2021-2022 HR Trend – Teaching Sales People to Get Back on the Road!

“Yeah, I can get as much, or more, done right from my living room as I did before the pandemic!” (said in the snotty tone of a spoiled brat kid, maybe a slight valley girl vibe) “Like, there is absolutely no need to go visit clients and potential clients in person!”

I don’t know much, but here’s what I do know:

Pre-Pandemic:

  • Next to impossible to hire good salespeople.
  • A constant struggle to get average salespeople to get on the road and meet with potential clients. (Why do we need to meet with people in person when we have email and Inmail?)
  • Overall, sales results weren’t too bad because the economy was on fire.

Post-Pandemic:

  • Next to impossible to find good salespeople.
  • Now everyone thinks working at home is great and why should I ever leave my couch!?
  • Overall, sales results won’t be as good because the economy isn’t as good.
  • Executives will freak the f*ck out because sales aren’t as good.
  • Someone will knock on the HR door and say something like, “Our sales suck, we need better salespeople and better sales training!”

Do NOT underestimate how difficult it will be to get your people back on the road!

Right now you’re thinking the opposite. “Tim, every single day I hear from our sales folks about how they can’t wait to get back on the road!” Yeah, turns out, they’re pretty good at telling you and their boss what they want to hear! They already sucked at getting out and making sales calls, staying home for a year, didn’t make them better!

What can HR do to help the Sales Results at their Company? 

1. Help your Sales Leaders make really good accountable goals that are trackable by individuals.

2. Report to your sales leader weekly travel budget stats. You might not be able to see if they did a good sales call, but you can ensure they actually got on the road!

3. Mentor/Buddy programs. It’s hard making sales calls in person. It’s a bit easier when you get back on the road with a partner. Yes, this increases cost, but we need to break the ice and get back into the groove.

4. Force your sales leaders to get back on the road with their team. We love, as sales leaders, to talk about our glory days, yet, not actually show the kids how it’s done.

5. Add a sales “work sample” into your interview process. Make the person interviewing come in and do a sales call with you and someone else from the sales staff. Make them show you they can actually do it. “Timmy, you’re going to come in sell me this pencil. Go!”

HR Pros, do not discount the value you can bring to the sales operation of your organization. Sales, revenue generation, is the lifeblood of your company. Want to elevate your status within your organization? Get involved with helping your sales team thrive!

The Bad Idea Trap!

2020 wasn’t the best year for a lot of people and as such we have so much excitement and anticipation for what 2021 will bring, but we are cautious. Already in 2021, we’ve seen some hangover of 2020!

We believe that 2021 and into the near future will be a bit of a struggle for most organizations. Some character building years ahead of us. We’ve come out of a decade of growth, pandemic hits, and now we have some rebuilding to do.

I truly believe when tough times hit, we see the best in people. As professionals, we work harder than ever to get to the success we want. We come up with all sorts of ideas and things to try to get us back on top. Therein lies the problem.

You see, there is this funny phenomenon that happens, that has now been proven in science. Turns out, during bad times, we come up with more bad ideas than good ideas!

Why do we have more bad ideas than good ideas during hard times?

A great historical example (that might have some context to 2020!) was during the 1920s and 1930s. Extremely hard economic times in Germany led to the rise of the Nazis. I think we can all agree, 100%, the Nazis were a very bad idea. But, because of the awful economy, many folks thought the Nazis were a great alternative.

Turns out, depressions, pandemics, social uprisings, etc. Lead us to more bad ideas than good ideas. We start grasping at straws, believing we are trying to help. We are testing out stuff to see what works when we think nothing is working when in reality, we might actually be starting something worse.

To go along with this, when times are awesome, no matter what you do, you probably are less likely to screw something up. “Hey, we did this crazy thing and our sales were up 3%!” Great, maybe if you didn’t do that crazy thing your sales would have been up 10%, but now you think that crazy idea, that bad idea, actually was positive!

Great times cover up many of our bad ideas. Bad times shine a giant light on our bad ideas.

Why am I talking about Bad Ideas? 

2021 might be a ripe time for bad ideas! We all will be pushed and stressed to make things happen. Leaders are going to look for ideas. It’s our job to come up with ideas. Most of those ideas are going to be bad. Sorry, but that’s just simple math. Most ideas are bad, some are good, very few are great.

In HR and TA we tend to believe that our ideas, our projects, our programs, etc. don’t have a giant impact on organizations. Actually, they have more impact than you think, but it’s mostly long-term impact, not short-term. We want these ideas to have an immediate impact, but people and culture tend to take time.

That is why, in 2021, we have to be very careful about the Bad Idea Trap.

I want you to go out and test and try things but move a bit more cautiously out of the gate. Be willing to shut things down quicker. Be more aware of the timing and how your organization is doing. If your organization is killing it, great! Go have some fun, break some things! If your organization isn’t doing well, slow down, take your time, don’t allow yourself to be in a rush, even though it’s going to feel like you should be.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a large corporate meeting room with a bunch of people and some well-meaning executive starts off with “there are no bad ideas! Let me have them all!” Yes, there are bad ideas and the worse idea is a bad idea that is chosen to move forward!

Maybe our 2021 Slogan in HR and TA should be “Yes, there are Bad Ideas!”

My Momma Don’t Like You…

My Momma don’t like you and she likes everyone…

Do you like that new Justin Bieber song?  Yep, I’m a Belieber! Don’t hate. The kid can entertain!

How does this have anything to do with HR?  Come on, you know I’ll bring you back!

“My Momma don’t like you and she likes everyone.” Do you have someone in your organization that is a walking cultural fit filter?

I do. Her name is Lori. I call her LJ. She has been with us (HRU Tech) for over 20 years! True story we hired her when she was 18 years old, straight out of high school to be a receptionist. Married, mom of three great boys, she is still rocking it at HRU in a much more expanded role! Most days I think I probably report to her.

When we interview a candidate to work in our corporate office, LJ knows if the person will fit or not, without being in the interview! LJ is like Justin Bieber’s mom. She likes almost everyone. Easy to get along with, but most importantly she knows the HRU culture.  If LJ says the person won’t work, the person won’t work.

I think most organizations have someone like this.  No, it’s not you in HR or Recruiting. You think you know, but you fail constantly at choosing. Cultural fit filter people are on the front lines. They hear and see the crap that HR and Recruiting never get to hear and see. They know your true culture.

I’ve worked with organizations, that truly carried about cultural fit, that have added one step into their candidate screening process. It’s a cultural fit interview, with a cross-functional team on non-hiring managers, non-HR, non-Recruiting folks. It’s also a knockout screen. If you don’t make it past them, you don’t move forward.

Organizational fit has always been important, but organizations are beginning to put some real emphasis behind it recently.

I don’t worry about it much. I just ask LJ, she’ll let me know.

 

We bet on Laurie Ruettimann taking over #HRFamous! @lruettimann #BettingOnYouBook

In episode 45 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Tim Sackett and Jessica Lee are joined by special guest Laurie Ruettimann to discuss her new book (out 1/12/21, click to view) called Betting On You.

Listen below (click this link if you don’t see the player) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

2:00 – Tim opens up the episode with a discussion about pronouns prompted by this tweet. JLee mentions that they/them can feel like the only option for some people and so she understands why some people would want pronouns that are unique to someone.

5:30 – Tim welcomes on today’s guest, Laurie Ruettimann! She is a longtime friend of the pod and we are happy to have her on today’s episode!

7:45 – Laurie has a new book coming out soon called Betting On You. She says that she wrote the book because she felt stagnant in her HR roles and wanted to create the book that she would have wanted in this phase of her life.

9:30 – Laurie mentions the phenomenon that HR employees tend to forget their employees too and they need to trust themselves and the issues that they see.

11:00 – JLee asks Laurie what she thinks makes her book stand out from others. She says that she just wants to tell stories and her experience. She doesn’t claim to be an expert but she wants to relay messages she’s learned from her work experiences.

12:00 – The crew takes a quick sidebar to talk about their favorite Peloton instructors (Team Dennis or Team Cody?).

14:00 – Laurie mentions that many different movements of this past year have caused a lot of self-reflection about our lives and our morals and how this theme of her book follows along with this journey.

17:30 – Tim asks JLee if she thinks there will be a reckoning for more traditional white-collar environments post-pandemic. She thinks that the traditional way cannot keep going on in the way that it has for a long time.

22:00 – JLee thinks that people forget how many choices they have. Not only do they choose to work somewhere but they choose to go to work every day. Laurie thinks that embracing that perspective as an HR professional can change how systems work.

24:20 – Laurie brings up the fact that FBI agents are taught to detach themselves from their work and that they have an identity outside of their job.

26:50 – Tim asks Laurie about things they can do to combat burnout. She says one of her favorites is that your personal life should go on your professional calendar first. She thinks so many of us are victims of the Outlook calendar.

29:30 – Tim heard a story about how your life is juggling 5 balls. The ball for your job is rubber but the other 4 are glass. You can rebound from dropping the job ball but the glass balls will cause real damage.

32:00 – Laurie’s new book is available for pre-order at bettingonyoubook.com and available for purchase on January 12! Also check out her podcast, Punk Rock HR! Thank you to Laurie for joining us for this episode!

Order the book here!

How Many of Your Employees Are Going to Get the Covid Vaccine?

I’m sure you’ve been seeing the headlines, across America we continue to hear about front-line workers, healthcare workers who are refusing to get the Covid vaccine. In Ohio, it’s estimated that 60% of nursing home workers declined to get the vaccine!

I want to believe that those choosing not to get the vaccine when they could get that vaccine are just ignorant and natural selection will take its course. But, not even 100% of hospital workers, nurses, and doctors on Covid units are getting the vaccine they are eligible to get!

So, we know that when it comes time that we can help our own employees get the vaccine, not all will want it. This will cause a bunch of issues in organizations that we haven’t even come close to really knowing, yet.

Can you fire an employee who refuses to get a Covid Vaccine? 

Short answer? Yes. The longer answer depends on a number of factors. Do they have a legitimate religious exemption, not one they’ve conveniently made up in the past day or so? Do they have a document medical issue? Etc.

The reality is employers have a lot of ground to stand on when forcing employees to get a vaccine or lose their job. Getting the vaccine becomes a workplace safety issue and the government and the courts have shown a willingness to back these protections.

The more important question is, do you as an employer want to force employees to get the vaccine, or is there a better way to get the same result? This is really a company by company decision.

What are some ways to get employees to want to take the vaccine? 

Let’s face it, the vast majority of most employees, at most employers, will actually want to get the vaccine and get back to life as “normal” before the pandemic. So, anything you roll out to entice your employees to get the vaccine will be a bonus most probably didn’t need. That being said, here’s what I’ve been hearing some employers are doing:

  • Cash bonus to get the vaccine. $100 if you get the vaccine in a certain time period once it’s available.
  • Extra time off.
  • Extra flexibility around their schedule.
  • Making it super convenient, like offering vaccines onsite at the workplace.

It’s basically the carrot or the stick. Most likely, organizations will have to use both to get to the point of ‘herd immunity’. The reality is, based on data, you don’t actually have to have 100% of employees get vaccinated to make your workplace safe.

I think it’s important to remember that factor. You really don’t need 100%. As organizations do we really want to fight that battle with someone who just refuses, yet, they are a good, solid employee? I don’t think it will be worth it in the long run.

The one thing you might try is drafting an agreement for those who refuse which would state, they are refusing to get the vaccine and I would try and add in some language that gives you the right as an employer to be able to let other employees know who are those employees are aren’t vaccinated from a workplace safety issue, so other employees know who they need to continue to social distance from. Is this ideal? Heck no! There are HIPAA issues, among others. But, this is about how do we keep the majority of our employees safe.

Now, before drafting some agreement like that up on your own, get your legal counsel involved. They’ll balk at first, but with some pushing, they can put something together that will protect the organization from any legal blowback.

Again, you have to weigh the outcome of doing something like this. Those employees who refuse the vaccine, sign your agreement, and you make that public among your employees is now wearing a scarlet letter around. That isn’t good either, from a cultural standpoint.

This is why HR is so much fun! We don’t live in black and white, we live in the gray. There isn’t one perfect answer to the question. Of course, the best-case scenario is every single one of your employees wants the vaccine and gets the vaccine. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening with too many organizations.

“Betting on You” the Book Review! #BettingOnYouBook @lruettimann

Many of you know my friend, Laurie Ruettimann. She was the original Punk Rock HR, then the Cynical Girl, and then back to Laurie Ruettimann with a slice of her original Punk Rock HR! Welcome to the world of Social Media, Blogging, Podcasting, and HR, no one really wants to know how the sausage gets made!

Well, today, Laurie is launching her book, Betting on You! How To Put Yourself First And (Finally) Take Control Of Your Career! 

I’ve been lucky enough to be in Laurie’s Circle of Trust from the very beginning, so I get a special sneak peek at the book and was able to read it during the holiday break and it’s amazing! I’m so proud of the work she has put together!

First, Laurie’s been writing for a long time and she has a huge following, so we all knew she could write. Laurie’s strength as a blog writer, and now a book writer, is her ability to tell a story. She has that gift as a writer and a speaker.

Betting on You is full of Laurie’s stories as an HR professional and executive and her journey throughout her career in what she learned and how it can impact your career and job search. I’ll be honest, I read the entire thing in one sitting while sitting by a pool in Florida! It was a great read that I couldn’t put down. I’m one of Laurie’s closest friends and it was full of stuff even I didn’t know!

This is a book for every level of professional that is feeling a bit stuck at work or in their career, and Laurie lays out the plan on how to find the job of your dreams by putting yourself first and taking control of your career (you see what I did there!?). By the way, this is a great book for a team Book Club read if you’re looking for some team development in 2021!

Honestly, I don’t do book reviews. I get a lot of people who send me their books, and I’m sure I sent a lot of people my book when I released it, but I just don’t have the time and capacity to review every book I get. I made the exception for Laurie because I’ve always been a fan of her writing and I knew it would be one I would just love reading!

It’s clearly the best book I’ve read in 2021!

You can find Betting on You at all the regular online booksellers and at many of your national book retailers as well. Go order a copy today!

(Laurie and I in Vegas on our way to the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM!)

Your Superpower is Your Authentic Self!

I had someone ask me what my superpower is? I found that a hard question to answer. I mean do you think being able to write a 500-word blog post in 15 minutes a superpower!? Some bloggers probably do, but no one else!

I was told that my true superpower was me just being me. My authentic self. Then I asked this person how much I owed them for the life coaching session! 😉

We are told constantly to be ourselves, or live our true life, find a way to be yourself, etc. The reality is being your authentic self might be your superpower, but like all superpowers, they can be used for good or evil.

Let me give you the best example ever! Donald Trump is his authentic self. It’s his superpower and he rode that superpower right into the White House. His authentic self was a superpower he used for evil, and ultimately it destroyed him and his legacy.

What I find a leader of people is that employees living their authentic self either works wonderfully or awfully and rarely anywhere in between!

Here’s the thing about being your authentic self, you must first know if your “authentic self” something others want to be around or if your authentic self off-putting to others. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be yourself, but if your authentic self is a complete asshole, you might want to work for yourself and not someone else!

Let be really frank here, any gender can be an off-putting authentic self. It doesn’t mean you don’t love who you truly are, but you must also realize who you truly are isn’t what most people want to be around. Your superpower isn’t going to be asked to join the Justice League, you’re going to be asked to join the villain side.

In real life, you actually don’t become a villain, unless you’re DJT. Most likely you become your own boss, or you live a miserable existence trying to fit into a work world that doesn’t want you and you don’t want it. Some of the best and brightest people I know can’t work for others. Their superpower is something that allows them to be awesome, but not when working closely with others on a daily basis.

Why does this matter? 

It matters because if some idiot is trying to sell you the snake oil of “Just be your Authentic Self” you must first determine, is your authentic self something others will embrace and want to be around. If so, great, you’re going to probably have a great career. If it’s not, and you want to work in the corporate world, you’re probably in for a lot of therapy.

Also, let me be very clear, not living your authentic self while you are at work isn’t the worse thing in the world. You can be one thing at work and another thing in your personal life. Is it ideal? No. But, I’ve seen many people in my career be successful in doing this. It’s a little like Clark Kent and Superman. I can be Clark Kent at work and then go home and be Superman in the rest of my life.

The worse thing that can happen is you try and force your authentic self onto others and believe they should “accept” your authentic self. Nope. That’s not how it works. You can’t make anyone accept your authentic self, you can only make yourself accept that. If I don’t like your superpower, you can’t make me like it, and if I’m in a position to determine the trajectory of your career, you’re in trouble.

Superpowers are awesome, but they can be super for good or super for bad. Love who you are, but don’t expect others will necessarily love it.

Hiring Managers! Job Seekers are only judging you on two things!

If you’re out looking for a job it usually feels like you’re being judged on every little thing you do, has done, or potentially will do in the future. Interestingly enough, a Harvard professor discovered you’re actually only judged on two things:

“People size you up in seconds, but what exactly are they evaluating?

Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy has been studying first impressions alongside fellow psychologists Susan Fiske and Peter Glick for more than 15 years and has discovered patterns in these interactions.

In her book, “Presence,” Cuddy says people quickly answer two questions when they first meet you:

 – Can I trust this person?

 – Can I respect this person?

Psychologists refer to these dimensions as warmth and competence respectively, and ideally, you want to be perceived as having both.

Interestingly, Cuddy says that most people, especially in a professional context, believe that competence is the more important factor. After all, they want to prove that they are smart and talented enough to handle your business.”

Trust and Respect.

I’ll add this is probably the two things you’re being judged immediately following the judging that gets done on your overall appearance, which is almost instantaneous! Let’s face it, we like to hire pretty people.

Once you open your mouth, you’re being judged on how well can I trust what this person is telling me, and can I respect their background, work ethic, where they came from, etc. Most of this is based on the person doing the judging, not you. I know, that sucks.

How do you help yourself?

1. Try and mirror the energy of the person who is interviewing you. If you come in all calm and cool, and the person who is interviewing is really upbeat and high energy, they’ll immediately question you as a fit.

2. Do research on who you’ll be interviewing with and try and get some sense of their background and story. Try and make some connections as fast as possible in the interview. This will help build trust and respect with this person. In today’s world, it’s not that hard to find out stuff about an individual. If HR sets up your interview, just politely ask who you will be interviewing with (the name).

3. Be interesting. Have a good story to tell, one that most people will find funny or interesting. Not too long. A good icebreaker to set off the interview on a great tone.

I tell people all the time. An interview isn’t a test, it’s just a conversation with some people you don’t know. We have these all the time. Sometimes you end up liking the people, sometimes you don’t. If you don’t like the people you’re interviewing with, there’s a good chance you won’t like the job!

Bad Hires Worse!

If I could take all of my education and experience and boil it down to this one piece of advice, it would be this:

Bad Hires Worse.

In HR we love to talk about our hiring and screening processes, and how we “only” hire the best talent, but in the end, we, more times than not, leave the final decision on who to hire to the person who will be responsible to supervise the person being hired, the Hiring Manager.

I don’t know about all of you, but in my stops across corporate America, all of my hiring managers haven’t been “A” players, many have been “B” players, and a good handful of “C” players.  Yet, in almost all of those stops, we (I) didn’t stop bad hiring managers from hiring when the need came. Sure I would try to influence more with my struggling managers, be more involved but they still ultimately had to make a decision that they had to live with.

I know I’m not the only one, it happens every single day.  Every day we allow bad hiring managers to make talent decisions in our organizations, just as we are making plans to move the bad manager off the bus. It’s not an easy change to make in your organization. It’s something that has to come from the top.

But, if you are serious about making a positive impact on talent in your organization you can not allow bad managers to make talent decisions.

They have to know, through performance management, that:

1. You’re bad (and need fixing or moving);

2. You no longer have the ability to make hiring decisions.

That is when you hit your High Potential manager succession list and tap on some shoulders.  “Hey, Mrs. Hi-Po, guess what we need your help with some interviewing and selection decisions.” It sends a clear and direct message to your organization we won’t hire worse.

Remember, this isn’t just an operational issue it happens at all levels, in all departments.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is look in the mirror at our own departments. If you have bad talent in HR, don’t allow them to hire (“but it’s different we’re in HR, we know better!” No you don’t – stop it).

Bad hires worse, over and over and over. Bad needs to hire worse, they’re desperate, they’ll do anything to protect themselves, they make bad decisions, they are Bad. We/HR own this. We have the ability and influence to stop it. No executive is going to tell you “No” when you suggest we stop allowing our bad managers the ability to make hiring decisions they’ll probably hug you.

It’s a regret, I have something I will change. If it happens again, I won’t allow it. I vow from this day forward, I will never allow a bad hiring manager to make a hiring decision at least not without a fight!

Big Companies are Announcing their Return to Work Plans! #HRFamous

In Episode 44 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Tim SackettKris Dunn, and Jessica Lee come together in the new year to discuss that Gary V requested Jessica on LinkedIn, the CHRO move of the week, and Google calling their employees back into the office (eventually).

Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!

Show Highlights:

1:30 – Happy New Year! Tim is thinking (and hoping) that 2021 is going to be a great year. JLee is looking forward to drive-through vaccinations.

2:45 – JLee got a LinkedIn request from Gary Vaynerchuk. Tim is extremely jealous (he’s a super fan), and JLee is very confused on how she got this.

6:00 – The gang wonders aloud how many people send invites out on Gary V’s behalf. Tim thinks that JLee needs to leverage her brand and her title to get Gary V on the phone in 2021.

9:00 – Time for the CHRO move of the week! UPS announced a new CHRO Darrell Ford after their old CHRO (Charlene Thomas moved to a new role at the company).

10:30 – KD thinks Thomas got a demotion.

12:30 – Tim thinks that Thomas was potentially underperforming so they brought in a new one to try out in the head HR position.

15:30 – Tim also wonders that they are potentially setting up Charlene Thomas to take over a COO or a CEO role eventually at UPS.

17:20 – In KD’s youth, the UPS driver was a person of note in his life. KD thinks it’s a transactional job now because there are so many drivers and people aren’t making a lifetime career out of being a driver.

21:00 – JLee thinks that KD would be a shorts-only UPS type of driver. No brown pants in sight!

22:30 – Next topic of the day: Google’s CEO announced that they will continue being remote, but they will be returning back to the offices eventually and will not be remote forever. The announcement said that employees should eventually return to a place that is in a commutable distance from their office.

25:00 – KD thinks this is the revert back from the earlier pandemic announcements of full time, forever remote transitions.

30:45 – KD also thinks that Google is trying to prevent a mass exodus from California to places like Texas, as companies like Tesla are moving there.

32:00 – JLee is coming up on her 100th Peloton ride and she found out that her husband ordered 100 balloons on their shared Amazon account to celebrate.