4th of July funny t-shirts! (Warning – prepare to be offended!)

So, basically, in America, we celebrate our independence by grilling hot dogs, drinking beer, blowing stuff up, and buying t-shirts that somehow make us feel more patriotic than we really are. In recent years, the 4th of July t-shirt game has been getting very serious! Here are some of the ones that make me laugh!

Okay, this last one just made me laugh, but it mostly has nothing to do with the 4th of July, mostly…

Happy 4th of July, my friends!

Be safe!

What Paid Holidays Should You Be Paying Your Employees?

Every year, American employees leave 430 million vacation days up for grabs. (If you were wondering, that’s 1,178,082 years of unused vacation every year.)

Or in other words, way too much time.

We already know Americans are by and large workaholics. But still, if you own a small business, there are some days you should definitely give off to your employees. And it’s helpful to know what that mix of days should be.

That’s where I come in. I’ll show you how to build your own paid holiday schedule for your small business, using benchmarking data as our trusty guide.

The bigger PTO picture.

Let’s start with the main question on your mind: How much time off do people normally get? An average full-time employee in a small, privately-owned business in the U.S. receives about 7.6 paid holidays per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number also breaks down even further:

  • Technical/professional employees get 8.5-ish days a year.
  • Clerical/sales employees get 7.7-ish days a year.
  • Blue-collar/service employees get 7 days a year.

While that’s the average, other studies have shown most employees report getting about nine paid holidays per year. Think about these benchmarks as you decide on the number that will work best for you business.

There are no federal laws requiring employers to give PTO, but most companies offer it anyway. Why? Because it’s a must to attract and retain great employees. In fact, PTO is the second most important benefit to employees, right after health insurance.

Now, onto the next layer of the paid holiday puzzle: Choosing the actual days you give off.

So, what paid holidays should I offer?

Click through this link to my Gusto post to get the rest of this riveting content! 

No, really, I promise, it’s good stuff! Have I ever steered you wrong?

3 Ways Employers Should Be Encouraging March Madness!

For those that know me, I’m a huge basketball fan.  Pro, college, AAU, high school, hell, if you really dig into my past you would probably find me hanging out at some playground breaking down the defense effort of a pickup game between grade school kids.  So, when March Madness time comes around each year I’m like many of your employees.  I’m trying to find the best ways to work and watch basketball, or at the very least stay up on my brackets and see who is getting upset!

With all the hype over the past few years about lost productivity, do to March Madness, in the workplace.  I felt it was my duty to provide HR Pros with some helpful tips and tricks to get your staff to highly productive during this time of year.

Here are my ideas:

1. Put up TVs throughout the office.  Let’s face it, you really only have one or two hoops junkies in the office, and those folks usually spend vacation time to ensure they don’t miss a minute.  Everyone else just wants to see scores and highlights.  They’re a casual fan.  They’re willing to work a perfectly normal day, and will probably be just a productive, if not more, with the TVs steaming all the games in the background.  Plus, if you get a close game or big upset, you’ll get some team excitement in the air.  This also stops most of your staff trying to stream the games on their desktops for the entire afternoon.

2. Call off work those afternoons.  Let’s face it, March Madness is pretty close to a national holiday as we will ever get.  Doesn’t matter if you’re female or male, young or old, what religion you are, we all love the drama and excitement of March Madness.  Just close the office.  Make a deal with your staff to reach certain goals and if they’re met, take them to the local watering hole yourself and have some fun with it.  Employees like to rally around a fun idea.  You don’t have to make everything fun, all the time, but once in a while, it helps to lift productivity.

3. Shut off all access.  Yep, you read that correctly. Have IT shut down all access to anything related to March Madness.  Threaten to fire any employee caught checking scores on their smartphone, or calling a friend to see how it’s going.  Fear!  Fear is a great short-term lifter of productivity.  Whether we like to admit it, or not, it’s true.  If you went out right now into your office and told the entire staff at the end of the day you’re firing the least productive person, you would see productivity shoot through the roof!  You would also see about half your staff, the half you want to keep, put in their notice over the next 4-6 weeks.

The reality is, most people will do business as usual.  While the CNN’s of the world love to point to the millions of dollars American corporations lose during March Madness, it’s no different than so many things that can consume our thoughts in any given day.

I do think HR and leadership, each year, lose out on a great way to have fun and raise engagement during March Madness.  It’s something most of your staff has some interest in, and depending on your city and the schools your employees went to, it can get heightened pretty significantly.

For the record, I’m not picking Michigan State.  I want to with all my might, but I’m nervous that my bracket mojo would work the opposite, so I’ll pick someone else, and feel awesome when Sparty wins and I lose my bracket!


Let’s face it, we love pretty people!

So, you’ve probably heard by now that some companies in Silicon Valley decided to hire models to attend their annual holiday parties and act as friends of executives. The purpose was not to show the executives had pretty friends, but to add some ‘prettiness’ to the party:

Along with a seemingly endless string of harassment and discrimination scandals, Silicon Valley’s homogeneity has a more trivial side effect: boring holiday parties. A fete meant to retain all your talented engineers is almost certain to wind up with a rather same-y crowd, made up mostly of guys. At this year’s holiday parties, however, there’ll be a surprising influx of attractive women, and a few pretty men, mingling with the engineers. They’re being paid to.

Local modelling agencies, which work with Facebook- and Google-size companies as well as much smaller businesses and the occasional wealthy individual, say a record number of tech companies are quietly paying $50 to $200 an hour for each model hired solely to chat up attendees. For a typical party, scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 8, Cre8 Agency LLC is sending 25 women and 5 men, all good-looking, to hang out with “pretty much all men” who work for a large gaming company in San Francisco, says Cre8 President Farnaz Kermaani. The company, which she wouldn’t name, has handpicked the models based on photos, made them sign nondisclosure agreements, and given them names of employees to pretend they’re friends with, in case anyone asks why he’s never seen them around the foosball table.

So, my HR brothers and sisters lost their minds over this on the social webs!

There were many comments all going down the path of: “Gross”, “Pathetic”, “Trumps America”, etc.

I have a different take. This is Recruitment Marketing in the real world. Most of us don’t live in Disneyland, and the real world of hiring is a bit different for the majority.

Here’s the deal. Tech hires are mostly men. White men, brown men, black men, really, really pale white men, but mostly men.

If you have a holiday party at a Tech company and it’s all dudes, well, that’s not very exciting. In fact, it’s pretty sad for all the dudes standing around looking at each other. If you were part of that party, as a dude, you probably wouldn’t tell your friends to come work with you.

Now, if you go to a party and there’s a bunch of hot women, hey, this place is pretty great! I’ve got a chance. Now, if you knew all that ‘talent’ was paid for, now it becomes depressing again. But, if you thought, these are just ‘friends’ of some of the other employees who got invited and they just love to hang with techy dudes, now it feels a bit better, again.

These models aren’t hookers. They’re at your company party to make the ‘atmosphere’ better. Basically, these models, are like the free laundry service and ping pong table you provide. It makes the environment better. You like where you work more. You don’t tell your employees, “Hey, we offer dog walking services for free because it really has been shown to help retain you.” Everyone kind of gets that.

This is no different. Having good-looking people at your employee events, makes it seem like this place is cooler than it probably really is. By the way, these pretty people, are in on the game! They are making money using their god given assets. Just as the techy people are using their big brains.

We love to hate. The reality is, America is addicted to pretty. We made the Kardashians millionaires for absolutely no reason except for their looks. We want to be pretty. We want to hang with pretty. We are a nation that values pretty over almost everything else.

Is that right? No! Is that part of the game we are in right now? Yes.

Pro Tip: I get around hiring pretty models (male and female) at my holiday party by just hiring pretty employees to begin with! Stay thirsty my friends.


The Sackett Office Holiday Party Rules!

Today is my annual office holiday party. The HRU Holiday Parties are pretty freaking fun! Probably like most recruiting shops and groups of elementary school teachers, we know how to let our hair down when the time is right!

You will see about 500 articles and blog posts how this season on Office Holiday Party Etiquette. Especially, with all the craziness going on with the very public sexual harassment allegations! The one thing we know about office parties is once you add alcohol stupid stuff happens.

To help everyone out, in my own Sackett kind of way, I decided we probably needed a few ‘rules’ around this year’s holiday office parties.

The Sackett 2017 Office Holiday Party Rules! 

#1 – Have a designated driver or offer up the paid Uber/Lift option right up front. It sucks trying to talk a drunk employee out of driving, they’re drunk and usually don’t want to listen. So, just make it easy and tell your employee if you’ll be drinking, just take an Uber to the party and back home, and the company will pay.

#2 – No one wants to see your junk. Okay, maybe someone wants to see your junk, but you better make sure they ask to see your junk before you start showing your junk. In fact, if I’m you, I might actually get that on video! “Hey, before I show you my junk, do you mind just looking into the camera and just saying, ‘Hi, this is ‘state your name’, I want to see your junk!”

#3 – Don’t complain about the party, the food, the drinks. You look like a douchebag when you do this. Look, someone, or some people, put this together trying their best to make everyone happy, knowing you can’t make everyone happy. If you hate the food, don’t eat and then get something you like afterward. Smile. Be thankful. Stay as long as you need to, to make your showing, then go on with your life not being an idiot. “Yeah, but there wasn’t enough chicken tenders!” Yeah, we get it Brad, here’s twenty dollars go someplace else and find some tenders.

#4 – Talk to executives before you get to your third drink. This is important because drunk talking to executives only plays well if they’re drunk too, and that probably won’t be the case. Also, don’t use the holiday party to launch your ‘big’ news about a project you want to start that is going to change the face of the company. No one wants that crap at a holiday party.

#5 – Don’t bring creepy or weird dates. This usually comes in a couple of flavors. Office dude brings a super slutty date. Great for the office dude for later, but you are the immediate joke of the party. Or super sweet office lady brings Dungeon and Dragons dude to the party who is trying to talk to everyone about the 5th dragon in world 9 that is impossible to kill without a Merlin magic mushroom, and well, yeah, that’s creepy.

#6 – Don’t say you’re coming then not come. If you don’t want to come, make that known up front. When you don’t come, after you said you were coming, and then come up with a lame excuse, it shows that you’re not fully engaged with the organization and it gets noticed. Find that excuse up front and make it known you won’t be coming, but you wish you could.

#7 – Talk to spouses! Spouses of co-workers hate coming to office holiday parties, mainly because they’re bored. Make an effort to engage them and get them joined into the conversation. One cool thing I love to do is talk to spouses and tell them really good things about their partner. Nothing feels better to your partner than to hear other people talk about how great you are!

#8 – If you start to feel tipsy, that is not a sign to start doing shots. I know this can be really confusing, right!? When you start to feel tipsy, this is your body trying to tell you that you’re about to make an ass of yourself in front of people who will share the story long after you have left this job.

#9 – No really, no one wants to see your junk! 

A Trump Thanksgiving: 5 Things To Talk About Over Dinner

Oh boy! Are you ready for this? First big holiday get together since Trump has had some major time in office and now you’re getting together with Mom, Dad, Aunt Sally, Crazy Uncle Lou, your super radical liberal brother-in-law Roger who voted four times for Hillary, Grandpa Fred who only wears clothing with the American flag on it, cousin Bonnie who will wear her “Still Feeling the Bern” sweatshirt.

Thanksgiving 2017 is set to be the most political Thanksgiving dinner in recent memory, and it just might make many families rethink whether or not the Chanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza holiday will even happen! Trump is a hot button on all sides, there’s no way around it. People love him. People hate him. The one thing for sure is everyone has an opinion!

Getting together with family you haven’t seen since last Thanksgiving or holiday season is hard enough each year without adding additional gas to the fire! So, I’m here to help guide you with some other topics to talk about during your Thanksgiving holiday dinner. The key to great holiday conversations is to make sure you’re talking about stuff that isn’t controversial.

Here are some great holiday day conversation topics to keep you and your family and friends off the Trump topic:

1. Talk about your kid’s accomplishments!  Nothing family loves more than Uncle Tom talking about how great a football season Tommy Jr. had! Especially when Tom’s sister, Peggy’s kid is fat, in the band, and has asthma. Just wait until you get an hour of how Tommy Jr. will also lead his basketball team in scoring and rebounding. Once Peggy brings up academic accomplishments and third-place showing at the state band competition, the entire family will be so grateful for all of these high young achievers in the family. Just don’t bring up Uncle Tom’s daughter who got knocked up last year.

2. Talk about the Hollywood Sexual Harassment cases! Nothing like talking about creepy sexual harassment stories of famous people when Uncle Charlie is sitting at the table and still can’t go within 500 yards of an elementary school. I like to play the game “Who’s Next” where everyone at the table has to say who do they think will be the next aging creepy Hollywood star who will be outed (oh, sorry, Kevin).

3. How the Turkey was cooked this year! After Tommy, Sr. got second-degree burns from the Turkey fryer two years ago, the family has been experimenting. Last year was the cheesecloth turkey, this year was the turkey bag. Grandma still thinks her old roaster does it best. But, hey, you’re going to get a solid fifteen minutes of turkey cooking conversation by just saying the way that wasn’t used this year, is the best way. Aunt Betty might start crying, but just put a little extra gravy on it and ask “what’s up with the mash potatoes?”

4. Directions!  So, Dad which way to did you come down this year? Did you take Highway 10 or did you come the back roads? You know they opened up the new overpass on county road 17 this year. Took it last Friday and it cut five minutes off! Men talk for thirty minutes about directions, you just need to keep bringing up locations and how you go there. Nothing dudes like talking about more than how they can get somewhere faster than someone else!

5. Health issues. When families get together it’s like the worst episode ever of The Doctors! The best part is watching relatives one-up each other on who’s dying faster. It’s a real competition in many families. Uncle Paul got a case of the Gout! Oh, really, well Aunt Jane has Shingles! You don’t say, I had that in the spring before my Cancer flared up. I’m not sure what it is about families and health issues, but everyone loves being the most unhealthy at holiday time!

I have to be honest. I won’t be using any of these topics. I like to look at who’s attending and then make a determination at who is most likely to lose their minds and on which side of the Trump debate. Then, right after grace is said, I’ll throw that grenade in the middle of the table and sit back and enjoy the show!

Nothing says Thanksgiving like Uncle Mark blowing a gasket at why the hell that wall isn’t built yet!

Have a great Thanksgiving, my friends! 🙂

HR and TA Technology You’ll Fall In Love With!

Happy Valentine’s Day! I have a gift for you!

My friend, President of Recruiting Daily, and super brilliant HR Technologist, William Tincup puts together a quarterly list of HR and TA technology that he loves titled: 100+ HR and Recruiting Technologies Worth Watching. I get so many great ideas of companies off his list to demo, I wanted to share it with you, and if you’re smart, you’ll go follow William and get his updates to this list on a quarterly basis.

Some of these companies are well known, some I haven’t even heard about, but if William tells me to take a look, I take a look!

Here’s my recommendation. You know where your HR and TA tech stack are failing. Demo one company a month in your weak areas. These demos will show you a few things. First, you’ll see what’s possible. Second, you’ll get to see how other companies are doing the same thing, only better. Finally, you’ll probably get some ideas of how to do your stuff better, with or without the technology.

Either way, you win.

If you want to give me a gift, please send me a note once you demo’d one of these companies and let me know what you think! The sharing of information between peers is the real power.

  Name || Category || Twitter

The Rules for Office Romances

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. As HR pros we know what this means, which is usually a lot of unwanted advances by horny dudes who think they have a shot at the hot co-worker, who has absolutely no interest in them at all.

Welcome to the show, kids!

I’ve given out some rules in the past. Everyone on the planet has read my Rules for Hugging at the Office, but Office Romances are a little more complicated than the simple side-hug in the hallway. So, I thought I would lay out some easy to follow, simple rules for Office Romances for you to pass out to your employees on Valentine’s Day:

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

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

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

Rule #4 – Don’t send explicit emails to each other at work. It’s not that I won’t enjoy reading them, it’s that I get embarrassed when I have to read them aloud to the unemployment judge at your hearing. Okay, I lied, I actually don’t get embarrassed, but you will.

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

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

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

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

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

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

There you go. Hope that helps. Have a great Valentine’s Day!

The Top 25 Rap Lyrics That Shaped My Leadership Style

It’s the Holidays and I’m taking a break from writing and sharing some of my most read posts of 2016! Enjoy! 

This post was actually written in 2012 at the end of series of 25 posts I did. It’s crazy, but ever since it’s been one of my most read posts each year since. Rap lyrics and leadership make for great SEO! I’ve also picked up a ton of rap artists as followers of my social media accounts and they will frequently send me private messages and ask me to share their tweets, which I find extremely funny, knowing my personal demographic of being a middle-aged white dude in the Midwest!

Also, this year for the first time I had a local SHRM chapter ask me to come in and give this presentation! If you’re in HR and you’ve gone to SHRM chapter meetings, can you ever imagine going and getting presented to with slides of rappers and me spitting rhymes and leadership theory!? Let’s just say it would be the best presentation you ever attended!

In 2012 I did blog series on The Top 25 Rap Lyrics that shaped my leadership style.  The posts, individually, still get clicked a ton, so I decided to do a compilation of the 25 posts to make it easier for new readers to find all 25 (I know my family is really proud of me right now!). Taken out of context of the original post, you might be asking yourself “How the hell did this shape his leadership style?” If you find yourself asking that, click through the link to read the explanation!

Here you go – The Top 25 Rap Lyrics That Shaped My Leadership Style with links to the original posts:

1. “It’s like the more money we come across, the more problems we see” -Notorious B.I.G.

2. “Today I didn’t even have to use my A.K., I got to say it was a good day” -Ice Cube

3. “What does it take to be number 1? Two is not a winner and three nobody remembers.” -Nelly

4. “I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man.” -Jay-Z

5. “When I wake up, people take up, mostly all of my time. I’m not singin’, phone keep ringin’, so I make up a rhyme.” -RUN DMC

6. “It’s funny how someone else’s success brings pain.” -Drake

7. “Success is my drug of choice…” – 50 Cent

8. “Forgive, but don’t forget.” -2Pac

9. “True happiness is not acquired, and you won’t find it on sale.” -Outkast

10. “At exactly which point do you realize, that life without knowledge is death in disguise.” -Talib Kweli

11. “You’re young and dumb and quick with the tongue.” -Kool Mo Dee

12. “I hear the criticism loud and clear.  That is how I know that the time is near. So we become alive in a time of fear” -Nicki Minaj

13. “We all self conscious. I’m just the first to admit it.” -Kanye West

14. “Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity, To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, Would you capture it or just let it slip?” -Eminem

15. “Now you can be a victim, or you can lock and load.” -50 Cent

16. “They say I need to learn, but nobody’s here to teach me. If they don’t understand, how can they reach me?” -Coolio

17. “You’re nobody till someone kills you.” -Notorious B.I.G.

18. “Pay us like you owe us for all the years that you hold us.  We can talk, but money talksso talk mo’ bucks.” -Jay-Z

19. “I had nothing, and I wanted it; You had everything, and you flaunted it...” -Ice T

20. “He’s only mediocre, jealousy can’t get with me.” -LL Cool J

21. “Elvis shaved his head when he went into the Army.” -Beastie Boys

22. “When the grass is cut, the snakes will show.” -Jay-Z

23. “ya know a lot of people believe that that word Love is real soft, but when you use it in your vocabulary like your addicted to it, it sneaks right up and takes you right out. So, for future reference, remember it’s alright to like or want a material item, but when you fall in love with it and you start scheming and carrying on for it, just remember, it’s gonna get’cha.” -KRS-1

24. “I think about more than I forget; but I don’t go around fire expecting not to sweat.” -Little Wayne

25. “Change, shit I guess change is good for any of us. Whatever it take for any of y’all niggaz to get up out the hood. Shit, I’m wit cha, I ain’t mad at cha.Got nuttin but love for ya, do your thing boy.” – 2 Pac

The One Gift HR Really Wants for Christmas

Ok, before we get started, stop it. I could have titled this “The One Thing HR Wants for the Holidays” or “The One Thing HR Wants for Chanukah”, etc., but I didn’t the majority of people celebrate Christmas, so I used Christmas. Breath in HR people. (for the record we celebrate both Chanukah and Santa in my house, my kids are equal gift getters!).

So, what would it be? If you could have one thing in HR for Christmas, what would you ask for?

And don’t be lame, “Oh Tim, I would just ask for world peace and have Snapple bring back Compassion Berry” No you wouldn’t! Not if it was real, I mean really real!

I’m sure a bunch of HR Pros would ask for a new HRIS System. I mean that’s what we do during the holidays, we want the biggest baddest fastest new electronic device that will make our lives easier and make us look 10 pounds thinner!   Maybe just an add-on system like a new CRM, or employee referral automation, or mobile employee feedback app, they are all cool and hip!  Who wouldn’t like one of those!?

I’m sure a bunch of HR Pros would ask for the ability to Hire more employees!  What a gift that would be.  Not only for the people getting hired but for your overwork staff and hiring managers who have worked double and triple duty because your cheap boss won’t open up headcount.  HR never has the staff it wants!

I’m sure a bunch of HR Pros would ask for a new Employment Brand!  Oh to be as sexy as Google, Zappos or Sodexo – wouldn’t that be a wonderful environment to work in HR.  Life just seems easier when you work for a sexy brand.  It isn’t actually – but that what great branding does, it makes some idiot like me think it must be easy to work in a great place like that – they should hire me!

I’m sure a bunch of HR Pros would ask for better Talent for their organizations (which is technically way more than one gift but let’s face it, some of us HR Pros don’t follow directions well!).   This is the freaking holy grail, right!  If we only had the top talent (instead of saying we only hire top talent, then hire those who respond to our posts) our lives would be so much easier!

There are so many things we could ask for in HR, but this is why I love HR, for all those gifts I listed above, and for so many more you and I could come up with. We work in a profession where we have the ability to deliver each and every one of those to our organizations.  With enough time, patience, influence, strategy and luck, not one of those things I couldn’t give my organization.  Maybe that’s the best gift of all.

For the record, mine? It would be a ‘Visionary Leader’. That’s the one gift I would ask for.

Those are rare, those are hard to find.  Not many of us get the opportunity to work with a true visionary. Great managers, strong leaders, charismatic personalities, yes; But a Visionary Leader, that is something few get the opportunity to experience.

What would be your One gift you want for HR this holiday season?