The Future of HR Tech, AI, & ChatGPT #HRFamous

On episode 116 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Madeline Laurano, Jessica Lee, and Tim Sackett come together to discuss their favorite Super Bowl commercials, Chat GPT, and how you can utilize AI to be a better leader.

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!

:30 – JLee had Chat GPT write an intro for this episode! It didn’t do a good job the first time, so she had it do a second pass to make it funnier. 

2:00 – The crew didn’t think the Super Bowl commercials of 2023 were too exciting. Madeline and JLee’s favorite was the Clueless one, and Tim shouted out the Workday and Dunkin commercials

7:30 – Another podcast, another convo about Chat GPT and AI. Microsoft Bing is trying to become the top browser again, and JLee is on a waitlist to use the program. 

10:00 – Tim’s 2023 keynote is all about the future of recruiting with AI. He thinks that the only limit of what AI can do in TA is the limit of our imaginations. 

14:15 – Tim speaks to the importance of narration with AI. With AI, you have to be the expert on your topic, but you don’t have to produce anymore. 

17:00 – Madeline thinks another area that AI will completely change is travel. Imagine traveling and having the whole trip planned by AI. 

20:00 – Madeline is surprised that we haven’t seen more people talking about AI and Chat GPT in the TA space. She thinks some people may feel threatened by the topic. 

23:45 – JLee runs through examples of how to use AI to help handle a tough situation with an emotional employee. 

27:00 – JLee talks about how being open and not intimidated by AI can allow you to use it as leverage and become better.  She uses a Teams tool that critiques how she speaks on calls and helps her improve the words she chooses. 

31:00 – Tim thinks that Microsoft is the winner of the future of HR tech. 

Disruptive HR Technologies at #SHRM Tech 2023

I’m in San Francisco this week at SHRM Tech 2023. This is SHRM’s first time holding a technology-specific conference in the US market. They have had a SHRM Tech conference in India for a few years. My session will be talking about the most disruptive HR technologies currently in the market and those coming in the near future.

Honestly, it feels like I could spend the entire time just talking about ChatGPT (generative AI), as that seems to be the topic of conversation everywhere in the tech industry, regardless of your function. Generative AI and the large language model AI will impact all technology, including every part of HR.

But generative AI isn’t the only disruptive technology in the HR space. Since HR is overly laggard as tech consumers, it’ll take a lot of organizations some time before they even adopt a lot of the artificial technology that will hit the market first. Also, many organizations will have to really work through the ethical side of using AI across their people technology stack.

What other technologies are currently disruptive in the HR industry:

  • Marketing technology – Employees and Candidates want a “consumer-like” experience. This idea isn’t new,, but we’ve been awful and delivering this. The reason for this has basically been we are awful and using and adopting marketing-level technology. This is part automation, part conversational AI, and part communications tech and strategy. I will also throw Programmatic tech into this bucket from an advertising perspective.
  • Old School Tech We Still Don’t Use! Video, text, and employee referral automation. Some of the greatest tech built in the last 5-8 years is still not being used in mass by organizations. If I speak to 100 companies with over 1,000 employees, only about 10% will be using both text recruiting software and/or employee referral automation technology, but both have a giant ROI and help deliver more candidates quickly. So, why are we talking about ‘disruptive” tech when we don’t even use best-in-class technology for our own industry?
  • Business Intelligence – Another technology that is widely used in every other corporate function that HR has been really laggard at using. Over 90% of HR and TA pros I speak with will admit they aren’t very good “at data.” We have to be good “as data”! Part of being data literate is having an understanding of what and where is our data and then how do we pool this data into a business intelligence (BI) tool to be able to manipulate this data in a way that helps us make much better decisions,
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality – Facebook will spend billions of dollars in 2023 and beyond building dynamic AR and VR tech. Why? Because it can have massive usage by all kinds of people, including employees and candidates. The future of training will be changed forever by AR and VR. Being able to train new employees in real-time by having them wear AR glasses that will watch and show them what to do and not do is amazing tech. Having all employees, regardless of work environment, meet in the same environment on an equal footing will be a great cultural add for so many companies.
  • Artificial Intelligence – Okay, yes, we have to understand the power of AI and the different levels and kinds of AI we can build into parts of our HR tech stack. Most of the AI currently used in HR technology is machine learning. This is where the technology learns what you like and dislike based on actions taken. A simple example is an employee asking how they can change their contributions for 401K. Machine learning will see many employees asking about this, and it will reply in ways you train it to reply. But it’ll also see the additional questions, and it might ask a question back. “We see you’re looking to change your contributions. Would you like to talk to a certified financial advisor? The company pays for it, and it can help you make better financial decisions.” AI will end up replacing almost every tactical part of the HR function. That’s just reality.

Yes, ChatGPT will change how we work in HR. There is so much to come on this. But we also have so much great technology available to us that is proven that we don’t use, that we also should not be forgetting about.

I’ll be at SHRM Talent in Orlando and SHRM Annual in Las Vegas this year. Let me know if you’ll be attending and I would love to catch up and meet live!

If you have a baby, you’ll never have to pay Income Tax!

Well, at least if you’re under 30 and live in Hungary!

Like many wealthy countries around the world, there is a baby shortage! Countries like Japan have been fighting this issue for decades. For others, like America, this is a recent dilemma that most still don’t know or understand. Hungary has known about their problem for a few years and has tried a couple of policies to encourage women to have more babies.

The first policy they attempted was to eliminate income taxes, for life, for women once they had four children. Yep, 4! As you can imagine, that wasn’t super popular. Also, they found that it takes a while to have four children! The new policy states that if a Hungarian woman has a baby before the woman turns 30, she will now be exempt from income taxes for life. That seems like a very aggressive policy!

The new policy just got approved in Hungary, so there isn’t a lot of data on the impact, but I’m guessing there will be many women and families who will take part. The estimated savings is about 17-20% more take-home pay for the women not paying income taxes.

Should the US have a similar policy?

We have a major baby problem in the US, and as Japan did two decades ago, we are mostly ignoring we have a problem. Young people are having fewer babies and waiting longer to have babies. The human replacement rate in the US is 2.1 to stay even with the current population. The US is currently at 1.7 and trending downward.

Why is a shrinking population a problem? Aren’t we overpopulated? It seems like fewer people would mean more for everyone else!? The thought being, “Fewer people would be more jobs and resources for those of us here.”

The problem is the math doesn’t work that way. Fewer people mean fewer workers. Fewer workers mean less productivity. Less productivity means less of everything. Japan’s economy has been flat to negative for two straight decades. Imagine being in a recession for twenty-plus years!?

The US needs both a baby policy and new immigration policies. We can not grow as a country with a negative replacement rate.

What could a US baby policy look like?

Here’s where it gets fun. I think Hungary, while aggressive, misses a ton.

One of the major issues that women and families have about having a child or multiple children is childcare. Hungary’s assumption is women will have a baby and then go right back to work to get that extra money. But in reality, the extra money will be eaten up by childcare. So, the truth is there isn’t any economic advantage.

To make a policy work, it has to work for both sides. The country needs more babies, and families need better economics that make sense and don’t burden them with crazy financial debt. The current cost to raise one child to the age of 18 in the US runs around $310,000, or $17,000 per year. That seems light as I know many families who pay way more than $17,000 a year just in daycare! And this doesn’t include college, which can run in the hundreds of thousands. Basically, you’re looking at $500,000 per kid. Who the hell wants that!?

Here are some things I would add to a US baby policy:

  • Zero Income Tax for one of the parents, assuming the working parent is caring for the child and the other parent. Mom decides to stay home and care for the child. The other parent gets the income tax elimination credit. If both parents work, the higher of the two incomes get tax-free income, and they also get a tax credit for childcare expenses.
  • Single parents with kids get tax-free income and daycare reimbursement until the child reaches school age, and then pre and post-school reimbursement once they reach school age.
  • For every kid you have over two, all children in your household get free college tuition. So, you have two kids. You pay for college. You have three kids, or four kids, or five kids, and they all get their tuition paid for.
  • Government-paid surrogates. For families who want children but can’t have their own, the government will pay for the surrogate cost. The government will also pay for your adoption expenses for you to adopt children from foreign countries to be raised in the US.
  • Parents get fully paid six months of parental leave that can be used simultaneously or segmented for any baby births, surrogates, or adoptions. Let’s get these kids off on the right foot.

I know, how will we pay for this? I don’t know, maybe we buy one less nuclear fighter jet that costs $25B. The amount of government waste is colossal, I’m sure we’ll figure it out.

Recruiter Experience Matters! (err. All Employee’s Experience Matters…) #HRFamous

On episode 115 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Madeline Laurano, Jessica Lee and Tim Sackett come together to discuss Ted Lasso, the everchanging recruiter experience, and Tim’s experience with the Michigan State shooting.

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!

1:45 – Ted Lasso season 3 is on the horizon! The crew gives their prediction for the new season coming in March. 

4:00 – Madeline and Tim did a roundtable recently about recruiter experience. Tim doesn’t think it matters anymore and JLee asks Tim to define it. 

8:00 – Madeline mentions that a lot of people don’t know what recruiters do. Tim says that recruiting is the job that everyone thinks they can do. 

9:15 – Tim says that when he was running TA at larger companies, senior leadership felt very comfortable giving advice to him about how to recruit, even though their advice was unfounded. 

12:00 – JLee and Tim talk about how being a recruiter isn’t one of the hardest jobs that one could have. There are a lot of other jobs that require a lot out of the people who hold those positions. 

15:30 – Madeline brings up a study they did at Disney where they found that the most important position at all of the Disney parks was the street sweepers. 

18:30 – Tim’s opinion is that Chat GPT is going to change the landscape of everything in TA & recruiting. He says that the only thing that can’t be replaced by AI is the real conversation a recruiter has with a candidate. 

21:30 – Madeline mentions a company who measures their recruiter productivity by getting them to “inbox zero”. She says she could never be a recruiter if this is a standard she was held to. 

24:00 – Tim and JLee say they’d never judge one of the people they manage by the number of emails in their inbox. JLee judges people by the battery level of their devices. 

27:30 – Tim’s son goes to Michigan State and he runs a business in Lansing. He talks about his experience with and the aftermath of the shooting that happened on campus recently. 

36:15 – Madeline asks Tim what he did about closing his business in the aftermath. Tim said that his Teams work groups were very active around the time of the shooting

Inbox Zero as a Measure of Performance for Talent Acquisition!

I have a new #1 question I get asked by Talent Acquisition Leaders! My old number one question was, “Which ATS should we be using?” That stood the test of time for almost a decade! But I now have a new number one.

“How should we be measuring success in Talent Acquisition?”

That question comes in a lot of versions:

  • What is the best metric in recruiting?
  • What do you use to measure the productivity of your recruiters?
  • How do you show your organization that TA is doing its job?
  • What are the metrics you use to measure TA?

I like using “Measures of Success” terminology primarily because of how I want to live my life. I never want our metrics, analytics, and data to be used as a hammer to obtain performance. I want to hire people who want to be successful in what they decide to do in life. Once they make that decision, I want to treat them like adults and help them obtain that success. I use data to help them track outcomes and measures of success to lead them on this journey.

Does that sound like a load of B.S. hustle culture or what?! LOL!

But, honestly, I genuinely believe in this philosophy, even though it’s sometimes hard to follow.

If a recruiter wants to be successful, I know there is a specific set of measures that will help them be successful if they follow the process, use the technology, and are diligent in their follow-up. They don’t have to work over 40 hours per week. They just have to work the 40 hours they work.

Every company could have a varied set of metrics that will make them successful. Most will have some similarities, but the actual numbers within the measures will be uniquely yours.

Inbox Zero is a measure a few TA Teams are using as a measure of success.

First off, I don’t necessarily believe that “Inbox Zero” has a high correlation to TA Team or Individual success, but herein lies the problem with measuring the success of TA teams today. The measures most of us use, suck! Time to fill = awful, zero correlation, you should be fired as a leader. (Editor’s note: Okay, Tim, breathe in, we know you’ll die on this hill.)

I find about 90% of TA Leaders work to build measures of success that look good without really having any real impact on actual recruiting success in their organization. That hurts, I know, but it’s true. Inbox Zero is just another sexy attempt at measuring sh*t with little accountability to success, but you can actually measure it, so it must be important. (sarcasm alert)

Just because you “can” measure it, doesn’t mean you “should” measure it.

Okay, what the hell is “Inbox Zero”?

It’s basically what it sounds like.

As a recruiting measure, some brilliant TA lead believes if every recruiter ended their day with zero emails in their inbox, they must be more successful than someone who didn’t end their day with email in their inbox.

There is some science behind inbox zero, although not a measure of recruiting success, just life success. It was developed in 2006, and here are the tenets of this email management strategy:

  • Some messages are more equal than others. On any given day, only a handful of emails are important and timely. Stop treating every email “like a Christmas present that must be savored.”
  • Your time is priceless and wildly limited. Few people have time to respond to every email they receive or even read them in detail. Accept that your workload exceeds your resources and slavishly guard your time.
  • Less can be so much more. Quit thinking that one-line email responses are rude — you’re not helping anyone by sending wordy responses. When it comes to email, economy is key, at least for most messages.
  • Lose the guilt. Out-of-control email is bad enough. Don’t make it worse by beating yourself up because of your overflowing inbox. Forget the guilt and just get busy cleaning up the mess.
  • Lying to yourself doesn’t empty an inbox. Learn to be honest and realistic about your true priorities and time expectations, while developing a “baseline gut check on what you really intend to do about any given message.”

The reality is we are addicted to data that we can measure that is clean. We love “time to fill” because we can accurately measure it. We like things like Inbox Zero because we can accurately measure it. We can show the business the black-and-white numbers we are confident in. No matter if they actually matter or not!

Inbox Zero is a time management strategy. The hope is if you can manage your inbox well, you’ll be a better recruiter. It’s a hope. That is all it is. It’s not a measure of success for talent acquisition. That being said, I need to manage my inbox better!

“Bare Minimum Mondays” is a thing?

From the world of viral media, apparently, Bare Minimum Mondays are trying to become a thing on social media. Before we get too deep into this, this is the worst of social media, without a doubt. The people who put out this content are ignorant at a level I can’t comprehend. Because it’s not tongue-in-cheek humor, they are serious.

To make this matter worse, you have a legitimate media outlet covering this story like it’s real news. So, now we have two stupid people involved. One person who creates the content and one person who believes they are a journalist giving it air to breathe.

Here’s the original video:

@itsmarisajo #BareMinimumMonday ♬ Summer Background Jazz – Jazz Background Vibes

Okay, let’s steelman this video from an employee’s point of view:

  • Why give more when you are surrounded by other employees getting paid the same who do less than you?
  • If I don’t kill myself on a Monday, I’ll actually be fresher for the rest of the week, and maybe my skills will be needed more later in the week than today.
  • Prioritizing your physical and mental health helps you be more productive long-term for your employer.

Okay, that’s all I have in the steelman argument! It’s hard to support this side!

The “good” folks at Fortune decided this was newsworthy:

“Bare Minimum Mondays” are a version of the Monday blues, with potential ramifications to employee productivity and the employer-employee equation. It’s a practice where employees show up to work to only do the bare minimum on a Monday, often starting the day late after a productive morning of self-care rituals. 

This term has been popularized by Marisa Jo, a TikToker, who describes it as a way for her to quell the work pressure and hold herself accountable to “completing the least amount of work necessary to get by that day.”

Is there a professional business mentor in the house?

It seems like this young lady doesn’t have any business role models to help her understand this strategy doesn’t end well for her career. Look, I get it. Maybe she had a hard-charging Mom or Dad who always worked and missed her field hockey games. She probably had to take an Uber to catch her flights to Barcelona for the summer. I mean, that has a significant psychological impact on a kid!

Look, here’s the thing.

Even if your career aspirations don’t include running a Fortune 500 company, doing the minimum is just a sh*tty way of going through life. I’m not saying you have to be the most productive, type-A person in your company. You don’t have to worship at the altar of Hustle Culture. But tell me, what’s wrong with just being a solid B player? Being that employee that others look up to and appreciate.

Also, this is why C-suite executives hate remote work. This is what they believe is actually happening with their workforce. Their belief is at least if they are in the office, maybe we’ll have a shot at ensuring they do slightly more than the bare minimum.

Being a bare minimum employee. Being a bare minimum person. Is an awful way to go through life. What’s the Animal House quote?

“Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

I am not saying she’s fat or drunk! I am not! She is stupid for giving the bare minimum.

The Big Talent Acquisition Disconnect! #BeBetter

Do you know why talent acquisition sucks?


It’s easy to say “yes” because TA is constantly messing stuff up for no real reason. I mean, there are a lot of reasons, but no reason it should continue for this long.

Case in point. Watch this quick TikTok:

@its_just_talia_ I was clowned by another one… but watch until the end 🤡 #jobsearch #layoffs2023 #jobinterview #careertiktok #careertok #NextLevelDish #socialmediamanager #socialmediamarketing #fyp #foryoupage ♬ Hip Hop with impressive piano sound(793766) – Dusty Sky

Okay, let’s break down all the terrible excuses TA will give us on why they would post this job on LinkedIn but not disposition this candidate before doing this!

1. We have a policy to post open jobs publicly for two weeks before we can offer a candidate.

2. The hiring manager wanted to do a last-minute check to see if anyone else was “fresh” on the market before we moved forward with this candidate.

3. We got this candidate via internal referral, and we need to post it first before we can make an offer.

4. We’re lazy AF and conflict-avoidant and don’t give two sh*ts about our candidate experience.

5. This candidate came to us via a third-party agency, and before we pay that fee, we need to see if we can find someone on our own.

6. We watched this candidate’s TikTok videos and decided we didn’t need that drama on the team.

I’m going to guess #4 is the winner based on my experience, but #6 also could be an option!

The reality is there is no excuse for the recruiter and/or hiring manager of this candidate to, at the very least, give them some insight into why they were posting this job on LinkedIn without saying something to her. Not. One. Reason!

You asked a candidate to devote major time and resources to jump through all of your hoops, which she did. You OWE it to her to give her feedback straight. “Look, Talia, thank you for your effort and professionalism. We’ve decided you aren’t the right fit for us based on “X.” That’s it. She might be pissed, but she’ll be less pissed than seeing the job posted again on LinkedIn the next day and not being told she didn’t get the job.

If you and your company do this. Just know you suck. Not your company, you. You personally suck for allowing this to happen to a person. You shouldn’t be allowed to work in HR or TA in any industry and in any capacity. If you’re a hiring manager and you allow this to happen, you should never be allowed to hire anyone every again for the rest of your life. You’re scum. You’re a bad leader. Turn your keys in.

Come on! Better better!

Childcare issues for employers & Advice for Young Professionals #HRFamous

On episode 114 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee and Tim Sackett come together to discuss their favorite (and least favorite) Oscar-nominated movies, the difficulty of finding childcare, and how to handle annoying entry-level job tasks.

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!

1:00 – Madeline isn’t here because of last-minute child needs. Tim’s an empty nester who says his kids still interrupt his life! 

2:45 – It’s awards season, and JLee and Tim are on the opposite ends of the spectrum on a big frontrunner, Everything Everywhere All At Once. Tim thought it was terrible, and JLee adores it. (Producer Cam, Tim’s son, is here to say Tim is horribly wrong, sorry Dad!!!).

7:30 – JLee diagnoses Tim with a savior complex which prevents him from watching/liking a lot of media. He’s a papa bear!

9:00 – JLee shouts out the Banshees of Inisherin. She says it’s one of the strangest movies she’s seen in a long time but also one of the best. 

11:30 – This Wall Street Journal article has documented how childcare numbers haven’t recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Tim asks JLee if there are any things that JLee’s company is doing to help combat the loss of childcare. 

16:00 – Tim has an idea to replicate Uber surge pricing with childcare to help out the childcare companies and also help those who have flexibility with their working situations. 

19:00 – JLee notes that her colleagues know that when she’s working from home, there will most likely be children walking in her background. She gets good feedback from her team about the involvement of her kids in her work life. 

23:30 – KD sent in an article about a congressperson’s staffer who has filed complaints against their boss. They felt like they were being taken advantage of. Tim reminisces on the things that he was asked to do when he was in entry-level jobs. 

26:45 – Tim notes that a lot of the complaints over being asked to complete these kinds of tasks depend on who the person asking is. A specific person can make these tasks feel meaningful. 

29:30 – Tim’s advice to entry-level/young people in careers is to be one of the last few people to leave the office. He warns against being “the early person” in the office and urges them to become the late person. 

32:30 – Tim wants a “scoreboard” of badge swipes into the office. He thinks everyone will be in the office as soon as that’s implemented. 

What Email Subject Lines are Getting the Best Candidate Response?

Recruiters love to talk email subject lines! I think I could run my response data every month, and it would easily be my most-read post each month. It’s part of the secret sauce of talent acquisition, especially as ultra-low unemployment continues to make it very difficult for recruiters to get responses for candidates.

G*d Dammit, Tim! Just give us the secret magic subject lines so I can use them!

See? It’s like giving out that first hit for free! You give them a little taste, get them addicted, and now they can’t live without it. You start feeling itchy, so I’ve heard, and you can’t focus on anything but those free guaranteed-to-work subject lines!

Calm down. I got you, baby.

Try these on for size:

  1. “We need to talk” – Like any good subject line, this comes from a place of personal psychology. Usually, when you see this in a message, it’s not a positive thing. Most likely, you’re in trouble, or you’re getting broken up with. Which, like any good subject line, is why this is so good. This gets extremely high open rates because it triggers something personal in people.
  2. <Just Your Last Name> – It still works as well as any subject line I’ve tested over the years. I use this one more than any other subject line in my toolbox, and 60% of the time. It works every time! This works because no one does it, so the person does not view it as spam.
  3. <A question that speaks to someone’s expertise> – This works because most of us have this psychology of wanting to help others and show off all at the same time. “Hold my beer. I need to show this person how smart I am, and make myself feel good that I help others…” A good example of this might be something like: “Tim, Can you help me with a recruiting issue I’m having?”
  4. <Salary Data Subject Line, Personalized> – Why does someone change jobs? Nope. You’re mistaken. It has very little to do with their manager. It’s most likely someone else has shown them they can make more money by making this change. At least, that’s what all “the new” data is showing! “Software Engineers are getting 28% salary increases by making this change.” “A Technical Recruiter in the ATL is making $140K.”
  5. <Anything specifically personalized to the receiver> – If you take 13 seconds to look at the resume or profile of a person you’re emailing, you can get something personal from that information to use. School mascots for men work well because you’re gambling that person is a sports fan of the school they graduated from. Or maybe you saw a post they like some certain professional team. “Go Green!” because I’m a Michigan State fan would get me to open that email every time.

Honestly, most of these subject lines work simply because they just don’t suck. 90% of recruiters still use lame subject lines like “I’ve got a great opportunity I would like to discuss with you” <vomit face emoji>! Actually, the vomit-face emoji alone in your subject would be a great subject line to test!

Try these out and let me know how they work.

Also, if you’ve found one that works great, help a brother out and share it in the comments below!