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.

Recruiting Brainfood Tribune: 20 Questions with @TimSackett by @HungLee

One of the great things that blogging about recruiting and HR topics over the past decade has given me is a bunch of international friends and contacts. One of those friends is the founder of Recruiting Brainfood, out of the UK, Hung Lee.

You won’t find a nicer dude, doing great work for the recruiting space around the world. If you haven’t heard of the Player’s Tribune, it’s a sports website where instead of journalist writing, it’s the athletes themselves. You hear very personal stories from the athletes in their own voice.

Hung had the idea to do this for our industry (The Recruiting Brainfood Tribune) and he asked me to do this for his site through answer a series of twenty questions. I hope you like it, and make sure you subscribe to Hung Lee’s weekly Recruiting Brainfood newsletter – it’s exceptional!

  1. Who was your favourite teacher at school? What did you learn from that person?

Ruth Kemp, high school English teacher. She forced us to journal, and this was in the 1980s! So, each day we had to just write for 20 minutes a day. Write about anything, but you had to write even if you just copied text from a book or magazine. The cool part is she would read everything you wrote and respond with comments. So, even though I didn’t want to write, I loved her reactions to what I wrote! For me, it became a game to try and make her laugh or be shocked. She was smart and playful and always played along with my creativity. She taught me that I actually loved to write, I just didn’t know it. I ended up being her teacher’s aide for my junior and senior years. We would talk for hours about anything and everything.

She retired years ago, but when I wrote my book, The Talent Fix, I wanted to send her a copy because she was really the reason that it happened. I found out, through the school, that she was doing some volunteer work at the local airport assistance desk with some other senior citizens. I fly a lot, so I thought eventually I would run into her. One night on a last flight of the night coming into the airport at almost midnight, I finally ran into her on her very last day of volunteering ever. It had been 30 years since we had seen each other (she totally looked the same!). I walked up to the counter, and she asked me if she could help me. I said, “I’m Tim Sackett!” and she replied, “Of course you are!” We hugged and shared stories, and it brings tears to my eyes as I write this that I could see her one last time and let her know what a dramatic impact she had on my life.

  1. At what age did you become an adult? What happened, and how did you know?

I don’t think my wife thinks I’m an adult yet! I tell people I was raised by all women. My Grandmother was the matriarch of our family. She had five daughters, my mother being the oldest. The first grandchild in our family was my sister. I was the second. My parents divorced when I was four, and my grandparents help raise me a lot, being that my Mom was a single parent working a ton launching her business that I currently run. My grandfather passed away when I was twelve. At his funeral, I was sitting between my Mom and my Grandmother. My Grandmother leans over during the service, puts her hand on my knee, and whispers into my ear, “You are the man of the family now.” I’m quite sure I wasn’t an adult at that moment, but it definitely shaped so much of my life moving forward! To this day, I still hold the title as the senior-most “blood” male of our family, and my 90-year-old Grandmother still expects me to be the man of the family.

  1. What do you think is true that most people think is false? What do you think is false, that most people think is true?

I think if you fail a lot, you are more likely to keep failing. Our society tends to believe the opposite. Fail more! Fail faster! It’s all bullshit. I coached baseball, and if I had a…

Read the rest of the twenty questions over at Recruiting Brainfood – it’s all about me and stuff, but I think it’s pretty good. Hung asked some great questions! 

 

Pandemic Job Searching with @LRuettimann and @CamSackett

I’ve been exceptionally fortunate in my career to find friends and mentors willing to give me their time and resources to help me succeed. One of those people who help support me when I first started writing is Laurie Ruettimann.

I tease her a lot and frequently call her HR’s Big Sister because she helps so many people! When you write, speak, have a successful podcast like she does you tend to get a lot of people reaching out for advice and Laurie finds time to help out so many folks.

Today, she’s helping out my son Cameron, who is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, and in the middle of his first ‘real’ job search. Enjoy their podcast together!

Resources from this episode:

Cameron on LinkedIn

HR Famous Podcast

Laurie on Instagram

Laurie on LinkedIn

Read more from Laurie

Work with Laurie

 

Happy Thoughts by Tim Sackett

My local news station is doing just positive news for one of their half-hour shows on Thursday early evenings. I’m a cynic, I suspect it’s a play to grab ratings on a low ratings time, but you know what? We could all use some good news!

So, I sat down to think about all the Happy things that are going on that I could share. It’s not easy! There’s so much negative, I can’t even with the news anymore, but here goes:

The All-In Challenge!

Have you heard about this? A bunch of celebrities are auctioning off stuff and they’ve tried to make it inexpensive so everyone can have a chance, not just rich folks. So, you can be in Kevin Hart’s next movie and get the chance for $10 to put your name in the hat! Or Justin Beiber will come to your house and sing a song! You can play in the NBA Celebrity All-star game, etc. The entry fee for each is just $10 with all proceeds going to provide food for those affected by the pandemic. I’m obsessed with this, I want to do half of the stuff!

Hourly Workers Getting their Do! 

To be honest, I’m not a giant fan of everyone calling themselves heroes. I like to save the “H” word for those who really put their lives on the line for my freedom and safety on a regular basis. All that said, hourly workers usually just get dumped on with crappy pay and crappy jobs, and right now many of those folks are holding this country together. I was in a gas station today and the lady in front of me was running a laundry mat and she said, “I’m an essential worker! I’m needed right now!” Yes, you are my dear! Get all the feels you need right now!

Family Tik Tok Videos! 

They are corny. Some funny. Some not. All of them are families doing stuff together and I quite frankly think it’s awesome. Even those where they are just having their Mom or Dad hold the camera. At least you are finally doing something with your teenage kids! Family Tik Toks and Puppy Tik Toks, keep them coming. If you haven’t downloaded Tik Tok, it’s 99.9% stupid short videos and every once in a while some pure gold.

Conversations at the Dinner Table! 

Yep, we are all sick of each other by this point, but in a couple of months, I have had more real conversation at my dinner table than the combined past two years! That is awesome and makes me smile! My wife and I are actually getting tired of cleaning up after dinner because it’s happening every single night! I have boys so you usually don’t get a lot of conversation anyway, but it turns out if you actually sit down every night, they start talking.

The Return of Civility! 

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like everyone is a nicer right now. I mean I guess any of us could kick the bucket at any moment so we tend to just be a little nicer to each other. Of course, early on we were all fighting each other for toilet paper, but once we got settled in I think people are truly caring about their neighbors and community. Even in my work interactions, everyone seems to be really concerned for each other’s safety.

I like thinking Happy Thoughts. I’m reminded of a great quote by Viktor Frankl:

 

The Top 5 Gifts to Get that Special Someone at the Office for Valentine’s Day!

Let’s get creepy today!

Remember back when you were in elementary school and your mom or dad would take you to the store and you would pick out your box of Valentine’s to give out at school? You had to make one of those little ‘mailboxes’ out of shoebox so everyone in your class could drop off one, and then you would go home after school and analyze each one like the Zapruder film!

Did Amber make me her ‘special’ Valentine or did she use a generic message card on me!?! Why did Jill put a ‘heart’ on top of her “i” to me? Why did Billy give me the card with kittens? Oh, the humanity of trying to figure out who loved you through the meaning of store-bought valentine cards!

Talk about stress! I’m not sure a kid goes through something more stressful than getting down to those last two or three cards and having to decide which crappy card you have left to give to the school bully so you don’t get beat up!

Thankfully, we are now all adults! Now we just have some weird or creepy person at work who believes they are in love with us and also believing that Valentine’s Day is the day they should profess this love! I’m going to make it easy for you, weird, creepy peeps! I’ve been there. I’ve been in love and struggled for the right gift! No worries, I got your back:

1. Their favorite work-appropriate drink. That special someone likes Starbucks double-shot, low-fat caramel mocha whatever, get them one! If you don’t know their drink order, you aren’t even trying to be a proper crush! This says, hey, I like you, but I’m not a completely insane stalker. Drop it off and be casual, and just say, “I got you your drink, wanted you to have a good start to your valentine’s day”, then walk away, don’t make it awkward!

2. Something sweet. Candy, cookie, cupcake. It’s traditional. It’s thoughtful. It doesn’t have to be consumed immediately. You can drop it off when they are at their work station or when they aren’t with a little note. Don’t be weird and make some creepy note (“I got you something sweet because I bet you taste sweet!” Vomit!)

3. Flowers from Anonymous. If you really want to win the day. Send that special someone flowers, but make it anonymous, and keep it anonymous! The great thing about the anonymous flowers is that person will talk about it all day, if not longer. The downfall is they might assume they came from the person they are really attracted to and that person might not be you! This doesn’t work if you’re already “kind of talking” to this person.

4. Jewelry! Kidding, don’t ever give jewelry to a co-worker that you are not romantically involved with! This is super creepy! Plus, it’s poor taste to do that level of gift at work. Only give jewelry to that special someone when you’re alone. Those idiots who propose to their special someone in a public place should be shot.

5. An invitation. You don’t know until you know…The reality is we all want to be wanted, but they might not want you, or they might. An email that says, Happy Valentine’s Day! I would love to take you out for a drink or dinner or a coffee. Let me know. Big risk, big payoff or big rejection. But, it allows the person in their own space to make a decision. If you don’t push the issue, you can survive this in the workplace. Pro tip: if you get rejected on this attempt, never do it again with this person and never mention it, ever, to anyone. Lock it away! The most creepy people in the world will turn this into a public thing at the office. Don’t do that!

So, you’ve got your one-week warning! Next Friday is Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day on a Friday is like the holy grail of Valentine’s Day. Crazy stuff happens because you have the weekend to fall in love or recover from your heartbreak! Are you ready!?!

Do you want to work with Tim Sackett? This video will answer that question!

I’m a big fan of DisruptHR and the format! I’ve been part of the team that has run the first three DisruptHR Detroits and in 2020 we’ll do our first DisruptHR Lansing. Five minutes, 20 slides, each slide moves automatically every 15 seconds. Simple, yet so hard to pull off effectively!

There are now well over a hundred DisruptHR cities and hundreds of events worldwide taking place each year. My friend, Jennifer McClure, is the co-Founder of DisruptHR and it might the single best thing that’s happened to HR this decade! Truly. To get HR leaders and pros out of the office and stretch our minds, have a little fun, push the envelope of what HR could become. Give me something better than that in the last ten years!

You can start your own DisruptHR (input city name here) for $500! It’s easy, just contact Jennifer through the DisruptHR website. It’s fun. It really engages the HR community in your city. It’s fairly easy to get a few sponsors to throw some bucks at you to help with the cost. And even bad DisruptHR talks are some of the best DisruptHR talks!

I was fortunate enough to be chosen to speak at DisruptHR Grand Rapids this past fall and I went with a topic that started on my blog as a series – Rap Lyrics that have shaped my leadership style over time. On my blog, I think I counted down twenty-five in the series a number of years ago. I even once did a presentation for the local SHRM chapter in Jackson, MI on the concept and watched 40 mostly white HR ladies look at me in horror! 😉 Actually, they asked me to do it! Which shows how disruptive they are!

In the comments hit me with your best Rap Lyric that shaped your leadership style!

Let’s face it. If you hate the video, you probably don’t want to work with me, and I probably wouldn’t have much fun working with you! But, if you like the video – we can probably be fast friends! Let’s talk!

It’s Time for our HR Community to Give Back! #SHRM

I’m asking a favor. I do this extremely rarely as a blogger. But I know the power of our HR community worldwide! We have a bright, shining star in our industry who is in need of a miracle.

If you haven’t heard SHRM’s Field Service Director, Callie Zipple has recently been diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer.

Callie isn’t her diagnosis. If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting her you know she’s a tiny ball of pure energy and smiles. She loves her job. She loves our industry. It pours out of her like a fountain.

She graduated from St. Norbert’s College’s HR degree program in 2010, under the mentorship of my friend and Professor at St. Norbert’s, Matt Stollak. He wrote a post about her – check that out.

This is from Callie’s Go Fund Me page that he sister set up for her:

“Callie is a 31-year-old, Harry Potter loving midwestern girl. She loves her husband Shane and Frenchie Gryff madly. She is an HR professional and wonderful wife, daughter, sister, human being. This past week Callie was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer and started chemo immediately post-diagnosis. It’s a very aggressive cancer but she’s young and going to fight as hard and as long as she can.”

I got a chance to spend time with Callie twice this year. Once at a local SHRM event in Kalamazoo, where she showed up and we got to meet in person for the first time. And then at SHRM National this year where I was drilling her with questions about her popular podcast she does with SHRM.

Callie is the perfect spokesperson for SHRM. She’s positive. She’s high energy. She’s helpful. She’s hopeful. Callie sees the best of our industry. She sees potential in all we do. She isn’t naive to the realities of how hard HR can be, but she leans on the side of ‘we’ll figure it out together”.

Callie’s Go Fund Me page is seeking $100,000 to help her battle her diagnosis. Currently, she only has $25,000. She has a gigantic battle in front of her. She is going to go through hell to beat this. She needs our help.

What you begin to understand, even with great health insurance, is beating cancer takes money. Insurance only covers certain treatments. It won’t cover everything and it won’t cover stuff like travel and loss of income from missing work, etc. Beating cancer becomes Callie’s full-time job and it’s an expensive job, but the most important job of her life.

So, I’m asking for your help. Help Callie in her fight. If you can give $5 dollars, give $5 dollars. $10, $100, whatever you can do, please do. If you can’t afford to give money, please share this post socially online – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

Give to Callie Zipple’s fund to Beat Cancer! 

The First Gay Person I Ever Met. #Pride

June was Pride month and as it wrapped up on Sunday I was loving all the pictures on my social feeds from New York and really all over the world. It really made me think about why I’m an Ally for this community. Where did it all start?

I was in seventh grade when my middle school basketball coach said he had an opportunity for us to jump higher. I’m short and white, so I was totally interested. Turned out, the opportunity was to play volleyball for a boy’s team, the only boy’s team in Michigan. The coach was local to my school district and looking for male athletes.

This coach was also a gay male.

Of course, as a 13-year old boy, I had no idea that he was gay. I went out for the team. Made it, and it really set me off on a path I could never believe. I traveled nationally with this team. I made the best friends from all over the country. I had a mentor in this coach who supported me as a coach, a dad, a friend.

It became apparent very soon to me that playing volleyball on the only all-boys team in Michigan had some advantages and disadvantages. I got used to being called “gay” by ignorant people when we tried to do some fundraising. “Hi, I’m Tim, and we’re fundraising to attend the Junior Olympics to compete in boy’s volleyball! We would love your support!” Boy’s volleyball? What are you gay or something?

It was a strange experience to be called “gay” because I was playing a game that I loved, and that people weren’t used to seeing boys play. To have someone assume because I liked doing this one thing, you could determine my sexuality. I’m like, no I really, really like girls, but still, so you don’t want to support us because you think only ‘girls’ play volleyball and because I’m a boy playing volleyball I must be gay?

I also got used to attending weekend tournaments where our team of 8 boys would be playing in gyms with hundreds of girls! It was a huge advantage for a short, red-headed, goofy teen boy who liked girls! I needed those odds to be in my favor!  

Eventually, my dad had a conversation with me. “You know your coach is gay, right?” By then I got it, but it didn’t matter to me. He was my coach. He just happened to be a gay male. Thankfully, for me, my dad was pretty accepting and could see I loved the experiences I was having.

This coach had a life long positive impact on my life. He was gay. I only say that because I think I was lucky enough to know this and have such a great experience that I grew up believing gay folks are great folks, and some folks are just assholes that judge you based on stupid stuff that has no correlation to anything.

I did grow up understanding that my gay friends face major prejudices and biases walking into life events that I don’t, even though they shouldn’t. We’ve come a long way since I was in seventh grade, but we still have such a long way to go.

I grew up an Ally without even knowing I was an Ally. I looked at those friends and mentors who were gay, not as gay friends and mentors, but as every other friend and mentor, I have in my life. My life is now filled with friends and family from the LGBTQ community and I’m so proud of the bravery these folks show every day. I hope that #Pride had a positive impact on you in June!

5 Usable Excuses Not to Attend a Co-worker’s Wedding!

I had one of my Recruiters ask for some advice this week. It wasn’t work advice, it was a little more personal.  She had told a person she would attend the wedding of a family member with them but was having second thoughts. It was one of those Holy Crap moments! I don’t really like this person that much, and I don’t want to go to a family wedding with him and send the wrong message.

So, what was my advice?  It started out pretty straight. Tell them the truth!  “Look, dude, I’m just not that into you, and the last place on earth I want to be on Saturday evening is sitting at a table with your parents and Aunt Betty with them thinking “ours” is next!”

As you can imagine, that wasn’t going to do.  Not that she didn’t want to tell him the truth, but she also didn’t want to hurt him. She was looking for a softer way to cut him loose.  You know! A how-do-I-get-him-to-not-want-me-to-go excuse – like he can’t stand my breath or I have hammer toes, or something!?

Now, she was truly diving into my end of the pool!  You want a “Fake Reason” why you can’t go!  YES! I’m in HR. I’m in Recruiting. I’m the king of fake excuses for why people don’t get the job!  I’m on it!

So, here’s the first 3 I gave her:

  1. You have VD! (Ok, I know this is strong right out of the gate – but let’s face the facts – most dudes will run from this!  Funny Fact: She is a millennial and had no idea what “VD” was! I’m old! Using WWII references like it was cool 2015 slang!)
  2. Your Dog has Cancer! (Sketchy I know, but girls and their pets…this one might work.  Funny Fact: Her dog actually did have Eye Cancer but was cured, so not technically lying…)
  3. You have to Babysit for a Co-worker! (Now this one is fraught with problems, guys have gotten this one before and they might pull a. “Oh, I’ll come and help!” then you’re stuck and have to find some brat to babysit for the night. Funny Fact: She was like “Oh, hell No! I have a Real Job, why would I babysit!”)

All of this brainstorming got me thinking of how I’ve personally gotten out of going to Co-workers Weddings that I didn’t want to go to.  Here is my Top 5 Excuses to  Miss a Co-worker’s Wedding:

  1. I’ll be on Vacation! This is good because you usually find out about the wedding of a co-worker way ahead of time. All you have to do is actually plan for this and take your vacation during the weekend of the wedding. Far, far away from the actual wedding.
  2. My kid has a sports tournament out of town that weekend.  A little sketchy, but it is really hard for them to verify you really didn’t have a sports tournament, and let’s face it, I’m going to my kid’s sports game (the 127th of this year) vs. your once in a lifetime moment.
  3. I came down with the “Flu”!This one nobody believes, but it’s the go-to excuse because everyone uses it and it has been internationally certified as an acceptable lie to get out of anything.
  4. My Mom/Dad/Grandma/Grandpa/Great Aunt Betty/etc. fell and are at the hospital. I needed to go see them. They needed my help. It was serious.  Let’s face old people fall. In fact, it might be the only thing they have left to do. You hear about old people falling every day. This is a very usable excuse in a pinch because it’s somewhat believable and old people don’t remember later on when someone asks “How are you doing after your fall?”, and they’ll go “better” and then complain about their aches and pains.
  5. I’ve got another Wedding that same day! Again, believable, but what you’re really saying to the person is “I’ve ranked you lower than someone else in my life. I hope you understand, but I didn’t buy you a place setting off your registry!”

What is your top excuse for not going to a co-worker’s wedding?

Who has been your biggest influence in your life?

Great personal story to share today of a very cool interaction that happened this week.

So, if you’re reading this blog post you’ve by now guessed that I write a bit. This all started ten years ago and I have frequently told you to blame my great friend, Kris Dunn, who got me started in blogging, but there’s more to this story!

When I was a freshman in high school at Godwin Heights High School in Wyoming, MI (basically a neighborhood in Grand Rapids, MI), is when I really started writing. Godwin Heights was a blue-collar high school. We actually walked by a GM plant on our way to school. Our baseball field was next to the plant parking lot and the workers on break would throw the foul balls over the fence so we didn’t have to climb the fence.

So, ‘start writing’ is a bit of a stretch. I was forced to write every day by my freshman English teacher, Ruth Kemp. Ruth was one of those great educators, a throwback in public education to a time when individuals became teachers because they just love teaching kids. They would have probably done it for nothing if they could. Always excited to see her kids learn, and she was super passionate that writing was like any other skill if you wanted to be good, you had to do it every day, so she made us journal for fifteen minutes every day.

I didn’t matter what you wrote, but you had to write for fifteen minutes. To me, this was torture. At first I actually just copied articles out of magazines (which she allowed) but that got super boring. The other crazy part about Ms. Kemp (not a Mrs., never married) was she would comment on each kids journal. Sometimes just a word or two, sometimes paragraphs, even more than you wrote yourself.

Being a class-clown type, I wanted to see how far I could get her to interact with me ‘in the comments’ of my journal, so I started to make up random stories about people in the class. She didn’t bite, but instead played along and expanded the stories. Asked all these probing questions about my stories, etc. She got me to write more in a creative way and I was energized by her feedback and interaction with me, I couldn’t wait to get to the next class to read what she wrote back to me.

So, this isn’t the story I wanted to share, but you need the context. 

When my book got published last year, I tracked down Ms. Kemp’s address through the school, even though she had retired, and sent her a copy with a long letter explaining her influence on me. Again, she wrote back, and it took me all the way back to my freshman year of high school, her words, tone, energy were still exactly the same.

This week I’m flying out of the Grand Rapids, MI airport. I usually don’t, because it’s not the closest to my house, and it’s fairly small so no direct flights, but there was a direct flight of Minneapolis, so it was going to be easy. I probably go out of Grand Rapids 3-4 times per year. One of my high school classmates I had mentioned on social media a few years ago that Ms. Kemp was a volunteer at the Grand Rapids airport, so each time I fly through I look, but in years have never seen her, so I figured she probably didn’t do it anymore.

On Tuesday night I fly in at 11 pm. 11 pm airports are pretty quiet. Especially small airports. I’m walking from the gate to the parking garage and I spot Ms. Kemp, at 11 pm, standing at the visitor desk packing up her things. I hadn’t seen her in person since my senior of high school.

I walk up and she looks at me and says “Can I help you?” I say, “I’m Tim Sackett”, and she says “Of course you are!” And gives me a giant hug. We catch up, I get to thank her again for her influence on me in person, and I say goodbye. Turns out, that Tuesday night shift was Ms. Kemp’s last shift ever at the airport, and now she is fully retiring. It was done at 11 pm. She was packing up to leave for good.

We have some pretty crazy things happen to us in our life. The fact that I got to see Ms. Kemp again, probably for the last time ever, by a chance meeting in an airport at 11 pm on a Tuesday is insane. One of the biggest influences in my life, and call what you will, Karma, etc. , the universe let me have that moment. Student, teacher.

Enjoy your retirement, Ms. Kemp. You influenced countless blue-collar kids to be better than we thought we could be.