Electric Camel or Lifeboat?

Kyle Kirkland
If you were a first class passenger on HMS Titanic and happened into the deck level gym circa April 1912, health instructor Thomas McCauley (perished at sea) might have introduced you to the state of the art gym equipment on board. The selection of workout gear included an electric camel which mimicked the camel’s gait, was reportedly good for the liver and provided guests a creative alternative to the rowing machines, parallel bars and Indian clubs he also had to offer.

As we know, despite the White Star Line’s attention to guest health, Titanic didn’t have enough lifeboats for its full complement of passengers when she had an inopportune encounter with an iceberg around midnight April 14, 1912. Had Titanic’s engineers spent anytime treading water in the North Atlantic in April, they’d likely have had a different perspective on the relative value of electric camels and lifeboats.

Such is the value trade off presented by the HR programs being offered in the market today. Designed by developers with limited experience dealing with actual employees, most offer their own version of electric camel when what managers need is access to radar, radios and lifeboats. When you’re in an EDD or DFEH hearing or on the witness stand, you won’t care about slick on-boarding, benefits management dashboards and shiny key performance indicators. What you will care about is accurate documentation of the issue which led to the decision regarding the aggrieved employee. That employee is your iceberg and your documentation, your lifeboat.

So why don’t most HR developers spend time building practical tools like documentation tools and requirements reminders instead of pitching how their software will promote greater harmony in the workforce? Because they haven’t had the unsettling experience of having their management decisions routinely challenged by employees, senior management and regulators or worse, being dumped into the icy waters of litigation, wrongly accused of mistreatment by a disgruntled employee. Like the designers of Titanic, they focus on hyperbole ("Unsinkable!") and novelty (“Great for your liver, sir!”) when the reality is what employers really need is a lifeboat and an understanding of how to launch it.

is a different kind of HR management system. Our software was designed by managers who have grazed an iceberg or two, spend some time in the cold water and have no interest in repeating the experience. Our software handles the fundamentals — tracking of training/requirements and real-time documentation of incidents — better than anything else out there. It’s stable, scalable and proven. But like the lifeboats that weren’t on Titanic, it’s of no use if you don’t bring it onboard. Call for a demo today!

About the author

Kyle Kirkland is President of Brick HR, Inc., the developer of JobStats documentation software. As owner, President and General Manager of Club One Casino in Fresno, California, Mr. Kirkland has extensive experience managing employees in gaming, food and beverage, facilities, security, administration and managerial positions. He has direct experience in dealing with the challenges California employers face and how to mitigate the related risk. Mr. Kirkland is also the president of the California Gaming Association, a non-profit trade association which represents California cardrooms.

Prior to joining the gaming industry, Mr. Kirkland served as the chairman of Steinway Musical Instruments, the world-renowned musical instrument manufacturer, a position he held for 17 years. Earlier in his career, Mr. Kirkland worked at Bain & Company, an international management consulting firm and Drexel Burnham Lambert, an investment bank specializing in high yield securities. Mr. Kirkland has served on the boards of several public and private companies and non-profit organizations.

Mr. Kirkland holds an A.B. degree from Harvard College magna cum laude in Economics and an MBA degree from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

He can be reached at kyle@jobstatsapp.com.


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