Ford Layoffs – “Hey, stay a few days and say your goodbyes!”

A big announcement yesterday over at Ford where 7,000 or so white-collar workers will be getting laid off. For generations of automotive families, this is really anything new. You grow up knowing about once every ten years, the big autos will do some ‘right-sizing’ or reorganizations. The reality is, and other industries are much different, auto industries hire in good times like your drunk Uncle Lou buys drinks at the bar after he cashes his income tax return check!

In good times, there is nothing better than working in the automotive industry. Everyone gets hired for good wages, bonuses are good, and they throw money around like it’s monopoly money. In bad times, they ‘right-size’ and it’s not targeted, it’s pretty much we need to cut 10,000 people, make it happen!

Ford CEO Jim Hacket said this layoff is different, it’s not, but to prove the point he also said this:

He acknowledged saying goodbye to colleagues is “difficult and emotional.”

“We have moved away from past practices in some regions where team members who were separated had to leave immediately with their belongings, instead giving people the choice to stay for a few days to wrap up and say goodbye,” he wrote.

Wow, really!?! Thanks, Jim!

Honestly, though, it is a bit more humane, right? Basically what you say when you walk someone out immediately during a layoff is this:

  • Hey, you no longer have a job but thank you for all those years of your life and discretionary effort you gave!
  • Also, we don’t trust you, so get the hell out, NOW!
  • Also, if you know of any younger workers who can do what you do, but for 30% less, please refer them to us!

Now, I am not saying Ford is laying off older workers and keeping younger workers. That would be slanderous, and I would never say such a thing! You can look at the data for yourself! It is a bit ironic though how white-collar layoffs tend to impact higher paid, more experienced workers. Turns out experience only matters to a certain salary point, then we are mostly the same in terms of productivity and knowledge.

No, Ford is in a very competitive industry and very fast-changing industry, and while all these ‘more experienced’ workers made us a lot of money, we now need to hire a different set of skills for our next generation of products. We no longer need all these mechanical engineers (true) and we need many more electrical and computer engineering skill sets (also true). Also, we probably need less more experienced finance, human resources, marketing, and operations folks as well, for these new more technical products we are creating.

So, back to the actual layoffs. Do you agree with Hackett (no relation, since my name, is “Sackett” with an “S”, and not an “H” but I see the confusion if you’re dumb) on his layoff approach of treating the Ford employees a bit differently and letting them close up shop and not walk them out immediately?

My take:

This should be an individual management decision. Your manager knows if you’re a terrorists or not. If she believes you can act like an adult and not sabotage anything on your way out, she should be able to make that call. If she believes you’re a problem, she should also be able to make that call on walking you out immediately.

I don’t believe this should be an all or nothing approach. I’ve seen people who have done some very bad things when given the chance to ‘pack up shop” on their way out. When you take the livelihood way from a person, you really don’t know how they’ll react. Some will become desperate and take anything they can get, staplers, information, etc.

Most, the vast majority, will be sad and grieve but also be able to handle this news in a respectful manner, knowing they’ll probably need that manager reference to land their next spot.

Layoffs suck, even when done for the best reasons to save the jobs of thousands of others. They just suck. I feel awful for those Ford employees having to go through this, just as I did for the GM employees who had to go through this at the end of last year. Organizations are living, breathing things, and as such, tend to make the same mistakes as well do in good times and bad.


If Your Company has a Chief Happiness Officer you Should Rethink Your Career Path!

In the past three weeks, I’ve been pitched by some well-meaning PR person about a story on how Google, Salesforce, Zappos, Airbnb, etc., have “Chief Happiness Officers” and how important they are to corporate success. Or at least, how “Happiness” as a measure is important to corporate success.

I’ve been pitched this idea four times, primarily so I would talk about their client, Snappy, which apparently is a chatbot of some kind that asks your employee questions to probably gauge their happiness or something, and in turn, you can then turn to your Chief Happiness Officer to fix the happy that is broken. (BTW – look for my new book in 2020 – “Fix the Happy!”)

Snappy might be some awesome tech, but I don’t like the pitch. I think that pitch is broken, for the real world. The real world is not Google and Zappos. Those are unicorns. Real companies have real issues and making their entitled employees happy is not one of those real issues.

I want to punch every Chief Happiness Officer in the smiling face!

Seriously, how completely warped do you have to be to think you actually bring happiness to another human being, let alone an entire company of human beings!?!

Will Smith is my Chief Happiness Officer:

Turns out CHO’s don’t make employees happy. Employees make themselves happy. No amount of money, or time off, or Taco Tuesdays, or standup desks or seven flavors of Kombucha in the employee cafe, will make a person happy. Happiness is an emotion controlled by the individual, no matter the environment they’re in.

There are great stories of prisoners at Auschwitz that chose love and happiness in the darkest hours and circumstances that anyone could imagine. There are people who win $500M lotteries that blow their head off because of how depressed they are. A CHO can’t change that.

Chief Happiness Officers are what happens to organizations when leadership gets out of control. When we stop actually leading and managing the business, and we ‘become’ leaders. When we start believing our own bullsh*t to a level where we think we actually control the emotions of our employees.

Look, I get it. I also want to drink the Kool-aid and believe in Santa Claus. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful, fantasy-filled life?! But that is life. 99.99% of us have to work to pay bills. Within that, we can choose to be happy, or miserable, or somewhere in between and that actually might have many times in the same day. No one person is going to make me happy or miserable unless I make that choice to allow that to happen.

There you go. That’s my take. Chief Life Officer, out.

Should Employees Have to Payback Payroll Errors?

So, an in the trenches Recruiting and HR Pro, Kristina Minyard (@HRrecruit on the Twitters) brought up a really great question last week, that had a pretty big response. Kind of a black and white response, meaning you either were in one camp or the other. (BTW – go connect with Kristina – she’s a passionate HR pro who puts a ton of time into being a great HR pro)

Here’s her question:

This really isn’t a staffing agency question, which Kristna knows, but this was the specific example, it’s a payroll and employee relations issue that happens at all organizations, big, small, public, private, etc. anytime there’s a payroll mistake.

What are the two sides? 

Side 1 – It’s a company mistake, so the company should eat it.

Side 2 – It’s a mistake. It’s not the employee’s money. It should be paid back.

Which side do you fall on?

I’m guessing most of you would need more information. A situation like this needs details, right? Well, you don’t have any. You have the tweet, so what would your professional HR decision be?

What side did I take?

I’m fully and completely in the camp of – a mistake was made, the money should be paid back. Since this is my blog, I’ll lay out my argument!

1. By law, you can’t actually take the money out of an employees paycheck. The employee would have to sign an agreement, agreeing to have this money taken out of future checks in whatever payback schedule was agreed upon.

2. I look at this in a couple of ways. First, if the IRS overpaid you by $10,000 on your tax return, you would be legally obligated to pay back that money to the government, or you would be put in jail. BUT WAIT! It wasn’t my mistake! Yeah, so, you don’t get to keep the money it’s not yours! Second, if you underpaid an employee, do you think the employee would go, “it’s okay, I know it was a mistake, I’ll eat it’. No! Of course not, that’s ridiculous. So, why then should a company have to eat it? Because of a mistake?

3. It seems like the amount plays into this. Come on, Tim, we are only talking about $200 bucks! Just forget it about and move on. I have my SHRM-SCP and I’m 100% sure there was some stuff on the exam that talked about setting precedent. Precedent is a simple concept, although not always easy for employers to follow. It all boils down to this: what you do for one, you do for all. So, if payout this amount (to this white, male employee), but then we decide not to pay it out to another employee (a black, female) what do you think might happen? I’ll tell you in court.

4. So, if you agree with #3, you either have to pay it back every single time or never. Or, you need a payroll mistake policy that says, “if we make a payroll mistake less than $X dollars per week we will eat it, but any mistake over $X per week we will request repayment through a signed agreement”.

5. What if the employee refuses to pay back the mistake if the decision is made to request they pay it back? My answer? You fire them (this got me called “evil” – not by Kristina). Legally, if an employee is made aware they were mistakenly given money that isn’t there’s. Then they refuse to return it. You can fire them for cause, and because they were fired for cause you can without unemployment insurance benefits. Evil or not, that’s just the reality of the situation.

6. In a one-off situation, it seems ridiculous that you would ask for repayment and possibly go all the way to terminate this person for refusing to pay back the mistake. In an organization with hundreds and thousands of employees, where bigger mistakes, affecting more people, could be made, this seems very normal.

So, I’ll tell you I have had this exact situation happen many, many times in my career at organizations large to small, across many states, and never once have I had an employee refuse to pay back money that wasn’t really their money, to begin with. While it sucks, they understood. And part of that communication is letting them know, “this sucks, we’ve discovered a big mistake, and now we, together, have to figure out how to do what’s right”.

Kristina and I were on different sides of this. That doesn’t make her wrong and me right, or I’m right and she’s wrong. This is real HR. In HR, it’s our job to evaluate the risk of every situation an organization will face and advise on that risk. In Kristina’s analysis of this situation, she feels the risk is low and the employee shouldn’t have to pay back the mistake. In my experience, I feel it should be. Both, actually, could be the right answer, or the wrong answer. Welcome to the show, kids!

Okay, let me have it in the comments! What would you do in this situation?

You’re Banned From Changing My Mind…at Work!

Did you see Facebook’s internal announcement to their employees about banning an employee’s ability to change the mind of a co-worker about Politics and Religion? I think I need to use these for my family get togethers!

An internal memo was leaked (God Bless internal memo links) from Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer on some new workplace rules that Facebook is putting into effect immediately on all communication channels, and they are:

  1. Don’t insult, bully, or antagonize others
  2. Don’t try to change someone’s politics or religion
  3. Don’t break our rules about harassing speech and expression

Sorry workplace trolls at Facebook, your Employee Experience just took a major blow! (BTW “Workplace Trolls” is a great podcast name)

As you can imagine I have a few thoughts on this!

My actual first reaction to this had nothing to do with “the rules”, but had everything to do with who was communicating this message! Why is this coming from the CTO and not the CEO or CHRO? Definitely different than most organizations.

This tells me one of two things: 1. The CTO made these up on his own; and/or 2. Facebook’s leadership team wanted to make this seem like it wasn’t that big of a deal, so let’s not have it come from the CEO or CHRO, which normally would handle formal employee communications like this.

This is a bit of an employee experience course correction that I think we’ll start seeing in many organizations over the next couple of years with a softer economy. In an ultra-low unemployment economy the inmates run the asylum.

As we back to a bit of normal unemployment environment, employers will focus less on becoming a playground you get paid to attend, and more of a ‘back to work’ mentality. You shouldn’t have time to berate Billy all day because he worships Pokemon. Get your a$$ back to work!

Over the past couple of years with #MeToo and Trump, our workplaces have become littered with landmines of employee strife. We want and value inclusion, and at the same time this increases the communication issues and the need for rules like Facebook are instituting.

So, what do you think? Does your workplace need to adopt rules like this?

HR Pros! How often are you going to court?

There’s one thing we as HR pros are pretty consistent on. We never want to go to court! We do just about anything to mitigate risk for ourselves and our organizations.  The first rule of HR Club is don’t go to court!

Now, that’s how most HR pros feel.  I don’t.  I don’t believe it’s HR’s job to mitigate risk. I believe it’s HR’s job to advise our decision makers of risk. Of course, if you are a decision maker, in HR, then it’s your job to mitigate risk over what you’re responsible for. All that being said, I’m in the minority of that opinion.

So, why do I feel this way?  It’s all numbers to me. Check this out from

  • In 2014, there were 88,778 Employment Related Charges Filed in the U.S.
  • In 2014, from those charges, a total of $372,100,000 dollars was awarded to the winners of those cases.
  • That averages out to just: $4,191.35 per case.

Here’s the reality of employment related cases:

  • Most cases are won by the employer.
  • Employee and Past Employees believe their cases are worth millions.
  • Most end up settling for a few thousand dollars.

First, I’m not advising you to not be safe and just go all willy-nilly and go to court!  Don’t be stupid.  Also, don’t allow yourself and your organization to be held hostage by an employee or past employee threatening a lawsuit. Most you can settle for way less than you can ever believe!

When I first started in HR I was always shocked by how small of amount of money it would take to make ‘problems’ go away, from a legal standpoint. The numbers above say the same thing. Sure, there is always a risk of a big score.  Usually, the companies that get hit with those are truly doing something very bad.  If you’re doing good work and trying to follow the letter of the law, rarely do those cases turn into major scores for employees.

Do you want to go to court? Of course not.  You, also, don’t want to allow your organization to be bullied by an employee who is taking advantage of your fear of going to court.  Judges are really smart people. They see through most con-artists pretty quickly.  I’ve been to court on employment matters a number of times, and each time the judge was fair to my organization, and called out bullshit when they saw it.

Do good work. Do good by your employees. Don’t allow your organization to do bad stuff. Trust our legal system will do what’s right.  Don’t allow yourself to be held hostage!

The Non-Smoker Smoke Break!

Let’s break down some math on the amount of time smokers take, paid, in smoke breaks daily: 

An average smoker smokes 15 cigarettes per day. I’m going to assume that when awake the smoker smokes about 1 cigarette per hour, so that’s 40 cigarettes per week smoked at work.  It takes about 5 minutes to smoke a cigarette. 

I’m going to assume that it takes probably 5 minutes round trip to get to your designated smoking area, 5 minutes to smoke your cigarette, so 10 minutes per break. I’ll say a good worker only smokes 6 cigarettes on the clock, so 60 minutes per day, one hour, paid to smoke. 5 hours per week paid, to smoke, 255 hours per year to smoke.

Is everyone following me? 

255 hours of paid smoke breaks – or basically taking an in-office vacation for roughly 6 1/2 week per year, on top of their actual away-from-office vacation time. 

So, what I’m trying to get to is how can we/HR build in non-smoker smoke breaks!? We know HR won’t do that! Can you imagine an official policy to take breaks not to smoke!? Does anyone have an official Smoke Break policy in today’s world? 

Here’s my idea: 

  1. If you don’t smoke and you have a co-worker that does smoke, just go out with them every single time they smoke. In fact, get a group of people to go with them and build and strengthen relationships, just don’t try to breath too much! 
  2. Petition to get paid 12.5% more than someone who smokes, because that’s basically how much more your working than the average smoker. 
  3. Take a two-hour lunch break and when HR tells you that you can’t do that, take them into a conference room and run them through the math on a white board! 

I don’t understand smoke breaks. It’s kind of like sexual harassment. For the longest time we thought it was completely normal for a boss to sleep with his secretary and now we know it’s very wrong! 

I’ll be honest. I feel the same way about how it became the norm to offer free coffee at work. No one has every offered me free diet Mt. Dew at work! (I take that back, my friend Jim D’Amico did at Celenese when I went to visit!) 

So, we let people go take smoke breaks, paid, and it’s somehow completely fine. 5 hours per week, paid. Completely fine, to actually for real not do work. Just stand outside and slowly kill yourself and you get paid for it! How great is work!? 

Let’s face it, I’m not actually mad at smokers, I’m super jealous! I can’t tell you how hard it is for me not to start smoking knowing all the great benefits you get! I’ve actually tried hanging outside with smokers, but because I was in HR, and didn’t smoke, I think they thought I was trying to get them in trouble or spying on them. I wasn’t, I just wanted all that free time off! 

I’ve been thinking about starting that meditation, mindfulness crap. That might work. I could just randomly stop working, sit down in the middle of the hall all criss-cross-applesauce and just put on some headphones and close my eyes. Make people walk around me and my mindfulness break! 

I wonder what HR would do? “Hey, Tim, we’re not paying you to relax, get your butt back to work! Now, if you want to get all jacked up on nicotine, that’s fine, get off the floor and go light one up!” 

The 12 Steps of a Recovery Passionate A**hole!

I wrote a post a while back titled, “The 5 Things HR Leaders Need to Know About Developing Employees“. In that post I had a paragraph:

When I was young in my career, I was very ‘passionate’. That’s what I liked calling it – passionate.  I think the leaders I worked with called it, “career derailer”.  It took a lot for me to understand what I thought was a strength, was really a major weakness.  Some people never will gain this insight.  They’ll continue to believe they’re just passionate when in reality they’re really just an asshole.

I then had a reader send me a message and basically said, “This is me!” And I was like, “That was me too!” And then we kissed. Okay, we didn’t kiss, but it’s great to find another like yourself in the wild!

The reality is, I’m a recovering Passionate Asshole.

What’s a “Passionate Asshole” who are asking yourself? Here’s my definition. A passionate asshole is a person who feels like they are more about the success of the company than anyone else. I mean everyone else. They care more than everyone! And because we care so much, we treat people poorly who we feel don’t care as much as us!

Passionate assholes truly believe in every part of their being they’re great employees. You will not be able to tell us any different. They are usually high performing in their jobs, which also justifies even more that they care more. But, in all of this, they leave a wake of bad feelings and come across like your everyday basic asshole.

You know at least one of these people. They’re usually younger in the 24-35-year-old range. Too early in their career to have had some major setbacks and high in confidence in their abilities.

Here are the 12 Steps of Recovery for Passionate Assholes:

Step 1: Realization that your an Asshole, not the best employee ever hired in the history of the universe. This realization doesn’t actually fix the passionate asshole, but without it, you have no chance.

Step 2: You understand that while being a passionate asshole feels great, this isn’t going to further your career and get you to your ultimate goal.

Step 3: Professionally they have knocked down in a major way. I was fired. Not because I was doing the job, but because I was leaving a wake of bodies and destruction in the path of doing my job. You don’t have to be fired, demotion might also work, but usually, it’s getting canned.

Step 4: Some you truly respect needs to tell you-you’re not a good employee, but an asshole, during a time you’re actually listening.

Step 5: Find a leader and organization that will embrace you for who you’re trying to become, knowing who you truly are. You don’t go from Passionate Asshole to model employee overnight! It’s not a light switch.

Step 6: Time. This is a progression. You begin to realize some of your passionate asshole triggers. You begin to use your powers for good and not to blow people up who you feel aren’t worthy of oxygen. Baby steps. One day at a time.

Step 7: You stop making bad career moves based on the passionate asshole beast inside of you, telling you moving to the ‘next’ role is really the solution to what you’re feeling.

Step 8: We make a list of people we’ve destroyed while being passionate assholes. Yes, even the people you don’t like!

Step 9: Reach out to the people you’ve destroyed and make amends. Many of these people have ended up being my best professional contacts now late in life. Turns out, adults are actually pretty good a forgiving and want to establish relationships with people who are honest and have self-insight.

Step 10: We are able to tell people we’re sorry for being a passionate asshole when find ourselves being a passionate asshole, and not also seeing the passion within them and what they also bring to the organization is a value to not only us but to the organization as a whole.

Step 11: You begin to reflect, instead of reacting as a first response. Passionate assholes love to react quickly! We’re passionate, we’re ready at all times, so our initial thought is not to think, but react decisively. You’ve reached step 11 when your first thought is to no longer react like a crazy person!

Step 12: You begin to reach out to other passionate assholes and help them realize how they’re destroying their careers and don’t even know it. You begin mentoring.

I know I’ll never stop being a Passionate Asshole. It’s a personality flaw, and even when you change, you never fully change. But, I now understand when I’m being that person, can usually stop myself mid-passionate asshole blow up, and realize there are better ways to communicate and act.

Hat tip to: Kyle Brown (a fellow Self-Identified Passionate Asshole)

Employee Holiday Gift Guide

It’s usually HR’s job to come up with the annual employee gift. Most companies are lame and will do the exact same thing every year. If they don’t give a turkey on Thanksgiving, they’ll definitely give out turkeys at Christmas. If they did give a turkey at Thanksgiving, you’ll likely get a ham or a fruitcake for Christmas.

Can I just say Christmas, instead of the “holiday season” or list all the possible options? My family is Jewish, but we get it, almost no company will ever recognize Chanukah, and if they do, it’s usually insulting, “Oh, isn’t that the Jewish Christmas?!” Ugh. Most of the American workforce follows some Christian-based religion that celebrates Christmas, so it’s just easier to play along with the majority.

At some point, usually, right around the pagan holiday of Halloween, someone in HR will raise the question to leadership, “Hey, what are we doing this year for ‘Christmas’ for the employees?”  What they really are asking is, “How much money are we spending per employee for some gift that looks more expensive than what it really is?”  Depending on the organization, it’s a wide range!

Here are the worst holiday gift ideas to give your employees:

  • Company Logo Portfolio – you know those fake leather bound binders with a legal pad inside. Twenty years ago those were so hot! Now, they’re sad. If you give this out as a gift you should be shot. “Oh, great, thanks, a pad of paper I can’t wait to take a picture of this and post it on my Snap making fun of the lame company I work for!”
  • Company Logo Bag – Any bag really. Duffle. Messenger. Backpack. The only time this isn’t lame is when it’s a really nice bag. Meaning the bag, minus your stupid logo, better cost at least $100 per bag. Your $12 limit per employee just makes any bag you choose, sad. Oh, it’s a Herschel bag, okay, you’re good, send me one to!
  • Any Company Logo Item Your CEO Wouldn’t Buy For Themselves – Let’s face it no one wants a crappy polo shirt, or cheap hoodie, or water bottle made in China. If your leadership team wouldn’t buy this on their own and use it, don’t buy it for your employees. If your CEO is a cheap SOB, ignore what I said above and just skip logo items altogether!
  • Any Mass Pre-packaged Food Items – You know what really sucks? Getting a gift basket of elf-sized trial-sized food items made to look gourmet that were probably made seventeen months ago.
  • A Charitable Gift in “My” Name – I love being charitable. I hate when some tries to be charitable on my behalf. You don’t know what I support! I might hate sick puppies and I don’t want money going to them. That’s not your call. My favorite charity is my kid’s college fund! Are you giving me money for that?

Employee gift giving, especially the bigger your organization is, is a tough game.  You don’t want to be cheap, but if you have 10,000 employees, that one endeavor becomes super expensive! The best thing to do is just stop it all together!

You go through one negative year of people complaining they didn’t get their lead-based painted candy corporate logo candy dish, then the next year no one remembers. Instead, let your hiring managers throw potluck lunches and have some fun. People will remember those, have more fun, and they might actually interact with each other!

Forced Hugs will Continue in 2019, and you’ll Like it!

Let me make this perfectly clear, I never forced anyone to hug me!

I did for 30 straight days once make one of my sons give me a kiss goodnight, or he wasn’t allowed to buy an airsoft gun. That was different, I only did that because I felt, as his parent, he needed to feel comfortable kissing another man. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. He needed to know it was alright to give a kiss to his father. I mean, he kissed his mom good night, what’s wrong with me!?

I’m a hugger, you all know that I wrote the rules on hugging in the workplace, and clearly, the CEO of Ted Baker, an iconic British fashion company, Ray Kelvin, did not read my rules! (editor side note: I love me some Ted Baker shoes, without hugs from Ray!)

For those who didn’t see (I had about a dozen of my friends and readers send me a link!) Kelvin got himself in trouble for what has been perceived in his company of “Forced” hugs:

“Thousands of people have signed an online petition to end a practice of “forced ‘hugging'” and demand a better way of reporting alleged harassment at fashion chain Ted Baker.

More than 2,000 members of staff and customers of the UK retailer have called on the firm’s founder and CEO, Ray Kelvin, to alter his behavior, including “inappropriate touching,” which they say is “part of a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged.”
The call has come in an open letter to the company’s board of directors on the online platform Organise, which runs workplace-specific campaigns.”
Ray! Ray! Ray! All you had to do was follow the rules, Ray!
Look, I love giving a hug as much as the next person, but ‘forced hugs’ are super creepy!
I don’t want to let one creep stop the practice of hugging professionally. I mean, let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater, people! Hugging is fine if you follow the rules. Forcing someone to hug you is not fine. That’s pretty clear, right?
Now, this is the fashion industry and Ray is worth $660 million dollars, and if my career in HR has taught me anything, I’m fairly sure we’re about to see a lawsuit trying to make Ray worth less than $660 million. If Ray was worth $660 dollars he probably wouldn’t be able to force hugs on anyone, or if he did, he would be in jail!
It’s hard being a middle-aged white dude in 2018 with all the other middle-aged white dudes running around like they’re in an episode of Game of Thrones. Just because you have money doesn’t mean you can do whatever it is you want. Like you can’t just be the President and just say whatever is on your mind on social media and grab women by the, oh wait…
So, I’m a middle-aged white dude who likes to hug. The question is, should I stop?
That would all depend on whether or not my hugs are making you uncomfortable (don’t comment Kris Dunn, your words are irrelevant here, I know you like my hugs deep down in places you’re afraid to bring up at your therapist) and/or are unwanted. That’s why I put together the rules people! Over 1 million people have read the rules. Also the updated New & Improved Version! The Rules on Hugging in the Workplace, work, if you follow them!
Rules people! Let’s make HR great again!

Back to Human! @DanSchawbel

Dan Schawbel‘s new book, “Back to Human” launches today and he was kind enough to send me a copy months ago since he rightly assumed I’m probably a slow reader! If you don’t know Dan, you should! Dan is a New York Times best-selling author and he’s one of those guys that cares about our industry in HR and Talent Acquisition.

Dan was named to Inc.’s 30 under 30 and he might be the most influential voice of the Millennial generation. He wrote his first book, “Me 2.0” to help his generation land their first job. He wrote his second book, “Promote Yourself” to help lead them up the career ladder. Now, with his third book, “Back to Human”, Dan is helping them become great leaders of people.

I’ve known Dan for a number of years. He basically pisses me off, because he’s who I think I should be twenty years ago! He’s smart, motivated, and he gets it!

So, what’s “Back to Human” all about? 

Dan, in conjunction with Virgin Pulse, did a huge research study of over 2,000 leaders and employees around a rather new concept of isolated workforces in the age of remote work. The research showed that remote work actually doesn’t help keep employees long term, in fact, remote workers are more likely to leave your employment because of the lack of connection with other workers.

Only 5% of remote workers could see themselves working in their employers for their entire career, compared to 33% of workers who work in non-remote work environments. That’s substantial! Especially when you think about how much we (HR, TA, Leaders) have pushed our organizations down this path of remote work environments because we felt everyone wanted to work remotely! Turns out people don’t want to work remotely! People just like being at home and getting paid! (that’s my assessment, not Dan’s!)

While remote work promotes flexibility and eliminates commuting costs, it has made employees more isolated, lonely and less committed to their teams and organizations. Technology has enabled us to work remotely, but at a huge cost!

I really like Dan’s new book because he gives practical advice for leaders to help foster human connections amongst employees and their leaders. What Dan’s research found out is that we as leaders can’t think about meeting the needs of our employees, especially remote employees, if we aren’t willing to get personal and really work to understand them in a one-on-one level. The problem is most leaders actually do the opposite with remote employees!

Another cool piece about the book is the amount of information around young leaders in how they think and how we can help them develop into better leaders faster.

If you’re looking for a great book to get your leaders and aspiring leaders for your organization, go check out Dan Schawbel’s Back to Human. Well worth the read!