I recently learned a great strategy that I can’t wait to share with you.

Employee: Hey Bob. I know you are busy. I just have a few quick questions. A few of us came up with this really great idea for the party.

HR: No.

Employee: Um, well, okay. So, Jim needs me to help him with this thing…

HR: No.

Employee: All right, then, just one more question…

HR: No.

Employee: Come on, you didn’t even give me a chance!

HR: (Smiles gleefully)

———

Let me tell you the secret to human resources: always say no. Whatever people want, just flat out turn them down. The great thing is that pretty soon, you can train them to stop asking for anything and settle for whatever you want to leave them with. They’ll stop bothering you and just get to work.

Clever, huh? Now you, too, can implement this kind of approach to human resources and make your stand for what you believe in.

News flash: if this sounds even remotely appealing to you, you suck and need to get out of HR.

This post was inspired by a recent conversation with an HR leader that was trying to help an employee with a major insurance crisis to cover his critically ill child. The response from one of her peers in HR? “It’s not our job to take care of them.” Ugh. Yes, we’re business leaders, but we’re also people too, darn it. Take care of your people and they’ll take care of you. Disregard, dismiss, or demean them and you will lose the best chance you have at being competitive in the marketplace.

Why is that so hard for some people to grasp?

hiring-1977803_1280Recruitment trends are an ever-evolving concept. As fresh college graduates enter the cutthroat world of seeking for career opportunities, HR leaders must adapt with what they want so as to acquire the best candidates in the living world.

In 2017, the competition is a lot tougher due to the advances in technology and the ubiquity of social marketing. With the workforce becoming more and more progressive, recruitment strategies should be tailored the same way as well. After thorough speculation and analysis, we can expect what recruitment trends will be encountered by HR leaders this 2017. Continue reading

If you missed the news this last week, a pair of researchers have published a report showing that Uber drivers are gaming the system in order to earn more money, reduce pickups, and fight back against what they see as a tyrannical algorithm. Here’s a blurb from PBS:

As University of Warwick researchers Mareike Möhlmann and Ola Henfridsson and Lior Zalmanson of New York University say in their best academese: “We identify a series of mechanisms that drivers use to regain their autonomy when faced with the power asymmetry imposed by algorithmic management, including guessing, resisting, switching and gaming the Uber system.”

Algorithmic management is, of course, the software Uber uses to control its drivers. As Mareike Möhlmann puts it: “Uber uses software algorithms for oversight, governance and to control drivers, who are tracked and their performance constantly evaluated.”

A joint statement from the authors elaborated: “Under constant surveillance through their phones and customer reviews, drivers’ behavior is ranked automatically and any anomalies reported for further review, with automatic bans for not obeying orders or low grades. Drivers receive different commission rates and bonus targets, being left in the dark as to how it is all calculated. Plus drivers believe they are not given rides when they near reaching a bonus.

Small wonder then that, according to Lior Zalmanson, “The drivers have the feeling of working for a system rather than a company, and have little, if any interaction with an actual Uber employee.”

So what are the drivers doing in response? Gaming the system by tricking the algorithm.

The researchers report that drivers organize mass “switch-offs.” The dearth of drivers in a given area then triggers the surge pricing mechanism.

The authors conclude by summarizing their findings, pretty much as formally as they began: “We found that [the drivers] actively tried to regain some of their lost control and sense of autonomy. We reported four observed driver behaviors. We found that drivers tried to guess and make sense of the system’s intentions. They utilized forums such as UberPeople to share these stories and gain social support. In many cases, these stories were echoed by other drivers, creating an urge to act. This resulted in a range of practices to resist the system, by switching to alternative systems and even gaming the system to their advantage.”

While the rest of us aren’t switching out our managers for an algorithm any time soon, it’s important to note some of the key statements in this piece that relate to all of us as employers.

The drivers have the feeling of working for a system rather than a company, and have little, if any interaction with an actual Uber employeePeople want to interact with people. That’s not Uber’s business model, but we’re seeing now yet another strain on the company based on a fundamental fact that humans are social creatures.

When you work for a nameless, faceless system (or algorithm), it becomes much easier to cheat the system and fight back. It’s different if you’re having weekly conversations with real people who care about you and your success. Remember this idea when you’re trying to find out how to connect your remote employees.

We found that [the drivers] actively tried to regain some of their lost control and sense of autonomy. Is it any surprise that workers would like some sense of control or autonomy in their work? It’s a foundational management and leadership premise to provide autonomy to workers, yet Uber tries to treat its drivers like nothing more than the robots that power its algorithm and platform.

Do we really have to have a newsflash that reminds this company that people are, um, people? They have hopes. Dreams. Desires. And they will find a way to get them if they feel like they are not appreciated or supported appropriately.

Drivers receive different commission rates and bonus targets, being left in the dark as to how it is all calculated. Plus drivers believe they are not given rides when they near reaching a bonus. One of the first lessons you learn in HR? Don’t screw with someone’s pay. Whatever you do, be transparent and don’t make people guess about how their compensation works, or you run the risk of creating a black hole of negativity and gossip that will swallow the company whole.

In a previous job a big part of my compensation was a quarterly bonus that my family depended on. It never failed that each and every quarter the deadline for payment would pass, I would raise the question, and eventually it would get paid. But why make me or any other employee have to go through those hoops for that? It makes me wonder if I would have ever been paid ANY of it if I hadn’t brought it to their attention. When it comes to how pay is structured, be clear about the expectations, be transparent about the process, and for goodness’ sake pay people when you say you will.

Okay, that’s enough from me. What are your thoughts on this specific issue or these general issues? Am I on point? Off the mark? 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Enterprise Florida. All opinions are 100% mine.

Within the United States, there is an incredible amount of innovation and value driving local and national economic trends. One of those areas where this is happening in a notable fashion is Florida. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the interesting trends in the state as well as some of the companies that are doing interesting work.

Diverse People and Talent

The pipeline of Florida Talent is incredibly diverse. For instance, the number of technology firms in the state virtually ensures that the working population is going to have relevant, high quality skills.

Another high quality source of talent? The military. A few years ago I hired a team of individuals for an international project and picked a former Air Force pilot from Florida to lead the crew, because there was nobody else as qualified for that leadership role. In addition, universities across the state are pumping out highly educated workers ready to make their mark on the world.

We know that diversity drives business results, according to McKinsey’s research, and Florida clearly has the capability to field a truly diverse workforce.

Powerful University Partnerships

Speaking of universities, the higher education system in Florida is keenly focused on partnering with in-state businesses to ensure that graduates have the necessary skills for success, not just a bunch of outdated knowledge. This is key to driving Florida Innovation across the entire state. For instance, two of those partnerships that are connecting the next generation of students to the groundbreaking innovation happening at two enterprise firms:

  • GE Wind Energy in Pensacola + UWF College of Engineering
  • SAFT in Jacksonville + UNF College of Engineering

The partnerships are incredibly valuable for all parties involved, and it’s clear that this is a core element of success for these firms.

Thriving Hi-Tech Businesses

Finally, the Florida Business sector is full of innovative firms that are leading high profile projects. Some of the names you might recognize:

  • Blue Origin-rocket manufacturing and launch facilities
  • SpaceX-rocket facilities
  • EA Tiburon-video game software development
  • United Launch Alliance-joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin

Additionally, startups are opening in Florida due to the business-friendly tax climate and the availability of talent. For instance, randrr, a recruiting technology firm focused on matching individuals looking for their dream career with companies seeking high-quality talent, moved from another state to open its headquarters in Jacksonville.

Keeping the talent at these firms is a priority, and that’s why the state encourages a high touch focus for employers. From the recruiting and onboarding to the training and development aspects, each step along the way is an opportunity to engage and create a valuable employee experience.

Growth Potential

Not only does the state already have a wide variety of resources and successful enterprises–it’s also poised to grow. For instance, Florida is ranked fourth in the nation for high tech employment opportunities, according to CompTIA. Employers that are looking to expand and grow should consider Florida’s track record and credentials when considering new locations. The video below offers additional insights into the state’s value proposition.

Visit Sponsors Site


ROI. Measurement. Data. Analytics.

Each of these words has the power to strike fear in the hearts of many HR pros, because let’s face it–most of us didn’t get into this profession because we’re awesome at math, right? :-) Seriously though, we can’t deny the power of data and evidence to prove the value HR can provide.

I’ve often said that HR provides plenty of value to the organization in most cases, but HR pros are just really terrible about calculating and proving that value. If that concept resonates with you, then this episode is going to help change all of that.

In this new episode of We’re Only Human with Mary Ila Ward, owner of Horizon Point Consulting, Ben discusses some of the underlying fears that HR has about being measured (hint: measurement isn’t always an indicator of your own personal performance). In addition, we explore three case study examples of how to figure out the ROI of human resources in an easy, step-by-step manner so anyone can grasp the concept.

By the way, if you’re interested in grabbing the slides we mention in the show, feel free to reach out to Mary Ila at miw@horizonpointconsulting.com and she’d be happy to share them with you.

As always, if you’re new or want to revisit some of our previous episodes, be sure to check out the We’re Only Human show archives.

Several years ago I did some really interesting research into what HR hiring managers wanted from candidates applying for entry level HR jobs. I wrote about some of the findings in two ultimate guides:

However, today I’d like to dig deeper into the concepts from the research to help illuminate what we as HR leaders see as valuable in candidates with little to no actual experience working in the field.

Top 5 Characteristics Ranked Most Important by HR Leaders

This graphic shows the data rankings of the top things that HR leaders are looking for from entry level applicants.

how to get into HR (without experience)

Source: upstartHR.com research study

  1. As you can see in the research, HR-relevant skills in a non-HR job are the preferred currency for candidates seeking HR positions. I’ve always called this “doing HR where you are,” because there are aspects of many jobs that are “HR lite” in function, such as training, budgeting, or coaching. Being able to show those skills is the closest many candidates come to being able to prove their HR credibility without actually having demonstrated experience in the field.
  2. The next most valuable piece is HR internship experience. Working as an HR intern can fall on a wide spectrum, from grabbing coffee (waste of time) to shadowing and supporting various facets of the HR team (valuable). It’s possible to differentiate in an interview which experience someone had, but candidates are also struggling to get internships and other opportunities. Some of the internship job postings I’ve seen ask for one to two years of HR experience as qualifications, which is completely backwards for a position that’s supposed to be an entry point into the profession!
  3. Continuing the conversation from the previous point, paid HR experience is the next most requested characteristic from entry level HR candidates. At the same time, this is incredibly challenging to get for many individuals. I even profiled a letter recently from someone that was torn about getting into HR because of the bad reputation our profession has, so there are a lot of moving parts here.
  4. The next item on the list? A degree in HR or a related field. This has some measure of value, because it teaches some of the basics, but it’s also well known that higher education is behind the rest of the corporate world by a fairly significant margin. I talk about that in my post about how to learn HR for free–my degree taught me about 20% of what I need to know to be successful in this profession, and the other 80% came from boots-on-the-ground work and experiential learning.
  5. The last of the top five preferences when hiring entry level HR candidates is a history of networking with HR professionals. From my experience, this helps to diminish some of the unknowns and surprises involved in jumping into a new career track. Additionally, it gives us a chance to do some informal background checking to see what others think of these candidates based on their experiences and interactions. Because HR is so integral to business operations, that kind of informal background checking is a very common activity in this field.

Soon I’ll take another look at the final five items in the top ten list, but in the meantime I’d love to hear from you if you’re trying to get into the profession or if you’re hiring these kinds of individuals. Are these on point? What has been your experience? 

If you’ve read this blog for more than a few days, you know I’m no stranger to the discussion around HR certification. But today I’m going to share some thoughts from a recent conversation with a friend and colleague on why HR certification matters and how to leverage it for career success. It was a fun discussion with Kristina Minyard, who recently completed her own SHRM-SCP exam, about the value of both the HRCI and SHRM certification options. Click here to check out the episode and listen in.

Notes from the podcast

  • Link to the episode
  • Ben celebrates his 10th wedding anniversary and his one year anniversary running Lighthouse Research.
  • Kristina also participated in episode two, Recruiting as a Service.
  • Ben and Kristina talk about why certification matters to them as volunteer leaders, speakers, professionals, and more.
  • Kristina points out why certification is different from education and why it is arguably more important.
  • Ben and Kristina discuss the HRCI vs SHRM options for certification exams.
  • Kristina talks about group vs solo prep and which works best
  • Ben reminds everyone about some of the certification tools available on upstartHR
  • Kristina talks about her recent experience taking and passing the SHRM-SCP exam and her lessons learned

If you enjoyed this show, be sure to check out all the show archives!