Ping pong and Taco Tuesday won’t save you!

Check out this previous blog from 2017 – it’s like the Yoda of employee retention. You don’t need to keep everyone! Crazy, right? Does this still hit the mark? Share your quick take!

You Don’t Actually Have To Retain Everyone!

In 2017, and beyond, employee retention will become a huge focus. Some could argue that employee retention is always an important issue, but during major recessions, it becomes less of a stress for sure. With shifting employee demographics, retention will be a hot item over the next few years as we see more and more of the baby boom generation leave the workforce, and we do not have enough young skilled workers entering the workforce to replace those leaving.

Here’s a dirty little secret, though:

“You don’t actually have to work to retain every one of your employees!”

Why? Because most of your employees won’t leave. We like to tell ourselves that every employee can leave, and by the law of the land (at least for now under the Trump administration), they actually can, but statistics clearly show that most don’t leave.

The average retention rate across all industries is about 85%, year over year. That means 85 out of 100 employees will probably not leave you. You are really worrying about 10-15% of employees. Ironically, it’s about 10-15% of your top-performing employees that make the most difference in your company.

First, we have to solve one problem you have. Your ‘retention’ strategy is flawed and is pushing good employees out the door, the ones you want to keep!

Here’s why:

  1. You’re smart and send out a retention survey to find out from all of your employees what they want to be retained. You’re like 99% of organizations.
  2. The results of that survey tell you what the majority of your employees want to be retained. Things like ping pong, hot yoga, 27 smoke breaks a day, free tacos on Tuesday, etc.
  3. You implement a variety of the desired retention ‘fixes’! Yay!!!
  4. Your retention number actually stays the same, or maybe even gets worse.

WTF!?!?!?

Remember what I said above? You shouldn’t be concerned with about 85% of your employees who will never leave. They are not going anywhere! You shouldn’t be surveying all of your employees, you should be surveying only your best employees, those you are desperate to keep!

What you’ll find is that the 10-15% of highly valued employees you want to retain, what they want to be retained is very different from what the hoard wants to be retained! They’ll want a clear career path, performance-based compensation, more talented co-workers, better work tools, etc. They couldn’t give a shit about ping pong and Taco Tuesday.

Great HR isn’t working to make everyone equal. Great HR is working to make your organization better than your competition. That happens by having noticeably better talent. You get that kind of talent by listening to those employees who are noticeably better, not those who complain about the color of your new carpet.

What would this create?  It creates a high performing organization that attracts high-performing employees. Most organizations won’t do this because they believe they need to work to retain all of their employees. “We’re all high performing, Tim!” No, you’re not. Once you get that idea out of your head, you can do some really cool, industry changing stuff!

The 10 Rules of Office Romances

So, I’ve dished out some rules before—actually, a lot of rules. You’ve probably seen my guide on Rules for Hugging at the Office, but let’s face it, office romances are trickier than a casual side hug in the hallway. In case you need a refresher, here are my no-nonsense rules for office romances that you can share with your team.

Rule #1 – Avoid falling for someone you supervise. But let’s be real, it happens. If you find yourself in this situation, be prepared to either quit, get fired, change departments, or witness the person you’re involved with facing similar consequences.

Rule #2 – Steer clear of anyone in Payroll. Messing with them may result in a temporary paycheck glitch, and even when it’s fixed, errors might haunt your payslip forever. Just don’t mess with payroll.

Rule #3 – Keep the office and office grounds off-limits for romance. I get it, love is in the air, but security footage is forever. Don’t give us reasons to laugh at your love escapades long after you’ve left.

Rule #4 – Save the explicit emails for after hours. It’s not that I won’t enjoy reading them, it’s that I get embarrassed when I have to read them aloud to the unemployment judge at your hearing. Trust me, it’s awkward.

Rule #5 – Don’t get involved with a married colleague. Even if you’re the work spouse, remember it’s not real. Reality hits hard when the actual spouse shows up, possibly keying your car in the parking lot.

Rule #6 – Choose someone with good performance. Falling for a stellar performer is a win-win. Don’t complicate things by getting entangled with someone who’s about to be shown the exit. It just makes life easier for everyone.

Rule #7 – Inform relevant parties ASAP. Movie dates are no big deal, but waking up in a different bed than your own might be. If there’s any hint of conflict, let someone in HR know. They’re there to help figure things out.

Rule #8 – Trust your instincts. If it feels wrong, it probably is. Don’t rationalize a questionable relationship. Saying things like “If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right” is a clear sign that it’s time to reassess.

Rule #9 – No need to hide your relationship. We’re all adults here. If you’re considering keeping it under wraps, that’s a red flag. Normal relationships don’t need to be hidden.

Rule #10 – We all know. Seriously, office romance isn’t as discreet as you think. We see the frequent stops at their desk and the suspicious stairwell visits. We’re not oblivious. Cut it out.

Make my birthday wish come true!?

Guess what?

It’s my birthday! Let’s make this one for the books – literally! The only thing I want is for you to go pre-order my new book The Talent Fix, Vol. 2. Head over to the pre-order page, secure your copy, and let the countdown to the book release begin!

I’m beyond grateful for your ongoing support and am lucky to continue sharing this incredible journey with you. Cheers to another year of growth, learning, and a leader’s guide to recruiting great talent.

Career Roulette

BookofOdds.com has a piece titled Hey Kids, Choose Your Career that breaks down the chances of your kid (or any kid, really) landing in a particular job. on consideration for both of them. As you can imagine the article gives some of the fun careers first, like the odds my kid will be a:

  • Surgeon: 1 in 2,872
  • Pro Athlete: 1 in 9,684
  • Fashion Model: 1 in 81,440
  • Firefighter: 1 in 452
  • Elementary Teacher: 1 in 87

Because you know, we all thought we were going to be one of those when we grew up!

When I did a career test in high school, it didn’t tell me I’d end up in HR. It gave me my top 3 choices, which were kind of weird: 1. Teacher; 2. Floral Designer; 3. Sales. No idea how “Floral Designer” got in there, but I still love gardening. HR wasn’t even on the list.

Thinking about my sons, realistically, they’re most likely to end up in:

  • Administrative Role: 1 in 5
  • Sales: 1 in 9
  • Food Service: 1 in 11
  • Healthcare: 1 in 19
  • Education: 1 in 16

But what about HR?

Human Resources: 1 in 656.9

The odds for Human Resources (HR) at 1 in 656.9 shows how jobs can be all over the place, and your career journey can be a bit of a rollercoaster. Even if we’ve got certain ideas about what we want for our kids, the job market can throw some curveballs. Landing an HR job isn’t something you’d bet on every day, but it’s a cool reminder that surprises can pop up in unexpected places when it comes to careers. So, while we might have some thoughts about where our kids will end up, the job scene has a way of keeping us on our toes with its own surprises.

HR and Parking – Parallel Practices

Did you know parking lots are their own big industry, just like Healthcare or Banking?

For city folks, dealing with parking lots is a daily thing. Like other industries, parking is using tech to get more profitable and efficient. Supposedly, people waste about 20 minutes per trip looking for parking. Yet, booking parking in advance is still kind of new. Ideally, folks should know where spots are, compare prices, and pick the best one.

Here are three things HR can pick up from parking lots:

  1. Smart Talent Use: Drawing from the parking lot playbook, HR should take a closer look at whether having a full crew around the clock is really necessary. In Europe, they’ve figured this out by using more contractors and adapting to the demands of the moment. However, the US is a bit slow to jump on the bandwagon, possibly due to sticking to traditional hiring practices that may not be as efficient.
  2. Pay for Good Work: Similar to forking out more for a prime parking spot, companies should be willing to invest more in top-notch talent. HR needs to break free from the shackles of outdated pay systems and embrace a new approach that rewards the best talent available in the entire job market. It’s not just about acknowledging the best within the company; it’s about recognizing and compensating those who stand out in the broader talent pool.
  3. Teamwork: Taking a cue from the cooperative spirit of parking lots, HR could explore the idea of sharing employees with neighboring companies. Imagine two adjacent companies both in need of similar skills, like developers. Why not collaborate and share the talent pool? Sure, there are hurdles like legal considerations, sorting out the pay scale, and managing benefits, but with some effort, it’s a feasible strategy worth exploring. This kind of teamwork could lead to mutual benefits, just like parking lots sharing information on open spaces.

Any others I’m missing? How about don’t be an ass? Keep it between the lines?

Burning a Hire

If you’re a fan of baseball, you know there’s this cool thing in the game where a pitcher throws a ‘burn’ pitch to set up another one. It’s not about scoring a point but getting ready for a better play down the line.

Ever thought about doing that in HR? Ever burned a hire?

In big companies, sometimes you have to burn hires to make a point or get your hiring managers on board. I remember when we brought in this fancy pre-employment test, and the managers hated it. They didn’t trust the science behind it. Good assessments only work if everyone believes they’re worth it in the end.

I let the managers hire people they liked, even when the test said they might not work out. It was a gamble, but I wanted to show the value of the tools we were using. I wouldn’t keep doing it, but sometimes you need to prove your point for the greater good.

I’ve also burned hires with executive referrals. Top-level folks sometimes want to get jobs for their family, and most of the time, these hires don’t work out. But fighting against it isn’t smart, so you burn a hire.

Not many HR people openly admit to burning hires, but behind closed doors, we know it happens. Sometimes, the small battles aren’t as crucial as the bigger internal war, so you let certain hires go through even when you’d normally stop them.

This doesn’t make you bad at HR; it’s just being strategic. Like the pitcher, you’re setting yourself up for success by burning a hire here and there.

Love Love Love

I love to love. I’m not into expecting it back in the same way. Not everyone gets that, though. You hear people saying, “I love that person,” but when they don’t get the same love in return, they act like they never loved them in the first place.

Work relationships are kinda like that.

When you’re working, you want to feel good about your job. You also want your boss to feel good about you. It’s a two-way street.

For me, loving someone doesn’t change just because they might not love me the same way back. My kids loved me like crazy when they were little. I was their world. Now that they’re older, I’m not the center anymore, but that doesn’t change how I feel about them. It’s growth, not a downgrade. I hope I’ve taught them to love their own kids if they have any.

Same goes for employees. If they don’t love me anymore, it hurts, but I’m not going to stop caring about them. I want them to do well, even if it’s not with me. That’s just how I roll.

So, here’s to keeping it real and spreading love!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Snowstorm Test

Throughout my career, I’ve had conversations with coworkers who think they’re more crucial to the business than they really are. You know the type – they drop comments like “This place would be lost without me” or “Let’s see how things go if I’m not around.” Usually, it’s the sales or tech folks who, despite their contributions, sometimes overestimate their importance. Over time, I’ve come up with a simple two-step test to figure out if someone is truly essential to your business:

  1. Snowstorm Test:
    • Ask yourself if this person is required to show up at the office during a severe snowstorm, lasting multiple days.
    Example: In a large Health System where I worked, doctors and nurses were essential, with plans in place for emergencies. Meanwhile, in HR, I wasn’t on the list for a 4-wheel drive SUV pickup.
  2. Self-Promotion Check:
    • Consider if the person spends a lot of time trying to convince you of their importance to your operation.
    Examples: Statements like “Our biggest client wouldn’t be here without me” or “Our department saved the organization $500K last year on a $3.7M budget.”

Looking at how organizations evolve, it’s interesting to note that in the beginning, only essential employees are truly needed – those involved in getting materials, making products, selling them, and handling finances. Support functions like HR and Marketing often come later, usually after the company grows beyond 100 employees.

Regularly reassessing who holds essential roles within your organization is important. As a “client” to these vital contributors, focus on tasks that support their efforts. This means having direct conversations, asking, “How can I help you do your job better?” It’s simple but often overlooked.

Think of organizations like picking teams on a playground. If your most essential employee were choosing a team, where would you stand – first, tenth, or last? It’s worth thinking about where you fit in.

Don’t Say That!

Found this oldie but a goodie and I thought it would be a fun one to revisit. Still holds true, right?

7 Things You Should Never Say When Asking for a Raise!

Posted on  by Tim Sackett

There are certain conversations in our work lives that cause people the most anxiety and having to go in and ask for money is, on my list, the next most anxious work conversation most people will face.  I can think of many times that I wanted more money, thought I deserved to get more money, and heck even our good old Comp people said the market should be paying me more money, and still, it is a difficult conversation to have with my superior (at least for me).

Like many people, I think I do a good job, give my best effort, produce great results, and after all that, should I really need to ask? Shouldn’t my boss ‘get it’ and just want to write me a blank check?!

With all this in mind, most people will screw this conversation up by saying things they really want to say, but shouldn’t, if they’re trying to get a raise.  Here are the top things you probably shouldn’t say when asking for a raise:

1. “If you pay 10% more, I will really put in some extra effort!” – So what you’re saying is you’re not putting in extra effort now…

2. “I looked in our HRIS system and I know Sheila on the 5th floor is making $5000 more than I am – and she’s an idiot!” – Not the best strategy to look at others’ private comp information, even if you have access, then call them an idiot – at least in my experience…

3. “If you don’t pay me more money, I’ll be forced to find another job that will pay me what I worth” – Be careful, I’ve tried this one, and they might call your bluff!

4. “I’ve done the math and if you fire Mike, I can do his job and mine, you save $50K, after giving me $25K of his $75K salary” – This actually might be a really good idea, But Mike might be the last one standing with the $25K raise, not you!

5. “I really don’t understand how you can be worth $50K more than me, I do all your work – and deserve more money” – Bosses just love to hear they are overpaid, don’t do anything, and you can do their job – NOT!

6. “I saved the company $1 million in reducing recruiting fees, by implementing a social media strategy successfully, I should at least get a fraction of those savings” – Why, yes you should – if you were in sales, but you’re in HR, and this was part of your job description. Sorry for the wake-up call – all employees aren’t treated equally – put on a helmet.

7. “I know times are tough, so I was thinking instead of more money you could give me an extra week’s vacation or pay for my health insurance or something else like that.” – Okay, Einstein, stop thinking – it’s all money. Vacation, health insurance, paid parking, lunch money – it all hits the bottom line on the income statement. You just showed how expendable you really are.

I’ve learned over the years, through trial and error (okay, mostly error) that many, if not all, of the above statements just don’t seem to have the impact that I was hoping for with my supervisor.  I have seen peers, who performed well, were loyal, dedicated to doing their best for themselves, their co-workers, and the company, and got the raise they wanted by just being patient.

Supervisors are as uncomfortable as you are to have the compensation conversation. If you are as good as you profess to be, then they do want to give you more, but probably can’t due to budget, market, others performing even better than you, etc. It may be the hardest thing to do, but being patient usually works out the best of all!

2 Steps to Climb the Corporate Ladder

When it comes to advancing in your career, it’s not just about chasing promotions. Let’s say you have been at X company for 5 years and you’re hungry for more. We’ve all been there, right? Here’s what I would say:

Step 1: Put together a self-improvement plan with goals and a timeline. Show you’re working on your weak spots (let’s call them “opportunity” areas for the GenXers).

Step 2: Let your boss know about your plan, and here’s the kicker – ask for their help in pulling it off. Be specific about what they can do to help you reach your goals.

We discussed some ideas based on his “opportunity” areas.

Bosses love promoting folks they’ve mentored. It strokes their ego and scores them points in the organization for developing talent. Hiring doesn’t get them as much credit as promoting does – it’s basic Organizational Behavior 101.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. Bosses like promoting those who show they’re into their job and the company. Taking charge of your development plan and asking for help doubles your shot at getting promoted.

There are a lot of moving factors in this, but if you are working for someone who is respected in the organization, and you have an above-average performance compared to others in your work group, this will almost always play out well for you.

Trying to climb that career ladder? Just follow these two simple steps.