Recruiting Facts: People Actually Like It When You Want Them…

If I hear one more person tell me that candidates don’t like phone calls, I’m going to shove a phone up your…

I’m not the smartest cat, but I know a couple of things.  Here are a few things I know:

1. You can’t taste the difference of well Gin and high-end Gin after 4 Gin and Tonics.

2. French Fries, Onion rings and Tator Tots taste great fried and taste awful baked.

3. Great tasting chocolate is the reason women can be single. (okay, I stole that one from my wife!)

4. Candidates with car trouble are lying.

5. People like to be told that you want them for a job! It’s flattering. It makes them feel important. It makes them feel valued. They love to listen to what you have to say, regardless of how satisfied they are in their job.

If I called you right now with a job that was something you have always wanted, guess what would happen?  You would call me back. You would call me back almost instantly. You would run out to your car, telling the receptionist on the way out you have an urgent personal call, to hear what I have to say.

Those people. Those thought leaders. Those idiots, who are telling you candidates don’t like phone calls are LIARS!

Why are they lying to you? Here is why I think they are probably lying to you:

1. They are lazy and hope the internet will solve all of their problems.

2. They are hoping to talk the world into believing you never have to make a phone call to get a job.

3. They are scared.

I did a survey where I asked 100 people, mostly millennials, (all potential candidates, since all people are potential candidates) if I called you with your “Dream Job”, would you either pick up my call or call me back?  Would you like to know the results?

100 out of 100 said they would pick up my call or call me back! 100%!

Recruiters who say candidates don’t like phone calls are not recruiters, they’re administrative professionals. Pay them accordingly.

Why Do You Go To Work So Early?

Cooper: You know Dad you don’t have to go to work so early.

Me: Yes I do, someone has to pay the bills, put food on the table, keep the lights on.

Cooper: Yeah, I guess you’re right.

Me: (internal voice) – he’s probably right.

This was a conversation my youngest son and I had a few years ago. We are both early risers, so he and I have spent many mornings up before the rest of the family.

I like getting to the office early for a couple of reasons. It’s usually quiet, not a lot of distractions, so you can get a lot done, and, personally, I just perform better in the morning. I’m more productive early.

The reality is there are a few that I work with that are like that, but I find a bigger majority is probably not as early risers as I might be if given the choice. Therein lies the real issue, “given the choice”. If you were given the choice to start work at let’s say 7 am or so, or start work at 9 am or so, which do you choose?

I’ve always thought it was silly that high schools start classes, for teens, at 7 – 7:30 am. Teens have growing bodies and developing brains, why not let them sleep in and start school at 9:30 am or so? It truly makes zero sense, if we are actually trying to what’s best for children….but I digress…

What about the modern workplace? What time should work start?

I think for the most part, in environments that can manage this, we should allow workers the flexibility to start when they feel they’ll be most productive. If you’re an early riser, great, get in here and kill it. If you like to stay up late watching Netflix and roll out of bed at 9 am, awesome, get in here and do your thing.

It seems easy enough! So, why doesn’t this happen as much as it should?

The early risers don’t think the late risers really put in the hours they should. I come in at 7 am and I leave at 5 pm, I put in 9 hours. You come in at 9 am and you leave at 6 pm, you only put in 8 hours. It’s not fair! Honestly, this is really the main argument and why so many organizations still force employees to arrive at basically the same time!

It’s back to good old fashion clock watching!

The reality is, in a modern workplace, we should care less about hours and more about what actually gets done. If it takes you nine hours to get done what it takes me seven hours to get done, that’s a ‘you’ problem, not a ‘me’ problem. To make this happen, though, we have to have great measures of performance and hold people accountable to those measures.

Ugh, that’s difficult, let’s just stick to making everyone work the same amount of hours at the same time, that’s so much easier…

 

The One Thing that Correlates to High Employee Happiness in Your Office!

Oh, I bet its working for a great boss! Or, maybe it’s having a best friend at work! No, it must be dog-friendly! Puppies make me happy! I wonder if it’s money or free tacos or something like that!?

No, you’re all wrong!

In fact, the one thing that correlates to high employee happiness at the office is the one thing you’re destroying! Isn’t that great! We’ve got one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything our employees ever wanted, but in that moment we let it slip…

There was a study done recently that asked about their modern workplaces. What was it in their office that made them the happiest? Turns out 90% of us want a private office. Yet, on the flip side, in all of our brilliance over 54% of us are converting our offices to open floor plans! Why? Because we’re stupid!

Also, because employees are kind of stupid in answering these kinds of surveys! They will tell you they want one of those cool, open office concepts with the bean bag chairs and picnic tables in a big room because look at those pictures of all the smiling faces of those employees. Also, is it just me, or do those smiling faces seem really attractive as well!? You know what? If we had open offices we would be more attractive!

For a decade, idiots like me and every media outlet known to man as talked about how Millennials just want open, collaborative spaces. We’ll be more productive, and have better teamwork, and make faster decisions, and be more collaborative, and we’ll solve global warming! The reality is much different. Turns out, working in a big, loud room with a bunch of fellow idiots employees makes you less productive.

Oh, great I get to sit in the middle of a giant room, across a giant table and watch Steven pick his nose.

Here’s what happy productive employees actually want in an office:

  • Private.
  • Great WiFi and up to date technology.
  • Quiet.
  • Comfortable.
  • Cool design (which doesn’t equal ‘open concept’).
  • Well lighted.
  • Professional.
  • Clean, but not sterile.

Do we really hate cubes? Well, we hate cube farms that remind us of 1979 Soviet Union. I don’t think most hate cubes that are designed for modern workspaces. The problem is we tend to not think about how we can use cubes in a modern design that lets people have a private space, but also open space for times they want that as well. It’s either cube farm or giant open warehouse, we tend to not think in between.

Ultimately, our employees want privacy and cool. So, now you can figure out what that looks like over the next decade!

If you think GenZs are Entitled Snowflakes, You’re an Idiot!

I made this joke on Twitter recently:

This has been a frustration of so many of my peers in Human Resources over the past couple of years. We have leaders, usually Gen X or Boomers, who think anyone younger than them are called “Millennials”. It’s uninformed at best, and just a bad look for leaders in our organizations.

The crazy part is it’s not just about getting the generational names correct, it’s also about how we tag a generation. I’m not a fan of “generational” training programs, but they are hugely popular. I get requests to come and talk about generational differences to organizations monthly, and I’ve never spoken about generational differences!

For some reason, we are fascinated by the concept of having multiple generations working together in the workplace. We want to know all the broad differences between the generations, knowing as soon as we throw out one of those stereotypes, we immediately look like idiots.

I’m particularly triggered by older leaders who feel Gen Z’s are just a bunch of kids you are entitled snowflakes on their phone all of the time. I’m this way because I have three Gen Z sons and see who they, and their friends, are becoming and in so many ways they will outshine my Gen X generation over the same period of time, by a mile!

CNN did an article highlighting four GenZs who are doing amazing things:

  • One is teaching swimming to people with disabilities.
  • One started a movement to cheer up kids going through difficult times.
  • One is helping Vets in need.
  • One is making and delivering “Blessing Bags” for the needy.

What all of these GenZ people have in common is what I see from my own GenZ connections. GenZ grew up during the Great Recession and saw what hard times do to people. In turn, that experienced shaped them into young people who want to help others, are willing to do the work to help others, and do it in a way that is modern and digital.

Yes, they are on their phones a lot. So, are we all. But, they use this digital world to do things a speed we could have never comprehended when we were their age. They are consuming information at a rate far exceeding every generation before them, which makes them better informed than most before them.

I wouldn’t call them entitled or snowflakes. They are not delicate or looking for a handout. They were raised in hard times and they are giving back as much as any before them. You might call me a fan of this generation. I have so much hope for what they will bring to the world. As a parent, I guess we probably all feel that way about our kids.

As we get ready to go into 2020, I would love to see all leaders embrace this growing younger workforce in a way that is positive and hopeful for the future. I think we are in good hands with GenZ!

DisruptHR Lansing! March 19th – Call for Speakers is Open!

Lansing, MI is about to get all Disrupted and Stuff!

Everyone already knows I’m a big believer in DisruptHR events. I’ve spoken at many, I’ve been on the team running DisruptHR Detroit from the beginning, and I decided to start DisruptHR Lansing in my own backyard!

Our first event, DisruptHR Lansing 1.0 will take place in Downtown Lansing on March 19th in the evening (more details to follow) at The Exchange. Great speakers, free food and drinks, and disruptive HR talks throughout the night!

What is DisruptHR?

  • 5-minute hr-based micro-talks. Might be HR, talent, employee experience, leadership, rap music, who knows!
  • Each talk has a very specific format – 20 slides and each slide moves automatically every 15 seconds.
  • The goal is to be fast and challenge the status quo of the people side of the business!

CALL for SPEAKERS is NOW OPEN! 

We’ll be selecting a great group of speakers. I encourage HR pros and Leaders from the Mid-Michigan area to throw your names into the hat for speaking spots!!! It’s a great way to get yourself on stage with a group of fellow HR peers who’ll support you and laugh at our bad HR jokes!

Speakers also get a professionally recorded version of your talk. This is an awesome parting gift for your own development, and to show other conferences, etc. if you decide you want to speak in a longer format in the future. Almost every conference I know now asks for some proof of your ability to speak, as such, this becomes a very valuable piece of content!

Why Speak at DisruptHR Lansing 1.0? 

1. Well, I’ll be there!

2. Lansing, MI is the capital of Michigan. The epicenter of all things people in our state. It’s also might be the one place in Michigan that needs the most HR disruption!

3. HR pros need a network. We need to support each other. This is a great event to make that happen!

4. Cocktails & Hugs! (which ironically is the name of one of my upcoming future books!)

5. I’ll owe you!

Let’s face it. It’s March 19, 2020. We’ve just spent the last 120 days in pure grayness. We need to get out and do something! The event space will be intimate, the energy will be high, and we’re going to have some fun! Come join us! Tickets will go on sale after the holidays. We wanted to open up the Call for Speakers first!

If you want to get an email when tickets go on sale, leave your email on the comments below and I”ll make sure you’re the first to know!

How Would a College Education be Different if you Were an Investor?!

There’s a concept that is starting to gain some steam in college tuition funding called “Income Share Agreements”. The basis of these agreements is pretty much “I” (the investor) pays “you” (the student) to go to college and get an education. Once you graduate and get a job, I take some of your annual salary for an agreed-upon time.

From the Washington Post:

In an ISA, a student borrows nothing but rather has his or her education supported by an investor, in return for a contract to pay a specified percentage of income for a fixed number of years after graduation. Rates and time vary with the discipline of the degree achieved and the amount of tuition assistance the student obtained.

An ISA is dramatically more student-friendly than a loan. All the risk shifts from the student to the investing entity; if a career starts slowly, or not at all, the student’s obligation drops or goes to zero. Think of an ISA as equity instead of debt, or as working one’s way through college — after college.

I like this alternative to student loans because it puts much of the risk on the investor and away from the student. Also, if higher education institutions get involved with these kinds of investment funds, it truly puts accountability back on their organization to ensure they are producing graduates who are desired and prepared.

Purdue University has been doing a ton of testing with these types of agreements:

Although the very nature of ISAs protects the participant, early adopters such as Purdue have built in safeguards. A user-friendly computer simulator provides quick, transparent comparisons with various public and private loan options. No investee pays anything for the first six months after graduation or until annual income exceeds $20,000. For those graduates who get off to fast career starts, a ceiling of 250 percent of the dollars that purchased their education limits total repayment.

All of this gets you to think about what might be possible if we walked away from traditional student loan programs altogether!

What if…

  • The amount of your investment into a student returned more than you could make on the stock market?
  • Students had to present themselves, as high schoolers, to investment groups to get funding for university?
  • Investors and investing groups were only willing to fund students in careers where they could get a good return on investment? Say goodbye to history majors!
  • College students had to meet with their investors and explain why they got a “C” and missed class because they were drunk!?
  • Organizations and HR Departments started investing in potential future talent in a very real way!?

I love disruption to traditional things we have come to believe just can’t be changed. This isn’t perfect and there are a lot of questions, but it’s worth testing and trying. What we know is traditional student loan programs are not working at all! Something has to change.

I’m GenX and a Capitalist, so I love the accountability of both the investor having to make sound, prudent investment decisions around who they feel is most likely to give them a great return on investment, and the student’s accountability of understanding there’s a cost/benefit to your career choices and what it will cost to pay back those choices.

What do you think? Would you allow one of your kids to get into one of these arrangements, or would you have been willing to do this in college? I think I would have had very few people want to invest in me, but those who did would have been paid back in spades!

 

The 12 Steps to Recovery for Being a Passionate Asshole!

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

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

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

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

What’s a “Passionate Asshole” are asking yourself? Here’s my definition –

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

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

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

Here are the 12 Steps of Recovery for Passionate Assholes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

True or False: Corporate Recruiters Fear Agency Recruiters?

True or False?  It’s a common belief, in most Talent and HR circles, that most corporate recruiters fear agency recruiters.  Go ahead and argue if you would like, but it seems a little silly.

The reality is, true recruiting professionals don’t fear amateurs.

It’s like a really great professional Photographer. They charge money because they offer something someone is willing to pay for. Professional photographers don’t fear the mom at the soccer game with her $2,000 dollar camera and $5,000 dollar lens. Who cares that you have the equipment if you don’t know how to use it!? Pros don’t fear amateurs.

So, if you are a really good corporate recruiter who knows how to really recruit and source talent, agency recruiters don’t scare you, because you know your stuff! That’s the problem, though, right? The reason so many people feel the title of this post is true is because we all know so many corporate recruiters, who really don’t know how to recruit. They aren’t pros, they’re amateurs. Amateurs fear professionals when it comes to meeting head to head in competition.

The best professionals love it when a talented amateur tries to play at their level. These types of individuals help to push both parties to do the best work they can. Or, at least, they should! A great agency recruiter should push an average corporate recruiter to want to get better. An amateur agency recruiter will starve, that’s why you only see amateurs in the agency ranks for a very short period of time. If they aren’t good, they don’t eat! That is why on average, agency recruiters tend to have more recruiting skills than corporate recruiters. Agency folks aren’t full salary. How they are compensated forces them to have better skills, on average, of they are out of job.

So, how do corporate recruiters ensure they become professionals? Well, I love Malcolm Gladwell, so I’ll steal a little of his 10,000-hour concept (and go ahead and tell me it’s B.S. – I don’t care, I like it and I’ve seen it work). You must make yourself a true recruiting professional!  You need to invest time and development in yourself, in the recruiting industry, to become a pro. That means as a corporate recruiter, you focus on recruiting, not becoming an HR Pros. What?! Most corporate recruiters are corporate recruiters because that’s their path to get into a straight HR position. Their endgame is not recruiting, it’s HR. That’s a problem because they are not fully vested in the recruiting game. This is an amateur move.

The reality is, those who get promoted are usually professional at something. Become a great recruiting pro and the powers-that-be will take notice, and you’ll find yourself in positions you never thought possible. True professionals don’t worry about promotions, they worry about becoming a better pro at their craft.

The next time you start feeling yourself pushed by an agency recruiter, don’t curse them for what they do, embrace them for what they push you to become — a better recruiter!

Do you believe your HR leadership style is that of a “coach”?

I read an article in The New Yorker on the importance of “Coaching” by Atul Gawande.  Atul is a writer and a surgeon, smart and creative and I should hate him, but he’s so freaking brilliant! From the article:

The concept of a coach is slippery. Coaches are not teachers, but they teach. They’re not your boss—in professional tennis, golf, and skating, the athlete hires and fires the coach—but they can be bossy. They don’t even have to be good at the sport. The famous Olympic gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi couldn’t do a split if his life depended on it. Mainly, they observe, they judge, and they guide.

As an HR leader, I’ve always believed that HR has the ability to act as “coaches” across all vestiges of our organizations.  The problem we run into is this mentality, “You can’t coach me! You don’t know the first thing about Marketing, or Operations, or Accounting.” You’re right, good thing I’m not “teaching” you that! That’s why we hired you. Having a coaching culture in your organization starts during the selection process. Are you hiring people who are open to being coached? 

More from The New Yorker –

Good coaches know how to break down performance into its critical individual components. In sports, coaches focus on mechanics, conditioning, and strategy, and have ways to break each of those down, in turn. The U.C.L.A. basketball coach John Wooden, at the first squad meeting each season, even had his players practice putting their socks on. He demonstrated just how to do it: he carefully rolled each sock over his toes, up his foot, around the heel, and pulled it up snug, then went back to his toes and smoothed out the material along the sock’s length, making sure there were no wrinkles or creases. He had two purposes in doing this. First, wrinkles cause blisters. Blisters cost games. Second, he wanted his players to learn how crucial seemingly trivial details could be. “Details create success” was the creed of a coach who won ten N.C.A.A. men’s basketball championships.

I think this is critical in working with adult professionals. Coaches aren’t trying to “teach” them new concepts, but helping them self-analyze and make improvements to what they already do well. We/HR can make our workforces better, not by focusing on weaknesses/opportunity areas, which we spend way too much time on, but by making our employees’ strengths even stronger.

Coaching has become a fad in recent years. There are leadership coaches, executive coaches, life coaches, and college-application coaches. Search the Internet, and you’ll find that there’s even Twitter coaching. Self-improvement has always found a ready market, and most of what’s on offer is simply one-on-one instruction to get amateurs through the essentials. It’s teaching with a trendier name. Coaching aimed at improving the performance of people who are already professionals is less usual.

I’m talking about turning HR into “Life” coaches or “Executive” coacheS. Those types of “coaches” are way different and fall more into the “therapists” categories, than what I see HR acting as “professional” coaches. Professional coaches work alongside their Pros day-to-day and see them in action, and work with them to specifically improve on those things that impact the business. They don’t care that you’re not “feeling” as “challenged” as you once were, and need to find yourself.

I think the biggest struggle HR Pros will have in a role as “coach” is our ability to understand most employees have low self-awareness (including ourselves!). Being a great coach is measured on your ability to get someone to see something in themselves, they don’t already see, and make them truly believe it. If we can get there in our organizations, oh boy, watch out!

Is Time or Money More Valuable?

You might have seen this in the news that Estonia has started experimenting with a new way to punish speeding drivers. Instead of making them pay a fine for speeding, they are giving them an option to ‘take a timeout’ instead for 45 minutes to an hour, right then and there. Which brings up the question, what is more, valuable to these drivers, their time or their money?

From the article:

Drivers caught speeding along the road between Tallinn and the town of Rapla were stopped and given a choice. They could pay a fine, as normal, or take a “timeout” instead, waiting for 45 minutes or an hour, depending on how fast they were going when stopped.

The aim of the experiment is to see how drivers perceive speeding, and whether lost time may be a stronger deterrent than lost money.

Early results of this pilot program are unclear, as it seems that those who can pay the fine will, while those who would be hit harder by a financial fine will tend to take the timeout.

These types of tests are what we should be doing with our own employees within organizations. Everyone has different values of certain things, but we tend to build rewards and punishment programs all the same. Do well and you’ll get a $500 bonus! Or do well and you’ll get an extra day off!

Rarely do we build them where we give people the option – do you want more time or more money as your reward, or on the flip side, for your punishment do you want money or time taken away?

I’ve used both and not one is 100% correct. I’ve had goals set that would reward is something was met, but also if it wasn’t met then the person or team would have to come in and work extra time. I can tell you, no one liked coming in extra to meet their goals. So, making some work extra, for the same pay, seems to be a big deterrent, but also a pretty crappy work experience.

On the flip side, being able to take more time off is really liked by some, but not all. You’ll have some folks who actually really enjoy coming into work, and taking a bunch of extra time off gives them anxiety to be away from the office.

Is there a magic solution? 

The one thing I see that consistently has the biggest impact on a positive employee experience in any environment I’ve worked in is simply flexibility. Treat employees like adults and let them integrate their life with their work and make the choices they need to make to make both work as effectively as possible.

Sounds easy, it’s super hard and complicated in real life! Because it’s complicated, we tend to do the opposite and have a bunch of rules, which then just makes it miserable for everyone. I prefer to give the flexibility, but and then take care of the outlier issues that crop up. We believe there will be many issues, but it’s fewer than you think.

One easy way to control for all of this is to have really great, non-subjective, measures of success. The reality is if someone working for me is successful, then they should have the freedom to have the flexibility they desire.  What I know is time and money are both valuable depending on the situation you are currently in, and those values can change daily for some people.