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Just one word. Robots.

August 28, 2015

“May I help you find something?”

If the 1967 classic “The Graduate” were to be remade in 2017 on its 50th anniversary, here’s the one word change I would make:

Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics. Robots.

Do you use the self-checkout line at the grocery store? I do. Does it ever occur to you that a human used to do that? I wonder what they’re doing now… Recently there’s been a spate of stories about robots in the workforce, driven largely by a new Forrester report, The Future of Jobs, 2025: Working Side-By-Side with Robots.

It’s eye-opening to see what robots can do today, and they will certainly displace workers the same way technology has been since the industrial revolution. The estimates on job displacement vary from article to article, but if you can add value to the human experience in work, you’ll find work.

“At a game like this, a gifted human player could always triumph over the game’s AI, because software couldn’t improvise. It could either react randomly, or in a limited number of predetermined ways, based on a finite number of preprogrammed conditions. This was an axiom in videogames, and would be until humans invented true artificial intelligence.”
― Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Anyway, it’s Friday and the thought of being replaced by a robot is unsettling. Besides, Kronos is looking to fill over 200 positions globally, and none require robotics skills.

Where to Find Kronos Training

August 27, 2015
v8 learning path snippet

Workforce Central 8 Learning Path

Catching up on some LinkedIn mail, I saw that Carl asked “Are there any training materials available anywhere to get started in Kronos Workforce Central Administration?”

Why yes, there are!

I advised Carl to check out the learning paths to Workforce Central 8 on our public web site:

KW2015 AgendaKronosWorks is also a great place to get a ton of training during our 2-day Pre-Conference Kronos TechKnowledgy Training, plus over 120 conference sessions AND Education Workshops, our 90-minute, hands-on computer workshops taught by our certified instructors!

Oh, and you’ll also be able to meet about 2,000 Kronos users, partners and Kronos employees. Plus, you know, it’s Vegas so there’s that… plus a big country pop group to rock our customer appreciation event!

Workplace productivity lost to fantasy football “more probable than not” deflated… and that’s OK

August 26, 2015
small-talk

Graphic: busyteacher.org/14144-how-to-teach-small-talk-workplace-business.html

It’s the time of year when I would get an invitation from “AndrewRavens1245” (not his real screenname) to join his fantasy football league. I never did and probably never will. Not my thing, but it is for 37.5M people in the US, and according to global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., “the cost of this workplace distraction could approach $16 billion in lost wages paid to workers managing their teams during business hours.”

Wow. $16B is a lot of quid, but I believe it’s “more probable than not” that the number is shy a few dollars PSI, and here’s why:

The study assumes fantasy football workers spend just one hour per week managing their teams. Thanks to Jonathan Brill over at quora.com, I now know a little bit more about what’s involved:

  • (10 mins) Setting your lineup for the current week based on match-ups
  • (10 mins) Dropping/Adding players based on injury, breakout free agents, etc
  • (15 mins) Sending taunting emails to last week and next week’s opponents (my favorite)
  • (15 mins) Sending totally unrealistic trade requests to all the new players in the league
  • (10 mins – 20 hours) Reading about football, fantasy football, TMZsports

Anyway, I think that one hour needs to be pumped up a bit.

Still, should employers be concerned? Challenger says no, and I agree. Encouraging collaboration is a piece of the puzzle called Workplace Strategies that Enhance Performance, Health and Wellness (seriously, read that one).  There are other examples. In this FastCompany article, the impact of 2014 World Cup pools are discussed:

“In the modern office, culture is king. If your company can establish a creative, competitive, and collaborative workplace, you’re half way to a successful business. Office pools can promote all of these characteristics, resulting in a positive office culture.”

FC goes on to cite stats from SHRM, the Society for Human Resources Management:

  • 70% of HR professionals say that office pools are a positive relationship building tool
  • 64% say it’s a good team building activity
  • 54% suggest pools might even increase productivity in the workplace

So there. It’s all about culture and building an environment that fosters engagement and collaboration. That’s the kind of culture we have at Kronos, so hurry up and join us. The season opens Thursday, September 10 with the reigning champs, the New England Patriots taking on some schmucks. No, not the Ravens. Some other schmucks.

Trophy Life

August 25, 2015
Everybody wants to touch the trophy that's as difficult to earn as that one.

Everybody wants to touch the trophy that’s as difficult to earn as that one.

I miss hockey. It’s worse this summer because my team’s season ended on April 11th, and did not include any playoff games. Chicago fans got to see their team play until June 15th AND got to see them hoist the Stanley Cup as NHL champions. Hockey is a game with a rich history and some interesting quirks. For example, to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, the teams in the Eastern and Western conferences must battle through three series of up to 7 games each before they meet in the finals. It’s customary that the winners in each conference don’t even touch the conference championship trophies. The only trophy they want to touch at that point is Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Last week, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison should have won a trophy if just for getting “Deflategate” out of the football news. Mr. Harrison generated some controversy when he returned “participation trophies” awarded to his 6 and 8-year-old sons because he felt it was important that his boys “earn” a real trophy.

I agree with Mr. Harrison on the trophy thing. Trophies should be earned or won in competition. Win some, lose some…

Speaking of awards, Kronos has won quite a few recently, many of them in the “team” category for being a best place to work. I can still feel good about that, right?

A Typical Daydream*

August 24, 2015

truckIn 1975 “Convoy” was a huge hit on both the country and pop charts and caused a big spike in the sale of CB radios. On our first cross-country drive from Wakefield, MA to Tucson, AZ in 1978, my best buddy had a CB in his 1969 Camaro convertible. Listening to and chatting with truckers along those long desolate stretches of dusty Mid-West and Western highways were an enjoyable diversion when we weren’t listening to Pink Floyd, Zep or AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” Oh, and I bet you didn’t know that one of Steven Spielberg’s first directorial efforts was about a truck. Now you do.

Kronos serves the trucking industry, and the American Trucking Associations reports on the immense scale of trucking in the US: “70% of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. goes on trucks. Without the industry and our truck drivers, the economy would come to a standstill. To move 9.2 billion tons of freight annually requires nearly 3 million heavy-duty Class 8 trucks and over 3 million truck drivers…”

In our next 1 in One Hundred Million episode, here’s the story of one of them, Shannon NeSmith.

* Lyric from “Truckin'” by the Grateful Dead

Courage to Love

August 21, 2015

LoveThis week I attended a 2-day “Courage to Lead” training session that was focused on our company culture. It was outstanding, and a privilege to be in the room with 19 of my peers that help make Kronos a best place to work in global locations like Indianapolis, India, Canada and at our headquarters in Massachusetts. We often take the pulse of our workforce and the results are rewarding. It takes a highly engaged workforce to create experiences customers love, and we work at that every day…

That’s why I scanned Forbes list of The Best Enterprise Cloud Computing Startups To Work For In 2015. I knew we wouldn’t be there because technically we’re not a “startup,” but in some ways we are, especially in the cloud. We have a vibrant, startup mentality when it comes to the cloud and our customers are responding. The vast majority of our customers are ascending to our cloud solutions for small to mid-sized organizations and large or complex enterprises.

So yeah, I do think we’re one of the Best Enterprise Cloud Computing Startups To Work For In 2015, and we’re growing! Check us out you will.

Thanks to Doni Lerner from IT Central Station for posting the beautiful Beatles-Yoda mashup pic on LinkedIn!

Yes, KronosWorks has Vacancy!

August 20, 2015
Vacation

View from the pool…

Today is my first real day in the office since August 7th. The past two days have been in a training class that I’m still processing and may get back to you on later, but for now vacation lingers. Ten days of varied family vacation included sand, sea, and mountains, but mostly family. Whether sitting in the sand, sailing in Camden Harbor or winding the jagged coast of Maine, relaxation was unrelenting. While driving I was amazed at how many hotels, motels, and B&B’s dot that coast. Vacancy… No Vacancy… Oh, and by the way…

KW2015 Vacancy

Yesterday I received a customer inquiry via Twitter asking if the conference was full. What? Full? It’s in Vegas, baby! Can Vegas even get “full?” I tweeted back for a screenshot and got one that I forwarded on to our events team for investigation. I think it may simply be a semantic thing, but KronosWorks registration is wide open and looks to be one of our best yet with over 120 sessions, and especially if you’re into big poppy country music stars

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