On Electric Camels and Lifeboats…

Kyle Kirkland
Oct 6, 2018 · 3 min read

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

Such is the value trade off presented by the HR programs being offered by the Silicon Valley today. Designed by untested developers with limited practical human resource management experience, most offer their own version of electric camels when what California managers need is access to radar (to avoid icebergs) 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 your accurate documentation of the issue which led to the termination of the aggrieved employee. You should, too. That employee is your iceberg and your documentation, your lifeboat.

So why don’t most HR developers recognize this and spend more time building practical tools like documentation tools and requirements reminders instead of preaching how their software will promote greater harmony in the workforce? Because they’re untested, out of touch and haven’t had the scary experience of being dumped into the icy waters of litigation, wrongly accused of mistreatment by a disgruntled employee. Instead, they take their lead from VCs with more cash than practical experience. Like the indignant designers of Titanic, they focus on the novelty (“Great for your liver, sir!”) when the reality is they need to offer a basic lifeboat and an understanding of how to launch it.

JobStats is different. Our software was designed by managers who have banged into 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 documenting incidents — better than anyone. It’s stable, scalable and proven. But like the lifeboats that weren’t on Titanic, it’s no good to you 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.

HR Shop Talk - The Official Blog of JobStats

Managing people is hard. JobStats makes it easier.

Kyle Kirkland

Written by

Founder of JobStats, California Gaming Association President, Club One Casino Owner, Former Chairman of Steinway & Sons

HR Shop Talk - The Official Blog of JobStats

Managing people is hard. JobStats makes it easier.

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