Working Outside of Your Time Zone Sucks!

For most of my adult life, I’ve worked mostly in the timezone I lived in. So, when I worked in the mountain or central time zones I lived in those time zones. For the vast majority of my career, I’ve worked in the Eastern time zone. I’m not trying to be time zone conceded, but I think most business people live on EST.

If you ranked the top five most workable time zones, globally, I think most people would have it something like:

  1. EST or GMT-4 (New York, D.C., Boston)
  2. GMT+1 (the UK)
  3. WST or GMT-7 (LA, Seattle, San Fran)
  4. GMT+8 (Singapore)
  5. CST or GMT-5 (Chicago/Houston/DFW)

What do you think? Agree, disagree, don’t care.

For a couple of weeks, I decided to work from home from St. George, UT (GMT-6). My team is all EST, so I was two hours “behind” them. I usually get to work around 7:30 am, which meant text messages, Teams notifications, emails, etc. started around 5:30 am.

I had a choice to make. Sleep and work like a normal person and get going around 8 am “my time” at where I was at, or totally just keep my companies EST working time. I decided to try and live normally in Utah, but it was strange. Being two hours off most of your team means you feel like you’re playing catch up all day, and then they get done around 5 pm and you have two hours with almost no interaction at the end of your day.

With more and more organizations going to work at home “forever” and allowing people to work remotely wherever they want, I see this issue increasing. I know global organizations have been doing this for a long time and for many this is a new concept. You’re right, it’s not new.

It just sucks!

I’m sure you get used to scheduling meetings in the middle of the day so it works for everyone or working late into the evening or early morning for those leaders with teams on the opposite side of the world, but when the majority of your team is in one timezone and you are in another, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out.

It’s probably more difficult for those who have worked in one timezone and then move to another, versus all of those people that worked in a different timezone since the beginning. If it’s all you know, it’s all you know.

So, I’m wondering. How do you cope with living and working in a different timezone than the majority of your team? How do you stay connected and not feel like you’ve missed out? Hit me in the comments with your strategies.

#CoronaDiaries – The Travesty of Hero Pay!

I’m back in the office and I’m feisty as ever about all this “Hero” pay going on across the world! I love Heros, I mean who doesn’t love Heros, but…

Can I be real a second?
For just a millisecond?
Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?

Also, beyond excited that Disney+ is releasing the Original cast of Hamilton on July 3rd! In the comments give me your over/under number of the amount of times I’ll watch Hamilton on Disney+? (I’ll tell you what my wife’s number on me was after a bit!)

E7 – The HR Famous Podcast – #COVID19 Work from Home strategies!

In Episode 7 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn (Jessica Lee on break) get together to with Dawn Burke (Senior Writer at Fistful of Talent, Sr. Consultant at Recruiting Toolbox) to talk about Work From Home, as tens of millions of American workers have been told to stay home, keep working and figure it out on the fly.

Dawn shares her advice and background from a recent Fistful of Talent feature, focusing on the need to maintain work rituals (eating lunch in your car and watching Netflix rather than in the house) as well as thoughts on productivity expectations, print cartridges, PETS, kids, laundry, etc. Tim and Kris weigh in with stories about day drinking (not them, other people) and the psychology behind work from home productivity and the need to stop texting and emailing everyone ALL THE TIME from your bunker.

If you’re new to work from home or managing people who are, this is the podcast for you.

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!!! Listen on iTunesSpotify and Google Play.

Show Highlights:

1:30 – Tim discloses he’s not working from home since he owns his building at work, which is really just another form of working from home. Dawn Burke, a longtime HR leader, Senior Writer at Fistful of Talent, Sr. Consultant for Recruiting Toolbox introduces herself.

4:25 – Dawn breaks down a post she wrote at Fistful of Talent entitled “Working from Home Can Be Awful! Unless You Do These Things”, in which she provides great advice on how to set yourself to work from home, especially if you haven’t done It before.  It’s harder than it looks, as she details her transition to work from home and where she struggled as a result. Dawn also talks about people around her – like her sister – struggling over the last few days as they transition from no WFH to full-time WFH with zero planning and prep.

11:20 – Dawn, Kris, and Tim get into Dawn’s advice for people transitioning to full-time work from home – focused on the needs to maintain “rituals”. Kris goes right to one of the sizzle parts of Dawn’s article/advice, which is the disclosure that just like when she used to try and get out of the corporate office mid-day, she also has a history of trying to get out of the home office mid-day – BY EATING LUNCH IN HER CAR AND WATCHING NETFLIX. Fascinating and scary all at the same time. The gang ends up loving the idea for new folks doing the WFH thing. It’s actually brilliant.  Other references – Magic Mike, etc.

17:23 – Speaking of work rituals, Tim and Kris share alcohol-related stories from their time as trench HR pros.

21:00 – Dawn breaks down her top advice for folks moving to 100% work from home. Making appearances in the discussion – print cartridges, PETS, kids, laundry, etc. Tim talks about the productivity bump/burnout function that’s coming for new WFH people.

27:00– The gang talks about the need to stop messaging via Text and Slack when you’re a new WFH person and pick up the phone and talk to people (or via video) – to get human interaction. Interaction is going to be important to prevent isolation.

28:50 – TOP ADVICE FROM THE GANG RELATED TO WORK FROM HOME – Tim and Dawn break down their biggest pieces of advice for folks who are new to work from home. Tim shares his view that things get lost in translation, and you have to pick up the phone, facetime or hop on a video call rather than try to resolve something through 23 emails.  Dawn talks about her background and lighting in her WFH set up, and points to exercise/wellness/mindfulness platforms as a huge help to mental and physical health. KD feels like the key to WTH is find a way to reconnect with someone who’s important in your life  – personal and/or professional – at least a couple of times a week.

NOTE – We’ll be back mid-week with a pod focused on nothing but ZOOM and the art of the video meeting!

The Best of 2019: The 3 Rules About Kissing Your Boss!

I’m on a holiday break. Boys are home, we’re going on a trip. So, I’ve put together a Best of 2019 post list for you to enjoy. I’ll be back after the holidays with new stuff and some cool announcements for 2020! (This post was actually written in 2017, but for some reason got new life this year and was of the most read) 

May 20, 2013, I published a silly little post on my blog called “The Rules About Hugging at Work”. The post might have taken me twenty minutes to write. It was just an idea I got, like thousands of others, I thought it was funny, so I wrote about it. To date, it’s been read over 1 Million times. Huff Post picked it up, it went viral on LinkedIn (I got over 1300 comments), I’ve been interviewed and called, “The World’s Foremost Expert on Workplace Hugging”.

Twenty minutes of writing, a throwaway idea.

Months later I posted the exact same post on LinkedIn’s publishing platform. This was before everyone could publish (remember that), you had to be invited. I got a call from the LinkedIn chief editor offering me access. I didn’t know if it was really anything so I just threw up old posts I had already written but added a few new pieces.

On the Hugging post, I added at the bottom my next post would be: The 3 Rules About Kissing Your Boss! as a joke. I never wrote it. Until five years later I got a message last week from someone who found the hugging post for the first time asking how they could find the kissing post! I didn’t even know what they were talking about!

So, here’s the kissing post! 

It would be easy to dismiss the notion of kissing your boss as something that would never happen. When I say ‘never’ I mean never. I mean honestly do any of us ever feel it would be appropriate to kiss your boss!?

This one is hard for me. I come from a family of huggers and kissers! My father is 73 and he still kisses me on the lips when I greet him or say goodbye. Some folks would find that super weird. Different cultures do different things.

My son was overseas this summer visiting friends in Belgium and it was quite common for new people he met to give him that traditional kiss on the cheek, but he said those same people would not give you a hug or a handshake. This kiss on the cheek greeting is very common in many parts of the world.

In America, you would probably get punched in the face if you tried kissing someone on the cheek you were meeting for the first time! I mean, look, if I don’t know you, I certainly don’t want your germs all over my face! Most Europeans I meet for business purposes in the states who come here often have gotten used to handshakes, rarely do I see one of them do the cheek kiss greeting.

All of this is way different, though, then kissing your boss! Kissing your boss would have to be a special circumstance or special occasion. I’m guessing if you’re kissing your boss one of a few things probably hasn’t happened in that relationship. You’ve probably become very good friends, some once in a lifetime event is happening, or you’ve become romantically involved, in which case, not really your boss any longer!

So, if we can see a time in which you might kiss your boss, the great HR pro in me says we better put some pen to policy and make some rules! Here are my three rules for kissing your boss:

1. No kissing on the lips. Kissing on the lips is a slippery slope you can’t put back in the bag! Wants that happens you might as well just get undressed, stuff just got real! We’re going to assume this kiss is not romantic in nature, completely as professional as kissing your boss can be professional!

2. Do not leave moisture on your boss’s cheek. Okay, somehow we got down this rabbit hole to a point where I’m kissing my boss on his or her cheek, let’s not make this super awkward by leaving a nice big wet spot on the side of their face. If you’re so excited to be kissing your boss’s cheek that you leave it wet, you should be checked into a mental ward.

3. Do not have bad breath. First impressions are critical and even though your boss knows you, your boss doesn’t know the kissing you. Do not go in for that first boss kiss with bad breath! I love Ice Breakers Mints and I have some close by almost always. Why? I can’t stand bad breath. Coffee breath is the worst and I know a lot of you are major coffee drinkers! Guess what? Diet Mt Dew breath smells like a flower garden! Think about that next time you go for a fill-up at the coffee station at work!

See? That’s how you do it. That’s how the World’s Foremost Expert in Workplace Hugging becomes the World’s Foremost Expert on Boss Kissing. You can’t be a one-trick pony in this world folks, we all need to keep striving on reinventing ourselves. Watch out fall conference circuit! If you see Sackett coming I might have just raised the game!

So, hit me in the comments. What are your rules for kissing your boss!?

“My” Company vs. “Our” Company

I was listening to some of my recruiters talk to candidates the other day. I like to do that from time to time. You learn a lot about your team, your jobs, your hiring managers, your engagement levels.

One of the things I overheard was something like, “I’m going to tell you about the benefits that “MY” company offers”. There was another conversation where someone used “our”, “I’m going to tell you about the benefits that “OUR” company offers”.

It seems like a small difference, right? Both positive, for sure.

I will tell you, as a leader, “my company” brings me to tears. The one thing I consistently hear from senior executives is “I can get my team to care about this company the same way I do”. It’s a very common issue that comes up all the time. How do we get employees to take ownership when they don’t have ‘real’ ownership?

It’s a cop-out and too easy to say, “oh, just give them some real ownership”! Having an employee-owned company isn’t simple or easy, it’s very complex.

Using “My company,”, says to me that this employee is 100% in. Onboard. Wearing the logo! Reppin the gear! It’s not that saying, “our company” doesn’t say that, but “my company” definitely says that!

It’s similar to when you hire a new employee from a competitor and it takes some time to get them away from “we” vs. “them” vs. “you guys”, etc. “So, I know ‘you guys’ do it this way…” Oh, you mean, “us guys”, right!? You’re now on the team. You’re not a ‘them’, you are a ‘we’!

Sometimes some of the biggest changes we make to culture are simple changes in our own language, and what those changes end up meaning to all those stakeholders in an organization.

In Attracting Great Talent, What’s More Important: Employment Branding or Recruitment Marketing?

Like most stuff I write, I try to break down things in HR and TA that we make way more complicated than it really is. We’re just hiring people, and trying to get the most out of our employees that we can. We aren’t launching the space shuttle or performing brain surgery. This stuff really isn’t that complicated.

I asked some of the most brilliant minds in the space and they gave some great advice, tips, and tricks. Some started to get deep into the weeds, but most gave ideas that were simple in nature to execute. There was basically one theme for each function, employment branding, and recruitment marketing:

Employment Branding at its core is your organization just telling your stories to candidates. 

Not made-up stories of what you want people to think about you, but your real employee stories. Simple, straightforward, this is who we are and why we love who we are. Some will love you, some will not. The best EB does just that, allows people to choose, so they don’t make a bad cultural fit choice.

Recruitment Marketing at its core is ensuring your stories get in front of candidates in a way and time they would like to consume those stories. 

So, it’s less “We’re a great company to work for!”, because everyone says they’re a great company to work for. No one says, “Hey, we’re a better than average company to work for!” Even though, that’s probably the real truth.

There is a piece of this, though, that I think the true employment branding experts are missing.

As consumers, we are all mostly dumb. A company tells us they have the best most reliable cars and then they tell us this over and over a million times, and we believe that those cars are the best and most reliable. We actually don’t do any research to find out if these cars are actually the best and most reliable. We got ‘marketed’ to.

Recruitment marketing can work in the exact same way. Put enough content out saying you’re the employer of choice, and people will recognize you as an employer of choice. The reality is the difference between a ‘true’ employer of choice, and an organization that is not an employer of choice is pretty small. Small, like, most people wouldn’t see any differences.

Most employers are stuck in the middle of delivering a fairly stripped-down basic employee experience. We all offer basically the same thing for all candidates. Thus, there’s a great opportunity for marketing to tell people we ‘actually’ offer a ‘better’ experience. Say it enough times and people will believe it.

I know my EB expert friends will say this isn’t being transparent and once the candidates get hired they’ll realize it’s not an exceptional experience. But, this is also mostly bullshit. Most people don’t realize it. They’ll get hired. They’ll go to work. They’ll be super excited about the new job. They’ll post a pic on IG. Life continues. One day, three years from now, they’ll wake up and think nothing. They won’t think either way about your company from the last company.

There are like 3 actual companies that offer up this ‘unicorn’ level employee experience that can actually match your brand. The reality of employment branding is far less sexy and fun than we make it out to be. Our stories are uniquely our own, and yet, very similar to those stories of every other employer.

I love your stories, but don’t discount the power of marketing will have on candidate behavior.

What is the biggest driver of Employee Engagement?

I got to see Marcus Buckingham speak at the HR Technology Conference in Vegas a couple of weeks ago. I think it’s the 2319th time I’ve seen him speak. I’m not sure if I’ve seen Marcus or Josh Bersin speak more, it’s probably almost a tie. Basically, if you go to HR conferences, you get to see those two dudes speak, a lot!

That’s not a bad thing. Both bring great data and are strong presenters, Marcus has the English accent which all American’s love. Marcus and ADP’s Reseach Institute released some new data on Engagement and that was the main focus of the talk. The research shows that 85% of employees are just showing up to work, because only 15% are ‘fully’ engaged, and if you’re not fully engaged, you’re basically showing up to collect a check.

That was pretty shocking, but the most shocking piece the research showed was the number one driver of engagement in any organization had to do with one simple thing: Are you a part of a team.

The research shows that being a part of a team is the strongest predictor of full engagement. There are others, like being new to an organization is fairly strong and makes sense. When we first start working at a new job, we are usually more engaged. Do you trust your team leader is another strong predictor, but first you better be on a team!

Being a member of a team.

It seems fairly simple, but for those of us who are constantly working on teams, we know it’s not. You could simply just throw everyone who works for you on teams and think, “okay, I just fixed engagement!” It’s really more about the dynamic of being on a team where you feel you belong and have a role that is valuable to that team.

Belonging is a big part of being on a team and being fully engaged. There are plenty of people who are on teams but don’t feel like the team they’re on needs them or wants them. Or you are on a team that isn’t successful. Turns out, failure is a big deterrent to engagement as well.

Once you are on a team, it then becomes critical that you trust the team leader. Lack of trust of the team leader is another negative driver to engagement. This then becomes more about the leader themselves establishing trust, and having team members who are open enough to first assume trust. Too often we get on teams and immediately believe the team leader is keeping things from us, probably because many times they are.

In any team, in the beginning, or when new team members come in, they should do a transition meeting. A meeting designed to establish trust from the beginning. It’s a time to get everything out in the open, at the beginning (or when it’s new for someone else) and do things like ask all the questions that usually go un-asked but then become issues down the road, establish communication likes and dislikes, share items that you should know, but might not, etc. I always have this facilitated by someone outside the team, so the leader doesn’t try and control the outcomes.

Go download the research paper, there’s great information about how to drive higher engagement in your organization and more information about the importance of the team dynamic.

The Rules for Office Romances

We spend a ton of time at the office and it only seems to be increasing. On top of that, new research says we need to spend more time with co-workers if we want a great employee experience! As HR pros we know what this means, which is usually a lot of unwanted advances by horny dudes who think they have a shot at the hot co-worker, who has absolutely no interest in them at all.

Welcome to the show, kids!

I’ve given out some rules in the past. Everyone on the planet has read my Rules for Hugging at the Office, but Office Romances are a little more complicated than the simple side-hug in the hallway. So, I thought I would lay out some easy to follow, simple rules for Office Romances for you to pass out to your employees as you start asking them to join each other at TopGolf for your employee outing to increase their employee experience:

Rule #1 – Don’t fall for someone you supervise. If you do fall for someone you supervise, which you probably will because this is how office romances work. In that case, get ready to quit, be fired, be moved to another department, and or get the person you’re having an office romance with fired, moved, etc.

Rule #2 – Don’t fall for anyone in Payroll. When it ends, so will your paycheck. At least temporarily, and even then it will be filled with errors from now until eternity. It’s a good rule of thumb to never mess with payroll for any reason.

Rule #3 – Don’t mess around in the office, or on office grounds. Look I get it. You’re crazy in love and just can’t wait until you get home. The problem is the security footage never dies. It will live long past your tenure with us, and we’ll laugh for a long time at you. So, please don’t.

Rule #4 – Don’t send explicit emails to each other at work. 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. Okay, I lied, I actually don’t get embarrassed, but you will.

Rule #5 – Don’t pick a married one. Look I get it, you’re the work spouse. He/She tells you everything. You get so close, you really think it’s real, but it’s not. You’ll actually see this when the real spouse shows up and keys your car in the parking lot.

Rule #6 – Don’t pick someone who has crappy performance. Oh, great, you’re in love! Now I’m firing your boyfriend and you’ll have to pick between him and us, which you’ll pick him, and now I’m out two employees. Pick the great performers, it’s easier for all of us.

Rule #7 – Inform the appropriate parties as soon as possible. Okay, you went to a movie together, not a big deal. Okay, you went to the movie together and woke up in a different bed than your own. It might be time to mention this to someone in HR if there is at anyway a conflict of some sort. If you don’t know if there’s a conflict of some sort, let someone in HR help you out with that.

Rule #8 – If it seems wrong, it probably is.  If you find yourself saying things in your head like, “I’m not sure if this is right”, you probably shouldn’t be having that relationship. If you find yourself saying things like, “If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right”, you definitely shouldn’t be having this relationship.

Rule #9 – If you find yourself hiding your relationship at work, it might be time to talk to HR. We’re all adults, we shouldn’t be hiding normal adult relationships. If you feel the need to hide it, something isn’t normal about it.

Rule #10 – Everyone already knows about your relationship. People having an office romance are the worst at hiding it. You think you’re so sneaky and clever, but we see you stopping at her desk 13,000 times a day ‘asking for help’ on your expense report. We see you. We’re adults. We know what happened when you both went into the stairwell 7 seconds apart. Stop it.

There you go. Hope that helps.

HR Pros: Do you spend more time eliminating negative or creating great experiences? #Greatness19

While I was out at Influence Greatness this week I came across a great little nugget of genius from the O.C. Tanner Institute. They released their 2020 Global Culture Report and one of the main things they are looking into currently is employee experience. It’s been a super hot topic over the past few years and we still really no so little about it.

What we believe to be true is negative employee experiences are bad. We can all agree on that, right?! At the same time, we also tend to believe that positive employee experiences are good but really worth about the same as stopping a negative experience. So, we (HR pros and leaders) spend a great deal of our time eliminating negative experiences and trying to ensure new negative experiences don’t happen.

The O.C. Tanner study is going to change how we think about employee experiences moving forward!

From the picture above you already know the big finding! Positive experiences outlast negative experiences for a duration of four weeks to two weeks. Meaning, if you have a great employee experience happen to you, it carries over, on average for four weeks, while a negative experience we only carry for about two weeks.

This really should change our behavior where we spend way more time trying to create peak employee experiences versus eliminating valley, or negative, experiences for our employees. I’m not sure it will, though. Why?

Creating ‘wow’ experiences, peak experiences, for an employee is hard. Many times those great experiences actually happen by chance. Someone does a great job on a project, and from that work, something amazing happens with appreciation or recognition, that wasn’t planned, and “Bam!” a peak experience happens.

It’s easier for us to just keep fighting fires. “Oh, jeez! There goes Mark again hitting on the gals in payroll, we need to shut this down…” Don’t you feel better, now? We stopped this negative experience from happening! Now you can go back to enjoying your normal, daily average employee experience, minus creepy Mark hitting on you!

Stopping negative from happening isn’t great HR, it’s just HR. It’s what is expected. Making great happen isn’t expected, and it’s probably why those experiences stay with us so much longer. The cool part about working to create ‘great’ experiences for your employees is once you start going down that path it becomes easier and easier to come up with ideas and ways to create great. Like every skill, the more you do it, the better and easier it becomes!

The first step is for HR to make the behavior change. No, I’m not saying ignore negative experiences. Do what HR does and stop those, but let’s not linger there. Stop it, move on. Get back to the more valuable work of creating lasting great experiences that will do more to drive the culture we want to foster and nurture.

The data is robust, so it’s hard to ignore. This isn’t some small sample of one workplace. This is thousands of employees over hundreds of work locations and many countries. I love it because it forces me to think differently about what we do in HR and why. What I do know is working to make great experiences sounds like a way better job than putting out fires all day!

Is Your Company a Magnet for Talent? #Greatness19 @OCTanner

I’m out at O.C. Tanner’s Influence Greatness conference this week and got a sneak peek at their 2020 Global Cultural Report by the O.C. Tanner Institute and it’s loaded with some exceptional findings! O.C. Tanner puts more money into their research than almost any other HR Tech company on the planet, so it’s well worth checking out. This report surveyed 20,000 people and over 12.8 million data points.

The research is based on O.C. Tanner’s model of “Talent Magnets” of which there are six:

  • Wellbeing
  • Leadership
  • Purpose
  • Opportunity
  • Success
  • Appreciation

While every single one of these is important in their own right, they also all work together. Lift one, and you will lift the rest. As you can imagine the highest-rated magnet is Purpose. Having a clear purpose to why you do the work you do has the highest impact on positive engagement.

So often I find people believing their job or their company has no purpose, but everyone does and every organization does. You might not believe in it, or agree with it, but the purpose is there. Part of the being a strong magnet is pulling in others who do believe in your purpose.

Wellbeing is another one that is interesting. On the outside, we see “wellbeing” and we think physical wellbeing, but in reality, in terms of being a talent magnet, it’s probably more social wellbeing that has a bigger impact. It’s something like belonging. Do I feel like I belong here, or that I’m wanted here? Do I feel valued by not only my leader but my peers and co-workers that I’m with every day?

I think we discount how important this is to the retention of all talent. We discount it because it’s really hard to help someone feel like they belong. Many times this comes out on the exit interview as “oh, yeah, Tim, he just didn’t ‘fit’ our culture”. The truth is no one ‘fits’ your culture the moment they walk in, we make them feel wanted, we make them feel like they belong, and then not so magically, they become a great ‘fit’.

One of the shocking findings in the report is the picture above. 59% of your employees would take another job with another company for basically the same job. Same title, same pay, same benefits, believing that it will magically be better. This really isn’t as surprising if you really go through your turnover. Most people leave us for basically the same job at another place, believing it’s something better, but it’s basically the same.

Another piece of data from the report I’m fascinated by is 79% of employees are feeling some level of burnout, from minor to extreme. Burnout is basically chronic workplace stress that isn’t mitigated. Do you know who never had “burnout”? Your grandparents! So, they either were way tougher than we are, or work has changed considerably! I think it’s a bit of both, actually!

It’s a giant report, I’m only scratching morsels from all the data – it’s like 180 pages – I’m not even sure my book was that long! If you’re in HR and leadership this is a must-read to help your organization nurture the culture you want to have.