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!

Do you discriminate against boring people?

In hiring, we now know that we basically discriminate against almost every form of everything! Sexual identity, gender identity, race identity, height, education, weight, religion, you name it and someone out there has a bias towards or against you and whatever form you are.

The reality is, every single time you hire, you are discriminating against something. As a society, though, we’ve deemed some forms of discrimination as wrong, and some we are completely fine with. “Oh, we are going to select the white candidate.” That’s bad. “Oh, we are going to select the skinny candidate.’ That’s good.

I have a bias away from boring people. When I hire, I discriminate against boring people. Turns out, no matter the role, I don’t like to hire boring people. I don’t like to interview them. I don’t like to hire them. I don’t like to work with them. Why? Because they are boring!

Now, you can rightly argue I’m a complete fool. There are plenty of boring people who can be great hires and perform really well. Boring people can be considered safe, calm, nice, non-instigators, even keel, etc.

Is there anything worse than being labeled boring?

I think I would rather be labeled ugly than boring. I mean we all love to hire pretty people, but you would much rather hire an ugly person with a great personality, and a good-looking boring person. Besides how someone smells, it’s really the first thing you notice in an interview! Not how ugly they are, how boring they are!

I’ve heard executives say that the greatest trait they can have in an accountant is that they are boring. No one wants the party playing around with their money. But, still, I disagree. While I don’t want the party running around managing my money, I still want the person managing my money to have a pulse!

Boring is one of those traits that are hard to change. It’s hard to coach up a boring employee to have a personality. If I hire an ugly person, I can help them be better looking cosmetically. I can help a fat employee lose weight. I can even help a smelly employee smell better. But, boring is boring!

I’m sure all of this triggers some folks. For the most part, if you’re triggered and you’re boring, I don’t care, because it’s not like a boring person is going to do anything about it. If you’re not boring, and you’re triggered by me discriminating against boring people, well, isn’t that a strange wall to be standing on?! “I’m fighting for all the boring people! #BoringLivesMatter” But, do they? Do boring lives matter? And if they do, to whom? I mean, they’re boring.

A funny thing happens when we come clean about our discriminations. They seem silly. To write them down and defend them. To try and make sense of it all.

The more discriminating one’s eye for talent is, the more they open themselves up to discrimination. That’s the catch 22. The more specific you get about what you want in a hire, the more things you add into the wants and needs column, the more likely you are to cut someone out who deserves a shot.

I’m still against boring. Change my mind.

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!

6 Surprising Ways GenZ is Changing the Workforce!

I’m in love with Gen Z! It might be because I’m raising 3 Gen Zers, two in college, one on the way, but it’s also because I love how each generation is shaped by the period of time in which they are raised, and I think Gen Z, specifically, was raised in one of the most unique periods in history!

We’ve had the Millennial “differences” jammed down our throats now for a decade! When it first started, I was fascinated with the differences, now I’m just bored. I think what we learned with the Millennials was that so much of what each Generation has, is truly just based on time in life. Then we have this much smaller percentage of some stuff that truly makes each generation stand out.

Gen Z was raised during the Great Recession. This is a fact, it’s not something we can discount. The generations directly before the Boomers, the Silent Generation, and the Greatest Generation, were raised during the Great Depression, this had a significant impact on how they viewed the world, and how they viewed jobs specifically. Gen Z will have some modern similarities to these generations.

You can not be in your formidable years, have the access to information that Gen Z has always had, and see your family and friends lose jobs, houses, etc., and not then have that come out in your relationship to work in some unique way. There’s been very little out about Gen Z, to this point, but recently there was a fairly substantial study done with over 25,000 Gen Zers. Here’s what it said:

97% of Gen Z own a Smartphone, 93% own a Laptop! Gen Z is digital natives. They are the very first digital-native generation. They grew up with a smartphone in their hands before they could even communicate what they wanted or needed in a meaningful way. Gen Z will not ever work well in an environment that doesn’t use technology to solve common problems. “We have always done it this way” makes no sense to them. Not in a frustrating way, but in a truly perplexed way. Kind of like how someone looks at a Caveman exhibit in a museum.

Gen Z is very price-conscious. Employers will love them because they constantly work to get lower costs of goods and are very adept at doing things on their own when they feel they can produce similar quality for a lower cost. Again, go back to what they saw growing up. They use technology for price comparison, reviews, check availability, etc. Rarely will you be able to sell Gen Z in one meeting, and without competition also being in play.

Only 1 in 8 Gen Zs gets their information from printed materials. Good job on those printed career fair brochures! You might as well just have a big bonfire at Corporate HQ because your printed job material is almost worthless with Gen Z. Although, they do consume information through a ton of channels including social media (79.7%) – yeah, that Twitter/IG is just a fad…TV/Video, radio, and video streaming services, etc. When we go to recruit Gen Z, we have to be ready to use multiple forms of media to reach them.

Crazy enough, Gen Z actually loves to read books, not digital.  Again, generationally, Gen Z was raised during the Harry Potter days, etc. Some of the best young adult literature in history was written during their young years, and in hard economic times, a book is a fairly inexpensive entertainment option that takes up a lot of time. No wonder Gen Z is a generation of readers! 77% prefer to read a printed book, rather than digital. So, while we tend to focus employee development on online on-demand types of media, some leaders will find giving a book to Gen Z might be a real connection for them.

Gen Z demands information. Gen Zers, for the most part, won’t demand to be the boss, but they will demand to be kept in the loop. Why? Because they’ve always been able to find out anything they wanted in seconds, so you playing the power position of keeping information from them will not go over well! When you’ve never not had information, working in a corporate culture that uses information as power, is a stifling environment to be in.

Gen Z is the most diverse generation in American history. I will tell you my sons are somewhat confused by old people’s obsession with diversity issues. They understand America is far from perfect, but they also have grown up in a generation that is much more accepting than any generation before them, so they find ‘our’ obsession with these topics sometimes overdone. They would prefer to focus on how we are similar, then on how we are different.

Currently, Generation Z is about 40% of our workforce and growing. The largest generation in the workforce, with Millennials being a shrinking second place. Gen Zs are not Millennials, just like Millennials are not Gen X, etc. Each is mostly similar, with some differences. Gen Z will take some getting used to for some leaders, but those who embrace their uniqueness will truly get rewarded!

Leaders Secretly Hate Succession Planning!

Do you want to know what you’ll never hear anyone on your leadership team say publicly? Well, let me stop before I get started, because there are probably a ton of things leaders will say behind closed doors, off the record, and then open the door and say the exact opposite. Welcome to the PC version of corporate America.

One of the obvious, which always causes a stir is veteran hiring. I’ve written posts about Veteran Hiring many times, in which I state that companies will always, 100% of the time, publicly say they support veteran hiring, but behind closed doors they don’t really support veteran hiring. At best they want to offer veterans their crappiest jobs, not their best jobs.

If they did truly support veteran hiring, we would not have a veteran hiring crisis in this country! If every organization that claims they want to hire veterans, would just hire veterans, we would have 100% employed veterans! But we don’t. Why? Well, it’s organizational suicide to ever come out and say we don’t really want to hire veterans.  The media would kill that organization. Yet, veterans can’t get hired.

Succession planning is on a similar path. Your leaders say they support succession planning. They’ll claim it is a number one priority for your organization. But, every time you try and do something with succession planning, it goes nowhere!

Why?

Your leaders hate succession planning for a number of reasons, here are a few:

1. Financially, succession planning is a huge burden on organizations, if done right. Leaders are paid for the financial success of your organization. If it comes down to Succession Planning, or Michael getting a big bonus, Succession Planning will get pushed to next year, then, next year, then, next year…You see Succession Planning is really overhiring. Preparing for the future. It’s a long-term payback. Very few organizations have leadership in place with this type of long-term vision of success.

2.  Leaders get too caught up in headcount. We only have 100 FTEs for that group, we couldn’t possibly hire 105 and develop and prepare the team for the future, even though we know we have a 6% turnover each year. Organizations react. Firefight. Most are unwilling to ‘over hire’ and do succession in a meaningful way.

3. Leaders are like 18-year-old boys. They think they can live forever!  Again, publicly they’ll tell you they’re planning and it’s important. Privately, they look at some smartass 35-year-old VP and think to themselves, there is no way in hell I’ll ever let that kid take over this ship!

So, what can smart HR Pros do?

Begin testing some Succession Planning type tools and data analytics in hot spots in your company. Don’t make it a leadership thing. Make it a functional level initiative, in a carve-out area of your organization. A part of the organization that is highly visible has a direct financial impact on the business, and one you know outwardly has succession issues.

Tinker. Get people involved. Have conversations. Start playing around with some things that could have an impact in terms of development, retention, cross-training, workforce planning, etc.  All those things constitute succession, but instead of organization level, you are focusing on departmental level or a specific location.

Smart HR Pros get started.  They don’t wait for the organization to do it all at once. That will probably never happen. Just start somewhere, and roll it little by little. Too often we don’t get started because we want to do it all. That is the biggest mistake we can make.

Delta Airlines Charging Unvaccinated Employees $200/mnth! Why?

At this point, if you’re in HR, you have seen news of Delta Airlines charging unvaccinated employees an additional $200 per month in health insurance premiums. Needless to say, there has been a strong reaction from the HR community to this announcement.

It’s interesting for sure as you have most HR pros believing everyone should get the vaccine, but also that corporations should not be charging employees if they do not get the vaccine. Some other reactions have been why should an employee be charged a premium, now that we know the vaccine won’t stop you from getting Covid. And an unlimited amount of other opinions as well!

Isn’t this just the smoking premium?

About a decade ago employers started charging employees who smoke higher health care premiums. Walmart charges employees who smoke an additional $2000 per year in increased health insurance premiums. When this was first done by a small employer in Lansing, MI a decade ago, lawsuits were filed, the HR community became unglued, and we had these huge ethical arguments over whether this was right or not to do to an employer.

What right is it of an employer to charge me more if I want to smoke or not! You’re not charging Tim over there eating a Big Mac and drinking a gallon of soda!?

Delta’s Covid decision is causing similar outrage about the vaccine.

Here’s the thing…

From the data we currently have, and the recent FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, we know statistically those with the vaccine are much less likely to be hospitalized or die from Covid. The “average” cost of a Delta employee who gets the virus and is hospitalized is $50,000!

$50,000 is not a small cost! Multiply that by hundreds of employees and it’s becoming a major issue. The issue being, on individual employee’s personal decision to not get the vaccine, is actually costing every single Delta employee, with upcoming increased insurance costs!

“Yeah, Tim, but someone made the personal decision to light up a cigarette. No one is making the personal decision to get the Covid!” Ugh…

You know you can’t send your kid to public school in the U.S. unless they have their approved vaccines. Millions of kids each year, go get their vaccines and go to school. We’ve pretty much eradicated all kinds of terrible diseases. An extremely tiny amount of parents have an issue with this. Ultimately, science has proven to be effective in helping our kids stay alive. Yay! Science!

More employers will go down this path.

Already we are seeing more and more employers mandate vaccines for employment. SHRM, the largest HR association in the world, has mandated vaccines for its employees. This isn’t a political statement. It’s actually not a statement of empathy, either, although most PR teams will try and turn it into one. It’s a financial statement of fact. We can’t afford for you to be stupid and play Russian Roulette with the virus.

All of this does lead us down a slippery path. It started out with something we all now know is harmful to our health, smoking. If you smoke, you will pay more for health insurance. Now it’s Covid. If you don’t protect yourself, by getting a vaccine, we will charge you more for health insurance. What’s next?

If you’re fat…don’t think it’s not coming…

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

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

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

The Reactions:

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

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

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

The Dance We Call Work.

I read a statistic the other day that said on average a person works about 6 hours per day, Monday through Friday. The number of hours worked per day has actually decreased during the pandemic. It’s interesting because when you ask people how many hours per day they work almost all would say at least 8, or more.

But, do we really “work” eight hours per day?

Prior to the Pandemic when most people went into an office, you definitely “worked” at least eight hours most days. Or at least you were present in your office environment for eight hours. How much work you actually did during that time varies widely!

The Pandemic hits and people work remotely and we begin to hear a different narrative around work. The conversation switches from “hours” to what actually got done. Let me be clear, this should have always been the conversation, but culturally we still have so much “asses in seats” management going on it was tough to break through.

When people started “working” remotely they began to have the flexibility to integrate all of their life at one time. No longer did you have to shut down one part of your life to go to work. You could now seamlessly start a load of laundry on the way to fill up your cup of coffee and still make it back in time for the beginning of your sales Zoom meeting. It all just kind of made sense, for those who could do it.

All of this now makes “The Dance” we do in the office seem a bit silly!

I’ve always been a giant fan of set solid productivity goals and if someone hits those goals, I could care less if it takes them 10 hours a week or 60 hours a week. You make life decisions on how you work at the office, at home, etc. If you are super productive and kick out your job in 32 hours a week, but still get paid a full salary, you’re winning the game! If it takes you 50 or 60 hours a week to complete your job, you need some development to help you, or to find a new job/career!

You show up at the office at 8 am, dink around a bit, catch up with co-worker-friends on what happened in the 12-16 hours since you saw them last, do some stuff until lunch, do some more stuff, wait until 5 pm, then run off to do life stuff. Rinse, lather, repeat. The Dance is never-ending.

But something cool happened during the Pandemic and now everyone wants to dance a different dance! It’s not that everyone wants remote. If you say that out loud, just know I’m judging your intelligence! Everyone doesn’t want to work full remote. A lot of people love working with others and seeing them face-to-face, many on a daily basis! You might not like your co-workers, company, job, etc., but actually, most people do.

The New Work Dance is really about finding ways to add in some flexibility.

A little bit goes a long way! “Yeah, but Tim, our jobs don’t allow flexibility! We open the doors at 7 am and customers start coming and we need our workers there!” Yep, I get that. You can’t have someone make coffee at home for customers who come to your location to buy coffee! But that doesn’t mean you can treat your employees like adults and allow for some flexibility.

Let me share an example. I have a friend who manages a retail chain. She’s a really good manager. A single mom who works her tail off to make ends meet. Her child is starting to play sports and on Saturday mornings for an hour, she wanted to go watch him. She was told she couldn’t have every Saturday off, so she would have to miss some games. She said I don’t want to take off every Saturday. I’ll come in, open up, run over to the game, run back, and the other workers said they’ll cover for me. Adults working out a solution.

What happened? You know! Nope, you can’t do that, because if we allow you, then everyone will want to start doing stuff like that!

Yes!!! They will, and if it works out, fine, that’s okay! Adults being adults, making adult decisions and solutions. Let them Dance! Find ways to give them a bit of flexibility in a mostly inflexible world. They’ll be happier, perform better, feel good about working for you, etc.

Will it always work out? No. Real-world, some folks will take advantage of the situation and those are the people you don’t want working for you. But, we have to change the dance. We have to find more dances that work for more people. We will not find one for everyone, but we can find more.

My hope is the Pandemic taught us one thing. This dance we call work is a fraud. 8 hours, 40 hours, whatever it is, it’s not about time, it’s about results, it’s about getting a job done well. I want to hire people who think about how to get the job done well in less time verse hiring people who want to show up and dance for forty hours a week.