Happy (Almost) New Year everybody.  And welcome to the last podcast of 2014.  Coming soon - a new year, new resolutions, and hopefully some new inspiration to drive us all to do some great stuff at work.  In this podcast, I'm chatting with William Tincup, Principal Analyst at Key Interval.  William started Key Interval this year to provide HR professionals with "disciplined, pragmatic research to help practitioners separate fact from anecdote."

William has been working with HR pros and the people who sell to them for many years. This gives him a unique perspective on today's topic - that is how marketing and HR could work together to create cohesion between organizational and employee branding.  Your brand is your promise of value - to customers and employees.  More importantly, your brand reputation is the sum of all the interactions that customers and employees have with you.  What are you doing to burnish that brand?

Listen to the podcast below for our take on these questions, among others:

Relevant Links:

William Tincup - Is a Chief Brand Officer Necessary?

Podcast with David Creelman on how big data can enhance HR practices






Yesterday I chatted with our board members David Creelman and William Tincup about what organizations need to do to create HR analytics that matter to the business.  Big Data is one of the linchpins of the big 4 SMAC themes in technology today: Social-Mobile-Analytics-Cloud.  Deployed alone and in various combinations, these technologies continue to transform the way work gets done. For many people,  harnessing the power of big data remains a new frontier.  In this podcast, David and William share their thoughts on some of the following questions:

You can listen to our conversation here:

What have you done to embed more data-driven decision making into your organization?

Today's guest post comes from our board member, William Tincup.  William is a champion for customer-centricity in the human capital software space.  He challenges vendors like us to do well by doing better for customers.  At Kronos, we make significant investments in building solid products and providing the right services to help customers deploy and use those products. More importantly, we ask all of our employees to put customers at the center of their efforts.  We listen and learn from our customers every day - and we grow better as a result.

To William's point, what our customers say about us in the market is far more important that what we say about ourselves - as many businesses have learned the hard way on opinion sites like Yelp, Consumer reports, Angie's List, etc.  What are some of your vendor relationship highs and lows?

They say that the three prongs to building a sustainable business are: (1) repeatable processes; (2) recurring revenue; and (3) referenceable customers. These are affectionately known as the three R's.

  1. Is obvious to most operations folks
  2. Is obvious to most financial folks
  3. Should be obvious to everyone but in actuality it isn't

Great customers should fit you like a glove. Like any relationship where things are just natural. They don't look for ways to make your life harder and you don't look for ways to bilk them. Great customers should push you... and you should push them back.  The relationship you have with great customers is one built on the pillars of: communication, trust and respect. Without these three things you don't have a great customer relationship. It might be good... but it isn't great. Hell, it might even be terrible.

So how do we work with only great customers? Easy. We need to know the difference between a loving relationship and one that is devoid of love. We need NOT take on business that is outside our core values or worse... business that is in direct conflict with the pillars stated above.

What I'm asking you to do is simple: Say “no” more often. Say “no” to prospects that exhibit behaviors that are inconsistent with how you aspire to be treated. Don't rush to get in bed with someone who will eventually rip your heart out and/or create cancer within your company.

When you find a customer who has the potential to be a great customer, go deep. Be vulnerable. Be more transparent. Stop looking at the proposal and/or contract and really listen to their needs. Then, under-promise and over-deliver.  Keenly manage expectations - always.  And, focus them and yourself on relentless and clear communication, and bulletproof trust and respect at all times and in all ways.

Also, more often than not we tend to over-emphasize planning. Truth is... things happen. And that is life in the big city. What we should focus on is how we respond when things happen rather than focusing on 9000 potential ways that things could happen.  Character is born out of how you respond to adversity.  True in life, true when building great customer relationships.

Lastly, businesses fail for a number of reasons, but I believe more than any other single reason businesses fail because they are doing business with people who pay them BUT don't love them. Money in this instance is just a sad veneer. The good stuff is on the inside: customer love, where you love them and they love you right back.

Today's guest post is courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby, better known as the HR Bartender. Sharlyn, William Tincup and I recently published this podcast about the growth of mobile devices in workforce management. In today's post, Sharlyn expands on her recommendations to organizational leaders who are considering the adoption of mobile devices.  Read on and let us know - are there other factors to be considered?

According to mobiThinking, cellular subscriptions worldwide are at 6 billion. Yes, that's billion. Companies are making significant revenue from mobile devices. Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, was quoted saying that “customers around the word have ordered more than $1billion USD of products from Amazon using a mobile device.” eBay has seen people purchase more than $5 billion in goods using their mobile. PayPal - $7 billion.

When that much money is changing hands over mobile devices, marketing departments take notice. And human resources needs to realize that attempts to ban mobile device usage in the workplace could be met with a whole lot of resistance. Perhaps for good reason. So maybe it's time to consider drafting some guidelines on the responsible use of mobile devices in the workplace.  If you do, here are a handful of things to consider:

Ownership: From a company perspective, it sounds wonderful to have employees own their equipment. The concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has its benefits. But it also raises some questions about who is financially responsible for equipment maintenance and what happens if the equipment is lost or stolen. Another consideration if employees are expected to use their own equipment, is what are defined reimbursable and non-reimbursable expenses when it comes to home wireless routers, aircards, apps, etc?

Compatibility: The great part of allowing employees to use their own equipment is they know how to use it. This translates into greater productivity. The challenge internally becomes how to make sure all these different devices are compatible with existing company systems. Businesses might not be gaining any advantages if they have to create lots of workarounds to accommodate different devices.

Network Access: Employees need to know what information they can access and from where. There will be information that's acceptable to access on public WiFi and other data that should not. Define the protocols for proper WiFi access.

Security: Training should be conducted to remind employees about confidential and proprietary information. Maybe certain types of work cannot be done in public places, such as coffee shops.  Along with basic technology security like how to create good passwords.

Terms and Agreements: Outlining the procedure for an employee resignation, termination or layoff on the front end can avoid confusion and misunderstandings later. Discuss the consequences when an employee violates the mobile guidelines. Is the company prepared to revoke the privilege if the policy is abused multiple times? Would the organization ever fire someone over egregious abuse of using a mobile device for work?

Keep in mind that any policy should be driven by your corporate culture and organizational goals. There are lots of right answers when it comes to using mobile devices at work. Discussing the options will create a better outcome. Be prepared to think of everything - even if you hope it won't happen.

I know in human resources we're often accused of creating too many policies. But giving employees some valuable guidance on the best way to use their mobile devices will help both the employee and the company. This is one of those times when it's best to share what “should be done” versus “what not to do”.

Should organizations give employees mobile device guidelines?  If so, is there anything else you would add to the list?

Last week, I spoke with our board members Sharlyn Lauby (aka the HR Bartender) and William Tincup (so many aliases, I don't know where to start) about the future of mobile workforce management.  At Kronos, we've invested in smartphone and tablet solutions that enable managers and employees to take action on common tasks like punching in and out, scheduling shifts, approving  timecards, and the like.  Frontline managers are thereby freed to "manage in the moment" while going about their daily routines, untethered from their office computers.

We're seeing rapid adoption of mobile technologies at Kronos and in the world at large.  As consumers become more wedded to the conveniences of mobile devices for communication and entertainment, they increasingly expect to experience similar conveniences in the workplace.

We talked about the following questions that are top of mind for organizations using (or thinking about using) mobile technology to extend their workforce management environment:

You can listen in on our discussion here:

Are you using mobile technology on the job?  What are the pros and cons?

Our board member William Tincup contributed today's post.   Read the post, think about a complex issue in your (work) life and ask yourself, am I looking for the easy solution or the best solution?

What we do is hard. Really HARD in fact.

Human beings are complex. Work is complex. Software is complex. Everything is complex.

So, why do we gravitate towards simplistic solutions to complex problems? Why can't we acknowledge that complexity is NOT the bane of our existence but rather nectar that makes our civilization great?

Take the popularized concepts of "big data" and/or "the cloud" and you'll notice a majority of the language is about how simple it is. Don't trust that. In fact, in both cases, we haven't even begun to unravel the outer layers of complexities.

The thing is, we have to embrace complexity. We need to force those around us to also embrace complexity. Truth is, we'll get to our desired destination by understanding complexity rather than avoiding it.  Solving big problems or capitalizing on big opportunities generally involves hard work.

So, when folks use keywords like: fast, easy, cheap, simple, etc... an alarm should go off in your mind.  Most things are marketed using terms like this but end up not being that way.

I know what you're thinking: William, some things are indeed simple. I know, I know. Some things are, but most are NOT. The love I have for my sons is unconditional. Pretty simple. Yet talk to any parent that has grown up children and they'd tell you: my unconditional love was tested once or twice. Things can be simple, but when it comes to HR, workplace, employees, software, etc... nothing is simple. Nothing.

And it is about time that we, we as in ALL of us, recognize that fact. Time for us to put on our grown up pants, time for us to embrace complexity, time for us to stop looking for shortcuts.  Embrace complexity.

I heart complexity. Say it at the beginning of the day AND at the end of the day for a week. I promise -  it will change your outlook.

I had a good chat with William Tincup today on DriveThru HR Radio today.  We talked about what's new at Kronos (lots of Cloud).  With HR Tech and KronosWorks on the horizon, it's a  busy time of year for us.  Given how much time I've spent at industry conferences, I shared some insider information about what we vendors hope to get out of these shows.  You might also want to check out these tips from Naomi Bloom about how to make the most of your time at these events.

If you want to learn more about the hairdo part of this post, you'll have to listen in here:


Listen to internet radio with Wempen and Tincup on Blog Talk Radio

Our board member, William Tincup, frequently has a provocative point of view about the human resource issues of the day.  Here he takes on "the Cloud" and specifically, how potential buyers of technology need to evaluate whether cloud solutions are right for them.

When my smart phone doesn't work I'm sure the random Verizon mall employee, ahem professional, could explain why the network failed me, or why the device I'm using is out-of-date, or why the applications I downloaded are burning up my phone, etc.  I would listen to any and all explanations, maybe even understand some of the cell gibberish, but at the end of the day: I just want my phone to work.  After all, I'm a simple man.

When my new Mini Cooper doesn't start I'm sure the expert mechanics at my local dealership could explain that the summer heat in Texas is making the sensors in my tires light up like Christmas trees, or why they really prefer super unleaded gas in the car at ALL times, or why driving 110 mph with the sun roof open affects my average gas mileage, etc.  I would listen to any and all explanations, maybe even understand some of the new car ownership gibberish, but at the end of the day: I just want my car to work the way I want it to work.

When my fancy digital cable TV doesn't work. I'm sure Larry the Cable Guy could explain why network outages in my neighborhood are rare but they do happen, or that I have an older model receiver box thingy, or that the DVR box needs to be "on" all the time, etc.  I would listen to any and all explanations, maybe even understand some of what Larry is telling me, but at the end of the day: I just want my TV to work.  The thing is humungous... people from Mars can see my TV... that said, I just want the damn thing to work all the time, every single time.

We've come to expect technology to just work.  And work all the time.  As a society, we're getting really greedy in our zest for having it our way.  Meaning, the tech in our lives has to fit around our particular needs.  Which brings me to our collective fascination with the cloud.  Before we all fall madly in love with the cloud - and I feel that we should fall in love with the cloud - we need to stop and remember: It has to work. It has to work for us personally, professionally, via our workflow, via our workforce, in our businesses, etc.  Work for US.

I think some software companies want to focus too much on how the technology is delivered and NOT enough on how their technology would work within a particular work culture.  In my humble opinion, there is too much hype around SaaS and/or the Cloud.  I think the buyers and users of technology need to really think deep about what works best in their organization.  Because, and I'll stick by this: It has to work.  Which might be a cloud solution, or it might not.

At Kronos, we are seeing rapid growth in the adoption of our Cloud solutions among our customers.  We offer multiple options because to William's point and like the pictures above, the right Cloud for one organization isn't necessarily the best for all.

The following is a guest post from our board member, William Tincup.  I've been having interesting conversations with William for over 5 years.   Whether I've agreed with what he was saying or not, he always makes me challenge my assumptions.

Like most parents, my parents cared deeply about who I hung around with when I was growing up.  You know the drill: Who was a supposedly “good influence” versus those who were a “bad influence.”  I really didn't pay much attention to their warnings. Sometimes I would hang out with guys that I knew were bad for me, sometimes I hung with guys that I knew would be a good influence on me. Sometimes, I was the bad influence. More often than not, I was perceived by adults and kids as the guy to stay away from. In some ways, I encourage that perception. And it didn't help matters that I did and still do make a terrible first impression. Not much has changed in this respect during my 43 years on the blue planet.

What has changed is my appreciation for surrounding myself with voices that are different than mine.  I've rarely been the smartest guy in the room and now, more than ever, I'm comfortable with being the weakest link in the room. Please let me explain and forgive the political references henceforth.

Mass perception of Bill Clinton was that he surrounded himself with "smart" people, folks who may agree or disagree with him, but would logically argue positions - kind of a "best idea" wins environment.  Smart people, smart ideas: bring your A-game and be prepared to argue your points. In this perceived scenario, the President was but a bit player in a much larger ongoing internal debate. It's assumed that he won his fair share of arguments; it is also assumed that people around him convinced him of their ideas.

Okay, probably all kinds of things wrong with the perception versus what really happened behind the veil. I was clearly NOT in the room but I do read the USA Today on a daily basis. <sic>

Now, let's juxtapose that with the perception of George Bush.

The mainstream perception of President Bush is that he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer and that his presidency was mostly run by people other than him. The perception is that he surrounded himself with folks that were like him, people he already had a lot in common with resulting in less internal debate, dialogue, and disagreement.  In sum, a group of people that already had shared values, shared outlooks, shared everything. To the outsider, this might look like cronyism. Suffice to say that if the perception was close to the reality, meetings during the Bush presidency were probably fairly efficient.

I have no idea if either of these perceptions represent what really happened behind closed doors. My guess is that neither perception is totally accurate BUT thinking about these important historical figures provides insight into who I choose to surround myself with and whose counsel I seek.

If you can, stop thinking about your love or hate for either Clinton or Bush for a moment: no more politics.

Please think about your workplace, your environment, your version of your White House and then answer these three questions?

We all make choices in terms of who we filter in and out. We do this by determining what content to consume, what authors to trust, what speakers to listen to, what blogs to read.

We also make choices related to how we build the team around us: How we select the team, interview them, hold meetings, etc, etc, etc.

We consciously surround ourselves with voices. These voices permeate everything we do at work.  So, how do you choose the voices you listen to and by default, don't listen to?

Of course, this has been on my mind for quite some time. So, when I received the call from Joyce in December about my interest in joining the WFI board of advisors, I immediately said hell yes. My reasoning was simple: Every single person that is involved with WFI is smart and passionate about the workforce of tomorrow. And as you look at their bios, you'll notice they are decidedly different than me.  So I get to hang out with smart, passionate, innovative people... um, how fast can I say yes to that?

I believe we are greatly influenced by the voices around us. Maybe my parents were right all along... damn that's hard for me to say...

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