DON’T DO IT, Yahoo (Marissa!), DON’T Start Ranking Workers on a Curve! November 15, 2013Posted by Sue Connelly in Job Search Tips, jobs, KIT List.
Tags: Marissa Mayer, Yahoo
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As one of fans of Yahoo who is rooting for its return to success, and heartened by their choosing Marissa Mayer, I was very alarmed to read of their plans to use the ill-conceived practice of ranking employees on a curve — and firing the supposed bottom 10%.
DON’T DO IT!!!!!!
In an industry where companies already hire top performers and the cream of the crop already, the concept of using something that suppresses innovation, stifles team spirit, uses flawed and subjective ways of determining a human being’s “worth” to a company, I am adamantly opposed to this dangerous practice that spreads like a cancer throughout the very lifeblood of a company — it’s people!
I went to college at the University of California at Davis (Go Aggies!) and it was, and is, a difficult school to get into. I worked hard in high school and got good grades. So did everyone else who got in. Imagine my surprise when I was in huge classes of hundreds of students, and learned about grading on the curve. I can see some of the rationale to be fair in case the
Professor made the tests too hard or too easy — but it’s wrong as a standard practice or as sole means of measurement. In a class of sharp, hard-working students, I refuse to believe that some should automatically get D’s or F’s based on a formula!
In the workplace, this has even worse results. The wrong people may be labeled incorrectly, or be victims of a bad manager.
The article below makes an excellent case why we need to ask Yahoo, for the SAKE of Yahoo’s future and brand, to abandon these plans swiftly.
Please feel free to share your thoughts or experiences in the Comments section.
Yahoo’s Latest HR Disaster: Ranking Workers on the Curve
By Joshua Brustein
Bloomberg Business Week
If Marissa Mayer is as good at identifying winning startups as she is at embracing contentious human resources practices, Yahoo! is going to be just fine.
Several months after the great work-at-home kerfuffle of 2013, Yahoo employees were up in arms about a new policy that forces managers to rank employees on a bell curve, then fire those at the low end.
According to AllThingsD, Marissa Mayer reportedly told Yahoo workers that the rankings weren’t mandatory, but many people disagree. The company hasn’t responded to a request for comment.
With its embrace of rankings, Yahoo has waded into the “third rail of human resource management.” Forcing managers to rank their employees along a bell curve was popularized in the 1980s (thanks, Jack Welch), but lately it has fallen out of favor.
The Institute of Corporate Productivity says the number of companies using either a forced ranking system or some softer facsimile is down significantly from previous years. Companies performing well were less likely to be using forced ranking systems than those that weren’t. Just over 5 percent of high-performing companies used a forced ranking system in 2011, down from almost 20 percent two years earlier.
Basically, many people have lost faith that ranking employees works, and some research suggests that employee performance doesn’t follow a bell curve at all. Instead, most people are slightly worse than average (PDF), with a few superstars. And while a bit of pressure can motivate people, constantly pitting employees against one another is terrible for morale. In a company that is going through layoffs, this gets worse over time (PDF), wrote several MIT professors in a study of forced rankings in 2006. “As the company shrinks, the rigid distribution of the bell-curve forces managers to label a high performer as a mediocre. A high performer, unmotivated by such artificial demotion, behaves like a mediocre.”
This can have a particularly bad impact on innovation, arguably the thing Yahoo most needs now. When employees worry about being ranked at the bottom of the pile, they take fewer risks, said Cliff Stevenson, who studies workforce issues for i4cp.
However, rankings also suggest increased data about employees, which plays into Silicon Valley’s weakness for hard numbers. In Stevenson’s study, tech companies were over three times as likely to implement a forced ranking system than the respondents overall—although he cautioned that the sample size was too small to make any authoritative declarations.
The continued appeal is largely that rankings appear to take the “human” out of human resources. Rigidly formatted evaluations generate a stockpile of crunchable information that can be used to run various types of systematic analyses. Even this will work only if the seemingly objective information is valid. Stevenson has his doubts.
“Inherently the problem in ranking is that, unless it’s based purely on objective data—which you rarely see outside of a call center, it brings in a human element. There’s no way to data-fy that,” says Stevenson. In other words, managers’ prejudices and stray opinions get transformed and codified in what appears to be raw data.
This seems to be one of the specific complaints being made by Yahoo employees: The rankings are both high-stakes and completely arbitrary.
As the techies say, garbage in, garbage out.
Here’s the link to the article:
5 Ways to Ask for a Referral October 31, 2013Posted by Sue Connelly in Job Search Tips, jobs, KIT List.
Tags: How to, Job Search, Job Tips, Jobs, Referrals
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Asking for referrals and introductions makes most of us uncomfortable. But think about it. If you’ve had a great experience working with someone, it’s really satisfying to refer that person to a friend or colleague. It’s even more rewarding when your colleague, too, finds value and thanks you for having made the connection.
So how do you ask for a referral without being pushy or sounding desperate?
First, it’s helpful acknowledge your appreciation for the referrer. Something like: “You know, Joe, I really enjoy our work together. In particular, I appreciate the way you rally the troops to tackle big challenges…”
Then follow with “the ask.” The key is to ask in a way that encourages them to think of a specific person and give you specific name. Here are five ways to ask.
1. The Basic:
Who do you know that should know about me?
2. The Acknowledgement:
Who do you know who, like you, [compliment, aspiration]? Example: “Who do you know who, like you, has built a successful, fast-growing company and might need someone like me to…?”
3. The Challenge:
“When we first started working together you were experiencing [problem]. Who do you know that has a similar challenge who may want to meet me and learn more about how to achieve similar results?”
“Who do you know who may be curious about the type of customized training program we’ve designed for you?”
5. The Breakthrough:
“You really achieved a significant breakthrough recently when we worked together on [project]. Who do you know who may seek a similar breakthrough?”
The next step is to ask them if they would be willing to make an introduction via email or phone. When they say yes, make it really easy for them. Send a brief one-paragraph introduction that highlights the types of problems you solve and results you deliver.
Before the introduction, be sure to ask the referrer what you should know about that person. Any information you can glean to help “break the ice” in your first call will result in more rapid rapport, and a higher probability of success.
What have you found works best to seek referrals from your colleagues and satisfied clients?
Share your ideas or experiences in the Comments section of this blog.
About the Author:
Kate Purmal is COO of an early stage stealth cell therapy company. She also serves as a consultant, advisor and business coach to CEOs, executives, and entrepreneurs. Previously Kate served as a Senior Vice President at SanDisk, the CEO of the software joint venture U3, and led the product team that designed and launched the PalmPilot.
Tags: career, Job Search, Jobs, KIT List, Networking
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I was on a speaker panel recently with Al Hulvey, one of the heads of the Career Actions Network, which is a very effective and free service that is being offered by Menlo Park Presbyterian Church (MPPC).
The church has an excellent program of meetings with expert speakers on job search strategies, plus small accountability groups, and a résumé and referral network.
See the end of this email for the topic and speaker info.
Here’s their link:
These are the key actions you can take to access their great (and free!) resources:
1. Attend a Large Group Meeting.
When: On the 1st and 3rd Saturdays
9:30 to 11 a.m. at MPPC’s Fellowship Hall
1667 Miramonte Ave., Mountain View, CA
The aim of the large group meeting is to provide practical training on job search skills and networking. This large group setting offers:
- Presentations by experts to help you improve your job search
- Networking with a broad cross-section of professional disciplines
- Resume review with instant feedback
- Opportunities to join a Success Team and participate in our Job Referral Network
2. Join a Success Team.
CAM (Career Action Ministry) offers on-going small group support and encouragement through weekly Success Team meetings. These groups of 5-10 job seekers provide:
- A regular meeting structure that avoids isolation
- A forum for sharing ideas, contacts, and job leads
- A sympathetic group to practice interviewing techniques or other job search skills
- A trusted team to share individual problems for referral to other MPPC ministries or community resources.
3. Become part of the web-based Career Actions Network.
A unique feature of the CAM program is our job referral network. Members of the congregation have opted in to provide job leads and referrals. Register to create a profile and post your resume.
The next Large Group meeting:
Saturday, November 2
Guest Speaker: Dennis Romley
Presentation Topic: Hire Yourself an Employer
About the Presentation:
Go Hire Yourself An Employer (originally a book title by Richard Irish) is a powerful concept and the theme for Dennis Romley’s talk. Dennis will dissect the job search process and zero in on getting the interview. He offers concrete advice on how to nail each interview. Key is what Dennis calls the “ladder to success” which will translate personally to each one of us regarding our process of searching for a job. Participants will leave this discussion with an awareness of our choices in getting more of what we want in each situation as well as great materials for preparing and interviewing powerfully.
About the Speaker:
Dennis Romley is the founder and principal of Threshold Consulting, a firm dedicated to organizational change & development and strategic management of human capital. Recent assignments include: transition consulting and career coaching for Career Curve clients, design and delivery of Collaboration and Ideation workshops for product conception and improvement, and talent retention strategies for an organization under fire.
Dennis applies his skills as a strong negotiator, compassionate leader and team collaborator to produce the results needed when he is called in to support organizational change. He has over 30 years experience in strategic and global roles that include Senior Vice President at Roche Pharmaceuticals, Vice President SRI International/SRI Consulting and Director at Raychem Corporation (now Tyco). Dennis is a mentor and coach with senior leaders to encourage positive team and organizational dynamics. With global leadership and training experience in the USA, UK, Switzerland and Japan, Dennis is able to apply best practices across cultures and teams.
Try Out a Great Job Networking Group, C-SIX Connect August 13, 2013Posted by Sue Connelly in Events, Job Search Tips.
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Job search can be a challenging and often isolating experience.
Getting out, meeting with like-minded professionals and helping each other is a powerful way to get you, and others, into work you’ll really enjoy!
I’ve had the honor of knowing Hamid Saadat, who founded C-SIX Connect out of his spirit of generosity and desire to help others.
C-SIX has weekly networking meetings on Thursdays over a light lunch. They have guest speakers and great networking opportunities in a warm and informal setting.
Also, C-SIX has some special events where you can meet directly with hiring professionals, and they will review and give input on your résumé. Hamid said they will have another event in the Fall, so stay tuned.
I highly recommend that you go to a C-SIX networking lunch soon!
You may often as you like, and I’ve found that the more times you attend a networking group and build friendships, the more effective it is for everyone. It’s far better to conduct your job search with friends and people who will inspire and encourage you!
Here are the details:
Networking for local job seekers, sharing job leads, make contact requests, and workshops.
Day / Time:
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
20390 Park Place
Saratoga, CA 95070
$10 (includes program, light breakfast/lunch)
I hope you try it out this week! Tell Hamid hello and let him know you’re from the KIT List.
Sign ups for two excellent and FREE Silicon Valley and East Bay programs for job seekers on 8/7, 8/14 and 8/21 August 3, 2013Posted by Sue Connelly in Events, Job Search Tips, jobs, KIT List.
Tags: East Bay Works, Job Search, KIT List, NOVA, ProMatch
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There are two highly effective organizations that provide job search and career management resources — free of charge!
These two programs are funded by your tax dollars and they are both focused on getting professionals back to work.
If you are making a career move, there has never been a better time to join the ranks of a truly amazing career center in Sunnyvale called ProMatch.
ProMatch is a free service sponsored by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) and the NOVA Workforce Investment Board.
Many KIT List community members have alerted us to the value and strength of this remarkable program which helps professionals to:
- Learn how to use LinkedIn and other social media tools better
- Discover how to access the “hidden job market”
- Hone your interview and negotiation skills
- Strengthen and grow your professional network
The first step is to attend an orientation which offered every Wednesday from 8:15 AM until noon at the CONNECT Job Seeker Center. Some spaces are available on 8/7 and on 8/14.
Note: Be sure to arrive on time since late arrivals will need to reschedule. There are no advanced sign-ups for this workshop – just come at 8:15 AM.
CONNECT Job Seeker Center
420 S. Pastoria Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
East Bay Works
Located in Concord, they offer free services including job coaching and workshops for professionals in the East Bay and Tri-Valley area.
Experience Unlimited volunteers lead their own workshops on site. Plus, they have the largest local contingent of EDD staff in the Tri-Valley area located in their office.
Sign up for their one-hour Career Services Overview on the first and third Wed of every month. There you will find out everything that East Bay Works offers professionals — all free of charge.
The next events are 8/7 and 8/21 at 1:30 PM (arrive at 1:00 PM if you are not registered).
Also, they offer online workshops on job search preparation, LinkedIn vocational assessments, other distance learning for soft skills at:
One Stop Career Center
4071 Port Chicago Hwy. #250
Concord, CA 94520
I get many requests for KIT List job seekers outside of the Silicon Valley who want to know if there are similar services in their area.
Please share in the Comments section of this blog any other organizations that provide free career services, especially anything in Marin, Monterrey, Los Angeles, etc.
SGI Reunion on Monday 7/22! July 19, 2013Posted by Sue Connelly in Uncategorized.
Tags: reunion, SGI, Silicon Graphics
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To all SGI alums,
It’s been almost two years since our last reunion, so it’s time to get the old gang together and rekindle the SGI magic again!
We’ve got over 100 coming as of now, so it should be a fun night!
Please RSVP via the Evite:
Monday, July 22
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
412 Emerson, Palo Alto
Thanks for spreading the word so we don’t miss anyone.
This is the same place we usually have it in Palo Alto (formerly Fanny & Alexander’s). It’s no-host food and drinks, and just tip the staff generously. They’re not charging us a room fee since we usually have such a big crowd.
It will be so great to see you all again and the weather should be terrific.
IMPORTANT: If you or any SGI friends aren’t on the SGI Gang Yahoo Groups list, please make sure you subscribe so that you can reach friends and get future reunion info. Just send an email to SGIgangemail@example.com
See you there!
It’s worth it to reply to a job post! Don’t lose heart. July 11, 2013Posted by Sue Connelly in Job Search Tips, jobs, KIT List.
Tags: Job Search, Jobs
I want to encourage you all to not lose heart in your job search.
As the KIT List founder, I get emails from so many KIT List people who’ve gotten one — and even two or three! — jobs from the KIT List over the years.
So it’s worth it to reply to a job that interests you!
Since we are smaller than the huge job boards (we have 70,000 people in our KIT List community), your odds are so much better with the recruiters and employers who post with us. And many jobs are only posted here.
If you qualify for about 80% of the job requirements…GO FOR IT!
I’ve asked recruiters and employers about the long list of job requirements in many posts (often what seems like an impossible list!). Yet they say that if you match about 80%, that they’ll consider you. Don’t rule yourself out before even trying!
Take the time to write a brief cover email providing a few key points about why you’re a great fit for that SPECIFIC job (please avoid the generic, “Here’s my resume” or worse yet, no personal note!). If you capture their interest, they’ll look at your resume. It’s a good idea to include your resume in the body of your email so they can get to it quickly.
It’s smart to customize your resume to highlight your skills and expertise that will help that company solve their problems by hiring YOU!
Also, the spirit of this list is “friends helping friends.” If something is a good fit for a friend, forward it to them. The ripple effect of this has gotten so many people into jobs they love.
Finally, if you don’t get a response, don’t lose hope.
Recruiters and HR folks are under tremendous workloads. Though they’d like to, they just don’t have the bandwidth to get back to everyone. I saw a recent discussion on a Recruiter forum that recruiters were puzzled why they didn’t hear back for jobs they were applying and interviewing for THEMSELVES. They thought that as recruiters, they would at least get a response as a professional courtesy from another recruiter.
In the Recruiter discussion, the main reason for the “no response” problem was that the recruiters said they were so buried themselves. They are under the gun to fill jobs quickly, and with fewer resources than ever.
Job search is uncomfortable for all of us, but don’t give up and just know that the next job you apply for might just be the job you land!
Hang in there and keep helping each other!
Watch KIT TV: “Tips and Traps for Job Networking” February 6, 2012Posted by Sue Connelly in Uncategorized.
Tags: Get That Job, how, job, KIT List, search, tips, TV
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Take a look at the second KIT List “Get That Job!” TV show. Now that it has aired locally, it’s now available on YouTube at http://budurl.com/KITtv2
Please share this with your friends, too, since we’re doing this series to not only help you and our KIT List community, but to help all job seekers be more effective in their search.
In our monthly shows, you’ll hear directly from the experts on smart job search and career management strategies – as well as the common mistakes to avoid!
This show is focused on successful job networking, or what I prefer to call “Friend-working.”
Friend-working is a more positive way to approach networking and turns what can be a scary process into one where you to help others first, which also ends up helping you in a more natural and enjoyable way!
We’re fortunate to have two outstanding guests, Hamid Sadaat, founder of CSIX Connect and Tom Brouchoud, Senior Manager of Global Talent Aquisition at Sandisk. I know many of you have benefited from Hamid’s generosity through his excellent networking organization, CSIX Connect. Hamid and Tom are long-time friends and they bring great perspectives and humor.
You can also view the first KIT List TV show at: http://budurl.com/KITtv1
That show has smart tips on interviewing, resumes and cover letters, among other topics. This note on YouTube is exactly the reason why we’re doing this series!
“Awesome, helpful, useful information you, Christine, and John provided. After viewing your video, “Get That Job…Job Hunting Tips Part One,” I modified my resume and cover letter, and, well, 4 weeks letter, received a job offer that best meets my qualifications and needs, plus most importantly, that I am passionate about. Many thanks!!!! So excited to start 2012 gainfully employed with a fantastic company. Thank you!”
Feel free to share these shows with anyone who is looking for a job, and stay tuned for the upcoming shows.
Would you take a moment to help our Veterans? November 13, 2011Posted by Sue Connelly in Uncategorized.
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I just finished watching the Veteran’s Day TV fundraiser for our veterans on “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” which I recorded on 11/11/11.
I feel compelled to share this with our generous KIT List community so you each can help some excellent non-profits that are making a real difference for our well-deserving veterans who need us to return the favor they’ve done for us.
47,000 have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 40,000 soldiers are coming home in the next two months. They and their families have paid a huge price for us, and let’s show them that we are willing to thank them in a practical way.
Please take a moment to donate whatever you can, whether small or large, via a special web site that has been set up to get funds to important charities that are providing vital services to our veterans and their families including health care, housing, rehabilitation, mental health treatment, and job placement.
Just go to www.RiseAndHonor.org
The funds go to:
- Fisher House Foundation
- Hire Heroes USA
- Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
- United Service Organizations (USO)
- Volunteers of America
- Welcome Back Veterans
The special will be aired again on ABC on December 4th or you can view it now at http://budurl.com/RiseAndHonor
My Dad, who passed away last December, always asked veterans he met about their war stories. He was proud to have served our country in World War II, and sometimes these men had never even told their own families what they experienced at war.
The spirit of the KIT List (Keep in Touch) and friends helping friends is a direct result of my Dad’s simple example. I wrote a blog post, just before he died, about how he was the inspiration behind the KIT List at http://budurl.com/KITinspire.
We are losing the heroes from WWII on a daily basis, yet they’d say they were the lucky ones who made it back to start families and grow our country. These men and women would just humbly say that they just did what was needed, and the same goes for the veterans of every generation afterward.
Some came back stronger people than they were when they left home, while others came back with physical injuries or mental traumas. There are 75,000 veterans that are homeless today.
Please take a moment to say thank you in a more profound way by donating through Rise and Honor.
Thank you all!