In HR (and life) the story that wins becomes the truth!

In HR we hear a lot of stories.

We love to tell ourselves we are hearing the truth from one side and a lie from another side, but the reality is both sides are stories with a little truth and a little lie built-in. We then ‘measure’ who we feel is telling more truth than lie, and that side becomes the full truth.

Throughout history, this plays out. The winners of war decide what the truth is, not the losers. One side is good and righteous, one side is bad and evil. Before the war, both sides were just trying to make it through the day and make their society better. Truth.

We fire someone because they harassed another person. That person is a bad person. The person who got harassed is a victim and is a good person. The problem is, that’s not really reality, is it? Many times the person we fire is actually a pretty good person and the victim is a piece of garbage. But, the winner gets to decide the role they want.

We fire an employee because we are told by their manager that they are not performing well. We trust our manager. We have to it’s what our structure is built on. If we didn’t then what are we really doing? The employee claims they weren’t trained properly, they weren’t given good direction, they were put in a position to fail. You’re fired, you’re a bad employee. You lose, you don’t get to decide the truth.

It’s one major reason why I tend not to really care that a person was fired from a job. The reason probably matters. I don’t want to hire someone who embezzled from their former employer or some other major offense, but if it’s performance, let’s talk. I’m willing to talk because I know there are always two sides to the story. It just happens that this candidate lost their last story, but they might win the next.

It’s important as HR pros and leaders we understand this concept, not just for hiring, but also that we understand most times we don’t deal in complete black and white wins and losses. In HR we deal in the middle, in the gray. Once we make a determination, we are making a determination of ‘win’. We are validating one story over another. We like to tell ourselves and our leadership that this one story is the truth, but it’s really just another version of a story.

So be careful this week as you decide which stories will win and which ones will lose. Truth can be a pretty powerful thing even when it’s just a story.

Want to Recruit Better? Hire more Recruiters and less Recruiting Managers!

 

Take a look at what’s happened in healthcare over the past 40 years:

 

In the healthcare industry over the past forty years, there has been a 2000% growth rate in the number of “Administrators” in healthcare, which the number of Physicians has remained relatively flat. Now, some of this growth in administration could be that for decades prior there might have been a lack of proper administration and some of this growth is just catching up, but 2000%!?

And we wonder why the cost of healthcare in our country is out of control!

Healthcare isn’t the only place where this happens! The more successful an organization is, the more mid-level management hires increase. So, in times of prosperity, we tend to want to surround the worker bees with tons of management “help”. Our organizations get bloated with none productive hires all hired believing we’ll make those who actually produce more efficient and effective.

We do this in talent acquisition, a ton!

I get asked by HR and TA executives frequently about hiring recruiting leadership. Recently, I spoke with a CHRO who was struggling to attract talent and fill positions and I asked her to give me their TA structure. “Oh, we have a Director of TA, a Manager of TA, and a Recruiter.” So, you can’t hire, but you’ve got two TA leaders and one person actually doing the hiring!?

I told her to fire the director and the manager and hire 4 more recruiters and let the team of 5 recruiters work the openings. I was exaggerating a little, but she got my point. Positions don’t get filled by managing them to death. Positions get filled by recruiters generating activity that leads to filling positions.

Of course, great leadership can help any function be more effective, but having leaders for the simple fact that we believe someone or something needs to be “managed” is short-sighted at best, and destructive at it’s worst. I’ll always choose a flatter structure over empire-building any day of the week. Give me some soldiers and let me fight!

The problem with hiring non-productive employees is what we’ve seen in healthcare. Once you get one administrator/manager every other employee wants to do the same thing. “Wait, I can get paid more and not have to actually produce!? Yes, please!” And soon you have a 2000% increase in hiring folks who don’t actually see patients, who don’t fill positions, who don’t make the donuts.

 

Celebrating #PrideMonth at Work!

I want to celebrate Pride month. I run a small SMB recruiting shop. I’m not even sure I have an LGBTQIA+ person working for me. I mean, I wouldn’t ask, I would hope they were comfortable enough to share if they wanted, but I can’t tell you 100% either way. They would have my support, is what I’m saying.

You see, it’s clumsy for me, and I like to consider myself an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. Imagine what it’s like for other SMB leaders who don’t have the experience and support easily available.

If I worked for a large/enterprise company I think it’s easy to celebrate Pride month. You know if you have hundreds and thousands of employees, you definitely have some LGBIIQA+ working for you and applying to your jobs, and you want to show them support.

If you’re an SMB it’s a bit harder to determine how to celebrate.

I’ve already seen at least a dozen blog posts from large employers saying how you should or how they will be celebrating Pride Month. It’s awesome stuff like:

  1. Attend a Pride event.
  2. Volunteer or Donate to Pride causes.
  3. Be an advocate.
  4. Educate yourself (I love this one!).

Consider your company’s LGBQIA+ inclusivity.

  1. Become an Ally.

Most companies in the U.S. are SMB. I’m going to NYC this week and Pride month is alive and well in NYC! As it is in most large cities around the country.

If you come to small to midsized cities in most parts of the U.S. you would have no idea it’s Pride month. It’s just June.

So, what can SMB organizations do to celebrate Pride month? (please share your ideas in the comments!)

  • You could raise the flag. Does your company have a flag pole? In June, fly the rainbow flag with pride.
  • Hold an inclusivity event. Pride month is as much about celebrating as it’s about educating. We still have so much education to do.
  • Establish Inclusivity Policies. The majority of SMB employers do not have inclusivity policies.
  • Encourage your employees to show support. Have a day where you all wear signs of support – pins, LGBT-themed clothing, etc.
  • Collect donations for a local LGBTQIA+ charity.

All of this does something in your community. It shows them what and who you value. You are taking a stance that you are inclusive for everyone in your community and welcoming.

But, what if an employee asks why are we celebrating Pride Month when we don’t have any LGBTQIA+ in our company? 

  1. Tell them don’t assume this to be true.
  2. Tell them, just because we might not have any LGBTQIA+’s doesn’t mean we don’t want to attract some to work for us, and celebrating shows that community we are welcoming to them.
  3. Ask them why they think it’s not important, often they are just showing a prejudice they have, and it might lead to some great training opportunities.
  4. Ask them how they think you should support the LGBTQIA+ community?
  5. This is really the same thing as #BLM and Black History Month. You might be a small business and not have any black employees, it doesn’t mean to don’t celebrate. Your employees have black relatives, friends, community members, etc. This is about showing you value all of your community.

I’m no expert. I’m just a dude running a small company who wants to support Pride month. I won’t get it 100% right, not even close, but I’m going to start and try.

7 Very Short Rules For Being Better At Recruiting!

Over the past few months have had dozens of conversations with Talent Acquisition leaders across America. From SMB to Enterprise, all types of markets, and all with basically the same kind of problem. The need to get better at recruiting, and the need to do it very quickly! (By the way, I actually wrote a book on how to do that! Duh!)

The reality is, none of these folks wanted to read my book (TL;DR). Okay, actually, some have, but they still wanted those silver bullets. Yeah, yeah, I can read the book, but “really” just tell me what I need to do right now to get better! We are desperate to hire better, NOW!

Very Short Rules for Better Recruiting!

1. You must advertise your jobs.

No, posting your jobs on your own career site doesn’t count! Also, this isn’t free. Quality advertising that gets results will cost some money. Also, just posting on job sites, for most, will not be enough. Job sites are for people looking for jobs. The best organizations advertise to people who are not actively looking for a job, and those people are not on job sites.

2. Stop working on requisitions for Hiring Managers who are not “immediately” ready to hire.

Your team already has limited capacity to recruit. You don’t need to be messing around with openings with a hiring manager who is unsure. “Well, just leave it open. Maybe someone will apply.” No, it’s canceled, when you’re serious about hiring we’ll re-open that position and make a hire.

3. If a job is always open, it’s never open.

No one wants a job that is always open. There is a problem with that job. Why can’t you fill it? Why is it never closed? “But, Tim, this is a greenfield position!” Stop it! Think about this from a candidate’s perspective and the recruiter’s perspective. A candidate doesn’t want a position that never closes, and a recruiter doesn’t want to work that position. Plus, it’s very difficult to get both recruiter and hiring manager ownership over a position that never closes. If you have openings that never get filled, there’s a bigger issue at play.

4. It’s not Quality or Quantity, it’s both.

When it comes to measuring a recruiter’s activity and performance, quality and quantity are not mutually exclusive. We need both. You must work through enough candidates to get both a certain level of quality and enough quantity to meet the obligations of the job. We don’t have a quality issue, because every one of our recruiters would only send high quality. Not having enough quantity then becomes a work effort issue, that can be solved in a number of ways.

5. If your recruiters aren’t using your old ATS, they will not use your new ATS.

We buy technology because we truly believe it will make our TA team/process better. Thus, if they are not using our technology, there is a belief that they are better than your investment in technology. So, you must assume that this will happen with any new technology you buy as well. In my experience, this actually happens in about 90% of cases. It’s not a technology issue, it’s an adoption issue.

6. You must know your own baseline recruiting capacity, then improve upon that.

Yes, I can tell you how many reqs, on average, a recruiter can effectively carry. Also, that number is basically meaningless to you. Your team, your leadership, your technology, your market, is different than everyone else. Continuous improvement of yourself, should be your true measure. You only know if that is happening, if you know your baseline performance.

7. Stop doing anything that doesn’t lead to or help you fill jobs.

Most of my job, as a recruiting consultant, is not about finding out what you’re not doing, but finding out what you are doing that you should stop doing. 100% of the time I find recruiters and recruiting teams doing things that have very little to do with filling open requisitions. While, organizationally, those things might be important stuff. Functionally, they are a waste of time.

Bonus Rule:

If you have recruiters who love to administer your recruiting process, but they do not love to actually recruit, you have two options: 1. Fire them; 2. Move them into Recruiting Operations if you’re an enterprise-size shop. You need recruiters who recruit, not ones who talk about the process. We do not have the time nor the resources to carry non-recruiting, recruiters on our teams. FYI, letting them go, won’t hurt your capacity, they weren’t really recruiting anyway!

What are your favorite recruiting rules for being better at recruiting? Share in the comments so we can all get better together!

How can you become a great HR/TA Pro?

I met an aspiring HR college student recently. The question was asked, “Tim, how can I be great at HR?” I told them to buy my book and read my blog and that’s really all there is to it! Just kidding, I said something after that as well! 😉

It’s a great question that ultimately has very little to do with HR or Talent Acquisition. To be great at HR, or anything, rarely do you have to be great at that certain skill set. For some things, it’s important: doctor, lawyer, accountant, etc. But in most professions, you can learn the skills, so it’s about these other things that I told this young Padawan:

Go deep on a few things. The world needs experts, not a generalist. Don’t kid yourself to think being a generalist is really what your organization wants. People say this when they are an expert in nothing. Be an expert in something and a generalist in a bunch of stuff.

Don’t be super concerned with what you’re going deep on, just make sure it interests you. While it might not seem valuable now, at some point it probably will be. I’m not in love with employee benefits, but someone is and when I need help with that I’m searching for that person.

Consume content inside and outside of your industry. Those with a never-ending appetite to learn are always more successful.

Connect with people in your field outside of your company. We are in a time in the world where your network can be Pitbull Worldwide! Use that to your advantage. There is someone smarter than you a thousand miles away just waiting to help you.

Just because someone older and more experienced than you might think something is unimportant, don’t give up on it. We all get used to what we are used to. Older people think Snapchat is stupid and it might be, but it also might unlock something awesome in our employment brand. Experience and age are super valuable until they aren’t.

Constantly make stuff and test it. Some of it will fail, most of it will be average, some of it will be awesome. Give yourself more chances for awesome! Don’t let someone tell you, “we tried that three years ago and it didn’t work”. Cool, let’s do it again, but this time change the name!

Take a big chance early in your career. Find a company that you absolutely love and just find a way to work there in any position, then be awesome for a couple of years and see what happens. Working for a brand you love is beyond the best career feeling you’ll have.

Don’t expect to be “HR famous” overnight, but the work you do right now will make you HR famous ten years from now. Do the work, fall in love with it, the fame will come down the road. “I want to blog and speak just like you, Tim!” Awesome, I started doing this a decade ago. Let’s get started right now!

Don’t discount social skills in the real world. You can be the smartest most skilled person in the room, but the one with a personality is the one people will pay attention to. This is a skill that can be learned and constantly improved upon if you work at it.

Spend time with Great HR and Talent pros. No one is really hiding their secret sauce, you just aren’t asking them questions. The key in spending time with others is not asking them to invest more in helping you than you’re willing to invest in making it happen. I get asked weekly for time from people who rarely are willing to help me in return.

Get Tech Savvy. This does’t mean you need to learn to code, but you have to be comfortable with the capabilities and advances that technology is having on your specific field. You should demo technology consistently. You should put yourself in a position where you feel knowledgeable enough to make technology decisions for your function, so someone else is not making these decisions for you. Especially as a young professional, because most old pros won’t have this skill and few have any desire to acquire this skill late in their career.

Okay, as internships are concluding for the summer let’s help these aspiring professionals out! Give me your best advice in the comments!

The Rules for Hugging at Work Post-Pandemic

Okay, I’ve been known as the guy who likes to hug, and I’m not sure why I have this designation but it might be because of this post here. Also, I tend to like hugs! And, I might have hugged a bunch of folks to kick off my speaking engagements demonstrating the Official Office Hugging Rules!

My mate (that’s what English male friends call each other) Chris Bailey (who is a world-class hugger in his own right) and I were messaging back and forth the other day on WhatsApp (Editor note: Tim has to tell you he was messaging on WhatsApp so he seems cool and worldly) and he said, “Mate, you need to write the rules for Hugging at Work after Covid”. He’s right, it’s time.

The key to great rules is you get them out before people start making up their own rules. Since organizations are just not figuring out return-to-work strategies, and a bunch of people are getting their Covid Juice (vaccines), the world, or at least Chris Bailey, is clamoring for how can we start hugging again!

The Rules for Hugging at Work, Post-Pandemic

1. Read the Original Rules of Hugging at Work, they still apply, but we needed some additions.

2. If both parties are Vaxed you are free to party! Hug away! Hug me like you missed me! Hug me so hard it might start an HR investigation! But only hugging, Sparky, don’t get too excited!

3. If one party is Vaxed and one party is stupid (err., not vaxed), Hug that moron if you want. Now, if you are vaxed and the non-vaxed person is wearing a mask, well that probably just helps knock down that coffee breath.

4. If you are not vaxed and the other party is not vaxed, please not only hug, but lick each other. The world is built around natural selection and there is nothing more exciting than watching natural selection take place in the wilds of the office!

5. Understand coming back into the office, Post-Pandemic, the world has changed a bit. Everyone is a bit on edge. There’s a good chance you hugging someone at work will get you fired. So, my recommendation is to hug anyway, no one wants to work in a world where “Karen’s” rule the world!

6. Don’t hug someone who is trying to give you an elbow bump. That person is weird.

7. Don’t hug someone who says, “It’s just a little bit of allergies” as they are hacking up a lung. Also, if you’re sick, have enough self-insight to let folks know so they don’t come in for a snuggle!

8. If it looks like someone needs a hug, ask them, and if they don’t say “No”, most likely they need a hug! The world has been an especially hard place the past year or so. A lot of folks need a hug!

9. Some of your folks are remote and they need a hug. Great leaders, in a new world of remote, hybrid, and on-premise, will travel and deliver hugs. It might be the single most important thing you do as a leader all year. Hug delivery.

10. Hug with DEI in mind! Have you hugged a person of color today? What about one of your Transgender co-workers or peers? What about someone of the same sex? If you only hug the opposite sex of the same color you are, you might want to ask yourself why is that? I’m an equal opportunity hugger! Come get some!

11. No group hugs. Let’s stay civilized, people! It’s a special kind of crazy the person who initiates a group hug. In HR we use “group hug” as profiling the truly psycho employees we have working for us! “Come on guys! Let’s all do a big group hug!” – Um, No!, Trevor!

Cancel Culture Can’t Cancel Hugs!

I did a survey recently and it turns out 89% of people want a hug, and the 11% who don’t like hugs, also hate puppies (this is my own survey, don’t @ me!). Here’s the thing, as we get back to work and see folks we haven’t seen in a while there will be emotion! We missed a lot of these assholes! Enough that we will want to give them a hug!

Also, if you have folks working hybrid that you don’t get to see as much, when you do see them you will want to do more than a cold handshake or fist bump. The world needs one big giant hug, and we certainly have some co-workers who need more than a few hugs!

Hugs don’t need to be canceled. Hugs are great! What needs to be canceled are creepy dudes who hug inappropriately and make the people they hug feel uncomfortable. Fix that problem! Leave hugs alone!

Every First Internship Should be a Sales Internship!

So, it’s that time of year. Bring in the interns and show them what they’ll never do or see again in the real world when they get their first job! I’m only half-joking. Most internships I hear about today (and I hear about a lot – I’ve got two sons in college!) aren’t coming close to teaching young adults what it’s like to really work a job in your company.

If I was Chief of HR for the country, like I got to make all the HR decisions and make rules and stuff (wouldn’t that be a fun job!) – Chief Justice of HR! I would force every kid who ever did an internship to first do a sales internship with whichever company they decided to do an internship with. Great, you want to be in HR, or an Accountant, or an Engineer, or a Developer, etc., first, you need to go out on the road or sit on the phone with Jerry, he works in sales for our company.

Why sales?

Too often I see entry-level grads come into organizations with this strange sense of how the world works based on what it is they do in their chosen profession. Do you want to know how to really impact your chosen profession? Go find out how the sausage is made! The ‘sausage’ in most organizations is sales.

Want to find out how to save the organization money as an Engineer or Accountant, you better understand your customer and what and how they’re buying? Want to be a great designer or developer? Sales will teach you what your priorities should be. Want to find out how to impact employee development and career growth? Go find out how hard it is to sell $1 of your product your company sells every day.

This isn’t some plan to get everyone in the world to think sales is hard and you should pity them. Sales are hard. Great sales pros also make a ton of money. No one usually feels bad for sales. This is truly about getting the new grads coming into your organization to have a better perspective about what’s really important.

If we don’t sell our stuff, you can’t ride down the slide into the lobby on your way to hot yoga.

So, no matter what you do in the organization. You should know how to sell. Well, Tim, I’m going to be a nurse. Hospitals don’t sell, we save lives. Congratulations on becoming a nurse, it’s such a great profession, you’re a moron. Every organization sells. Hospitals compete against other hospitals for high-margin health care business. Nonprofits compete for donations and grant dollars. Churches compete for your soul!

Every organization is selling something, and you should know what it is you’re selling and how it’s sold.

We do a disservice to new grads when we make them think that their profession is only about the skills they’re learning for some title they’ll one day have after graduation. Your profession, every profession, is about ensuring crap gets sold.

Professionalism vs. Civility at Work!

In Human Resources and Talent Acquisition we have gotten very use to hiring managers making a statement like, “I really need someone with a high level of professionalism in this role”. Having experience as both an HR leader and a Talent Acquisition leader for twenty-five years, I thought I knew exactly what that meant.

My view of the term “Professionalism” meant the hiring manager was looking for someone who had a high skill level in communicating appropriately for each situation. That they had an appearance that seems to fit the culture of the organization and those we served. That in times of stress or crisis, they were able to keep their composure and work through situations to come up with an outcome that would be satisfactory to both sides.

What I never realized was that the term “Professionalism” is or is thought to be rooted in racism and white supremacy. But, as the social justice and BLM movements have brought many things to light over the past couple of years, I’ve been reading and hearing from people of color that the use of “Professionalism” as a descriptor was akin to saying “what we really want is a white person”.

I have to be honest, and I know folks will say this is because I was blinded by my privilege, but I never once in my career thought when a hiring manager said they wanted someone who was “professional” they were secretly telling me they wanted a white person. I probably think this way because I’ve had men, women, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, etc. tell me this as a descriptor/skill they desired as a hiring manager. But, this is also the difficulty of unconscious bias.

Is there a difference between “Professionalism” and “Civility”?

I can definitely see how the wrong individuals could easily use the term “professionalism” to mean white and not black. I’m not naive to the world. It does bring up the dilemma though on how do we actually measure or speak to how individuals should act in certain business settings. Of course, each company’s culture is different, so this is a constant moving target by company, by leader, by position, etc.

I think most HR leaders and Executives, regardless of gender, ethnicity, and nationality would believe there are appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and ways to conduct ourselves in a business setting. Probably 90% of which we could come to some sort of agreement on, and the other 10% would be personal preferences.

This then begs the question is “professionalism” really a racist ideal, or is it just an additional method some individuals/organizations/institutions could use to continue systematic racism where they see fit? If that is the case, then how can we communicate the 90% we agree on in a fair and equitable way where all employees feel like they belong?

This brought me to the concept of Civility.

Civility is defined as formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech. Sounds a bit like how we would define “Professionalism” so it makes me wary we are just using a different word. I did find a Civility expert, Sejal Thakkar, who trains organizations and employees on how to be more civil with each other. She had a post on Linkedin and shared a bunch of really great resources explaining that no matter your role at work, from the lowest-paid worker to the CEO, all should be acting with civility, at all times. (Click here for Sejal’s LinkedIn post with resources) (Also, go connect with Sejal, I really like what she’s doing around Civility in the workplace!)

My question to Sejal was simply, in these current times I get messages from leaders who feel like they are being held hostage by some of their employees. These employees feel empowered to say anything without any recourse. They can talk divisively at work about politics, their beliefs and ethics, while attacking other’s beliefs and ethics that are different than theirs, and leaders feel like they have to allow this to happen. How can leaders deal with this issue of feeling like they are being held hostage by some strongly opinionated employees who are causing dissension at work about non-work things?

Sejal’s response was what I expected. All employees, both leaders, and non-leaders should be acting civil towards each other at all times, with no exceptions. She was short and sweet in her response. There is no room for incivility in the workplace. Period.

It’s fine to disagree about big things in the world, and still act civil towards each other, especially in the workplace. An employee might have voted for Biden and hated Trump, and can’t fathom that another employee actually voted for Trump, but that doesn’t give license to either employee to act uncivil towards each other. You can have employee support BLM and have employees support Law Enforcement, all the while being civil towards each other. If both, or either does act uncivil, it should be dealt with in your normal course of discipline as if they acted inappropriately about anything else within your workplace.

What does Civility look like at work?

(I’m going cut and paste from one of the resources Sejal shared (Ten Ways to Create a More Civil Workplace) as this person can say it way better than I could ever write):

  1. Acknowledge Others. No one should feel invisible. Make eye contact. Greet people with “good morning”, “good afternoon”, etc. Use people’s names. Make people feel welcome in your presence.
  2. Think the Best. Most people are not trying to intentionally ruin things or do harm, try to assume positive intent. Until proven wrong, give the benefit of the doubt that people are trying to do the best they can with the resources and tools available to them.
  3. Listen. Stop focusing on yourself and your needs; instead, focus on other people. Don’t assume you need to solve anything, just hear and try to understand clearly what they are saying. Respect what others think and honor their right to see things differently than you do. It doesn’t mean you have to agree, just hear them.
  4. Speak Kindly. Be respectful in word and tone, particularly when delivering critical feedback. In addition, never gossip or speak unkindly of people when they are not present.
  5. Accept and Give Praise. It is said that one of the greatest things you can give someone else is a sense of their own worth. Praising the accomplishments of others and showing appreciation cost you nothing but deliver tremendous value. And when you are praised, a kind thank you is all that’s necessary. Gracious humility is a virtue.
  6. Be Agreeable. Be open to and look for opportunities where you can accommodate others, compromise, or simply allow someone else’s ideas to be implemented. Your way isn’t the only way.
  7. Respect Other People’s Time. Be punctual, end things on time, wait your turn to speak, show up to everything you’ve promised, and every time you fail to do so, apologize.
  8. Apologize Earnestly. Be clear about the error you’ve made and do not make excuses. Let others know that what you did was wrong and that you understand and regret the negative impact you’ve made.
  9. Accept and Give Constructive Criticism. Be clear about your intentions. If your intention is to help, then be helpful, however, if your intent is revenge or to manipulate things to your benefit, re-evaluate and walk away. When receiving criticism, assume the positive intentions of others. Be grateful, not defensive.
  10. Don’t Shift Responsibility and Blame. If you are part of the problem, own it, apologize if necessary, and help in finding a solution. Trying to place blame rather than working to find a solution makes you an obstacle. Don’t be that person.

I love these! Can you imagine, right now today, if we all worked in an environment where this was taking place! The world would seem lighter, for sure!

This is extra difficult right now in our work world because so many of our employees, who are working remotely, haven’t even met each other. It’s way easier to disregard another person when you don’t truly know them or their intentions.

Like I said above, I am not naive to the world. I understand people are hurting and fed up with the world they are living in, so we’ll see unrest and people being uncivil towards each other. I hope and like to believe, that we can create workplaces where people will feel like they belong and are safe to have civil discord. Because once it becomes uncivil it’s time for some folks to leave or are workplaces breakdown and that isn’t fair to the other employees who rely on the success of the business to pay their bills and feed their families.

We live in a world, currently, where most people seemingly do not first assume positive intent, and I can understand why. But for our workplaces to grow and thrive, we must fight to get to a place (understand I did not say “back to a place”) where we can all be civil towards each other working on common goals and successes.

Do you feel like an imposter in your HR or TA Leadership Role?

Imposter syndrome impacts everyone at some point. The feeling like you don’t belong because your abilities aren’t up to par with others, or your accomplishments don’t fit the role you were given. This belief that you might be a fraud, except no one has figured it out, just yet!

So, there is a couple of ways I look at this feeling of being an imposter in the role you have:

  1. It’s true, you’re an imposter. You might get lucky and no one will figure it out, but most likely at some point, they will. So, you have the time from right now, until you’re figured out, to actually not be an imposter! Good luck.
  2. You feel like an imposter, but you actually know your sh*t. This one is just your insecurities f’ing with you. You probably just need a good life coach or partner, a little self-confidence boost to actually put you on the right path. (Don’t call me, I’m not a Life Coach!)

Within HR and TA we see quite a few imposters. It usually. takes about 12-18 months for an imposter to be figured out after hiring. The world, and LinkedIn, are littered with imposters with year and a half working stints. Some are so good at being imposters they actually will jump from one failure to the next and get promoted! But, the timing always stays true!

The world is also full of really great people who feel like imposters. Why does a good, solid performer feel like an imposter?

  • You work for a weak executive who don’t know that you are actually a really great hire and have great potential. This lack of belief by your leadership leaves you feeling like an imposter.
  • You just suffer from lack of confidence. You might have always had low confidence. Did you feel like you did bad on every test in college, but always got an “A”? Here’s your sign.
  • You have a bunch of senior level terrorists on your team that make you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, when in reality they don’t know what they’re doing, but they’ve been around longer and you’re the fourth leader who will fail with this ragtag bunch of under performers.

How do you stop feeling like an imposter in your leadership role?

Validate your greatness!

The more time you spend within your peer group outside of your organization, the more you’ll be able to assess if you’re an actual imposter or if you actually know what you’re doing. The first step is to hang out with some peers you believe are rock stars and start assessing what they say versus what you say. Are they asking you for advice? Are you only asking them for advice? (Pro tip: true imposters don’t ask for advice, because they want to continue to believe they know everything!)

Remember why you got hired into your role!

What were you hired to do? Did you do it? Are you close? If you did accomplish what you set out to do, what’s next on your plan? What still needs to be fixed? Can you fix it? Do you need outside help? Have you upgraded your team? You were hired because an executive thought it was important to do something in your organization, and that’s your job. You will either do it, or not do it. Imposters never do the job they were hired to do, but they’ll tell you they did!

Leaders are action oriented. Imposters are not.

Imposters don’t take action, because they don’t know what action to take, or they are fearful that the action they will take will blow up and they will fail. Leaders take action to better the situation of their department/function, knowing failure could happen, but doing nothing if just continued failure of why they were hired. The one action imposters will take are usually around something to do with showing someone else is to blame for the failure of their function. “We would have succeeded if marketing and IT would have given us a better career site!”

Don’t fear your feelings of being an imposter!

Feeling like an imposter, especially for new leaders, might be the most natural feeling a leader has! Questioning yourself and your abilities will drive you to learn what you don’t, and partner with those who know more. The imposter feelings will give you the pressure you need to succeed and not slow down.

One helpful key to imposter feelings if having a mentor or peer, outside of your organization, that you can share your feelings with. Someone to bounce ideas off of, and help you understand the difference of being an imposter and being a leader. These discussions are important for your mental health.

Are you an imposter in your current role? The real imposters will answer “No!” and change nothing. The real leaders will think about it and determine the feelings are just feelings, and go about doing something about it.

Your Future Office has 40% Fewer Seats!

Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, the largest private-sector employer in New York City, wrote in a letter to shareholders this week that remote work would “significantly reduce our need for real estate.” For every 100 employees, he said, his bank “may need seats for only 60 on average.”
New York Times

Feels about right. In my opinion, some sort of hybrid work model for office workers is going to win out. 2/3, 3/2, etc. You work from home (or wherever) some days, in the office some days. The additional flexibility people received during the pandemic is a very hard thing to take away at this point.

The “on average” phrase becomes the issue!

On average, Tim, we only need about six places for people to get there done. Okay, but on Monday’s you’ve asked everyone to come into the office for meetings and such, and told everyone they don’t have to come in on Fridays! Maybe we can find an office building that will let us just rent 4 days a week!

What this really means, is once again, the Office Furniture Industry wins! Did anyone check into see if Steelcase or Herman Miller maybe released Covid onto the world!?! The more time I spend in HR, the more I’m convinced that the office furniture industry really runs the world. About every decade or so, we (HR) is tasked with reinventing work and that means new work spaces.

Yeah, but if we are WFH Tim then you don’t have to worry about it! Yes I do! I now have to worry about employees working at home at their kitchen table hunched over in some chair not designed to work in all day, and I have the worker’s compensation claim. So, it is just a matter of time until I’m shipping new office “home” furniture to my employees to make sure they are taken care of and still have the cool hip culture we want with $1000 work at home chairs that are functional yet still look great in their 1970’s retro family room they’ve been piecing together off Ebay.

You know a great team building activity would be to have us send office furniture to everyone’s house and then we all get on a Zoom call and build it together! Hey, Ikea, get on this!

Hey, Billy, sorry, you got in at 8:30 am, you’ll have to share a desk with Mary until a spot frees up, here’s a folding chair.

This is why we’ll all be building “shared” spaces in our workplaces. Because you know what’s super effective and efficient when you’re trying to get that project done? Listening to some idiot drone on about some Netflix real-life crime drama series they are watching, and you don’t even like real-life-crime-drama, or Todd who is telling you all about it, but you’re stuck “In the Park” the cool nickname HR gave your social share space where work nomads without desks come to get stuff done, but not really done because no one can’t get anything done at the “Park”.

WFH, Hybrid, In-Office.

Everyone needs a seat, but just not all the time.

Welcome to show!