The Rules for Hugging at Work Post-Pandemic

Okay, I’ve been known as the guy who likes to hug, and I’m not sure why I have this designation but it might be because of this post here. Also, I tend to like hugs! And, I might have hugged a bunch of folks to kick off my speaking engagements demonstrating the Official Office Hugging Rules!

My mate (that’s what English male friends call each other) Chris Bailey (who is a world-class hugger in his own right) and I were messaging back and forth the other day on WhatsApp (Editor note: Tim has to tell you he was messaging on WhatsApp so he seems cool and worldly) and he said, “Mate, you need to write the rules for Hugging at Work after Covid”. He’s right, it’s time.

The key to great rules is you get them out before people start making up their own rules. Since organizations are just not figuring out return-to-work strategies, and a bunch of people are getting their Covid Juice (vaccines), the world, or at least Chris Bailey, is clamoring for how can we start hugging again!

The Rules for Hugging at Work, Post-Pandemic

1. Read the Original Rules of Hugging at Work, they still apply, but we needed some additions.

2. If both parties are Vaxed you are free to party! Hug away! Hug me like you missed me! Hug me so hard it might start an HR investigation! But only hugging, Sparky, don’t get too excited!

3. If one party is Vaxed and one party is stupid (err., not vaxed), Hug that moron if you want. Now, if you are vaxed and the non-vaxed person is wearing a mask, well that probably just helps knock down that coffee breath.

4. If you are not vaxed and the other party is not vaxed, please not only hug, but lick each other. The world is built around natural selection and there is nothing more exciting than watching natural selection take place in the wilds of the office!

5. Understand coming back into the office, Post-Pandemic, the world has changed a bit. Everyone is a bit on edge. There’s a good chance you hugging someone at work will get you fired. So, my recommendation is to hug anyway, no one wants to work in a world where “Karen’s” rule the world!

6. Don’t hug someone who is trying to give you an elbow bump. That person is weird.

7. Don’t hug someone who says, “It’s just a little bit of allergies” as they are hacking up a lung. Also, if you’re sick, have enough self-insight to let folks know so they don’t come in for a snuggle!

8. If it looks like someone needs a hug, ask them, and if they don’t say “No”, most likely they need a hug! The world has been an especially hard place the past year or so. A lot of folks need a hug!

9. Some of your folks are remote and they need a hug. Great leaders, in a new world of remote, hybrid, and on-premise, will travel and deliver hugs. It might be the single most important thing you do as a leader all year. Hug delivery.

10. Hug with DEI in mind! Have you hugged a person of color today? What about one of your Transgender co-workers or peers? What about someone of the same sex? If you only hug the opposite sex of the same color you are, you might want to ask yourself why is that? I’m an equal opportunity hugger! Come get some!

11. No group hugs. Let’s stay civilized, people! It’s a special kind of crazy the person who initiates a group hug. In HR we use “group hug” as profiling the truly psycho employees we have working for us! “Come on guys! Let’s all do a big group hug!” – Um, No!, Trevor!

Cancel Culture Can’t Cancel Hugs!

I did a survey recently and it turns out 89% of people want a hug, and the 11% who don’t like hugs, also hate puppies (this is my own survey, don’t @ me!). Here’s the thing, as we get back to work and see folks we haven’t seen in a while there will be emotion! We missed a lot of these assholes! Enough that we will want to give them a hug!

Also, if you have folks working hybrid that you don’t get to see as much, when you do see them you will want to do more than a cold handshake or fist bump. The world needs one big giant hug, and we certainly have some co-workers who need more than a few hugs!

Hugs don’t need to be canceled. Hugs are great! What needs to be canceled are creepy dudes who hug inappropriately and make the people they hug feel uncomfortable. Fix that problem! Leave hugs alone!

“I Fully Reject the Employment Model of Pre-Pandemic America!”

This was an exact quote on a comment on one of my blogs about how hard it is right now for companies to find talent in America to work hourly jobs. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard something like this from an old GenZ or very young Millennial (basically early to mid-’20s).

What does this even mean!? 

Let me interpret, for the older millennials and GenXers in the crowd who are actually working and don’t have time to learn the GenZ vernacular. This is actually a cross of GenZ and Snowflake which can be very confusing sometimes to understand.

What this person is trying to convey is that they don’t believe they should have to work a job for pay and benefits (employment model of Pre-pandemic America). They actually love the employment model of Pandemic America – which is either sitting at home and getting paid to mostly not work, or actually just collecting unemployment and government stimulus to the tune of about $1000 per week, to do nothing at all.

Their idea is in Post-Pandemic America they would like to continue to get paid a living wage and benefits to do what they want. That might be something very productive and useful, like volunteering to help children to read or older people to have a better life in their later years, or it might be growing weed in their basement. This employment model is much more attractive to them. I get great pay and benefits to do what I want, not being told what to do by “the man”.

“The man” doesn’t actually have to be an actual “man”, it might be a rich woman or rich non-binary person. Basically, anyone who would make money off of their labor is now “the man”. They also reject anyone making money from their efforts, except for themselves. Which is actually wonderful if they would start their own business, but that would take work that feels too similar to an employment model of pre-pandemic America. Because of course, they would then become “the man”.

And you wonder why you can’t find anyone to come work for you? 

Some would believe this to be a socialist movement that has began to grow in America, mostly started by Bernie followers. No, this isn’t socialism, this what happens when you helicopter and snowplow parent your way to a generation that thinks the world should revolve around them.

I should only get A’s because my Mom says I’m the smartest little boy on the planet. And I should only get first-place medals because I showed up to the game. In fact, we should all get first-place medals because there should be no losers in the world, only winners.

And we truly wonder why terrorists want to bomb our country.

The world, in the end, will be truly harsh for these people if they don’t change. The world, since the beginning of time, has winners and losers. If you think socialist societies don’t have winners and losers, you might actually want to read about the history of socialist societies and inequality.

Do CEOs of companies need to make one hundred times more or a thousand times more than the average worker? No, probably not, but if you think you can just show up to a job and you should be within ten times of a CEO’s salary, you’re actually just ignorant.

This isn’t a political statement. This is the real world. Every single elected politician in the house and the senate is more wealthy than the average American by a giant margin. All of them. Winners and losers. People who take risks to start a business get all the bad and all the good. America, for good and bad, was built on Capitalism. It’s not perfect. I don’t know of a perfect society or culture in the world.

So, I do not fully reject the employment model of pre-pandemic America! 

Is it great? Nope. Can we do better? Yes.

Have we changed the employment model any over the past century? 1000%

Worker safety, health and wellness, D&I, training and development of skills, employee engagement, candidate experience, you could literally list a thousand improvements that have been made to the American employment model. And we’ll continue to improve.

I have hope that we’ll get better and solve our pay equity issues and we’ll continue to improve our diversity, inclusion, and belonging for all employees. America is a big and complex situation. Change does not happen overnight. For how bad young people think we are now, we have made tremendous strides along the way.

Okay, time to end this, I’m starting to feel like this guy…

What Happens When an HR Pro Gets Harassed at Work?

On episode 58 of The HR Famous Podcast, longtime HR leaders (and friends) Tim SackettKris Dunn, and Jessica Lee come together to discuss what happens when HR pros get harassed in the workplace. JLee shares her story of being harassed at work as an HR pro, the process that followed, and then discusses the situation and process with KD and Tim.

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

Show Highlights

1:30 – Tim got his first Covid vaccine. He’s the first of the crew to get it! He got it at an old Sears!

5:00 – First topic of the day: JLee shares her story about being sexually harassed at work.

12:30 – Tim asks JLee what percentage of women have experienced harassment in the workplace. She says well over 50%.

15:00 – KD asks JLee what happened after she reported the harassment. JLee asked HR not to do anything about it and she confronted the harasser herself.

19:40 – JLee says that she felt like she needed to handle it herself because she was a strong female leader. She also notes that she didn’t have confidence in the HR employees to handle it effectively.

21:50 – Tim asks JLee if she thinks what this person did was a fireable offense. She says that from her HR perspective, it seems like this employee shouldn’t be working there because of the repeated offenses.

23:00 – KD says that he misses employee investigations. JLee doesn’t miss them, and Tim doesn’t miss the lose-lose investigations.

26:30 – JLee says that her boss at the time was very protective of her and she worried that the boss was going to do something if she didn’t handle it herself.

30:20 – KD asks JLee if she thinks other global cultures have caught up with workplace behavior and treatment. She thinks that some pockets of the world are more progressive than others, but overall they have not caught up.

33:00 – Tim mentions how as a society, we’ve started the practice of guilting companies into doing the right thing. He mentions the example of disparities in the NCAA March Madness tournament with the men’s teams and women’s teams.

40:00 – JLee remembers that she has all of the email correspondences of her dealings with her sexual harassment. She’s an A+ HR employee!

Thank you! This will be my last post, forever. #ProjectEnd

It comes with great pride and a bit of sorrow that I tell you that today will be the last time I’ll be posting on my blog. For the past decade, I’ve been posting each workday my thoughts and ideas about work, technology, and life.

As I looked back on over three thousand posts, well over a million words written, I came to realize something – you a$$holes don’t pay me anything!

I mean, the dude with a sign on off-ramp makes more than I do, and he wrote like 5 words on that damn sign! Not once, have you sent me a note and said, “Hey, Tim, what’s your Venmo, I want to send you $5!”

To be honest, I do have a super sweet collection of HR and TA Tech vendor t-shirts. But, the ROI of this little “Project” I started a decade ago, a labor of love and sometimes hate, just doesn’t fill my closet with limited-edition Nikes.

So, I’ve decided to say Goodbye…until I wake up tomorrow in a panic that I don’t have any content up and think wait, what about Joe, that poor TA leader in East Omaha who has no idea how he’s going to find twenty call center reps this month! Poor Joe. I got you, buddy!

The Rules for Office Romances

Valentine’s Day is coming up in a couple of weeks. 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 as you prepare for Valentine’s Day!

I hear you…

It’s what you hearing…Listen!

It’s what you hearing…Listen!

It’s what you hearing…LISTEN! (DMX – X Gon’ Give It To Ya)

I hear you…

2020 was not what you expected or what you wanted. I hear you.

You aren’t where you want to be in life. I hear you.

You didn’t accomplish all you wanted this year. I hear you.

You lost more than you won this year. I hear you.

You took some big losses in 2020. I hear you.

You felt like the world has turned upside down. I hear you.

You’re afraid that 2021 might not be much better. I hear you.

You’re not sure your career is on pace for where it should be. I hear you.

I hear you.

What I love about New Years’ is we are given this freedom, once per year, to start over or continue, or do just make a decision to move in another direction and go, “yeah, in 2021 I’m going to do “X”!”

We are congratulated on this announcement. Good for you! I can’t wait to see how that turns out!

So, I hear you, and now is the time for you to make a decision. You can continue being your version of 2020 or you can try and be something else in 2021. Quite frankly, this has worked really great for me in some years, and not at all in other years. Still, I like the exercise.

If I could be “X” in 2021, what would that be and how would I get there, and am I willing to put in that work or change to get there? 

This isn’t about anyone or anything else. It’s just you. We love to believe it’s about other things. If I just had another job. If I just had a different significant other. If I just lived someplace else. If I just wasn’t so unmotivated. Then, my entire life would be better!

I hear you.

Now, write down what you want to do in 2021 and email it to me at sackett.tim@gmail.com. Let’s get to work on that.

Guest Bloggers Wanted! #Rant

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

No! I don’t want your stupid Guest Blog Post! 

Several times a day I have “writers” reach out to me and ask me if they can submit a guest blog post to my blog. Anyone who blogs, in any industry, has this happen to them. The more traffic your blog gets, the more requests for “guest blogs” you get.

The problem is, all of these guest blogs aren’t what they seem. But, these folks pitching their guest blogs act like the people who own blogs have no idea what they are really trying to do.

The seedy underbelly of the blogger world! 

You didn’t know I was going to open up the kimono today and let out all the secrets, did you!? Here’s the real deal, 99.9% of folks who request to write a guest blog are only doing it so they can put up marginal content that is loaded with links that go back to a client site they are getting paid by.

They don’t care about the content.

They don’t care about my audience.

They only care about getting paid and getting their below-average content on as many blogs as possible.

Welcome to the show, kids!

I don’t want your guest blog, I want to punch you in the face! 

Look, I get it. We all need to make a buck. I’m not trying to stop you from that. I’m trying to stop you from having to lie to people all day, every day. I think the better ‘sales” strategy for pitching me a blog, should be:

“Hey Tim” (No, not just “Hi” so I know 100% you have no idea who I am) 

“I’ve got a piece pre-written with 7 link backs to my client. I’m getting paid $X for this piece if I can get it on your blog and promote the crap out of it. I’ll Venmo you $X if you work with me and getting this posted.” 

“Here is the Title and what it’s about. Are you game?” 

Here’s why you suck, super hard! 

  1. You contact me and ask to use some of the most valuable real estate I own, but you only give me your Gmail address and your first name. No company name. No LinkedIn profile link. No phone number. Why is that? Because the vast majority of you are frauds and you don’t want me to know who you really are.
  2. Your content, at its best, is vanilla. While your client loves it because you blew hot air up their asses, everyone else thinks it’s crap.
  3. See #1

Guest Blogs that I Accept

Rule #1– I don’t accept guest blogs.

Rule #2 – When I do accept a guest blog there are personal reasons for me doing so. I had my son guest blog to help him find a job. I had friends in the industry guest blog for me while I was on vacation because I love their voices in our industry and I want more people to meet them and hear them.

Rule #3 – You can’t sell my audience a bunch of crap disguised as content with a ton of link backs, where you are getting paid and me and my audience are getting your lame content!

Rule #4 – Pay the dude who owns the blog! I’m like all the kids – I have PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, etc. You can pay me in U.S. Currency, BitCoin, Gin, Puppies, etc. but if you’re getting paid, I want to get paid. It’s a fairness thing. Why should you get to put up your work for free on my blog and get paid, and I’m not? Does that seem fair to you?

So, here’s the deal! 

There are about 13,000 ghostwriters, link-back, guest blogger types right now that have bots set up reading this title “Guest Bloggers Wanted” who will start emailing me constantly, without ever reading this post believing I truly want their shitty content. I don’t. But, like everyone in the world, I’ve got a price. If you pick the right price, we can probably do business. The odd of you picking the right price, are not in your favor!

Guest Blog Inquiries Can Be Sent To: 

YourParentsDontEvenLikeYou@Gmail.com

Tomorrow I’m Talking for 9 Minutes! Check it Out! #InnovateWork #FindGreatness

My buddy, Chris Bailey, from the Cayman Islands called me and said, “Hey, I’m helping out with this HR thing called InnovateWork. Will you come on the event and do a talk?” I ask, “How long?” He says, “9 minutes.” I say, “9 minutes! I can definitely talk for 9 minutes!”

The event is Tuesday, November 10th at 1 pm ET. You can register here, the entire event takes like an hour or so – besides my 9-minute talk, you can also see Chris, our friend William Tincup, Simmone L. Bowe from the Bahamas, and Dr. Cassida Jones Johnson from Jamaica

Also, hosting the event are some more friends, Julie Turney, Bill Banham, Rob Catalano (Bill and Rob co-Founded InnovateWork).

What will I be talking about for 9 minutes? 

Great question, but I have a way that I think we can discover who is great in your organization! Yep, in 9 minutes I’m going to teach every single person on the webcast how they can discover who is great in your organization No technology needed. I’m not selling anything. Well, I’m selling you a great idea and an exercise that your leadership teams will love!

In 9 minutes I’m going to actually walk you through the exercise that you can then take back to your own organization and use! It’s simple but powerful, I’ve literally done this in organizations and had people crying!

Come check it out! It’s an hour or so out of your week, and I guarantee you it will be worth it!

REGISTER HERE! 

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! 

 

Dream Gigantic!

I love this concept. It feels hopeful and aspirational.

I don’t do this enough. I don’t count myself as a dreamer, but I encourage my children to do this.  I want them to be the MLB Shortstop, the famous Fashion Designer, and world-renowned Environmentalist.  They have Gigantic dreams.

I will do everything I can in my power to help them reach those dreams.  I tell myself I won’t be the parent who tells them they are unrealistic.  I won’t be the parent to tell them they are far-fetched.  I will not be the parent to tell them that their dream is out of reach. I have to keep telling myself this because as a parent it’s hard.

I have a career that has taught me to be pragmatic.  I’ve seen the best and worst of people, sometimes all in the same day. When people ask me for career advice I give them the safe answer because I know the reality of life, their dreams are longshots and most people are not willing to come close to the effort they need to exert to reach their dreams.

So, I give them options I think they are willing to work for which are usually less than Gigantic.

Every day I have to consciously turn this off as I drive home.  You see the reason we have dreams is that we have a belief that there is something more, something better.  Dreams can be Gigantic and you reach them through Gigantic effort.