Should the US Women Soccer Team be Paid the Same as Men? No!

How’s that for a clickbait headline! “I knew it the SOB Tim Sackett is a Sexist!” Slow down, read the post, you might be surprised on my take…

The US Women’s Soccer team should not be paid the same as the US Men’s Soccer team. They should be paid more!

Okay, let’s dig into this issue.

The media coverage on this issue is rightly pro-US Women’s Soccer. The US Soccer’s legal team continues to make ridiculous statements in an attempt to fight for their client. That’s what you pay lawyers to do, win your case. The men have more responsibility!? What is this, 1935!?! I’m not even sure how the US Soccer’s in house council even allowed that language to be released!

Here’s the full read of the US Soccer Federation’s legal argument. It’s worth a read if you truly care about this issue.

My first reaction to this case when it first got hot last year was this entire thing is ridiculous. If the women want the same as the men, why not just do straight revenue share that is equal. Both men and women get the exact same percentage of revenue they bring and can split it up in whatever way they deem appropriate for their teams. Seem fair? I thought so.

You bring in more money, you get more money. You bring in less, you get less, but don’t bitch, you brought in less.

My thought process on this issue has changed considerably since my first reaction. I love the logic behind revenue share because the Capitalist in me seems like that is equitable and fair. You make more, you get more. But the reality is, the women, in this case, have not had the same advantages of the men for decades, maybe a century, when it comes to this issue.

Let me break down some points:

– You don’t want to hear this but if the US Women’s Soccer team had the same contract as the US Men’s soccer team, they would actually make less money than their current contract. The US Men would argue and are currently renegotiating, they would make more if they had the women’s contract! From US Soccer, the women actually make more than the men, but the men make more overall because of professional money and non-US Soccer tournaments.

– Men’s soccer has been funded and supported at such a different level for so long, it has given them a giant, one could argue, an unsurpassable advantage in player development, infrastructure, marketing, etc. This is why the US Men don’t require have compensation to play on the national team because they make exponentially more than the women playing professional soccer.

– If we pay the US Women equally to the US Men, the women will actually make less overall, because they don’t have this advantage of time and resources the men have gotten for so long. I don’t think pay equality is what is needed, it’s pay fairness. By the way, if you take a few minutes and actually read the legal documents, this also what the US Women are saying. But, in the media, it wouldn’t play well to say “we want more”! But, what they are actually trying to get, would, in fact, pay them more than the men, when it comes to US Soccer compensation, but not total overall compensation.

– Carli Lloyd, the famous US Soccer women’s player, admitted in her testimony that the US Men actually do have more “skill” when it comes to speed and strength. The use of the word “skill” is really what the media pulled out. The actually tactical and strategic soccer skills, ballhandling, passing, etc. Is way too subjective to argue that men have more skill than women.

– “Women’s Soccer and Men’s Soccer are not the same game.” This was a statement from my wife, a former D1 college athlete and a national team invitee. The name is the same, but we have to get over this fact that men and women playing a similar game is the same. It’s different! I love to watch women’s volleyball. Men’s volleyball is boring. I would rather watch men’s basketball over women’s basketball. If I love “basketball” why don’t I love watching both? Because I actually love watching “Men’s basketball”. Different games.

– The legal argument that US men soccer team members have more responsibility is just an ignorant statement. Again, based on history, awareness, resources, etc. US citizens get super pissed if US “men” lose at anything to other countries because we’ve been conditioned by mostly media, that this is how we should react. If the women lose, we tend to not be as upset. “Oh, they played their butts off! Next time!”  Again, we’ve been conditioned to this response. If we would have been conditioned that losing, men or women in a national team competition, is awful and unacceptable for decades, we would all truly believe this responsibility is equal, which it is, but we tend to think differently about, because of how we’ve been conditioned.

– These are all union bargained terms. This is why the US women have taken their argument public because legally this win will be hard. They bargained fairly and agreed to these terms. Courts love to uphold bargained agreements. You signed the contract and now you think it sucks. Okay, go back to the bargaining table. Isn’t that why you joined a union?

I hear your argument right now. “Tim, more people want to watch men over women, the TV viewership, ticket sales, etc., show this!” The reason women don’t have the same resources is because it’s not the entertainment people want. Well, for decades, men were the only entertainment option we’ve been given! “Tim, men’s football and men’s basketball pay for all those Title 9 scholarships for women!” And every other men’s sport as well. Again, historically we didn’t support women’s athletics even close to men’s. So, if we did, from the beginning, would we even need Title 9? We won’t know, we are where we are right now.

Also, I don’t give a crap that one team was more successful than another. In the world of national teams, that doesn’t really matter. In the US, our best male athletes usually gravitate to the sport that pays them the most money (basketball, American football, baseball, even hockey). Women, again, don’t have those same avenues. The highest NBA player salary in 2019 was $34,000,000 per season. The highest WNBA player salary was $127,000.

The US Women’s Soccer team should not be paid equal to the US Men’s team. They should be paid more. Paying them the same would just be another injustice to female soccer players. We have systematically put women athletes at a disadvantage for so long in the US. Not pay equity, pay fairness.

SHRM-SCP or HRCI-SPHR? HR Pros – Which one should you get?

I’ve been HR blogging for ten years. You learn a few tricks about blogging after that amount of time. One is you find out what people actually want to read by the search words they use to find your blog and various blog posts.

One of the most all-time most searched for terms that find my blog is:

“SPHR or SHRM” or “SHRM or HRCI” or “SCP or SPHR” or some combination of those terms.

For my non-HR readers, SHRM is the world’s largest HR association. HRCI is an organization that has certified HR pros through education and testing for decades. A couple of years ago, SHRM decided to take that type of activity in-house and do it themselves, which led to competition around who’s certification is better SHRM or HRCI, or which certification should you get SHRM or HRCI?

I wrote about this a couple of times, years ago, and it still comes up and I still get questions about it, so I thought I would do an update on the topic. The first time I wrote about this was in December 2016 when SHRM first announced its move into the certification space. My opinion then was I’m going to have both, and see how it all plays out, but SHRM is the brand name that HR pro and leaders identify with, no one really knows HRCI outside of the HR world.

What’s changed in the past three years? 

Really, not much! It’s played out a little slower than I thought, and there hasn’t been really any big moves like I thought would happen on the HRCI side. My feeling back then was SHRM would slowly bleed HRCI dry and take over the HR certification space. That has definitely happened, but not at the pace I thought it would. I would have thought HRCI would have had to pivot by now or be out of business altogether.

But, a funny thing has happened. HR pros/leaders, by their nature, hate change and are slow to change, so those who had their HRCI certification, have basically just kept at it, instead of changing. If anything, we probably see more people now holding both certifications, which is really kind of silly to pay both fees. In fact, my plan is to not renew my HRCI certification the next time it comes up.

Why?

My feeling hasn’t really changed. SHRM is still, by a mile, the brand name that is recognized in the HR community. The reality is HR pros get an HR certification to better themselves, their career, and their HR knowledge. As an HR pro, when you go on an interview, almost no one is going to question whether you have an SHRM cert or an HRCI cert, only that you have the certification. Also, most executives will identify with SHRM as being the gold-standard, again mainly because the brand is so strong in the industry.

What’s Next? 

In a modern world, what is it that people really need to show you they know their stuff? We all know someone who has a certification in HR that basically sucks at HR, so we go, “well, certifications tell us nothing!” I don’t agree with that. Taking both the SHRM cert and the HRCI cert, those assessments are for real. You just don’t show up, without studying, and pass those. So, there is definitely knowledge that is learned if you have one. But, we know that knowledge, alone, isn’t enough to be great at a profession.

SHRM has launched Micro-credentials, like mini-certifications, where people can dive deeper into certain aspects of the HR knowledge base. I think those have merit.

I think both HRCI and SHRM have completely missed the boat on talent acquisition certification. I’m on the board of ATAP and because it’s newly formed, and mostly volunteer, we don’t have the capacity to make this happen, but someone like HRCI could do it and it would be huge. Corporate TA leaders, more than anyone, struggle to find talent that knows what they’re doing. Again, certification doesn’t mean you’ll be great, but it’s a good first step to show someone actually cares about their profession and educating themselves.

SHRM’s answer to Talent Acquisition was the micro-credential and I got to be an instructor for one of the classes for this credential and the content was really good. But, it’s mainly designed for non-recruiting, recruiters. HR Pros who have to recruit, but it’s not their full-time gig.

More and more, we are seeing that formal education, getting your bachelor’s in HR, etc. It doesn’t have the ROI that it has in the past. This has led to many organizations hiring for positions and no longer requiring a college degree. HR is clearly one of those fields where a degree shouldn’t be a requirement. Some of the greatest HR pros I know do not have a degree but do have certification, and their lack of a formal degree has no bearing on their ability in HR at all. All that said, getting the degree will get you where you want to go faster.

The key to being great in any field is how you educate yourself and keep up on the industry. Too often I find way too many professionals that believe the way you keep up on being a great professional in your field is by showing up to work each day. That is not how you become great at anything! If you do not keep yourself up to date in your field and interact with others in your field, you slowly (or sometimes quickly) become obsolete.

Is there something else I should be getting besides SHRM or HRCI?

I do not feel, in the HR community, there is something else that replaces either one of these right now. There are a ton of new micro-learning, on-demand digital learning sites that are out there (Udemy, Lynda, Khan Academy, etc.) that can augment the things you won’t learn studying for SHRM or HRCI certifications.

Also, I do believe any modern HR Pro/leader has to really work to educate themselves on the HR Technology space that is now a critical component and competency for great HR in today’s world. Neither SHRM or HRCI really go deep enough on HR technology, but you will never get all you need from any one organization.

This is why your HR network of peers and mentors is critical. Networking with HR pros outside of your normal everyday world. Facebook and LinkedIn groups have really been excellent for this, in an online format. Local SHRM groups, DisruptHR, and various other local HR groups are also a great way to network and stay up to date on the latest HR trends and topics.

 

Why Do You Go To Work So Early?

Cooper: You know Dad you don’t have to go to work so early.

Me: Yes I do, someone has to pay the bills, put food on the table, keep the lights on.

Cooper: Yeah, I guess you’re right.

Me: (internal voice) – he’s probably right.

This was a conversation my youngest son and I had a few years ago. We are both early risers, so he and I have spent many mornings up before the rest of the family.

I like getting to the office early for a couple of reasons. It’s usually quiet, not a lot of distractions, so you can get a lot done, and, personally, I just perform better in the morning. I’m more productive early.

The reality is there are a few that I work with that are like that, but I find a bigger majority is probably not as early risers as I might be if given the choice. Therein lies the real issue, “given the choice”. If you were given the choice to start work at let’s say 7 am or so, or start work at 9 am or so, which do you choose?

I’ve always thought it was silly that high schools start classes, for teens, at 7 – 7:30 am. Teens have growing bodies and developing brains, why not let them sleep in and start school at 9:30 am or so? It truly makes zero sense, if we are actually trying to what’s best for children….but I digress…

What about the modern workplace? What time should work start?

I think for the most part, in environments that can manage this, we should allow workers the flexibility to start when they feel they’ll be most productive. If you’re an early riser, great, get in here and kill it. If you like to stay up late watching Netflix and roll out of bed at 9 am, awesome, get in here and do your thing.

It seems easy enough! So, why doesn’t this happen as much as it should?

The early risers don’t think the late risers really put in the hours they should. I come in at 7 am and I leave at 5 pm, I put in 9 hours. You come in at 9 am and you leave at 6 pm, you only put in 8 hours. It’s not fair! Honestly, this is really the main argument and why so many organizations still force employees to arrive at basically the same time!

It’s back to good old fashion clock watching!

The reality is, in a modern workplace, we should care less about hours and more about what actually gets done. If it takes you nine hours to get done what it takes me seven hours to get done, that’s a ‘you’ problem, not a ‘me’ problem. To make this happen, though, we have to have great measures of performance and hold people accountable to those measures.

Ugh, that’s difficult, let’s just stick to making everyone work the same amount of hours at the same time, that’s so much easier…

 

The One Thing that Correlates to High Employee Happiness in Your Office!

Oh, I bet its working for a great boss! Or, maybe it’s having a best friend at work! No, it must be dog-friendly! Puppies make me happy! I wonder if it’s money or free tacos or something like that!?

No, you’re all wrong!

In fact, the one thing that correlates to high employee happiness at the office is the one thing you’re destroying! Isn’t that great! We’ve got one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything our employees ever wanted, but in that moment we let it slip…

There was a study done recently that asked about their modern workplaces. What was it in their office that made them the happiest? Turns out 90% of us want a private office. Yet, on the flip side, in all of our brilliance over 54% of us are converting our offices to open floor plans! Why? Because we’re stupid!

Also, because employees are kind of stupid in answering these kinds of surveys! They will tell you they want one of those cool, open office concepts with the bean bag chairs and picnic tables in a big room because look at those pictures of all the smiling faces of those employees. Also, is it just me, or do those smiling faces seem really attractive as well!? You know what? If we had open offices we would be more attractive!

For a decade, idiots like me and every media outlet known to man as talked about how Millennials just want open, collaborative spaces. We’ll be more productive, and have better teamwork, and make faster decisions, and be more collaborative, and we’ll solve global warming! The reality is much different. Turns out, working in a big, loud room with a bunch of fellow idiots employees makes you less productive.

Oh, great I get to sit in the middle of a giant room, across a giant table and watch Steven pick his nose.

Here’s what happy productive employees actually want in an office:

  • Private.
  • Great WiFi and up to date technology.
  • Quiet.
  • Comfortable.
  • Cool design (which doesn’t equal ‘open concept’).
  • Well lighted.
  • Professional.
  • Clean, but not sterile.

Do we really hate cubes? Well, we hate cube farms that remind us of 1979 Soviet Union. I don’t think most hate cubes that are designed for modern workspaces. The problem is we tend to not think about how we can use cubes in a modern design that lets people have a private space, but also open space for times they want that as well. It’s either cube farm or giant open warehouse, we tend to not think in between.

Ultimately, our employees want privacy and cool. So, now you can figure out what that looks like over the next decade!

DisruptHR Lansing! March 19th – Call for Speakers is Open!

Lansing, MI is about to get all Disrupted and Stuff!

Everyone already knows I’m a big believer in DisruptHR events. I’ve spoken at many, I’ve been on the team running DisruptHR Detroit from the beginning, and I decided to start DisruptHR Lansing in my own backyard!

Our first event, DisruptHR Lansing 1.0 will take place in Downtown Lansing on March 19th in the evening (more details to follow) at The Exchange. Great speakers, free food and drinks, and disruptive HR talks throughout the night!

What is DisruptHR?

  • 5-minute hr-based micro-talks. Might be HR, talent, employee experience, leadership, rap music, who knows!
  • Each talk has a very specific format – 20 slides and each slide moves automatically every 15 seconds.
  • The goal is to be fast and challenge the status quo of the people side of the business!

CALL for SPEAKERS is NOW OPEN! 

We’ll be selecting a great group of speakers. I encourage HR pros and Leaders from the Mid-Michigan area to throw your names into the hat for speaking spots!!! It’s a great way to get yourself on stage with a group of fellow HR peers who’ll support you and laugh at our bad HR jokes!

Speakers also get a professionally recorded version of your talk. This is an awesome parting gift for your own development, and to show other conferences, etc. if you decide you want to speak in a longer format in the future. Almost every conference I know now asks for some proof of your ability to speak, as such, this becomes a very valuable piece of content!

Why Speak at DisruptHR Lansing 1.0? 

1. Well, I’ll be there!

2. Lansing, MI is the capital of Michigan. The epicenter of all things people in our state. It’s also might be the one place in Michigan that needs the most HR disruption!

3. HR pros need a network. We need to support each other. This is a great event to make that happen!

4. Cocktails & Hugs! (which ironically is the name of one of my upcoming future books!)

5. I’ll owe you!

Let’s face it. It’s March 19, 2020. We’ve just spent the last 120 days in pure grayness. We need to get out and do something! The event space will be intimate, the energy will be high, and we’re going to have some fun! Come join us! Tickets will go on sale after the holidays. We wanted to open up the Call for Speakers first!

If you want to get an email when tickets go on sale, leave your email on the comments below and I”ll make sure you’re the first to know!

The One Gift I Wish I Could Get in HR for the Holidays!

So, what would it be? If you could have one thing in HR for whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year, what would you ask for?

And don’t be lame, “Oh Tim, I would just ask for world peace and have Snapple bring back Compassion Berry” No you wouldn’t! Not if it was real, I mean really real!

I’m sure a bunch of HR Pros would ask for a new HRIS System. I mean that’s what we do during the holidays, we want the biggest baddest fastest new electronic device that will make our lives easier and make us look 10 pounds thinner!   Maybe just an add-on system like a new CRM, or employee referral automation, or mobile employee feedback app, they are all cool and hip!  Who wouldn’t like one of those!?

I’m sure a bunch of HR Pros would ask for the ability to Hire more HR staff!  What a gift that would be.  Not only for the people getting hired but for your overworked staff and hiring managers who have worked double and triple duty because your cheap boss won’t open up headcount.  HR never has the staff it wants!

I’m sure a bunch of HR Pros would ask for a new Employment Brand!  Oh to be as sexy as Google, or Facebook, or Tesla, wouldn’t that be a wonderful environment to work in HR. Life just seems easier when you work for a sexy brand. It isn’t actually but that’s what great branding does, it makes some idiot like me think it must be easy to work in a great place like that and they should hire me!

I’m sure a bunch of HR Pros would ask for better Talent for their organizations (which is technically way more than one gift but let’s face it, some of us HR Pros don’t follow directions well!). This is the freaking holy grail, right!  If we only had the top talent (instead of saying we only hire top talent, then hire those who respond to our posts) our lives would be so much easier!

There are so many things we could ask for in HR, but this is why I love HR, for all those gifts I listed above, and for so many more you and I could come up with. We work in a profession where we have the ability to deliver each and every one of those to our organizations. With enough time, patience, influence, strategy and luck, not one of those things I couldn’t give my organization.  Maybe that’s the best gift of all.

For the record, mine? It would be a ‘Visionary Leader’. That’s the one gift I would ask for.

Those are rare, those are hard to find. Not many of us ever get the opportunity to work with a true visionary. Great managers, strong leaders, charismatic personalities, yes; But a Visionary Leader, that is something few get the opportunity to experience. Think Steve Jobs, Sheryl Sanberg, Elon Musk, Oprah, Sergey Brin, Marissa Mayer, Larry Page, Bill Gates, etc.

What would be your One gift you want for HR this holiday season?

Your Weekly Dose of HR Tech: @TryVantagePoint – Virtual Reality Harassment Training!

Today on the Weekly Dose I take a look at the HR technology startup VantagePoint. VantagePoint is a virtual reality(VR) learning technology company that has produced both sexual harassment and diversity and inclusion training, as well as a training metrics dashboard to go along with their VR training.

I’m not sure we are even close to what VR can become in the HR world. Clearly, there is a great use case for it in training and we see organizations are beginning to start testing it, but to this point, it’s still rather uncommon in most organizations. In fact, it’s uncommon in almost every part of our lives. Only 2% of people in the world have ever even tried it! But, it’s growing like crazy, basically doubling in usage every year.

All that said, it’s actually super cool and fun! Now, if you ever had put on a VR headset and did a fly through the grand canyon, or taken a trip on a roller coaster, you could probably see how that might get old, are nauseating, very quickly! If you have watched a live NBA game from the first row at half-court, through VR goggles, you start to understand how totally awesome it can be!

VantagePoint’s CEO, Morgan Mercer, was early in on the VR tech and it’s potential use to train our employees in how to be better with sexual harassment and has also added in content for D&I as well. VR is only part of what VantagePoint is about. Doing great VR means you have to have great content for your employees to get emersed in. Ultimately, VR is the training delivery tool, but what VantagePoint understands is you better deliver great engaging content is you want great training.

What do I live about VantagePoint? 

– When you go through harassment training with VR goggles and headphones on, you feel like you are witnessing harassment happening, live, right in front of you. You’re uncomfortable. You want to do something. The fact is, doing training in virtual reality forces the user to be totally focused unlike any other kind of training I’ve ever done.

– VantagePoint has figured out, as LOD and HR pros we don’t really want to mess around with hardware (VR goggles, etc.). So, part of their strategy is to just bring everything to you, have a person on-site, and take away any pain or frustration that might go along with that side of training. You just have them show up, and they take your employees through the training. (You can also do it on your own if you like)

– The harassment training isn’t just watching this stuff happen on VR. The user also gets calls on a pop-up looking iPhone with a call from HR telling the user what they did right or wrong, etc. If you get something wrong, you get thrown back into the experience to do more work.

– I love that you can measure not only the compliance side of the training, but you can also see who is actually getting it, and who isn’t with the metrics dashboard they’ve developed.

We all know we can and have to do better when it comes to sexual harassment training in our workplaces. Traditional, classroom-style training just doesn’t seem to cut it, because it doesn’t grab the attention of the audience. No matter how well done. VantagePoint has figured out a better delivery tool, and one that will be commonplace in the very near future when it comes to all kinds of training.

The price point is actually less expensive then I thought it would be, and I would think most organizations of every size will be able to afford the VantagePoint VR training. I do think Morgan, and her team, are just scratching the surface of what’s possible when it comes to this kind of training in our workplaces. But, great VR content is also labor-intensive to pull off well.

I would definitely recommend a demo, especially if you’re looking for a great alternative to traditional harassment and D&I training. This is training that your employees will definitely remember and pay attention to!

You’re Going to Jail because of your LinkedIn Profile Pic!

Breaking News from down under! An Australian woman lied on her resume and used a fake picture on her LinkedIn profile and those facts were used in a trial where she was sentenced to over a year in jail! Let’s face it Australia is kind of like the Florida of countries.

From the article:

Veronica Hilda Theriault, 46, was convicted Tuesday of deception, dishonesty, and abuse of public office, relating to her 2017 application for the chief information officer role, which came with an annual salary of 270,000 Australian dollars (US$185,000).
Theriault worked in the position with South Australia’s Department of the Premier and Cabinet for over a month and earned about 33,000 Australian dollars ($22,500) before being fired.
She pleaded guilty to all charges and received a 25-month sentence with a non-parole period of a year…The court heard that she submitted a fraudulent resume to the department with false information relating to her education and prior employment. After she was granted an interview, she also posed as a previous employer during a reference check, in which she “gave glowing feedback” about her own performance.
But the lies didn’t end there. In earlier submissions, the court heard that Theriault used a photo of supermodel Kate Upton as her LinkedIn profile photo, according to CNN affiliate 7 News.

Can you imagine if we put people in jail for lying on their resume or using doppelganger photos on their LinkedIn profile!?! Half of our employees would be in jail!

Well, don’t think it can’t happen in the US! This position was for the Australian government. Turns out, if you lie to the government when getting a job, you might end up in jail! Not only in Australia but pretty much every country! I can only imagine how many employees of the US government, state and local governments, who have access to secret level information who have ‘exaggerated’ on their resume! It has to be upwards of 20% or more.

Now, this person flat out lied and probably has some severe mental issues. Which begs the question, how the heck could this happen for such a high-level position?

Quite simply, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an entire book (Talking to Strangers) about this simple idea. We all, all of us, default to truth. We believe what people are telling us, and we are awful at spotting liars. The higher the level of position, the worse we get. “Oh, she has an outstanding resume and background and education and she looks just like Kate Upton! She must be telling us the truth!”

We. Are. Stupid.

Once we actually come to grips with this fact, we might get slightly better at talent selection and interviewing. We assume everyone is telling us the truth when we interview them. We rarely believe someone is lying. “Oh, they wouldn’t lie, they really want this position! And I know her cousin, and she goes to church, and…” We are all biased in this same way. We do not want to believe someone would lie to us.

I think it would actually do some good if we started putting people in jail or lying on their resume, or at the very least for using LinkedIn profile pics that look nothing like you do now! “Oh, Hi…you’re “Tim”!? I didn’t recognize you, I mean immediately!” (Internal voice – “with that extra 25 pounds and no hair, from your LI profile pic that is clearly ten years old!)

I want to be the HR leader at court for the case where we’re trying to put someone away for their stupid, fake LI profile pic! That’s the pinnacle of HR!

The #1 Employee Recognition Tool of All-Time!

At the Michigan Recruiter’s Conference last week I got into a side conversation with a TA leader who had her team at the event. She was talking about motivating and recognizing her team, and that it seemed to be more difficult with younger generations versus the Gen Xers she has managed in the past. I told her I wasn’t sure it was generational, but I had a couple of examples of recognition I thought might work for her.

The first example happened when I was working in my first HR manager position.  One of the executives I supported had a good, young, enthusiastic worker, a top-notch kid who had a great work ethic.  I sat down with this executive and the employee to do their annual performance review. Everything went perfect, as it usually does with that type of employee.  It was what happened afterward that blew me away.  The executive asked me to get him the address of this employee’s parents.  We knew he thought highly of his folks, and he mentioned them when we gave the employee praise for his performance.

I went back and found the address, the executive drafted a short letter, handwritten to these employee’s parents.  He didn’t tell the employee he was doing this, he just did it.  The executive basically told the parents you should be extremely proud of your child, our organization is lucky to have them, and our organization wants to thank you for raising such a fine person.  End of letter. Send.

About a week later, I got a call from the front desk. It was the employee’s father, asking the front desk to talk to the executive and telling them they were the father of this employee.  The front desk person called me (HR), believing something bad must have happened, so I took the call.  I spoke with a man in his mid-50’s who had a hard time holding back tears of pride, thanking me (and our executive) for sharing such a wonderful story and how proud they were of their son.

Later, the employee also came into my office to thank me for doing this, believing I must have put the executive up to it (it’s an HR touchy-feely thing).  The employee said that they could never imagine a better place to work.  A 3-minute handwritten letter = powerful recognition and engagement.

The other example I have is of an experience that happened to me a few years ago. I was working as a director in a large health system, and my mom was in town and came to my office to meet me for lunch.  Being a hospital, she came into the building and walked into the HR office.

I introduced her to some of my team and we were walking out when the head of HR came walking in.  I introduced him, and he shook her hand and said: “I want to thank you for sharing Tim with us, he’s an extraordinary individual, and I’m sure you are responsible for that.”  Bam!  My mom talked about that moment all the time!  I felt pride and respect, and most of all, loyalty to my supervisor for such a gesture.

Employee recognition doesn’t have to be hard, or take a long time, or be a part of a process.  It has to be genuine, in the moment and meaningful.  Too many times we forget this on the organizational front.

The Rules for Office Romances

We spend a ton of time at the office and it only seems to be increasing. On top of that, new research says we need to spend more time with co-workers if we want a great employee experience! As HR pros we know what this means, which is usually a lot of unwanted advances by horny dudes who think they have a shot at the hot co-worker, who has absolutely no interest in them at all.

Welcome to the show, kids!

I’ve given out some rules in the past. Everyone on the planet has read my Rules for Hugging at the Office, but Office Romances are a little more complicated than the simple side-hug in the hallway. So, I thought I would lay out some easy to follow, simple rules for Office Romances for you to pass out to your employees as you start asking them to join each other at TopGolf for your employee outing to increase their employee experience:

Rule #1 – Don’t fall for someone you supervise. If you do fall for someone you supervise, which you probably will because this is how office romances work. In that case, get ready to quit, be fired, be moved to another department, and or get the person you’re having an office romance with fired, moved, etc.

Rule #2 – Don’t fall for anyone in Payroll. When it ends, so will your paycheck. At least temporarily, and even then it will be filled with errors from now until eternity. It’s a good rule of thumb to never mess with payroll for any reason.

Rule #3 – Don’t mess around in the office, or on office grounds. Look I get it. You’re crazy in love and just can’t wait until you get home. The problem is the security footage never dies. It will live long past your tenure with us, and we’ll laugh for a long time at you. So, please don’t.

Rule #4 – Don’t send explicit emails to each other at work. It’s not that I won’t enjoy reading them, it’s that I get embarrassed when I have to read them aloud to the unemployment judge at your hearing. Okay, I lied, I actually don’t get embarrassed, but you will.

Rule #5 – Don’t pick a married one. Look I get it, you’re the work spouse. He/She tells you everything. You get so close, you really think it’s real, but it’s not. You’ll actually see this when the real spouse shows up and keys your car in the parking lot.

Rule #6 – Don’t pick someone who has crappy performance. Oh, great, you’re in love! Now I’m firing your boyfriend and you’ll have to pick between him and us, which you’ll pick him, and now I’m out two employees. Pick the great performers, it’s easier for all of us.

Rule #7 – Inform the appropriate parties as soon as possible. Okay, you went to a movie together, not a big deal. Okay, you went to the movie together and woke up in a different bed than your own. It might be time to mention this to someone in HR if there is at anyway a conflict of some sort. If you don’t know if there’s a conflict of some sort, let someone in HR help you out with that.

Rule #8 – If it seems wrong, it probably is.  If you find yourself saying things in your head like, “I’m not sure if this is right”, you probably shouldn’t be having that relationship. If you find yourself saying things like, “If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right”, you definitely shouldn’t be having this relationship.

Rule #9 – If you find yourself hiding your relationship at work, it might be time to talk to HR. We’re all adults, we shouldn’t be hiding normal adult relationships. If you feel the need to hide it, something isn’t normal about it.

Rule #10 – Everyone already knows about your relationship. People having an office romance are the worst at hiding it. You think you’re so sneaky and clever, but we see you stopping at her desk 13,000 times a day ‘asking for help’ on your expense report. We see you. We’re adults. We know what happened when you both went into the stairwell 7 seconds apart. Stop it.

There you go. Hope that helps.