Do people really not want to work?

On my way to work this morning, I saw seven businesses that had “Help Wanted” signs out front. The sign above is from a fast-food restaurant requesting you be nice for the few staff they have that are working their butts off to get you fat! Please be patient, your fries, double cheeseburger, and shake will be with you shortly.

I was on vacation for Spring Break (yeah, I said it), and traveled out to St. George, UT, and spent time outside hiking. Stopped at a McDonald’s for a Diet Coke on our way back from Zion and the manager was locking the doors at 2:30 pm in the afternoon. He apologized and said he normally has 50 employees on the schedule, but currently only has 16 and can’t keep the doors open!

Do People Really Not Want To Work? 

1st – Of Course People Don’t Want To Work!?! How stupid is this question!? (Wait, so let me get this straight, I don’t have to work? And I’ll get money? And I don’t have to pay rent? Okay, I’m not gonna work.)

2nd – Read #1.

3rd – If you give anyone the choice to not work, but still get their bills paid, they will not work. This is what is currently taking place in this great country of ours. In fact, some folks are making more not working than they were working. So, none of this is surprising!

The surprising part is politicians seem to be the only people alive, in America, who don’t understand that businesses can’t get people to come to work right now. They like to point to unemployment numbers, but those numbers are not telling the true story of what’s happening across the vast majority of industries.

Certain companies and industries got hurt super bad by Covid. We needed a policy that was sniper rifle accurate to help those people. Our government, instead gave us a nuclear bomb acting like everyone was in trouble. Which lands us in the position we are in right now. Too much work, not enough people who need to work at this moment.

No, Really!? Do People Not Want To Work? 

Here’s my take:

People want to do things that make them feel valued. Things that make them feel satisfied. Where they have some freedom of choice. And at the end of the day they feel safe, secure, and that they matter.

The vast majority of jobs from $10/hr to $20/hr can’t meet those basic needs.

If anyone of us was given the choice to not work and have our basic needs met, even for a short period of time (like the current Stimulus package) most would take it and do things they would rather be doing. Some will help others and volunteer. Some will take time for themselves. Some will actually do nothing and just wait until the time comes around when they have to go back to work to meet their basic needs.

So, basically, if you are hurting for workers and you pay below $20/hr, you are going to be in a world of hurt through at least this summer and maybe longer.

What Can You Do To Get More Workers? 

First, do everything in your power to keep the workers you have. Be kind. Be helpful. Be understanding. If they are overworked, be empathetic and try to do what you can to help them and their quality of life.

Second, don’t give new employees stuff you won’t give your current employees. I see this constantly. Oh! Hey, come work for us and we’ll give you a $500 signing bonus! But you won’t give your current employees a $500 retention or Hard Work bonus.

Third, stop thinking you are all that and a bag of chips! You can’t just throw up a Help Wanted sign and get workers. Be Better! Yep, that means you might actually have to put money into recruiting. Yes, hourly recruiting is as important as salaried recruiting and in many businesses more important. But, I find most organizations that hire a lot of hourly workers are vastly under-resourced when it comes to hourly recruiting as compared to salary recruiting.

Fourth, it’s time to take some chances with all those biases you have. Hire folks who test positive for weed. Hire folks who went to prison. Hire folks who aren’t your “Norm”. It’s time to take some chances, which really aren’t chances, but being more inclusive in hiring, but that’s an entire other post.

Finally, vote differently. If one employer is having a problem hiring, most likely that employer isn’t really that great to work for. If tens of thousands of employers are struggling to hire, something went wrong at a macro-scale. In terms of our current situation, we know exactly what went wrong. Bad policy is causing some short/long-term pain for employers.

Economics will eventually take care of this problem. Employers will pay more, offer more, change. This means we’ll all pay more for stuff we used to get cheaper. Some businesses will go under because you won’t agree that paying more is worth what they offer. This will cause workers to be unemployed. Making it easier for employers to hire at market wages. The law of supply and demand is undefeated.

 

Be Careful with Employer Online Reviews!

Some recent data out analyzing online reviews on sites like Amazon and Yelp show that half of all reviews give the highest possible rating possible. So, ask yourself, of all the stuff you bought on Amazon and all the restaurants you tried on from Yelp, would you give the highest rating possible?

Human nature would tell us of course not! This phenomenon is known as a “Positivity Problem“. It’s like when I asked you all to give me a 5-star review on my book “The Talent Fix” and you all did! (Well, all except like two of you, and the next time I see my Dad I’m really going to give him hell over that 3-star review!).

Basically, “star” ratings are unreliable rating mechanisms. 

The big problem is when we measure things like employee experience, candidate experience, etc., we use star rating measurements. Glassdoor, the employer review site, turned job board, gained millions of followers and giant traffic by using anonymous star reviews from employees which were almost immediately problematic, but we all ignored it and took it as the word of God. OMG! Amazon is a 5-star employer and Walmart is a 2.5-star employer. Both of which are most likely wrong.

What should we be doing to find an accurate measure? 

Like any great leader, we should be looking less at a number rating and more at the verbatim comments. If you have a giant sample size and can use AI to gain further insights, you can really gain some understanding of what candidates and employees are thinking, or which employers truly are the best or worse to work for.

The study mentioned above found that the comments using the most emotionally charged wording, both positive and negative, were greater predictors of measuring success. Comments become a great predictor of what’s really going on.

What can go wrong with this? I’ll call this the “Business Insider” Dilemma! 

The BI Dilemma is a phenomenon I’ve noticed recently with writers at Business Insider. I’ve been a long-time reader of BI and they produce some really good content, but over the past 12-24 months they tend to make some extremely bold conclusions based on comments from only a handful of employee’s comments.

Things like, Amazon is an awful employer for women, just come and read about twelve women we spoke to who are former Amazon employees, out of 300,000 Amazon employees who are female! Come on!

To be fair, BI isn’t the only media outlet to do this, it’s become common place in cancel culture. Find a minority opinion and run with it as a majority opinion. This is a problem when it comes to using employee and candidate comments as a measure of success or failure.

That number has to be pretty substantial to gain real insight. At a minimum, I would think you would need about 5-10% of all to comment to be comfortable in making any real decisions based on comment data. So, if you have one thousand employees, I want to see about 100 comments to get a true feel for what’s really going on.

We focus so heavily right now on “data” on the number and the movement of the number. But if we know that star ratings alone are unreliable, do we truly feel like we are getting the full picture of what’s really needs to improve or change?

Should You Be Promoted Every 3 Years?

ZipRecruiter Co-Founder and CEO, Ian Siegel thinks employees should be on a consistent cadence of being promoted, or there is a problem. Basically, he said it should be every three years. Do you agree?

Early-career employees should aim to get a promotion around every three years, according to Ian Siegel, CEO of ZipRecruiter. “If you aren’t moving up after three years, there is a problem,” he said.

Let’s say you start your new job right out of college at 22 years old.

First job title (Individual Contributor): HR Generalist 

Second job title at 25 years old: Senior HR Generalist

Third job title at 28 years old: HR Manager 

Fourth job title at 31 years old: Senior HR Manager

Fifth job title at 34: HR Director 

Sixth job title at 37: Sr. HR Director 

Seventh job title at 41: Vice President of HR

I’ve told this story before but I had a goal coming out of college that I wanted to be a Vice President by 35 years old. I spent the early part of my career chasing titles. I became a Vice President at 38. Upon becoming a VP at 38 I immediately realized it didn’t matter at all!

Titles are organizational-size specific. If you work for a 250 person company (or a bank or a startup) becoming a VP of whatever probably isn’t too hard. If you work for a company that has 25,000 employees becoming a VP is going to take some time. Also, are you really a Vice President when you have 2 direct reports, or when you are responsible for an organization of hundreds or thousands?

The reality is titles are basically meaningless to everyone except yourself.

I think Ian’s math actually works out for large organizations. If you start working for large companies, the three-year promotional cycle probably works out in most normal economic environments for above-average performers who meet the following criteria:

  1. Have the desire to continually move up.
  2. Have the ability and desire o relocate.
  3. Have a specialized skill-set or education.
  4. Have a willingness to go cross-functional and learn all parts of the business.
  5. Have the ability to play the political game.

You don’t get promoted for just showing up and doing the job you were hired to do. Every idiot in the company can do that. Showing up doesn’t make you promotable.

There are probably a few things that can help you move up faster than I think most upwardly mobile professionals don’t know. You need to make your boss know that you want to move up and you’re willing to work with them to make that happen. Working with them doesn’t mean trying to push them out, it means you will work to push them up.

You need to have a developmental plan that your boss, and maybe the boss above them, has signed off on. This plan is your responsibility, not their responsibility. If you think it’s your boss’s responsibility to make your development plan and push for your promotion, you’re not someone who should be promoted. Own your own development, with their guidance.

Understand that three years is an average. You will be promoted sometimes in six months and sometimes in six years. In some career paths you’ll be promoted three times in three years, but then not again for nine. The right amount of patience is critical in getting promoted. One of the biggest mistakes I made in my career was jumping companies for a title because I thought my current boss wasn’t going anywhere and three months after I left he was promoted and told me I was in line to take his spot. I loved that job! I had no patience.

Being promoted has nothing to do with time and everything to do with you putting yourself in a position to be promoted.

What do leaders fear more than anything else?

Leaders don’t fear failure. Failure is part of the job description when you accept any position in leadership. You are put in a position of making decisions and to date, no leader is one hundred percent on making good decisions! So, no, leaders don’t fear failure.

Losing? I mean, the best leaders I know hate losing. They hate losing almost more than anything else in life. In my experience as an HR and TA leader, the biggest reason I’ve seen leaders fail is they were too soft on losing. It didn’t impact them enough. They seemed to be okay with it.

“The greatest sin of a leader is not being defeated, but in being surprised.” 

The quote is from Frederick the Great, and for those who have ever worked with me really closely, they know this is a motto I live by! I never want to be surprised! I mean never! To me, it’s my one deadly sin!

I think I’m a decent guy to work for, but work for me and let me be surprised when you could have told me beforehand, but didn’t, and you should just pack up your desk and move on. I’m dead serious. There is nothing I hate worse than being surprised when it was unnecessary.

I get it, sometimes we get surprised, that’s why it’s called “surprise”! But in business, too often, I see leaders get surprised by things that they didn’t need to be surprised by. Someone on their team knew something but didn’t share it with the leader. Now, they might not have shared because they were hoping it would never happen, or they didn’t think, at the time, it was a big deal, then it became a big deal, and now you look like a fool telling your boss, etc.

Maybe they screwed up and were afraid or embarrassed to share what happened. We all have this voice in our heads that tells us, “No, it’ll be okay, this is nothing” and then it becomes something.

I tell those who work for me, I won’t be mad at you screwing up if you tell me before I get surprised by it. Tell me quickly, and we can work to rectify the situation, game plan a better outcome, etc. I want people who for me, as a leader, to be rushing to tell me stuff so I’m not surprised.

The most common leadership surprise is when someone on their team leaves. You know this one, a trusted employee on your team puts in their notice and leaves, and the day after they leave, you begin hearing the team talk about how they knew this person was going to leave! How they knew this person was interviewing.

No! No, you did not just let me hear you knew someone was leaving but didn’t tell me!

Why is being surprised such a big issue? 

There are a number of reasons. Being surprised makes a leader look not in control. How could you not know this!? Are you not the one responsible!? Being surprised puts a leader in an unfavorable negotiating position. If you get surprised, you don’t have time to game plan potential outs and wins.

To me, being surprised, also tells me my team doesn’t trust me. Doesn’t trust that I’ll act appropriately with the information I’m given. Doesn’t trust that I will stand up for them and help them. Doesn’t trust that I can handle the information. All of those are really bad!

Being surprised is a leader’s greatest sin because it points to other factors they are failing at within the overall leadership competency.

Recruiting Idea! This Might Actually Work!

Why don’t potential candidates pick up your phone calls? Well, yes, no one picks up phone calls anymore, but, no, people still pick up phone calls for certain reasons. We don’t pick up phone calls when we don’t know who it is or we don’t want to talk to the person who’s calling.

Why do we pick up phone calls? 

  1. We actually like the person who is calling and we want to talk to them.
  2. We actually believe the incoming call is super important.
  3. It’s a return call we have been waiting for.

Under number 2, let’s put things like, it’s your boss calling, the kid’s school, your spouse, the police or fire department, hospital, etc. You see who it is on your cell phone screen and you instantly believe you need to pick up that call!

My family hates me! 

There’s this fun game I like to play with my family. You see, my monthly cell phone bill is equal to the GDP of a small country. So, I will, from time to time, get onto my cell phone account online and change the names of my family to something I think is funny. So, now when they call someone, instead of the receiver seeing “Tim Sackett” they might see something like “DJ TImmy T”, as an example!

Did you know you could do that!? You can, and it’s super fun! At least, it’s super fun if you have the power to be the person who can change those names to anything you desire!

My wife’s phone still says, “Kimmy” and I chuckle every time she calls me. I’m sure my son, Cameron, would love it if I changed it to “Queen”.

What does this have to do with Recruiting!? 

Oh, be patient little baby birds! I’m going to feed you!

Let’s say you’re trying to track down a potential candidate. You’ve sent the emails, the In-Mails, and even tried texting, but you are being shut out. You even *69 direct-dialed, and still, no pickup or response! The average recruiter/sourcer would have given up, but are not average! You’re slightly above average and you want to keep trying!

You see it now, right?

You go into your cell phone account and you start testing different names to see who will this potential candidate pick up for! Let’s say this person works for General Motors, here is what I might try:

  • “Ford” , “Chryseler”, “Toyota”, “Tesla”, etc.
  • “City” Police or fire – of whatever town they might live
  • “College” where they graduated
  • “Your Dream Job” they probably won’t pick up, but they’ll laugh!
  • “General Motors” who isn’t going to pick up a call coming from their own employer!

Just like Sex Panther, 60% of the time, this works every time!

Want to know why recruiting can sometimes get a bad reputation? Because I have the ability to come up with ideas like this!

If it works. It works. Don’t hate the players, friends, hate the game!

Zoom-free Fridays and if You Want to Work for Biden, Stop Smoking Pot! #HRFamous

On episode 56 of The HR Famous Podcast, longtime HR leaders (and friends) Tim SackettKris Dunn, and Jessica Lee come together again to discuss Gen-X references, Zoom-free Fridays, and White House staffers getting fired for marijuana use.

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:

3:30 – Do you get upset when your Millennial and Gen-Z references don’t get your Gen-X references?

7:00 – First topic of the pod: Citigroup CEO has called for Zoom-free Fridays and a new bank holiday due to pandemic fatigue. JLee says she’d rather have Zoom calls instead of regular conference calls.

10:00 – KD says that Friday is not the best day to do Zoom free because Friday is already light on meetings. KD wants Zoom-free Thursday. What day do you think is best?

13:40 – When Tim thinks no-meeting Fridays, he thinks “I’m going on vacation early” Fridays.

16:30 – A team in JLee’s office has a policy where if they do a traditional conference call, everyone on the team has to be doing something active during that call in order to promote wellness.

17:45 – Citi is doing a new holiday called “Citi Reset Day.” KD thinks that the new CEO is trying to win the approval of the bank’s employees.

19:30 – Next topic: A few White House staffers were fired due to their usage of marijuana. Tim thinks it’s a little ridiculous for the White House to have a never-done-drugs policy for employees.

24:00 –  JLee thinks it’s impractical from a hiring perspective to expect all of your employees to not have a history with marijuana, especially when it’s legal in many places in the U.S. now.

26:00 – KD thinks it’s OK for people serving in the White House not to have backgrounds or positive tests with pot, but that it was sloppy on the Biden administration for not being completely transparent and upfront with their employees.

29:00 – KD’s son wants to work for a defense contractor and he’s been told not to go abroad to get that security clearance. So he won’t go!

Thank you! This will be my last post, forever. #ProjectEnd

It comes with great pride and a bit of sorrow that I tell you that today will be the last time I’ll be posting on my blog. For the past decade, I’ve been posting each workday my thoughts and ideas about work, technology, and life.

As I looked back on over three thousand posts, well over a million words written, I came to realize something – you a$$holes don’t pay me anything!

I mean, the dude with a sign on off-ramp makes more than I do, and he wrote like 5 words on that damn sign! Not once, have you sent me a note and said, “Hey, Tim, what’s your Venmo, I want to send you $5!”

To be honest, I do have a super sweet collection of HR and TA Tech vendor t-shirts. But, the ROI of this little “Project” I started a decade ago, a labor of love and sometimes hate, just doesn’t fill my closet with limited-edition Nikes.

So, I’ve decided to say Goodbye…until I wake up tomorrow in a panic that I don’t have any content up and think wait, what about Joe, that poor TA leader in East Omaha who has no idea how he’s going to find twenty call center reps this month! Poor Joe. I got you, buddy!

#InternalsFirst

In the past 30 days, I’ve spoken to a dozen Talent Acquisition leaders across a bunch of industries and markets. There was one common theme, “Holy crap, our req load just doubled or tripled almost overnight!”

The conversation always went to how and what can we do to get more candidates faster!

One, out of twelve, actually had the insight to comment, “we have to make sure our internal employees, first have the option to move into some of these roles, if they desire”.

She mentioned they branded this movement within their organizations – #InternalsFirst! 

The reality is, and she knows this as well, it’s not one or the other, it’s both, but I love the focus on internals as we come out of the pandemic and start increasing our hiring. Yes, we need to fill these openings, but also, yes, we need to engage our internal talent, or we’ll have a much larger problem in the second half of 2021.

We give our internal talent a discount on value. “Oh, yeah, Jenny, she’s good, but we know her and her capabilities, what about Mary, the new shiny, candidate we know nothing about!? She might be 8% better than Jenny!”

Stop it. You’re embarrassing yourself! Mary isn’t better, she’s just new and shiny. Mary has that new employee smell! Jenny lost her new employee smell and now she just smells like everyone else.

As we come out of the pandemic, our internal talent is starving to be engaged. To be noticed. The worse thing you can do, when hiring picks up is to forget about them. To make them feel like an afterthought.

#InternalsFirst 

3 Things You Can Start Today and Be Instantly Better at Recruiting!

You’re not as effective as you could be right now! Do you know why? If you’re like me, you might start blaming some things: your tech, your boss, your company, your co-workers, etc. It’s easy to blame others for our inefficiencies. It’s incredibly difficult to own it and fix it!

I’ve got some fixes! Heck, I wrote an entire book called “The Talent Fix!” What I’ve found as I work with talent acquisition departments and TA leaders from all over is that most of us fall into some traps around inefficiencies. So, today, I want to give you three things you can start doing that will increase your capacity immediately:

1. Give Your Candidates a Gift! 

We as TA pros waste more time dealing with candidates we’ll never hire and try and tell ourselves we are doing this for ‘candidate experience’. You know what sucks as a candidate? Being led on by a company that will never hire you! Stop doing this! If you know you won’t hire a candidate, let them down fast, but professionally.

“Look, Charlie, I’m going to level with you. I don’t see you as a fit for our culture/position/organization. This doesn’t say anything about you, it says a lot about us and how we are looking for something very specific. Thank you for your time and professionalism. We will not be moving forward with you.”

This is short and sweet and 99% of candidates will get the “gift” of being able to move on and find the job and the company that does want their unique gifts they have to offer. This isn’t being mean to a candidate or providing poor candidate experience, this is helping them, and saving you time by not having to deal with this candidate continuing to contact you thinking they have a shot. They don’t.

2. Don’t Get Stuck in the Middle!

I don’t set up interviews with hiring managers for candidates. What I’ve found is the majority of hiring managers and candidates, find it annoying that I’m stuck in the middle when two adults just need a quick thirty-second conversation to figure out how to align their schedule! Or, maybe even use technology to do this!

We like to think setting up interviews provides great ‘service’ for hiring managers, but it doesn’t. It’s a really inefficient process to drag in multiple parties to something very simple. Any hiring manager, who is marginally effective at their job, will be able to see this if you have a simple conversation to explain the process inefficiencies.

3. Stop Starting from Scratch! 

Here’s how we go about filling most new job openings. The hiring manager informs us they need to hire. We get the job description and information. We post the job everywhere. We wait for candidates to apply. We screen applicants. We pass these onto the hiring manager and await further instructions.

Every. time. we. do. this.

Add one additional step to this process before you post the job. Go into your ATS database and send a quick mass email to each candidate in the database that meets the requirements of the job (if you have the tech, also send a quick text message!). We spend an enormous amount of resources building our ATS database, then we ignore it when it’s filled with candidates who have applied and said “I love you! I want to come work for you!”

Our first step to finding talent starts in our own database, not out in the wild to see what ‘fresh’ meat is looking like today. If your ATS sucks at search, there are many new technologies on the market labeled as “talent rediscovery” that will reach into your database and do this for you.

So, there are three. The reality is, if you really dig into how you’re doing what you do, you can probably come up with a hundred improvements to make your recruiting more efficient! The key is to look at your processes, not as the one who built it and owns it, but always through the lens of constant improvement.

I don’t have a set recruiting process in my shop. I have a process I’m constantly testing to make better. We try stuff. If it works, we keep it. If it doesn’t, we end that test and try something else. The most effective recruiting shops in the world are effective not because they have the best process, but because they continually improve their process!

How to Help Your Company to Stop Sucking at Hiring!

Hiring people to work for you directly is probably the single hardest thing you’ll ever have to do as a manager of people. To be fair, most people are average at hiring, some are flat out killing it, and probably 20% are awful at hiring.

The first sign you suck at hiring is your new hire turnover is an outlier in your organization, your market, or your industry.

So, what constitutes new-hire turnover?

I find most organizations actually don’t measure their hiring managers on new hire turnover but use this to judge effectiveness on their talent acquisition team. That’s a complete joke! That is unless you’re allowing your TA team to make hiring decisions! New hire turn is a direct reflection of hiring decisions. Period.

When should you measure new-hire turnover?  Organizations are going to vary on this based on your normal turn cycles and level of the position. Most use 90 days as the cap for new hire turnover. That is safe for most organizations, but you might want to dig into your own numbers to find out what’s best for your own organization. I know organizations that use one year to measure new-hire turnover and organizations that use 30 days.

How do you help yourself if you suck at hiring?

1. Take yourself out of the process altogether.  Most hiring managers won’t do this because their pride won’t allow them. If you consistently have high new hire turn comparable to others, you might consider this, you just have bad internal filters that predispose you to select people who don’t fit your org or management style. Don’t take it personally. I suck at technical stuff. I shop that part of my job off to someone who’s better. You might be an exceptional manager of your business, but you suck at hiring. Shop that out to someone who’s better!

2. Add non-subjective components into your hiring process and follow that 100% of the time. Assessments are scientifically proven to tell you what they’re designed to tell you. If you follow what they’ll tell you, you’ll be much more likely to make consistent hires. If that assessment gives you better hires, then keep following it, or find an assessment that does give you that consistency.

3. Analyze your reasons for each misfire hire. Were there any commonalities in those? What I find is most poor hires stem from a hiring manager who gets stuck on one reason to hire, which has nothing to do with being successful in your environment. Example: “I want high-energy people!” But then they work in an environment where they are stuck in a 6X8 foot cube all day. It’s like caging a wild animal! 

Numbers don’t lie. If you consistently bomb your new hire turnover metrics, it’s not the hires, it’s you! In the organizations where I’ve seen the best improvement in reducing new hire turnover, it was in organizations where new hire turnover metric results were solely the responsibility of each hiring manager, and nothing to do with talent acquisition.

It’s the 80/20 rule. 80% of most new hire turn is usually coming from around 20% of your hiring managers. Fix those issues and ‘magically’ your new hire turn improves.