Loyalty is not Dead!

Today will be the first day that I will not be working with the person I’ve had the single most tenure together as co-workers. Lori Johnson (LJ) has been with my company, HRUTech.com, for 22 years! She was a kid when she came here and I had the chance to see her get married, have three kids, grow into an amazing person. We have worked together for 15 of those 22 years. I got to see her on her first day of employment and on her last day of employment.

Now, you might be thinking, she’s leaving you! So she’s not loyal! Loyalty is dead, Tim!

But it’s not. Her 22 years of employment prove loyalty isn’t dead. While I’ve been there for her, through her ups and downs, she stood by me through my own. She believed in me and my vision when others didn’t. She never wavered. I’m proud to call her a co-worker and peer, and I’ve talked about her and her loyalty in so many talks I’ve given.

Tim & LJ

I would tell people that LJ would kill for me if I asked, and I was only half-joking. She has my back and I have her back. We are now family. I love her. I know that sounds weird to say you love a co-worker, but that is where this relationship has grown. She is moving on to an opportunity that she is very excited about and I’m excited for her. I’m heartbroken but excited! That’s part of life and work.

If we are lucky we’ll have some amazing people enter our lives through work. We will grow with them and at some point that work relationship ends and what you are left with is now a friendship. And I keep telling myself I’m okay with that! On Friday this past week, I walked into the office and said “Good Morning, Lori!” for the last time. I’ve done it thousands of times and she was always happy to see me and I was happy to see her. If I was ten minutes late for work she would call 911 believing something must have happened to me on the way to work!

Lori is one of the most loyal people I’ve ever met. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for her because I believe there is nothing she wouldn’t do for me. To me, that’s loyalty.

Now, you might say to yourself, Tim, how the heck could you let such an amazing person leave your company? I’ve asked myself that same question about million times over the past two weeks. I could have offered her something that I know would have got her to stay, but that’s not what she wanted. She wanted to challenge herself, to prove that she can do this after only working one job her entire adult life, and as her friend, I want to support her and cheer her on to reach this goal. It’s important to her. More important than me keeping my comfort blanket.

Loyalty isn’t dead in my mind, because I’m being loyal to her by not trying to buy her to stay. Her doing this will make her stronger and better, and as her friend, I think that’s awesome. The first time I left HRU it made me exponentially a better person and smarter professional. When I came back I was a different person. My hope is the same thing will happen to LJ and when she comes back, she’ll be even more amazing! (Yes, I will hold out hope of a return!)

For all the HRU alumni, LJ leaving will come as a shock. She’s already told me of folks contacting her wanting to know the juicy details of why! That’s our nature, we think it has to be something, she would never leave HRU! What I know is we are stronger because of her and her tenure as a company, and I will always have a spot open for her because that’s what you do for the most loyal person you’ve ever worked with.

Good luck, LJ. I will always be here for you in life and work.

Should we reward outcome or effort?

I’m a huge believer in results. When I test, my results orientation is off the charts! So, naturally, I’ve always believed you should reward outcomes/results. The world is filled with folks who put in the effort, but in the end, can’t close the deal, was how I’ve thought about it.

Over the past few years, I’ve softened a bit on this. I still love and want results, but I started to believe that obtaining success isn’t about failure, but small successful efforts that lead to success. I was reminded about this recently when I overheard a story.

The story was being told by a parent who was watching his son’s youth soccer match. A boy on his son’s team scored a goal and all of the kids and parents were cheering, but this father noticed that the boy’s dad who scored was not cheering. “Oh, boy,” he thought, “another crazy sport’s parent, never satisfied with what their kids do…”

After the match, this guy really wanted to talk to the Dad, to tell him what he was doing was wrong, and eventually was going to push this kid to hate sports. So, he waited around looking for the perfect time, when the boy walked up to his dad and the dad asked him, “how did you score that goal?” The boy thought a minute and walked through the play, how he got the ball from the opponent, how he ran really fast to get in front of the opponent, and then went as fast as he could dribbling the ball down to the other end, and kicked the ball past the goalie.

The boy’s dad said, “so, you gave great effort, to get that goal?” Yes, said the boy. The dad congratulated the boy’s efforts. “That was a tremendous effort you gave that led to that goal”, said the dad.

The other father stood there listening, now more than ever wanting to talk to the dad to apologize for thinking he was such a jerk. So, he went up and told him what he was about to do, but glad he stopped himself to overhear his conversation with his son. “Well, he will never be able to guarantee the outcome in sports, but he can always guarantee his efforts”, said the boy’s dad.

In the business world, it’s really about both effort and outcome.

My business is recruiting. We reward “outcome” all the time. Did you actually find and hire the person for this job? Pretty black and white!

But, the reality of recruiting is so often the recruiter has very little to do with the outcome. Yes, they have to find a candidate, but ultimately you have a hiring manager who has some say, you have a candidate who has some say, you have others who have input to the final say. So, only rewarding for an outcome they don’t necessarily control, seems like we are missing a piece.

I often see great effort put in by the recruiters I work with to find and uncover talent, to talk that talent into interviewing and getting them interested in the job, the hiring manager, and the organization. The entire process can be measured and viewed in bursts of effort.

It’s one of the biggest failures most recruiting departments, agencies, RPO’s, etc. do in recruiting. We only reward outcomes and not efforts.

I advise people all the time if you want more employee referrals, stop rewarding the final outcome, and start rewarding all the small efforts that lead to an employee referral getting hired. Reward an employee for just giving you a name and contact information, reward the employee when that referral comes in to interview, reward that employee when that candidate they referred show up on the first day of work, etc. Most of us only reward our employees when the referral has stayed on working for us for 90 days or six months.

The problem is, the employee has so very little to do with that referral getting hired, the outcome. They have plenty they can do to help lead a referral down the path to the outcome, the efforts!

There’s a time and place for outcome rewards. Ultimately in business, we need outcomes to be successful. That is just a fact of life. But, if you believe in your process, your training, your tools, etc. Rewarding efforts can lead to awesome, sustainable results, that can be very rewarding to those grinding it out every day.

What About Me!?

The year is 1981, the artist is Shayne Ward, the song is “What About Me” (Look it up, kids!). I actually sing this to my wife all the time as a joke:

The chorus:

“What about me, it isn’t fair
I’ve had enough now I want my share
Can’t you see I wanna live
But you just take more than you give”

What about the employees who have that are staying!?

We all have a lot of employees who are leaving us. I’ve had a couple of really great folks of my own that have left for new positions. I also have the vast majority that have stayed and are also really awesome!

We do this stupid thing in organizations that I hate. It’s been going on forever. We tend to really overvalue new employees and employees who are performing that leave, and we totally discount the folks who stay. Dare I even say, those who are “loyal” and stay. That’s a trigger I know, because honestly, those who left were loyal also, until, well, they left.

I mean, just because someone leaves for an opportunity that feels is right for them and their family doesn’t make someone not loyal. I believe disloyalty is when someone purposely tries to hurt your organization, and as such, is trying to hurt all the employees who actually work there as well. That’s way different!

We have this fixation on trying to “save” an employee who wants to leave. I actually think trying to save good employees is a good investment. The problem is, we also need a “save”/retention strategy for all those employees who are killing it every day and not going anywhere. They need the love as well!

Wait, isn’t that just good old fashion employee engagement or good new fashion employee experience?

Yes.

Yes, and in certain times it’s also more than that. In times of terrific economic advantage to workers, like we are now in, we probably have to do a bunch more. You can show your employees some love, or someone else will!

I had a number of conversations recently with really smart leaders around pay and compensation. In times like we are in right now, compensation market-level data can’t keep up. It never really can, but it usually doesn’t move this fast, so being 3-6 months trailing is okay. Right now, you can not be one month behind. Actually, your recruiters probably have better market data than your compensation team. They are seeing it with accepted and declined offers every day, with pre-screen expectations, with comments they are hearing from hiring managers on offers they are hearing about.

Don’t kid yourself, it’s about pay until it’s not about pay.

We have been sold an old paradigm that we love to believe is true, but it’s only half true. Pay being equal, all the culture and leadership stuff matters. Pay not being equal, no one cares about your stupid skills development program, and Billy the nice boss. First, pay me what I should be getting.

We have a major crisis on our hands right now as organizations. You can only solve so much of this by backfilling talent and turning on your recruiting machine. You first have to turn off the exit pipeline leaving your organization. Settle down the turnover and it will be easier to recruit and build back to where you need to be.

You have a ton of employees who are staying and not resigning. Those folks are now doing more to take up the slack because turnover is so high. As leaders, this is the time you actually make your money. Full court press on making sure your folks are taken care of in the ways that are important to them, that they feel appreciated and seen, that they matter.

It’s not about the folks leaving. It’s about the folks who are staying!

Reactions From My First In-Person Conference Since the Beginning of the Pandemic! #SHRMTalent

Out in Vegas at one of my favorite conferences, SHRM Talent, this week. I love and missed interacting with all the TA pros and leaders, so this week was really energizing!

There are so many takeaways from this week at SHRM Talent. It seemed both odd and familiar all at the same time. I’ve been going to conferences for over a decade and very few put on a better conference than SHRM, it’s always first-class, and the 2021 SHRM Talent was at the new Cesar’s Forum conference center which is super nice.

The Reactions:

  • SHRM has opened up their 2021 conferences to be both in-person and virtual. This combination has been unique. After a year and a half of only doing virutual, as a speaker, you have to get back into practice of the cadence of in-person speaking. In virtual, you have very little audience reaction to what you’re saying, so you just plow through the content. In-person you get reactions, so you have timing that you have to be concerned about. Funny line, hold for laughter, wait I actually heard some laughter!
  • At the same time, you still have a virtual audience that you have to engage. What I found, across many sessions, that quesitons from the virtual audience were usually 3-4 times more than the in-person audience. I think in the future, SHRM and others, will figure out a way for people to ask questions all through one format, so those in-person attendees can have the same comfort level of asking their questions as well.
  • Those attendees who chose to be in-person seemed to be very engaged! It’s like these were the folks hungry for real-life interactions and they are making the most of being out in the wild for the first time in long time. Everyone has been very friendly, talkative, welcoming. I think we are all just happy for a bit of back to normal.
  • SHRM has caught some criticism for going back to in-person, but I applaud them for making the hard decision to figuring this out. It’s not going to be perfect, but at some point we must rip off the band-aid and get back to some normalacy, while trying to be safe. Masks were required and you were reminded immediately if you forgot. I was asked upon checking in if I was vaccinated and had to sign off on that. It wasn’t required, but highly encouraged, and definitely tracking attendees.
  • The difficult piece of all of this Covid/Vaccine stuff. You go to breakfast and sit down at a round talbe with four or five peers and all of sudden no one has masks on and everyone is talkign and interacting. You go from your hotel room through a Vegas casino cesspool and into the conference and back and forth. Is anyone really believing that any one is safe? It’s all kind of a game of make believe. This isn’t a SHRM issue, this is an issue every single in-person conference has to navigate. The HR Tech Conference has mandated vaccines, but the same reality will be experienced there as well. The reall world is all around us, just because we protect ourselves some part of it, doesn’t mean the rest isn’t all around us.
  • The content and the practitioners desire to learn and grow is still so inspiring to witness live. To see people really getting nuggets they can take back to the office and make them better, and see a speaker talking passionately to an audience can not be replicated virtually. I think we’ve found that when you can’t do virtual and good second place is virtual, but in-person just hits differently.
  • I don’t think SHRM will ever be able to put the toothpaste back into the tub when it comes to having virutal attendees. I also think this is awesome for those pros who can’t afford the travel, or can’t travel for so many reasons. But it does mean that in-person SHRM audiences will probably be smaller moving forward. SHRM National is rumored to be around 11,000 attendees this year, down from over 17,000 (in-person) for 2019. Also, around 25-40% of those 11,000 will attend virtually. Virutal attendees are very profitable for SHRM, so it’s not all bad to the bottom-line for SHRM. I do think in the future SHRM, and others, will have to figure out some unique things to do for virtual attendees verse the in-person. Transform Recruitment Marketing did an unboxing for their virtual audience, and I can definitely see SHRM working with vendors to put something like this together to help make those virtual attendees feel more connected to the conference experience.
  • Finally, I got some “real” hugs this week from friends I haven’t seen in a long time and it felt amazing! And, yes, we were all masked and vaccinated!

Shout out to the SHRM staff for putting on a great event under a lot of uncertainty. As always they handled it with class and professionalism, and I’m sure it was a great trial run for them to get ready for the upcoming annual conference!

SHRM Annual Conference is happening on September 9-12th and I’ll be back in Vegas to present to a live audience again, and I’m so excited to see how this goes as well since the numbers will be much larger, and then soon after back again to The HR Technology Conference in Vegas on Sept 28 – Oct 1. Come join me!

Why do managers hold on to bad hires for so long?

I’ve been very public about my philosophy on hiring. I do not hire to fire. In no way do I hire someone thinking “I can’t wait until the day I fire them!”, I don’t think any of us really think that!

I hire someone believing that with the right training, development, and support, they will be wildly successful! I own at least half of that equation, the person I hire owns the other half. Many times it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

The problem with my philosophy is “Sunk Cost”.

Sunk cost is an accounting philosophy that means a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. So, you’ve already sourced, recruited, and trained an employee. You’ve gone beyond training working to develop them. All those costs are now spent.

BUT – because you’ve ‘invested’ those costs into an employee, you are less likely to let them go believing you are more likely to get a return on those costs. In reality, there is absolutely zero evidence that shows you’ll get any return for future investment into that employee, but we really struggle to give up on them based on what we’ve already spent.

This is super common in the management of people resources!

Well, I’ve already dropped $50K into Tim, I guess another $10K isn’t that bad. When in reality that $10K is actually way better spent on another employee, and you fire Timmy!

I’ve known about Sunk Cost for a long time, but now there is actually scientific evidence to back up the fact we should be firing failing employees sooner:

“Sunk costs are irrecoverable investments that should not influence decisions, because decisions should be made on the basis of expected future consequences. Both human and nonhuman animals can show sensitivity to sunk costs, but reports from across species are inconsistent. In a temporal context, a sensitivity to sunk costs arises when an individual resists ending an activity, even if it seems unproductive, because of the time already invested. In two parallel foraging tasks that we designed, we found that mice, rats, and humans show similar sensitivities to sunk costs in their decision-making. Unexpectedly, sensitivity to time invested accrued only after an initial decision had been made. These findings suggest that sensitivity to temporal sunk costs lies in a vulnerability distinct from deliberation processes and that this distinction is present across species.”

This scientific study showed both humans and rats basically do the exact same thing. If we feel we have already invested a ton of resources in a task, we are more likely to continue pursuing this task even when all the evidence to that point has only shown failure!

This is Poor Performing Employee Management 101!

-You hire an employee.

-The employee gets trained and should have the skills to perform the job.

-The employee doesn’t perform the job, so you give more resources to help get them up to speed.

-The employee still doesn’t perform.

-The manager decides not to terminate the employee, but to continue to give more resources and chances.

Why do we do this?

You hired 3 employees before the failing employee and all three completed training and did the job successfully. We know the process works. So why do we not fire the employee?

Sensitivity to Sunk Cost. We are as dumb as rats when it comes to investing our own resources into failing employees. We act the exact same way!

It has nothing to do with the employee and our desire to give everyone a fair shot (I don’t hire to fire). It has everything to do with our own internal drive of not wanting to lose, what we feel we’ve already invested, even when all the data tells us future investment is akin to burning a pile of cash.

So, don’t hire to fire, but also don’t be as dumb as a rat and not fire someone who shows you they can’t and won’t do the job you hired them to do!

Writing LinkedIn Recommendations like Yelp Reviews!

I want to start a trend.

I’ve had some really great people write LinkedIn recommendations for me. I think all of them are from people I’ve actually personally worked with and had a strong relationship with. The dirty little secret, though, is no one really ever reads or pays attention to these reviews. I mean, no hiring decisions are based on “OMG! Tim’s LI recommendations were off the charts! We must hire him!”

The trend I want to start is to start giving each other LI recommendations like we give Yelp reviews of restaurants, hotels, attractions, etc. Wouldn’t that be at least more fun!?!

They would read something like this:

Tim S. on Laurie Ruettimann: 5 Stars – Once walked a mile, drunk, with Laurie to a Sprinkles ATM in the middle of the night because Sprinkles Cupcakes are the best! We have a secret IG group where we talk “ish” about everything, and it’s super fun! Be careful though, she’s always trying to talk you into going to work out and other stuff you probably don’t want to do.

Tim S. on Kris Dunn: 4.5 Stars – I would have given him 5 stars but I was expecting Kris Dunn the NBA basketball player, and while this Kris Dunn does play basketball, he’s nowhere as good as the real Kris Dunn in the NBA. Loves to wear dress sneakers as part of his get-up, which I dig. The only person alive who drinks 32 oz Powerade Zeros in the morning, but didn’t drink the night before.

Tim S. on Steve Boese: 5 Stars – Have you felt his muscles? No, he legitimately works out, under all those fancy suits is a chiseled beast (or at least I’m told). The one dude is constantly on speed dial for a road trip to any sporting event in the world but prefers NBA and Gamecocks sports. Super secret Chairman’s dinners were the best until he sold out and went commercial. King of the top ten list.

Tim S. on Carmen Hudson: 4.5 Stars – She and I were separated at birth. Don’t even try to question, we have the 23 and Me results, haters! Shoes on point. Perfect travel pal. Drags a dude around with her that’s pretty cool, but he constantly complains about his plane seat while on this way to 5-star hotels. Not a 5 star because she lives in Seattle and that’s too far away from me.

So, what do you think!?! 100% improvement from a traditional LI Recommendation, right? I mean, you would hire all of these folks above, I mean if you could afford them, but you can’t, but you would!

Hit me in the comments with your LinkedIn/Yelp Recommendation of me (oh, this will be fun)! Also, be aware, I might hit you back with mine of you!

Why Aren’t You Celebrating When You Make a Hire in Recruiting?

When I was a brand spanking new recruiter right out of college something amazing would happen every single time we made a placement. Now, granted, this one in an agency environment, and we were kind of a small business, startup, but if we (not I, but anyone on the team) made a placement we celebrated!

Now, I’ve heard of TA shops where they ring a bell or play a song, or something like that. NO, I’m talking about closing down the office and popping a bottle of champagne that usually turned into other drinks, and coming to work the next morning with a slight headache, celebration! Doesn’t that seem crazy now, in the world we live in!? I know high-volume recruiters who are making 15 hires a week or more! That’s a lot of champagne!

It might not be popping bottles, but we should still be celebrating!

Let’s be honest. Currently, for almost all recruiters, we are on a treadmill and it doesn’t look like that treadmill is going to stop anytime soon! If there was ever a time to celebrate a hire, filling a position, it’s now! I had a TA leader tell me last week that she has never been more stressed in her career than she has been right now, and over the past 6-12 months. The job is non-stop, and not trying to sound too life-coachy but we have to stop and enjoy our successes!

So, what can we do to celebrate filling a position(s) on a daily, weekly, and/or monthly basis?

  1. Acknowledge those fills as a true success. Period. Because here is what happens. We start off a meeting by saying, “Hey, I just want to recognize Mary because she made four fills last week and that’s just awesome! Now, let’s talk about the 660 openings we still have open!” That is defeating. Try and separate the success conversation from the rest of the work conversation.
  2. Have a senior-level executive, above the hiring manager, send notes of thanks and encouragement. We many times feel like second-class citizens in recruiting. We hear the hiring managers and their bosses talk sh*t about us in meetings. It’s our fault that these positions aren’t getting filled and because of that, they are failing. Actually, it’s all of our fault, but they love using that excuse. If senior executives recognize and celebrate the successes of the recruiting team, it goes a long way. It goes even longer if they actually understand their role in this failure!
  3. Have a Hiring Manager who just had some great fills happen, come buy lunch for the recruiters. Yes, it’s the job of TA to fill jobs, but if you’re a hiring manager and you want great recruiting, recognize and thank your recruiters, often. It’s a super hard gig right now. They will appreciate you.
  4. Have the CEO send a company-wide note or video recognizing an individual recruiter who has gone above and beyond to get positions filled. Share the stories. Yes, this makes this one recruiter feel special, but it also signals to the company how important recruiting is right now for our entire success.
  5. Don’t allow you and your recruiting team to be victims or use victim phrases or behaviors. Yes, we are in a difficult spot, but we are here together, and the only way we’ll get out of this, will be together, as one. We support each other, always. We only talk about our team and the teammates on our team in positive ways. We help each other, unconditionally. In times of crisis, victim mentality kills recruiting teams faster than anything. I’m not asking you to be “Polly-Ann-ish”. I asking you to understand where you are and do not allow outside forces to pull you apart.

Also, ring the bell, buy cupcakes, take the team down to Dairy Queen for an hour, do crazy stuff that shows the organization that a hire was made, and goddammit, that is important to recognize and validate!

Recruiting is hard. Life is hard. What makes it all worth it, it to feel valued. Valued for who you are, and the work you do. To have some enjoyment amongst the chaos. To feel supported by peers, and support them back. It doesn’t take much, but it does take something.

Keep grinding out there people. I see you! And once is while, Pop a Bottle of Champagne and Celebrate!

9 Types of Employee Recognition That Suck!

I run a small business.  When I need to know something, I usually reach out to my employees and find out what they think.  It’s not some big fancy ‘research’ survey with thousands of responses, but it’s real.

Recently, I wanted to know what people might want in terms of a recognition award.  Ironically, what I found goes against some big fancy research done by recognition companies who are in the business of selling the crap on the list below, crazy how that works in the research game! Anywho, what I found wasn’t surprising to me.

Here’s the list of the Top 8 things my employees don’t want when it comes to Recognition Awards:

1. Anniversary Pins! If you give me one of these I will stick it back in your eye! “Hey, Tim, Thanks for 10 years! Buddy, here’s a pin!” A What!?!? I’ve given you ten great years and you’re giving me a pin. Is this 1955?

2. A Plaque. Or any other kind of trophy thing. If I wanted a trophy to show me that I’m a salesperson of the year, you hired the wrong person. JayZ said it best “we can talk, but money talks, so talk more bucks”.

3. Corporate logo wear. Giving out corporate logo wear as a form of recognition screams you have executives that haven’t actually spoken to an employee in the last twenty years!

4. A watch. Wait, if it’s a Rolex, I’ll take a watch. If it’s a Timex you better ‘watch’ out, I’m throwing it at someone! Nothing says we don’t really care about you like a $50 watch with it engraved on the back ‘You Matter! 2019!’

5. Luggage. The ‘experts’ would like you to believe that your employees would really ‘appreciate’ luggage because it’s an item they don’t normally like to spend their money on. The reason why people don’t like to spend their money on luggage is that it gets destroyed after one trip through O’Hare! That’s just what you want to see coming around the luggage carousel – “Hey, look, honey, it’s your employee of the year award all ripped up and stained”. Sign and symbols.

6. Fruit Baskets. First, most people don’t want to be healthy or we wouldn’t have the obesity problem we have in our society. Second, people like chocolate, candy, salty snacks, and diet soda. If you want to send food, send food they’ll actually eat!

7. A Parking Spot with Their Name On It. This goes bad two ways: 1. I drive a $100K Mercedes and you don’t, now you know I drive a better car than you and it’s awkward; 2. I drive a beater and I’m embarrassed to let everyone know I make so little I can even afford a 2014 Chevy Cobalt.

8. A Hug! Wait! I totally want a hug! Just not a creepy hug. You know what a creepy hug feels like when you’re about 13 seconds into it and the other person won’t let go! But nothing says “we recognize you” in the totally wrong way, like inappropriate hugs at work!

9. Anything Virtual! Get the hell out of here with your stupid virtual card and virtual balloons! Or a virtual Zoom high five. No one wants virtual recognition, they want some tangible and real.

What do employees want?

Well, that’s an entire post by itself, but my 20 years of HR ‘research’/experience shows people want their peers and leaders to appreciate their efforts. Nothing says ‘we truly care about you’ like having one of your peers tell you in some sort of way. When teams can do that, they become special! It might be a quick handwritten note, a face-to-face meeting in the hall, etc. It really doesn’t matter the avenue of how it comes, it just matters that you have the culture that it does come and it’s encouraged to keep coming.

I’m not a Dr. but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion article regarding incoming First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, using the pre-nominal “Dr.” when she has a doctorate in education, Ed.D, versus a medical doctorate, Ph.D. There is no doubt that Jill Biden did the work and received the degree, from a real, actual university.

The question really comes down to, is there really a difference in calling someone “Dr.”? 

I’m a brain surgeon, call me Dr. I’m a clinical psychologist, call me Dr. I’m a Pharmacist, call me Dr. I’m a Physical Therapist, call me Dr. I’m a Professor of Sport History, call me Dr. I’m a Vaccine Scientist, call me Dr. I teach English 101 at a local community college, call me Dr.

For each of those titles, currently, to obtain that title you have to have a doctorate degree. Well, actually, you don’t have to have a doctorate to teach at a university or community college. To become a medical doctor, Pharmacist, Physical Therapist, today, you must get your doctorate in the U.S. Regardless, many people get a doctorate but do jobs that don’t necessarily need a doctorate to do that job.

As a recruiting professional, I have an opinion. 

I believe we call people Dr. when in normal society those people are called “doctors”. When I go see a Physician, most people, who don’t know them personally, will call them “doctor”. If in a normal work setting, someone doesn’t call you “doctor”, but you call yourself doctor, that comes off really bad.

The worse is when you expect someone else to call you “doctor” but the average person in the world would never expect to call you “doctor”. Then you come across as pompous. “Tim, it’s nice to meet you!” Yes, that’s Dr. Tim, thank you. “No, that’s Dr. Asshole, goodbye!”

This is just good situational awareness if you are on the job market. We deal with many candidates who have their doctorate in various sciences. It’s very rare in a professional work setting they would ever use “Dr.”, and if they corrected a hiring manager during an interview, let’s face it, that wouldn’t end well.

Does any of this really matter? 

Before someone loses their head and puts in a 700-word comment about how I’m a misogynist against Dr. Jill Biden, check yourself. I could care less about what Jill Biden wants to be called. If she wants to call herself Queen, good for her! Dr. Queen, even better!

The reality is, most likely, this Op-Ed wouldn’t have been written if Jill Biden was voted in as President, and her first husband, Joe, has his doctorate in education, and called himself Dr. Joe Biden. So, that’s a problem. It doesn’t make the Op-Ed opinion wrong, just questionable.

If she’s comfortable with calling herself Dr., that’s all that really matters. I have a feeling that if I got an Ed.D or any other kind of doctorate degree, I would force people to call me Dr.! “Hey, Mr. Teddy Starbucks barista, that’s “Dr. Timmy”! Get it right!” I would also expect that people would say bad things behind my back if it wasn’t normal for someone with my degree to be called “Dr.”

What do the “real” doctors think? 

I got feedback from three friends who all have a doctorate degree. All three felt like this was basically bad form on the part of the writer of the Opt-Ed. He comes across as a sexiest, old, out of touch elitest.

There is, though, a background within the doctoral community of hazing between those with doctorates about who has the “better” degree and from the “better” school. Also, MD’s, medical doctors, most likely look down on all other doctorates who don’t save lives.

As my one friend put it, I will definitely give it to my fellow doctorate friends who have an Ed.D versus a Ph.D, or went to a B-level school versus an A-list school. But, let’s not kid ourselves, I could have not gone to my Ph.D class on management, or done poorly, and no one is losing their life!

The fact is, all doctorate recipients did the work. Professionally, they will take being called “Dr.” in that professional setting. Professors might not ask to be called “Dr.” but if a student calls them by “Dr.” it fits the professional setting. If Jill Biden is working on Educational Policy and Strategy, if completely fits her being called Dr. Biden, that is her professional role.

If I’m going out for dinner with Jill and Joe, in a personal setting, of course, it would seem weird for her to want me to call her Dr. Jill Biden at the dinner table, if we were just having a social dinner. But, that’s not what this is about. This is about someone you thinks he knows more than everyone else, and he’s going to mansplain it to us all, especially, a woman.

If Jill wants to be called Dr. Jill Biden, call her that. If you don’t like it, then don’t put yourself in a position to have to use her name. I’m sure she would appreciate that.

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!