Another day making decisions no one wants to make!

On the phone this week with a few HR Pros from the hospitality industry (think hotels and restaurants) some of the folks hit the worst by the pandemic. We start the call like most calls – “how are you doing”.

At some point during the pandemic, when this question is asked, I kind of just started laughing. How am I doing? How are you doing? It’s a pandemic! We survived another day! Does that answer the question?

My HR pro friend says, “It’s another day of making decisions that no one wants to make.” That struck me. She was right of course, that’s the job. Do we let go of Sally today, or cut some other important resource we can’t live without. Which is the lesser of two evils? Can I go home and have a drink already?

“It’s another day of making decisions that no one wants to make.” 

In a nutshell, this is leadership.

For all positives, we get out of being leaders we know there comes a huge downside. There will be times when you must make a decision that no one wants to make, but you have to. The knowledge of this doesn’t make it easier, it’s just knowledge.

What’s the silver lining of all of this?

I do think making tough, unbearable decisions, that no one wants to make, helps you as a leader understand real pressure from fake pressure. The greatest leaders I’ve been around didn’t panic in times that it didn’t call for it, or in times when it seemingly would have warranted it. They understood a call had to be made, no one was going to be happy, this is the job.

Here’s the thing though, with all of this. You can be in a position to make decisions no one wants to make, or you can be in a position where you are able to make decisions and stuff is just going to happen to you. Awful decisions are awful, but I’ll take that situation then not being able to make the decision.

The Pandemic has been hard on HR pros!

If we sat down and started to list out who has been most impacted by the pandemic on the jobs front, we would come up with a pretty interesting list! The vast number of unemployed would show us that almost everyone has been impacted, and, quite frankly, it kind of feels that way.

If we dig into the data side of what has really happened over the last six months, the picture looks less bleak for some, and a little scary for many, especially us HR pros. Appcast, a job advertising programmatic technology company, released its 2020 Midyear Recruitment Marketing Benchmark Report recently that looks at all the activity around jobs. Stuff like which jobs are getting the most applies. What kind of jobs is being posted? Etc.

When we look at the macro-world of jobs, we begin to see some super exciting things around the winners and losers, in the job market, at this point in the pandemic. Some of the outcomes are certainly understandable. In healthcare, for instance, the number one job being posted is for epidemiologists. Okay, that makes complete sense! In the middle of a pandemic, we need more Epidemiologists to help us stop the spread.

One big thing that popped out at me instantly was the job function that had the greatest change in the rate of applies. Meaning, more people in this job function, started looking for a new job. Can you guess what job that would be!? Yeah, it was HR! An increase of 24.5% from Q1 2020 to Q2 2020.

Are you surprised by this? Why would HR, out of all jobs, be the one that is out looking at a higher rate than everyone else?

The reality is, and we saw this during the Great Recession as well. HR pros are often the first to be cut during poor economic times. After all the work, after all the words from the c-suite, after all the studies about the importance HR has on the success of organizations, we (HR Pros) are still one of the first to be cut when money gets tight.

Why does HR get cut first?

Over the next 12-36 months, most economist believes we’ll be in a tough job market. Pandemic hangover, the election, and an economy that was due for a pullback after a decade of expansion, HR jobs will be tough to come by for a while.

HR leaders and pros don’t lose their jobs if they clearly bring value to the organization. Our c-suite executives who are making these calls probably see value creation and sustainability by HR differently than HR sees itself.

We know, with the HR function, far too many of our peers are still too transactional in what they do. Of course, every function will always have a certain amount of work that is transactional, but in hard times, transactional work is the first to go. If you haven’t proven yourself to be strategic, and demonstrate what you’ll add value and increase productivity within the organization, you will always be a target to get cut.

HR is getting cut because too many of us still struggle to show organizations how great people practices drive the world’s most productive and profitable organizations.

The good news is we control this, and we can educate ourselves and prepare ourselves to be value-adders to any organization, no matter the industry or location.

I love the new SHRM Specialty Credential that focuses on Inclusive Workplace Culture. Think about where organizations are right now in the middle of the pandemic and all the energy around social justice. Organizations need HR pros who are going to drive change and make positive business results. Specialty Credentials educate HR pros faster than anything else on the market.

The HR Job market is not going to get easier anytime soon, and the best way to protect your career or put yourself in a competitive advantage over other job seekers, if to have skills and knowledge they don’t. We all make investments on ourselves. Some of those are health investments, or for our family, some are for our careers. The time to make those investments are when the world is changing the most.

Advice for Landing a Job from a CEO (who never hires…)

I get it, you’re the CEO of a sexy brand so all the media companies want to interview you, but when you give advice out that your HR and TA leaders would never give, you’re basically just spewing B.S.!

Pulled directly from the headlines of CNBC, 1-800-Flowers CEO (wait, is that a sexy brand!?), Chris McCann, has to hire 10,000 seasonal workers for the upcoming holiday season to fill the rush of orders they anticipate:

“The ambitious hiring plans will fill part- and full-time roles in production, gift assembly, customer service and distribution and fulfillment center operations. Openings are primarily in-person jobs on worksites throughout Illinois, Ohio and Oregon. Some work-from-home positions, particularly those in customer service, are available.

Here, McCann shares his best tips for getting hired in a seasonal role right now.”

Are you ready for these great tips!?! Here you go:

  1. Arrive at your interview ready to uphold safety guidelines due to COVID
  2. Have a flexible schedule
  3. Express interest in overtime
  4. Tell 1-800-Flowers who want to return to work seasonally, next season
  5. Tell 1-800-Flowers your desire to stay on permanently after your seasonal job.

Okay, not awful, but here is what, I believe, the head of TA for 1-800-Flowers would actually give as advice to someone, right now, looking to work as a seasonal employee for $13.50/hr:

  1. Show up for the interview
  2. Don’t show up drunk or high
  3. Don’t throw up on the person interviewing
  4. Don’t lick anyone during the interview
  5. Show up on your first day

Hiring seasonal workers, especially right now during a pandemic is hard work! It’s almost impossible in the best of circumstances, Chris McCann is so far removed from hiring a seasonal worker he has lost all touch with reality!

First, these are seasonal jobs, McCann himself said only about 5% will make it to the big leagues of a full-time offer after the seasonal job is done. So, let’s not give out a ton of hope, because you just end up with thousands of pissed off people after the seasonal job is done! HR and TA hiring for seasonal spend most of the interview validating that the applicant actually knows and understands this job is going to end in 3 months!

Second, seasonal hiring is warm body, show up hiring. Calm down, Chris, on making a great first impression. When you’re trying to hire 10,000 people at low wages for three months, if you show up, you get the job!

Third, Chris McCann, did Undercover Boss, which tells you a few things. One, he acted like an hourly worker for a TV show, so he thinks he knows what it’s like to be an hourly worker in his environment. Two, he actually wanted to go on a TV show versus running his business. Some CEOs just like media attention.

Here’s what we all should know at this point. The larger the company, the less the CEO actually knows about the reality of hiring. Once that CEO is working for an organization that has more than 500 employees, there’s a good chance they haven’t hired an hourly worker in years. So, thanks for the advice, Chris, but you’re not helping your HR and TA team fill jobs!

Are your Recruiters wasting your Hiring Manager’s time?

I had a conversation the other day with a corporate HR Director and we were talking recruiters, corporate recruiters.  My friend had a dilemma, a classic corporate recruiting scenario. The problem is she has recruiters who are doing a decent job, but they won’t get out from behind their desks and get out into the organization and get face-to-face feedback from the hiring managers. But, here is the real reason:  the recruiters feel like they are “wasting” the hiring manager’s time.

“So,” she asked, “How do I get them out to build these relationships?”

Great question, but she asked the wrong question (was partially my answer).  Her problem isn’t that her recruiters aren’t building the relationships face-to-face with managers. The problem is they feel they are “wasting” someone’s time.

They don’t value or understand the value they are providing to the hiring manager. If they did, it sounds like they wouldn’t have a problem with visiting with the hiring managers.  It’s a classic leadership failure, solving a symptom instead of solving the actual problem.

I don’t think that this is rare, recruiters feeling like they are wasting hiring managers time. It happens constantly at the corporate level.  Once you train your recruiters (and hiring managers) on the value the recruiters are providing, you see much less resistance of the recruiters feeling comfortable getting in front of hiring managers to get feedback on candidates, and actually making a decision.  This moves your process along much quicker.

What value do recruiters provide?  Well, that seems like a really stupid question, but there aren’t stupid questions (just stupid people who ask questions).  Here are a few that will help your corporate recruiters understand their real value to hiring managers:

  • Corporate recruiters are the talent pipeline for a hiring manager. (or should be!)
  • Corporate recruiters can be the conduit for hiring managers to increase or better the talent within their department.
  • Corporate recruiters are a partner to the hiring managers in assessing talent.
  • Corporate recruiters are a strategist for the hiring managers group succession planning
  • Corporate recruiters are your hiring managers first line of performance management (setting expectations before someone even comes in the door)
  • Corporate recruiters are tacticians of organizational culture.

So, the next time you hear a recruiter tell you “I don’t want to waste their time.” Don’t go off on them and tell them to “just go out there and build the relationship”. Educate them on why they aren’t wasting their time. Then do an assessment for yourself to determine are they adding value or are they just wasting time. All recruiters are not created equal and some waste time, and it’s your job as a leader to find ones add value.

A critical component of all of this is building an expectation of your hiring managers of what they should expect from your recruiters.  They should expect value. They should expect a recruiter who is a pro, and who is going to help them maneuver the organizational landscape and politics of hiring. They should expect a recruiter is going to deliver to them better talent than they already have. They should expect a partner, someone who is looking out for the best interest of the hiring managers department.

Ultimately, what they should expect is someone who won’t waste their time!

E30 – HR Famous – Is Johnny Taylor good for @SHRM and HR?

(Shout to the Tim Cook, Ivanka, Johnny selfie above – I had to put that one because it’s totally a pic I would have gotten if I had the chance!)

In episode 30 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Kris Dunn, Tim Sackett, and Jessica Lee link up to discuss Senator Tom Carper’s senate hearing mishap, Tim’s most embarrassing leadership moment, and Johnny Taylor’s time at SHRM. In this episode, KD talks about the worst boss ever and the crew answers the question “is Johnny Taylor good for HR?”. 

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)! 
1:30 – Do you like “what’s up?” or “how are you?” better? HR Famous prefers what’s up as a greeting!

2:30 – Do you have any monster.com swag from an HR conference? Tim still has it on his desk! KD isn’t a swag guy and wants to avoid the lines at all costs. 

5:00 – First topic of the day: tech mishaps in US Senate hearings! Senator from Delaware Tom Carper didn’t realize he wasn’t muted and was caught using some profanity in this video. KD wrote about this occurrence on his blog and called him the worst boss ever. 

9:15 – Tim calls this the most embarrassing leadership moment that a leader can have around their staff. What is your most embarrassing moment as a leader?

11:30 – KD thinks the abrupt nature of Senator Carper’s three f-bombs to a staffer gives the signal that he’s the worst boss ever. He thinks the nature of the interaction gives off bad boss vibes. 

14:00 – Second topic of the day: is Johnny Taylor good for HR? Business Insider discusses the reign of the CEO of SHRM in their new article and the cutthroat culture he has created for SHRM employees. 

17:00 – Although some may call Tim a Johnny Taylor fanboy, he praises him for turning a company around and helping SHRM start to turn a profit again. Tim says that the out of touch SHRM of the past is being transformed under Johnny and the new culture he’s creating is trying to update the company.

19:20 – JLee thinks that it’s important to try and bifurcate some of Taylor’s accomplishments from some issues that have arisen at SHRM. She says that it’s hard to deny some of his results even though there have been issues with SHRM’s work culture and their handling of certain situations with their employees. 

22:00 – So, is Johnny Taylor good for HR? KD mentions a past potential book that Taylor was going to write called “Fire half your staff then hire and keep the staff you need”. Tim is glad that the title is up for grabs!

25:00 – Johnny’s wins: financial turnaround, diverse leader of an organization, speaking out about recidivism, DEI programming among others. Tim comments on his charisma and how his dynamic presence may positively affect membership. 

29:15 – Johny’s losses: alignment with the Trump administration, SHRM’s slow response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the killing of George Floyd, and a relationship with the Koch brothers on issues of recidivism. 

32:00 – Tim thinks the messaging about police brutality and the BLM movement is something that SHRM could’ve clarified in order to create a more clear message. 

35:15- The crew answers the question of the segment. What do you think?

HR’s Worst Enemy!

I’m always amazed to hear about all of the Enemies that HR has!  You have employees, and hiring managers, and the EEOC, and employment attorneys, and staffing firms, and insurance firms, and HR software providers. I mean, if I hadn’t been in HR, I would think that everyone is against HR!

It feels like that some days, doesn’t it?

HR’s real worst enemy, though, doesn’t get that without your organization’s service or product being successful, no one is successful.

HR’s worst enemy doesn’t get that more hurdles to jump through, just means less time for operations to focus on the real business at hand.

HR’s worst enemy doesn’t get that treating everyone the same way, doesn’t create a high-performance culture.

HR’s worst enemy doesn’t get that having employees fill out open enrollment paperwork just so you have a document to prove what they filled out, spends more resources then it saves.

HR’s worst enemy doesn’t get that adding five additional steps to a process doesn’t make it simpler, it makes it more complex.

HR’s worst enemy doesn’t get that not leaving your department to go out and build relationships in other departments isn’t a good thing.

HR’s worst enemy doesn’t get that eliminating all risk isn’t something that is possible nor should it be a goal.

HR’s worst enemy…is itself.

6 Things That Make Great HR Pros Great!

The one great thing I love about going to HR and Talent conferences is that you always get reminded about what really good HR should look like.  It doesn’t mean that your shop will be there, but it gives you something to shoot for.  I’ll admit, sometimes it can be frustrating listening to some HR Pro from a great brand tell you how they ‘built’ their great employment brand through all their hard work and brilliant ideas.  All the while, not mentioning anything about “oh, yeah, and we already had this great brand that marketing spends $100 million a year to keep us great!”

Regardless, seeing great HR always reminds me that great HR is obtainable for everyone. Great HR has nothing to do with size or resources. It has a lot to do with an HR team, even a team of one, deciding little by little we’re going to make this great!

I think there are six things you need to know to make your HR department great:

1. Know how to ‘sell’ your HR vision to the organization and your executives.  The best HR Pros I know are great storytellers and in turn great at selling their visions.  If you don’t have a clear vision of what you want your HR shop to look like, how do you expect others to get on board and help you get there?  Sit down, away from work, and write out exactly what you want your HR shop to look like.  Write it long-hand. Write in bullet points. Just start.  It will come.

2. Buy two pairs of shoes: one of your employees and one of your hiring managers. Try them on constantly.  These are your customers, your clients.  You need to feel their joys and pains, and truly live them.  Knowing their struggles will make you design better HR programs to support them.  Support them, not you.

3. Working hard is number 1.  Working smart is number 1A.  Technology can do every single transaction in HR.  Don’t allow tasks and administrative things to be why you can’t do great HR.  Get technology to do all of this busy work so you can focus on real HR deliverables.

4. Break something in your organization that everyone hates and replace it with something everyone loves.  This is usually a process of something you’ve always done, and people are telling you it still has to be done that way. Until it doesn’t, and you break it.  By the way, this doesn’t have to be something in HR.  Our leaders and our employees have so many things that frustrate them in our environments.  Just find one and get rid of it.

5. Sometimes the path of least resistance is the best solution. HR people love to fight battles for the simple act of fighting the battle. “NO! It has to be done this way!” “We will NOT allow any workarounds!”   Great HR finds the path of least resistance.  The path of greatest adoption.  The path which makes our people feel the most comfortable, even if it isn’t the path we really, really want to take.

6. Stop being an asshole. You’re in HR, you’re not a Nazi.  Just be nice.  We’re supposed to be the one group in our organization that understands.  Understands people are going to have bad days and probably say things they don’t mean.  Understands that we all will have pressures, some greater than others, but all pressure nonetheless. Understands that work is about 25% of our life, and many times that other 75% creates complete havoc in our world!

Great HR has nothing to do with HR.  Great HR has a lot to do with being a great leader, even when that might not be your position in the organization.

Creating friendships at work during a pandemic is really hard!

We’ve been told for years now, based on the Gallup research, that having a best friend at work is one of those anchors that will lengthen a person’s tenure with an organization. New research is proving this might not be as easy it sounds! Business Insider:

A Study by Plos One asked students to rate their friendships and also rate whether or not the ‘friend’ would reciprocate by telling researchers they also believed they were friends. Here the results:

In 94% of these perceived friendships, students expected them to be reciprocal. So if John rated Jack as his friend, he expected Jack to rate him as a friend also. But this was so in only 53% of cases; less than half of the students had their friendship beliefs about others reciprocated.

Ouch! Almost half of your friends, do think of you as a friend!

The researchers point to the social network-style of so many friendships today of why people have this wrong perception. People are now building so many friendships with individuals they rarely see or interact with but feel like they have a strong friendship with.

So, what should you be doing as an HR Pro to take advantage of the Friend Anchor?

1. Help provide real-life interactions with your employees to build ‘real’ friendships, not just social network friendships.

2. Give employees the opportunity to work with employees of their choosing on projects. Give an employee a project and let them pick their team to work on it.

3. Don’t ignore those employees who don’t interact with anyone. This is usually the first red flag you’ll get that a person is unhappy at work and more likely to turnover.

I know you didn’t get into HR to play a friendship matchmaker! But, if you value retention and want to lower turnover, being a great matchmaker might be the best tool you have in the HR toolbox!

To increase the difficulty of the position of being a matchmaker, what will you do for a remote workforce to increase friendships? The truth of the matter is it easier to create friendships in person, face to face, then it is when everyone is remote. The process of workplace friendship building has to be purposeful, and again this will mostly fall on HR pros to lead.

Also, remember, you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose. Unless they’re a really, really, really good friend, but even then, that’s creepy, don’t do that.

When Employees Pass Around the Office Salary Spreadsheet! #HRFAMOUS

Pay transparency! It’s a buzzword that means many things to many people. Can you be pro-pay transparency and skeptical of reporting that involves a salary worksheet, no details, and a subsequent article implying that pay issues at a company are widespread?

Why yes! yes, you can.

In the latest episode of HR Famous, Kris Dunn and Jessica Lee discuss a recent Bloomberg article that attempted a takedown vs Blizzard Entertainment related to pay issues – including some employees passing around a cloud spreadsheet listing salaries they make at Blizzard. Along the way they discuss what quality reporting looks like around this type of issue, messaging as part of damage control when a company finds itself under scrutiny, and they also look for clues related to the depth of pay issues at Blizzard on the company’s Glassdoor page.

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Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player below) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

1:30 – Tim is gone (again) this week on another vacay! KD and Jlee talk about what they think Tim is doing on his Lake Michigan getaway. Ginger people don’t tan!

12:00 – Next topic of the day – Blizzard Entertainment, famous for making many popular video games like Call of Duty, has a situation where employees circulated a salary document internally that showed major pay disparitiesThe salary document was first reported by Bloomberg – but the gang has questions.

15:00 – Jlee praises the person who circulated the Google sheets form for being efficient. If anyone has the link to the spreadsheet, HR Famous would love to see it! KD wonders aloud how many columns are on the spreadsheet?  Are they names? The gang doubts it.

18:00 – An Activision spokesperson says that they compensate their employees fairly and gave their top performers a higher salary increase than in prior years. KD compares this issue to an episode of The Office where they have to decide who to give raises to and how.

21:00 – KD comments on the quote from the Activision spokesperson that says “a 20% increase in salaries compared to other years” was questionable language. KD and Jlee give high marks to this language that is a little clever to the untrained eye.

25:00 – KD points out that Blizzard has thousands of employees and not everyone could be consulted for this article. He’s kind of over articles that splash, but make no mention of how many employees a reporter talked to.

26:00 – What do you think Blizzard’s Glassdoor rating is? KD is a little surprised by Blizzard’s rating and thinks that their rating isn’t indicative of some of the problems this article addresses.

29:00 – KD finds the reported Blizzard salaries on Glassdoor by job and finds that many aren’t too far off the industry average/ KD guesses the problems are in customer service and QA based on low hourly rates.

32:00 – Jlee feels for Blizzard and their HR department in these tough times for their company. KD wants reporters to tell a full story and do their job right. He encourages them to take their clickbait titles for traffic, then tells the whole story.

Female Mechanic, Amateur Porn, and Lawful Termination #TheProjectTakeover

I’m on vacation this week so my friends are taking over the Project! Enjoy their content, connect with them, and share the content with new people! Some amazing voices coming to you this week! 

Enjoy this post by Greg Modd!

Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are entertaining but there is an adult side to social media platforms. One is called OnlyFans that HR professionals need to be aware of that is in the market. Kirsten Vaughn, 24, created an account to pad her bank account while working as a mechanic at Don Ayres Honda dealership in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She had the potential to be the first woman master technician at the dealership. However, Kirsten’s colleagues discovered her OnlyFans account and she claims that was when the sexual harassment began. A month after she created the account, she was terminated from her mechanic position for violating company policy.

Management met with Vaughn prior to her termination and in a recorded conversation the dealership’s HR leader Jason Johnston said “If there were coworkers over there who had access to your page, that might encourage them to approach you with unwanted sexual conduct or comments,” wow… suppose this could be interpreted as a blame the victim defense.

How should HR professionals handle these situations? The Association of Workplace Investigators have guiding principles to assist investigators to enhance the quality of workplace investigations:

  1. The decision to Conduct an Investigation
  2. Choice of Investigator
  3. Scope of Investigation
  4. Investigation Planning
  5. Communicating with Employer Representatives and Witnesses
  6. Confidentiality and Privacy
  7. Evidence Gathering and Retention
  8. Witness Interviews
  9. Documenting the Investigation
  10. Investigation Findings
  11. Reports

Wow, that’s a long and complicated list of guiding principles. What do they mean “decision to conduct an investigation” can an HR department ignore sexual harassment complaints? No, as employers are legally mandated to investigate harassment, retaliation, discrimination, and certain other types of complaints. Common mistakes made by HR departments in employee relations investigations are failing to plan, ignoring complaints, delaying an investigation, and losing objectivity. Bias is real folks…

Employee relations are complex and workplace investigations are an important piece to the puzzle. Business is about relationships. More importantly positive relationships. For HR professionals to be successful in the workplace they must be trusted advisors to both the business managers and employees. This is a challenging position to be in for most HR pros and one that sometimes can appear to be in conflict.

The bottom line, the sights and sounds human resources professionals are exposed to can be some of the strangest human interactions. Some HR pros aren’t equipped to manage the employee relations complications that come, and it can be an expensive lesson for the employer. My dear friend calls it a lesson in litigation. We can do better and be better if we simply leverage our network’s knowledge to help in these challenging situations. You don’t have to do this alone as we are truly better together.

Bio – Greg Modd is the Principal Consultant at PPC, DisruptHR speaker, and a United StatesAir Force veteran who served two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. PPC aims to mitigate risk for small business owners through outsourced workplace investigations.