Is the Grass Really Greener?

If you’ve handed in a two-week notice, you’ve probably heard:

“Just remember! The grass isn’t always greener!”

They’re mostly right. Here’s what “greener grass” really means when you’re thinking about a new job:

  • 50%: Same Shade of Green – Half the time, the new job is pretty much the same as the old one. The work, the people, the pay—it’s all about the same. The only changes are the company’s name and maybe the location.
  • 30%: Light Brown – In 30% of cases, the new job is worse, like dead grass. HR might think this happens more often, but it’s still enough to make you think twice.
  • 10%: Bright Green – There’s a 10% chance the new job is fantastic, like a dream come true. Everything is better, and you’re super happy with your decision.
  • 10%: Artificial Turf – For the remaining 10%, the new job isn’t what you expected at all. It’s like moving to a place where grass doesn’t grow, and they’ve put in fake grass or rocks instead. It’s not worse, but it’s definitely different from what you thought it would be.

Why Do We Think Moving is Better?

  1. Recruiters who are good at their jobs – Recruiters and hiring managers often make the new job sound amazing, like you’re moving from a boring place to somewhere incredible. It’s easy to believe their pitch.
  2. The unknown seems better – We often think the unknown is better than what we have. This happens with jobs, relationships, and even choosing a table at a restaurant.
  3. Grass is Always Greener Syndrome – We tend to think others have it better. If you’re eager to leave your job, yet others are eager to get it, what does that mean? It’s unlikely that you’re the only one who’s right. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

People often say young workers like to change jobs a lot and don’t have loyalty. The truth is they might just not know the realities of job changes. Everyone likes switching jobs until it goes wrong, and they end up leaving something good for something bad.

Once you’ve experienced a bad job change, you’re less likely to switch jobs again, even if your current one isn’t great. Don’t underestimate your current job. It’s probably better than you think, and the new one might not be as good as it sounds. It’s not exciting, but it’s reality.

Why To Leave Your Job

There are countless ways to lose your job—layoffs, company shutdowns, or inappropriate behavior. You name it, someone has lost their job because of it!

The truth is, most people leave their jobs by choice, and it isn’t only about getting a bigger paycheck or a higher position.

In fact, there are four main reasons people choose to leave their jobs:

1. Bad Boss

A lot of people quit because they can’t stand their boss. If employees feel unappreciated or unsupported, they’ll start looking for new opportunities. It’s important for leaders to have good relationships with their employees, as a bad boss leads to a LOT of people quitting.

2. Wrong Job Fit

Sometimes, a job just isn’t the right fit. This can become clear pretty quickly, leading employees to look for roles that better match their skills and interests. In many of the jobs we hire for, the key to success is finding the right fit. It’s all about matching the right person to the right role and showing up consistently. It’s surprising how often we overlook this simple truth!

3. Commute Problems

Commute times can seriously mess with job happiness. Some folks don’t mind a long drive, but others lose their minds if it takes even a few minutes longer. A rough commute can burn people out and make them hate their jobs.

4. Culture Clash

Workplace culture is a big deal. Employees need to feel comfortable and in tune with their company’s values and environment. If the culture feels wrong, employees might feel out of place and unhappy!  Everyone has a preference culture. Find yours!

These four reasons cover about 99% of why folks decide to ditch a job. Sure, some will tell you they left for a fat raise or a fancy title, but often all of that can usually be had at their current employer with a little patience and some conversations.

Your Company History: Snooze or News?

This Re-Run Friday was originally posted in July 2015!

Your Company’s History, is History

Is it important to KFC that Colonel Sanders wasn’t really a real Colonel?

Is it important to suburban teen clothing company, Hollister Co. that none of it’s history is real?

Is it important to your company about how it was started, who started it, etc. You know, the backstory.  Is your company’s backstory important to your business?

We like to believe it is, and I think for some organizations it’s important to their guiding mission. But, let’s face it, for most of us, it’s just a story. Culver’s has tells us some of their story about burgers and frozen custard in their commercials, but let’s face it, I’m not eating their because of their history.  I eating their because their cheeseburgers and ice cream are delicious!  I don’t care if their beginnings were in a prison kitchen, I’m buying!

Most people think like this.

Walmart has one of the best American made beginning of all time, and people hate them! They are arguably America’s biggest success of a company, but since they are no longer a small retailer from Arkansas, and began world domination, we hate them. We hate they became successful, and now sell stuff to us really cheap from China.

I believe it’s great to know your company’s history. Where you came from and how you got started. The problem many organizations run into is that they try to live in that past.  “Well, we started out selling washers, and we need to keep selling washers.” Even though our clients can now buy them overseas for 90% less than what you sell them for. This is why companies go under. This is why so many companies who were once great, are no more.

Your company’s history is valuable if people believe it’s actually a differentiator of your brand and success.  Once it no longer holds this designation, it’s just another old story.

Most organizations put way more value on their beginning, on their history, than is needed.  They do this because usually the person, or people, who were are apart of this history is still around.  This is ‘really’ important to them.  This is their legacy.  It might not be the ultimate legacy of the organization, but it is their legacy, now.

One of the hardest things you’ll ever come against as a leader is moving past your organization’s history, if it becomes a roadblock to moving your organization forward.  For many employees this becomes that one thing they can hold onto as true.  It’s what they know, and it doesn’t change. Creating new history is scary and unknown.  So, employees tend to fight back and hold on to the organizational history hard!

Getting employees to buy into the fact they can create and be apart of your new history moving forward is key to getting past your old history.  Your organizational history is just that, history.  Don’t make your history more than it has to be, especially if it isn’t adding value to your future.  If your history equals your brand, you better make sure that is what people want to buy!

The Venmo of Recruiting

I talked about this a few years ago, and I think it’s bound to catch on eventually.

So, Gen-X and older folks reading this, I probably need to explain what Venmo is. Venmo is an app that makes it super easy to send money to friends. It’s like PayPal but more social. When my three GenZ sons go out to eat, they don’t bother with cash. They just Venmo each other to split the bill. Got it?

In HR and recruiting, we often see tech companies calling themselves the “Tinder” or “Uber” of recruitment. But no one has claimed to be the “Venmo” of recruiting yet. So, I’m jumping on this idea before anyone else does!

Picture this: a mobile app that lets you see where your friends are interviewing, share information, contacts, questions, and reactions about your interview experiences.

Candidates can help each other find jobs, ask for connections at companies, and share insights about hiring managers.

To start, we’ll focus only on candidates, no employers. It will be free (backed by angel investors for the first three years duh!) aiming to hit 50 million users. Once we have a strong user base, we’ll add an employer section. Think of it like Glassdoor but better. Employers can see what people are saying about them and their jobs, but they can’t respond.

Employers will get a behind-the-scenes look at what candidates really think about their company, hiring managers, and the interview process. This info will be super useful for making improvements and highlighting what’s working well. Trust me! TA leaders will pay a lot for this kind of insider info and to see how things change over time.

For candidates, having a trusted network to share real information about interviews, jobs, and companies on a mobile app would be awesome. They can make better decisions and use their connections more effectively.

So, I’m excited to introduce the Venmo of Recruiting. We’re looking for angel investors! Immediately!

Surprise! HR’s Secret Weapon Revealed

If there’s one piece of advice I could give a new HR Pro, it would be this: no matter how prepared you think you are, you really only need to prepare yourself for one thing—being surprised.

You don’t really get judged on your daily stuff. Let’s face it, 99.9% of the time, your routine tasks go off without a hitch. Handling payroll, organizing training sessions, and managing employee benefits are important, but they usually follow a predictable pattern.

What sets you apart, and what you are truly judged on, is how you handle the unexpected.

Surprises make and break great HR Pro careers.

There’s only one way to prepare for surprises—you need to expect that a surprise will always happen. That one employee you can’t lose or the entire project will blow up? Be prepared to lose them. Talk about it, plan for it, and basically accept that it will happen. Conducting risk assessments and having backup plans can help, but mentally preparing yourself is just as crucial. Then, when it does happen, you’ll be the only one not surprised by it.

The best HR Pros I’ve worked with had this one common trait: they were unshakeable when surprised, almost like they expected it. They had a knack for staying calm and composed, no matter the crisis. Whether it was a sudden resignation, an unexpected legal issue, or a last-minute change in company policy, they handled it with ease.

Expect the unexpected, and you’ll not only survive in the HR world, but you’ll also thrive.

LOL Worthy 4th of July Tees

This oldie but a goodie HAD to be re-ran this year. I don’t make the rules.

4th of July funny t-shirts! (Warning – prepare to be offended!)

So, basically, in America, we celebrate our independence by grilling hot dogs, drinking beer, blowing stuff up, and buying t-shirts that somehow make us feel more patriotic than we really are. In recent years, the 4th of July t-shirt game has been getting very serious! Here are some of the ones that make me laugh!

Okay, this last one just made me laugh, but it mostly has nothing to do with the 4th of July, mostly…

Happy 4th of July, my friends!

Give Me The Guac!

Think about ordering a burrito. Adding guacamole for just an extra dollar makes it so much better. That small addition turns a good meal into a great one.

Sure, I could enjoy the burrito without guacamole. It would still be tasty and satisfying. But with that extra touch, it becomes memorable.

So, give me the guacamole!

This idea works for candidate experience too. While you could spend a lot on fancy perks, sometimes a small, thoughtful addition can make a big difference. Just like the guacamole, a little effort in the right place can greatly improve the overall experience.

The key is to master the basics first. Candidates appreciate simple, effective communication. They care less about a branded pen or a bottle of water if they don’t get timely updates about their interview status.

When you handle the essentials well, small gestures stand out even more. Personal touches like a follow-up call or a thank-you note can leave a lasting impression. These small enhancements show candidates that you value their time and effort.

Candidates don’t need extravagant treatments to feel appreciated. What they really want is a thoughtful, well-executed experience – the guacamole on their burrito. By focusing on the basics and adding small, meaningful touches, you can create a standout candidate experience that doesn’t break the bank. And tastes good!

Feedback? No Thanks!

In honor of SHRM24 this week, this Re-Run Friday is all the way from 2015.

Live from #SHRM15 – We All Just Want Attention

Monday’s big keynote speaker was the ever popular Marcus Buckingham.  Marcus has the great English accent, high energy and great leadership content to share. He’s strong every time I’ve seen him, going on way too many times at this point in my life!

The big bomb he dropped on the SHRMies this session was the money-shot quote of the conference: Millennials don’t want feedback!

We’ve all been told by thought leaders and Millennial experts for a decade that all Millennials want is feedback and work-life balance!  They don’t want money or power or ice in their beer.  Just feedback and time off.  Marcus put a stop to all of this, and had the data to back it up!

In reality, Marcus told us the truth.  Millennials, and the rest of us, don’t want feedback, we all want attention. Pay attention to us!  Stop by frequently and see how we are doing, give us some insight to our near future, help us get our jobs done.  But, please, don’t give us feedback on what we are doing wrong!

No one wants that.  The whole reason performance reviews fail is because they don’t deliver what we truly want, attention, not feedback.  So, our “HR” answer to this is to do what?!? Let’s do more frequent, smaller, feedback sessions! NO!

Unfortunately, this is going to be big old Titanic to turn around.  The wheels have been in motion to long to stop what we’ve already started.  HR technology platforms and your processes are already in place. Your managers have already been trained, and now you want us to stop?!?

Basically, yes.

Those organizations with high engagement are not the ones who are giving more feedback. They are the ones who are paying more attention to their employees.  Yes, there is a difference.

This is fraught with issues for most HR pros and organizations because it feels a little pie in the skish.  There is an assumption that you pay attention to your employees and they’ll just magically do what they’re supposed to do, and we live happily ever after, cats and dogs living together.

We know that isn’t reality.

Some employees need to be managed to get the most out of them.  They need to be held accountable. I do think there is a balance that we can get to when it comes to paying attention to our employees, like they want, and being able to ‘manage’ them like the business needs.

Managers need to know that even with those employees they’ve worked with for a long time, it’s critical that they don’t stop paying attention to what they’re doing, professionally and personally. Also, our employees need to understand that, yes, we care about you, but that doesn’t mean you can just not perform the job you were hired to do.

I don’t need engaged employees that don’t do the job they were hired to do. I want engaged, productive employees.  It’s all about balancing your approach, and I love that Marcus put to bed the concept that Millennials just want feedback!

You are Overqualified!

Navigating the job market can be tough, especially when you hear things that don’t make sense. One common thing HR peeps say is: “You are Overqualified!” Respectfully – shut up! No, I am not!

The truth is, no one is ever really ‘overqualified’ for a job. You might have more skills and experience than the job needs, but that’s not the real issue. The real issue is that the interviewer might be scared because you’re better at the job than they are.

For a long time, HR and hiring managers have been taught to say candidates are overqualified to hide their own fears. They say, “We won’t hire you because you’re overqualified and might leave soon because you’ll be unhappy.” But the real fear is that your talent might make them look bad.

This idea has been around for ages and people just believed it without questioning it.

Having more qualifications should be seen as a good thing. Companies should be eager to hire highly skilled people. These days, expecting someone to stay in the same job for 40 years is unrealistic. Getting a talented person to stay around for even 3 or 4 years is great.

Companies should try to hire the best people for every job and let them do their best work. Worrying about whether they’ll stay for a long time shouldn’t be a big concern. Just focus on using their skills and letting them make a difference.

The real problem is that some hiring managers are afraid to hire people who are better than them. This fear is bad for the company. To get better, companies need to hire better people.

Creating a culture that values and welcomes top talent is important. This not only improves the company but also makes it a place where people want to work. Avoiding the mistake of hiring less qualified people ensures that your company stays competitive.

In the end, the idea of being ‘overqualified’ is just a myth. Hire great talent, let them do their thing, and watch your company grow.

Is Eating a Banana at Work a No-No?

Re-Run Friday is back again – this post originally was posted in June 2015.

What Not To Eat: Work Edition

We are constantly bombarded in the media about what we should be eating and what we shouldn’t be eating. Just last week the FDA came out with it’s new ban on Transfats starting in 2018.  While this is a good thing for the health of our society, it’s just one example of how we are being told what to eat and what not to eat.

While I don’t want to get into an argument here about whether or not you should be eating more protein, or fruits and vegetables, etc. I do want to give you some insight into foods you just should never eat at work.  Here’s my list:

1. Bananas.  No one wants to say it, so I will. There’s no good way to eat a banana at work and not have some fourteen year old comment come out. Male or female, eating a banana just isn’t a good look for anyone at the office.  I know, I know, you just break off small pieces and it’s fine.  It’s not. Stop it. Eat that home before coming in. (Also see: Twinkies, foot long hot dogs, those cream filled long john donuts, a full carrot)

2. Beanitos Chips.  The name pretty much tells you why.  Really, any “Beanito” product isn’t a good office product if you’re within fifty yards of a co-worker.  Yeah, they taste great, I’ll give you that!  But, an hour down the road we hate you, and that Fabreeze isn’t helping.

3. Sushi.  I love sushi.  The one problem with sushi is similar to bananas, you have to open your mouth so wide that you look gross eating it!  Sushi is a bad date food of choice as well, it’s just not a good look.  Any time you have to shove something the size of a golf ball into your mouth in one bite, you’re in trouble.

4. Raman Noodles. Again, love noodles, but I don’t want to see or hear you eating them. The slurping of noodles, while respected in Asian countries, is not respected in my office.  I don’t want to hear you eat, or slurp.

5. Anything cooked in the microwave in the break room that stinks up the entire place. Usually, this means fish. While it tastes great, fish does not smell good warmed up, and lingers.  I actually have a policy in our employee handbook at HRU that if you cook fish in the microwave you get fired.

6. Microwave Popcorn.  I actually love the smell of fresh popped popcorn! I worked in movie theaters growing up and can kill a large bucket by myself. The problem is, most people can’t quite grasp the concept of cooking popcorn in a microwave.  You have to watch it, listen for it. You have about a three second window to get it out before you have incinerated microwave popcorn. You just can’t push the “popcorn” button on the microwave and walk away, that is a recipe for disaster!

7. Any Vegan Food that looks like poop. Vegan’s know what I’m talking about. Let’s face it, most vegan food is gross and tastes like dirt, but God bless those people, they’ll probably live a lot longer than I! Like into those great 90s and 100s years! Yeah, can’t we all wait for those years…

What are the foods you don’t think people should eat at the office? Are bananas really a no-no? Hit me in the comments!

*Shoutout to Jacks in my office for the idea for this post!