Are you banking on me being lazy?

It’s re-run Friday again – this post originally ran in May 2022!

Is someone banking on you being lazy in your job?

I work in an industry where I’ve been told for a decade technology is going to take my job. The staffing industry is half a trillion-dollar industry worldwide. The entire industry is built on us banking on the fact that someone in corporate TA is going to be lazy.

Ouch! That should sting a little!

So, I don’t really bank on you being lazy at my company. We do contract work so we are looking to fill contingent roles, not direct hire staffing, which is an industry almost completely built on laziness! For my staffing brothers and sisters out there, I hear you, I know you’re ‘just’ filling in when ‘capacity’ is an issue. (wink, head nod, wink)

There are other industries that bank you us being lazy. The entire diet industry! You’ve got overpriced awful foods, bars, shakes, workout gyms, at-home gyms, etc. Because we won’t eat less and move more, because we are “lazy”, we pay a lot for that! Believe me, I pay my fair share! Just because I’m too lazy! Ugh, it’s embarrassing!

Direct hire staffing as an industry could be gone tomorrow if corporate TA just did what they were hired to do. You have an opening, you fill the opening. We aren’t trying to put a woman on the moon! This isn’t rocket science!

But, we don’t fill the opening. In fact, we do just about everything except fill the opening. We post the opening. We meet about the opening. We send whoever applies to the manager of the opening. We meet some more about candidate experience. We have another meeting about employment branding. One more meeting with the manager to see if anything has changed.

That doesn’t sound lazy, does it?

But, deflection of more difficult work is just another form of laziness.

My kid doesn’t want to go out in 90-degree heat and mow the lawn. It’s a hard, hot job. So, they come up with ‘alternative’ work that they have to do that just happens to be inside in the air conditioning.

As TA Leaders, we have to understand how are others are banking on us being lazy, and then make adjustments to stop laziness. So, how do you do that?

Well, I wrote an entire book on the subject – The Talent Fix – you can buy it here – but until you can get it, here are some tips:

  1. Have clearly defined measurable activity goals set for each member of your TA team.
  2. Make those measures transparent so everyone can see them every day.
  3. Have performance conversations immediately when measures aren’t met.
  4. Course correct as measures needs to be adjusted to meet the needs of the business.
  5. Rinse, repeat.

Should Companies Pay for Interviews?

It’s Re-Run Friday! This post originally ran in May 2014.

Would You Pay A Candidate To Interview?

Last week I got my ass handed to me for daring to consider that those who interview with a company, should pay for interview feedback.  Not just normal interview feedback, like thanks, but no thanks, but something really good and developmental.  Most people think that idea is bad.  Interview feedback should be free.  It’s not that I really want to charge people who interview a fee to get feedback, it’s just I think we could do so much better in terms of candidate experience, but we have to get out of our current mindset to shake things up a bit.

This all leads me to the next idea (hat tip to Orrin Konheim @okonhOwp) what if companies paid interviewees for their time?

Cool, right!?

We’ve built this entire industry on shared value.  Organizations have jobs, candidates want jobs, let’s all do this for free.  What happens when the equation isn’t equal?  What if candidates didn’t want your jobs?  Could you get more people to come out an interview if you paid them?  How much would it be worth?  It’s a really cool concept to play around with, if we can get out of our box for a bit.

Let’s say you’re having a really, really hard time getting Software Developer candidates to even consider your jobs and your organization.  It’s a super tough market, and you just don’t have a sexy brand.  You also don’t have the time to build a sexy brand, you need the talent now!  How much would it take to entice great candidates to give you an hour?  $100? $500? $1,000?  What if I told you I could have your CIO interviewing 5 top Software Developers tomorrow for 5 hours for $5,000?  Would you do it?

I hear the backlash of questions and concerns already forming in your head!

– People would just take the money, but not really want the job!

– How would you know these people were serious?

– Why would you pay to have someone interview when others will for free?

– Did you get hit on your head as a child?

– This might be the dumbest idea since your idea last week.

When we think about really having a great candidate experience, shouldn’t compensation be a apart of the conversation.  For most interviews you’re asking someone to take time off work, losing salary, time off, putting themselves at risk of their employer finding out, etc.  At the very least, you would think that we might offer up some kind of compensation for their time.  I’m not talking about interview expenses, but real cold hard cash, we appreciate your time and value it!

If you started paying candidates to interview, do you think you would get and have better or worse interviews?

When you put value to something, i.e., an interview, people tend to treat it as such.  Now that interview that they might go, might not go, becomes something they have to prepare for, because, well, someone is paying me to do this.  To interview.  I’m guessing if you paid your candidates to interview, you would get a higher level of candidate, and have a higher level of success in hiring.  It’s just a theory, wish I had the recruiting budget to test it out!

More, More, More!

Welcome back to Re-Run Friday – this post originally ran in May 2019!

The Future of Work, is More Work!

I’m sure you’ve read an article or listened to a podcast that had something to do with “the future of work”. It’s a hot topic to talk about, primarily because it’s all just a big fat guess and the best content is content where I just get to tell what I think will happen, but really have no idea for sure.

When I take a look at the HR technology landscape and see the tech that is hitting the market around work and performance, I think the future of work is actually just more work!

When I say ‘more’ work I really mean “More” work! Much of the technology that is being created and launched around HR Technology falls into a few buckets:

  1. How can we make workers more efficient at what they are currently doing?
  2. How can we monitor workers on what they are doing (tracking)?
  3. How can we leverage A.I. to do certain tasks workers are doing right now?

Don’t get me wrong, the technology doesn’t scare me in the least, I think it’s amazing, but the reality is much of it is designed to help us humans reach our full potential. If my couple of decades in HR has taught me anything it’s that very few of us humans want to reach our full potential!

Reaching your full potential means you are working really hard!

I have a great story about working in a union job the summer I first got out of high school. My Dad got me the job working in a grocery warehouse picking orders to be delivered to supermarkets. The warehouse just implemented a new software system that tracked the productivity of each worker.

Basically, I would be given an order and the system had estimated how long that order should take for me to complete. If the order was complex I got more time, it is was simply pulling a full pallet of one type of item, I might only get ten minutes or so to complete, some orders were estimated to take 75+ minutes to complete.

The union had negotiated that I only had to work 77% of the time. Yes, you read that correctly! If you added up all of my order minutes, in theory, to keep my job, I had to be 77% efficient. So, in an eight-hour shift of 480 minutes, once I reached my 369.6 minutes of work, I could actually just stop. In fact, I was encouraged very strongly by my union brothers to stop at the exact point!

Now the “new” computer system didn’t account for extra effort. So, if I had an order that was supposed to take 60 minutes, but I worked really hard and completed it in 45 minutes, I just earned myself an extra 15 minutes. By the end of the summer, I was efficient enough in getting orders completed that I spent about three hours a shift playing cards with my union brothers in the back of the warehouse until my shift was done!

The new HR Technology that is in play right now, based on AI and machine learning, would have made these corrections individually within a few shifts, knowing I could do that work more efficiently than another person and soon my orders would have been adjusted. The technology would have ensured that my ‘extra’ effort turned into my normal effort.

We already know that my warehouse work will be replaced by robots, so my example is already dated. But what about that office job? Will a robot replace you? No, not right away, we are a ways off from that, but that same AI/Machine learning technology will track and measure everything you do and soon you will feel as busy as ever, because ‘down time’ is unproductive time and the tech can compute that!

The future of work is more work.

My First Time!

It’s Re-Run Friday again – this post originally ran in April 2019!

Do you remember your first time!?

I was twenty-six years old.  At the time, I was living in Michigan and working in my first job right out of college.  I had been doing pretty well for myself and began moving up in the company.

I had just been put into a position where I had a couple of people reporting to me, and I had to hire a new person to report to me as well.  I hired this smart, young person right out of college. Their passion and energy immediately attracted me to them.

Oh, wait, you think I’m talking about…

Okay, let me start again.  This post isn’t about sex! This post is about my first termination!

Can you remember yours?

In my career, having to terminate individuals are some of my most memorable experiences.  I think if you have half a heart, you’re probably the same.  When I talk to upcoming HR graduates, I always try and forewarn them about this part of our job.

Terminating employees leads HR pros to heavy drinking or other forms of stress relief. That is a fact.

From time to time I hear HR pros talk boastful about firing someone, and it makes me sick to my stomach.  While I’ve had to terminate individuals who clearly deserved it, I never took pleasure in doing it.  It’s the one thing that really sucks about having a career in HR.  We get to see people at their weakest moments.

Most of us pray that no one ever has to see this side of ourselves.  Let alone, be in a position, where you frequently get to see this side of humanity.

When you terminate someone, there is a good chance you’re going to see this person’s biggest fears.  I have enough of my own fears. I don’t need to carry around the fears of others!

My first time?

I had to fire the young kid I hired with all the passion and energy, hoping they were going to change the world, fresh out of college.  This person just couldn’t come up to speed as a recruiter. It happens. I worked with this person, encouraged them, but eventually this person was ‘dead-employee’ walking.

Their body kept showing up for work, but their mind and heart had given up.  No matter how hard they physically worked, it wasn’t going to happen for them.  So, I pulled them into the conference room and told them it was time.

No real emotion to make this termination more memorable than any other. The person was upset, and you could see this was not something they had written on their bucket list.  They stood up, walked out, and my life went on.

Nine years later, I’m working at Applebee’s in HR.  I was responsible for seventy restaurants, and I happened to stroll into one of the locations and there was my first termination working behind the bar!  I saw him before he saw me, but once he saw me he froze.

I went over to say ‘hi’, and catch up.  It was awkward and clunky, but I’m an HR pro, I was trained to do this.  After I let him go, he bounced around for a few years, and finally decided to go back to school, and had taken the bartender job at Applebee’s to make ends meet.

I saw this person a number of times after, and on one visit, he asked to talk.  He said that the day I walked into the Applebee’s, and he learned who I was, in my new position, he assumed I was going to fire him again.  I said, “For what?!” He said, “I don’t know, just because.”

It hit me hard.  This wasn’t about terminating a poor performer and moving on.  This person carried that termination around like a backpack for nine years, and as soon as they saw me, all that fear and feelings of failure flooded back to him.

Welcome to the show kids. Sometimes working in HR sucks.

Oops, I Did It Again: The Big Regret

Welcome back to Re-Run Friday – this post originally ran in April 2022!

The Big Regret! How’s that new job treating you?

When 4-5 million people per month change jobs, mostly for more money, there are going to be some consequences! Turns out, the grass isn’t always greener when you get more green!

A Muse survey, reported in the WSJ, recently found out that nearly 75% of workers who’ve changed jobs recently have regretted it, and 50% of those would try and get their old job back! That’s a lot! But it’s not surprising.

The biggest stressors we have in life are having kids, buying a house, and changing jobs. We tend to make bad decisions when stressed, and when you have 4-5 million people per month making that decision, well, that’s a lot of bad decisions!

What will we learn from the Big Regret?!

1. Money isn’t everything, but once you get more of it, it’s hard to go back to the old money level.

2. The old job and the old boss didn’t really suck, and the stuff we thought sucked at the old job, suck at the new job as well. It’s called “work” for a reason.

3. The power of someone paying attention to us and making us feel pretty is the most powerful force on the planet. Never underestimate it.

4. You can go back to your old job, but it will be different. It’s like going back to your ex. You are both a bit smarter and a bit more cautious now. There are some scars. Same people, same company, same job, but it’s not the same. Doesn’t make it bad, but you can’t expect it to be the same.

5. You can’t really judge a job until a couple of things happen: 1. You actually know how to do the job fully; 2. Co-workers stop seeing you as the newbie. In every case, that timeline is different. Be patient and do the job before you judge it.

6. If you find that you have an asshole boss at every job you work, the asshole might be you, not the boss.

7. In the future, when we have more jobs than available workers, let’s not act surprised when people start changing jobs. It’s happened in every similar economic cycle in the modern world. It’s called opportunity. Don’t confuse that with the world has changed.

What should you do if you hate your new Great Resignation Job?

  • Take some time to really determine what you hate. Was that different from the old job? Was it the same? Will it be that way at the next job? Too many folks don’t know what they hate and they just keep selecting the same jobs they hate time and time again, but with a new pay rate and new address.
  • Some of us immediately want to return back to our old job. That might work, it might not. A psychological thing happens to so many managers once you leave them. It’s like you broke up with them and now you want to run back to that comfort. You’ll find many have no interest, and it has nothing to do with your value and performance, and everything to do with them feeling like you’ll hurt them again.
  • Try and find something you like to do, but call it “work”. This is different than the B.S. you’re told about work doing something you love and you’ll never work another day in your life! I’m no life coach, but that crap doesn’t work. You call it “work” even if you love it, because one day you’ll show up to do what you thought you loved and find out its work, and you’ll be depressed and broken. You don’t love work. You love your family and your God and puppies. You work to put yourself in a position to be able to do what you love. If you’re super lucky, every once in a while those two things will overlap.

3 Ways To Change Your Life, Overnight!

Yo!  I’m on vacation for the next week.  Instead of writing I’m gong to run old posts that no one read, but I thought were brilliant.  That’s the hard part because I think everything I write is brilliant.  Some of the stuff really gets well read, and some of the stuff just sits there and gets no love.  In 5 years of blog writing, I still haven’t found out why some pieces I write don’t get read!  I mean, I know why some do.

Everyone wants to read – “3 Ways To Change Your Life Overnight!”  There is this belief that idiots like me will somehow write this brilliant post with the 3 actual reasons to change your life overnight, but in reality this doesn’t exist.  But you click on it, because you’re hoping for a miracle.  I don’t have miracles, or I wouldn’t be writing blog posts.  I’d be sitting on a beach somewhere enjoying a margarita.  That’s how I believe miracles work. If I have one, it equals me sitting on a beach, drinking a margarita.

See!  I can’t solve your biggest problems overnight. I think miracles equal beaches and margaritas.  Which gets me back to the point – that’s where I’m going!  It’s a miracle!

I could actually just title every post something it’s not and it would get more clicks:

The 1 Miracle Food That Will Melt Your Big Fat Belly!

Get Pretty By Doing Nothing!

Hire Brilliant People By Posting and Praying!

Six Figure HR Jobs From Home!

It’s Not You! It’s All Those Other Assholes!

6 Pack Abs, 6 Seconds Per Week!

How To Kill A Hiring Manager and Not Get Caught!

See.  It works.  People don’t want real solutions, people want miracle solutions.  My miracle solution is: Beaches and Margaritas.

Sorry – that’s all I really have.

Until I get back from my miracle – enjoy the stuff you should have already enjoyed, but didn’t.

The Great Recession Fall out on Talent Acquisition

I have a feeling I’m about to preach to the choir.  I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with a hiring manager lately, that just don’t get it! (I hear you saying “What do you mean “lately” – does a hiring manager “ever” get it!)   The Recession has made our job very hard, especially if you are currently trying to hire anyone with technical skills (engineers, designers, IT professionals, Scientist, etc.).   During the Recession we had candidates coming out of our ears!  Today, it seems like, almost overnight, technical jobs across the country have turned on like a fire hose!  Everywhere companies are trying to find technical talent, in all industries, all at the same time.   Remember that baby boomer Tsunami of retirement we were suppose to see?  This feels like the first waves are hitting the shore in terms of technical hiring!

I’ve spoken to engineering schools that 100% graduation hires, plus companies now paying for engineering seniors, senior year of tuition!   I’ve spoken to companies that have had to double their payroll projections, mid-budget year, just to have enough money to hire the same amount of projected hires at the beginning of the year.  In HR and Recruiting we get this, the market moves, sometimes very quickly, and organizations have to be prepared to adjust and move with it, or risk causing some very bad outcomes to our operations.  But, do our hiring managers get this?

I’m hear to say, not enough have gotten the message!

Over the past few months, it we are now having daily “conversations” with hiring managers who are still wanting to see the same 20 candidates they saw during the height of the recession, and turning down candidates for minor things like “he seemed a little shy”, “she was from Tech and I like State grads”, or “he’s had 2 jobs in the past 10 years!”   I’ve had hiring managers have interviews, come back and say they like both candidates really well, but would like to see some more! When I don’t any more!   It all sounds familiar doesn’t it!  The Recession did this to them!  It made the greedy, it made them ultra picky, and it made them believe there is a never ending pool of great candidates who only want to come work at your company.   Ugh! I hate the Recession!

So what?

In HR/Recruiting this is where we become marketers.  We have to start selling, and what we are selling is an idea.  An idea that the world is different, they sky is falling and there’s only one person left to hire.  “That person, is the stupid candidate I just put in front of your face!!!” (wouldn’t that be great if we could say that!?)  Look, I understand you and your hiring managers “only want to hire the best talent”; by the way so does everyone else.  But times are changing, if you want to hire the best, you better be paying the best, or at least offering the best value proposition as compared to your competitors.  Lines of candidates aren’t out there just waiting for calls any longer.

It’s really just simple addition, more technical job openings than candidates + baby boomers now beginning to feel like they can retire = our job just got a lot tougher!

Do your hiring managers get this equation?

Bad Hires Worse

I wrote this 2 years ago.  It still rings true.  I still need to be reminded of this.  I still run into examples of this monthly. Enjoy.

If I could take all of my HR education, My SPHR and 20 years of experience and boil it down to this one piece of advice, it would be this:

Bad Hires Worse.

In HR we love to talk about our hiring and screening processes, and how we “only” hire the best talent, but in the end we, more times than not, leave the final decision on who to hire to the person who will be responsible to supervise the person being hired – the Hiring Manager.   I don’t know about all of you, but in my stops across corporate America, all of my hiring managers haven’t been “A” players, many have been “B” players and a good handful of “C” players.  Yet, in almost all of those stops, we (I) didn’t stop bad hiring managers from hiring when the need came.  Sure I would try to influence more with my struggling managers, be more involved – but they still ultimately had to make a decision that they had to live with.

I know I’m not the only one – it happens every single day.  Everyday we allow bad hiring managers to make talent decisions in our organizations, just as we are making plans to move the bad manager off the bus.   It’s not an easy change to make in your organization.  It’s something that has to come from the top.  But, if you are serious about making a positive impact to talent in your organization you can not allow bad managers to make talent decisions.  They have to know, through performance management, that: 1. You’re bad (and need fixing or moving); 2. You no longer have the ability to make hiring decisions.  That is when you hit your High Potential manager succession list and tap on some shoulders.  “Hey, Mrs. Hi-Po, guess what we need your help with some interviewing and selection decisions.”  It sends a clear and direct message to your organization – we won’t hire worse.

Remember, this isn’t just an operational issue – it happens at all levels, in all departments.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is look in the mirror at our own departments.  If you have bad talent in HR, don’t allow them to hire (“but it’s different we’re in HR, we know better!” – No you don’t – stop it).   Bad hires worse – over and over and over.  Bad needs to hire worse, they’re desperate, they’ll do anything to protect themselves, they make bad decisions – they are Bad.  We/HR own this.  We have the ability and influence to stop it.  No executive is going to tell you “No” when you suggest we stop allowing our bad managers the ability to make hiring decisions – they’ll probably hug you.

It’s a regret I have – something I will change.  If it happens again, I won’t allow it.  I vow from this day forward, I will never allow a bad hiring manager to make a hiring decision – at least not without a fight!

Burning Down Your HR Department

This post originally ran in January of 2012.  I liked it, and still like it today.  Many of us are looking to kick off 2014 with a fresh approach.  Read this, it might save you some time in the upcoming year!  Enjoy.

A couple of years ago my parents house burned down.  They were away on vacation and lighting struck the roof. Before the fire department could get there and put it out, most of the house was destroyed.  60+ years of memories and possessions, gone.   In hindsight, it was a bit of a blessing,  there house was at the age where everything was starting to need replacing, and my father was at the age, where he wanted to retire.  Those two things don’t go well together!  Major home improvements equals major expense, and a fixed income.  So, long-story-short, mother nature, and the insurance company, gave my folks a new house for a retirement gift!  All is well that ends well, I guess.

This situation, though, led to some deep emotional conversations about what the wish they could have pulled out, if they new this was going to happen.  As you can imagine it was all the stuff you and I would want – our photos, our mementos, some favorite things that remind us of loved ones, or things that we were proud of.  I thought about his recently when having a conversation with a friend who just started a new position as the head of a large HR shop.  His comment to me was:

“What I really need to do is burn this place down and start over!”

To which I replied, “well, isn’t there anything you would keep?”  Bam!  That is what he needed – he did need to burn it down, but there were definitely some things he needed to take out before lighting the match.

It’s a common practice that Leaders tend to do when taking on a new position – we tend to burn down our departments.  Oh, we say we won’t, as we go around throwing gasoline on everything, and we say we aren’t rebuilding as strap our tool belt on and start hammering away, but the truth is, most leaders want to remake their new departments into what they want, not what it was.

So, I’ll ask you to take a few moments today and think about the concept of burning down your HR department.  What would you pull out and save?  What would you happily allow to burn up?  What would you miss?

Everyday we owe it to our organizations to get better.  You don’t have to burn down the department to get better – but you do need to get rid of those things you know you would easily allow to burn up!

7 Sure Fire Ways to Fail as an HR Leader

It’s tough being an HR Leader these days!  You have all these boomers retiring and taking their typewriters and knowledge with them, you have all theses X’ers who think they are now the second coming, the GenY’s and the Millennial’s who have been told they are the second coming, and now we have these Generation @’s who think they can work from where ever since they grew up with a smartphone and a iPad in their crib.  On top of all this, somehow in the last 10 years executives decided HR is no longer HR, but now we are these business partners, so on top of having to take care of all these people issues, we now have to be concerned with business issues, teach our leaders how to be leaders, continue to train our workforce to stay current, fight off talent sharks from our competition, make sure the corporate picnic still runs smoothly and oh by the way can you put a nice internal blog post together for the CEO and make it real “peopleish”.

I get it – it’s hard being a leader in HR, that’s why I’m going to help you out and give you some tips of things to stay away from:

1. Think of yourself or your company as “the” industry leader. As soon as you do, someone will knock you off.

2. Identify so strongly with the company that you no longer have a clear boundary between your personal interests  and the corporation’s interests. Yes you should be committed, but don’t be “committed” – to often leaders doing this fail to differentiate their personal agenda and the corporate agenda and start empire building.

3. Have all the answers.  This is tough because it’s common leadership training that we all know – use your people, surround yourself with people better than you, make group decisions, etc.  But until you put your butt in that seat you never realize how many things will come your way, where people want a decision and they are unwilling to make it – so they look to you for the answer. Don’t get sucked into this trap – push back – make them bring you solutions.

4. Hunt down and Kill those who don’t support you. Don’t think this happens! Look at turnover numbers of  departments when a new leader takes over – they are almost always higher than those of the organization as a whole.

5. Become obsessed with the company image.  Your company image is hugely important, but it is not the most important thing you have going on. Make sure your operations match the image you want to create, not the either way around.

6. Underestimate or take obstacles for granted.  As a leader you want to be confident during hard and challenging times, but don’t let yourself get fooled into believing your own confidence will get you through.  Having a clear understanding of the reality you are facing, and being able to communicate that without fear to your team, with a plan of action, is key.

7. Stubbornly rely on what you’ve always done.  “Well, when I was the leader at GE we did it this way…” Look, this isn’t the 80’s and this isn’t GE. Might it work? Sure. But be open to new ways of doing things, while being confident of what you know will work. Don’t put yourself or your organization in jeopardy, but be willing to try new things when time and circumstance allow.

Adapted from The Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives in Forbes by Mike Myatt

Photo credit to Hugh at Gapingvoid.com