The LinkedIn Invite That Got Me to Click!

The recruiter in me is constantly trying to figure out the best subject line for emails and Inmails to get a response. At the end of the day, I need people to click to open so I can potentially recruit them. That’s how we become successful in recruiting, getting people interested!

My #1 go-to subject line for years has simply been my last name “Sackett”. Just that one word in the subject gets more click-throughs than anything else I’ve used. Now my friends Stacy Zapar and Angle Verros will both kill me if I don’t mention that the real #1 click-through subject line is really anything personal to the person you are sending it to!

For me, being a huge Michigan State Spartans fan, if you sent me an Inmail or email that said, “Go Green” I would definitely open that message! It’s specifically personal to me and I know you had to take a few seconds to understand me as a person.

This Lady Got Me!

Here’s the LinkedIn Invite that got me to accept:

Brilliant LinkedIn Invite

So, I’m not making fun of Yvonne! I’m admiring her marketing brilliance!

I only accept about 40% of my LinkedIn invitations because, like you, I get so many that are just spam and/or sales outreach for things I do not want or need. The moment you accept comes some cheesy sales pitch and you end up hating yourself for accepting! So, I’m pretty picky. This one got me!

Right away I was leary. “Private Coach” – no thanks! “Business Owners” – Ugh, sales pitch coming…but Yvonne did something special. She personalized it, or at least it felt personal to me! “I’ve decided not to send you the generic LI invite…” And then the magic, “Fingers crossed”!

FINGERS CROSSED!

I got duped by a generic mass invite message, by a person saying “THIS ISN’T GENERIC” and then saying “Fingers Crossed”! My mind couldn’t comprehend that this wasn’t an actual personal message. It seemed so personal and yet was not personal at all once you really dig into it.

I was the idiot. The moment after accepting came the auto-response cheesy sales pitch! Ugh! Damn you, Yvonne (if that’s even your name!) you go me!

I actually was super impressed and told her, right after removing the connection! Give credit where credit is due. She got me and I had to give her a hat tip. It’s pretty rare that I find a truly magical wording that can get someone to click, and I think she found it. And I think we all should steal it because it’s actually marvelous in its simplicity!

G*d Damn, fingers crossed got me. I feel like such an amateur right now!

“Hire Fast! No, Faster! Fire Fast!” The New Recruiting Axiom!

Traditionally, talent acquisition pros would say it’s “Hire Slow, Fire Fast”. I always thought that was stupid because the reality was for most corporations it was “Hire Slow, most likely Never Fire someone unless they kill another employee in front of you…” Or something like that!

Okay, “It was Hire Slow, Fire Fast”, but we all know that never really worked. Currently, around the world, it’s mostly, “Hire Slow, Fire Slow”. I’m a true believer in we you don’t hire someone to fire them. So, move quickly, hire well, and then support the heck out of them and make them superstars, seems like a higher ROI approach to hiring!

Welcome to 2021!

The problem is, economies don’t give a crap about our axioms! Currently, in the US you better Hire As Fast As You Can, and Still that probably isn’t fast enough! So, “Hire Fast, No Faster, and Fire the Bad Ones That Got Through Your Super Fast Process!” That is really the only shot you have in 2021, and most likely for 2022 and 2023!

Let’s break down what would really happen if you started hiring super fast!

1. You would fill positions much faster than you do now.

2. You would probably make more bad hires. Turnover would increase if you do it right.

3. You would probably spend more on training.

4. You would probably hire some folks you normally wouldn’t and actually, some of those will be really good.

5. You would be forcing your hiring managers to make very quick decisions if you let them decide at all.

Of course, this isn’t your long-term let’s do this forever recruiting strategy! This is, hey, if we don’t start moving super fast, we’ll never be able to compete for talent in our marketplace!

Amazon Warehouses can currently hire candidates from applications to offer in under 30 minutes. Low skill jobs, paying around $17-21/hr. Yes, their turnover is about 150%. Yes, that is actually about normal for warehousing jobs. Turns out, Doug, the hiring manager, doesn’t have some magic selection instinct. Is the Candidate is interested? Does the Candidate show up? You’ve got a 1 in 3 shot they’ll be a good hire.

If I was in the same marketplace as an Amazon Warehouse and hiring the same level of talent, I would literally hire a taco truck to sit outside their property across the street and just hire all the people who turnover from Amazon on a daily/weekly basis. That would be my sole recruiting strategy! Let them do all the work, and I just clean up the mess!

How Could We Make “Hire Fast, No Faster, and Fire Fast” Work?

It’s pretty simple. You pay slightly above market pay. Be one of the top-paying companies in your market. Hire extremely fast, and the moment an employee starts to show you they actually suck BAM! You fire them. The reality is, being a pay leader in your marketplace will continue the funnel of incoming candidates coming.

We aren’t trying to put Jeff Bezos in space people! We are just trying to fill openings at our companies that are all about average. We treat you fairly well. You’ll have some laughs, and once in a while, we’ll buy ice cream and stuff. It’s not the best gig, but it’s far from the worst.

The key is you can’t let low performance even show up for a day! You reward, celebrate, and do all the good stuff for those who come to work. Those who come to collect a check, and not work, you have to kill instantly! Sounds harsh, but this isn’t show friends, this is show business!

In HR (and life) the story that wins becomes the truth!

In HR we hear a lot of stories.

We love to tell ourselves we are hearing the truth from one side and a lie from another side, but the reality is both sides are stories with a little truth and a little lie built-in. We then ‘measure’ who we feel is telling more truth than lie, and that side becomes the full truth.

Throughout history, this plays out. The winners of war decide what the truth is, not the losers. One side is good and righteous, one side is bad and evil. Before the war, both sides were just trying to make it through the day and make their society better. Truth.

We fire someone because they harassed another person. That person is a bad person. The person who got harassed is a victim and is a good person. The problem is, that’s not really reality, is it? Many times the person we fire is actually a pretty good person and the victim is a piece of garbage. But, the winner gets to decide the role they want.

We fire an employee because we are told by their manager that they are not performing well. We trust our manager. We have to it’s what our structure is built on. If we didn’t then what are we really doing? The employee claims they weren’t trained properly, they weren’t given good direction, they were put in a position to fail. You’re fired, you’re a bad employee. You lose, you don’t get to decide the truth.

It’s one major reason why I tend not to really care that a person was fired from a job. The reason probably matters. I don’t want to hire someone who embezzled from their former employer or some other major offense, but if it’s performance, let’s talk. I’m willing to talk because I know there are always two sides to the story. It just happens that this candidate lost their last story, but they might win the next.

It’s important as HR pros and leaders we understand this concept, not just for hiring, but also that we understand most times we don’t deal in complete black and white wins and losses. In HR we deal in the middle, in the gray. Once we make a determination, we are making a determination of ‘win’. We are validating one story over another. We like to tell ourselves and our leadership that this one story is the truth, but it’s really just another version of a story.

So be careful this week as you decide which stories will win and which ones will lose. Truth can be a pretty powerful thing even when it’s just a story.

I Already Failed my Post-Pandemic Promise to Myself!

I know the Pandemic is not over. I’m traveling again, almost like it’s back to normal. 3 cities last week, 6 airports, 4 different hotels. Felt like Fall 2019! Well, almost.

You see, going through the Pandemic, I found myself very fortunate. Personally and professionally, I’ve come out on the backside of the Pandemic feeling extremely fortunate and grateful of where I find myself. So, I promised myself I wouldn’t get frustrated or have travel stress. Prior to the Pandemic when I traveled, you would run into mean people, bad employees, weather issues, poor service, long lines, etc.

All of it caused stress and frustration, and quite frankly made travel kind of pain in the ass.

But, I’ve got a new outlook on life. Traffic jam? No problem, I’ve got so many podcasts I want to catch up on, plus, it gives me extra time to catch up with people on a live call! Delayed flight? Oh, I really needed to get some writing done, this is perfect! Long line at the rental car desk? No big deal, look at the one employee working her butt off, I need to make sure to tell her how grateful I am at her showing up today and making sure I got on my way!

Sounds very life coachy of me, right!?

It all lasted about one flight!

Turns out, I can tell myself that none of this will stress me, but then I ran into people! You know just normal people who are trying to also get out on long awaited vacations and meetups with family they haven’t seen in so long. I mean really stupid, dumb people who have forgotten completely how to travel. Like, OMG, look, that’s an aeroplane! Let me stand right in the middle of this walk way with a suitcase that’s two big blocking everyone from moving on to their flight!

My scientific assessment of the situation is Covid-19 made people dumber when traveling. Like we took 12-18 months off of traveling and I completely forgot what to do. Wait, I can’t have a can of gasoline in my carryon luggage!? Why not!? This is America! And my rental car in Jacksonville might not have gasoline!

It’s not just air travel. Have you noticed how people drive right now? I mean pre-pandemic is what bad, but now almost everyone seems to be a complete imbecile when it comes to operating a vehicle. It’s almost like states just gave out driver’s licenses during the pandemic by mail! Like just send us a check and a picture and we’ll send you back a valid driver’s license! I’m sure you know how to drive, we believe you, it’s a Pandemic, why would you lie!

What was my tipping point?

I’m a Delta guy. I’ve almost already hit Diamond status this year and it’s the end of June. The one thing I hate about every airline is how they jam you on the plane knowing it’s not going to take off, but they want their on-time departure. I’ve learned to live with this, again, more time for me to catch up on stuff. But this week, Delta did this to me for an hour and half. Why? Because they knew they couldn’t get someone to fuel the plane, but let’s just all sit here and wait. One fueler for the entire Detroit airport on a Saturday morning. I get it, no staff, we’re doing the best we can. I truly appreciate that dude, but this was the end of a long week of travel and little issues like this one.

I failed myself, but I vow to keep trying. The premise stays the same, I live a blessed life, I’m the one making these choices to travel knowing the world is far from back to normal. I promise I’ll keep trying.

In the mean time, people please stop trying to be stupid! Get your sh*t together. Understand there are other people around you again. You’re not stuck in your house by yourself. Pick up your pace a bit. Did I mention stop being stupid?

Yeah, this won’t last long…

If you can Recruit, you can Recruit!

I grew up and lived most of my life in Michigan. There are so many things I love about living in Michigan and most of those things have to deal with water and the 3 months that temperatures allow you to enjoy said water (Jun – Aug). There is one major thing that completely drives me insane about Michigan.  Michigan is at its core an automotive manufacturing state which conjures up visions of massive assembly plants and union workers. To say that the majority of Michigan workers feel entitled would be the largest understatement ever made.

We have grown up with our parents and grandparents telling us stories of how their overtime and bonus checks bought the family cottage, up north, and how they spent more time on their ‘pension’ than they actually spent in the plant (think about that! if you started in a union job at 18, put in your 30 years, retired at 48, on your 79 birthday you actually have had a company pay for you longer than you worked for them. At the core of the Michigan economy, this is happening right now and it’s disastrous! Pensions weren’t created to sustain that many years, and quite frankly they aren’t sustainable under those circumstances. Seniority, entitlement, I’ve been here longer than you, so wait your turn, etc. are all the things I hate about my great state!

There is a saying in professional sports – “If you can play, you can play”.  Simply, this means that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, how much your contract is worth. If you’re the best player, you will be playing.  We see examples of this in every sport, every year. The kid was bagging groceries last month, now a starting quarterback in the NFL!  You came from a rich family, poor family, no family it doesn’t matter, if you can play, you can play. Short, tall, skinny, fat, pretty, ugly, not-so-smart, if you can play, you can play. Performance in your specific field of play is all that matters. A few year back the NHL released this video supporting the LGBTQ community (if you can play…) –

This is why I love being a recruiter!  I can play.

Doesn’t matter how long I’ve been doing it.  Doesn’t matter what education/school I came from.  Doesn’t matter what company I work for.  If you can recruit, you can recruit. You can recruit in any industry, at any level, anywhere in the world. Recruiting at its core is a perfect storm of showing us how accountability and performance in our profession works. You have an opening – and either you find the person you need (success), or you don’t find the person (failure). It’s the only position within the HR industry that is that clear-cut.

I have a team of recruiters who work with me. Some have 20 years of experience, some have a few months. The thing that they all know is if you can recruit, you can recruit. No one can take it away from you, no one can stop you from being a great recruiter. There’s no entitlement or seniority – ‘Well, I’ve been here longer, I should be the best recruiter!’ If you want to be the best if you have to go out and prove you’re the best.  The scorecard is your placements. Your finds. Can you find talent and deliver, or can’t you? Black and white.

I love recruiting because all of us (recruiters) have the exact same opportunity.  Sure some will have more tools than others but the reality is if you’re a good recruiter you need a phone and a computer, and an ability to connect with people. Tools will make you faster, not better. A great recruiter can play. Every day, every industry. This is why I love recruiting.

Your Future Office has 40% Fewer Seats!

Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, the largest private-sector employer in New York City, wrote in a letter to shareholders this week that remote work would “significantly reduce our need for real estate.” For every 100 employees, he said, his bank “may need seats for only 60 on average.”
New York Times

Feels about right. In my opinion, some sort of hybrid work model for office workers is going to win out. 2/3, 3/2, etc. You work from home (or wherever) some days, in the office some days. The additional flexibility people received during the pandemic is a very hard thing to take away at this point.

The “on average” phrase becomes the issue!

On average, Tim, we only need about six places for people to get there done. Okay, but on Monday’s you’ve asked everyone to come into the office for meetings and such, and told everyone they don’t have to come in on Fridays! Maybe we can find an office building that will let us just rent 4 days a week!

What this really means, is once again, the Office Furniture Industry wins! Did anyone check into see if Steelcase or Herman Miller maybe released Covid onto the world!?! The more time I spend in HR, the more I’m convinced that the office furniture industry really runs the world. About every decade or so, we (HR) is tasked with reinventing work and that means new work spaces.

Yeah, but if we are WFH Tim then you don’t have to worry about it! Yes I do! I now have to worry about employees working at home at their kitchen table hunched over in some chair not designed to work in all day, and I have the worker’s compensation claim. So, it is just a matter of time until I’m shipping new office “home” furniture to my employees to make sure they are taken care of and still have the cool hip culture we want with $1000 work at home chairs that are functional yet still look great in their 1970’s retro family room they’ve been piecing together off Ebay.

You know a great team building activity would be to have us send office furniture to everyone’s house and then we all get on a Zoom call and build it together! Hey, Ikea, get on this!

Hey, Billy, sorry, you got in at 8:30 am, you’ll have to share a desk with Mary until a spot frees up, here’s a folding chair.

This is why we’ll all be building “shared” spaces in our workplaces. Because you know what’s super effective and efficient when you’re trying to get that project done? Listening to some idiot drone on about some Netflix real-life crime drama series they are watching, and you don’t even like real-life-crime-drama, or Todd who is telling you all about it, but you’re stuck “In the Park” the cool nickname HR gave your social share space where work nomads without desks come to get stuff done, but not really done because no one can’t get anything done at the “Park”.

WFH, Hybrid, In-Office.

Everyone needs a seat, but just not all the time.

Welcome to show!

America’s Greatest Threat? Lack of Hourly Workers!

Businesses big and small are desperate currently for workers. Low-skill, semi-skilled, people who have no skill but are willing to be trained. The hourly rate is anywhere between $12-22/hr. I’ve spoken to companies in every market and industry, many of whom will tell me they’ll hire as many people as they can find, they just can’t find anyone!

Now, I don’t want to get into all the reasons of why organizations are struggling to find hourly workers. There are many, and it’s a complex situation that isn’t going away anytime soon. I want to focus on how not having enough hourly workers puts America at a competitive disadvantage in the world.

What Happens When America Can’t Hire Enough Workers?

First, organizations will do what it takes to actually hire talent. They increase wages and benefits, which initially seems like a big win for workers. Businesses will also raise prices, to pay for those additional expenses. Say, hello to inflation. The supply and demand dynamics of labor all happen fairly quickly.

Organizations will look to become more efficient and add technology that in the long term can be a better value than workers. Let’s be honest, this has been happening since the beginning of time, but in times of true pain in hiring, all this speeds up and happens faster than normal. Say hello to the robots!

Companies will offshore, more than they already do to countries with an abundance of hourly workers. China, Mexico, India, various countries in Africa if they can get politically stable, will gain millions of jobs from organizations looking to sell their products in America. Say hello to more jobs leaving our shores. Also, as we’ve seen with the Pandemic, this will cause he further issues with our supply chain in critical times.

What Should We Be Doing In America To Ensure We Have The Hourly Talent We Need?

Okay – I’ve got some ideas. Some you’ll agree with, some you’ll hate, but something has to change. American demographics are not changing. Our labor force is shrinking and we are getting older as a country. We have a crisis staring us in the face, and we are too divided to even see what’s really happening!

  1. Major investment into trades and apprenticeship programs at the high school and post-high school level. Free College? Screw that, rich folks can pay for college. Let’s have Free Trades and Apprenticeship programs. Let’s start these in Junior High and High Schools and continue them post-high school. Let’s have 22-year-old kids making $40-60K a year in skilled occupations.
  2. Blow up public education as we know it. It’s broken, can we all admit to this. About 70% of kids are not college kids, but we force them down the path of college. Let’s have public education that promotes our best and brightest, but also promotes kids who want to work with their hands, who want to work in the arts, etc. If we are the most powerful country on earth, why can’t we have multiple avenues for our kids, whether they are rich or poor?
  3. Encourage our children to once again be firefighters, police officers, home builders, big truck operators, cooks, delivery drivers, etc. Both boys and girls. I was struck when I was in Australia how many construction workers and road workers were female. You rarely see that in America. Our children should feel proud to have an occupation that is helping their community and others, but instead we, as parents, talk down these occupations. Our children are listening, constantly.
  4. Open the Mexican border. Uh oh, he didn’t just say that!? Yeah, you know who has millions of people who want the jobs that Americans don’t want? Mexico. If you don’t want to work that $15/hr job, step aside, there are people that do want those jobs. Plus, actually having a great labor force strengthens America! Would you rather have Mexican citizens come to America and make American products, or have American companies go to China and have the communist government of China make the products sent back to America and much of the profit goes to China or India, or somewhere else outside of America?
  5. Pay Equity laws limiting the spread of pay between the highest-paid executive and the lowest-paid employee. I’m not saying that entrepreneurs and executives don’t deserve great salaries for their efforts and their risks. They do. But should a CEO of a company make a $100M a year and the workers make $17/hr? That just seems a little bit out of line, right? Should a college football coach make $5M a year? It’s a stupid game. A game I love to watch, but come on! We’ve got a bit out of line with the haves and the have-nots.
  6. National Occupation Corp. What if every single American child upon graduating high school, put in one year of service into a select list of hourly occupations? Road workers, infrastructure projects, building affordable housing in their community, building parks, etc. Mormon kids do a two-year missionary to spread their word, and it doesn’t seem to harm them one bit, in fact, most would argue it actually helps them become better adults. Doing a national occupation corp would show some kids they actually love this type of work.
  7. End programs that encourage workers to not work. I’m hearing politicians talk about a 4th Stimulus! Are you kidding me! We don’t need more stimulus! We need people collecting unemployment and stimulus to prove they can’t find a job. They can’t get work. Because for the most part, it’s a lie! There is work everywhere! Our Unemployment Insurance system is broken and needs an overhaul.

How do you like those ideas!? A little GOP, a little Dem, a little socialism! If you’re a regular reader of the blog some of those ideas, coming from me, probably surprise you. This is how desperate I think this situation is! We are facing an economic meltdown in the future if we don’t fix this issue, that will make the great recession look like child’s play. America can not be without a great labor force, and right now, we are quickly trailing the rest of the world in the one thing we always hung our hard hat on.

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.

 

Does a $15/hr Minimum Wage Really Help Workers?

There might not be a more controversial topic in 2021! Whether or not we (the United States of America) should raise the minimum wage for all workers, in all states, in all jobs to $15/hr.

I would love to say this is ‘simply’ a political issue, but it’s not. It’s much more complicated than politics. Both sides will point to studies that prove why or why not we should have a minimum wage of $15/hr. The reality is, a $15/hr minimum wage is more of an economic issue than political.

What is the argument, really, for and against a $15/hr minimum wage? 

For $15/hr:

  • People need a living wage. $15/hr for a forty-hour week, roughly puts a person at an income level of $30,000 per year. Which, in theory, would bring that person above the poverty level. Let’s be clear, “above poverty level” is still a freaking tough life!
  • Corporations are making record profits on the backs of hourly workers. Hello, Jeff Bezos!
  • Other countries have done this and it’s worked out just fine.

Against $15/hr:

  • Raising the minimum wage to $15/hr and above will cost jobs. If you force employers to pay $15/hr as a minimum they’ll hire fewer workers and have them work fewer hours.
  • $15/hr minimum wage is too little for some markets and too much for some markets. We should let market dynamics decide what the minimum should be.
  • Other countries, like Australia, pay a living wage, but have you been to Australia? It’s not the U.S. It’s U.S.-like, but when you go to a “bar and grill” in Australia you don’t get waited on. You go to the bar, order your food, and they yell your name when it’s done. Need extra ketchup? Go to the bar, wait in line, and hope you can get the one bartender to get it for you. Why? Because wait staff costs too much, so they use them. Things are different. So, yeah, “waitstaff” in Australia gets paid a living wage, but those places just don’t hire very many.

What does the research really say? 

Here is where the rubber meets the road because we can always find a study that will back up whatever point we might have. I’m for an increase in the minimum wage, or I’m against it, I can share with you five studies each supporting my take. Ugh! So, what is it really?

I found a study that looked at all the minimum wage studies (not some dumb Forbes article, real academic research), both for and against, to break down the facts and the myths. Here’s what they found:

  • There is a clear preponderance of negative effects on employment when raising the minimum wage.
  • The evidence is stronger for teens, young adults, and less-educated.
  • The evidence around specific industries is less one-sided.

What does all of that mean? 

First, while you will find studies saying that minimum wage does not impact jobs, there is way more academic and economic literature supporting the other side. Also, the evidence shows a strong effect on younger workers and lower educated, so there might be some room to talk about family or adult minimum wage standards verse just the standard one-size-fits-all. There is also a need to look at minimum wage by industry, again not just across the board.

An example might be, manufacturing sectors can pay $15/hr but service level restaurant jobs can not. Or, $15/hr makes sense in New York City, but not in Winona, MN. Maybe it could be looked at via high margin industries verse low margin industries.

What is clear, from the evidence, is that a straight $15/hr minimum wage, for all people, for the entire country, is not the best remedy for our current dilemma. Most likely, what will happen, if the $15/hr minimum happens is you’ll see organizations adjust accordingly by doing a combination of rising prices, cutting costs, cutting hours, and cutting jobs.

If you believe corporations are just going to “eat” the additional expenses, at the cost of profit, you are at best naive.

What’s my take?

I don’t like the proposal of just across the board we are going to raise the minimum wage to $15/hr across the country. I don’t like it because it won’t do what people think it should do, it’s really just more political posturing. In the end, consumers will pay more (which maybe we should) and corporations will cut to make the same profits. Ultimately, workers will take it on the chin, again.

If politicians truly cared about workers, they would dig in and do a minimum wage by market. It would be way higher than $15/hr in some locations and probably a bit lower in some locations, but there would be more strategy and thought behind it. The federal government does this now with pay bands for federal workers, they should be able to do it for all workers with minimum wage.

To not include market dynamics in compensation policy shows the government doesn’t really care about workers, truly. Because when it comes to taking care of their own, federal government employees, they do take into consideration market dynamics. $15/hr in Los Angles, San Francisco, and New York City is nothing, let’s be real.

Let me hear it in the comments! Are you for or against a $15/hr minimum wage and why? 

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!”