Want a Smarter Workforce? Hire More Gay Dudes!

Okay, before the entire LGBTQ community becomes unglued for me saying “dudes” and not every segment of the LGBTQ community, you have to understand the study we’ll dig into below! In this study, gay men stood out as extremely high academic achievers over every other part of society, gay or straight, and other genders.

From the Washington Post:

In new research made possible by questions recently added to U.S. household surveys, I found that gay men achieve stunning success across every level of higher education. This accomplishment comes even as men’s overall college completion rates have fallen further behind women’s for every generation born since the 1960s.

I found, for example, that about 52 percent of gay men, age 25 or older in the United States have a bachelor’s degree. For context, about 36 percent of U.S. adults 25 or older have a bachelor’s; this ranks the United States ninth in the world in college completion. If America’s gay men, however, formed their own country, it would be the world’s most highly educated by far.

Organizations are constantly searching for the “silver bullet” when it comes to talent. Every so often some research comes along and says, “Hey, over here, we found a silver bullet!” The ironic part of this silver bullet is I think most organizations will ignore it, even though it’s fairly straightforward and clear. Why? Normal bias, primarily, that gay people of all genders have faced when it comes to hiring.

Why are Gay men off the charts when it comes to achieving academic success?

This is where it gets interesting because the reasons can be somewhat subjective, but they actually feel accurate. If you’re a gay boy growing up in America, in public school, you are in for a tough life of bullying. You can’t control that. What can you control? You can control how well you do in school.

Who do teachers love? Kids who care about what they are teaching and do well. Gay kids who aren’t widely accepted by their straight classmates, find a higher level of acceptance from teachers, especially when they are high performers. So, I can control the asshole bullies, but I can control how much I study. It’s a unique form of resilience to be sure. “I became smart and worked super hard at school because that was my avenue of acceptance within public education.”

And, as it turns out, doing well academically in high school, leads to more opportunity in college where gay kids find even more acceptance in a predominately liberal higher education system. The flywheel keeps turning, and the gay smart kids, become even smarter gay young men, who then move into the corporate world as high achievers.

But, now these intelligent, high-performing gay men, also have a community of their own who can support and care for each other in a professional capacity. Recommendations for jobs and promotions, inside information on projects, sharing of creative ideas, etc. The “Old Boy” network, becomes the “Not So Old Gay Boy Network”. Don’t hate, you taught them the system!

Just because you’re smart and gay doesn’t stop bias.

It’s still far easier in our world to be a straight white man than a super-smart gay white man, for the most part. The interesting part of the study was that gay men of all ethnicities have shown this academic prowess. It’s not just a white male thing, it’s a brown male thing, a black male thing. Turns out, gay men of all colors, achieve higher levels of academic success, leading to higher levels of professional success.

It pains me that gay kids have to deal with bullies in school. That any kid has to deal with bullies is awful, but when you’re “different” than the majority of your peer group, it can be especially cruel. I love that on average gay boys have found an outlet in academics because that will lead to way more good outcomes than bad.

I’ll go back to this one quote that I think is very powerful: If America’s gay men formed their own country it would be the most highly educated country in the world! In. The. World. I’m also guessing that would be a pretty amazing country to live in.

Finally! Elon Musk Weighs In on America’s Birth Rate Crisis!

Say what you want about Elon Musk, he tends to be years ahead of the curve around what the world will want and need. I get it, he’s a polarizing figure, people either love him or hate him. I don’t own a Tesla, and I don’t really have the pull to want one, but I get the fascination. I get the fascination with building a company around private space travel, and he just recently said he could care less about electric cars because he now wants to build “real” robots like the ones Will Smith fought in iRobot!

BTW, I totally want my own Tesla Robot. The friend that will always be there for you and I would get the algorithm where they never try to give me life advice, just support my craziness! Also, my “Tesbot” will have an English accent, because I’m a dumb American and I really like that accent.

Elon’s robot idea came partly because of a real-world problem he faces, and truly all of us are facing at this moment, around talent shortages. He needs workers to build EVs and Rocketships. For a dude that doesn’t put limits on what is possible, it seems almost impossible to hire great, productive workers, who enjoy that type of work. So, let’s build robots!

Elon came out recently to clarify the real problem we have in America, really most industrialized countrys’, in that our birth rate is a major economic problem no one is paying attention to:

He went on to talk about world population estimates, etc., and the trends we are on are not positive when we truly look way out into the future. The problem is, in almost every country, our political systems are not built to address the future, they are built to address the next election cycle.

If you voted for Trump in the last election, you probably believe we have a “major” problem at our border to the south with immigrants flooding into our country. Honestly, we should be hoping immigrants are flooding into this country because we need them to work in all the jobs that Americans are refusing to work in!

We do have an immigration problem! The problem is, we don’t allow enough immigrants to come into our country and work legally, pay taxes, and be a part of this great experiment we call America. I’m not a liberal. I’m a raging moderate who sees what is really going on in businesses across America! We need more workers! Or, as Elon believes, more robots…

What are potential solutions for our birth rate crisis?

1. Pay people to have more babies.

You know, stuff like paid family leave and tax incentives to have more children, great education and paid daycare, etc. Let’s make it easy for families to have great families. Right now, in America, having kids is a wealth deterrent for people.

2. Massively expand immigration.

This is not a scarcity problem. Immigrants are not taking jobs away from Americans. We have way more jobs than we have Americans! Plus, immigrants now have more options than coming to America, since there are about 20 other countries with worse birth rate issues than we have. We are now in competition for immigrant talent, skilled and unskilled, and we have half our population who still are being told by politicians that immigrants are bad.

3. Help Elon build his robots!

Honestly, because of our birth rate crisis, if Elon doesn’t get there first, someone else will. We have already seen so many jobs get eaten up by automation and robotics and it’s not stopping, it’s accelerating. Self-driving semi-trucks. Touch screens to order your Big Mac. Self-checkout lanes at the grocery store. Etc. The problem is, robots are only good at certain things, and we still need humans for a lot. Unless Elon figures out my Tesbot and then look out! Timmy is going on vacation!

Tracking Remote Employees is an Amateur Move!

I continue to see more and more technology being released by tech companies targeting c-suite executives who are paranoid their employees who are working remotely aren’t working! Mouse tracking software, keystroke tracking software, login/logout tracking, etc. It’s become a billion-dollar industry to track you while you work at home, just in case you’re not working at home and just screwing around!

The most ingenious employee is the one who is trying to get paid without doing any work! Check out this TikTok:

@leahova

It’s called mental health, Janice. Look it up. #wfh #workfromhome #corporatetiktok #worklifebalance

♬ original sound – Leah

Now, I don’t think Lea is trying to get away with not working. She’s a good one, she’s paranoid in the other direction. If I try and go to the bathroom may be the A.I. will tell my boss I’m not working and I’ll get fired! None of this software really works like this, but it’s all a slippery slope!

A better idea for tracking employees!

How about building measurable performance goals and just managing those!? OMG! How f’ing brilliant am I!?! I just gave you an idea from 1979 that actually works perfectly and you don’t have to make your employees feel like they are being micromanaged and tracked by Big Brother!

Seriously! How lame are you that you think you need to track an employee at home by how often they move their mouse!? If you’re an executive and you believe this is the cure to your corporate ills, it’s time to hang it up, Hank!

It’s the 21st century, we can now treat employees like adults and place goals and expectations on them, that we’ve sat down and worked with them on coming up with so that we all feel like we are getting a fair deal on this little employment contract we’ve put together. We give “X”, You give us “Y”, and we are all happy with “Z”! If you don’t give us “Y”, let’s dig in and find out why that is, and if you continue to not give us “Y”, we’ll stop giving you “X”.

Okay, for those bad at Algebra, I’m talking about you do your damn job and we pay you. If you decide to sit at home and watch Netflix and not do your job, we stop paying you.

A better idea than buying a “mouse mover”!

Quite that stupid job who thinks measuring your mouse movements is equal to work. Seriously, there are more jobs open than people alive right now. Leave! There are great companies that are waiting to hire you that will let you go to the bathroom as much as you want.

If you bought a mouse mover to sit at home and watch Netflix and get paid, but not work. Congratulations, you’ll eventually be fired and/or your company will go out of business. You win, I guess, for the time being. Just know the world hates people like you.

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.