Do you want to work with Tim Sackett? This video will answer that question!

I’m a big fan of DisruptHR and the format! I’ve been part of the team that has run the first three DisruptHR Detroits and in 2020 we’ll do our first DisruptHR Lansing. Five minutes, 20 slides, each slide moves automatically every 15 seconds. Simple, yet so hard to pull off effectively!

There are now well over a hundred DisruptHR cities and hundreds of events worldwide taking place each year. My friend, Jennifer McClure, is the co-Founder of DisruptHR and it might the single best thing that’s happened to HR this decade! Truly. To get HR leaders and pros out of the office and stretch our minds, have a little fun, push the envelope of what HR could become. Give me something better than that in the last ten years!

You can start your own DisruptHR (input city name here) for $500! It’s easy, just contact Jennifer through the DisruptHR website. It’s fun. It really engages the HR community in your city. It’s fairly easy to get a few sponsors to throw some bucks at you to help with the cost. And even bad DisruptHR talks are some of the best DisruptHR talks!

I was fortunate enough to be chosen to speak at DisruptHR Grand Rapids this past fall and I went with a topic that started on my blog as a series – Rap Lyrics that have shaped my leadership style over time. On my blog, I think I counted down twenty-five in the series a number of years ago. I even once did a presentation for the local SHRM chapter in Jackson, MI on the concept and watched 40 mostly white HR ladies look at me in horror! 😉 Actually, they asked me to do it! Which shows how disruptive they are!

In the comments hit me with your best Rap Lyric that shaped your leadership style!

Let’s face it. If you hate the video, you probably don’t want to work with me, and I probably wouldn’t have much fun working with you! But, if you like the video – we can probably be fast friends! Let’s talk!

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!

Do you believe your HR leadership style is that of 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, 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 is 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!

Mothers, Sons, and Daughters! #HRTechConf

I’m out at “The” HR Technology Conference this week in Las Vegas and a few years ago HR Tech started a Women in HR Technology event that happens the morning of the opening of the conference with specific content built around the unique role of women in our industry.

I’m a big fan, and I think LRP (the company that runs the HR Technology Conference, and Jeanne Achille who chairs this part of the conference) have done an exceptional job building content that you really find nowhere else in our industry. Which leads me to the panel I was on, “Mothers, Sons, and Daughters” with my co-panelist, Jess Von Bank and Kyle Lagunas.

The idea Jeanne gave us and we ran with was around this idea that women in technology play these multiple roles, that are very different than their male counterparts. Jess is a single Mom of three young girls and a successful professional in our industry. Kyle is a son and aspiring father, and I’m a son to a woman who started the business I currently run. We all have very strong beliefs around the impact and influence women make on our lives.

I can’t stress enough how this type of content does not happen at conferences. Not technology conferences. Not HR conferences. Not any conferences I’ve been to! It was real and raw, and we were able to have this awesome conversation with a bunch of attendees that was unfiltered.

You see my quote from the tweet above. One of the questions we wanted to tackle is, “Do women make better leaders?”

This part of the conversation really centered around how we were raised and what were the things our mothers gave us to be successful in life. Where those things the same things that possibly give women an advantage in leadership roles in the modern workplace?

Gen Z and Millennials are looking for workplaces and leadership that are empathetic, compassionate, developmental, and understand that they want to bring their whole self to work. Traditional leadership kind of frowned on all this. You come to work, to work! Don’t bring your personal life to work!

Any leader can have the traits to be successful as a modern leader, but we find that females tend to have more of these traits than males, and it much easier for them to develop these traits deeper, primarily because of how they were nurtured and nurture as mothers.

I left the session inspired by the women in our industry and the great things they are doing to move the workforce and our workplaces forward. Great organizations need great talent. That won’t happen in a traditional workplace that our parents grew up in. My mom ran a successful company partly because the employees of her company were her family. She used those words constantly and meant it. She took it very personal to make sure they could and would succeed.

I want to send a huge thank you to LRP and Jeanne for allowing us to indulge in a very personal topic that is ever-present, but rarely talked about!

Is Your Company a Magnet for Talent? #Greatness19 @OCTanner

I’m out at O.C. Tanner’s Influence Greatness conference this week and got a sneak peek at their 2020 Global Cultural Report by the O.C. Tanner Institute and it’s loaded with some exceptional findings! O.C. Tanner puts more money into their research than almost any other HR Tech company on the planet, so it’s well worth checking out. This report surveyed 20,000 people and over 12.8 million data points.

The research is based on O.C. Tanner’s model of “Talent Magnets” of which there are six:

  • Wellbeing
  • Leadership
  • Purpose
  • Opportunity
  • Success
  • Appreciation

While every single one of these is important in their own right, they also all work together. Lift one, and you will lift the rest. As you can imagine the highest-rated magnet is Purpose. Having a clear purpose to why you do the work you do has the highest impact on positive engagement.

So often I find people believing their job or their company has no purpose, but everyone does and every organization does. You might not believe in it, or agree with it, but the purpose is there. Part of the being a strong magnet is pulling in others who do believe in your purpose.

Wellbeing is another one that is interesting. On the outside, we see “wellbeing” and we think physical wellbeing, but in reality, in terms of being a talent magnet, it’s probably more social wellbeing that has a bigger impact. It’s something like belonging. Do I feel like I belong here, or that I’m wanted here? Do I feel valued by not only my leader but my peers and co-workers that I’m with every day?

I think we discount how important this is to the retention of all talent. We discount it because it’s really hard to help someone feel like they belong. Many times this comes out on the exit interview as “oh, yeah, Tim, he just didn’t ‘fit’ our culture”. The truth is no one ‘fits’ your culture the moment they walk in, we make them feel wanted, we make them feel like they belong, and then not so magically, they become a great ‘fit’.

One of the shocking findings in the report is the picture above. 59% of your employees would take another job with another company for basically the same job. Same title, same pay, same benefits, believing that it will magically be better. This really isn’t as surprising if you really go through your turnover. Most people leave us for basically the same job at another place, believing it’s something better, but it’s basically the same.

Another piece of data from the report I’m fascinated by is 79% of employees are feeling some level of burnout, from minor to extreme. Burnout is basically chronic workplace stress that isn’t mitigated. Do you know who never had “burnout”? Your grandparents! So, they either were way tougher than we are, or work has changed considerably! I think it’s a bit of both, actually!

It’s a giant report, I’m only scratching morsels from all the data – it’s like 180 pages – I’m not even sure my book was that long! If you’re in HR and leadership this is a must-read to help your organization nurture the culture you want to have.

Are Employees Really Upset Over Being Replaced By Robots?

I think we all want to believe that our employees are freaking out that one day their job, in the near future, will be replaced by a robot. It’s all you hear right now in our space! “A.I. will be taking over 97% of jobs by next week!”

The reality is our employees are not afraid of their job being taken by a robot. But they are afraid!

Turns out, our employees are more afraid of their job being taken by another employee, not a robot! A new study by the Technical University of Munich has shown that our employees are actually more afraid of other people taking their jobs, then by A.I.

The study shows: In principle, most people view it more favorably when workers are replaced by other people than by robots or intelligent software. This preference reverses, however, when it refers to people’s own jobs. When that is the case, the majority of workers find it less upsetting to see their own jobs go to robots than to other employees…

People tend to compare themselves less with machines than with other people. Consequently, being replaced by a robot or software poses less of a threat to their feeling of self-worth. This reduced self-threat could even be observed when participants assumed that they were being replaced by other employees who relied on technological abilities such as artificial intelligence in their work.

Turns out, it’s a huge punch to our gut to be replaced by another human since we compare ourselves to being equal, or better, to other humans, but we can comprehend that technology, like A.I., is actually better than ourselves at many tasks.

“The robot can definitely do parts of my job better than me, but g*d damn it, Mark can not!” 

It makes sense, for the most part, we all have fairly fragile egos. It’s hard for us to comprehend that our employer would replace us with another person because that means we probably suck at our job, or at least, our employer thinks we suck. If I’m replaced by a machine I can rationalize that away. If I’m replaced by another person, that’s a hard one to explain to family and friends.

It’s definitely something to keep in mind as we transition many tasks over to the robots. I think from an organizational behavior standpoint we are very concerned about what our employees will think, but the reality is they’ll probably have less issue with it than if we were shopping their jobs offshore to people who will do it cheaper but are real!

PODCAST: Episode 5 – This is HR!

In Episode 5 of THIS IS HR, Jessica Lee (VP of Brand Talent, Marriott) is joined by Tim Sackett (President of HRU) and Kris Dunn (CHRO at Kinetix) for a discussion of industry news that only true HR pros could love.

The gang covers:

 

Age Bias Claims recently settled at Google, with the search giant paying 11M to 200+ claimants, with the key claimant striking out/not being hired in 4 separate hiring process (4:54). The gang talks about how this represents a cheap reset on training and a move ahead strategy for Google.  A conversation also is had about what is “googly” and what is not.

 

The THIS IS HR crew clears the deck and provides a platform for JLee to go off on a rant about progressive HR concepts that look great in small environments but are next to impossible to launch in big companies (13:03).

 

A renegade firm highlights a bug in the LinkedIn development stack that allowed them to post a job for a CEO position at Google (21:49).  Spoiler alert – Google has a CEO and LinkedIn quickly shut down the bug and ruined the fun for the rest of us.  Tim talks about where to find ROI with your job posting money and the team explores the giant mess of skeletons that are created when aggregators automate posting from other aggregators, which means you can’t get old stuff pulled down and other forms of resulting recruiting pain.

 

JLee, Tim and KD round out the show by talking about the most aggressive LinkedIn invite they have recently accepted  (32:36) – you know the vibe, you accept an invite and someone is automatically trying to sell you something.

 

THIS IS HR hates bad LinkedIn invites, but we hate ourselves when we accept them in moments of weakness/charity.

This is HR! Episode 4

In Episode 4 of THIS IS HR, Jessica Lee (VP of Brand Talent, Marriott) is joined by Tim Sackett (President of HRU) and Kris Dunn (CHRO at Kinetix) for a discussion of industry news that only true HR pros could love.

The gang covers:

Shots fired in pay equity between the USA Women’s National Soccer team and the US Soccer Federation, which have different talking points when comparing total comp of the USA Men’s and USA Women’s National Soccer Teams (3:19).

A Iowa state Director of Human Services gets canned for broad use of 2Pac lyrics in his management style, which begs the gang to wonder aloud how much 2Pac is too much if you’re trying to lead a department of public servants… in Iowa (18:40).

A new productivity study is out and has some interesting outcomes related to which days are the most productive (22:15).  The gang has issues with some of the findings, including that Thursdays suck.

KD closes it out by forgoing the mailbag and forcing the JLee and Tim to pick a single 2Pac song that most represents their management style, which includes the awkward reading of rap lyrics to defend said favorite 2Pac songs (28:53)

Just another day in the office at THIS IS HR.

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 who 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 the 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 few:

1. Financially, succession planning is a huge burden on organizations, if done right. Leaders are paid on 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 over hiring. 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 do it 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 that 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.

Just do some HR today!

If you’re highly active in HR and Talent Acquisition in the social space (read: blogs, sites, pod/videocasts, webinars, conferences, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), you might be caught up in this mindset that what you’re doing is not what you should be doing.

You’re being told what you should be focusing on by idiots like me, and thousands of others, most of whom don’t even work in HR or Talent Acquisition at this moment.  That’s not a bad thing, some are brilliant and took their brilliance to the consulting/analyst/vendor side of the fence because the money was better, or the balance was better, or both.  This isn’t a consultant vs. practitioner post.

This is a post to remind you that it’s alright if you just put your head down and do actual HR and Recruiting work for a while.

That it’s okay not to be instituting the next best practice or innovation.

That it’s okay not to be focusing on recreating HR and Talent Acquisition in your organization.

Sometimes we just need to keep the train running down the tracks.  Allow ourselves to catch our breath. Get and build a strong team around us, and get ready for big things in the future.  In the meantime, we just do what we do.

We make sure our employees are doing alright.  Is there anything we can do to help them be better?

We make sure our employees get paid correctly and benefit card works when they show up at the doctor.

We make sure to kick managers in the shin, under the table, when they’re being idiots to their teams.

We make sure new employees have the tools they need when the show up on their first day, and they feel welcomed.

We give bad employees the gift of finding a job they will truly love, by letting them find that job on their own time.

Sometimes when I’m writing I forget what it’s like to have a million priorities in your day, and knowing you won’t get to half of them. That’s the daily grind in HR and Talent Acquisition.  So, I write about how you should do this or do that, how you should be all innovative and shit, but I get that many days (sometimes weeks and months!) you just need to do the basics.

I’ve been there.  I struggled to just do the basics many days.  When thinking of being the best and innovating seemed so far away from reality that you felt like giving up.

That’s when I would tell myself, “Today, I’m just going to do HR”.  Focus on what I’m good at. Focus on what I can control.  Make it to the next day, where just maybe, that day would allow me to get better.