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Preview: Nobscot's WebLog

Nobscot's WebLog

Random musings on HR from Nobscot's CEO Beth N. Carvin.

Updated: 2018-03-19T09:08:38.267-10:00


The Year of the White Male - MidTerm Election Roundup


When it comes to the US midterm elections, 2014 was definitely not the year of Diversity. Here's my quick roundup of the demographic statistics for the Governor and Senatorial Races. Governor There were 36 Governor races. Male versus male: 27 Male versus female: 9 Female versus female: 0 Results: Male wins: 31 Female wins: 5  (3 Republican women, 2 Democrat women) African American

Treats on Fridays Might Retain THIS Employee at KLM


Looks like KLM airline is going to have to change the name of their HUMAN resources department to accommodate this employee in the lost and found department....   In this case, treats on Friday might just be the perfect employee retention strategy. For more Canine Resources, see this earlier post: Something Much Better Than Robots Replacing Workers

Why Does Our Competitor Hate Hawaii??


One of Nobscot's competitors has a photo of a Hawaii guy in an aloha shirt and slippers (flip-flops) leaning back in his office chair throwing paper airplanes unprofessionally at his suit-and-tie clad co-worker. The article is about the types of exit interview consultants you should avoid, with the implication that the Hawaii guy is one to stay away from. The not-so-subtle dig on Nobscot

Staff Application Form: "Have you ever been involved in prostitution, homosexuality, illegal sex, or any sexual perversion?"


I ran across the Job Application for the "Church" of Scientology dated 1999. For those in HR, some of the questions might surprise, shock or simply make you giggle.  Here are baker's dozen of them: 1) Where were you born? 2) Nationality? 3) Any children? If yes, give details. If they don't live with you do you still pay child support? 4) Are you currently taking any drugs or medicine? If

How I Put My Group Through Extreme Team Building - Amazing Race/Survivor Style - PART TWO


In the last post I detailed the beginnings of our team building adventure where Nobscot team members landed in Lihue, Kauai with no idea where they would be staying for the week. They each received a clue from one of their clients and had to put them together to figure out their next steps. You can read Part One here:  How I Put My Group Through Extreme Team Building - Amazing Race /

How I Put My Group Through Extreme Team Building - Amazing Race/Survivor Style - PART ONE


Clearly I had been watching too much Survivor and other reality TV when I concocted this year's "Nobology 2014" event. Nobology is our annual meeting in Hawaii for our senior mainland group where we do strategic planning, product roadmapping, team building and training activities.  Rather than providing trip details, photos and directions to some lovely place where they would be staying,

Donuts on Fridays


We always say that Donuts on Fridays won't retain employees --- But these ones might!    Lovely photo:  Chocolate donuts and milk by Brkati Krokodil | Stocksy United 

Why High Performers Are Your Worst Source of Employee Feedback


In a recent conversation among HR practitioners, the talk turned to employee feedback. One HR Manager stated that he was going to stop conducting exit interviews and instead switch to Stay Interviews of High Performers. What he doesn't know is that high performers are your worst form of employee feedback. Here's why:  a) High Performers are optimists.  High performing employees always see

Employee Retention is always tricky but more so for some (vintage) professions............


How would you like to be their Managers or "Personnel Officers?" Bulletproof Vest Tester, 1928   Dog Food Tester Human Alarm Clock  Human Radar Detector Bathing Suit Measurer (Those in HR who have managed the company dress code might relate to this one.) Odor Judge  And from Hawaii........  1930 Tour Guide at Volcano Crater at

Research Uncovers 1 Emotion that Causes Employee Turnover, Another Retention


A paper by Tobias Kraemer and Matthias Gouthier explores the roles of emotion in employee turnover, specifically in the high turnover world of Call Centers.  They identify two emotions that impact employee retention and turnover. The first emotion is ANGER.  They have discovered that anger causes "emotional exhaustion" which increases intention to leave. Anger includes feelings such as

Something Much Better than Robots or Machinery Replacing Workers on these Ranches


On the short flight back from Oahu to Kauai, I enjoyed the article in the Hawaiian Airlines magazine Hana Hou called "Canine Cowboys."   The in-depth article details the use of work dogs in place of cowboys on some Hawaiian ranches. My fellow HR professionals will appreciate this line which is quoted from Kapapala Ranch owner Lani Cran Petrie: “In this country three dogs will do what seven men

"Scientific Management" Circa 1910


The methods of motivating workers have changed dramatically since 1910 when Frederick Winslow Taylor advocated the following approach... The task before us, then, narrowed itself down to getting Schmidt to handle 47 tons of pig iron per day and making him glad to do it. This was done as follows. Schmidt was called out from among the gang of pig-iron handlers and talked to somewhat in

The Pope's 3 Words for Happy Marriages Also Applicable for Employee Retention


Pope Francis summed up a happy marriage to three words: PLEASE, THANKS, SORRY According to an AP article, "Francis told fiancés gathered in St. Peter's Square for a special papal date that expressions of courtesy, gratitude and contrition go a long way toward conserving and enhancing love over time." From what we read in exit interviews, these three simple actions would also go along way

Unhappy About Feeling Happy


In the Employee Retention field we like to think that if we do everything right -- identify irritations and systematically work to reduce them -- that our employees are all going to be happy. And it works well for the most part. But did you know that there is such a thing as a fear of happiness? In a recent article in Scientific American Mind  researchers explain that for some people, happiness

15 Traits that Define Entrepreneurial Companies...and How to Invest in Them


Professor Joel Shulman of Babson College has sussed out the 15 traits that define an entrepreneurial company compared with a non-entrepreneurial company...and he's betting on them in a big way.  15 Attributes That Define Entrepreneurial From Non-Entrepreneurial Companies 1. Organic growth opportunities 2. Above average ownership stake among key stakeholders 3. Low SG&A 4. Above average return

Hiring Convicts and Morons


I'm reading a fascinating book from 1921 on "Personnel Relations." It's a 200+ page manual or perhaps textbook applying "scientific principles" to the personnel industry.In a chapter on Interviewing, it talks about how every adult should be capable of being hired and the focus should be on finding the proper "adjustment" between the worker and his job. The text literally states that the only

Equal Pay for Less Work? No Thank-You


I have just read one of most demeaning things toward women since Larry Summers ventured to open his mouth about girls and boys.In a cleverly written piece which purports to be even keeled toward both men and women, Professor Roy F. Baumeister, Professor of Social Psychology at Florida State University, states the following:Likewise, I mentioned the salary difference, but it may have less to do

When 1950s Home Technology Enters the Workplace


I came across this article from the 1950s."What started as a passing technology fad has taken hold. The younger generation in particular is taking to it very quickly. "My children spend all day on it. In fact the teenagers have given up everything else to use this technology."It all started with Uncle Miltie. After the debut of Milton Berle's show, sales of television sets doubled to 2,000,000 in

Tweeter, You're Fired!


The following Tweet showed up on my twitter search for the term "Nobscot" this morning:Happily for me, my Nobscot is an HR technology company and we don't serve food in which to spit. But what about the owners of this Nobscot restaurant? If they see this tweet, should they fire @aspensullivan? Where do things cross the line from venting online to putting customers at risk?A few days earlier, @

A Short Lesson About Opportunity


I'd like to ring in the new year with a reprint of "Where is Opportunity" from August 2004.Monday, August 23, 2004 Where is Opportunity? On Sunday we went to hear a friend sing and play guitar at a private club. We were introduced to a very friendly gentleman who looked like he had been planted in the

$80 Million HR Technology Project Gone Wrong - Very Wrong


It's being called an "$80 million information technology fraud scheme" against the New York City government. The technology, known as CityTime, is a custom made time and attendance system which includes online timesheets and biometric devices.The story begins in 1996 when the city contracted with Science Applications International Corp (SAIC) to build a timekeeping system that would track

Two Very Simple Techniques for Innovation


I read a lot about "Innovation." Classes on innovation, books on innovation, b-school programs on innovation. Creating cultures of innovation. There is currently a huge mystique around innovation as if it's something terribly complex that must be studied and learned.Here's a secret. Being innovative is incredibly simple. We are built for innovation. We only need to open our minds and look and

HR in da Office - Hawaii Style


You think you have Employee Relations challenges? Hilarious short story about office life in Hawaii written in Pidgin English. It ain't easy being in HR in Hawaii!Check out this excerpt:**************************We jus rag on poor Michelle. But das how, ah? Pretty much, once you make one mistake at da office, you going forevah be reminded.And we could probably get written up by Human Resources

Where Are The Bathrooms and Other Things New Hires Need to Know


One of the secrets to successful onboarding and socialization of new hires is to make sure they are fully informed on everything that they need to know. Let me amend that. New hires need to be informed on not just what they need to know but also what they want to know.Most companies fall short on this one because we rarely stop to think from the newcomer's perspective. Instead we focus on all

Lessons from The Amazing Race: Building Successful Teams


Never mind The Apprentice. We have learning lessons galore from another reality competition The Amazing Race. If you want to learn about winning teams, this is the place to go.Race 17 has three top contender pairs whose team dynamics are very different from one another. Let's take a look.Team: Thomas and JillThomas and Jill, a dating couple, have been strong contenders from Race One. He, the Ad