Three Things Vendors Should NOT Be Doing at #SHRM16

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, April 19, 2016

In about two months, individuals will be heading to Washington D.C. to attend the 2016 SHRM Annual Conference.  This will be my 16th SHRM Annual Conference, and, based on my years of experience, here are the things vendors should NOT be doing as they prepare for the big event and the thousands attending:

1.  Do NOT treat students with disrespect

Ideally, every person who walks through the exhibit hall should be addressed with respect.  However, it is inevitable every year that my students will come back with horror stories about being treated rudely by someone manning an exhibit hall booth.  I know you are there to make potential sales connections, and a student is unlikely to be a customer anytime soon.  However, if these students are dedicated enough to travel to Washington, D.C. to attend the conference, they are dedicated to the profession, and will likely be a potential customer in the future.  They are also there to learn about the product/service you offer and what you can bring any HR professional who chooses to buy from you. Don't burn a bridge before it has a chance to be constructed, as those students will remember who did them wrong!

2.  Do NOT offer a booth drawing if it is not authenticI expect to go 0 for 16 in having my name drawn from a vendor for one of the booth prizes, despite having my badge scanned or business card submitted over a thousand times over the years.  Why?  Some (I said, some, not all) vendors offer the pretense of a drawing for a booth prize when, in actuality, they will only choose a winner from a current customer.  That being said, if a vendor is not offering a legitimate random drawing, and are just fishing for leads, what kind of customer relationship are they really offering?

3.  Do NOT offer unremarkable swag

You are going to have a big chance to get your company brand and name out there.  How do you want it to be remembered? Do you want it to be forgotten a week after the conference when the attendee is cleaning out his or her travel bags and asks, "why did I grab that?!??!"  So, how can you avoid this scenario? Pens, shirts, squeeze balls (for the kids), and candy are always winners.  But, something that will stick will be flash drives and phone chargers with your name on it.  Just a suggestion.

See you in two months in DC.

The MBTI of Easter - The ECTI

by Matthew Stollak on Sunday, March 27, 2016

While some believe there are 16 distinct personality types based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), I've long held there are 16 distinct personality types based on Easter candy preference...the ECTI.  The breakdown is as follows:

Chocolate Rabbit - Hollow (H) or Solid (S)

While some prefer their chocolate rabbits hollow, I've always felt it was ripoff when you bite into it, and it crumbles.  Solid rabbit all the way.

Reese's Peanut Butter Egg - Pro (E) or Con (N)

Though I prefer the miniatures or the regular cups, a Peanut Butter Egg is always a solid Easter option.

Marshmallow Peeps - Pro (P) or Con (Z)

Some prefer these marshmallow confections, while I think they are awful

Cadbury Creme Egg - Pro (B) or Con (C)

While the shell is fantastic, the stuff inside is disgusting.

That makes me a SEZC.  What does the ECTI say about you?

Happy Easter everyone!

What does #WorkHuman Mean to Millennials and Gen Z?

by Matthew Stollak on Monday, March 21, 2016

In "The Managed Heart," Hochschild coined the term "emotional labor," referring to the effort to hide one's real feelings and display the "right" emotions when meeting with others.  Airline attendants, for example, must make passengers feel comfortable and welcome, even if the attendants are having a bad day.  Sadly, thirty-three years after the publication of the book, many employees are still expected to behave this way at work.  Acting in this fashion, however, is the antithesis of working human, particularly for Millennials and Gen Z.

Embracing a #WorkHuman perspective is crucial to attracting and retaining this cohort.  How does this work in practice?

1.  Provide meaning and value to employees.  

The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey indicates that "Millennials seek employers with similar values; seven in 10 believe their personal values are shared by organizations for which they work."  Yes, all employees want meaningful work, but with Millennial loyalty at an all time low, younger workers will not hesitate to depart an organization where their values are not aligned.

2.   Invest in an employee's personal development

Organizations already have dedicated a significant amount of resources into employees, from recruitment costs to salaries to office overhead.  For younger workers, this investment is only the tip of the iceberg.  Younger employees don’t want their education to stop once they leave school, and they are loyal to organizations that demonstrate a commitment to their learning.  Combining personal development with a mentor can magnify this dedication even further.  Individuals who plan to stick with an organization for more than five years are twice as likely to when a mentor is involved than not.  

3.  Recognition is personal

Not only do these cohorts can about meaningful work and personal development, but they want to be recognized for the work they perform.  To resonate, recognition should be given in a certain way.  Not only must it be done privately, but it can come from several sources.  Luckily, recognition doesn't have to be expensive; an authentic message recognizing their human contribution can go a long way.

Want to know more?  Attend the ‪#‎WorkHuman‬ conference May 9-11 in Orlando. If you use promo code WH16MS300, you can get $300 off your registration.  And, as a bonus, the first person who e-mails me their registration confirmation ( using the above code will get a free copy of keynote speaker Amy Cuddy's book, Presence.  That's a win-win that even the youngest of workers can get behind.

Is Your Company Hungry for Preferred Grocer Organizations?

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, February 16, 2016

With wellness continuing to be a hot topic, organizations are looking for innovative ways to help their employees lead happier and healthier lives.

For example, how do we get our staff to be wiser or better food consumers? One such approach is the rise of Preferred Grocer Organizations (PGOs). Programs like Healthy Savings encourage employees to eat healthier by discounting the cost of quality food at participating groceries.

If you're familiar with Cartwheel by Target (a personal favorite), Healthy Savings works in the same way. "Each Sunday, your card is pre-loaded with $40-50 of new savings on the healthiest one-third of foods in a typical grocery store."  All you do is shop for the items on the list, scan your card at checkout, and the savings are applied.

Such a program appears to be a win-win for all involved. Since the program only applies to certain stores, groceries get increased, committed customers.  Employees will have an incentive to try and choose healthier food.  Employers will see long-term savings as employees opt for more nutritious items.

Is your organization ready to become part of a Preferred Grocer Organization?

Here's To You, Recruiting Animal (@animal) #TimSackettDay

by Matthew Stollak on Friday, January 22, 2016

Tim Sackett Day began four years ago as a way to recognize those hard working HR professionals grinding away doing the real influencing on a day-to-day basis. As the hashtag suggests, the first recipient was the aforementioned Tim Sackett.  In subsequent years, Paul Hebert, Kelly Dingee, and Victorio Milian have all been recognized.

This year we recognize Recruiting Animal.  To be honest, I've never met him.  That really could be him in the above picture.  But, I know of him.

He seemingly has a birthday every day (according to Heather Bussing), so this recognition is simply the icing on that cake.

He's an accomplished author.  His book, "The Psychology of Job Hunting," as of this writing, currently ranks #1236 on Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Counseling & Psychology > Mental Health > Emotions but ranks number one in the hearts of many. 

He's also a trendsetter. Animal's first blog was created back in 2004. Then, in April 2006, he founded the Recruiting Animal blog. That quickly became the Recruiting Animal Show in March 2007, the first online call-in show about recruiting.  

So, here's to you, Recruiting Animal, on this Tim Sackett Day.  You have blazed a trail that has influenced so many.

You can connect with him here:

True Faith #HR Rewind: Best Employment Application Ever - Kris Kringle

by Matthew Stollak on Friday, December 25, 2015

Originally posted December 25, 2012

From "Miracle On 34th Street"

Merry Christmas everyone

How Expensive Will #SHRM16 Hotels Be?

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, October 20, 2015

With the news that hotel reservations are now being accepted for the 2016 SHRM Annual Conference in Washington, DC, I bring you my 7th annual expose of SHRM hotel costs.

To be honest, I gasped when I saw the prices for 2016.   Is this the most expensive SHRM Annual Conference when it comes to hotels?

To examine this question, I look at selected SHRM conference brochures (i.e., the ones that I still possessed) over the past 16 years to see what it would cost a person to book a single room on a per night average.  Clearly, prices in 2001 will be different than in 2016, so I use an inflation calculator to adjust costs to today's dollars.  So, how does the 2016 Conference in DC compare to years past?

Cost of an Average SHRM-Affiliated Hotel (per night: 6/19-6/22; 1 room, 2 beds)
Washington DC (2016): $269.59 (standard deviation of $31.85)
Chicago (2008): $269.40 (sd of $31.01)
San Francisco (2001): $268.68 (standard deviation of $59.23)
San Diego (2010): $257.31 (sd of $44.29)

Chicago (2013): 253.46 (sd of 20.99)
Washington DC (2006): $242.42 (sd of $41.65)
Philadelphia (2002): $228.16 (sd of $61.00)
San Diego (2005): $213.84 (sd of $52.14)
Atlanta (2012): $206.29 (sd of $23.02)
Las Vegas (2007): $174.71 (sd of $33.67)

Orlando(2014): $163.69 (sd of $36.43)
Las Vegas (2015): $142.79 (sd of $22.85)
Las Vegas (2011): $135.09 (sd of $18.74)

Ugh!  My initial sticker shock was right.  SHRM 2016 looks to be the most expensive conference for hotels in 15 years.   Rooms, on average, will cost approximately $127 (+ tax) more per night than Las Vegas (though that will be somewhat tempered by no resort fees).  It is $27 more on average (in 2015 dollars) than the last time the conference was in DC (2006). 

The sticker shock is even more surprising given the sheer number of hotels listed (69); the most ever in this survey.  Of the 69 listed, only two fall below $209 per night (+ tax).  The middle 50% of hotels range from $249 (25th percentile) to $290 (75th percentile).

The cheapest listed hotel in DC ($177) is more expensive than every hotel but one ($179) in Vegas a year ago.

Also of note, many of the hotels do not provide bus transportation to the convention center (though Metro passes will be provided).  If you choose one of these hotels, be sure to build in extra time to make the morning keynotes as the Metro will be particularly crowded for rush hour.

Given the above, be sure to budget a little extra when you make your ask to your boss to attend in DC in 2016.