I was asked at a conference recently to give one word on how HR can make a difference in 2023.
What was my word?
What do you think? Hat or no hat?
I was asked at a conference recently to give one word on how HR can make a difference in 2023.
What was my word?
What do you think? Hat or no hat?
Do you know why talent acquisition sucks?
It’s easy to say “yes” because TA is constantly messing stuff up for no real reason. I mean, there are a lot of reasons, but no reason it should continue for this long.
Case in point. Watch this quick TikTok:
@its_just_talia_ I was clowned by another one… but watch until the end 🤡 #jobsearch #layoffs2023 #jobinterview #careertiktok #careertok #NextLevelDish #socialmediamanager #socialmediamarketing #fyp #foryoupage ♬ Hip Hop with impressive piano sound(793766) – Dusty Sky
Okay, let’s break down all the terrible excuses TA will give us on why they would post this job on LinkedIn but not disposition this candidate before doing this!
1. We have a policy to post open jobs publicly for two weeks before we can offer a candidate.
2. The hiring manager wanted to do a last-minute check to see if anyone else was “fresh” on the market before we moved forward with this candidate.
3. We got this candidate via internal referral, and we need to post it first before we can make an offer.
4. We’re lazy AF and conflict-avoidant and don’t give two sh*ts about our candidate experience.
5. This candidate came to us via a third-party agency, and before we pay that fee, we need to see if we can find someone on our own.
6. We watched this candidate’s TikTok videos and decided we didn’t need that drama on the team.
I’m going to guess #4 is the winner based on my experience, but #6 also could be an option!
The reality is there is no excuse for the recruiter and/or hiring manager of this candidate to, at the very least, give them some insight into why they were posting this job on LinkedIn without saying something to her. Not. One. Reason!
You asked a candidate to devote major time and resources to jump through all of your hoops, which she did. You OWE it to her to give her feedback straight. “Look, Talia, thank you for your effort and professionalism. We’ve decided you aren’t the right fit for us based on “X.” That’s it. She might be pissed, but she’ll be less pissed than seeing the job posted again on LinkedIn the next day and not being told she didn’t get the job.
If you and your company do this. Just know you suck. Not your company, you. You personally suck for allowing this to happen to a person. You shouldn’t be allowed to work in HR or TA in any industry and in any capacity. If you’re a hiring manager and you allow this to happen, you should never be allowed to hire anyone every again for the rest of your life. You’re scum. You’re a bad leader. Turn your keys in.
Come on! Better better!
Are you a new leader, or do you know someone who is about to get into a new leadership position? This post is for them!
Every time a new leader starts in a position, they only bring two things with them:
Your resume is easy. It’s all the crap you did in your career to this point. You’ll be judged on that resume by your new team. It can go several ways, but usually, if you got hired, you have the resume to back it up.
There’s nothing you can do about your resume when you start a new position. You are who you are, regardless of how you got to this point in a new leadership role. It’s too easy for people to check up on you, so lying isn’t an honest answer, especially when starting a new job.
The speech, on the other hand, is completely up to you!
Every new leader must come into the new role with ‘the speech.’ Your speech. What does your speech need to have in it? Well, that really depends on what kind of leader you are, but here are some basic components:
1. Why you? Why are you the one to lead us? What is your personal vision in life?
2. What were you hired to do?
3. What about us? How do ‘we,’ your team, fit into this?
4. How will we know if we succeed or not?
5. What are some things we should know about your style?
This is your Day 1 speech. I know you want to wait a while. Get to know your new team. Get to know the ‘real’ problems. Get your feet on the ground. But you can’t. You don’t have that time.
You have to come in and be ready to deliver your speech. This one speech will most likely dictate your success as much as your resume. You will either kick off this new leadership position with the right momentum, or you’ll just be another schmuck to take over and do what every other person before you did, fail.
Does it feel like I’m putting too much weight on this one thing?
I’m not. I’m actually trying not to scare you because most people don’t give great speeches when they’re terrified they’ll fail. But don’t kid yourself. This Day 1 leadership speech is critical to your success.
You are now the leader. Everyone is looking at you for the answers. You might not have any of them yet, but you better make it sound like you have them or you’re about to discover them!
You only bring two things with you into this new position. You only control one of them at this point. Don’t miss it.
We are constantly told that if we want to be good at anything in life, we must practice. It starts when we are kids, and we want to be our heroes. If you want to be good at sports, or dance, or computer games, you must practice. Not just “play” but specific steps that lead to success in the endeavor we’ve chosen.
Tyler Cowen released his book “Talent” in 2022 and I really like this quote from it:
“What is it you do to practice that is analogous to how a pianist practice scales?”
What do you do each day to practice your profession?
What I find when I ask HR and TA professionals this question, and we really dig in, is there “practice” is showing up and doing the job. That is akin to an NBA player just showing up and playing games but never putting in time and effort outside of the game to increase or maintain their basketball skill level. They wouldn’t be successful for long.
Just showing up and doing the job isn’t practice. That’s the job.
Are we talking about practice…
Let me tell you how I practice my skill in HR and TA:
Okay, I’m a complete freak around personal development, primarily because I actually really like this stuff. That makes it easier to do, for sure.
But, I rarely get into a professional dilemma where I don’t feel prepared to handle the situation. I believe that is because I’ve “practiced” a whole bunch!
I get asked frequently, “How did you learn this stuff?”
Honestly, my hope is one day, I’ll take this love of practice in my professional life and turn it into some other sort of practice in my personal life. Like, someday, I’ll roll out of bed and be like, “okay, today is the day I stop being an out-of-shape dough ball and get back into shape like I was in college!
I mean, if I can put this level of practice into my professional life, it stands to believe I could put that same level of practice into any part of my life.
Do you want to be “Great” at your Career?
I find almost 100% of people I would ask this question to will say, “Yes, of course!”
But like my lazy butt sitting on the couch at night watching Netflix, they are willing to put in the practice of being great. They are just showing up to work and doing the job. That usually doesn’t lead to greatness.
Don’t get me wrong. Some folks can show up and be great, just like freak athletes. That is about .001% of our society. So slow your roll. That isn’t you.
I want to be great at my job, but I don’t really do anything other than the job to ensure I’ll be great at it. Doesn’t that sound funny? It goes against everything we know about greatness in our lives.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe I’m great at HR and TA. I think I’m pretty good at certain parts of it, but I know people who are so much better than me at so many parts. When you compare yourself against the top 1% in your profession, you feel small. You feel like you need more practice.
When you compare yourself against Kevin in payroll, that constantly loses his way back to his cube, you feel like you’re a giant. Practice isn’t needed to be greater than Kevin. That’s our problem. Most of us are surrounded by average players, and your slightly above-average performance makes you feel like you no longer need practice.
Pick higher performance targets. Chose to emulate someone who amazes you in your profession. Chase greatness through practice.
I spoke to a group of upcoming high graduates yesterday, and it got me to thinking about the future. I don’t dump on young kids like most people do today. My feeling is we all sucked when we were young. We grew up. Got experienced. And we suck less. But we look at young people and we are shocked they suck at mostly everything. We. All. Did. When. We. Were. Young!
Businesses, big and small are desperate currently for workers. Low-skill, semi-skilled, people who have no skill but are willing to be trained. The hourly rate is anywhere between $12-22/hr. I’ve spoken to companies in every market and industry, many of whom will tell me they’ll hire as many people as they can find, they just can’t find anyone!
Now, I don’t want to get into all the reasons why organizations are struggling to find hourly workers. There are many, and it’s a complex situation that isn’t going away anytime soon. I want to focus on how not having enough hourly workers puts America at a competitive disadvantage in the world.
First, organizations will do what it takes actually to hire talent. They increase wages and benefits, which initially seems like a big win for workers. Businesses will also raise prices to pay for those additional expenses. Say hello to inflation. The supply and demand dynamics of labor all happen fairly quickly.
Organizations will look to become more efficient and add technology that, in the long term, can be a better value than workers. Let’s be honest, this has been happening since the beginning of time, but in times of true pain in hiring, all this speeds up and happens faster than normal. Say hello to the robots!
Companies will offshore more more than they already do to countries with an abundance of hourly workers. China, Mexico, India, and various countries in Africa if they can get politically stable, will gain millions of jobs from organizations looking to sell their products in America. Say hello to more jobs leaving our shores. Also, as we’ve seen with the Pandemic, this will cause further issues with our supply chain in critical times.
Okay – I’ve got some ideas. Some you’ll agree with, some you’ll hate, but something has to change. American demographics are not changing. Our labor force is shrinking and we are getting older as a country. We have a crisis staring us in the face, and we are too divided to even see what’s really happening!
How do you like those ideas!? A little GOP, a little Dem, a little socialism! If you’re a regular reader of the blog some of those ideas, coming from me, probably surprise you. This is how desperate I think this situation is! We are facing an economic meltdown in the future if we don’t fix this issue, that will make the great recession look like child’s play. America can not be without a great labor force, and right now, we are quickly trailing the rest of the world in the one thing we always hung our hard hat on.
So much conversation around remote workers underperforming, or at least some corporate leadership believes remote workers are underperforming. They might be right. They might be wrong. The reality is this has little to do with remote employees!
What would you do, as a corporate leader, if your on-premise employees were underperforming? Would you send them to work at home?
Sounds stupid to say that out loud, doesn’t it?
Underperformance by any worker, regardless of where they are, is a function of the leader responsible, not doing something about it. You could fire a worker who is underperforming. You could work with that employee and give them extra training and tools. You might give them a mentor. You might adjust their goals and ask them to do extra work to make up for underperformance. You can do so many things that can actually impact performance.
Moving their location of work might actually have an impact on their performance. This is true. But as a primary step, it’s a silly strategy.
Here’s an idea!
Instead of telling remote employees they must return to work because you “believe” they are underperforming, what if we told our leaders it’s your job to ensure the performance of your team? If your team doesn’t meet the agreed-upon goals, we will fire you.
To help you, as a leader, get the best performance out of your team, we are going to give you leadership training and make sure you and your team have the tools they need to perform. If a remote employee isn’t performing to the standards that were set, we will deal with that individual underperforming employee.
I think you’ll find some people will perform up to the level you know equals good performance. You will also find you made some hires of people who are incapable of meeting the performance you need for the resources you are spending on them. You will also find that some remote employees, while they really like being remote, don’t have the personality capable of being effective in a remote environment. You will also find some employees who actually perform better when working remotely.
Here’s the thing!
Great employee performance is very individual in how it is obtained. Great leaders will recognize this and find the best recipe for each individual to perform their best. I have three sons. My first son, I could yell it and push, and he would try harder just to show me up. My second son would literally shut down if I tried to parent him the same way I did my oldest. My third, he just managed me.
Working remotely is great for those people who can perform well working remotely. Some can. Some can’t. Most will fall into the middle and probably perform similarly regardless of where they are sitting.
The problem we have right now is we no longer manage performance. We have a bunch of snowflake bosses who believe if they manage performance, people will quit. Yes, some will. Thankfully! Otherwise, you’ll have to fire them. But, most will actually perform well because most people you hire actually want to be successful.
You see, performance, when done correctly, is about both the company and the employee finding success. I find most employees want to be successful, and if you design your goals correctly, that will make the company successful. I have no desire to work with people who don’t want personal success, regardless of where they work.
Yeah, this isn’t something we like to talk about! We love talking about technology that helps our employees be better employees or technology that helps us find better and more talent. But the technology that helps us get rid of people, well, that seems a bit depressing, right?
In 2022 there have been public debates about what a recession is. We haven’t had one since the Great Recession of 2008-2009, so there is a very large part of our workforce that has never seen a downturn in the economy. We are on the precipice of an economic downturn, and companies will be laying off workers. Are you ready? How will you handle this? Spreadsheets?
Offboarding will be a major buzzword in 2023!
God bless the marketing pros who try and make termination software sound sexy! We don’t call it firing software or a termination process, we now call it “offboarding”.
At the HR Technology Conference this past year, I was a judge of the startup competition Pitchfest and one technology that was pitched was Onward HR. They actually did a great job and I really liked their pitch, but they were going up against a bunch of software that “helped” employees, not help you offboard them. Not fair to them, they had real HR software, helping solve a real HR and employee problem. A lot of the software pitched sounded positive and sexy, but it was mostly vapor. Onward had real HR stuff!
Big HCM software and payroll software will tell you they also do offboarding, but honestly, what they really do is basically just help you with the process. True offboarding should be about how do we humanely help our employees transition out of the company and quickly become re-employed. But also, a giant part of offboarding is ensuring those same employees actually might want to come back and work for us again at some point.
You see, layoffs, are an inexact science. Most organizations are bad at it because we don’t practice layoffs. We practice hiring. We practice developing employees. We practice performance management. We do not practice layoffs, so we mostly suck at layoffs. Quite frankly, I’ve never met a leader who wants to be good at layoffs!
That means the technology can help. For the most part, layoffs run like this:
The problem with the last step is we basically move on from those departing employees, and those employees feel that, and it becomes very personal. We try not to keep a connection with previous employees. Then, two years from now, you try and launch an alumni recruiting campaign because you’re growing again and can’t figure out why so many previous employees hate you.
What is my advice for your upcoming layoffs?
Be better. Treat people like humans. I mean treat people like humans you will once again in the future want to have a positive lastly relationship with!
There is an African Proverb that says:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
It’s a paradox we face as leaders right now. We are forced to move fast because the world is moving fast. We are also forced to believe we must involve everyone. Yes, we want to go fast, and yes, we want to go far!
Typically, that turns into something like this. The Boss lady calls a meeting of the team. Everyone jumps on the Zoom call, and the lady boss says, “Hey, we need to make some changes” based on some market/industry/tech change. “So, we are going to use this time to brainstorm and make some decisions on what we should do.” We’ve all been in these meetings.
The other way this can go is no meeting, Boss lady brings in a few confidants on the team, gathers some information, and then she just makes some decisions. Good or bad, she’s the boss, and she’s paid to make these decisions. A little old school, we are told this isn’t really how it should be done anymore.
The reality is both actually work differently. One is fast, one will go far, and we need both.
As a leader, sometimes the best course of action is just to make the call if there is a need to move fast. Look, we have a new product launch that got moved up, and we need to be fully staffed in four months. I’m pulling in a few, or one, people who can handle this item, and I’m getting out of their way. Go, make this happen!
We understand, as leaders, this might piss some folks off. “Well, no one asked my opinion on this!” Yes, you are correct, and by your reaction, I can see I made the right decision by not pulling you in. We desperately needed to move fast! I wasn’t looking for input. I was looking for fast results.
Then, we have times when what we are trying to do will have a long-term impact on our organization. A bunch of moving pieces and multiple stakeholders. Moving quickly, while desirable, might not be the best course of action. We need to hear folks, and folks need to be heard. We want to go ‘far’ with this project.
My leadership comfort zone has always been to go fast. If you’re fast, you can course-correct with the extra time. If you go slow, my belief was the decision would most likely be made for you. As a leader, were you hired to make decisions or have decisions happen to you? Now, this isn’t really the case, but man, that sh*t sounded good on my PowerPoint slide deck!
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Both strategies are correct. Both have a purpose of when to be deployed. Too often, we tend to stick with the one strategy that we feel most comfortable with as leaders. It’s important we understand what we are most comfortable with because that is also our blind spot. I have to remind myself constantly to slow down when it’s right so that we can go far.
I’ve worked with a ton of leaders who were most comfortable with going together, truly believing they were the best leader. In the end, they failed because while they were well-liked, they didn’t execute fast enough for what the business needed.
If you’re out looking for a job, it usually feels like you’re being judged on every little thing you do, have done, or potentially will do in the future. Interestingly enough, a Harvard professor discovered you’re actually only judged on two things:
“People size you up in seconds, but what exactly are they evaluating?
Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy has been studying first impressions alongside fellow psychologists Susan Fiske and Peter Glick for more than 15 years and has discovered patterns in these interactions.
In her book, “Presence,” Cuddy says people quickly answer two questions when they first meet you:
– Can I trust this person?
– Can I respect this person?
Psychologists refer to these dimensions as warmth and competence, respectively, and ideally, you want to be perceived as having both.
Interestingly, Cuddy says that most people, especially in a professional context, believe that competence is the more important factor. After all, they want to prove that they are smart and talented enough to handle your business.”
Trust and Respect.
I’ll add these are probably two things you’re being judged immediately following the judging that gets done on your overall appearance, which is almost instantaneous! Let’s face it, we like to hire pretty people.
Once you open your mouth, you’re being judged on how well you can trust what this person is telling me and if you respect their background, work ethic, where they came from, etc. Most of this is based on the person doing the judging, not you. I know, that sucks.
How do you help yourself?
1. Try and mirror the energy of the person who is interviewing you. If you come in all calm and cool, and the person who is interviewing is really upbeat and high energy, they’ll immediately question you as a fit.
2. Do research on who you’ll be interviewing with and try and get some sense of their background and story. Try and make some connections as fast as possible in the interview. This will help build trust and respect with this person. In today’s world, it’s not that hard to find out stuff about an individual. If HR sets up your interview, just politely ask who you will be interviewing with (the name).
3. Be interesting. Have a good story to tell, one that most people will find funny or interesting. Not too long. A good icebreaker to set off the interview in a great tone.
I tell people all the time. An interview isn’t a test, it’s just a conversation with some people you don’t know. We have these all the time. Sometimes you end up liking the people, sometimes, you don’t. If you don’t like the people you’re interviewing with, there’s a good chance you won’t like the job!
Ugh, I hate that I wrote that title. I. AM. NOT. A. LIFE. COACH!
I don’t write about sports as much as I used to. When my sons were in sports, and I was coaching, I bet I wrote some sort of sports analogy about once per week. The thing with this idea is it works in sports, but it really works in almost anything in life.
Okay, here it is:
“Having people around you who want you to win is key to success.”
I’m not going to take credit for this, nor will I give credit to anyone because I have heard something like this for the last twenty years, but I find almost always people forget about this one simple but powerful idea.
We discount how much of our success is tied to being surrounded by people who want us to be successful! Or we give ourselves too much credit for our own success. We think we’re smarter or better when in reality, we are all about the same, but the circumstances we find ourselves in are very different!
I tend to find myself in conversations with parents regarding their high school and college athletes who are working on going to the next level because I’ve had kids and a wife who played sports at a high level. What most parents and kids don’t understand is how important it is to play for a coach who truly wants to see you succeed. Wait!? Don’t all coaches want to see every player they have on the team succeed? Nope. Unfortunately.
In college athletics, when coaches change, they inherit a bunch of kids who they didn’t recruit, so they aren’t fully invested in these kids. While they will need some or most of these kids, in the short term, to be successful, Almost always, they will bring in their own kids and be more invested in them.
We are currently seeing massive transfers in all sports taking place in college athletics, and a large part of that is kids trying to find a coach(s) who truly wants to see them succeed!
It sounds like when leadership changes take place at work, right?!
When a new leader comes into your company or work team, we see the same type of behavior. New leaders want to bring in their own people. Why? Because you need to surround yourself, even as a leader, with people who want to see you win! Individual contributors need this. Leaders need this. Anyone who wants to win needs people around them who want to see them win!
It’s not about just making it. Keeping it going. It’s about seeing you win. That’s key. Don’t think you can exchange that for something less.
This is why it’s key for you to put yourself in a position where you feel everyone around you wants to see you win. If you’re a leader and you have people on your team that you are unsure they want to see you win, you need to get rid of those people. If you are in a job where you have a leader or peers who don’t want you to win, you need to find a new job immediately!
See, this is why I would be a shitty life coach. I never want people to leave their job. It’s not in my DNA. Keep that job. Make it work! Then I write this post and say leave your job immediately if you are not surrounded by people who want to see you win!
I have some very close friends in my life. The one trait I feel for each of them, without an ounce of jealousy, is I want to see them win! My own team at HRU, without a doubt, I want to see each person I work with be massively successful and win all the time! Surround yourself with people who want to see you win!
Timmy Sackett, World’s Worse Life Coach, Out.