they probably won’t make great money – but they’ll survive – they’ll be average or slightly above.  It’s why the recruiting function in most organizations gets a bad rap!  In corporate circles I’ve heard it called “worthless” many times – and for some this is their reality.

Recruiting is Worthless, if…

…you’re a hiring manager and you never have face-to-face conversations with your recruiter when you have an opening, and when you don’t have an opening.

…you’re recruiters believe it isn’t there job to find talent, talent will find them.

…your organization believes it’s the recruiting departments job to find talent.  It’s not, it’s the hiring managers job to ensure they have the talent they need for their department, recruiting is the tool that will help them.  This “ownership responsibility” is very important for organizational success in ensuring you have the talent you need.

…your recruiting department acts like they are HR – they aren’t – they are sales and marketing.  Too many Recruiters, in corporate settings, don’t want to recruit, they want to be HR – which makes them worthless as recruiters.

…if your recruiters have more incoming calls then outgoing calls.

…if your recruiters believe their job begins Monday thru Friday at 8am and ends at 5pm. The best talent is working during those times and most likely won’t talk to you while they are at work.  That’s not a slam on you or your company – they are great employees, it’s what we expect from a great employee.

…your senior leadership team feels they have to use an “executive search” company to fill their higher level openings, because our recruiting department “can’t handle it”.

…if they are victims – “it’s not my job”, “we can’t do that because…”, “marketing won’t allow us to do…”, “our policy won’t allow us…” etc.

…if they just send hiring managers resumes of candidates that have come to them, without first determining if the person is a fit for the organization and a fit for the hiring managers position – before sending them on.

…they haven’t developed the organizational influence enough to change a hiring managers, hiring decision.

Recruiting is worthless if in the end they have failed to show the value of their service back to the organization.

Recruiting is the one department in the organization, besides sales, that truly has the ability to show ROI back to the organization, yet so few of us take advantage of the opportunity we have!  There is nothing more important, and have a bigger competitive advantage, than our organizations talent – and oh by the way – THAT IS US! We control that.  Recruiting isn’t worthless, unless you make it worthless.

 

 

Make HR Suck Less

Are you working in a HR department that sucks?  You know if you are, it’s alright, you can admit it – it’s the first step of changing it.

I bet I talk to over a hundred HR Pros a year that begin the conversation with – “our HR department sucks!” or “my company doesn’t get it when it comes to HR” or “Our HR department is terrible”.   It’s not the outlier, it’s the norm.  So, many HR Pros working in HR functions where the organization has the feeling that “HR” sucks in our company.  If you’re not in one now – great – but chances are you have either been in one before, or eventually you’ll make a “grass is greener” decision and put yourself into this situation.

You know what?  We have the power to make HR Suck Less.  Yes, you do.  Stop it, you do.  No really, you do. Alright that’s enough, just play along with me at least!

Here are the 3 steps to making HR Suck Less:

1.  Stop doing stuff that Sucks.  But Tim! We have to do this stuff.  No you don’t – if your HR shop blew up tomorrow – your organization would still go on.  Over time you’ve “negotiated” to do all this sucky stuff – thinking it would “help” the organization, or give you “influence”, etc.  Stop that.  Give it away, push it out to other departments – start doing stuff that doesn’t suck, more than doing stuff that does suck.  It’s not easy, but it can be done, little by little.

2.  Get rid of people in HR who Suck.  Some people get real comfortable with sucking.  They wear their suckiness around like a badge of honor.  You need to cut the suck out of your department – like cancer!

3. Stop saying that you Suck.  We brand ourselves internally with everything we do – and if you say that you suck at something – the organizational will believe you suck at something.  If you say we are the best in the industry at recruiting our competitions talent away from them – you’ll be forced to live up to that – and little by little you will live up to that and the organization will begin to believe it as well.  Signs and Symbols!

Every single HR Shop who feels they suck – doesn’t have to suck.  If you feel you don’t suck, but everyone else tells you that you suck – you suck.  You’re just delusional and you keep telling yourself things like “we have to do this stuff”, “it’s the law”, “we don’t have a choice”, etc.   This is the first sign you’re comfortable with sucking – you aren’t listening to your organization.  No one has to suck – you can decide to do things in a complete different way. Perception is reality in terms of sucking.  You need to change perceptions, not reality.  You can still accomplish the exact same things, just do it in a way that people think you rock.  Start saying “Yes” to everything – not “No”.  “No” sucks.

Sucking less is a decision – not a skill.  You all have the skills – you just need to make the decision – to stand up and believe – Today we will no longer Suck!

All Hail The Newest Job Board

With the Death March of Monster that has been going on in the media lately (check out Jason Buss’s post on it from last week – 7 Warning Signs For Monster), I thought it was high time we start giving kudos to the new King of the Job Boards!

So, without further ado – Please give a warm welcome and many slaps on the back to…

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you think I was going say – CareerBuilder?!  They are just Monster with different shoes.

The real congratulations goes to LinkedIn!   They put so much time and effort into building their next generation job board, I’m really proud of them.   It wasn’t easy to reinvent the job board industry, but they found away.  Sure it was by first establishing themselves as a credible “networking” site, before pulling wool over the eyes of its members and selling their contact information to corporate recruiters for $8500 per year.  I mean it was pure genius!  It actually brings a tear to my eye.

Monster and CareerBuilder could only have dreamed of making a site that looks like a legitimate networking site, one that HR folks actually encourage their employees to get onto – only to be systematically picked off by their competition.  Pure magic!

Today I’m going to recommend, as a HR community, that we do something to recognize LinkedIn as the biggest HR innovation of the 21st century. Somebody call Bill Kutik to see if he can put this award together in time for HR Tech 2012.   It was going to be no small task to reinvent the job boards – but as a Talent Pro I’m sure glad that somebody figured it out – Thank You LinkedIn!  We bow to your greatness.

 

 

What would it take to get you to work 80 hours per week?

I’ve interviewed a ton of people in my career.  When I ask people what their normal work week looks like – I “often” hear – “Oh, I work 70-80 hrs per week, all the time!”   I instantly know they are lying – because no one works 80 hours per week all the time!  Do you really know what 80 hours per week looks like? Here’s some examples”

  • 16 hours per day – Monday thru Friday – that’s coming in at 6am and not leaving until 10pm – EVERY day.

or

  • 12 hours per day Monday thru Saturday with an EASY 8 on Sunday.

or

  • Oh, and by the way, the two above examples must be with paid lunches and breaks.

Liars.

The only way you work 80 hours per week is if you own the place. How much would I have to pay you to work 80 hours per week?  Would you do it for $10,000 per week? $520K per year?  No you wouldn’t – you would quit after a month or two – now you’re lying to yourself.  Heck – most owners aren’t even willing to work 80 hours per week.  That’s why so many small businesses fail – people underestimate how much it takes to make a business successful!

“Oh, I would work 80 hours per week if I LOVED what I did.”   Really?  You think you would still LOVE it after working 80 hours per week, week after week, month after month, year after year?  I think it’s incredibly awesome when I meet someone who I truly see Loves their job – you know the type – even if they weren’t getting paid, they would be doing what they’re doing.  Unfortunately 99.9% of us aren’t in a position where we can “work” for free – no matter how much we Love it.  We have bills, responsibilities – we don’t have daddy or a spouse paying our way – we have real life.

80 hours per week – now you’re thinking about it, right?  It’s a lot of time to put forth for one part of your life.  How do you get your grocery shopping done? Watch your kids play at school? Get the cat to the vet? Get your haircut? Get your teeth cleaned?  See your therapist?!

As HR Pros we put so much time, effort and thought into building our rewards and recognition systems.  Many of us think we do this so we can get our employees to give us that extra discretionary effort – to work those hours over 40.  To get our employees to want to work 80 hours per week.  Unfortunately, most of us have rewards and recognition to just get our people to do the job they were hired for – not extra.   When this happens – you no longer have a rewards and recognition system – this now becomes part of their full compensation package.  Rewards and Recognition shouldn’t be put in place “to get the job done” – it should be put in place to reward and recognize those who do more.

I know what you’re thinking – “Tim if I could just have a rewards and recognition system that would get my employees to actually work 40 hours, I’d be happy! 80! You’re out of your mind!”  Believe me, I understand, but that’s what we do, or should be doing for our organizations.  Get great talent, keep great talent, find ways to get that great talent to give us everything they’ve got =’s great HR Pro.

So, what would it take to get you to work 80 hours per week?

 

 

 

Essential vs. Non-Essential Employees

I’ve had many conversations in my career with employees who “essentially” felt they were probably more important to the business than they really were.  You know who I’m talking about!   The ones who at some point let it slip: “This place would shut down if I wasn’t here” or “Let’s see how you do if I leave” or “I made this company what it is today”.  It’s usually a sales person, or technical person who have had big roles, no doubt, but they begin to get a little to big for their own britches (as my grandmother would say).  Over time I’ve developed a good two point test to determine if someone is Essential or Non-essential to your business:

1.  In a snow storm, is this person required to make it into the office/facility no matter what? (think large storm – more than one day)

Example: I worked in a large Health System – Doctors & Nurses had to get in – we actually had plans on how to get them to work in an emergency.  I on the other hand, being in HR – didn’t have anyone coming to pick me up in a 4 wheel drive SUV.

2.  Does the person in question spend way too much of their time trying to convince you of how important they are to your operation?

Examples:  “Without me are largest client wouldn’t be here.” ; “Our department (a non-revenue generating department) saved the organization over $500K last year.” – on a budget of $3.7M…

You know what is really interesting about looking at the life of an organization – when they start out, in their infancy, there is only Essential employees.  We make widgets, all you need is someone to get widget material, someone to make widgets and someone to sell widgets and someone to collect the cash and pay the bills.  Pretty basic.  No HR, No Marketing or Finance, No customer service – it’s a very straight line organization.   Most companies don’t even add an HR element to their organizations until they get over 100 employees – usually an office manager/payroll/accounting person or the owner takes on this responsibility.

I always like to remind myself of who is “really” essential in my organization.  It’s important.  It’s important that as a “client” to those people, I make sure I focus what I’m doing on things that will help them do what they are doing.  That only happens when I actually talk to them, face-to-face, and ask them – “What can I do, to help you do what you do?”  Doesn’t seem overly complicated – but somehow we try and make it harder than that.  You see, that’s what non-essentials do – we convince you that what we do is really important!

I like to look at organizations the same way you pick a team on the playground.  If you had the most essential person in your company begin picking a team – where would you get picked?  First, 10th, last?   It’s a good exercise to go through.  What you’ll see is your most essential person will pick individuals who will/can help them get the job done – without hassle, without issues, without extra work.

Are you Essential to your organization?

Bad Hires Worse

If I could take all of my HR education, My SPHR and 20 years of experience and boil it down to this one piece of advice, it would be this:

Bad Hires Worse.

In HR we love to talk about our hiring and screening processes, and how we “only” hire the best talent, but in the end we, more times than not, leave the final decision on who to hire to the person who will be responsible to supervise the person being hired – the Hiring Manager.   I don’t know about all of you, but in my stops across corporate America, all of my hiring managers haven’t been “A” players, many have been “B” players and a good handful of “C” players.  Yet, in almost all of those stops, we (I) didn’t stop bad hiring managers from hiring when the need came.  Sure I would try to influence more with my struggling managers, be more involved – but they still ultimately had to make a decision that they had to live with.

I know I’m not the only one – it happens every single day.  Everyday we allow bad hiring managers to make talent decisions in our organizations, just as we are making plans to move the bad manager off the bus.   It’s not an easy change to make in your organization.  It’s something that has to come from the top.  But, if you are serious about making a positive impact to talent in your organization you can not allow bad managers to make talent decisions.  They have to know, through performance management, that: 1. You’re bad (and need fixing or moving); 2. You no longer have the ability to make hiring decisions.  That is when you hit your High Potential manager succession list and tap on some shoulders.  “Hey, Mrs. Hi-Po, guess what we need your help with some interviewing and selection decisions.”  It sends a clear and direct message to your organization – we won’t hire worse.

Remember, this isn’t just an operational issue – it happens at all levels, in all departments.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is look in the mirror at our own departments.  If you have bad talent in HR, don’t allow them to hire (“but it’s different we’re in HR, we know better!” – No you don’t – stop it).   Bad hires worse – over and over and over.  Bad needs to hire worse, they’re desperate, they’ll do anything to protect themselves, they make bad decisions – they are Bad.  We/HR own this.  We have the ability and influence to stop it.  No executive is going to tell you “No” when you suggest we stop allowing our bad managers the ability to make hiring decisions – they’ll probably hug you.

It’s a regret I have – something I will change.  If it happens again, I won’t allow it.  I vow from this day forward, I will never allow a bad hiring manager to make a hiring decision – at least not without a fight!

The 8 Man Rotation – 2011 Season

In what is probably the most anticipated eBook release of 2012 the The 8 Man Rotation crew (Matt Stollack, Steve Boese, Lance Haun, Kris Dunn and I) today release to the world version two of our most famous HR/Sports related blog posts of 2011:  The 8 Man Rotation – the 2011 Season.   The forward is written by two of our HR friends and great writers in their own right – Trish McFarlane and William Tincup – who get to poke fun at our obsession with the weird combination of sports and HR that we just won’t give up writing about.  Check it out –

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Do You Have a Jeremy Lin on Your Staff?

“Linsanity” has taken over New York and the NBA!  Do you even know what it is?

Let’s begin with some background – Linsanity refers to Jeremy Lin the up-start Point Guard for the New York Knicks which seems to have materialized out of thin air.  How up-start? In his first 4 NBA starts, with the Knicks, he has scored more than Allen Iverson, more than Shaquille O’Neal, more than Michael Jordan, tops since the NBA and ABA merged in 1976.  Where did he come from?  Harvard – was a good player in college, but not a star.  Was signed and released by both Golden State and Houston, spent some time in the NBA Developmental league, before signing a 10 day contract with the Knicks (which has turned into a longer term deal).

Jeremy Lin coming onto the scene in the NBA is keen to you knocking down a wall in your house and finding $50 million.  It doesn’t happen.  Professional sports are professional because they have and find the best – they scout talent 24/7/365 – they do make mistakes – but rarely does potential get missed.  So, how did this Asian-American Ivy League educated Point Guard fall through the cracks?  No one really has a good explanation.  I can assume being on the only Ivy League educated, Asian-American in the NBA didn’t help him get noticed – for the simple fact – that wouldn’t get you noticed in the NBA.  He didn’t have Duke, UConn or UNC on his resume, the NBA doesn’t care that he’s smart, and so few Asians (under 7 foot) actually ever get looked at for their basketball talent.  He was a plow horse hidden behind a stable full of race horses.

While this type of thing doesn’t happen in the NBA – it does happen in your organizations all-the-time!

The majority of HR Pros just don’t have the background and scouting ability professional sports teams have in tracking potential talent.  We give it our best shot, instituting Employee Development Programs, Succession Programs, etc.  But our reality is, we still have a very long way to go to be truly effective.  So, how can you ensure you don’t have a Jeremy Lin sitting on your bench, that you aren’t utilizing, or worse yet, you allow your competition to have?  Look for some of these traits on your staff:

1. Smarts.  There is a common saying in athletics, you can’t “coach” size. Meaning no matter how good of coach you are, it is still very hard to overcome a team with superior size and athletic ability.  Smarts is the same way in business.  You can hustle your way out of a lot of situations in business – but eventually Smarts will get you!

2. Desire. Give me someone with a desire to be the best, and I’ll take them a long way.  Too many of our employees have the components to be great, but lack the true desire to be great.  Doesn’t matter if your an engineer, accountant, software developer, teacher – little or no desire will kill your talent every time.

3. Love. You’ve got to Love what you do, Love your organization and Love your team.  Those people are set up for success, because there is no place else they would rather be, and they’ll fight to keep themselves in that position.

Just because you have one or two of these doesn’t make you great, or even good – you need a lot of all 3.  To often HR Pros hang onto people way to long because “they work so hard” but lack core talent (smarts), or “they have more talent than anyone else on team”, but lack the desire to do the job anymore.  Stop that!  You’ve got too many good people sitting on the bench, waiting for their opportunity, like Jeremy Lin.  Open up your mind, really look for the combination of talent, desire and those who want to be with you – and put them into the starting lineup!  You won’t be sorry.