HR Tech News – Sept 2014


  • There as many ways to generate employee engagement as Carter has little liver pills. (Look it up. It’s a saying. An old one but nonetheless.) If you read the press and the blogs everything from humor to humidors can drive engagement, and there is probably a company-generated (but not peer-reviewed or validated) survey to accompany it to “prove” it is the “way.” When it comes to employee engagement there are many Neos… many “the one” ways to do engagement.
  • The problem with pie charts is that they don’t allow the visualization or the possibility of something else, something that is unknown, or undefined. They can only show some measure of allocation of the pieces of a thing that can be identified and named.
  • A fairly comprehensive — and concerning — report on bullying was released by CareerBuilder on Thursday, showing office bullying knows no partiality when it comes to who the victims are. The survey of 3,372 U.S. full-time, private-sector employees, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Chicago-based CareerBuilder, shows 28 percent of respondents have felt bullied at work and 19 percent of them left their jobs because of it.
  • Not only does Rosh Hashanah begin 9/23/2014 at sundown, but my birthday follows immediately thereafter — 9/24/2014 — and it’s a big one.  Not THE BIG ONE, but close enough to remind me that another decade is coming to a close.  With far fewer years  in front of me than those in my rear view mirror, it’s a wise Naomi who takes stock of what I’d like to do/see/experience/learn/change/accomplish/improve/etc. during those years still in front as well of how and with whom I want to spend my increasingly precious time.
  • GreenBiz Group Inc. recently released their 2014 Sustainability & Employee Engagement Report, content generated from responses of more than 5,600 members of the GreenBiz Intelligence Panel (executives and thought leaders in the area of corporate environmental strategy and performance). GreenBiz’s report “examines aspects of corporate environmental and sustainability education initiatives at companies at varying stages of program development and provides a quantitative understanding of the evolution of employee engagement” and notes that while sustainability professionals commonly think of challenges in terms of the physical or fiscal impact of their efforts, the most problematic challenge for this area today may actually be its use of language.
  • I have hated the merit-pay-increase matrix for 25 years. As you likely know, it is the paper form (spreadsheet or compensation application) that companies use to control growth in wages (except for those at the top, of course) and for HR to fulfill its traditional role of treating everyone the same. Ironically, often without regard to merit! You’ve probably done one before. All your direct reports are in the first column, with their salaries in another and (if the apps are properly integrated) their performance-review number in a third. In a fourth column, you give employees  percentage increases in base salaries because of their review number or maybe on how you’re feeling that morning. All your increases must total a company-wide standard: lately, 2 percent or 3 percent or, in some golden past, as high as 5 percent or 7 percent.
  • The recent in-depth examination in the New York Times of coffee mega-chain Starbucks’ scheduling practices and, notably, the impact that advanced or “smart” worker-scheduling technology can have on  employees’ well-being, has been quite eye-opening for many observers who might not be aware of just how powerful these kinds of technology solutions have become. If you have not read the Times piece — and really you should — the salient points, from an HR technologist’s perspective, are that Starbucks’ workforce-scheduling tools are now so proficient in matching demand and supply for labor (essentially, its 130,000 or so baristas) that individual worker’s schedules were often subject to significant variability and last-minute changes, and, as is so well portrayed in the piece, has caused intense and frustrating challenges and demands on a worker’s family and “non-work” life.