Occupy HR Technology Movement ~ HRExaminer v2.45 November 18, 2011
Table of Contents
Marc Effron returns this week to the HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board. Marc is the President of the Talent Strategy Group and author of One Page Talent Management. Marc’s talent management consulting provides a highly practical, broadly informed perspective to clients like American Express, Advanced Micro Devices, Fidelity Investments, and many more. He has served as VP Global Talent Management for Avon Products, started and led the Global Leadership Consulting Practice at consultancy Hewitt Associates. Marc was also Senior Vice President, Leadership Development for Bank of America. Full Bio…
Report from Occupy HR Technology Movement
by Marc Effron
(TRANSCRIPT FROM VIDEO)
REPORTER: I’m here in New York City on the front lines of the Occupy movement where angry demonstrators are protesting the power of the 1%. Here, amidst bongo drums and stress balls, the powerful are rallying against the even more powerful.
REPORTER: The demonstrators claim that the 99% of people who use HR enterprise technology are unfairly controlled by the 1% who design and sell it. They’re demanding an immediate redistribution of power to the end user. Excuse me, sir? Ma’am? Can you tell me why you’re here today supporting Occupy HR Technology?
BALDING, OLDER MANAGER: I just want to do the right thing for my people — give feedback, set goals – but the 1% make that impossible. It takes six screens to get to the place where I enter comments. Is that the world you want to live in? Where the 1% makes entering information impossible for the rest of us?
FEMALE EXECUTIVE WEARING “PEACE THROUGH FINANCE” T-SHIRT: We’re not saying they’re like pure evil, man, but they’re abusing their power. I had this friend who bought one of their systems for like 7 figures. Then she only used like 10% of its features ‘cuz there was way too much stuff in it. But get this – they kept all her money, man! They kept all of her money! They said we don’t care how much of it you use– the price is the same! That’s just so uncool.
REPORTER: On the main stage, a middle-aged Occupy organizer is rallying the growing crowd.
OCCUPY ORGANIZER: The 1% haven’t added value to HR – they’ve simply paved the HR cow path. They’ve taken every HR idea we ever had – good or bad – and loaded it into their technology. There’s no original thought! There’s no point of view about how to get better results from HR processes! They’ve done the impossible by getting managers to hate performance management even more than they did before! Multiple screens, confusing workflows – this stops now! What do we want?
OCCUPY ORGANIZER: When do we want it?
REPORTER: Here, at the edge of the encampment, tempers are starting to flare. A radical splinter group of managers has just set fire to several servers in an attempt to block an advancing technology sales team. Joining me now is Suzy Q., an executive assistant who’s been at the Occupy HR Technology event since it began. Suzy, why are you here today?
SUZY: The 1% just doesn’t get it. They say this is self-service but no executive is going to use this. They can’t use it on an airplane. The navigation’s not intuitive. So what happens? I have to do it instead. Thanks for the extra work, 1% (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You should be chained to a desk and made to use your own systems for 24 hours. See how you like it.
REPORTER: Responding to criticisms that Occupy HR Technology hadn’t offered any solutions of their own, an unofficial spokesperson for the movement guides me to a large tent at the demonstration’s perimeter. Behind a wall of Five-Hour Energy Drink cases are rows of tables occupied by bespectled 14-year olds furiously typing on laptops.
OCCUPY HR TECHOLOGY UNOFFICIAL SPOKESPERSON: You want a solution, dude? We organized a programming flash mob this morning at 9AM. We told them to build a powerful, easy to use, cloud-based performance management, succession planning, 360 and HR analytics system. We asked them to do it in 10 days. They laughed and said it would be done by three o’clock, dude. Three o’clock!
REPORTER: So you’ll be offering this new HR technology solution for free to the 99%?
OCCUPY HR TECHOLOGY UNOFFICIAL SPOKESPERSON: Uh, yeah. Well, with ads, of course. We’re mad, dude, not stupid.
Listen now: Industry Analyst John Sumser Talks with Bill Kutik
Hear it now on The Bill Kutik Radio Show®:
“Calling John Sumser an “analyst” is placing him in a pigeonhole too small when for 18 years he has been the most original, out-of-the-box thinker and writer in HR. His influence has waxed and waned over the years and was perhaps strongest from 1994 to 2006, when he wrote and published every single day about recruiting for the e-mail newsletter of Interbiznet. Now he is widely recognized as our first blogger.
Today, he is founder and editor of HRExaminer, an online magazine, where he lets others do more of the heavy lifting of writing but continues to raise his own iconoclastic voice. On the occasion of him finishing a book on social media, join him to hear why he thinks social media isn’t social at all, the implications of new technology entering the enterprise from the ground up, which new ideas (and vendors building products on them) may survive, and (of course) what the future looks like.
John Sumser taught me what Internet recruiting meant back in 1997, and he hasn’t stopped thinking and writing about it and the impacts of new technology on HR ever since. Always a sole proprietor, he hasn’t had the reach of those working for analyst firms or academia, but now you can hear what he thinks by listening to the recording.“
-Bill Kutik is the Co-Chair of the HR Technology Conference and the Host of Firing Line with Bill Kutik
Produced by Knowledge Infusion and hosted by independent industry analyst Bill Kutik, the bi-weekly interview show provides leading HR business content and insight into up-to-the-minute trends.
From career coaching to recruiting strategy to social media, Susan has experience with in-house corporate HR and recruiting leadership roles, as a Fortune 500 consultant, and as a career and brand coach. She’s held positions with companies such as Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Arthur Andersen and The Home Depot and has consulted for hundreds of Fortune 500 organizations. Her perspective is unique having worked in all aspects of the organizational life-cycle in start-up ventures, high-growth organizations and mature billion-dollar companies. Full Bio »
Lists: Naughty or Nice?
by Susan Strayer
People love a good list. In HR, we’re obsessed with them. I prefer the kind of list I can check off. But everyone wants to be on top of a good list. There are lists of influencers, top tweeters and best [insert accolade here] under 30. Forbes’ had a recent list of the Top 147 Companies That Control Everything. TLNT’s blog responded with 12 Companies That Control HR. HRExaminer, has several of them too (full disclosure—I’m on one).
But how do we actually use them? This isn’t a scathing review of the methodology behind them (though like most, I have my own opinions). I’m more interested in what people actually learn from them.
When I see top people lists, I usually see if there’s anyone I don’t know or don’t follow on Twitter. I’ll make a point to introduce myself at a conference, or go to that person’s blog to read and learn more. But what about company lists?
Take the HR list holy grail: every conceivable form of the “best place to work in the world/U.S./government/technology/Tampa Bay/advertising.” Pretty much every segment of employment has a list.
Let’s say I’m a college student (or helicopter parent) and I stumble on Unviersum’s list of America’s Ideal Employersfor 2011. I can choose “business” and
see a top list of ideal employers for students studying business. Great, I now have the list of places I must go. Except, that I don’t. At all.
The companies on this list are (with few exceptions) either (a) major consumer brands or (b) one of a handful of the most well-known brands in their industry (i.e., accounting). Take the top ten:
- Walt Disney Company
- Ernst & Young
- PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP
- J.P. Morgan
- KPMG LLP
- Goldman Sachs
Each one fits the bill as I have described. And then the worst thing happens. Students and parents all flock to these employers. They feel the need and desire to work there based on the list and the media. And what results?
First, students assume careers have to start in big companies. Yet, the most important factor in employment satisfaction is fit. And big brands and big companies are not for everyone. Many of the companies on this list are mature, global conglomerates with thousands of employees and that dictates a certain type of work environment, stakeholder demands and structure. Your new graduate with the best grades, experience and talent could fail at a big Wall Street Bank or a famous global tech company but thrive in a smaller organization that wants to be small or has the promise to grow. It’s all about the kind of work you want to do and the culture you want to do it in.
Second, small and medium-size companies lose much of the talent from start. Stellar students are pushed towards large companies and big brands, so smaller companies lose out and end up with a pool of mediocre students to fill entry level or post-graduate jobs. Then you have so many great students competing for the same jobs that even great students lose out, along with their confidence and understanding in the process. They may go to a smaller company only to feel like they’re settling.
Third, the value of early career experience in a start-up or high-growth company is diminished. And that’s a shame. We rank employers based on volume, size and popularity not based on what that experience is like. We focus on major benefits and employee perks instead of what kind of work the employee gets to do. Isn’t that really what makes the core of a great place to work? So there’s free lunch. Awesome. But if it’s wedged in between meetings where I’m miserable and a to-do list I can’t bear to attack, where’s the value?
I’m not saying abandon the lists. But stop with the popularity contests. It’s time for a rehaul, a rethink—a better way to educate job seekers on how to find the right employers and what really makes both a “best employer” and a “best employer for you.”
by Heather Bussing
Last week the California Supreme Court heard arguments in Brinker Restaurant Corp v. Superior Court. This is the lead case in a long line of lawsuits that depend on how Brinker turns out. The issue is whether employers have to make sure employees take rest and meal breaks.
The employees argue that even though the employer’s rules say they must take breaks, there are unwritten rules that prevent or disallow the breaks. The employer claims it requires and encourages employee to take breaks, but can’t be the break police all day.
- Allowing employees to refuse or neglect to take breaks and then sue is an unfair and unlikely result.
- Employers will not be permitted to just rely on their correct policies. Employees must have a real opportunity to take the breaks. But employees will have the burden of proof to show that the employer would not let them.
- Many of the cases exist because of problems with the employer’s time records. Either there are no records, or the records are spotty–which looks like the employees did not take breaks even if they did. The predictable response is to make sure the records are complete and accurate. But the only thing worse than being the break police, is being the break-timecard police. The Court does not seem to be considering this issue, but it’s probably the best argument for deciding that an employer is not required to enforce breaks.
- It’s the lack of uniform and consistent records that is also preventing courts from certifying the lawsuits as class actions. This means that the employer’s inability to prove the breaks were taken in one case is protecting them from having to defend a class of thousands.
Breaking, the Bank
Breaks are a hot issue because big money is at stake.
Meal breaks are usually unpaid and rest periods are usually paid. In an 8 hour work day in California, the employer must provide at least a 30 minute unpaid meal break (after any 5 hours worked) and two10 minute paid rest breaks (one for each 4 hours worked).
Anytime an employer makes an employee remain on site, even if they aren’t working, then the break must be paid. Bono v. Enterprises, Inc. v. Bradshaw (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 968.
If they worked a regular day without the breaks, the meal and rest breaks are almost an hour of overtime.
So, we are talking 5 hours per week, at time and a half, multiplied by the number of weeks, times the number of employees. Penalties and attorneys’ fees are on top of the wage claim. That’s not just lunch money.
Most of the cases are really about whether the lawsuit can be decided as a class-action. It’s much simpler (and more profitable) for the employees’ attorneys to bring one case for all employees instead of a separate case for each employee. The courts generally prefer fewer cases, but not if it’s really thousands of individual claims that require mini trials on each employee’s circumstances.
Theoretically, you can have a class action if the claims are basically the same (say, management wouldn’t let employees take breaks) even if you still have to figure out each employee’s damages separates. But if the issue involves employees with different schedules, different managers, and figuring out whether each employee even has a claim in the first place, the courts have consistently denied the class action.
Then the employee can go forward with her own claims, or the attorneys can fight about the class action status, or both. Since there is a lot more money at stake with a class action, the cases, including Brinker, are mostly about denial of the class status instead of the legal issue about rest and meal breaks.
Break it Down
Here is a summary of Brinker and the other cases on hold at the California Supreme Court waiting for Brinker to be decided. Each of these cases was decided by the Court of Appeal and then the Supreme Court granted review. None has reached final decision by the California Supreme Court.
Brinker Restaurant Corporation v. Superior Court. (2008) Brinker Restaurants include Chili’s Grill & Bar, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and Maggiano’s Little Italy–137 restaurants in California alone.
Brinker’s policies said that employees were “entitled” to a 30 minute meal period and they were “eligible” for a 10 minute rest break for every 4 hours worked. Brinker also prohibited working off the clock, and required employees to keep accurate time records.
Employees claimed they weren’t getting to take meal and rest breaks. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) brought suit against Brinker after an investigation. The evidence showed employees were required to take their meal period at the beginning of their shifts, and then could not take another meal break even though one was due. Brinker also required employees to work off the clock and it shaved time records to avoid paying overtime.
The Court of Appeal decided a class action was not appropriate because there were too manl differences in schedule and circumstances for the thousands of employee involved. It also reiterated the current law, which is: “employers need not ensure meal breaks are actually taken, but need only make them available.”
Tien v. Tenet Healthcare Corp. (2011) Another case that will turn on the class status. The employer’s policy provided for all the required rest periods, but employees claimed that they could not take the breaks.
There was a huge evidentiary problem because breaks did not get recorded as part of company’s time records, so the only evidence was each person’s story. And that was why the class action was denied.
The Tien court also said that employers were required to allow employees to take breaks, but not required to make them take the breaks.
Hernandez v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (2010) Here, an employee who had been fired, sued claiming he was denied rest and meal breaks. Again, the Court of Appeal denied a class action, but decided Mr. Herdandez’ specific claims.
This is a “no good deed goes unpunished” case. Chipotle’s policies “mandated” generous breaks that were more often that required. Chipotle paid for all break times, whether the employees stayed on site or left. It also provided free food and drink to employees and had comfortable break rooms. Breaks were actively encouraged by managers. Managers decided when employees got to take breaks.
Chipotle submitted 57 declarations from employees who stated that they always got their breaks, and 16 declarations from managers saying employees got their breaks and that employees were not allowed to return to work early from break periods.
The employee submitted 23 declarations from employees saying that sometimes the manager would deny or interrupt their breaks.
The evidentiary problem in this case was that no one kept records of the breaks because the break time was all paid anyway. (That also meant that overtime was not an issue in this case, since it would have been paid anyway.)
The Appeals Court found Chipotle had “provided, authorized and permitted” the employees to take their breaks, and that was enough. Chipotle was not required to enforce breaks.
“Requiring enforcement of meal breaks would place an undue burden on employers whose employees are numerous or who . . . do not appear to remain in contact with the employer during the day.” “It would also create perverse incentives, encouraging employees to violate company meal break policy in order to receive extra compensation. . ..”
Faulkinbury v. Boyd & Associates, Inc. (2010). Boyd provides security guard services in Southern California. About 4000 employees claimed that the company required each employee to sign an agreement to take on-duty meals and that they were never permitted to leave their posts for either meal or rest breaks.
However, there is a “nature of the work” exception that allows some types of employers, including security guards, to require on duty meal and rest breaks. This case will probably not survive, no matter how Brinker turns out.
Brinkly v. Public Storage (2008). Plaintiff was a property manager for a storage company, whose policies required employees to take meal and rest breaks. Are you noticing a pattern here?
Employees were required to sign in and out from breaks, but didn’t always do it. Plaintiff said he knew he was supposed to take breaks, but he didn’t always take them on time. He admitted though, that he usually took his breaks at some point.
Again, the Court of Appeal found that the employer was just required to provide the breaks, it was not required to make sure that employees took the break within the required time frames.
You’re Breaking Up
I will keep you posted on how Brinker and the rest of these cases turn out. In the meantime, give employees a break.
The 2012 Index of Social Technology in HR and Recruiting
On November 10, HRxAnalysts published the 2012 Index of Social Technology in HR and Recruiting. The report provides a comprehensive foundation for decision making for HR Departments and HR Solution providers
The first in HRxAnalysts annual Index series, the 2012 Index lays the groundwork for vendors, buyers and practitioners alike. The report evaluates the claims and realities of social media effectiveness for Recruiting and HR purposes.
- Findings and Executive Summary
- The Fundamental Modules of HR and Recruiting
- How Ideas Move Through The HR World
- The 16 Fundamental Social Technologies
- Referrals in Social Media
- The Major Networks
- The Social Media and Social Tecnology Market
- 75 Company Reviews
Reviewed Companies include:
Airs, Ajax Social media, Avature, BeKnown, BetterWorks, BountyJob, Branchout, BraveNewTalent, Broadbean, BullhornReach, Cachinko, Careerify, CareerBuilder, CareerNotify, Checkster, CVCertify, DoYoBuzz, Evviva, GreenJobInterview, Facebook, find.ly, Firefish, Gadball, Hirelite, Hireology, HireVue, Hodes, HRMarketer’s SocialEars, Identified, iMeet, Jibe, Job Magic, JobShouts, JobScore, JobFoxBoost, Jobs2Web, JobScience, Jobvite, Kenexa, Klout, LinkedIn, MediaBistro, Monster, OneWire, Pinstripe, Resumator, Rypple, Saba, Saygent, Salesforce.com, SocialCruiter, SocialIntelligence, SocialCV, SocializedHR, Sonar6, SuccessFactors, Taleo, Talent.me, TalentBin,Traackr, TRU, Tweetajob, Twwetmyjobs, Twitjobs, Visualize.me, Work4Labs, Workday, Yammer