How Can You Become a Great HR/Talent Professional?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Real” Man Talent Crisis in America!

I have to admit, I’m not much of a  “real man”. I don’t know many ‘man’ things. I don’t fix cars. I’m horrible fixing almost anything. I have a lot of tools, but the reality is I usually cost myself more money by trying to fix something myself than just paying to have a ‘real’ man fix it.

That’s hard to admit. I want to be a real man. I want to have something go wrong in my house and instantly know what to do and how to correct it. I usually just go to YouTube and watch a real man show me how to fix it, then I call a real man to come over and fix it.

It seems like there is a huge need for real men right now in the world. It’s a shrinking talent pool for sure!

My mother is at a point in life where she finds herself without a man, real or fake, but she needs the skills of a real man to help her keep up her house. We found her someone and all I can think is I really need this guy for myself, not her! I need her real man for me!

I have three sons and none of them are real men, and unfortunately, I don’t see them becoming real men. I’m teaching them to pay for a real man. It’s cheaper and less frustrating in the long run. I don’t really have a desire to learn to plumb, do electrical work, appliance repair, engine repair, carpentry, etc. I mean I wish I had those skills, but that’s a lot of life experience and it’s almost too late for me to pick those up and be any good at them.

I have some great qualities that most ‘real’ men probably don’t. I’m awesome at gardening. I love to shop. Go to the movies. I love to go to the theater. I can cook up a storm. I do some basic sewing. I’m awesome with children. Just don’t ask me to ‘fix’ the front door when it won’t close properly.

While you might think this is a ‘me’ problem, it’s not. This is an “us” problem. I can foresee a time when ‘real’ men are so scarce we won’t be able to find anyone to fix our stuff! We have a real man talent crisis on our hands and I don’t think people really understand how bad it is, and how bad it’s going to get.

I don’t need someone to show me how to play Fortnite! That is a skill I can live without. But I can’t have the deck falling off my house and just let it dangerously hang there! I don’t need someone to show me how to watch the entire series of The Office on Netflix, but I do need someone to help me fix my garage door when it won’t go up or down!

I’m sure there is a correlation between skilled trades leaving public education and downfall of “real” man skills in the U.S. I’m also sure that there is a correlation between white collar jobs and blue collar jobs and real man skill level. You could probably add in a number of other factors around higher education, income level, etc. But, it’s all really meaningless, I still need have a need for real man skills no matter the reason I lack them!

So, I’m wondering. Is this just me or are others feeling the real man skill pinch as well? Hit me in the comments with how you lack real man skills, or how you got your real man skills, even if you’re a lady with ‘real man’ skills!

DisruptHR Detroit Speaker Applications Now Being Accepted!!! But, you probably can’t handle it! #8Mile

Look, I just like being honest. This isn’t DisruptHR Brentwood or DisruptHR Nantucket! This is Detroit! We do real HR in the D!

Come on, just be real with yourself for a moment, you can’t handle Detroit. It’s okay, you’ll do fine at DisruptHR Sun City. Just slow down and do some tour stops before you come to Detroit!

You see, we actually make stuff that sells for money in Detroit. We have employees who get their hands dirty. We have to live in snow and cold for six months out of the year, which tends to leave us a little less likely to be willing to consume your weak B.S. When you come to DisruptHR Detroit, you better bring it!

Alright, I hear you feeling yourself. You just might be ready to hit 8 Mile and the rap battle that is HR in Detroit. DisruptHR Detroit will take place on September 20th onsite at Quicken Loans awesome event space in the heart of downtown Detroit.

Want to speak at DisruptHR Detroit? (what you need to know) 

– It’s 5 Minutes, 20 slides, the slides automatically move every 15 seconds (this is not something you can change!)

– If you’re a vendor you try selling your product in the 5 minutes, we’ll Gong Show your ass right off the stage!

– DisruptHR is about emotion – make us laugh, make us cry, make us angry, make us motivated. Just make us feel something!

– There will be over 250 HR and Talent Pros in the audience cheering you on. (FYI – many in the audience will be drinking!)

– You will get a video recorded, professionally produced copy of your presentation!

Apply to Speak at DisruptHR Detroit! 

Career Confessions from Gen Z: How Painful is Your Onboarding?

One of the most painfully awkward experiences of my life was my college orientation. I remember being so excited to go; this is the start of a whole new journey where you’re supposed to meet all of your lifelong friends and become a whole new person! I failed to remember that forcing a group of 17 and 18-year-olds to try and become friends in an 8-hour time span probably won’t work that well. Not only did I have to suffer through one college orientation, I had to do ANOTHER one when I decided to transfer to my current school. College orientations are absolutely necessary but absolutely agonizing.

Since I detest college orientations, I am not looking forward to the lifetime of onboarding processes that I will have to endure. The average person will hold 12-15 jobs in their lifetime, and Gen-Z’ers will definitely raise that number significantly. I’m already on my 5th job and I’m 19! While I may need to accept the fact that I have many onboardings ahead of me, here is what I suggest to make them as painless as possible for everyone involved:

  1. Short and Sweet: The general rule for all onboardings should be the shorter, the better. Just because you have a full day set aside, doesn’t mean you need to use the whole thing! Many people hold the same resentment to onboardings and orientation as me and will immediately forget approximately 97% of the information given at these sessions. So, instead of spending more time droning on, have your employees get started and let them figure things out as they come!
  2. Specificity is key: I get that there’s a lot of general information that needs to be relayed to your employees, but the more specific you can be with every person’s individual needs, the better. Not only is it more efficient because it is straight to the point, but it will force your onboardie’s to pay attention because the information directly applies to them!
  3. Food, food, and more food: If you are going to make your new employees sit through a full day of onboarding, there better be food. And not just some crappy sandwich platter. Food is essential in keeping your new employees awake and alert. Also, coffee, soda, or other refreshments should be widely available as well.
  4. Cut Out the Fluff: While preparing onboarding procedures, do your best to cut out all non-essential information. We don’t need an hour presentation on your company’s culture. Let us live and learn by experiencing it ourselves!

The goal of an onboarding process should be to make everything as clear as possible to your newbies. You don’t need to get us excited about working or pump us up: odds are that us Gen-Zer’s are already excited because it’s our first real job! I just started my internship this week and I didn’t need the constant pump-up music and overdone cheering and applause (for literally everyone and everything); I’m already excited to start! So, stuff us with junk food, coffee, and essential information and then send us on our way to get started!

This post was written by Cameron Sackett (not Tim) – you can probably tell because it lacks grammatical errors!

HR and TA Pros – have a question you would like to ask directly to a Gen Z? Ask us in the comments and I’ll respond in an upcoming blog post right here on the project. Have some feedback for me? Again, please share in the comments and/or connect with me on LinkedIn.

5 Things Leaders Need to Know About Developing Their Team!

I think we try and deliver a message to organizations that all employees need and want to be developed.

This is a lie.  

Many of our employees do want development. Some don’t need it, they’re better than you.  Some don’t want it, just give me my check.  Too many of our leaders truly believe they can develop and make their employees better than they already are.  This is a lot tougher than it sounds, and something most leaders actually fail at moving the needle on.

Here are some things I like to share with my leaders in developing their employees:

1. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time” -Maya Angelou.  I see too many leaders trying to change adult employees.  Adult behaviors are basically locked. If they show you they don’t want to work.  They don’t want to work.  Part of developing a strong relationship is spending time with people who are not a waste of time.

2. People only change behavior they want to change, and even then, sometimes they’re not capable of it.  See above.  When I was young in my career, I was very ‘passionate’. That’s what I liked calling it – passionate.  I think the leaders I worked with called it, “career derailer”.  It took a lot for me to understand what I thought was a strength, was really a major weakness.  Some people never will gain this insight.  They’ll continue to believe they’re just passionate when in reality they’re just really an asshole.

3. Don’t invest more in a person than they are willing to invest in themselves.  I want you to be great. I want you to be the best employee we have ever had work here.  You need to be a part of that.  I’m willing to invest an immense amount of time and resources to help you reach your goals, but you have to meet me halfway, at least. Don’t think this means a class costs $2,000, so you should be willing to pay half. It doesn’t. Financial investment is easier for organizations to put in than for employees, but if you pay for the class and it’s on a Saturday and the employee turns their nose up to it, they’re not willing to ‘invest’ their share.

4. It’s usually never the situation that’s pissing you off, it’s the mindset behind the situation that’s pissing you off.  Rarely do I get upset over a certain situation. Frequently, I get upset over how someone has decided to handle that situation.  Getting your employees to understand your level of importance in a situation is key to getting you both on the same page towards a solution. Failure to do this goes down a really disastrous path.

5, Endeavor to look at disappointment with broader strokes. It’s all going to work out in the end.  It’s hard for leaders to act disappointed.  We are supposed to be strong and not show our disappointment.  This often makes our employees feel like we aren’t human.  The best leaders I’ve ever had showed disappoint, but with this great level of resolve that I admired. This sucks. We are all going to make it through this and be better. Disappointment might be the strongest developmental opportunity you’ll ever get as a leader, with your people.

HR Mind Games!

HR Mind Games is a quick hitting, 20-30 minute hangout hosted by my great friend, Kris Dunn, founder of FOT and the HR Capitalist and sponsored by Caliper, the leading provider of Assessments for Selection, Talent Management, and Leadership Development.

In each episode of HR Mind Games, we’ll cover how general behavioral assessment geekiness/expertise helps HR and Recruiting Pros make better hires as well as maximize performance once that talent is in the door!

Episode #1 is going to be a doozy – How to Hire Sales Pros Who Are “Hunters”, not “Farmers”.  We have a LOT of opinions on this people, and the scars (and behavioral science) to prove it

If you love to geek out on the assessment side – CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THIS EPISODE OF HR MIND GAMES!!!

In our first episode, we’re going long on how to use assessments to figure out who the true “hunters” are across sales candidates.  Join us and we’ll share what we’ve learned and what to focus on from a behavioral perspective to ensure sales hires are “optimized” to bring home the bacon!!  We’ll even give you a great template to compare sales candidates to as you hit the recruiting trail!

Even if you’re unsure if you can make it or not, sign up to make sure you get the templates for future sales searches!

Future episodes: How to spot and deal with Narcissistic Managers, How to Use Assessments for Good, Not Evil…. good times in this series…


Skilled Trades Aren’t Sexy to Gen Z and Millennials!

Wow! Really!?

Here are some other things that might surprise you:

  • They also don’t hang out on Facebook
  • They like Smartphones and using Snapchat
  • You shouldn’t pee into the wind
  • They think you’re old!

No shit, Sherlock, that younger people don’t find the Skilled Trades sexy!

I’m old. I was listening to NPR on way to work the other day and this well-meaning Gen X dude gets on the radio and says, “the problem we have in skilled trades is that teens don’t find them sexy”.

I’m like, of course, they don’t find the skilled trades sexy. Most don’t even know what the heck ‘skilled trades’ means, and if you show them, they still won’t find them ‘sexy’! Okay, well not ‘sexy’, but they should see what a great, stable job the skilled trades can be.

Um, yeah, no, you understand how young people think, right!?

Stable. Good pay and benefits. Something you can do for forty years and get a good retirement and pension. Are all things that will get young people to run away from whatever it is you’re trying to fool them into doing!

So, how do I get young people interested in the Skilled Trades? 

I don’t!!!

I get 35-year-old people interested in skilled trades!

You know what’s great about 35-year-old people? They can start to see the end. Sure that end is 25+ years out, but they start thinking I need to get my life together and do something that is (wait for it!), stable! Something that pays well and has ‘solid’ benefits. Something I can retire doing!

I don’t need 18-25-year-olds to fill skilled trades jobs. Those kids suck at showing up to work and listening! You know who’s really good at showing up to work and listening? 35-year-olds!

If you go into any retail store, gas station, restaurant, etc. and you say, “Hey, I’ve got a job that I’ll train you to do and you can earn a great living and have great benefits until you retire, and you’ll always have a job”, you’ll be like the Pied Piper leading people to your jobs!

The entire way we (and by “we”, I mean you!) is that you go hire 35-year-old people who have shown you that they are willing to show up to work, do work when they show up, but maybe they actually want to add something to their life that gives them a little more stability.

That 18-25-year-old doesn’t want your boring, stable, well-paying job, in which they must dirty their hands. They still have aspirations someone is going to pay them six figures to do nothing and give them a VP title.

By 35 we’ve had that beaten out of us. We’ve been humping $40K jobs for 15 years and we’ve almost, but not quite, given up on hope. You Mrs. Skilled Trades Job Lady are that beacon of hope!!!

Teens won’t solve the skilled trades shortage in America. That is something that is a waste of time for us to try and solve. “So, you, um, want me to stick my hand in a toilet!? Yeah, isn’t there an app for that?”

The 35-year-old has stuck their hands in worst places than toilets and they’re ready to work their butts off for your great skilled trades job. All they need is some love, some training, and a chance.

Skilled Trades jobs aren’t sexy to young people, but you already know that…

Working at Amazon Sucks Because They Make You Work!?!?

So, if you didn’t see it last week, Business Insider decided to run a story about how awful it is to work at Amazon in one of their warehouses. Why is it awful to work one of those hourly paying jobs? They time your breaks, limit you screwing around talking to coworkers all day, and hold you accountable to work! The horror!!!

You didn’t take that job at Amazon to actually do work! How dare they!

From the article:

Amazon “pickers” move around the warehouse on a predetermined route to collect items for delivery, scanning each one with a handheld scanner, which times the length between scans, employees said.

They say pickers must hit a certain number of scans per hour, and if they miss their targets, a manager will show up to see what they’re doing.

Employees say that things like spending time talking to co-workers, going to get a drink, or even taking too long to find a package are billed as “time off task,” too much of which leads to penalty points for an employee. Get enough of those, and you’re fired.

That — combined with security cameras dotting Amazon’s warehouses, its airport-style security checks, and short breaks — makes employees feel like “robots,” they said. And it’s all in the service of getting those parcels out faster.

So, Amazon puts performance targets on hourly workers and has security cameras to make sure no one steals all of the stuff Amazon has in their warehouses. Yeah, that sounds awful!

Amazon also doesn’t allow hourly workers to bring their cell phones into the warehouse and they must lock them in lockers. They can access those on their 2 fifteen minute breaks, or their 30-minute lunch break. Amazon also has each employee go through a metal scanner when entering the warehouse. I think a lot of employees would love that level of security at their job!

So, I have a bit of a unique take on this because one summer when I was in college I worked as a picker for a grocery wholesaler in a warehouse environment!

One major complaint in this article is that the expectations are too high for Amazon warehouse workers. You can’t even go to the bathroom for fear of missing targets, and you get in trouble for talking to co-workers while you’re on the clock, if you miss those targets.

My first month as a Picker was awful! I never made ‘rate’ (met my targets) because I didn’t know how to do the job well. I was stressed out! By month 3 I made my targets easily, but it was about effort and knowing how to work most efficiently. The targets are based on how long would it take a normal performing employee to do certain tasks.

Let’s say a Picker gets an order and that order target is 30 minutes. The best Picker can probably do that order in 20 minutes. The extra 10 minutes they can bank towards their overall daily target. The worst worker might take 45 minutes to complete that order, so now they’re behind. So, you can see how someone who is on task and focused can actually give extra effort, make target easily and the day really isn’t so bad.

I can see how some of the things happened in the article because if the job is important to you, you’re going to do what it takes to keep that job. But, I’ll say, these are outlier behaviors and inappropriate and it sounds like Amazon terminated individuals doing this.

Amazon has made it crystal clear in everything they do when it comes to hiring. We only want to hire people who want to work hard and be successful. CRYSTAL CLEAR! Many people want to work at Amazon because they have really good pay and benefits. Unfortunately, most people can’t handle the expectations. That doesn’t make Amazon a bad place to work.

I’m not saying Amazon is the best place in the world to get a job. For some, it will be, for others it won’t be. Is Amazon a bad place to work? No. Is Amazon a hard place to work with high expectations around performance? Yes.

I think it’s a shame that Business Insider would actually write this garbage as an Amazon attack piece. They should be writing it from the take of why aren’t more employers trying to emulate what Amazon is doing!

Career Confessions from Gen-Z: What is Gen-Z looking for in a Mentorship Program?

Hey everyone, I’m back! I took a week hiatus (finals week man) and more Gen-Z posts are coming your way! (Dad editor’s note: I didn’t give him a week off for finals! Buck up, son! Welcome to the show! It’s called multi-tasking! Sure I’m paying you nothing, but I still expect a post each week!) 

For my freshman year of college, I wanted to get away from Michigan and the Mid West. So, I decided to move to New York and attend a school called Marist College. At Marist, I was on the swim team and was immediately overwhelmed. Swim was hard, being away from my Mom was hard, having no friends was hard. It was a rough time.

Before I had gone to college, I had signed up to be apart of a student-athlete mentorship program, where upperclassmen athletes at Marist got paired with freshman athletes of different sports. I got paired up with a guy from the cross country team and I immediately knew that I didn’t want to be apart of the program. The purpose of the program was to meet up, maybe get lunch or coffee, and talk through any problems you’re having at school and in your sport. After a few forced hangout sessions, we stopped talking altogether and went our separate ways.

Now, I think that mentorship programs are a great idea. Having gone through a program myself, and not getting much out of it, I have gathered my own list of how to make a successful mentor program and what I would like to get from a mentor:

  1. Be Relatable: A key characteristic of having a good mentor relationship is being able to relate to them. The mentor needs to be able to relate to their “mentee” and vice versa, or there won’t be any necessary help given or received. This is the main reason that my mentor relationship wasn’t successful. We had absolutely nothing in common and neither of us could relate to the other. 
  2. Be a Role Model: As a mentee, I would like to be able to look up to my mentor. I want my mentor to have some quality that makes me want to be like them. Although it would be nice, it isn’t vital for a mentee to want the same exact position as their mentor but is vital that the mentor possesses some qualities that the mentee aspires to have.
  3. Share Advice: This feels like a no-brainer, but it relates back to the type of mentor/mentee relationship you have. In order to give worthwhile and helpful advice, you need to be able to relate to your mentor/mentee AND the mentor needs to be a role model figure. In my mentor relationship, I received a lot of advice but none of it was necessary to my experience. The things that I needed advice on, like how to choose a major or how to handle being far from home, weren’t areas that my mentor had any advice to give.

****Bonus factor! Experience: This is my extra little bonus factor to making a mentor program top notch. Any experience that a mentee can directly gain with their mentor by their side will not only be the best form of “advice” they can get, but it will help to strengthen the relationship. Something that a mentor/mentee duo can do together to gain experience is a group project in whatever field the mentee is interested in. This may feel a little intern-y but most of your Gen-Z employees will be interns anyways!

You can follow as much or as little advice as you want from this but the bottom line for a successful mentor program is effort. If both sides are willing to try and get something positive out of the experience, then they probably will! Not every mentor you have can be like Yoda (I know very little about Star Wars but hopefully this analogy works), but just be willing to try and make it a worthwhile experience!

This post was written by Cameron Sackett (not Tim) – you can probably tell because it lacks grammatical errors!

HR and TA Pros – have a question you would like to ask directly to a GenZ? Ask us in the comments and I’ll respond in an upcoming blog post right here on the project. Have some feedback for me? Again, please share in the comments and/or connect with me on LinkedIn.

5 Crippling HR Behaviors That Keep Employees From Becoming Leaders!

In HR (OD, Training, etc. – pick your title) we like to believe we develop our employees constantly and ongoing to become the next generation of leaders.  But many times our actions tell a very different story.  We (HR and our Leadership teams) do and say things daily that keep people from truly reaching their full potential.  Self-awareness of these behaviors is the key to making sure you are the roadblock to creating great leaders in your organization.

Here are 5 things you are doing to stop leadership development in your organization:

1. We try to mitigate 100% of risk.  Leaders need to understand and experience risk.  It’s part of the growth process of becoming a leader.  If we never allow our future leaders to experience risk, they’ll fail when they finally face it or will be unwilling to face it, thus missing out on huge opportunities for your organization.

2. We don’t allow our employees to fail.  There are two parts to this. First, we get personal gratification by saving the day.  Second, we have this false sense that ‘great’ leaders won’t allow their employees to fail, so we step in quickly when we see things going south.   We tell ourselves that we need to let our people fail, and failure is good, etc. But we can’t stop ourselves from stepping in when failure is about to happen or is happening.

3. We mistake what is expected with great.  Words are so powerful.  It’s so easy to say “You’re doing Great!”, when in actuality the correct phrase is probably closer to “You’re doing the exact job you’re paid to do!”  That’s not great. That’s is expected.  You can’t blow hot air up everyone’s butt and think they’re going to get great.  They have to know what great is, and then get rewarded with praise when great is reached.

4. We mistake high performance for the ability to lead.  Just because you’re great at ‘the’ job, doesn’t mean you’ll be great at leading people who do ‘the’ job.  This might be the one behavior that is hardest to change.  All of our lives we tell people the way to ‘move up’ is through having great performance.  But it isn’t.  The way to move up into leadership is to do those things that great leaders do – which does include high performance, but it also includes so much more than just being good at ‘the’ job you’re doing.

5. We are not honest about our own failures.  Developing leaders will learn more about leadership from you if they know and understand your own failures at leadership.  We all have major failures in our lives, and many of those are hard to share because they are embarrassing, they show weakness, they might still be a weakness, etc. Developing leaders will learn more from your failures about being a great leader, than from any of your successes.

Developing future leaders has always been a critical part of HR in organizations, but we are quickly approaching a time in our history where your ability to develop leaders might be the most valuable skill you can provide to your organization.