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Kris Dunn at Lunch with DriveThruHR

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03/08/2013 - Kris Dunn at Lunch with DriveThruHR @kris_dunn visits with @bryanwempen @williamtincup & @thehrbuddy about what is keeping them up at night.

DriveThruHR was designed to be a captivating and easy-to-digest lunch discourse that covers topics relevant to
HR professionals.  Each 30-minute episode features a guest speaker who shares her or his knowledge and experience in human resources.  Our hosts and special
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0:58 Bryan Wempen

Well, there you go the long player version. William, just for you. I thought you needed a little bit, a little bit more Raspberry Beret this morning. A little Prince, bringing in.

1:09 William Tincup

I could always use a little bit more Prince in my life, let's be honest.

1:12 Bryan Wempen

No. That's you know... I was feeling it too. Pre-show you know, I wanted to turn that frown upside down. So I think we've done it. So any who, let's get to our guest, Mr. Kris Dunn, welcome back to DriveThruHR.

1:34 Kris Dunn

Hey guys. Thanks for having me.

1:37 Bryan Wempen

So I think there are a handful of folks who don't know who you are, so if you would introduce yourself and then we'll jump right in to what's top of mind.

1:46 Kris Dunn

Hey, before I introduce myself. I got to say that I like the selection of Prince you know, a lot of people who would still get Purple Rain, but I believe Raspberry Beret is the next __1:56__ after Purple Rain or two after. So it's kind of a renaissance for Prince in my eyes. So well, done.

2:05 Bryan Wempen

Very good. I appreciate that.

2:07 Kris Dunn

Yeah. Yeah. I mean it's what I got. Alright, so a quick introduction. My name is Kris Dunn, long-term HR pro. I started in the business of HR back in 1997 that puts me just barely in a protective class. So watch yourselves today. And I'm the CHRO at a company called Kinetix and I'm the founder of the blogs the HR Capitalist and also one called Fistful of Talent where William Tincup braces us with his presence every couple of weeks. And we're happy for that presence I just want to put that on the record.

2:50 William Tincup

Nice. What's top of mind for you these days, Kris? What's keeping you up at night?

2:56 Kris Dunn

You know, I think it -- like one of the things and I think it's related to the topic we wanted to talk about. Like you know the biggest things that's like top of mine for me right now is just a whole -- becomes a whole topic of adoption and it seems like you know, so we're a recruiting company at Kinetix. And regardless of what we feel in, in a lot of companies use us for some very specific reasons and we send a message, we tell them the features that we provide that we think separate us from the pack and everybody has got those features. And the interesting is when we actually get to implementation -- you know some of our customers have trouble like fully implementing what we consider our full collusion to be, which is kind of an adoption issue and then you know I follow obviously like the software sector in HRs as part of what you know I write at Capitalist and Fistful of Talent and it just seems like getting -- it seems like everybody has got a great solution. A lot of people have very good solutions to a lot of problem that companies have and that HR pros need solutions for, it seems like actually getting them to use it. Even if they wanted to use it, like actually getting them to use it and getting the people around them to use it is the biggest issue that's out there and to me that kind of plays into what -- what we want to talk about today which is gamification.

4:27 William Tincup

Yeah. Some of the things that we can learn from -- consumer place like LinkedIn and you know Facebook and some of those things that they with -- it's become fun. And whether or not it's official that it has become gamification or we just feel like we're playing a game, how we do that in B2B? How do we do that when we are recruiting software or recruiting services like what have you thought about trying or what have you all tried to can step up that "game" if you will?

5:00 Kris Dunn

Well you know, I think when you think about B2B you're thinking about "that's just my take on it" you know whether it's like software or recruiting services like it provides. I think you've always got a buyer, right? You won't get a buyer who is always bought into the solution and then you got all these stakeholders around them with the variety of all. So much say it's like three, four or five different walls that stakeholder sold like around them. And getting the stakeholders everybody in the business world got a million things going on and with a million things going on and a millions things to read and a hundred logins, there is a certain amount of ADD that goes on. So what you've got to do and this is I think a struggle for every company, I think the LinkedIn like kind of paradigm it's kind of interesting. I would like to get -- I would like to get a react to this in a second. But knowing what you're doing in my eyes to try and get this option makes you trying to get a keys to the features you can provide that if they would only use them you know that's -- you'll have them for life, but you've got to get them to use it. So it becomes the keys, the keys to the future and I don't think you can do it like in a very, very formal way, right? I mean I think you've got to make it fun and you've got to make it light enough where it actually might get used and you've really most got to trick that intention to start a person make sure everything is going on to take a chance on what you can provide. I think that's true. Whether its Kinetix is already like embedded in the company and we're trying to get like the full solution deployed through HR technology vendors. I think it's through HR professionals, right? Because you know the good HR professionals that you know have a platform.

6:57 Kris Dunn

And they know how to get stuff done. They know how to you know like really make their managers and their client gripping the employees and the client grip a raiding fan of that individual and also the HR departments but they got to get them to use at once. And that's the whole trick.

7:17 William Tincup

What are the lines of demarcation between height and reality? When someone says gamification to you, you know and they know that you are savvy enough to kind of fight through what is hype and what is the reality. What are the lines of demarcation for you? Where you like, "Okay, it's kind of overblown if we think of it like this, but if we think of it like this it actually works."

7:40 Kris Dunn

Well, that's a great question. For me a reaction to that question I guess, you know my initial answer top of mind is that, hey, if you're trying to create an entire echo system like a point totals and leader boards and things like that. I think the reality is for most companies trying to deploy a solution and get people can use what they're very good at. I think creating an echo system that people have to track you know that may require like an official-like platform and stuff like that, I think the harder it is to track it and the more involved that has to be the less it gets used. So if you go back to LinkedIn, right? I think we've all written on this a little bit with the LinkedIn endorsements. You know, I just got one from William Tincup like two days ago. That said William Tincup has endorsed to you. Now, part of me always cringes on that because I wonder if William Tincup has found a way to make up his own category and say that Kris Dunn is an expert on X. And I won't say why X is because what William Tincup will come up with for that would be counterproductive to Kris Dunn in the business capacity. However, you know, I think you go to LinkedIn endorsement stating that's a great example. It's in the existing platform and it's like you know, it's like you're a drunk mouse with sugar water. You're just beaten that thing as much as you can and it's Wackamole, as soon as you hit it another one comes up and it feels pretty good. It feels good to do it for somebody. It feels good when you see somebody do it for you so they created I think a form of gamification that doesn't really -- I guess that's track results. But there is no year board involved. There is no really reward other than just the pure recognition of it all. To me that's one that works pretty well.

9:45 Bryan Wempen

Hey Kris, this is Bryan. So on a gamification side, do you think it's just another layer of kind of smoke and confusion that's just -- I mean it's just warn in the ways that people are not really -- there's not a really high adoption rate and people are like, "Oh, it's one more thing". Do you think the cynicism is kicking in or do you think there is real value to this?

10:07 Kris Dunn

Well, I think there is real value too and I give you one example from our company Kinetix so we're a recruiting company and we know that if we can be involved -- let's say that the two of you, let's say Bryan is the hiring manager and William is somebody who also interviews the final candidate so we know that from that situation, that Bryan can drive the decision and we just know from our own experience that quality conversation after both William and Bryan interview the candidate will equality conversation especially if you get to like three or four people who interview the final candidate, we know that quality conversations rarely happen. We know, hey, what you think, like them, didn't like them that's about as deep as it goes. So we know we can provide the value and you really become more embedded in a quality higher, like if our recruiters can drive kind of what we call the facilitation of that feedback loop. So what we've done is we got a system that's a form of gamification. We, call it area code hiring where first number is, your guys' opinion scale 1 to 10, first in debility to actually do the job, knowledge skills, abilities, experience etc., etc. Third number in that area code is set for the culture, set for the manager, set for the team and scaled 1 to 10 and what we do is we draw people out in the conversation. We make them write down the number and so I would make you guys write down your number without sharing notes and then I would hear that William in terms of ability did a job is an 8 and Bryan is a 5. So now as the facilitator I've just gamified the feedback loop by making the other number.

12:07 Kris Dunn

And now we got something interesting to talk about in terms the difference between those two numbers so I think to answer your question -- give you that example Bryan, I think it gets real. I think it comes in a lot of different variations and the simpler you can make it and the more you can make it embedded and something you already do like a process that you already do I think the more effective that it is. The middle number in the area code is 0 or 1, 0 means, not gonna hire them, not gonna move them forward in the process, 1 means let's hire them today or let's move them forward in the process until we get to the last two candidates we're gonna consider.

12:56 Bryan Wempen

Nice. Let's talk at some of the aspects of talent management, succession performance or awards engagement whatever, do you think there's areas that can or like easier to gamify than others or not?

13:13 Kris Dunn

Well, you know I think recognition. I think you need the thing where can you involve more people and you kinda go to like -- in my mind the biggest words like -- aggregate -- average areas and things like that. I think anytime you can involve everybody in the department or everybody in the decision, I think it's easier to gamify. I think when you can't involve everybody gamification becomes much more limited and the example I would give you -- let's take two examples, talent management or let's say performance management. So you go to the performance management suite and when you're doing -- the fact that a lot of these solutions include 360 feedback, they can include anybody and the company makes it easier to think about how gamification would work. Recognition is the same way. If I will look at different solutions that are out there like -- there is company that -- was called WorkSimple that just closed its doors and they had a great solution which really what I would call social goals and social goal setting that was really this incredible feedback loop for people to get budgets, people to get feedback and the goals that somebody was working towards based on their observations, but so I think it's really -- you're really capable of doing that, both in performance management and also just in the rewards and recognitions based, but I think the fact that -- WorkSimple had a very elegant solution and I had always -- I was trialing that and you know Helen and I, Kinetix trialed it, we thought about a firm company, it is the fact they shut their doors and they have a great solution, tells you how hard the adoption thing is on anything that's any form of gamification work can include a lot of people.

15:12 Bryan Wempen

For sure, hey Kris let's do a quick reset. Everybody is listening to DriveThruHR with Bryan and William and niche talking with Kris Dunn. So Kris we kinda switch gears on here so fun at work, I wanna hear your perspective of why it feels like having fun at work and having a fun app because your atmosphere is so scary to so many business leaders out there.

15:40 Kris Dunn

Yeah, you know to me -- fun at work comes in a variety of fashions. There is the fourth, there is the, well, there is the expected stuff, right with __15.53__ you know that are kind of like points in time -- and that's where you get into the paradigm of HR people, planning the company technique, planning this company launch and things like that and there is the more organic version of fund that's kinda self defined by different managers and different departments thing -- maybe it's all encouraged by a CEO. There is certainly driving the certain culture or even really like progressive HR person. I think it feels threatening the people really because anytime you allow for fun and the more decentralize fun in your organization, the more legal liability. HR professionals, all years who by the way are not HR professionals, but they impact us in big companies. The more you decentralized what's fun is in a company and what culture is in a company, there is the perspective that there is a lot of liability associated with that and to a certain extent there is a liability. The question is if you have a culture that decentralizes and the definition in that culturing allows for a lot of creativity which is part of my definition of fun then the whole question becomes there is liability associated with that. The whole question becomes is their business results in some capacity that outperforms that liability.

17:22 William Tincup

What's the relationship between fun at work and employee engagement for you?

17:30 Kris Dunn

I don't know. William, it's a good question. My definition of employee engagement is a little bit different than a lot of peoples. My definition of employee engagement is discretionary effort and I think that discretionary effort like, I think you're engaged in your job if you give more than you had to and it could be for a variety of reasons, but for the most part I think it comes from passion for the individual for the work that they're doing and maybe the company setting up and environment where they can chase that passion and my gut tells me that for the best talent, you get that definition of engagement meaning discretionary effort of that talent you get that regardless if the company is driving "well, we're calling fun today" and I would also say that just because you create a fun environment that maybe helps you recruit for your recruitment brand, I'm not sure that that translates into my definition of engagement which admittedly is maybe a little bit different in everybody else's definition of engagement, maybe a little more limited than the broader world years this definition of engagement. What your guys is definition of engagement?

19:02 William Tincup

People that, it's the same as yours, it's very similar, it's people that show up when you don't expect them to show up so discretionary effort, it fits for me.

19:14 Kris Dunn

Yeah. And you know William just to piggyback up that now I love to hear Bryan's definition of engagement like I could care less if the employee's survey comes back and by whatever kind of metric thing that we use, I could care less that it tells me that 81% of my workforce does engage unless I have the real tangible proof that someone is just shaping it because they love it and we're happy to have them by the way, but I think it's probably, I think it's probably more internal. I think company can do things to get the people who are capable of doing what you described to chase great thing, I think that's the company's job. I think like driving engagements course, I think there is probably 20% of the people in your company that are driving 80% of the good stuff that results from their engagement.

20:06 William Tincup

Let me ask you a question about fun and money. If you could offer up to your employees, let's say, you can have fun or you can have money but you can't have both.

20:20 Kris Dunn

That's right.

20:21 William Tincup

Not just their normal compensation. I mean all that stuff is stated and covered but like the discretionary money that you would be spending on the fun because the fun cost money, generally. At least opportunity cost there's going some money tied to that. We will just not have as much of the fun but we will take that money. We'll just give it you as a per cap.

20:41 Kris Dunn


20:42 William Tincup

First of all, it's that just the -- just a bad idea or how do you think people would respond to that?

20:48 Kris Dunn

So, here's what I think. I mean, it's a fascinating question. I think that people would respond to that by saying, "You know what, the ways you guys trying to find fun as a company, you only impact me that much and I'm generally cynical and jaded about them, so you just go on and give me that check." I think there is only a missed rate enough. You know, I wrote about this maybe three or four months ago. I think the other thing is when you start talking about fun in an organization, you know, like, work is a part of -- it's just one part of somebody's life and there is human condition and I think I wrote about it, like reference to nature, which write I get to do like a matrix reference with the blogs like once a month or I don't feel like I'm doing my job. But you know agents met in the matrix said that the first matrix that they did was a perfect world and that everybody was happy, everybody have everything they needed, etc., etc. and his quote was "if you follow the matrix, you basically like a made prisoners of the whole human race for the electricity out of their body". They said that entire crops were lost that people tried to unplug from their system because there is this human condition that almost expect some type of despair. So, when I start thinking about, just to bring it back to your question, I started thinking about the human condition needing some drama, needing some despair, I think that's why you're going to see a lot of people that would say "just give me that check" because everybody's definition of fun and what impacts them from that perspective is so different.

22:25 Kris Dunn

I think you know, I think you got that opt people too, right William? I think you got, maybe 10% to 15% of people say, "Dad, give me fun" but I think you had a lot of jaded cynical people who your fun efforts don't reach, that are probably never engaged that say "give me the check" and if anybody can unlock that and give more people to say that they opt for fun, then they've got their definition of fun that probably is the holy grail.

22:52 William Tincup

Yeah. It's a shared experience. It's a shared definition. We all agree on fun if the company can provide fun for or help enable us to have fun together, fantastic. But there's kind of interesting line between that and charitable giving that at least corporate giving as it's thought of in the United States for corporations come together and they give on behalf of the employees and the company and there is actually a lot of thought out there that just says, "You know what, just give the money to the employees."

23:26 Kris Dunn


23:27 William Tincup

And let them give into whatever they care about.

23:30 Kris Dunn

Yeah, because they can't possibly make decisions that, you know, united ways the safe choice because it does so many organizations but it doesn't really crystallized admission. You know, neither way it's this consortium of all these organizations that built quite money before they give to and that's kind of blend for the employee based and I think they did a great job, that's your point. It's hard to connect people with what that mission is for sure.

24:00 William Tincup

What is your definition of fun at work? So I mean, you know, you move over from Daxco to Kinetix and you're a part owner in this bit, you know all of that both good stuff and bad stuff, I'm assuming. What's the definition for fun at work for you now, Kris?

24:19 Kris Dunn

Yeah. You know, my definition would be being challenge by what I do, being able to grow and what I'm shaping professionally and then on many more days than not having, even in difficult business circumstances which happened in every business, not having a lot of bad days which of people who are around you. So I can think of like three or four people that I worked with that has been outstanding to work with the Kinetix and the fact that they are positive, the fact that they are supportive, the fact that, you know, I feel the same way about them when they're working on things. That's fun to me, you know, it's like think about it, you got a hundred people and you saw like a Harlem Shake video come in from a company, right? So you got a hundred people on that floor doing the Harlem Shake. You know, and what you got there is kind of similar to other people that would take fun over money, you got like 10 or 15 people really engaged in that Harlem Shake thing and I guarantee you there are 30 to 40 people out of that 100 that might be gyrating a little bit. At the end of the day, you know what, they don't want to be -- they don't want to be in the damn Harlem Shake video because that's not their definition of fun. So, it's interesting because if you ask me my definition of fun and it really goes back to the conditions that what engage someone like me and get discretionary effort out of me and to me that's that, you know, when I've been -- when my batteries are charging at work and I'm engaged in that capacity, you get discretionary effort out of me and I want to do it.

26:06 Kris Dunn

I want to work rather than, you know the few times in my career where I have not enjoyed work and I'm dreaded getting up in the morning and going, kind of like all the Yahoo! people who have to go into the office do now. But still the fun kind of goes back to engagement, so it's interesting that, you know, 10 to 12 minutes ago, you ask me fun versus engagement or what my definition engagement was and I think for me, being engaged is fun and that's when, you know, it's when and why I want to go to work, right? It has nothing to do with the Harlem Shake. It has nothing to do with margarita, you know, Margarita Day at work. That's nothing to do with that. It really has to do with, you know, is work interesting, are the people supportive that you most rely on and you guys chasing stuff that kind of expands your professional horizon. So, I think you know, like the people -- the great masses will take your Margarita Day. They'll drink your margaritas, they'll gyrate a little bit in a Harlem Shake. The bottom line is they're complaining in the background which gets back to your question about they rather have the check.

27:17 William Tincup

Are you with me or I miss? We've got about two minutes left. We've been missed if we didn't ask about a moment in time when you're trying to create fun and it just blow up in your hands. Mine was buying Rangers -- Texas Rangers tickets, seasons tickets said that nobody want to see the Rangers when they suck in July and August because it was hotter and hideous here in Texas, so that, you know, that investment kind of blew up in my hands a little bit. What about you? Is some moment in your career where you try to manipulate fun or -- and manufacture fun and it just blew up in your hands.

27:55 Kris Dunn

You know. I try to get a running group together one time, right? And somebody had a minor stroke during the fun run. You know, so that's only is kind of a buzzkill, right? You're saying, "Hey, let's get together. We work in this great office park. There's woods, there's trails. Let's get together and have a little run." So you know, you pump it up, you're doing away where everybody wants to join and then, you know, Johnny, who -- well maybe this some fault of his own. Like, weighs 270, comes out in the run, he is jogging, minor stroke, buzzkill. Fun. Blowing up in my face, William. And I never tried to force wellness on anybody since then.

28:45 William Tincup

Since then.

28:48 Bryan Wempen

And that is definitely a over arching metaphor to conclude the show and the week. Mr. Dunn, always good to hear from you, great and fast 30 minutes. What's your last closing thought? We're going to end it -- we're going to come in to this thing hot. So wrap it for us and we'll role some music and life will be great.

29:13 Kris Dunn

Wow! Hey, I got a little motivational quote for you. Put this on your successories poster but I like this one. If you want to go fast, go alone, but William and Brian, if you want to go far go together.

29:30 Bryan Wempen

Boom! Yes. As just happened folks, right there. Kris, have a great weekend. Thanks for joining us. Good to hear your voice. Can't wait to see you very soon to one of your many speaking events and William always a pleasure. Misha, good luck with that house, you try to get close and folks we are out of here, have a good weekend, we'll talk to you on Monday.

30:00 Kris Dunn

Thanks guys.