Tuesday, February 5, 2013

WSJ Article: How to Fire Someone

Here is an article anyone who needs to terminate an employee should take a look at:  The Best Ways to Fire Somebody 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Where's WineTalent: Europa Europa 2012

Happy to be home after a great trip to Europe.  Thought I'd get your help figuring out where some of these photos were taken.  Help me please!

First up, I had a layover in a wonderful city.  I was jubilant to arrive in June, and went back through in Olympic time in July.  The weather was wonderful--something they are hoping will return soon.  My hotel was right next to the future beach volleyball site--and a very verdant park.  Where was I?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Employer Alert: Brinker Decision

If you have hourly employees and are a California employer, take note of today's California Supreme Court decision.  Today the court announced it's decision on an employer's obligation to provide hourly employees a meal break.  Please visit Cook Brown's website for a full explanation of this issue.  Here is a brief excerpt from their announcement:

On Thursday, April 12, 2012, the California Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision on key issues confronting California’s employers – the extent of the obligation to provide nonexempt employees a duty free meal period, when such meal periods are required, and when rest periods must be allowed.

In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar, the Court held that an employer’s duty under Labor Code Section 512 is to “provide” a duty-free meal break every five hours. This obligation is satisfied if the employer relieves employees of all duty, relinquishes control over their activities and permits them a reasonable opportunity to take an uninterrupted 30 minute break. This means that although employers cannot impede or discourage employees from taking meal period breaks, employers are not required to compel employees to take them.

Not all employers are subject to Labor Code 512, which expressly excludes employees in specified industries and those subject to certain collective bargaining agreements. However, the holding is a critical one for the majority of California’s employers because of the prior uncertainty regarding the extent of the meal period obligation. The open questions which have increased litigation in the past several years – with each side gambling on an interpretation in its favor – are now resolved.

This is an important decision that clears up any previous ambiguity about an employer's responsibility in providing breaks for their employees. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Review: The Rare Find

The Rare Find:  Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else by George Anders.  This book was recommended on a few websites, and anything about talent is a must read for WineTalent--so I dove into the book this fall.  This book studies the different ways successful companies screen potential candidates and also outlines some helpful recruiting tips.  I think this is a great book for every Human Resources professional to read and use to find exceptional employees for their organizations. 

This book studies how large, public entities screen for talent, as well as small upstarts.  The recruiters who specialize in finding soldiers for the elite Special Forces group explained the rigorous physical and mental testing they do to find individuals who have what it takes to be a Green Beret.  There is also a section about how the University of Utah Professor David Evans found top-notch computer programmers who had anything but stellar work and education histories.  With Dr. Evan's ability to see what really stimulated these young programmers he established an exceptional computer engineering program and mentored students that went on to make major contributions in computing. 

George Anders also describes how leading hospitals find surgeons, how major league sports teams find their next star players and how music executives find their next superstar.  Facebook's talent acquisition is studied, as is Teach for America's system detailed.  Some of these recruiting strategies are quite inventive, while others use traditional systems to understand candidates in new ways. 

This book was very good at outlining how successful companies develop talent acquisition models, how they adapt ones that aren't working, and some things that you and I can do during our recruiting.  Now when I'm screening resumes I'm looking for jagged ones--and then investigating what happened to cause those irregularities.  My long-time interest in looking at those extracurricular items added to resumes was also encouraged in this book--saying that it allows you to see other dimensions to a candidate's personality.  Earlier this week an Olympic track athlete's resume was in my inbox.  I had a different view of that person than if I hadn't seen that. 

If you are in the talent acquisition and management field, this book is definitely worth reading, and putting to work.  If you don't, I will!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Employers: Fear the Beer (or Wine) Truck

Buddy Young is a stellar employee.  He works in wine sales and has great rapport with his clients, his coworkers and his boss.  He outperforms his peers, and wins the President's Club award every year.  Buddy has been loyal to his company for ten years, and isn't interested in leaving to work for a competitor.  To an employer, Buddy Young is about as good as it gets.  So what happens if that Budweiser truck or Young's market delivery truck T-bones Buddy's car, sending him to the emergency room and causing him to suffer amnesia during the OND sales period?  Your company might just be in trouble.

Back in the day I worked for a large recruiting company.  We had tons of Buddy's doing extremely well for the company.  They were the reason the company was successful in so many markets.  But some of these people embraced the database and others couldn't be bothered with data input and upkeep.  My old boss, and now good friend, would always say that we had to "Fear the Beer Truck".  This meant that our company was doing well as long as those employees did their job, but that we were in big trouble if they ever left.  All the client information; including names, locations, past buying history, pricing plans and forecasting was often locked up in the employees' brains.  If Buddy left the company, or was hit by the beer truck, we wouldn't have any clue what was going on with his work.

Now at the old company we also had Rock Star, who was the most productive employee.  Rock had great rapport with his clients, and also worked the database like no one's business.  He put personal information, past visits, as well as all feedback and planning information into the database.  He could quickly manipulate that computer system to get updates, forecasts and call lists for sales blitzes.  He was always two steps ahead, and had the income to prove it.  But luckily for everyone, he put his data in the computer.

When Rock Star left the company, the company had all the data at their fingertips, and could keep the business moving forward.  They knew what clients were being called on, what their buying patterns were, and what pricing they were receiving.  For the company, they were able to carry on in a professional manner when Rock Star was gone.

Oh good, the company can carry on.  That will equal success right?  Well it is better than having no clue what was going on.  And I think it can often allow you to make the company look proficient and trusted when a employee leaves.  But success does not lie in data alone.  I put a great deal of stock in those personal relationships our employees foster.   No amount of data can outweigh a well connected salesperson, and no database can independently come up with a new angle to help our clients deal with a problem. 

So how can you attract and retain top talent and ensure the company will benefit?  I think a commitment to our employees is the first step.  Making the company valuable for the employee to work at and promote to others is paramount to getting those Rock Stars to join your company.  Once you have your Rock Star and Buddy Young on board, you need to build a culture that encourages the personal touch while capturing important data.  Along those same lines, a company needs to have an overlying culture that creates a company identity that envelops and enhances the individuals' contributions.

Creating great companies is a complex proposition.  But creating a strategy to avoid "fearing the beer truck" is a key piece of the puzzle.  Work to compliment your employees' talents with a usable reporting system.   You have to have very simple-to-use systems that your employees will get valuable information out of.  Our friend Rock Star was able to put his data into a finely-tuned computer program that let him continue making sales and making money.  So of course he used it.  Now Buddy Young was keen on getting his data into a useful system, but his company's technology was old and antiquated.  Why would he sit and put information in if it isn't going to help him make more money and keep his place as top salesperson?  He isn't going to.  He's going to be out on the road making calls, selling wine and making money.  So my recommendation to employers is to get great computer systems in place, foster the smart use of them, and recognize your employees who use the systems to their advantage.  Their advantage turns out to be the company's as well, and a puzzle piece that equals success.  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

2011 Salary Review Published

The October issue of the Wine Business Monthly has the annual salary review for wine industry jobs.  Go to www.winebusiness.com to find out how to pick up the latest issue.  Past salary reviews are available online, and the recent one will be available in coming months.  And a perk, I was quoted in the 2011 copy--so you can learn what I and other recruiters have to say about the wine job market.  Overall salaries have increased this year and it seems like companies are hiring again.