Tag Archives: California

The High Cost of a Bad Hire at Mozilla

Questionable HR comes with a high cost

Should the personal beliefs of a CEO don one issue determine if they are qualified to run a company or not.  Based on the recent series of events at Mozilla, the answer seems to be a resounding yes.

Brendan Eich speaking on "browser wars: d...

 HR problems took down the entire management structure at Mozilla in the last 30 days.

I missed a lot of the first furor over the Brendan Eich situation at Mozilla.

According to CNET:

 

Eich had built a strong following as co-founder of Mozilla, a savvy fighter for the Web, inventor of JavaScript, and leader of the Firefox and Firefox OS projects. His promotion to Mozilla chief executive officer from chief technology officer last week was a rare techie triumph over the usual business-school demographic.

Much of that credit evaporated as he struggled to reconcile his 2008 contribution of $1,000 to Proposition 8, a California measure against gay marriage, with Mozilla’s explicit culture of inclusiveness. That inclusiveness is central to the world-spanning organization’s breadth, and Eich told CNET in an interview that it protected his own views, too.

But his argument didn’t persuade critics, and Mozilla management — accustomed to taking the moral high ground — had to defend itself from boycotts and outrage.

Eich tried to lay these concerns to rest, addressing them in a blog post on his personal site in which he sets forth his views and commitment on Inclusiveness at Mozilla.

 ….I ask for your ongoing help to make Mozilla a place of equality and welcome for all. Here are my commitments, and here’s what you can expect:

  • Active commitment to equality in everything we do, from employment to events to community-building.
  • Working with LGBT communities and allies, to listen and learn what does and doesn’t make Mozilla supportive and welcoming.
  • My ongoing commitment to our Community Participation Guidelines, our inclusive health benefits, our anti-discrimination policies, and the spirit that underlies all of these.
  • My personal commitment to work on new initiatives to reach out to those who feel excluded or who have been marginalized in ways that makes their contributing to Mozilla and to open source difficult. More on this last item below.

Despite these efforts, the Mozilla CEO ultimately decided to resign due to the on-going controversy concerning his contribution to a group supporting California’s anti-gay Proposition 8.  This followed the resignations of three Mozilla board members who had previously stepped down over Eich’s appointment.  That’s a significant amount of fallout for any organization, but especially significant for a business like Mozilla, a non-profit competing against huge competitors like Microsoft and Google.

HR problems brought down the Board and the CEO.  Organizational values, succession planning, background checks, talent selection, fit to hire and even something as basic as a background check all played a part in this drama.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the three departing directors resigned over the Eich hiring , believing that the company needed to hire someone with different qualifications, specifically someone more experienced in mobile. It’s likely that Mozilla’s approach in selecting the next CEO will look significantly different.

 

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Some people have a beef with this branding experiment

 Blogging and Branding

I have a guest post up over on HR Observations.  My pal Mike Haberman had to have knee surgery, and some of us are helping him out while he is convalescing.  It’s a hot mess of flash mob videos. Go take a look!

Speaking of videos, here’s something kind of quirky and interesting.  The restaurant chain Chipotle has spent $1 million dollars developing a 4 episode original series called “Farmed and Dangerous”, which premiered on Hulu yesterday.

It’s a quirky show that takes aim at big agriculture and factory farming. It’s a comedy with a unique branding strategy behind it, but not everyone is in love with it, according to this article in the Denver Post:

In the boardrooms of Madison Avenue, they call it ‘values branding:’ a marketing strategy in which a company tries to instill a feeling of righteousness in the customers who buy its products,” wrote Ted Sheely on the Truth About Trade & Technology site. “But what kind of values would inspire a corporation to wage a smear campaign against America’s farmers?”

Sheely, a farmer and board member on various California farming organizations, disagrees with Chipotle’s stance that genetically-modified crops are dangerous. He compares Chipotle’s latest “ploy” to a Super Bowl commercial that makes consumers feel morally superior while tearing down the competition.

It’s an interesting branding experiment, and one we will likely see more of in the future.

 

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Hot stove: Walmart and NLRB step up to plate for big swing

 Three strikes and you’re out

Walmart Clock
Walmart Clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The National Labor Relations Board released a consolidated charge against Walmart last week that many labor relations professionals view as a key test in the on-going struggle over labor rights in the United States.

The Board charges that Walmart committed labor violations when it disciplined employees that participated in one day strikes organized by a union backed worker center.  According to the NLRB, the alleged violations as reported by Wall Street Cheatsheet include:

  • “During two national television news broadcasts and in statements to employees at Walmart stores in California and Texas, Walmart unlawfully threatened employees with reprisal if they engaged in strikes and protests on November 22, 2012.
  • Walmart stores in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Washington unlawfully threatened, disciplined, and/or terminated employees for having engaged in legally protected strikes and protests.
  • Walmart stores in California, Florida, Missouri and Texas unlawfully threatened, surveilled, disciplined, and/or terminated employees in anticipation of or in response to employees’ other protected concerted activities.”

Walmart has denied any wrongdoing, and plans to fight the charges.

The key issue in question in this case is the legal status of a series of sporadic one day labor strikes, walkouts, flash mobs and similar protest activities that the group OURWalmart has organized and conducted at Walmart stores across the county for the past 18 months.  Traditional labor strikes have lasted longer, and end when a contract settlement has been reached.

Labor attorneys for Walmart charge that the NLRB is trying to use this case to expand the traditional concept of protected strike activity.

 

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NLRB issues Walmart press release

NLRB Office of the General Counsel Authorizes Complaints against Walmart, Also Finds No Merit to Other Charges

The following press release was issued by the National Labor Relations Board this afternoon.  More sure to be forthcoming.

Office of Public Affairs
202-273-1991
publicinfo@nlrb.gov
www.nlrb.gov

NLRB Office of the General Counsel Authorizes Complaints against Walmart, Also Finds No Merit to Other Charges

The National Labor Relations Board Office of the General Counsel has investigated charges alleging that Walmart violated the rights of its employees as a result of activities surrounding employee protests. The Office of the General Counsel found merit in some of the charges and no merit in others. The Office of the General Counsel has authorized complaints on alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act. If the parties cannot reach settlements in these cases, complaints will issue.

The Office of the General Counsel found merit to alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act against Walmart, such as the following:

  • During two national television news broadcasts and in statements to employees at Walmart stores in California and Texas, Walmart unlawfully threatened employees with reprisal if they engaged in strikes and protests on November 22, 2012.
  • Walmart stores in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Washington unlawfully threatened, disciplined, and/or terminated employees for having engaged in legally protected strikes and protests.
  • Walmart stores in California, Florida, Missouri and Texas unlawfully threatened, surveilled, disciplined, and/or terminated employees in anticipation of or in response to employees’ other protected concerted activities.

The Office of the General Counsel found no merit, absent appeal, to alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act against Walmart, such as the following:

  • Walmart stores in Illinois and Texas did not interfere with their employees’ right to strike by telling large groups of non-employee protestors to move from Walmart’s property to public property, pursuant to a lawful Solicitation and Distribution policy, where the groups contained only a small number of employees who either did not seek to stay on Walmart’s property or were permitted to remain without non-employee protesters.
  • Walmart stores in California and Washington did not unlawfully change work schedules, disparately apply their policies, or otherwise coerce employees in retaliation for their exercise of statutory rights.

The National Labor Relations Act guarantees the right of private sector employees to act together to try to improve their wages and working conditions with or without a union.

 

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Why beer can’t be a perk at work

Free beer benefit becomes cause of action 

 

Beer
Beer (Photo credit: RaeAllen)

Some dudes just can’t get enough, and sometimes you just cant make some people happy no matter what. Not even by giving them “free” beer at work apparently.

It’s no wonder so many HR people appear to be crazy. 

According to the website LAW360, a class action suit was file by California brewery workers against  Anheuser-Busch LLC on Friday, accusing AB of wage theft.  The charge says that the brwer failed to pay them for properly for overtime, alleging that payment in free beer and other perks were unfairly excluded in pay-rate calculations, lowering the overtime payment.

You can see the complaint here.

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Protect your brand by staking your claim

A question mark with the copyright symbol.
Image via Wikipedia

Staking your claim

Do you ever worry that the brand of your company could be hacked or misappropriated by parties who may not have your best interest in mind?  You should be.

Most companies worry about protecting their trademark, patenting technology and copyrighting their publications.  All this is very important, but all too often they overlook another important asset that they should be protecting, your company domain name and all the related URL variants.

Protect your brand

Here is an example of why this is important.    Take a look at the web site of California based grocer Henry’s Markets, and then take a look at this other Henry’s website with a very similar URL set up by a group that apparently has some issues with Henry’s.

The only difference between the two URLs is the extension.   The authentic page ends in .com, the alternate site which was set up by a union group ends in .net.   I seriously doubt anyone at Henry’s thought this would happen.  I also doubt that they enjoy the idea of customers landing on this type of lemon site so closely linked to their brand name when this could have been avoided for what was probably a small price.

This could have easily been avoided by Henry’s if that purchased all the domain name URLs directly related to their brand, instead of just the one.  It is difficult, if not impossible to own every variant of your name that might be used against your brand, but you should own all the possible URL names that are tied directly to your brand name.

That is one way you can protect your brand by staking your claim to your brand name URLs.

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SHRM 2010 – My second 48 hours, otherwise known as “Are you on Tweeter?”

Cookie Monster
Image via Wikipedia

Random Recaps from San Diego

The first ever SHRM/ Monster Tweetup was a Monster Top Shelf kickass production.   Attendance was estimated at 350.   Drinks were flowing.  Elvis Paninis were rocking the snack trays of serving staff.   Robin Schooling continued her 2010 Apple electronics grab by winning an iPad.  I saw a lot of old friends, and met a lot of new potential social media fans.  You can check out a lot of pictures from the event on the Monster Social Flickr page.  We are working on a similar event for HR Florida in August. Stay tuned for more details on that soon!

Gerry Crispin was kind of enough to share some of his valuable time with me this week.   We enjoyed great wine at the wine bar at Andaz Hotel (6th Street and F ave. in San Diego), and then had a fabulous dinner at a place called Kemo Sabe.  The food was delicious, and every plate was a work of art.

If you don’t already know, Gerry is a bit a foodie, and enjoys interesting conversation, which is obviously why he invited along with his group of friends from New Jersey.  (kidding)  Gerry is also one of the smartest HR people walking the planet, and offered me some great advice on a number of things as we talked, for which I am very grateful.

From Drop Box

A lot stuff was going on behind the scenes at this conference.  I  did a few vendor interviews which may turn into blog posts over the weekend, but the most interesting stuff for me was watching what was happening around the SHRM social media efforts.   It wasn’t all perfect, but Curtis Midkiff is doing good stuff, and it will get better.  I look  forward to next year when he has been there for a while.  SmartBrief and Monster worked with SHRM to do some great stuff as well.

I became the very first follower of new tweeter Lon O’Neil aka @SHRMCEO.  After Lon mentioned the Tweetup in his opening day speech, a few yelps of enthusiasm from my deat mate, @blogging4jobs prompted one of our HR brethren to turn and ask her (after staring) “Are you on Tweeter?”

I spoke to SHRM volunteer chapter leaders along with Laurie Ruettimann, Bryan Wempen, and Curtis from SHRM.  You can see video that Laurie shot with her flip cam at the bottom of the post.

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SHRM 2010 – My first 48 hours

Downtown San Diego
Image via Wikipedia

Random thoughts from San Diego

I have actually been in San Diego for about 50 hours, but hanging out and around the SHRM Conference for 48 hours.   I haven’t been to a session yet.    I am trying to see portions of the conference from a different perspective.   So, if I am not going to session and building my professional credentials, what have I been observing and doing?

Lots of stuff, some of it even a little significant.  Here are my observations in no particular order.

Steve Forbes  as a Keynote was pretty boring after starting out with some humorous promise.  You would think that even in a recession a media guru rich guy like Forbes could afford to hire someone to help him  update and customize his old stump speech.  It was disappointing.  I had much more fun watching the twitter back channel from John Hollon, Laurie Ruettimann, and Jerry Albright, as well as others. Check #SHRM10 to see what I mean.

SHRM’s social media effort is taking place all around me here in the social media lounge, which is a nice work space, except they are also doing filming for Smartbrief/Monster in the same room.  This makes it sort of difficult to be very social when people are frequently shouting “quiet on the set”.  It is an efficient use of space and I appreciate having a place to work, but it is tough to talk.  The rest of the SHRM initiative is still too embryonic to assess, but it looks promising.

Conference attendance has made a fabulous comeback.  There are several hundred more people here this year than last year in New Orleans.

The exposition hall is busy and vibrant.  I haven’t grabbed much swag, but a lot of people are giving away Kindles and iPads.  It is a good showing.

Networking and Social Activity is good with a lot of small intimate dinners, hallway conversations, and interaction with people on the blog squad, or in the press room.

The weather in San Diego is kind of crappy, on a relative basis, with a lot of gray sky, called “June Gloom” by local residents.  I was expecting the legendary golden rays, so this is kind of a surprise, even though apparently normal.

Tonight is the first ever SHRM Tweetup, sponsored by the kind folks at Monster.  It should be fun and interesting to see how that goes over.  I will be getting there around 7:30 after going on a harbor cruise sponsored by Beyond.com.

More tomorrow.

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Delivering Happiness to the workplace

At the Zappos Call Center
Image by tpeek via Flickr

Deliver Happiness

Yesterday, on my 5 hour flight from Tampa to San Diego to attend the  2010 SHRM Conference, I read an advance copy of  “Delivering Happiness: a path to profits, passion and purpose” by the CEO of Zappos.com, Tony HSeih.

Here is my short take on the book.

The first part, which is the growth and development of Tony is pretty boring.   Not that his story isn’t kind of cool,  it is just not what I wanted to read about in terms of workplace culture, business, or the unique story of Zappos.  This stuff takes up the first third of the book.   It is quick, but mundane reading.

The balkance of the book, focusing on building businesses, risktaking, investing, and developing a unique success story is fascinating.   The information Tiny Hsieh shares is really powerful stuff and well worth the time it takes to read.

My favorite line from the book is a question asked by a Zappos employee on an internal communcation board:  “Do Vegans eat animal crackers?”

It reflects the whole wack world that is Zappos.  check it out!

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On the Road Again….to #SHRM10 in San Diego

A Delta Airlines Airbus A330-323E landing on r...
Image via Wikipedia

Getting to #SHRM10 by flying Delta Airlines from TPA to LAX….

and then a short jump down to San Diego, where I will be delivering a multimedia stream from #SHRM10 that will include articles, tweets, pictures, and YouTube updates, and possibly a surprise or two.

So far, plans include:

and the infamous, more!  See ya from the beautiful downtown San Diego!

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