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!

This isn’t about “Fit”, it’s about your Bias is showing!

“We’re big on CULTURE and fit!” We’re looking for the “right” person, not just skills!” “We just kind of know if they’ll fit or not…”

Of course, it’s not The Project if we don’t have some sports analogies that I tie back to some HR topic! That’s how this puppy was founded, probably won’t change. So, you might have missed a great sports-HR topic that popped last week!

LSU is the top college football program in the land and their head coach is Ed Orgeron. He’s beloved by a lot of people and has a great coaching pedigree. It’s surprising, with all of his success at LSU, that USC could have had him as their head coach, but he was passed over. And last week the truth of why he was passed overcame out!

“Specifically, Feldman said certain people in the Pat Haden administration “couldn’t get past what Ed Orgeron sounded like.”

“They didn’t listen to the players. They didn’t listen to the staff,” Feldman explained. “Ed Orgeron’s not a country club guy. I think he can relate to just about anybody…I think he can read people very well. I don’t think Pat Haden, who was the decision-maker at the time, that’s just not kind of guy he wanted. And I don’t think he could get past it.”

USC as an institution is elitist. They have graduates like Matt Charney and Neil Armstrong and George Lucas and OJ Simpson. Pat Haden, himself a USC graduate and Rhodes scholar, was the Athletic Director at the time Ed Orgeron was the interim head coach.

Can you imagine one of your hiring managers coming to you and saying, “Yeah, the resume is awesome, the references are awesome, but you know the candidate sounds dumb, so I’m going to pass!” That’s culture and fit. “We’re great” and we need someone who is going to “represent” us in a way where he makes us believe we are still great.

Pat had a bias. I want a head coach who ‘looks’ and ‘sounds’ like a head coach of USC. What does that mean? Looks good in a suit. Sounds like an educated person, probably white (at least sounds white). Heterosexual with a pretty wife. It was a look, an image. It wasn’t about results.

Pat Haden and USC were just doing what most organizations constantly do. They were hiring for fit. For “culture”. Believing somehow they had it figured out. Turns out, for Ed’s sake, they made the right call, because he is in a position where he is valued and they actually like his accent!

If you find yourself in an interview debrief and the conversation starts going down a path of “Fit” understand you’re about to hear someone’s bias coming out! Maybe you’ll even catch yourself and your own bias. We all have some and they mostly come out when we really can’t determine a real reason of why we don’t want to hire someone!

The Employee Walk of Shame

I’ve lost jobs and I’ve called old employers to see if they would want to hire me back. I’ve usually gotten a response that sounded something like, “Oh, boy would we want you back but we just don’t have anything. Good Luck!”  Many of us in the talent game talk about our employee Alumni and how we should engage our Alumni but very few of us really take true advantage of leveraging this network.

I was reminded of this recently when a friend of mine took a new job.  You know the deal, shorter drive, more money, growing company and oh, boy, just where do I sign!?  The fact was, it was all they said, shorter drive, more money and they were growing, but they forgot to tell him was our operations are broken beyond repair, you will work 7 days a week and probably 12-14 hours per day because of the mess we have, but keep your head up it’s the only way you won’t drown here!

So, now what does he do?

He already had the going away party, bar night out with the work friends with the promises to do lunches and not get disconnected, packed up and unpack the office into the new office.  Let’s face it, big boy, you’re stuck!  Not so fast.  He did the single hardest thing an employee can do he called his old boss after 7 days and said one thing, “I made a mistake, can I come back?”

Luckily for him, his past boss was a forward-thinking leader and so this past Monday he did the 2nd hardest thing an employee can do he made the “Employee Walk of Shame“.

You can imagine the looks from people who didn’t know him well, “Hey, wait a minute, didn’t you leave?” Having to tell the same story over and over, feeling like he failed, like he wasn’t good enough to make it in the new position.

HR plays a huge part in this story because it was HR who can make this walk of shame a little less rough.  Let’s face it, it is different.  You just don’t leave and come back as nothing happened. Something did happen, there was a reason he left and that reason isn’t going away.  A transition back needs to be put into place even though he was gone seven days.  It’s not about just plugging back in, it is about re-engaging again and finding out what we all can do better so it doesn’t happen again.

It’s also about making sure you let those employees who you truly want back, that they are welcome to come back (assuming you have the job) and not just saying that to everyone.  There are employees who leave that you say a small prayer to G*d and you are thankful they left!  There are others where you wish there was a prayer you could say so they wouldn’t leave.

Make it easy for your employees to do the Walk of Shame, it helps the organization, but realize they are hurting, they are embarrassed, but they are also grateful!

DisruptHR Detroit 3.0 Speaker Applications Now Being Accepted!

For those who don’t know, I’m involved with DisruptHR Detroit with an amazing team of HR pros and leaders, and we are putting on our 3rd event on Thursday, September 19th at 6 pm.

Great DisruptHR events start with Great content and we are now Accepting Speaker Applications for DisruptHR Detroit 3.0!

Due Date is August 2nd!

Tickets for this event will go on sale on August 5th and we’ll announce the full slate of speakers and the agenda on August 9th.

The location of DisruptHR 3.0 will be downtown Detroit at The Madison. Click through to the DisruptHR Detroit site for more information.

Who makes a Great DisruptHR Speaker

Anyone with a passion for HR, Recruiting, People and pushing the envelope around what, why and how we do what we do every day in the world of work!

We especially love practitioners of all experience levels. You don’t know have to be a twenty-year vet to be great at DisruptHR! You can be an HR pro in your first year on the job. It’s all about passion and ideas!

So, what makes a great DisruptHR Talk?

  1. It’s 5 minutes – so you better be tight around what your topic and idea is!
  2. 20 slides that move every 15 seconds – you don’t control this, we do. So you better practice!
  3. No selling products or services – Yes to selling ideas and passions!
  4. Make us feel something – laugh, cry, anger – have a take and be proud of that take!
  5. We see and feel your passion.

We’ve built DisruptHR Detroit to be a supportive hub of HR and Recruiting. We want people to come and challenge us, but know you’ll be rewarded with an audience that will support you and cheer you on. These talks aren’t easy, and we get that! The audience gets that!

How can you speak at DisruptHR Detroit 3.0?

APPLY to Speak it’s easy! It’s a great development opportunity for those looking to get on stage and have some professional experience speaking. You actually get a professionally produced video of your talk that you can use as evidence of your ability. It’s also a great networking opportunity with the Detroit metro HR and Talent community!

Job Descriptions vs. Job Postings with @LRuettimann and I (Video) @HRTMSInc #SHRM19

Laurie Ruettimann and I discuss the differences between a job description and a job posting and review a great piece of technology called, JDXpert, we did a demo on. Check it out!

HRTMS Inc. is a human resources software company that specializes in Job Information and Description Management. Its groundbreaking solution JDXpert allows you to bring structure and efficiencies to the way job information is constructed, managed and stored. HRTMS works with a wide range of organizations including manufacturing, healthcare, education, retail, finance, pharmaceuticals, energy, technology, hospitality, professional services, and media services. Since its release in 2010, JDXpert continues to be the most comprehensive and powerful job description management tool on the market.

HRTMS is allowing Laurie and I to give away a free Ebook – “10 Ways To Improve Your Job Descriptions”! (Just click on the link to download!)

 

Career Confessions of Gen Z – The Holy Grail of Benefits

Welcome to the reboot of Career Confessions of Gen Z! I started this in 2018 with my Gen Z son, Cameron, and the response was off the charts. So, in 2019 I found 8 great Gen Z HR, TA, and Marketing pros to continue the Gen Z content. Enjoy! 


The early members of Generation Z have entered the workforce and the rest of the 61 million Gen Z’s are on their way. A big question that employers have been asking regarding this generation is, “What do we offer to attract them to our company?”.

To attract and retain this generation, many companies have been altering their benefits and internal culture to be more appealing. More and more companies are now offering things like a flexible work-life balance schedule, remote work days, casual dress codes, a 401k match, advancement and rotational opportunities, and etc.

While those benefits are appealing, only 4% of companies are offering the most attractive benefit that will not only attract Gen Z candidates, but will generate major employee loyalty. That benefit is Loan Forgiveness Assistance.

CNBC reported that eight in 10 workers with student loans say they would value in working for a firm that provides extra dollars for student debt repayment.  I find it hard to believe that number isn’t 10 out of 10!

In the U.S, people collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student debt. Most of that student debt belongs to Millennials and early Gen Z’s. An additional $1.27 trillion in new federal student loans is estimated to be added between now and 2028 by Gen Z. This generation is going to find themselves in the same debt situation as Millennials as tuition rates continue to rise.

Student debt is a real, growing problem that employers can help reduce and that we want them to help us reduce.

Not only is contributing toward student loan debt a major perk for employees, but it also ensures employee loyalty and retention. By offering this benefit, employers are giving their employees an awesome reason to never leave their company and to want to work their asses off for them.

I have a few Gen Z friends that are in companies that have some sort of student loan repayment assistance in place and I can tell you that they never plan on leaving those companies. The fact that the companies make contributions towards their student loans was also one of the major reasons they chose to work at their companies. They scored the holy grail of benefits when they accepted their jobs!

There are a few different ways in which employers can offer loan forgiveness assistance. To learn more about what other companies are doing and how student loan repayment assistance programs have been mutually beneficial for employers and employees, consider reading the following links:

A 401(k) Twist on Student-Loan Aid

Student Loan Repayment Is The Hottest Employee Benefit Of 2018

How Student Loan Debt Impacts Your Employees

Student Loan Repayment: The Job Perk Of The Future


Hallie Priest is a digital marketer for HRU Technical Resources, a leading engineering, and IT staffing firm based in Lansing, MI, using her skills to create content to serve all involved in the job seeking/hiring process. When she is not strategizing campaigns, going over analytics, or talking about her dog you can find her at the nearest coffee shop fueling her creativity. Connect with her on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/halliepriest


Co-Managing with an A–hole!

In the modern work world, we are often tasked as leaders to co-lead, co-manage a team, a function, a location, etc. The challenges to this are many, but none is more difficult when you have to do that and the other person is a complete a-hole!

What I find is that most a-holes have no idea they’re an a-hole, or they know they’re an a-hole but some broke in their brain to make them believe their actually a better person/leader as an a-hole versus a normal person.

What are the jerk, a-hole leader behaviors? Being condescending to the employees they lead. Talking behind the back of those they lead to others on the team that are a peer of that person. Not supporting their co-leader on things that were previously agreed to, etc. You know what I’m talking about!

I’m lucky that I haven’t had this issue for a while but I see it happen all the time in organizations I support, and it’s one of the most talked about issues I hear from friends and peers that work in corporate gigs. Here’s some of my advice for co-managing with an a-hole:

– A–holes hate being put in a box. Put them in a box. Get agreements on things, then get written confirmation of those agreements. I find a-hole leaders will work not to confirm via email or written communication, especially if they don’t really agree with the direction and plan to screw you later!

– Always stay above the line in front of those who report to you and your peers. “Above the line” means you never allow yourself to do or have the same bad behaviors as your co-manager. You take the high road, always. Trust me, in the end, you’ll benefit greatly from this!

– Be brutally honest in your assessment of your a-hole co-manager. I find most a-hole leaders are never told by a peer that they’re being an a-hole with real specific examples. Most if told, will actually try to change those behaviors. Some are truly just a-holes and they won’t change, but it will make you feel better to address it. Also, don’t stop addressing it! Every time it happens, call them out. That is actually an “above the line” behavior by you calling them out!

As a leader dealing with this situation will probably be the most challenging you’ll have in your career, but ignoring it, complaining to your boss, to matching their behavior are all losing propositions that take your career nowhere.

I love killing a-holes with kindness! It doesn’t happen often to them, they are used to getting the opposite reaction from their behavior, so extreme kindness to them really throws them off guard and unsettles them which can be quite funny!

You’re Uninvited!

I’m not terminating anyone ever again.

I can’t terminate anyone, because I don’t hire anyone.  I do invite people to join me.  Join me on this journey, on this path. It’s going to be a great trip.  I invite them to be a part of my family.  Not my ‘work’ family, but my actual family.  I spend more time with my co-workers than I do with my wife and children (in terms of waking hours).  So, when I invite someone to join us, it is not something I take lightly.

That’s why, from now on, I’m not terminating anyone.  From now on, I’m just uninviting them to continue being a part of what we have going on.  Just like a party.  You were invited to attend, but you end up drinking too much and making a fool out of yourself, so now you’re uninvited. You can’t attend the next party.  I don’t know about you, but when I throw a party, I never (and I mean never) invite someone I can’t stand.  Sometimes a couple has issues with this, where one spouse wants to invite his or her friend, but their spouse is a complete tool and it causes issues.

Not in my family, we only invite those people we want to be around, life is too short.

Here’s the deal.  When you invited someone into your family, you usually end up falling in love with them.  It’s that way in business. It’s the main reason we have such a hard time firing on bad performers.  We fall in love with those people we hire.  “Oh, Mary, she’s such a nice person!”  But, Mary, can’t tie her shoes and chew gum at the same time.  So, we give Mary chances, too many chances, and pretty soon Mary is part of the family.  It’s hard terminating part of the family.

I would rather just not invite Mary to attend work any longer.  “Hey, Mary, we love you, but look, we aren’t going to invite you to work.  We’ll still see you at 5 pm over at the bar for drinks.”  Sounds so much easier, right!?  It happens all the time.  I use to get invited to stuff, but somewhere down the road, the group stopped inviting me.  I might have been a little upset over it, but it didn’t last and I’m still friends with everyone.  Termination is so permanent, it’s like death.

Being uninvited sends the same message, but there’s a part of being uninvited that says “you know what, maybe it was you, maybe it was us, but let’s just face it, together it doesn’t work.”

You’re Uninvited.

Is employee experience really all about your manager? #Maslow #Drink!

So, I’m sharing a post I wrote over at EXJournal.org (EX = Employee Experience). It’s site started by some brilliant people from all over the world and they invited me to write to bring down the overall quality of the site! I wrote this post and immediately thought, “Hey, I just leveled-up from my normal poorly written stuff!”.

I thought this because it’s an idea I’m passionate about and truly believe. I think we get lied to a bunch by HR vendors who are just trying to sell their shit. We’ve been lied to for a long time on the concept – “People leave managers, not companies” – that’s actually not true…enjoy the post and check out the new EXJournal site!


“Employees don’t leave companies. Employees leave managers.” 

How often have you heard this over the past decade? A hundred times? A thousand times?

We love saying this in the HR, management consulting, leadership training world. We use it for employee engagement and employee experience, to almost anything where we want to blame bad managers and take the focus off all the other crap we get wrong in our companies.

The fact is, the quote above is mostly bullshit.

Employees actually care about other things more

The truth is, employees actually leave organizations more often over money than anything else. We don’t want to believe it because that means as leaders we have to dig into our budgets, make less profit, and pay our employees true market value if we want them to stay.

Managers might be the issue if you’re getting everything else right. So, if you pay your employees at the market rate. Ifyou offer market-level benefits. If you give them a normal work environment, then yes, maybe employees don’t leave your company, they leave their managers.

But you forgot all that other stuff? Maybe the ‘real’ reason an employee left your company wasn’t the fact their manager wasn’t a rock star. Maybe it was the fact you paid them below market, gave them a crappy benefits package, and made them work in the basement?!

The dirty little truth about Employee Experience is that managers are just one component of the overall experience, and we give them way too much weight when looking at EX in totality. We do this because we feel we don’t have control over all of the other stuff, but it’s easy to push managers around and ‘train’ them up to be better than they actually are.

Rethinking Maslow for EX

There is a new Maslow‘s Hierarchy of Employee Needs when it comes to Employee Experience and it goes like this:

Hierarchy of needsLevel I – Money – cash!

Level II – Benefits – health, fringes, etc.

Level III – Flexibility of Schedule – work/life balance

Level IV – Work Environment – short commute, great design, supportive co-workers

Level V – The Actual Job/Position – am I doing something that utilizes my best skills?

Level VI – Your Manager – do I have a manager who supports my career & life goals?

We all immediately jump to Level VI when it comes to EX because that’s what we’ve been told is the real reason people leave organizations. Which actually might be the case if all of the other five levels above are being met. What I find is that rarely are the first five levels met, and then it becomes really easy to blame managers for why their people leave.

Managers aren’t the difference maker

When I take a look at organizations with super low turnover, what I find are that they do a great job at the first five levels, and they do what everyone else does at level six. The managers at low turnover organizations are virtually the same as all other organizations. There is no ‘real’ difference in skill sets and attitudes; those managers are just managing employees who are pretty satisfied because most of their basic needs are met pretty well.

I think the new quote should be this:

“Good employees leave companies that give them average pay, benefits, and work environment, that don’t utilize the employee’s skill set, and that make them work for a crappy boss.” 


(Tim note – Why the #Drink? It’s a game that my fellow HR/TA speakers and I play. We hate when someone uses the Maslow pyramid in a slide, so we make fun of it by claiming every time a speaker mentions “Maslow” or shows the pyramid the entire audience should have to take a drink – like a drinking game for bad speakers! The more you know…) 

Upgrade Your Employee Experience with a “Nap Experience”!

Okay, I already know that there are some “ultra-cool” employers our their with sleep pods, but let’s face it, ‘real’ employers don’t have sleep pods in their work environment!

Yes, I just said it. If you have sleep pods in your work environment you’re not real. You are a Unicorn. That’s fine a lot of people love unicorns! The reality is, though, most of us in HR and Talent don’t work for unicorns. We just work on regular old employee farms.

But, just because you’re not a Unicorn doesn’t mean you can’t offer your employees that unicorn-level Nap Experience! Casper Mattress (you know the mattress company that for $1,000 will send you a mattress to your house in a box and you get to pop the plastic wrapper and watch it grow like a sponge animal in water) opened a “Nap Store” in New York City:

“Right next to its New York City store, Casper has launched a branded nap destination called the Dreamery. For $25, customers can catch a 45-minute nap inside little sleeping pods, furnished with Casper mattresses (obviously) as well as Casper sheets, pillows, blankets, socks, and an eye mask. Staff will provide fresh linen for every nap, and also on loan are pajamas by Sleepy Jones, a toothbrushing set from Hello, face wash from Sunday Riley, and audio tracks from Headspace — you know, all the necessary sleep accouterments any Instagram-fluent millennial could desire.”

Yep, for the low cost of $25 you can give your employees a little ‘nap’ bonus and it doesn’t even have to be taxed!

Let’s face it. No one really wants to sleep at work in some gross sleep pod that Ted from IT just spend the last two hours in hiding while playing Fortnite! What we want is our own private, clean area to sleep during work, before we go home to watch Netflix until 3 am, so we can then go back to work and get another one of those great Nap Experiences!

I want a Nap Experience right now!

I once spent a $125 to jump off the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. It took 12 seconds to fall to the ground. For $125 I could have a 225 minute Nap Experience!!! Let me tell you, right now, I’m always choosing the 225 minute Nap Experience over jumping off a building!

You in 2018 we really haven’t had anything come out yet that has had real impact on increasing the Employee Experience. That was until this week!!! I’m going to go out a limb here and say that the “Nap Experience” might become the biggest thing to ever happen to sustain a positive workplace culture!

The other idea that hasn’t been tried yet, but would also totally work is “Rent-A-Puppy”. If you combine Nap Experience with Rent-A-Puppy experience you might be able to take over the entire world!

So, hit me in the comments below – are you Pro Nap Experience or Con Nap Experience?