"No Poach" Recruiting Agreements Continue to Fall Across Corporate America...

If you've been in the business world long enough, you've ran into executives at both small and big companies making agreements to not recruit other company's employees.  These agreements are a by-product of the good-ole-boy network and usually the result of one executive knowing another and agreeing to keep each other's companies "off-limits" to recruiting efforts.

It's called collusion, right?  Funny thing is, HR has never really had a voice in that.  Instead, we find out what the agreement is "ex post facto" and if we're really lucky, we get to ruin someone's life by retracting an offer due to these informal agreements - after that employee has already resigned at their current company. Trading places

It's always been stupid like that.  The good news is that the legal system is rapidly taking these agreements off the table.  First it was Silicon Valley and now seven fast food chains — including Arby's, Cinnabon and McDonald's — have pledged to end so-called "no-poaching" rules that have prevented employees from moving from one franchise to another within the same restaurant chain: More from CNN:

"Washington state's Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday the agreement could end the practice at roughly 25,000 restaurants nationwide.

The move will mean fairer hiring practices for "tens of thousands of low-wage" workers in the United States, Ferguson's office said. His office also said it will take legal action against franchises that violate the agreement, and the companies could face civil penalties or fines.

The fast food chains included in the agreement are Arby's, Auntie Anne's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Carl's Jr., Cinnabon, Jimmy John's, and McDonald's (MCD).

"No-poach" rules bar workers at franchise-owned restaurants from being hired by a separate franchise within the same chain.

Because such rules are usually laid out in company-franchise contracts, and not in worker agreements, employees have often been unaware they existed, Ferguson's office said."

Uh, yeah - the employees didn't know they existed because they are LITERALLY THE LAST THING ON ANYONE'S MIND IN THESE AGREEMENTS.

The no-poach agreement will continue to exist in pockets, but I've got good news for my HR leaders who are expected to enforce them.

You can now tell your company they are illegal as hell.

Score one for the worker.  I'm generally pro-business, but c'mon.  A no-poach agreement that means a counter worker at Arby's can't move to another Arby's?

This is why we can't have nice things.


Amazon Has a Peer Jury Feature In Their PIP Program Called "Pivot"...

Back when I was working for companies that were primarily non-union but routinely had some organizing "bubble-ups", a mentor of mine had the following saying related to making changes to employment practices that felt similar to a union:

"We can give them OUR union or let them choose THEIR union"

The point - and it's a significant one - was that corporations have built employment practices that limit risk, organizing and representation by borrowing the practices from unions. Amazon

Need an example?  How about your progressive discipline process?  Does any company really want a 4-step process?  No, they do not.  It's a standard piece in most people operations because it increases fairness/communication and protects the organization from stupid managers. It was also ripped from the handbook of your local union.

Thanks union folks - we'll be over here doing our thing, using your tools.  

This practice - borrowing best practices from unions - continues and was recently in the news with Amazon.  Last year, Amazon launched a program called "Pivot," designed to help underperforming employees improve their work.  Here's more on how the program works:

"It's been eighteen months since Pivot was introduced and, as Bloomberg's Spencer Soper and Business Insider's Prachi Bhardwaj reported, some employees are protesting that the hearing process isn't fair.

Under the Pivot program, employees who are put on a performance-improvement plan have three options, Bhardwaj reported:

  1. Quit and receive severance pay
  2. Spend the next couple of months proving their worth by meeting certain performance goals set by the manage.

  3. Face a panel of peers in a courtroom-style videoconference, in which the employee and his or her boss present arguments about whether the employee should stay in the Pivot program

Seventy percent of employees lose the trials, meaning they must choose between the first and second options above. If the employee wins the trial, they are removed from Pivot and have the choice to return to their current team or be placed on another team."

This practice is straight from the union playbook.  It's called the grievance process, and the fact that Amazon has started to use it shows us that some of the best ideas have been around forever - and at times came from unions.

Under the Pivot program, employees choose either one manager or three non-managers as their jury, Bloomberg reported. They're also allowed to dismiss some panelists if they think the panelists will be unsympathetic to their case, according to Bloomberg. But overall, the employee doesn't get to select the jurors.

There's a lot of problems with this type of program.  But the intent is clear and always comes back to the manager.  If they manager has clearly communicated goals, they'll get the ability to continue on the Performance Improvement Plan route once they clear the hurdle of the Pivot program.  If they were unclear or didn't communicate at all, there's a chance the employee will be removed from the PIP.

How would you like to return to your manager after saying they were wrong via the Pivot program?  Ugh.  People enter pivot when their managers sucks or - wait for it - they suck.  It's rarely not one of those two things.

Still, Amazon borrowed this step from the union grievance program because there was no better way to handle this step once things have become hostile and adversarial between manager and employee.  

"We can give them OUR union or let them choose THEIR union"  Since my mentor taught me this early, I get it.  Play on, Amazon.


Why I Had To Have The "There's No Crying In the Workplace" Talk With My Son....

When you read the title of this post, you might think I have sensitive sons.  Problems with emotions, crying, etc.

That's not true. I think they're pretty emotionally balanced, in the normal range, and generally OK.

I didn't have to have a talk about "there's no crying in the workplace" with one of my sons because I'm afraid his current behavior will transcend into softness in the workplace.

No - I had to have this talk with my son because all of the business reality shows feature business owners crying.  If not all the time, waaaaaay too much.

The worst offender is CNBC's The Profit. (also see Undercover Boss for crying in the show formula) I like this show, as it features a business investor (Marcus Lemonis) evaluating a business that's broken to decide if he can invest, take control and make money while he helps someone out.

The show goes through the process - Lemonis asks questions, challenges the owner and ultimately invests and takes control.  Along the way, there's always a shot of the owner crying, touting some hardship.

Now crying itself is not a bad thing. But if you were an alien evaluating how business gets done on Earth solely through The Profit, you'd make the assumption that the road to business success is making yourself vulnerable by crying.

Thus, the brief conversation with one of the Dunn boys who always is around and interested when I'm watching The Profit.  Here's what I was compelled to tell him:

  1. Normal people don't break down and cry when things get tough in the business world.
  2. PRO TIP - If you've got to cry, a nuts and bolts conversation about your financial statement isn't the place to do it.
  3. Instead of wanting to help you more, many people will believe you're unstable when you cry and treat you like you have a disease they can catch from you.
  4. Probably the only time its OK to cry in business is when you're showing empathy for other people.  In that way, it's acceptable and you'll be treated as someone who JUST CARES TOO MUCH.  An acceptable fault.
  5. Crying at any other time is risky.  And contrary to what this show illustrates, crying among business leaders is not common.  It doesn't happen every day - in fact, it rarely happens.
  6. PS - Man up.  You'll thank me when you're 30 for this advice.

I love The Profit featuring Marcus Lemonis.  But the crying thing might be teaching young folks things that can get them benched in life.

Clip of The Profit below if you haven't seen it.  Highly recommended for viewing with your kids with the above caveat made clear.


My Week at the NBA Summer League In Las Vegas, Part 2 (Featuring Lessons on Talent)

Went to Vegas this week with a few bloggers of note - Steve Boese,  Tim Sackett and Matt Stollak. Our destination had a nerd quality to it  - The NBA Summer League, where professional basketball hopefuls convene to prove they have what it takes to be one of 450 players who play in the best hoops league in the world.

As it turns out, a lot of the NBA is probably no better at evaluating talent than the rest of us - and there's a lesson in that.   Here's Part 2 of the story of the weekend as told through my Instagram account (enable pictures if you viewing this in email or just click through - captions and comments included with the picture).

See Part 1 by clicking this link.

 

 

From the NBA Summer League in Vegas, v4.0: They say "Culture Eats Strategy", so my pick for the strongest NBA culture on display at the Summer League Belongs to the Utah Jazz. This picture doesn't look like much, but the guys sitting courtside are 5-6 primary rotation players for the Jazz, including Donavan Mitchell, Dante Exum, Royce Young and others. Rudy Gobert is just out of this frame in the longest pair of pink slacks in North America. What's it mean when a team invites and gets most of their players to come to Summer League to support draft picks and players at the tail end of the roster? How would you feel if you were a couple of weeks in at a new job and people you considered to be high performers at the new company came to watch you work and were incredible supportive as you tried to learn? You'd run through the wall for that company - that's how you'd feel. Utah has to build culture because they are not a destination for Free Agents. They have to draft, develop and retain. You know - kind of the same thing you need to do at your company. They've managed to convince their tenured employees to be all in. We could all be a little bit more like the Utah Jazz at our companies, right? There are other strong cultures in the NBA (celtics) (kings... joking), but if you were buying low and trying to sell high on culture, you would buy Utah. Also, Grayson Allen update coming on Wed.... #utahjazz #summerleague

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From the NBA Summer League in Vegas, v5.0: Like this post if you hate Grayson Allen. Like this post if you hate Grayson Allen. Meet Grayson Allen of the Utah Jazz. Loved by some, hated by many, Allen was picked by the Jazz with the 21st overall pick. As most of you know, Allen is one of the most polarizing figures in sports due to his Duke heritage and his tripping/sportsmanship issues while an undergrad. Things have gone well for Allen during the Summer league, but he can’t hide from his past. What do I mean by that? One of the things that was on full display this week was the fact that Grayson’s reputation proceeded his arrival in the NBA. Every guard he goes up against is aware of his penchant for chippiness, which means they are DETERMINED NOT TO BE PUNKED BY GRAYSON ALLEN. The result is every time Grayson is involved in the slightest tie-up physically, the opposing Summer League guard starts flipping the **** out and pretends (might be real at times) to want to fight him. Good times. The corporate equivalent of this is the guy who’s talented but everyone hates – so they start trying to take him down in every meeting, every presentation. He’s created his own prison. How have the Jazz dealt with this? They’ve put him in the equivalent of a Witness Protection Program, resting him/not playing him at all in 2 of the 5 games played so far this summer – even though he’s healthy. Allen’s going to get 10-15 minutes per game max this year for a good Jazz team and his reputation won’t be the same issue it is now, so Utah has decided to defuse the targeting of Allen this Summer by taking pressure off him. He’s already had a flare up with Trey Young and a Portland guard who was ejected for trying to bait Allen into a fight. Allen’s shown enough to make us think that Utah got incredible value at 21 overall. He’s a guy you love when he’s on your team and hate when he’s not. His veteran teammates have decided to love him from courtside. The Witness Protection Program is real, and Allen lucked out to be drafted by a franchise with a long view. Hit me in the comments on why you love/hate Allen. #utahjazz #summerleague

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From the NBA Summer League in Vegas, v6.0: My last post in this series features a guy named Tark, a character in basketball lore all kids should look up to understand their hoops history. The picture above is me outside the Thomas and Mach center, at the Jerry Tarkanian statue. Jerry Tarkanian was the head men’s coach of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (local D1 program in Vegas). The UNLV program grew out of the desert as a result of this Armenian master, who was part promoter, part recruiter and part basketball coach. When you think of the college programs that led us to where we are now, there are only a few college programs that are truly foundational in nature. Consider this about Tark and UNLV: He created a brand that is partially responsible for bringing an urban game to the masses – there’s only two other programs/eras that can say that – the other two are Thompson’s Georgetown teams and the Fab Five at Michigan. All 3 programs in their time transcended sports and become embedded in pop culture. He was a master at teaching man defense and added full court pressure that become part of the brand at its peak. He understood the value of the live ball turnover before people knew what an LBT was. He grew a brand out of the desert in Vegas, and in many ways that history set up the path for the NBA to come to Vegas, both with the Summer League and the full time franchise you have to think is coming in the next decade under Adam Silver. He was one of the most colorful guys in the industry. That statue picture has him chewing on a towel during a game, which was his trademarked nervous tic. I decided to chew on my hoodie in the picture out of respect. I’ll leave you and shut down my Vegas IG coverage with a Tark quote. “The NCAA was so mad at Kentucky they gave Cleveland State two more years of probation." RIP Jerry Tarkanian (2015). KD out from the Summer League.

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My Week at the NBA Summer League In Las Vegas, Part 1 (Featuring Lessons on Talent)

Went to Vegas this week with a few bloggers of note - Steve Boese,  Tim Sackett and Matt Stollak. Our destination had a nerd quality to it  - The NBA Summer League, where professional basketball hopefuls convene to prove they have what it takes to be one of 450 players who play in the best hoops league in the world.

Now - you should know that only about 20% of the players who attend and play in the Vegas Summer League are actual NBA players - the rest are draft choices and free agents who are scrapping and doing whatever it takes to impress the teams. 

Why go to this event? First, we like hoops.  More importantly, I go because there's a huge morality play on talent going on at the Summer League.  If NBA veterans are the best 450 players in the world, what we saw is 451-1500, and the differences are pretty small between spots 350 to 450 in the NBA and the better players in the summer league.  Who decides? What makes the difference between making a NBA roster and going to Turdistan to play next winter?  

As it turns out, a lot of the NBA is probably no better at evaluating talent than the rest of us - and there's a lesson in that.   Here's Part 1 of the story of the weekend as told through my Instagram account (enable pictures if you viewing this in email or just click through - captions and comments included with the picture).

 

From the NBA Summer League: Meet a Summer League matchup that matters. Colin Sexton vs Aaron Holiday. Sexton was a one and done from Bama, drafted 8th overall by the Cavs with the pic that the Cavs protected for when Lebron left. Holliday is a 3-year guy from UCLA drafted 23rd overall by the pacers. Which asset is the most valuable? It depends how close the gap is. Sexton won the scoring battle 19-12, but the gap was closer than that. At the end of the day, Sexton will get lots of minutes in a post apocalyptic Cleveland and Holliday will go to the bench behind veteran guards on a good Indiana team and remain an affordable asset. Result from the Summer League: Indiana is very happy, Cleveland is hopeful. Sexton 7th in top 100 in class of 2017. Holiday 88th in class of 2015. Margins are thin in the show.

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From the NBA Summer League in Vegas, v3.0: Danny Ainge, GM and President of the Boston Celtics plopped down next to us during the game after the Celtics played on Monday like he was a tourist from Des Moines who decided to pop over to the gym after growing tired of the games on the strip. I first saw Ainge at the Summer League two summers ago in 2016, when he was courtside in the small gym checking out that years 3rd overall pick - Jaylen Brown play in the Summer League. I'll never forget how hard he rode the officials that day, like he was Jaylen's dad. Brown struggled that Summer League and had a uneven ride his first year, but the results are clear - that pick was gold. Add the Jason Tatum heist to the mix, and you get why people are likely scared to make a trade with him these days. Danny's known as an talented trader as a GM, someone who naturally understands talent and the value of a having a talent plan. I sent this picture back home and my wife commented, "that is a possessed look on Ainge's face". That's the best description of Ainge at the Summer League I can provide. When watching a game, he's constantly taking a longer, intense look at players who make a play, almost like he's running what he saw through his own algorithm and determining whether what he saw was worth noting for the future. He does this, btw, when other people are trying to talk to him, a clear sign that he's more interested in evaluating talent than talking to people who want something from him. He didn't really have a reason or need to be watching a non-Celtic game at the Summer League from the stands, but there he was. Taking it in and watching guys who made a play run down the court with this look on his face. Last time I saw someone so notable take the time to evaluate players at the Summer League with next to no shot make the league, it was Danny Ferry, the former Duke star and GM of the Hawks. Ferry built the 60 win Hawks from scratch, which now seems like 50 years ago instead of 2014. Whether it's basketball or corporate America, great evaluators of talent don't stop evaluating - it's in their blood. #nba #summerleague

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Part Two on your way on Friday!


Uber CHRO Resigns Amid Whistleblower Allegations: Serves as Cautionary Tale for HR Pros at all Levels...

Uber's HR shop has always been a bit of a mess.  As is often the case, the company outgrew a capable HR leader who was overran by the personality of a founder with total power, and the company decided it was time for a change.  Uber brought in Liane Hornsey to bring mature chops to the situation.

It apparently hasn't gone well.  In addition to encouraging employees to hug during town hall meetings with the singular purpose of talking about harassment issues (WOW!), Hornsey has been accused of routinely dismissing racial discrimination claims.  Can't make this stuff up.

More from Engadget:

Uber's Chief People Officer Liane Hornsey has resigned after a third-party firm investigated allegations that she routinely dismissed internal racial discrimination complaints. She joined the company a month before former engineer Susan Fowler penned a blog post talking about the rampant sexual harassment and sexism she endured at Uber. As head of the HR department, Hornsey served as one of the company's top spokespersons on issues regarding diversity and discrimination throughout the upheavalthat followed. Bo Young Lee, the ride-hailing firm's first diversity chief, was even ordered to report to her instead of to the company's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

"Uber's Chief Legal Officer Tony West ordered a probe into the way she handles discrimination reports after a group of whistleblowers threatened to go public with their complaints if the company doesn't take action. The group, who told Reuters that they're Uber employees of color, also accused Hornsey of using discriminatory language against the company's Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion Bernard Coleman. They claimed that she threatened former executive Bozoma Saint John, who joined the company from Apple Music with the intention of fixing its internal cultural issues, as well.

Uber's Chief People Officer Liane Hornsey has resigned after a third-party firm investigated allegations that she routinely dismissed internal racial discrimination complaints. She joined the company a month before former engineer Susan Fowler penned a blog post talking about the rampant sexual harassment and sexism she endured at Uber. As head of the HR department, Hornsey served as one of the company's top spokespersons on issues regarding diversity and discrimination throughout the upheavalthat followed. Bo Young Lee, the ride-hailing firm's first diversity chief, was even ordered to report to her instead of to the company's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi."

Today's lesson for anyone reading this - HR or line leader - is that YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ENSURING that allegations of unfair treatment get the focus and attention they deserve. That means:

  1. listening with empathy
  2. taking action via investigation
  3. reporting back on outcomes to those who raised the issue.

It's HR 101.  It should be common, but it's not as routine as it should be. Wake up call - you've always been at risk when you fail to do the hard work associated with #1 through #3.  

In today's world, we're more at risk than ever as HR pros, as the Uber news shows.

Do the work.  Do your job, no matter how bogus you think the claim is.  

YOU HAVE TO DO THE WORK.  

 


When Great Places to Work Outsource Jobs That Are... You Guessed It, Not Great...

Part of the game of building a great place to work is that you never let down your guard.

--Never admit that things are less than perfect...

--Never agree with someone that suggests things are less than perfect...

--Keep adding benefits or features of your culture that are cool but few people will actually use...

And today, I'm adding one.  Here's how it goes:

--When faced with a job that is so objectionable it will burn people out in 7 months, deem it "non-core", outsource it to another company and transfer the cultural liability. Social network

That's what Facebook has traditional done with the people they need to review flagged posts.  A job reviewing flagged posts exposes the worker responsible to all types of objectionable humanity, and let's face it, after a year in that job, you hate life and hate people.  That doesn't transfer well to the employee survey scores or other ways to measure cultural health, so high-end companies make the obvious choice to outsource it.

Problem is, the job is still ruining someone's life and you're still responsible.  More on the "reviewing flagged posts" job at Facebook:

"A former Facebook moderator said the pressure to churn through a never-ending pile of disturbing material eventually made her desensitized to child pornography and bestiality.

Sarah Katz, 27, worked as a content reviewer at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, through a third-party contractor, Vertisystem, for eight months in 2016. Her job was simple: figure out whether posts reported to Facebook violated the company's detailed community standards.

Practically, this meant eyeballing new and potentially horrific material every 10 seconds and making a snap decision about whether it needed to be ditched. Posts that needed reviewing were called "tickets," and there were about 8,000 every day.

To deal with this onslaught, Facebook had 4,500 moderators like Katz on its books last year, and in May 2017 it announced plans to hire another 3,000 to help it in the fight against the darkest corners of its user output. Facebook is also investing in artificial intelligence to help police posts that break its rules."

Any guesses whether those 3000 additional hires will be contractors or full-time employees?

They're going to be contractors.  To be fair to Facebook, you can't hire that many people in this type of role without help.  BUT - you can bet a lot of them - if not all - will stay contractors because Facebook will consider this to be a non-core part of their people business.  

The dirty side of maintaining a great place to work is how you define a Great Place to Work.  But contracting in the toughest, lowest level jobs, you're playing with definitions - to your benefit.

I'm not saying I wouldn't do the same thing.  But related to the culture you have, when you outside dirty/shitty jobs, people are getting an incomplete view of happiness and engagement at your company.

The real win for Facebook is when AI can do it all and humans don't have to touch this stuff.  That will be awesome - until the machines take over, off course.

 


Are HR Pros A Good Fit to Start an Amazon Partner Delivery Business?

If there's one thing HR Pros know plenty about, it's recruiting, retention and everything it takes to keep a business afloat on the people side of the business.   That mean in some aspects of life, HR pros are the perfect people to start a business.  But there's one big thing missing for a lot of HR pros are thinking about starting a business.

Sales.

Yep, a lot of HR pros would be great at the staffing and employee relations side of the business, but they have nothing in their DNA to do the sales required to provide the lifeblood of revenue needed to put those people skills to use as an entrepreneur.  Too bad, right?

Wait - there's a perfect opportunity for HR pros to start a business and not have to sell.  Ready?

Amazon. Amazon shipping

That's right, Amazon.  The online force that's eating everything launched a new program last week that helps people in the United States start their own businesses delivering Amazon packages.

Hmm.  More on the Program from USA Today:

Amazon wants you to deliver its packages for them.

The online retailer launched a new program this week that helps people in the United States start their own businesses delivering Amazon packages. The move gives Amazon another way to ship its packages to shoppers besides relying on UPS, FedEx and other package delivery services.

Amazon.com Inc. says startup costs begin at $10,000, and the businesses created under the program would operate 20 to 40 vans and employ between 40 and 100 people.

Here's what else to know:

WHO IT'S FOR: Amazon says those with little or no logistics experience can apply. And existing package delivery businesses can sign up, too. If they are approved to join the program, Amazon says those businesses can continue to deliver packages for other companies.

HOW DOES IT WORK: Those interested first need to apply at its website,logistics.amazon.com. The company will vet applicants and figure out if they're the right fit. There's also three weeks of training, including a trip to Amazon headquarters in Seattle, which you'll pay for as part of the startup costs. At the training, Amazon says you'll learn about its shipping operations and spend time in the field with an existing delivery provider.

WHAT AMAZON PROVIDES: Amazon says it will offer support to the businesses, including discounts on insurance, technology and other services. Amazon-branded vans will be available to lease and Amazon-branded uniforms can be bought for drivers. But keep in mind that those vans can only be used to deliver Amazon packages.

WHAT TO KNOW: The new business would be responsible for hiring staff, and Amazon would be the customer, paying for the deliveries.

WHERE DO I HAVE TO BE LOCATED?: Amazon says opportunities are available near its 75 delivery stations across the country. A map is available at logistics.amazon.com./marketing/getting-started.

What I love about this for the right type of HR pro is what I have already described.  Many of you are great at the hustle it takes to get a business staffed up, dealing with employee relations issues of all types and generally grinding out the workday through the at times dirty business of people. 

What I hate about this opportunity for HR pros is that as good as you would be at this, the Achilles heel for most of you/us - sales - would ultimately come back to haunt you. 

Amazon is setting people who can't sell up for failure.

Amazon has the demand.  They need you to start this business.

They need you to contribute to the gig economy.  Not by being a gig employee, but by being an employer of gig employees.

No co-employment issues on their part.  You take those!  

Pricing power belongs to... not you - Amazon.  You get selected for the program, start your business and then the inevitable happens.  Amazon has a variety of partners, and you'll be asked to take a reduced price for delivery at some point.  Your margins and profitability will fall until - you guessed it - it no longer makes sense for you to run your (Amazon) Delivery Business.

Because you aren't a salesperson, you don't have a lot of revenue options and as it turns out - you're contributed to the further destabilization of the American workforce by creating a company that has jobs - but they're on-demand, gig economy jobs.

Meh.  Maybe you should just stay in HR.

To date, Amazon has largely steered clear of the criticism heaped upon WalMart related to destroying the traditional economy.  

That feels like it's about to change.  Mommas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys resistant/stupid when it comes to macroeconomic change.


CAPITALIST DEFINITIONS: "Renegade Demo"

From a meeting with a client last week:

Renegade Demo (ˈrenəˌɡād/ˈdemō) - The time when you walk by an office or your cube as a leader in your company and realized your growth has outpaced your ability to properly train new hires at your company, especially those charged with evangelizing your product.

In use: "Damn, it happened again.  I popped into a call the new guy Bill was having with a prospect and his positioning of what we do was all ####ed up. It was another renegade demo. He has no clue and it's probably not his fault. We've got to get our arms around this quick."

There are worse things than growth - like going out of business.  But most companies who go through a growth spurt experience an inflection point when renegade demos are alive and well.  It doesn't have to be a sales position - it can be anyone who interfaces with the customer or prospects. What you used to communicate through small office conversations and personal onboarding is now left unsaid/undone.  You've reached the point in your growth where you can no longer do things the way you did when you were a team of <insert FTE count here> people, and as a result, there's a gap in knowledge and ability to pitch.

Enter the Renegade Demo.

The solution? Stop what you're doing and figure out how you're going to institutionalize the knowledge in your head via an increased commitment to positioning, documentation and yes, training.  You probably need to block out a couple of days this week and get your game together.

You know - like the grown up companies and leaders do. 

 


Do You Know Someone Who Leads By Management Book-of-the-Month Club?

I was up over at Fistful of Talent earlier this week talking about the good faith practice of Management By Best-Selling Leadership Book.

Do you have a friend that fits this profile?  Have you staged an intervention?

Head over to my post at FOT to learn more.  Friends don't let friends buy a copy of a best selling book for everyone on their team....  Click here to get the post!

 


5 Reasons I'm Bullish On America...

Seems like it's been a rough year in America.  The economy is still going, but things have never felt more divisive - which obviously spills over into the workplace, thus the post on something you thought had nothing to do with HR... 

I'm writing this on 7/3, getting ready for July 4th in the states.  Note that I'm hardcore moderate that thinks both polar extremes politically in the states are 100% crazy.

Here's 5 reasons I'm still bullish on America, with some HR/management thoughts embedded within: Yikes

1--We live in a country where you can actually tell the leader to "F off" directly to him/her via his social account.  No judgement of the sides here.  I just think it's interesting that our society/constitution allows for that and people aren't afraid to do it.  Try that in Istanbul or Cairo these days, friends.

I probably don't agree with the decision to tell a leader to F-off publicly.  But I'll support your right to do it until the day I die.  Side note - don't try this approach with a leader in your company.  Like the Dixie Chicks in the early 2000's, you'll find out that your right to free speech is protected, but the free market can and will remove you from corporate consideration.

2--We have a history of being disagreeable and moving for change.  It's a long history and I could list the problems America has had through the years - but you're aware of the history.  Instead, I'm going to focus on what actually happens over time in America.  People are vocal, critical mass is formed and change happens.  Just look at America's path to course correct regarding Equal Rights across all Title 7 classes and the extension of those rights beyond Title 7.  It's easy to say it took too long - and it did - but just grab a live look in at St. Petersburg, Tabriz or Shenzhen for perspective.  Also noted that it remains a work in process.

3--America is still the premiere melting pot of the world.  When I look around at the world my sons live in, I'm happy and proud that their world is defined by meritocracy more than mine was growing up.  They see race, national origin and gender less than our generation did, and are accepting of people who don't look like them totally kicking a## in various walks of life.  Also, whatever your definition of America is, second generations to the states become more much more assimilated into our country than is seen in many European countries.  Why?  America.

4--There's still a role for moderates in America.  If you're not feeling the polar extremes of either political party here, it's OK.  While the polar extremes are less tolerant than ever of your willingness to commit, you've become the swing voter block that drives both sides crazy.  You're also probably uniquely qualified to manage people as you've learned to see different points of view and co-exist with the highest % of people.

5 - AMERICA ALWAYS COURSE CORRECTS.  We've had a lot of dark times in our country and we've made some questionable decisions.  What I love about America is that WE ALWAYS THROW THE BUMS OUT.  Every. Single. Time.  To be fair, points #1 and #2 have a lot to with that.  So be active, shoot your shot and trust the process.  If you don't like how things are going in the USA - all you have to do is wait - we are junkies for change and can't accept too much of a single point of view. (side note - the picture in this post is my 4th of July t-shirt)

Happy Birthday America.  You're imperfect, dysfunctional at times and a loud, drunk roommate.

But you're still the best thing going.  See you at the cookout.


Dice 2018 Tech Salary Report: Are Tech Wages Really Flat?

One of the best salary surveys that you will find from a vendor is the Dice Tech Salary Report.  See the 2018 version - released last week - by clicking here.

We're in a peak economic cycle, so surprisingly, the report finds that average tech salaries are flat, and have been for a couple of years now.  For many of you, it doesn't feel like tech wages are flat, does it?  (note, email subscribers enable images or click through to see graphs).  Here's your chart of average tech wages:

Dice1

But the survey confirms what we all know below.  If you want to steal a tech talent of ever average happiness from another employer, the most important thing is still MORE MONEY (see survey responses about what's most important to tech talent when changing employer below.  It's not the juice bar or your "culture"):

Dice2

But of course, the average for all tech skills isn't 93K, now is it?  Here's your top 10 paying skills/languages below, count how many you had ever heard of before for fun.  I got to 7, and note that just because these are the top paying doesn't mean that candidate volume is high.  

Dice3

Finally, the Dice survey confirms what we probably already knew - the best way for a tech guy/gal to get paid more is to <shudder> manage people.  Like sports, that probably means the people in your development shop that get paid the most aren't the people with the best coding skills, they're the people willing to put up with all the bull** from people and attempt to find the best path forward related to all the personalities.  Biggest jump in the graph below isn't to simply lead a team, it's to be a manager for a group of teams in a bigger development shop.  Note the jump from that level to being in charge of the whole thing isn't much.  I'd chalk that up to the fact that being a "head of department" in a smaller tech shop is the same thing as being a "manager of a group of teams.

Dice4

Great data here by Dice, put together from direct responses from over 10,000 tech pros.  See the whole report - released last week - by clicking here.

Raise your hand if you feel like wages are flat.  LOL.  I trust the data, but all pain is local, right?


AT WORK IN THE WORLD CUP: If You Have More Than One Name, You Must Suck...

Was watching the first weekend of the World Cup and because I happened upon Brazil's first match with the Swiss team, I had two workplace talent observations:

1--Asking Brazilians to complete I-9's would be full of problems, and 

2--If you're a soccer player from Brazil and have more than one name, you must suck.

The observations, of course, are due to the trend of Brazilian players to go by one name.  No first name/last name, just one name.  And because they are from Brazil, the names sound cooler than what most American/England/Swiss players would go by.  Here are the lineups for that Brazil/Swiss game, Brazil's on top.  Note the lack of first initials (email subscribers click through if you don't see the image below), analysis of the names after the jump:

Brazil

I figured their was something cultural behind the naming conventions, so I did a little research and found the cleanest description over at USA Today.  More on the Brazilian naming conventions:

“Brazilian football is an international advert for the cordiality of Brazilian life because of its players’ names,” British journalist Alex Bellos wrote in his book, Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life. “Calling someone by their first name is a demonstration of intimacy — calling someone by their nickname more so.”

Formerly a colony of Portugal, Brazil largely uses Portuguese naming conventions, which often gives people four names: their given name - which is often two to include a saint's name and/or a preposition (da, das, do, dos or de); the mother’s last name; and then the father’s last name.

"We don't use the last names," said Lyris Wiedemann, a native of Porto Alegre and currently the coordinator of the Portuguese Language Program at Stanford. "It reflects a trait in the culture that's more personalized. We care about the person, and the person is not the family name. It's who they are."

BUT WAIT.  There can be some ego or pop culture involved after all.  The article continues:

Other times, it’s simply a nickname that sticks.

Brazilian soccer player Givanildo Vieira de Sousa – known as Hulk – says he enjoyed comic books as a kid and his father began to call him “Hulk.”

As the youngest in his family and group of friends, basketball player Maybyner Rodney Hilário was called "Nene" as a child, Portuguese for "baby." He legally changed his name to Nene in 2003.

Another soccer player, Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, is believed to have gotten his nickname “Kaka” because it was as close as his brother could get to saying “Ricardo.”

So be sensitive to the cultural realities when you make fun of the Brazilian players for single names, but feel free to question whether Kaka or Hulk are real names in the 4-word naming convention.

And Kaka, if you ever come to work at my company, you're going to have to produce some ID for the I-9.  

As far as my leanings in the USA-free World Cup, viva El Tri.


The Self Driving Car Industry Illustrates The Reality of Today's Non-Compete Agreement...

A lot of people will tell you that non-competes aren't enforceable.  My experience with them says that the company with the most leverage/biggest checkbook can inflict a lot of financial pain on a smaller competitor that poaches talent (when there's a signed non-compete in play_.

The rules as I see them:

1.  Bigger companies can afford to write checks to enforce a non-compete when a much smaller competitor steals talent from them.

2.  Smaller companies can't do much to big companies who steal talent (where the past employee of smaller company had a signed non-compete).  They're basically starting a battle they can't afford.

3. Big company vs big company is more complex. Both have resources, so the considerations are more strategic - things like influencing others to not challenge non-competes comes into play, IP considerations, etc.

My experience is the biggest checkbook wins.  That means that while the non-complete may not be enforceable, there's still a leveraged play to be made to inflict pain or play strategic games.

But if you're interested in the actual legal merits of non-completes, movement in the self-driving car industry tells you they are DOA.  More from Tech Times:

"Apple is beginning to acquire high-profile employees to help develop its self-driving software project, which reports say is already behind schedule at this point.

The Information reports that Apple has hired Jaime Waydo, who previously worked as a senior engineer at Waymo and was involved in the development of one of NASA's Mars rovers. An Apple spokesperson has since confirmed the hiring but didn't reveal what she would be working on inside the company.

Waydo, who served as head of systems engineering at Waymo, is described by her colleagues as "instrumental," according to the report. She led safety verification for the company's prototypes and delivered input on when it was safe to launch on-the-road tests in Phoenix back in 2016. It's safe to assume she'll do similar work in Apple's turf." No driver

Think about that for a second.  An industry with max innovation going on allows creators to move between companies.  If that doesn't tell you that non-competes are dead (see my rules, you can still inflict pain, but we're talking here about the legal merits), nothing will.

Part of that is likely due to the fact that in the PRoC (People's Republic of California), non-competes face such a hostile legal environment that companies don't even try.

Which brings us to the the 4th rule of non-competes to add to my 3 rules at the top of this post:

4. The new way to enforce TAFNAANC (the agreement formerly known as a non-complete) is to make employees sign hardcore Intellectual Property (IP) agreements, with strong provisions not to transfer IP or infringe on IP created at your company.

How do you do that?  I don't know, but look no further than the alleged theft of trade secrets by a former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski—and the alleged use of those secrets by Uber—which was at the center of Waymo’s lawsuit last year vs Uber.  

It wasn't a non-complete that crushed Uber, it was the allegation that Levandowski used trade secrets at Uber developed at Google/Waymo.

For a lot of you reading this, you're thinking this is all a little bit deep when it comes to how you should consider non-competes - and you're right.  Continue to have narrowly drawn non-competes signed by sales pros and others that make sense if legal in your state.  They are a barrier people have to think about.

But if your product is IP heavy, consider re-looking at your IP agreements people sign when they come info the company.

Oh yeah - then put some golden handcuffs on people in the form of LTIPs so they have to think twice about leaving money on the table before leaving.  LOL.

Good luck!

  


Asians FTW: The 2018 Google Diversity Report...

The latest Google Diversity report is out.  The baseline is this - female, black and latino numbers still struggling, both in the overall workforce and in management ranks.

But Asians?  Doing just fine, thank you very much.

For context, I thought I'd start with how the overall numbers match up from 2014 to 2018 (email subscribers, click through to site for charts, you'll want to see these):

Here's the 2014 chart:

Google2014

Here's the 2018 chart:

2018

The downside - little progress overall in black, latino and women representation at the company.

But the upside - and if you're going to knock them for the downside you have to note this - is that Google is significantly less white than it was 4 years ago.

It just so happens that Asians took the majority of those gains.  So while work still needs to happen in the aforementioned classes, I'm always a little shocked that companies like Google don't get more props for their workforce representation of Asians.

If I react to anything in those numbers, it's this.  Daaaaaaaamn - Asians are kicking some ass.  For real.  If careers at Google are what you want for your kids, we probably need to take a look at the various nationalities that comprise the Asian category (a very broad catagory that includes Indian Continent as well as Pacific Rim) and figure out what they are doing right - even in American schools - to prep their kids for this type of work.  My kids are smart and actually decent at Math and Science, in advanced classes, but there's a couple of Asian kids that are the Michael Jordan and Larry Bird (threw in a white guy for balance - did you catch that?) of math at their school.

My kid was on the college bowl team for the stuff that didn't involve Math.  When a math question came up, all the other kids took their hand off the buzzer and just looked at the Asian kid I'll call "MJ" - as to say, "you've got this one MJ - we'll be over here reading TMZ if you need us to sharpen your pencil."

MJ's going to work at Google.  His family doesn't need Google to do anything to get him there.

I'm looking at the Google diversity numbers and resisting the urge to wag the finger.  Keep on crushing product and eroding overall privacy, G-town.  I'll give you a golf clap for the good faith efforts to build more diverse math and science pipeline, but then give a knowing nod to the people who are really crushing it in those numbers - the many nationalities that comprise the fictional, yet powerful, EEO category of "Asian".