WorkHu,am 2018 early bird ends October 31

Brene Brown and many other terrific speakers coming to WorkHuman2018 in Austin April 2-5, 2018!

Rates go up on October 31st. Use code WH18INF-MVA to $300!


No Ego: How leaders Can Cut the Cost of Drama, End Entitlement, and Drive Big Results

The Advantage of Disadvantage: How to Transform Adversity into Action

Keynote: Dr. David Rock

Culture Is a Four-Letter Word

Culture Is a Four-Letter Word

Welcome to a guest post from Steven Blue in which he discusses some of the issues facing companies in the gig economy like Uber.

By Steven L. Blue

When I started to write this article I originally titled it “Culture Is Not a Four Letter Word.” It was intended to address the CEO’s who think culture is a squishy, beer for lunch, feel good concept that doesn’t deserve a place at the grown-ups table. I wanted to demonstrate how wrong-thinking that can be and make the case for the power of culture and why it should be at the top of every CEO’s list.

I was prepared to make a compelling case to convince CEO’s that culture is every bit as important as strategic planning. I was ready to cite all kinds of studies and dazzling statistics that prove that positive cultures create positive financial performance.

But now I know I don’t have to thanks to a four-letter word: Uber. Uber’s toxic culture is front and center this week in the news.

According to recent reports, Uber has engaged in everything from sexual harassment to stealing driverless technology from Google. Even some of its own investors claim the company fosters a toxic culture.

There is that four-letter word again. You know, the beer for lunch, don’t bother with culture mind-set. Culture can be a four-letter word if it is ignored. Culture can be a four-letter word if is toxic. And toxic cultures kill more businesses than recessions. And it is liable to kill Uber too.

So what went wrong with Uber? How can a company that claims its values are “making communities safer” and “standing up for its driver community” go so horribly wrong? That is because those are only what I call “bumper sticker” values. Values that look good in an annual report but have no real meaning inside the company. Wells Fargo is a perfect example of this. Two of Wells Fargo’s key values are “ethics” and “what’s right for customers”. And yet they defrauded their customers by creating over 2 million ghost accounts.

There is often a difference between bumper sticker slogans and the real values that lie beneath. Value statements are always warm and fuzzy. But a company’s real values are manifested by how they act, not how they claim they act. And at the end of the day, the culture is nothing more than a collection of values. And values dictate how employees will behave. Such was the case with Wells Fargo. Such is the case with Uber.

If you’re a CEO, don’t wait until an Uber-like disaster strikes before you do a values check-up. But don’t have the human resource people ask employees what the company values are. Don’t declare what you think the values are and expect people to behave accordingly. That never works. Here is what you should and shouldn’t do:

  • Do not make this an exercise for the human resource department. If it is to be taken seriously, it has to come right from the top. People need to know that values matter.
  • Have an outside professional survey company conduct an anonymous survey and ask every single employee in complete confidence what they think the company values are. You may be astounded by the results.
  • If the underlying values are not the same as the bumper sticker, find out why. What is driving the difference? Chances are you’ll find operating managers are the root cause. Or you might be the root cause. As an example, many operating managers don’t give a hoot about anything other than results. Of course results matter. No company can prosper without positive results.  But results without appropriate values are often temporary, or in the case of Wells, only illusory.
  • Reality check time. Does your company have the “right” values? By that I mean values that serve your employees, customers, community, and shareholders equally. Values that form what I call a “culture by design, not default”. If not, it’s time to change them
  • Let’s assume you have the “right” values (you may, but I doubt it). Start at the top and go layer by layer. Those that don’t believe in, won’t abide by, or demonstrate the values have to go. This sounds simple, but it is not easy. But it is essential. If your top managers ignore the values everyone else will. This is a multi-year process that you must undertake carefully and delicately, otherwise the business will crash and burn. Take it one step at a time, one manager at a time. Once you start replacing managers for values reasons, the whole organization will begin to behave differently. People will applaud you for doing so.
  • Don’t let anybody in the front door that doesn’t fit in with your values. Interview potential new employees with values in mind. Don’t just state the values and ask if they agree. Of course they will agree, they want the job. Ask them what their values are. Ask them what values they would admire in a company. If their values don’t match with company values, don’t hire them. No matter how good they are. Otherwise, they will be like an infectious disease on the organization.

Bottom line, make values a key part of performance evaluation. Don’t make this a check off the box exercise. Make values the standard for promotions and compensation increases. And make values a key determinate in terminations. By instilling the right set of values, you’ll save your company from becoming a four-letter word too.

Steven L. Blue is the President & CEO of Miller Ingenuity, an innovative company revolutionizing traditional safety solutions for railway workers, and author of the new book, American Manufacturing 2.0: What Went Wrong and How to Make It Right. For more information, please visit, and connect with Blue on Twitter, @SteveBlueCEO.

NLRB PowerPoint for Election Rule Changes

Here’s a link from the National Labor Relations Board site that will take you to the PowerPoint the agency is using for their internal training.  The new rules including the need to give a lot of personal information for your employees to the union when an election is scheduled  if you collect it.  You might be doing this in more ways than you might think – like for open enrollment, employee portal log-ins, and other systems.  The rule changes has been controversial since it was announced and more is sure to come.

Election requirements

My Blog Is Back After Taking A Technical Sabbatical

Fifty Shades of HR

Now that my blog is back up and working again after a months long “technical hiatus”, I suppose it would be a good idea to update some of the stuff that has been going on.

Fifty Shades – the movie came out.  So did Fifty Shades of #DTHR.

zupan horror

I’m now a co-host for Drive Thru HR, along with Nisha and William, and Crystal Miller. We’re taking the show new places and looking to bring in some new faces. Hit us up if you are interested in being a guest.

Listen to the full new cast in the link below!

Check Out Social Networking Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with DriveThru HR on BlogTalkRadio

You can check in, but they’ll check you out

Hotel Room Privacy

This has been viewed a couple million times, but that doesn’t make it any less creepy given that I stay in a hotel room almost weekly, just like many of you.  Yet another privacy issue to worry about (or simply choose to ignore) while traveling. What’s next? Will hotels start to provide immense locking wardrobes for their guests?  It could be another revenue stream!


Southern Bakeries, LLC ordered to recognize Union, bargain in good faith

From the NLRB today.

Office of Public Affairs

Southern Bakeries, LLC ordered to recognize Union, bargain in good faith

August 18, 2014

On February 5, 2014, the Board authorized the NLRB’s New Orleans Regional Office to institute Section 10(j) injunction proceedings against Southern Bakeries, LLC (Employer) of Hope, Arkansas for its unlawful undermining of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, Local 111 (Union) during negotiations for a successor collective-bargaining agreement, as well as its subsequent withdrawal of recognition of the Union as its employees’ exclusive bargaining representative.

On August 14, 2014, the District Court granted the requested relief, which includes requiring the Employer to, among other things, recognize and bargain in good faith with the Union, grant the Union access to the facility, and post and read the District Court’s order. The Court’s order is available here. More information on the case is available on the NLRB website.