Digital Transformation of Work & Wellbeing – @SHRMLabs Report

I got invited recently to be a part of a think tank of sorts on a project with SHRM Labs and Techstars Workforce Development Accelerator discussing what technologies are needed to help navigate the new digital world of work. What the heck does that mean? Good question!

If you haven’t checked out SHRM Labs they are doing some amazing work around innovation, technology, and work. Led by Guillermo Corea, SHRM is working to take a leading stance on the technology that is built for HR. This isn’t your grandmother’s SHRM! Shout out to Hadeel El-Tashi, she has been amazing as well on the SHRM Labs team.

Basically, we have three types of worker environments right now:

  • Full On-Premise work
  • Hybrid
  • Full Remote

Full on-premise work we’ve been trying to build tech and processes around wellbeing for a long time. To limited success, for sure, but still, it’s been a long focus for technologists and HR for decades. Hybrid and Full Remote, while not new, were limited in use, so the focus was not there, then the pandemic thing happened and this had to ramp up really fast.

What we found is there are limited options for organizations to truly and robustly support their team’s well-being when they work remotely and in hybrid scenarios. Here’s the basis of the report:

This report highlights participants’ voices on each of these points. It proposes ways to foster work/life integration in remote- and hybrid work environments, followed by an exploration of elements that constitute a great employee experience and effective employee culture, closing with a discussion of how companies can attract (and retain) the best talent in the face of a tight labor market and the Great Resignation.

You can download the report here

What were our main findings:

  1. All organizations need to find ways to embrace flexibility in the workplace. Not just white-collar workers, but all workers. Flexibility and “All” is a difficult undertaking.
  2. Give employees agency and develop accountability. I call this one, treating employees like adults, but smarter people in the think tank had better words than me!
  3. Drive efficiency and asynchronous communication tools. Stop the non-stop stream of zoom meetings thinking that’s how you’ll communicate effectively with hybrid and remote workers.
  4. Personalize benefits and improve the employee experience. We still deliver benefits mostly like it’s 1970. Everyone gets a 401K match, even if that’s not your priority and you have student loans or want to buy your first house. Or we offer student loan repayment, but you graduated thirty years ago and paid off your loans, twenty-five years ago. One size fits most, is a crappy experience.

We also had findings around building digital culture and attracting more workers – you can download the report to check those out.

Overall, we’ve got work to do in HR as a total function, including TA, Talent Management, Learning, Benefits and Compensation, etc. This is invigorating for the field and there are so many passionate technologists in our space trying to help us develop great solutions for our issues.

I’ve been studying the technology in our space for the past decade and I’m always amazed that the process of what we need and what’s available is ever-evolving. The pandemic while awful, has opened up the world of work in ways we’ve been pushing to make happen for decades with little movement, then this tipping point happened and it’s like HR is being reinvented all over again.

It’s an amazing time to be in our profession!

How to Improve HR Conferences Post-Pandemic

Hey gang, I’m on my way back from SHRM Talent in Denver and thinking about how we can improve the conference experience. My favorite conference to attend is SHRM Talent. Almost everyone I run into as a TA title and these are my people! Shared pain brings us all closer together!

I was having a conversation with an attendee with the premise, what if never had HR conferences, so we had no preconceived notions of what an HR conference should be, what would we do differently? Here are some of my ideas:

– Virtual conferences suck. The interaction is limited at best. I would love to see what Facebook/Meta spaces could be for virtual if we all had headsets in a virtual conference hall. So, I’m saying conferences should be in-person, but I know we’ll always have a virtual component moving forward.

– A one-hour+ presentation sucks. I actually don’t mind doing them because I love to hear myself talk! Also, in an hour you can fumble around and still get to the end with no problem. 15 -30 minutes you must be tight! You must get to the juicy stuff quickly! People pay greater attention to shorter time segments. We love TEDx presentations because they are 17 minutes and it leaves us wanting more!

– Every conference should have some sort of professional speed dating. The real reason we go to a conference is to expand our professional network, so we have folks to lean on when we need help outside our normal work network, which tends to be limited.

– Let’s say 500 people attend a session and on a scale of 1 to 10, let’s say 30 people give it an 11! They love it! They want more! Those 30 people should have some sort of way to set up additional times outside of the conference for further discussion and networking. Community building makes your conferences more sticky. 

– Don’t put everyone in dark conference ballrooms! Set up a stage outside in the sun and let folks get some vitamin D. RecFest in London is great at this. But you also have to have some balance for those who can’t take all the heat all day. But, if I’m in Vegas or Scottsdale in October, put a stage outside and let folks get some fresh air. We all need some recess! 

– More coordination amongst conference organizers. In 2022, this spring, I’ve already run into a week where there are 3 conferences going on in the same week that I want to attend. Can’t there be a big shared Google calendar? Hung Lee put one of these together but not enough conference organizers know about it, so they all plan their stuff in the same weeks.

– Better food and drinks. It’s 2022, and we can’t figure out what people want vs. these are the options we offer you? My kid’s high school can have a food court with 15 options, but somehow I’m paying $2,000 to attend an adult conference and I get dry chicken and wilted lettuce?! And never any diet Dew!? (Except SHRM Talent – Shoutout, I had diet Dew every day!)

– Put the best speakers and keynotes upfront. We do this dumb thing where we try and keep conference attendees to the end by putting the best content last. It doesn’t matter, 40% of the folks are taking off early. Every. Single. Time. Stop trying to force people to stay at your conference longer than they want. Just put the best upfront when everyone is there, and let the ones with average content get better with fewer people watching. Unless you have Oprah or Michelle Obama as your closing keynote, you’ll always have a big number taking off on the last day to get home at a decent time.

– Make attendees commit to expo demos. You get to come, but you actually need to do three demos. You think you’ll hate them, but you’ll actually learn something. If you don’t do them, you don’t get invited back. We’re here to learn and be better, it’s okay to place some expectations on attendees. I know this sounds stupid, but I think it would actually help HR Pros.

Okay, what are your HR Conference ideas?! Hit me in the comments, let’s come up with some awesome ways to make them better.

Why are we always trying to move up? #SHRMTalent

Yo! I’m still out in Denver at the glorious Gaylord Rockies for SHRM Talent. If I don’t make it back to Lansing, MI, there’s a 74% chance I got lost in the Gaylord and I’m thriving off the food small children dropped along the way.

Some common themes coming out of SHRM Talent:

  1. Hiring is hard.
  2. Employees seem changed. Neither good nor bad, but different.
  3. There’s a new normal, but we don’t know what that normal is yet.

One of those things that a lot of folks are talking about is what most of us consider the normal career ladder. You start at the bottom and then you spend the next 40 years of your life climbing up it, and then you die. Turns out, people seem to think that isn’t as glorious as we make it out to be.

The problem is we still view this climb and desire to climb as one of the main characteristics of a great employee. Another problem is people want more and more money and the way to get more money is to get promoted. Another problem is many times the people who want to move up, actually suck at the next level. Another problem is we use the promise of promotion as a way to retain talent when our total compensation isn’t great.

We’ve got 99 problems, and moving up the career ladder is one big one!

How could we burn down the ladder and create something else?

If I had this answer, I would not be writing blog posts from the desk at a Marriott hotel in Denver on a Tuesday evening! Let’s be honest.

What I know is the future of talent development is going to look different. There will be ways for employees to move horizontal, down, and on an angle, not just up. We will figure out the compensation stuff. I mean we already have, but we get caught up in traditional compensation design and philosophy, another problem. Traditional labor seniority systems really did a job on us over the decades! We fight constantly to stay within those constraints at all levels and within all industries.

I think it starts with us developing employees around a concept of professional competence and skill development, and not around the next level up within the organization. There use to be a time in our world were we valued mastery. We devalue mastery in today’s world, and we overvalue one’s ability to navigate the path upward. Our children are taught that they should strive for and desire upward levels. Instead of reaching mastery within a field.

That’s a hard organizational culture shift to make happen.

I think the tech world might have a better chance of reaching it faster. In that world, the value of mastery is greater. You can be a master developer and definitely make more and bring more value to a company than the manager of product management. And that’s not dumping on someone who wants to lead people, because we all know how difficult that is as well. But, just because you lead people doesn’t mean you necessarily are more valuable than the people you lead individually.

It’s such a complex and difficult topic, which makes it fascinating to talk about the future and its potential. To work in a world where each person is valued on their individual skill set and not based on the level of organizational ladder achievement would definitely be something to see. I think we all know some managers that would be in for a pay cut!

“X” Won’t Respond to Me on @LinkedIn! How can I get them to respond? #SHRMTalent

I’m out in Denver this week at the SHRM Talent Conference. It’s packed with talent acquisition pros and everyone is super excited to be out and share, so the conversations have been really dynamic!

I got involved with a group of TA leaders where one asked the question: “We (their recruiters) can’t get software engineers to reply on LinkedIn. Does anyone know a way we can make that happen?” The next leader said, “Oh, we are having the same issue, but with accountants!” And then another in Healthcare. Basically, all of their teams were struggling to get responses on LinkedIn.

Oh, you all, are my people! Let’s talk shop!

I find there are a few kinds of people that will respond on LinkedIn without too much trouble:

  1. People who actually know you. Turns out, “network” is and should be about folks you actually know.
  2. Recruiters and Sales People. No explanation is needed.
  3. Life Coaches. See #2.
  4. Catfish and Scam Artist. I would think the LinkedIn algos could weed a lot of this out, but it just seems to grow.

Everybody else is really hard to get to respond to, especially if there’s no connection and it’s a cold outreach.

I’m going to answer the main question with a question. Don’t you hate that! Here’s my question: “If they won’t respond to you as a recruiter, who would they respond to?”

Take a minute, gather stakeholders, and answer that question.

If I’m a software engineer, and there’s a professional networking site I’m on, who would I normally respond to?

  • People I’m connected to through work, school, life, etc.
  • People I view as peers or superiors in my career.
  • People who think might be able to offer me some value. (No, your job isn’t of value to them)

If this is the case, why are we having recruiters reach out to candidates on LinkedIn at all? Why aren’t hiring managers and organizational leaders reaching out? That’s really the question! A potential candidate is exponentially more likely to respond to a peer in their skill profession or leader in their skill profession or an executive from your company.

Why?

Because they feel like that “direct” connection has value. If I’m a software engineer and VP of Engineering from a local company reaches out to connect with me, I’m much more likely to connect with this person. If I’m a manager or some function and the CEO of a company reaches out to me to connect to share leadership philosophy, I’m almost always going to accept that connection.

How do I get my Hiring Managers and/or Executives to do my Sourcing on LinkedIn?

Well, if the pain is enough for the organization you might be able to make this happen, but the reality is, it won’t be consistent enough to make a difference. The better way is to have your TA team partner with these folks and allow them to run their accounts. If I support the VP of Engineering, I’m 100% sure I would have a relationship where she would allow me access to her LinkedIn. This would happen because I would be beyond professional in using it and also give her a weekly activity report of what I did and what happened.

I’ve done this with both LinkedIn and their work email. In a way, I’m their AI bot! I’m going to use your profile to help us attract talent, and when we find someone with interest, I’ll do a transfer from you to me as the recruiter, so the candidate is left to believe a handoff happened and it’s going to be an awesome experience.

Some people think this is deceitful. I get it, but I don’t truly believe it’s different from acting like your chatbot or our crappy mass email that is made to look like it’s personal but it’s just automation. I’m not trying to deceive the candidate, I’m trying to make a connection with them and one of my leaders, in hopes that turn into interest.

Tell me why or why not this wouldn’t work in your organization?

HireVue launches the HR Industry’s First AI Explainability Statement!

AI Explainability What?!

First, this is a big deal and I’ll explain what it all means and why you as an HR pro or Recruiting Pro should care.

AI is being built into almost every part of the HR and TA tech stack. Algorithms and Machine learning are having a massive impact on how we find, offer, develop, and promote talent in our workforces, so having an understanding of how this is happening is very important to the risk side of HR.

What is an AI Explainability Statement?

Basically, it’s the behind-the-scenes stuff you don’t think you want to know. It’s how the sausage is made, and it matters a great deal. You want to know that the tech you are using is reducing bias and not putting your company at risk of a lawsuit. You also want to know how and why your tech is doing what it’s doing.

HireVue didn’t have to do this. No one else has to this point. But, it’s important they lead with this as they probably have caught more flack than anyone else in our industry over how their technology was selecting one candidate over another based on some early testing they did with facial analysis technology, that they no longer use and haven’t in years.

What is HireVue’s AI Explainability Statement?

Okay, first, let me give you the overview because the actual statement is more like a white paper that is 29 pages long! Here’s the overview:

HireVue considers the ethical development of AI, candidate transparency and, privacy to be core values of the business. HireVue’s AI Explainability statement is the latest proactive step to ensure that its technology is at the forefront of emerging best practices in the use of HR hiring technologies. The Explainability Statement, together with previously commissioned independent audits, provides customers with meaningful information about the logic involved in HireVue’s technology. Together they are the latest tools to help companies understand the processing of personal data.

You can click here to read the full statement (and Yes, it’s worth a read if you’re using AI-based tools in your HR & TA Tech Stack!)

Why does this matter?

I’ll let the chief data scientist at HireVue explain:

Lindsey Zuloaga, Chief Data Scientist at HireVue: “Being at the forefront of defining the transparent and ethical use of AI and software is at the heart of what we do. Our mission is to create a level playing field for anyone seeking employment, reducing bias and providing organizations with a more diverse pool of talent. Deploying AI correctly and ethically, powers a significantly more consistent, less biased, more engaging screening process for recruiters and candidates alike. We believe there needs to be more transparency around its use in HR, this is why we’ve published our own AI Explainability statement, to best support our customers and educate the industry.”

Here’s what we know after using AI-based hiring tools for a few years now:

  1. AI does what it’s trained to do. So, if you train it inappropriately, it will act inappropriately.
  2. AI has the ability to significantly reduce bias and increase fairness in hiring as compared to manual processes where we just leave hiring to humans and our guts.
  3. We can constantly monitor and correct AI. We are less likely to constantly monitor and correct our human hiring managers.

Big Kudos to HireVue for being the first out of the gate to do something like this. They’ve taken a lot of criticism for some things they’ve built and tried in an attempt to make hiring better that didn’t go as they planned, but they’ve corrected and taken a lead within the industry from this learning. This is exactly what you want from a vendor you rely on to help you make consistently better hiring decisions.

HR Pros: Do you see yourself as a coach?

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

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

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

More from The New Yorker –

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

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

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

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

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

6 Signs You Shouldn’t Make That Offer!

If I have learned anything at all in my HR/Recruiting career it’s that everyone has an opinion on what makes a good hire. If you ask 100 people to give you one thing they focus on when deciding between candidates, you’ll get 100 different answers! Especially with today’s difficult hiring event where we are pushed to hire any warm body, don’t!

I’ve got some of my own. They might be slightly different than yours, but I know mine work!  So, if you want to make some better selections, take note my young Padawans:

1. They only have bad things to say about former employers. Notice I didn’t say “employer” singular, because we all can have a bad, toxic work choice we’ve made. Once it gets to multiple, you now own that, turns out you’re bad at knowing what’s good for you! Plus, there is a high correlation between hiring a candidate that bad mouth their former employer and that eventually they’ll be bad-mouthing you as well!

2. Crinkled up money. Male or female if you pull money out of your pocket or purse and it’s crinkled up, you’ll be a bad hire!  There is something fundamentally wrong with people who can’t keep their cash straight. The challenge you have is how do you get a candidate to show you this? Ask to copy their driver’s license or something like that!

3. Slow walkers.  If you don’t have some pep in your step, at least for the interview, you’re going to be dud as an employee. Of course, if the person has a disability, ignore this point!

4. My Last Employer was so Awesome! Yeah, that’s great, we aren’t them. Let’s put a little focus back to what we got going on right here, sparky. Putting too much emphasis on a job you love during the interview is annoying. We get it. It was a good gig. You f’d it up and can’t let go. Now we’ll have to listen about it for the next nine months until we fire you.

5. Complaining or being Rude to front-desk and/or waitstaff. I like taking candidates to lunch or dinner, just to see how they treat other people. I want servant leaders, not assholes, working for me. The meal interview is a great selection tool to weed out bad people. Basically, if you feel comfortable in an interview treating anyone bad, you’re a bad person.

6. Any communication issue where they aren’t apologetic. “Yeah, I know you contacted me five times about the interview, but like, the new game came out and I was like busy and stuff.” Hard no! I don’t need you to respond immediately, but at least have some awareness of the moment! Before you lose your shit, this is for both candidates and recruiters! If a recruiter is bad at communicating with a candidate they should be apologetic as well. Common civility is a bare minimum for an offer!

What are your signs not to make an offer?  Share in the comments!

The Tim Sackett Covid Vaccine Employer Policy!

Let me start this by saying I’m 100% pro-vaccine. I’m vaccinated and my entire immediate family is vaccinated. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated where it’s healthy for them to do so.

Organizations are really struggling right now to figure out what they should do about Covid vaccinations and employees. We see some giant employers mandating vaccinations and I’ll also publicly say I think that mandating vaccines for 100% of your employees is basically stupid.

Wait, what?!?! (TRIGGERED!)

I get that we all want everyone to be safe. I do as well. I also pay attention to the science and after you had Covid, there is no reason to get vaccinated. There is a growing mountain of global research and evidence, from real doctors and scientists that care about ending this pandemic, that show those who have had Covid already carry the same amount of antibodies as those who have been vaccinated. So, forcing someone who has had Covid to get vaccinated, is frankly, stupid!

Too many good employees are losing their jobs over this and many of these folks have valid reasons to not get the vaccine, and some honestly have already had Covid and don’t need the vaccine, but we are forcing it upon them for really no reason whatsoever.

The Tim Sackett Covid Vaccine Employer Policy

1. If you want to work here you have to get a Covid vaccination. We care about each other. We care about our customers and clients. We all want to live our best lives, alive.

The caveats:

  • If you have had a verified case of Covid. That means you have to be able to show a positive PCR test, and or a blood anti-body test that shows you previously had a positive case of Covid, you do not need to get the vaccine as a condition of employment.
  • If you have a religious objection to getting the Coivd vaccine, you do not need to get the Covid vaccine. But you do have to document your objection (see form A). This form gives you the ability to explain your religious objection and it also has you sign off that our company is not responsibile for your medical care if you become Covid positive. Upon completion and signature of this form A, we will not require you to get the Covid vaccine as a condition of employment.
  • If you have a medical disability where a doctor documents that it is not in your best medical interest to get the Covid vaccine, we will not require you to get the Covid vaccine as a condition of employment.
  • If you receieve a religious or medical accomodation, and you have not recieved a Covid vaccination and you have not had a verifiable case of Covid, you will be required to wear a medical approved mask while at work over your nose and mouth. We will provide you with a mask if you choose not to have an approved mask of your own.

Policy Instructions for HR Leaders and Executives:

  • If someone fills out Form A and signs it. Accept it and walk away.
  • If someone brings you a signed doctors note saying they shouldn’t get the vaccine for medical reasons. Accept it and walk away.
  • Ensure no one, either vaccinated or unvaccinated, is discriminating or harrassing the other because of their status.

That’s it. That’s the policy. Short and simple. The best policies are.

I know some folks will lose their minds about this. I get that. I’ve heard stories about HR departments forcing people to “prove” their closely held religious beliefs. I mean, really?! This is time well spent? Forcing someone to prove their religion. Come on, we are better than this. We are smarter than this. There are better ways we can torture employees, right!?

I think there are only two real arguments when it comes to mandated vaccinations:

  1. Hey, let’s try and not kill people! But, it’s basically them killing themselves, not the folks who already got vaccinated. As both vaxed and unvaxed are passing the virus around to each other. But those who are vaxed are much more likely to have a less severe case.
  2. Hey, you getting a bad case of Covid cost our insurance plan a ton of money, which means we all now have to pay for your stupid decision. This is a super valid argument, and if I’m running a big HR shop I would really be thinking hard about a “Unvaxed” health insurance premium. Great! You don’t want a vaccine, your insurance now costs an additional $2000 per month.

FYI – for those looking for a link to “Form A” there isn’t one. It’s just an example of what we do and what we make in HR. If you want a Form A go make one, you don’t need my help!

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!

SHRMLab Better Workplace Challenge Cup Winners! #HRTech @SHRM

In my post on Monday, I mentioned that my new favorite segment of content at SHRM Annual was the SHRMLabs Better Workplace Challenge Cup. Odd name that doesn’t make much sense to what the content really is. It’s a technology pitchfest. A startup competition of HR Technology companies. I’m going to assume the name came from someone who is sponsoring it, regardless, it was awesome!

The competition started amongst 150 different startups within the HR Technology community who first pitched at regional SHRM events across the country. From those five regional competitions, the winners were selected to present and pitch at SHRM Annual. Here are the five:

  • Compt: A perk stipend software company based in Boston, Mass.  
  • Symba: An all-in-one workforce management platform for talent development programs based in Chicago, Ill.
  • TiLT: A leave management platform based in Fort Collins, Colo.
  • UnboXt: A leadership development platform based in Atlanta, Ga.
  • WorkWhile: A technology company that connects hourly workers to shifts based in San Francisco, Calif.

All five pitched very well, and if you are looking to expand your HR Technology knowledge these five would be great ones to start with demos!

The winner was Compt. Deserving, I mean all of them were deserving, but Compt came across as a little more “sexy” for the judges. Perk companies tend to do that. They pitch well, especially to folks who don’t have a deep knowledge of the HR Technology marketplace and what HR pros actually use. Perk companies always sound cool, because it’s the kind of thing as employees we wished we had, but we don’t because it turns out it costs a bunch of money we don’t have! All of that said, Compt did very well and they do have some great technology.

My personal favorite was Tilt, for the simple fact, I know this is a technology that almost any company with over a hundred employees could use. Managing leave, well, is hard. HRIS systems do a little of this, but not to the extent that it makes the person leave feeling confident and also makes the HR person in charge of leave feel like they have their arms around everything.

I wasn’t a huge fan of bringing in SharkTank judge Daymond James, but honestly, I was in the super minority! In hindsight, it was a good call on SHRM’s part because it got a lot of people in the room who were stargazing, to actually take a look at some great HR Technology. Kind of a brilliant move on SHRMLab’s part to find a way to get folks interested in HR tech who aren’t normally interested in HR tech! Maybe SHRM can get Matthew McConaughey SHRM 2022 in New Orleans to judge!

I’m out at the HR Technology Conference in a couple of weeks and I’m one of the Emcee’s and Judges for their HR Technology startup competition, the Pitchfest. I love that more HR tech companies are getting an opportunity to be in front of actual practitioners. There is so much great HR Tech in the world, and most of us know just a fraction of it. Kudos to both SHRM and The HR Technology Conference for giving these startups a platform to be seen!