CEO Secrets: “My billion pound company has no HR department”
Source: BBC News By Dougal Shaw
Greg Jackson is the founder and CEO of Octopus Energy, a UK start-up valued at more than £1.4bn ($2bn), selling green energy. Despite now having more than 1,200 employees, he says he has no interest in traditional things like human resources (HR) and information technology (IT) departments.
There is a tendency for large companies to “infantilise” their employees and “drown creative people in process and bureaucracy”, says Jackson.
HR and IT departments don’t make employees happier or more productive in his experience, he says.
So he doesn’t have them.
We’ve discussed why Human Resources is unnecessary before. Tom Peters, a management sage of the 1980s, famously said the maximum size of an organization before it begins to fail is 11. He later upped it to 25. Greg Jackson turns even this unconventional wisdom on its head. Jackson has 1,200 employees and his company seems to work well because none are in HR or IT. I wish the article included more details about “how” other employees can handle such tasks.
Can a company with 1,200 employees really operate without HR and IT departments? Are managers and employees really going to learn to do those tasks? How? Can somebody in HR or IT enlighten us? What’s your take?
HiPeople picks up $3M seed to automate reference checks
Source: TechCrunch By Steve O’Hear
HiPeople, an HR tech startup based in Berlin that wants to automate the reference checking process, has raised $3 million in seed funding. HiPeople says the investment will be used to support growth so that more recruiters can hire remotely using automated reference checks.
“Abstractly-speaking HiPeople is in the talent insights business,” say [founders] Gillmann and Schüller. “HiPeople currently solves this by automating candidate reference checks from request, to collection, and analysis. This allows companies to extend the information they have on a candidate without additional manual work”.
As a result, the startup claims that its users on average collect 2x the amount of references on a candidate. “Workflow automation of repetitive processes, and insights on the candidate that go beyond the limitations of the CV, are a clear pain for anybody in recruiting.”
Actually talking to your references is a clear pain for anybody in recruiting. So these guys are going to automate yet one more aspect of recruiting and hiring by eliminating even more human judgment from the process. Because, as HR execs like to say, people are our most important asset!
How does this automation of reference checking affect you, the job seeker? I shudder to guess at how your references will communicate their subtle judgments and comments about you when there’s no conversation, no back-and-forth. But these guys didn’t create this service to benefit you. It’s to enable recruiters to gather 2X the amount of referenceswithout manual work!
So do you have 2X the number of references who will gleefully report to the Robo Reference Checker? (You could always just decline to provide references.)
Is this going to help or hinder you at getting a job offer? Does it mean less work for you? How about your references? What’s your take?
Health equals wealth: The global longevity dividend
Source: International Longevity Centre, UK By Sophia Dimitriadis and Patrick Swain
We’ve become accustomed to our ageing population being presented as a bad thing. Dangerous rhetoric painting older people as disposable has become far too common, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of ageing is portrayed as being overwhelmingly negative for our economy and society. Policy makers are so fixated on the direct costs of ageing that they fail to notice the significant and growing contributions that older people make.
This prevents them from fully realising the social and economic potential of older people – and from appreciating the potential longevity dividend. In countries that spend more in health, older people work, volunteer and spend more. Increasing preventative health spend by just 0.1% can unlock a 9% increase in annual spending by people aged 60+ and an additional 10 hours of volunteering.
In a recent Guest Voices column we learned that 60, 65, and 70+ year-olds can keep getting hired. This brief article from a UK longevity think tank explains why it’s good for companies to hire older workers and why keeping them healthy generates big bucks for nations in the G20. Don’t miss the more detailed report that you can download from the ILC website. Taking care of older workers pays off.
Do healthy older workers pay off in your world? What rhetoric have you encountered about the “costs” of hiring older people? Can you share an example of how aging employees pay off?
My Week of Radical Transparency at a Chinese Business Seminar
Source: Wired By Yiren Lu
After decades of copycat culture, Chinese tech companies like Tencent, Alibaba, and ByteDance, maker of TikTok, are now out-innovating Western ones in mobile payments, ecommerce, and livestreaming.
Today China is 1.4 billion strivers, many of whom juxtapose within themselves tradition and modernity, freedom and duty, obeisance and hustle. The hand of the state is the ever present guiding force. It manages this striving, swaying the direction of industry and prescribing a set of public virtues and narratives.
Huang spent seven years in Paris getting a master’s and PhD in history. One day over lunch, he told me that Chinese society could be divided into three groups—the top 15 percent, the next 30 percent, and the bottom 55 percent, i.e., the masses. Each of these groups understood their respective role—the top groups were to be the “brain” of the country; the bottom, the “body.” In his opinion, this partitioning of responsibilities meant that, unlike in the US, where we are governed by the majority, China’s decisions reflected the thinking of the smartest people and were made in the country’s long-term interest. When I asked whether this meant the top 15 percent would make decisions that benefited only themselves, he seemed unmoved. After all, further enrichment at the top could only happen if the masses were fed, entertained, and sufficiently wealthy to drive domestic consumption.
Software engineer Yiren Lu is a second-generation Chinese American who suggests American entrepreneurs may not have the stomach for honest self-examination that their Chinese counterparts do. Is it possible that China is kicking our ass, and that its secret weapon is the willingness of its leaders to predicate their success on the economic success of the masses? Is this a trade-off Americans once embraced in our own way, and did we redefine freedom to be selfish, self-absorbed and willing to throw others under the bus to get and keep “what’s rightfully ours?”?
Will China kick our ass because they’re better at working “one for all?” Are we too simplistic in discounting China’s successes as the results of crooked dealings and unfair practices? Do you see hints of truth in Lu’s story about China’s economic turnaround and technological (and possibly social) ascendance? What freedoms would you trade for economic success? Can you use any of Lu’s “findings” in your own career?
Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified
Source: Harvard Business Review By Tara Sophia Mohr
You’ve probably heard the following statistic: Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. The finding comes from a Hewlett Packard internal report. I was skeptical, because the times I had decided not to apply for a job because I didn’t meet all the qualifications, faith in myself wasn’t exactly the issue. I suspected I wasn’t alone. So I surveyed over a thousand men and women.
People who weren’t applying believed they needed the qualifications not to do the job well, but to be hired in the first place. They thought that the required qualifications were…well, required qualifications. They didn’t see the hiring process as one where advocacy, relationships, or a creative approach to framing one’s expertise could overcome not having the skills and experiences outlined in the job qualifications.
What held them back from applying was not a mistaken perception about themselves, but a mistaken perception about the hiring process.
This article is an oldie but goodie (from 2014) about being qualified for a job — and it’s very relevant today! The hidden message in Mohr’s article is that women and men miss great job opportunities because the “job qualification requirements” scare them off. That is, they have the wrong perception about how hiring decisions are made. Read the article to understand why you should reach farther than the job ad says you should!
Do you under-apply for jobs because the “requirements” say you’re not qualified? How do you know whether you should apply? How do you handle jobs that are a stretch for you?
An acquaintance just got her first job after being a stay-at-home mom for many years. She’s a recruiter. Salary? $10 an hour.
Take that in for a minute.
She could make more money working fast food, yet a company is trusting her to be part of finding the best possible candidates for their company, and they only value her work at $10 an hour.
That’s problem number one. Inexperienced and untrained people recruiting for you will offer a less than great candidate experience. A less than great recruiting experience puts off good candidates and reinforces the notion that HR doesn’t know what they are doing.
Those recruiters in the HR department of the company where you want to work — those officious people who control whether you get interviewed for that job you want… they get paid what?? Wait’ll you read what Suzanne Lucas says about their bosses in the HR department.
Now do you get it? Now, how much do you guess the last recruiter you spoke with gets paid?
A Startup Is Selling Referrals for Jobs at Facebook, Google, and Amazon
Source: OneZero on Medium By Seth King
If you’re looking for a job at a tech company like Facebook, Amazon, or Google, you’re probably also looking for a referral. Just buy one. Rooftop Slushie, a website created by the makers of the anonymous tech forum Blind, has facilitated more than 11,000 referral purchases since launching last year, Daniel Kim, the site’s product manager, told OneZero.
Candidates fill out a form listing their desired companies and the amount they are willing to pay per referral — usually between $20 and $50, according to Kim — and upload their resume. Verified employees at the listed companies, known as “vendors” on Rooftop Slushie, can view their resume and asking price, then decide whether or not to accept their offer. Facebook and Google referrals, according to Kim, are the biggest sellers.
After purchasing a referral, candidates will often receive a confirmation email with the next steps from their desired company. If candidates don’t receive a referral from the vendor, they can email Rooftop Slushie for a refund.
When asked if selling referrals for a small fee was an ethical concern, [one] vendor quickly dismissed the notion. “Whether or not a candidate gets a job is beyond my control,” he said. “There is no silver bullet to making it through the recruitment process. It’s really a coaching platform.”
What do we know about a company when its employees will openly take bribes for referrals to their boss about a job? We know Amazon, Google, Facebook and other employers have lost control of recruiting and hiring. When an online pop-up store can charge $50 for “referrals” to a company’s recruiter, you know one thing: that company’s HR department is running a numbers game. Stay away from HR, especially if you have to ante up to submit your resume. (See also 10 reasons your company’s HR can’t fill jobs.)
Is this practice ethical? Would you pay Rooftop Slushie to bribe somebody for referrals to a recruiter? What does this “business model” tell us about America’s Employment System? Most important, how does this really affect your ability to get a job?
The game has plenty to teach about making decisions with the cards we’ve been dealt–on and off the table.
Source: Wired By Maria Konnikova
Outside the realm of games, accurate probabilistic thinking is a rare skill. The betting in poker forces you to pay attention. If you keep following your hunches instead of the mathematics of the thing, you’re doomed. Sure, you might get lucky a time or two. But eventually, variance will catch up with you.
When Chicago economists Steven Levitt and Thomas Miles looked at live play and compared the ROI, or return on investment, for two groups of players at the 2010 WSOP [World Series of Poker], they found that recreational players lost, on average, over 15 percent of their buy-ins (roughly $400), while professionals won over 30 percent (roughly $1,200). Poker isn’t just about calibrating the strength of your beliefs. It’s also about becoming comfortable with the fact that there’s no such thing as a sure thing — ever. You will never have all the information you want, and you will have to act all the same. Leave your certainty at the door.
In many ways, poker is the skilled endeavor. The job market is the gamble. How did my job talk go? Where did I go to college? To grad school? Did I rub someone the wrong way in an interview? These details, all subject to a big dose of chance, can make or break me. At the table, I play how I play. And I rise or fall on my own merits.
I think job seekers are so consumed by job applications and accustomed to losing that they actually forget they’re gambling with real money! This Wired article explains why it’s smarter to play the job market like a professional poker player. This means boosting your odds by applying sound probabilistic thinking. This means stop betting on every job posting!
Is job hunting a crap-shoot? Who or what controls your odds of winning a job? Maria Konnikova hints at how to apply poker skills to job hunting. Okay, let’s deal some good ideas of our own! How can we actually improve our probabilities of success?
Choosing your target companies, with Nick Corcodilos
Source: Mac Prichard’s “Find Your Dream Job”
If you’re job hunting, it’s likely because you ended up in the wrong job, to begin with. How do you ensure that it doesn’t happen again? You stop applying for jobs, says Find Your Dream Job guest Nick Corcodilos.
Instead, you go after specific companies. And because every company needs profitability, you need to show hiring managers how you can increase their bottom line or save on costs. Nick also suggests learning enough about the company that you can show them how your specific skills apply to their specific needs.
Many thanks to Mac Prichard for his hospitality and for having me as a guest on his top-rated career podcast. Mac asked good, insightful questions and I did my best not to slip up! Hope you’ll have a listen. We can discuss your questions and comments below! Hope you enjoy this podcast!
Source: Harvard Business Review By Anyi Ma, Yu Yang and Krishna Savani
Have you ever heard one of these statements in the midst of a negotiation?
“That’s the best I can do. Take it or leave it.” Or, “I simply can’t make any more concessions. Sorry.”
Lots of negotiators use soft ultimatums like these to elicit concessions from the other party, and research shows that they are often successful in doing so. So what can you do when you are at the receiving end of such ultimatums? How can you persist to obtain a better deal for yourself?
Our research identified a surprisingly straightforward way to successfully navigate ultimatums: think about all the choices that you and your negotiation partner have in the negotiation. Or as we think of it, adopt a choice mindset.
Negotiators in a choice mindset received better outcomes in the end. Indeed, we found that the choice mindset improved negotiation outcomes in a wide variety of contexts, such as buying a used car, negotiating a job offer, and negotiating a B2B sale.
You get a job offer. You try to negotiate it. They tell you they can’t or won’t. Take it or leave it. I usually advise a candidate to accept an offer if it’s within a few bucks of what they want. Don’t negotiate for its own sake or “because they expect you to.” But if you really think you’re worth more, never fold when the other guy gives you an ultimatum. This surprising research offers a sanguine strategy to get what you want. What I love about this method is that no salary survey data is required to make your case, and “integrative negotiations” can be a win-win.
Do you fold when the employer tells you the job offer is not negotiable? Or do you engage anyway? How do you go about it? What works for you? Did you ever blow it by going too far? Do you agree that “integrative negotiations” are possible when negotiating a job offer?