This One Group of Employees Needs Performance Reviews Cancelled!

This week on the HR Famous pod we talked about Google suspending performance reviews until 2021. When I first heard about it, my initial reaction was, “okay, here we go, the softening of America continues!” Come on, buck up kids!

It didn’t take me long to come to my senses when I thought about my own team. I have a super-strong group of employees, many of them mothers. On a weekly basis, I get to hear their stories of remote work with kids.

The reality we are facing right now, whether you think it’s right or not, is that most of your female employees with children are taking on the brunt of assisting the kids in their schooling at home. I’m a modern man. I don’t think women should have to take on this burden, but men mostly suck at organization, and from what I can tell, kids need vast amounts of organization when learning at home.

What does any of this have anything to do with Performance Reviews!? 


Because it’s unfair to judge your employees who are parents and besides doing their job, they are also forced to be a part-time educator because remote schooling is failing across the board. AND, the majority of these parent employees are women, who also just happen to face great equity issues already in your organization.

“Okay, Tim, we’ll suspend performance reviews for our employees who are parents, but we are going to continue with everyone else! Why would we stop all performance reviews?” See below…

Here is what will happen if you don’t cancel performance reviews in 2020, and maybe for a while after:

  • Your non-parent employees will get performance reviews and raises and promotions, life is great for them. Your parent employees, mostly women taking the brunt of the workload, won’t get a review and fall behind or will get a review and be judged unfairly based on what our crazy world has thrown at them.
  • Your pay equity issues and lack of gender diversity at leadership levels will continue and increase.
  • You’ll begin to see divisions amongst your employees, that will hurt your culture and productivity.
  • Eventually, you’ll create unwanted turnover or high performing talent.

I’m not saying we should stop feedback. Continue to do feedback all the time. Draft comms out to your employee base that speaks to the inequity our peers are facing and why you will suspend reviews until the pandemic is over and things get back to normal.

Some will read this and go, “yeah, I get it, but we are just going to have continued open dialogue with each team member and if someone says they don’t want a review right now, we’ll table them.” That’s a mistake because the women I know who are doing both roles right now will never tell you they don’t want a review. They are too proud for that, but it’s what’s best for them.

So, I’m a dude talking for women – because that’s what dudes do – we love to do some mansplaining! We also love to protect women. It’s a crazy genetic thing our mom gave us. Let me know what you think in the comments. Have you had this conversation in your organization? What are you going to do?

Creating friendships at work during a pandemic is really hard!

We’ve been told for years now, based on the Gallup research, that having a best friend at work is one of those anchors that will lengthen a person’s tenure with an organization. New research is proving this might not be as easy it sounds! Business Insider:

A Study by Plos One asked students to rate their friendships and also rate whether or not the ‘friend’ would reciprocate by telling researchers they also believed they were friends. Here the results:

In 94% of these perceived friendships, students expected them to be reciprocal. So if John rated Jack as his friend, he expected Jack to rate him as a friend also. But this was so in only 53% of cases; less than half of the students had their friendship beliefs about others reciprocated.

Ouch! Almost half of your friends, do think of you as a friend!

The researchers point to the social network-style of so many friendships today of why people have this wrong perception. People are now building so many friendships with individuals they rarely see or interact with but feel like they have a strong friendship with.

So, what should you be doing as an HR Pro to take advantage of the Friend Anchor?

1. Help provide real-life interactions with your employees to build ‘real’ friendships, not just social network friendships.

2. Give employees the opportunity to work with employees of their choosing on projects. Give an employee a project and let them pick their team to work on it.

3. Don’t ignore those employees who don’t interact with anyone. This is usually the first red flag you’ll get that a person is unhappy at work and more likely to turnover.

I know you didn’t get into HR to play a friendship matchmaker! But, if you value retention and want to lower turnover, being a great matchmaker might be the best tool you have in the HR toolbox!

To increase the difficulty of the position of being a matchmaker, what will you do for a remote workforce to increase friendships? The truth of the matter is it easier to create friendships in person, face to face, then it is when everyone is remote. The process of workplace friendship building has to be purposeful, and again this will mostly fall on HR pros to lead.

Also, remember, you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose. Unless they’re a really, really, really good friend, but even then, that’s creepy, don’t do that.

What can we really hope for out of a work experience?

I heard this quote recently, it was used by an old football coach to his players:

“It’s hard, but it’s fair.”

He wasn’t the first to use this and probably won’t be the last – but the line stuck with me because of how I don’t think many people in today’s age really think this way.  Many want to talk about what’s fair, few want to discuss the ‘hard’ part.  The football coach’s son described the meaning of what he feels the phrase means:

“It’s about sacrifice,” Toler Jr. said of the quote. “It means that if you work hard that when it’s all said and done at the end of the day, it will be fair based on your body of work. It’s about putting in the time, making sure that you’re ready for the opportunity.”

I think we all think our parents are hard on us growing up.  I recall stories I tell to my own sons of my Dad waking me up on a Saturday morning at 7 am, after I was out too late the night before, and ‘making’ me help him with something, like chopping wood or cleaning the garage out.  He didn’t really need my help, he was trying to teach me a lesson about choices.  If I chose to stay out late at night, it was going to suck getting up early to go to school.

He shared with me stories of his father doing the same thing, one night my Dad had gotten home late, so late, he didn’t even go to bed, just started a pot of coffee and waited for my grandfather to get up, figuring that was easier than getting a couple of hours of sleep and then hearing it from my grandfather the rest of the day.

As an HR Pro, we see this every day in our workforce.  There are some who work their tails off, not outwardly expecting anything additional, they’re just hard workers.  Others will put in the minimum, then expect a cookie. It’s a tough life lesson for those folks.  Most usually end up leaving your organization, believing they were treated unfairly, so they’ll go bounce around a few more times.

Eventually, they’ll learn to put in the work, put in the time, and more times than not, things work out pretty well.  Sometimes it won’t, so you go back to work even harder.  It’s been very rare in my 20 year HR career that I’ve truly seen a really hard worker get screwed over. Very rare! Now I know a ton of people who think they work hard, but they don’t, and they’ll say they get screwed. But the reality is they don’t work hard, they do the same as everyone else.

Do some idiots who don’t deserve a promotion or raise sometimes get it? Yep, they sure do, but that doesn’t happen as much as you think. The hard workers tend to get the better end of the deal almost always.

I hope I can teach my sons this lesson:  Life is going to be hard, but if you keep at it and put in the work, it’s going to be fair.  I think that is all we can really hope for.

Should Your Employer Brand State its Political Beliefs?

Oh, no, Tim’s losing his mind! He’s going to talk about politics!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am a Raging Moderate! I will fight until my last breath to keep myself firming on the fence in the middle, open to actually having an opinion that might fall on either side depending on the subject!

Here’s the thing, though, 63% of people are more likely to “buy” from a brand that speaks out about politics!

If that’s the case, and the main goal of great employment branding is to clearly let potential employees know who you are, so they can self-select in, or self-select out, it would seem like we should be stating our political leanings in our employment branding and recruitment marketing!? Right?!

It’s a tricky question!

Most organizations would claim they do not have a political identity. They would claim they are a-political accepting candidates and employees who believe all kinds of politics across a vast spectrum. That is actually the reality for many large employers. And, it’s not the reality.

When you dig into exit interview data, and reasons why folks do well in some organizations and struggle in others, many times you find that “fit” was all about either the political leanings of the micro-culture they worked in or the political leanings of the macro-culture they worked in.

It then truly comes down to the goals of your leadership team. What is it they want to portray to the world? Your customers. Your stakeholders. Your employees, and your future employees, candidates.

The reality is, if you are a small to a mid-sized organization (0-500 employees), you probably lean one way or another on the political spectrum, many times you are leaning really far to one side! Your senior-most leader probably has stated publicly what they are politically, and/or who they will vote for. Most likely, the folks they hire will be similar in their political beliefs, and it all rolls downhill.

The farther away from senior leadership the more likely you will have hires make into the organization they see the world completely different, politically, as you will get left or right leaders who hire folks who don’t carry the same strong leanings one way or another.

BUT – if the true goal is to get people who “fit” your culture, shouldn’t we tell them who we are?

Can you imagine applying for a job at a 1,000 person organization and on their career site they have something like this listed:

After the Most Recent Political Election, our employees took an anonymous survey of where the fell politically. Here are the results:

  • Democrat – 52%
  • Republican – 35%
  • Libertarian – 3%
  • We hate politics – 10%

Automatically, you get a feeling if you want to work at this company or not, just by looking at the breakdown! If you are a major conservative, you probably will question whether you want to join, or even apply, to this company. Or, if you are liberal, this data might truly push you to want to join this organization!

“But Tim! We want to be ‘Inclusive’!”

Really? Are you sure? Have you asked your CEO that question and then asked them why they’ve made it public where they stand, politically?

If the best employer brand helps you attract the talent the best fits your organization, then you probably aren’t being fully inclusive. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true. Great employer brands are exclusive. This is exactly who we are, and this is exactly who we want to work here. That might mean we are a diverse set of men and women of all colors who like old school hip-hop and Minecraft, who are also mostly Catholic. Cool. I either want that, or I won’t, but now it’s my decision.

Bad employer branding is to say we are everything to everyone, come join us, when you actually aren’t, and you actually don’t want to be that. It’s not popular to say out loud. We are supposed to be fully inclusive. I want the Trump hat-wearing dude and the rainbow flag wearing lesbian and that one girl with black lipstick that doesn’t talk much, but damn can she code! Unfortunately, that isn’t the normal reality.

I’m going to say that 99.9% of TA and HR leaders would say, “NO!” when asked if they would want their employer brand to state their political beliefs. The reality is, it does, and you’re just ignoring it.

When Employees Pass Around the Office Salary Spreadsheet! #HRFAMOUS

Pay transparency! It’s a buzzword that means many things to many people. Can you be pro-pay transparency and skeptical of reporting that involves a salary worksheet, no details, and a subsequent article implying that pay issues at a company are widespread?

Why yes! yes, you can.

In the latest episode of HR Famous, Kris Dunn and Jessica Lee discuss a recent Bloomberg article that attempted a takedown vs Blizzard Entertainment related to pay issues – including some employees passing around a cloud spreadsheet listing salaries they make at Blizzard. Along the way they discuss what quality reporting looks like around this type of issue, messaging as part of damage control when a company finds itself under scrutiny, and they also look for clues related to the depth of pay issues at Blizzard on the company’s Glassdoor page.

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Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player below) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

1:30 – Tim is gone (again) this week on another vacay! KD and Jlee talk about what they think Tim is doing on his Lake Michigan getaway. Ginger people don’t tan!

12:00 – Next topic of the day – Blizzard Entertainment, famous for making many popular video games like Call of Duty, has a situation where employees circulated a salary document internally that showed major pay disparitiesThe salary document was first reported by Bloomberg – but the gang has questions.

15:00 – Jlee praises the person who circulated the Google sheets form for being efficient. If anyone has the link to the spreadsheet, HR Famous would love to see it! KD wonders aloud how many columns are on the spreadsheet?  Are they names? The gang doubts it.

18:00 – An Activision spokesperson says that they compensate their employees fairly and gave their top performers a higher salary increase than in prior years. KD compares this issue to an episode of The Office where they have to decide who to give raises to and how.

21:00 – KD comments on the quote from the Activision spokesperson that says “a 20% increase in salaries compared to other years” was questionable language. KD and Jlee give high marks to this language that is a little clever to the untrained eye.

25:00 – KD points out that Blizzard has thousands of employees and not everyone could be consulted for this article. He’s kind of over articles that splash, but make no mention of how many employees a reporter talked to.

26:00 – What do you think Blizzard’s Glassdoor rating is? KD is a little surprised by Blizzard’s rating and thinks that their rating isn’t indicative of some of the problems this article addresses.

29:00 – KD finds the reported Blizzard salaries on Glassdoor by job and finds that many aren’t too far off the industry average/ KD guesses the problems are in customer service and QA based on low hourly rates.

32:00 – Jlee feels for Blizzard and their HR department in these tough times for their company. KD wants reporters to tell a full story and do their job right. He encourages them to take their clickbait titles for traffic, then tells the whole story.

Are you working more, or less, during the Pandemic?

If someone was to ask me I felt that, on average, were people working more, or less, during the pandemic I think my gut feel would be less. Not that I don’t think most people want to work, it’s just so much got shut down and so many jobs went remote, it would seem natural that most people worked less.

Our perception of how long we work, as an employee, is truly warped! I wrote a post years ago on the lie of working an 80 hour week and I get so much strong reaction to that post to this day! An 80-hour workweek is super rare, but the amount of people who claim to work that much is exponentially higher!

A new COVID-19 study on our work habits came out recently and the findings are fascinating. The study looked at meta-data from calendars and emails from over 3 million users. So, it wasn’t interview data, which tend to be a bit more subjective. Here are some of the findings:

  • So during the Pandemic, our meetings have increased by 12.9% per person
  • The number of people in our meetings has increased 13.5%.
  • But, the average length of our meetings has decreased by 20.1%!
  • The net effect is we are spending about 11.5% less time in meetings.

So, we are having more meetings being remote, but spending less time meeting, which probably has a lot to do with virtual meeting technologies like Zoom, Teams, etc. If you are face to face in a conference room you probably tend to linger around and socialize more. We don’t do that as much on digital meetings.

The other major finding was that our average work time per day has increased by 8.2% or roughly an additional 48 minutes per day! So, it would look like we are working more, not less. How can that be!?

Let’s go back to the perception of how long we think we work. Most people have some commute time when going to work. On average that’s anywhere from 30-90 minutes per day. If you work remotely, you have zero commute time, but you now might check your email first thing in the morning before that first cup of coffee. So, while you normal in-office workday might start at 8:30 am, now maybe you’re checking email by 7:30 or 8:00 am.

Our actual workday probably has extended on the ends. When you have a remote office you tend to have more flexibility when you work. Put the kids down, and return some messages at 9 pm. So, our calendars and our emails are showing this day extension, but it can’t show the flexibility we enjoy throughout the day to go throw a load of laundry in or enjoy breakfast and lunch with our family or run out for a quick trip to the store midday.

So, we’ve extended when we will do work to a longer path throughout the day, but we also added in a ton of flexibility. More meetings, less time in meetings, interacting with more people, and a longer tail of when we allow ourselves to work. Welcome to the new world of remote working!

Female Mechanic, Amateur Porn, and Lawful Termination #TheProjectTakeover

I’m on vacation this week so my friends are taking over the Project! Enjoy their content, connect with them, and share the content with new people! Some amazing voices coming to you this week! 

Enjoy this post by Greg Modd!

Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are entertaining but there is an adult side to social media platforms. One is called OnlyFans that HR professionals need to be aware of that is in the market. Kirsten Vaughn, 24, created an account to pad her bank account while working as a mechanic at Don Ayres Honda dealership in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She had the potential to be the first woman master technician at the dealership. However, Kirsten’s colleagues discovered her OnlyFans account and she claims that was when the sexual harassment began. A month after she created the account, she was terminated from her mechanic position for violating company policy.

Management met with Vaughn prior to her termination and in a recorded conversation the dealership’s HR leader Jason Johnston said “If there were coworkers over there who had access to your page, that might encourage them to approach you with unwanted sexual conduct or comments,” wow… suppose this could be interpreted as a blame the victim defense.

How should HR professionals handle these situations? The Association of Workplace Investigators have guiding principles to assist investigators to enhance the quality of workplace investigations:

  1. The decision to Conduct an Investigation
  2. Choice of Investigator
  3. Scope of Investigation
  4. Investigation Planning
  5. Communicating with Employer Representatives and Witnesses
  6. Confidentiality and Privacy
  7. Evidence Gathering and Retention
  8. Witness Interviews
  9. Documenting the Investigation
  10. Investigation Findings
  11. Reports

Wow, that’s a long and complicated list of guiding principles. What do they mean “decision to conduct an investigation” can an HR department ignore sexual harassment complaints? No, as employers are legally mandated to investigate harassment, retaliation, discrimination, and certain other types of complaints. Common mistakes made by HR departments in employee relations investigations are failing to plan, ignoring complaints, delaying an investigation, and losing objectivity. Bias is real folks…

Employee relations are complex and workplace investigations are an important piece to the puzzle. Business is about relationships. More importantly positive relationships. For HR professionals to be successful in the workplace they must be trusted advisors to both the business managers and employees. This is a challenging position to be in for most HR pros and one that sometimes can appear to be in conflict.

The bottom line, the sights and sounds human resources professionals are exposed to can be some of the strangest human interactions. Some HR pros aren’t equipped to manage the employee relations complications that come, and it can be an expensive lesson for the employer. My dear friend calls it a lesson in litigation. We can do better and be better if we simply leverage our network’s knowledge to help in these challenging situations. You don’t have to do this alone as we are truly better together.

Bio – Greg Modd is the Principal Consultant at PPC, DisruptHR speaker, and a United StatesAir Force veteran who served two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. PPC aims to mitigate risk for small business owners through outsourced workplace investigations.

 

 

The Weekly Dose: @VaultPlatform – Workplace Misconduct Reporting Tech

Today on the Weekly Dose I take a look at a timely technology in a world of #MeToo #BLM #Covid-19! Vault Platform helps organizations resolve workplace misconduct including that related to Me Too, Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, and all other workplace issues with a safe speak-up app for reporting incidents.

Let’s be clear to start, this isn’t your parent’s workplace 1-800 hotline, where you called some third-party company that would listen to your story, filter it, and then pass it along to HR, who then call you in. Vault is a technology, mobile-first, platform that allows employees to report any type of workplace harassment, fraud, corruption, racism, etc., and document their experience. Then, when they feel the time is right, they can actually send this forward to be responded to.

Each time an employee reports it is dated and time-stamped and the employee has access to their actual record the entire time. Once an employee decides to move forward it gets sent to the appropriate parties within the organization to resolve the issue.

What I like about Vault:

– “Go Together” – when talking about things like sexual harassment and racism, many times an employee does not feel comfortable reporting on their own, but they also don’t trust others when they say they’ll also report. Vault’s “Go Together” allows an employee to report, but only move it forward once another employee reports the same or similar behavior, so they are not making these accusations on their own. It’s really a brilliant idea!

– Vault dashboard works as a case management dashboard so HR, legal, D&I, etc. can check and track that reports are being resolved and how they are being resolved. It allows executives to instant insight access to the real problems that are going on in their organization, unfiltered, right from their employees.

– It allows employees to communicate in a way that is most comfortable to them, mobile messaging, not a phone call talking to a stranger.

– Employees can record for as long as they want without reporting and always have access to their own words, an organization can not delete or edit the employee’s own records. Many times something happens to an employee but they aren’t sure if it’s actually harassment, but as they see a pattern of behavior begin to happen, it becomes clear. Keeping these records makes it easy for the employee to give proof of how long and how much this is happening.

Right now every single organization on the planet is concerned with the experiences their employees are having. Me Too, BLM, COVID, etc. have shown us that our employees are having very drastic differences in their experiences, and we need to give our employees access and the ability to share these with us quickly and easily if we want to truly make changes and improve their experiences.

I first saw Vault at the HR Technology Conference right after Me Too and I liked it. With the additional social and health issues today, it’s even a more relevant technology. Vault Platform happens to be the perfect workplace technology at the perfect time. I highly recommend you take a look and a demo.

It’s Really Hard to Judge People!

I was out walking with my wife recently (that’s what middle-aged suburban people do, we walk, it makes us feel like we are less lazy and it gets us away from the kids so we can talk grown-up) and she made this statement in a perfectly innocent way:

“It’s really hard to judge people.”

She said this to ‘me’!  I start laughing.  She realized what she said and started laughing.

It’s actually really, really easy to judge people!  I’m in HR and Recruiting, I’ve made a career out of judging people.

A candidate comes in with a tattoo on their face and immediately we think: prison, drugs, poor decision making, etc. We instantly judge.  It’s not that face-tattoo candidate can’t surprise us and be engaging and brilliant, etc. But before we even get to that point, we judge.  I know, I know, you don’t judge, it’s just me. Sorry for lumping you in with ‘me’!

What my wife was saying was correct.  It’s really hard to judge someone based on how little we actually know them.

People judge me all the time on my poor grammar skills.  I actually met a woman recently at a conference who said she knew me, use to read my stuff, but stopped because of my poor grammar in my writing.  We got to spend some time talking and she said she would begin reading again, that she had judged me too harshly, and because I made errors in my writing assumed I wasn’t that intelligent.

I told her she was actually correct, I’m not intelligent, but that I have consciously not fixed my errors in writing (clearly at this point I could have hired an editor!). The errors are my face tattoo.

If you can’t see beyond my errors, we probably won’t be friends.  I’m not ‘writing errors, poor grammar guy”.  If you judge me like that, you’re missing out on some cool stuff and ideas I write about.

As a hiring manager and HR Pro, if you can’t see beyond someone’s errors, you’re woefully inept at your job.  We all have ‘opportunities’ but apparently, if you’re a candidate you don’t, you have to be perfect.  I run into hiring managers and HR Pros who will constantly tell me, “we’re selective”, “we’re picky”, etc.

No, you’re not.  What you are is unclear about what and who it is that is successful in your environment.  No one working for you now is perfect.  So, why do you look for perfection in a candidate?  Because it’s natural to judge against your internal norm.

The problem with selection isn’t that it is too hard to judge, the problem is that it’s way too easy to judge.  The next time you sit down in front of a candidate try and determine what you’ve already judged them on.  It’s a fun exercise. Before they even say a word.  Have the hiring managers interviewing them send you their judgments before the interview.

We all do it.  Then, flip the script, and have your hiring managers show up for an interview ‘blind’. No resume beforehand, just them and a candidate face-to-face.  It’s fun to see how they react and what they ask them without a resume, and how they judge them after.  It’s so easy to judge, and those judgments shape our decision making, even before we know it!

 

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.