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? 

Does Your Average Employee Tenure Matter? (New Data!)

I keep getting told by folks who tend to know way more than me that employees ‘today’ don’t care about staying at a company long term. “Tim you just don’t get it, the younger workforce just wants to spend one to three years at a job than leave for something new and different.” You’re right! I don’t get it.

BLS recently released survey data showing that the average employee tenure is sitting around 4.1 years.  Which speaks to my smart friends who love to keep replacing talent. I still don’t buy this fact as meaning people don’t want long term employment with one organization.

Here’s what I know about high tenured individuals:

1. People who stay long term with a company tend to make more money over their careers.

2. People who stay long term with a company tend to reach the highest level of promotion.

3. People who tend to stay long term with a company tend to have higher career satisfaction.

I don’t have a survey on this. I have twenty years of working in the trenches of HR and witnessing this firsthand. The new CEO hire from outside the company gets all the press, but it actually rarely happens. Most companies promote from within because they have trust in the performance of a long-term, dedicated employee, over an unknown from the outside. Most organizations pick the known over the unknown.

I still believe tenure matters a great deal to the leadership of most organizations.  I believe that a younger workforce still wants to find a great company where they can build a career, but we keep telling them that is unrealistic in today’s world.

Career ADHD is something we’ve made up to help us explain to our executives why we can no longer retain our employees.  Retention is hard work. It has a real, lasting impact on the health and well-being of a company. There are real academic studies that show the organizations with the highest tenure, outperform those organizations with lower tenure.  (here, here, and here)

Employee tenure is important and it matters a great deal to the success of your organization. If you’re telling yourself and your leadership that it doesn’t, that it’s just ‘kids’ today, we can’t do anything about it, you’re doing your organization a disservice. You can do something about it. Employee retention, at all levels, should be the number 1, 2, and 3 top priorities of your HR shop.

College Students Have No Idea You Want to Recruit Them!

For part of my career, I did the standard corporate college recruiting gig. It sounds “super-cool” when you first think about it. “Wait, I get to fly around the country and go the best college campuses and recruit people who actually want to be recruited?!”

The reality is college recruiting as a corporate recruiter is much less sexy. Think a lot of Courtyard Marriotts, a pizza, and a six-pack, while you watch crapping hotel TV and follow up on work email. Then wake up early and get to the next campus. You quickly begin to hate travel, hate college campuses and miss actually being in the office!

But, corporations believe they must be on campus to recruit the best and brightest college students. Here where the problem begins. College students don’t even know you’re there! A recent study by Walker Sands found out that the majority of college students don’t even know you were on campus:

Walker Sands’ new Perceptions of Consulting Careers study, 56 percent of college students don’t even know if consulting firms recruit at their school. On top of that, 82 percent feel that major firms only recruit from a limited group of select universities.
Okay, this study focused on consulting firms, but the reality is the students don’t really know the difference between Deloitte and Dell when it comes to getting a job!
What can you do to make your company stand out and be remembered while you’re on campus? Try these five things:
1. Develop a Pre-visit communication strategy. Work with the schools you want to recruit from most to find out how you can get your message in front of them (email, text, the student newspaper, geo-targeted social media campaign, billboards on campus, etc.). Each school has a way to reach every student, you need to find out what that is, and how you can tap into that, even it costs a little money.
2. Come in early and take over classes in the majors you’re most interested in. Professors are like most people, they don’t want to work hard if they don’t have to. So, if you build 45 minutes of great content, most Professors will let you ‘guest’ lecture as long as it’s not one big sales pitch. Come up with great contact professors will find valuable for their students, then go deliver it the day before the major career fair. Then invite each class to come see you.
3. Make a splash in high traffic areas on the day of your visit. College kids haven’t changed much, they like free food and drink, free stuff, basically anything free! So, find the highest traffic area on campus and give away free stuff college kids will like. If you’re only interested in one specific school within the university, find out where those students hang out.
4. Stay a day later after everyone else leaves. Whether it’s the day after or even another time altogether, find a time to be on campus when you don’t have any competition to getting your message out. 99% of employers only show up on career fair day. Stand out and be the employer that is there when no one else is!
5. Post-visit communication strategy. Most organizations never contact the students who show interest in them after they leave campus.  They’ll contact a handful of the ones who stood out to them, but so is every other employer. Recruiting kids after you leave is more important than the time you spend on campus. Most kids will see 20+ employers and will only remember a couple. If you stalk them after the fact, they’ll remember you!

Sure! I can give you my “Free” staffing firm option!

I’ve gotten a chance to work both sides of the fence for an extended period of time in the Talent Acquisition/Recruiting/Staffing game. For ten years I ran corporate talent acquisition shops for some very large organizations.  One organization spent over $3M annually on staffing agency fees! Obviously, prior to my getting there!

I’ve spent almost fifteen years on the agency side, sandwiched in between my corporate experience. What I’ve learned along the way is that there isn’t a “free” option when it comes to hiring great talent.

Frequently, I get asked from clients for discounts to my fees on the agency side.  I get that. When I was on the corporate side, I would never take an agency’s first offer.  Here’s the main problem with all of this:

Corporate talent acquisition pros don’t want any of it. They don’t your 20% direct fee, they don’t want your retained plan, they don’t want your RPO plan. What they want is Free. A free option.

Therein lies everything you need to know about staffing agencies and corporate talent acquisition.  One side wants free. One side needs to get paid.

The reality is, even staffing on your own on the corporate side isn’t free.  Corporate talent acquisition done right has a ton of costs. Recruitment tools, automation, branding, job boards, applicant tracking, college strategy, recruiter training, and hiring, etc. None of that is free.

All of this, though, should be screaming to the agency folks that something isn’t right.  What corporate talent acquisition pros are saying is “we don’t like the options we are getting from agencies”.  This should be of serious concern because there are companies trying to design other options for corporate talent acquisition pros.  Options where they’ll feel like they are getting the value they want.

These options aren’t free, either, but they are less than all of the traditional options that 99% of staffing agencies are offering.

When I was on the corporate TA side of the desk, here was my decision matrix to when I would use a staffing agency.

This matrix made me feel good about my decision to use an agency:

1. Does my team have the capacity to do this search? If Yes, why would I pay to have this done? If No, the cost is justifiable.

2. Does the agency offer me recruitment expertise and/or pipeline I don’t have on my team?  See #1 for Yes and No options.

3. Is it financially feasible for me to add more capacity to my team, as compared to an agency option? This one took some more work. If I had a need for an agency to fill, let’s say, three positions and it was going to cost me $100K, well, obviously I could hire a pretty good recruiter for $100K. But, would I need that Recruiter in year 2, 3, etc.? Adding headcount isn’t a one time cost for an organization.

Ultimately, for me on the corporate side, it was almost always a capacity issue.  I had the expertise, but we had bubbles of work I needed extra support with.  Too often, I see corporate TA leaders upset over agency spend and it’s based on the fact they don’t have good recruiters on their team, yet they’re unwilling to change this fact. I’ll pay for additional short term capacity. I won’t pay for expertise I should have on my team every day. That becomes my issue!

Corporate TA leaders become frustrated over agency spend because ultimately it’s a reflection on the team they have created.

Are you measuring the Intelligence of your candidates? You should be!

Hire for Smarts. Train for Skill. It doesn’t sound right, does it?

The old adage is “Hire for attitude, train for skill”. The reality is, we probably have done this wrong for a long time. We hire for attitude, thinking we can train the person to do what we need if they just have the right attitude. Then Timmy turns out to be dumb and we can’t train him to do anything!

Lazlo at Google tried to tell us this, but we didn’t really listen in his “Work Rules” book. Scientist have been trying to tell us for years as well, that if you don’t have the ability to watch someone actually do the job you need them to do, the best bet across the board is to hire the smartest person you can, that actually wants to do the job you have available.

Smart + Desire to do the job = a pretty good bet on a hire. 

A new study just out doubles down on this concept that hiring smart people will actually give you an employee who is also more cooperative:

Our experimental method creates two groups of subjects who have different levels of certain traits, such as higher or lower levels of Intelligence, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness, but who are very similar otherwise. Intelligence has a large and positive long-run effect on cooperative behavior…Note that agreeable people do cooperate more at first, but they don’t have the strategic ability and consistency of the higher IQ individuals in these games.  Conscientiousness has multiple features, one of which is caution, and that deters cooperation, since the cautious are afraid of being taken advantage of.  So, at least in these settings, high IQ really is the better predictor of cooperativeness, especially over longer-term horizons.

The great thing about intelligence is it has nothing to do with actual educational success. A person can be a high school drop out, but still, be intelligent. You might also see a number of bachelor degreed individuals who test fairly low on intelligence. So, whether you are hiring for a low-skill job, or a high-skilled job, intelligence is a fairly good predictor in hiring, as compared to things like personality.

I would love to see a large organization, someone who does thousands of hires per year, actually measure the intelligence of those who term from their employment! We haven’t seen this, because of the obvious difficulty of getting a past employee to take an intelligence test, but I think the right organization/research partner could make this happen. I theorize that when taking a look at performance and tenure, you would see lower intelligent employees performing lower and having less tenure than those employees who have higher intelligence.

Cognitive assessments are actually fairly cheap and quick, and some organizations are using gamification to measure cognitive ability of applicants as an application pre-screener currently.

I have a bias against personality profiles. I think they are mostly witchcraft and sorcery. In my career, I just haven’t seen them consistently predict better hires during the interview screening process across all levels and kinds of candidates. So, I know I have that bias. On the other hand, I’ve seen cognitive ability raise the level of an organization when used consistently over time.

What do you think?

Should You Put a Rank and File Employee on Your Board?

Most boards of companies are made up of current company executives and/or executives from other companies are former executives from other companies. Almost never will you find a “regular Joe” on the board of directors.

Last week, a worker’s rights organization, United for Respect, presented to Congress and then to Walmart’s board the idea of adding hourly Walmart workers to its board, with full voting privileges. From the New Yorker:

“The practice of constantly cutting costs and squeezing workers often stems from the short-term-profit-oriented mind-set that has come to dominate corporate America over recent decades, in which moves to boost a company’s stock price are given priority over longer-term investments in infrastructure and employees. Murray believes that, if there had been a meaningful number of people with a stake in Walmart’s longer-term health—such as store associates—involved in the business decisions, some of these changes wouldn’t have happened, and the company would be better off. This led Murray, with the help of a worker’s-rights organization called United for Respect, to join in drafting a resolution that she plans to present to Congress on Tuesday—and, later, at Walmart’s annual shareholders’ meeting—urging the company to place a significant number of hourly retail employees on its board of directors so that they might have input on major corporate decisions.”

I love the idea. The only way it works is if the hourly employees who are on the board, have full voting rights as other board members, and they are not compensated in a way that makes them vote differently than they would as a normally compensated hourly worker. Basically, you couldn’t allow management to game the system by making it financially rewarding to those hourly employees that incentives them to make decisions in ways they normally wouldn’t.

So, would it be better for organizations to have hourly employees on their board? That’s the real question! More from the article:

“Because workers have so rarely been invited to participate in board-level decisions at companies in the U.S., there are few domestic examples to look to for a sense of how it would play out. In Germany and a handful of other European countries, however, having worker representation on boards is required. Baldwin’s office found research that showed that companies with worker representation invest twice as much in their businesses as those without; wages are higher, and profits are distributed more evenly. These firms also performed better. None of this is surprising. Low-level employees are deeply invested in a company’s long-term success, because their families depend on it in ways that top executives waiting for a bonus may not.” 

I’m definitely one of those people who believe we have an issue with executive compensation. Sure you see examples that are grotesque, but for the most part, executive compensation is market driven, and if organizations want to find effective leadership that has the ability to lead on a giant scale, it costs money.

I think what we are missing is the re-investment piece. Most boards and executives are concerned with financial performance, but in the short-term, not long. Quarter to quarter earnings drives short-term decision making that many times doesn’t include re-investment into the business to ensure long-term, steady success.

The market doesn’t reward steady success, so boards make decisions that are many times counterintuitive to long term success. Hourly employees, in turn, would tend to make better long-term business decisions because this business success long-term has a much bigger impact on their life, versus short-term business gains.

I’m not sure I want to see this regulated, I tend to believe the market will show companies how to run. That being said, in the past few decades the market has led many strong companies down the wrong path.

What do you think? How would you feel about having hourly employees on your board of directors?

Career Confessions of Gen Z: Make Your Data Work For You

When you think about the top companies in the world, what are the first companies that come to mind?

I would bet that Google was one of the first companies that popped in your mind.

I am positive that HR professionals around the world are trying to figure out the formula to building such a great workplace environment for employees. After reading the book, Work Rules: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Block, I learned that one of the keys to Google’s continued success is metrics.

Every new initiative or process that they introduce to employees is calculated and analyzed to determine how successful it was. They often use a small sample group to test and get feedback on the new idea.

The problem with most companies is that when they introduce something new, they don’t have a strategy as to how they will determine the program’s success. Companies are basing the success of initiatives purely on opinion.

In 2016, fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and budget over the course of the year (Capterra). Here are a few tips to using metrics to properly gage the success of a project:

Set Clear Goals and Objectives

What are we trying to accomplish with this project that is measurable? What benefit will this project bring to involved stakeholders? What is our budget and time frame for this project?

These are all simple questions that should render the data that you need to measure the success of the initiative.

For some companies, there may be historical data from the past that you can use to compare a new project in terms of success. This can be helpful for looking at what was done in the past and how it can be improved upon.

However, not every company has been around long enough to use historical data. These companies can use data from other companies who have done something similar as a benchmark. No need to reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to.

Get Feedback From Those Involved

Getting the proper feedback from the people involved in a project is essential for improving on that project in the future. How else are you going to know what employees like and what they don’t like? Come up with a creative way to get honest, useful responses.

Make Sure it Aligns with the Company Strategy

I’ve seen companies come up with great ideas that are successful as soon as they are implemented. The only problem is that the project does not fall in line with the vision and values of the company. Whether that project has success or not, you must consider what message you are sending to your employees.

Not everybody likes dealing with numbers, I know, but numbers can be very beneficial if used properly. I’ll leave you with a quote by the musical genius Jay Z:

“Men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t lie”


Jonathan Sutherlin is a human resource professional with experience in the engineering and automotive industry. Currently going for his Master’s in Organizational Change Leadership in a hybrid program at Western Michigan University. He is very passionate about reading, philanthropy, basketball, and fitness. You can connect with Jonathan on LinkedIn or through email at jonsutherlin@gmail.com. When Jonathan is not at work trying to impact lives, you can either catch him in the gym or nose deep in a good book!

The ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ Internship Program!

I’m a kid of the 80’s! Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller, Pretty in Pink, St. Elmos.

There was one other movie from that era that stuck with me called “Can’t Buy Me Love”, starring a very young Mc Dreamy, Patrick Dempsey, and a very young, Amanda Peterson. Of course this was a favorite of mine because well let’s just I indentified with the main character!

Quick story line – Patrick Dempsey plays a nerd-type, nobody in high school who just wants to be one of the popular kids. Basically, the same plot line for every teen movie ever. He mows lawns and saves all of this money. He asks Amanda Peterson’s cheerleader character to be his girlfriend and he’ll pay her, believing that’s all it will take to make him popular.

She does it. She does the makeover on him. It works. It works too well. She really falls for him. He gets cocky. His world falls apart. He gets the girl in the end! God, I miss the 80’s!!!

The concept of ‘buying’ popularity is both brilliant and stupid. In high school, popularity is a valuable currency. If you have it, it’s awesome. If you don’t have it, you want it, but it’s not something that is very transferable. The key is association! If you’re in with the popular crowd or the right people or person, you can catch their popularity exhaust.

So, what’s the “Can’t Buy Me Love” Internship Program? 

Here’s what I’m thinking. If I was a college student, right now in the world, I would pay the right person, at the right company, to be their intern for the summer!

Stay with me.

Two kids graduate from a B-level college, both with a degree in business, both will similar GPAs. Kid #1 did summer internships with local organizations, mid-sized companies, good brands locally, solid stuff, nice resume. Kid #2 also did summer internships, but her internships were with Apple, Amazon, and Google.

Which kid are you going to hire? Which kid will get a job faster? Which kid will get the better offer?

Kid #2 – will get better everything!

So, it would be to the advantage of every kid to get the best internships possible! But, we know getting the best internships possible are super competitive and hard to get.

Next question: What is an internship, really?

An internship is an experience someone obtains that will help them obtain the next experience. That internship is basically validated by the organization, and more specifically, by the person who manages the intern.

How much would it cost me to get a manager/director/vice president at a major brand to let me ‘shadow’ them for the summer? $2,000? $5,000? Let’s say it’s for 10 weeks, and I’ll do anything this person wants me to do to help them, and I’ll show up every day and stay as long as they want.

Whatever it would cost, that money would be coming back to me 10X or 20X over my career when I hit the market looking for a job with “Giant Brand Experience” on my resume as an intern, with a reference from my ‘internship’ supervisor to back it up.

The “Can’t Buy Me Love” Internship Program!

But, instead of can’t buy me love, it’s really I Can Buy Me A Great Resume! Don’t hate the game, love the hustle! It comes down to how much are you willing to invest in your future? You were willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on that education. Don’t you think it’s worth a few thousand dollars more to separate your resume from the pack?

Food for thought, kids.


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It’s Equal Pay Day! Is Pay Equality Even Real?

If you didn’t know April 10th is national Equal Pay Day!

How are you spending today celebrating this Ummm, well, holiday-ish thingy?

I have yet to see a company do this, but it would be awesome to see them make all the white dudes come to work and everyone else who is affected by pay inequality actually gets the day off, with pay!

I know, you probably clicked to come read this article because you thought I was going to give you some right-winged propaganda about how Pay Inequality wasn’t real and it was just made up by the left! If that was your thought, you really don’t know me!

Pay inequality is real and I know it’s real because I’ve worked two decades in HR and I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  I’ve run the compensation reports and sat down with executives to show them the real data we were facing as an organization.

Was it 70 cents on the dollar to men? No, not in my experience, but it was enough to be embarrassing. It was enough to show we had real sexist and racist assholes working for us making pay decisions.

Here’s my take on Pay Equality Day…

We own this as HR. I was once asked to step down and leave a company because I went into the executive boardroom as an HR professional and said, either you pay these women the same as the dudes, or I’ll quit. They took that as my resignation because they were not about to pay the women the same. That’s cowardly leadership, but it proves a point.

We – HR – own this. It’s not hiring managers. It’s not CEOs or CFOs or COOs. It’s you and me.

If HR allows a hiring manager to make an offer to any candidate for less than others are being paid in the same role, and we don’t stop that, we own it!

If you don’t stop it, or you believe you can’t stop it, you can quit and go to work for an organization that respects all their employees. If you don’t, you are now complicit in pay inequality. You are now the problem, not the hiring managers, and not the executives.

Now, should you quit and give an ultimatum like I did? Hell no! I was young and stupid.

What I should have done is approached this with a plan and a solution to fix our problem. If at that point, I was told we didn’t have a problem, or we would not be fixing this problem, then I have some decisions to make. My solution was to change employees salaries now or I’m going to throw a fit. That doesn’t work in the real world of budgets, and stock prices, and, well, life.

It took us a lot of time to get into this position, you don’t get out of it overnight. In hindsight, here’s what I should have done to fix our pay inequality issues:

1. Discover the importance of this issue with the leadership team and our legal team. I can do a lot of things, but if this is considered a non-issue by both my executive team and my legal team, I’m not getting anything done.

2. Stop all new pay equity issues. I might not be able to change the past, immediately, but I can definitely ensure no new issues come in the door!

3. Make a plan, with finance, on how you recommend we solve historical pay equity issues, and request an audience to dual-present this plan on this issue with myself and finance. By doing this, I would have known what we can actually do financially and have the buy-in already from those writing the checks.

4. Discover who my true offenders are, and deal with these folks first. In my experience, pay equity issues rarely are equal across an organization. It’s usually small pockets of hiring managers and locations that are doing bad things. “Well, Tim, we’ve always paid the ‘gals’ a little less because they tend to leave and have babies!” Oh boy! Even after coaching, discipline, etc., I don’t allow these folks to make compensation decisions. They lost this responsibility for a long time.

5. Develop and run quarterly or monthly reporting and ensure your leadership and legal team are aware of your progress.

6. Tell your employees what you’re doing.

Pay equity is an HR issue. HR owns it.

We are now responsible for what happens in our organizations when it comes to compensation because we all have been put on notice. If you don’t take this responsibility then you shouldn’t be in HR.