Is Love Greater Than Fear?

The most famous quote from Machiavelli’s book “The Prince” is:

“Better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”

Uh, oh, Tim is quoting Machiavelli, this blog has jumped the shark!

I heard this quote recently in a virtual HR event. HR speakers seem to come in two types:

1. Love is greater than fear. This is popular and most fall into this camp. It’s a feel-good play. The first rule of HR speaking, it’s always better to make the audience feel good, than to give them something they actually need.

2. Machiavelli’s assessment, It’s better to be feared. Less popular take, but I do hear it in the form of stuff like, “I’m not here to be your friend, I’m here to get results!”

I also have smart friends who pull Machiavelli’s name out anytime they want me to feel like I’m on the wrong side of something, “How ‘Machiavellian’ of you, Tim!” Okay, I get it, you’re smarter than me, how ‘Machiavellian’ for you!

The normal breakdown of leadership goes like this. You would rather be a beloved leader than a feared leader. Those leaders who are loved will be more successful than those who are feared. You have to be one or the other. Or do you?

I think all leaders deep down in places we don’t talk about at parties (A Few Good Men reference!) want to be loved, or at the very least, well-liked. It’s human nature. No one really wants to be hated. It’s stressful, people don’t want to be around you, it makes for uncomfortable hugs, etc.

On the love side, love can make you do some crazy things, but so can fear. I would drive all night to help my wife or kids with something if I thought they really needed me, even if they or I could probably find another alternative. I would also probably work all night if I thought I might lose my job and I need to pay my mortgage. Love and fear are powerful in getting us to act.

I think fear is bigger when it comes to crunch time scenarios. I might ‘love’ my boss a ton, but when the project is on the line and the company might lose a major project and cost us hundreds of jobs, fear is driving the truck, not love. Love won’t bring those jobs back, fear might just win those jobs back.

As leaders, this our dilemma. I want my team to love me, but I also need a touch of fear on the edge. It’s an imperfect balance.

What I know is love isn’t the only answer, no matter how many memes you make or posters you put it on. I don’t know if Love is bigger, it’s definitely more popular, for obvious reasons, but great leaders have used both. I want you to love me, I need you to fear me a bit, in the end, I’ll probably use both to get the job done.

E15 – The HR Famous Podcast – Is Your Company Ready for RTW!?

In episode 15 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee and Kris Dunn come together to discuss Tim’s extravagant Southern Utah adventure, return to work plans, Twitter’s WFH forever proclamation, and Microsoft Teams. The team discusses the different return to work plans and ideas, new office norms, and a potential boom in the workplace real estate market.

Listen below (email subscribers click through if you don’t see the player) or click here for a direct link. Be sure to and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review via iTunesSpotify and Google Play.

Show Highlights:

1:00 – No Tim on this episode! Are we sad or happy? Stay tuned to find out 😉

2:00 – Is JLee still a kid? Sound off in the comments

3:30 – Tim Sackett is a jerk!!!! His Instagram is making the HR Famous crew jealous with his Southern Utah golfing, jeep trips, and luxurious escapades. Safe travels Timmy!

4:30 – Today’s topic: return to work! Some companies have their plans ready to go but all companies are going to have to get ready for “the new normal”. What is that going to look like? Are you ready?

7:00 – RTW = return to work

7:30 – Jlee sounds off on the differences of work returns there can be and the potential anxiety employees could bring with them. Will there be a major fear from workers?

8:45 – KD is taking the approach of surveying his employees on how they want to return to work. Who wants to stay home? Who wants to return to the office? Who is unsure and has concerns?

9:40 – One size fits all? Not for RTW plans.

11:15 – KD fills us in on how Kinetix is facing RTW: Branded face masks: check! How do you feel about the decorative/branded face masks?

13:15 – Sexy brand check! Jack Dorsey has announced that all Twitter employees can work remote forever. What really is forever? Jlee thinks it’s a cool idea but may be too early to make this call. Only a diamond is forever 😉

16:00 – Will there be an increased need for real estate for workspace? Due to physical distancing needs, there may need more space needed to ensure employee safety.

18:00 – Have you ever had an employee sit on the floor in your office during a meeting? Jlee hasn’t but she thinks that cramped small office meetings are on the way out and virtual meetings are here to stay.

20:30 – KD and Jlee are turning this into a Microsoft ad! Microsoft Teams chat is the new norm for Jlee but may be NSFW because of their raunchy gifs.

22:30 – KD thinks that Eric Schmitt’s perception of a workspace real estate boom is a little tone deaf. With more WFH employees and financial troubles, there may not be a real estate boom especially in spaces made for small to mid-sized businesses.

24:00 – Should we be celebrating companies and CEOs who pledge not to lay off employees? The crew thinks it’s unrealistic to raise the expectation that companies should not lay off some workers in this pandemic, especially in service industries.

26:10 – “Up your sunscreen game” – KD to Tim Sackett.

Are you more productive working at home? #WFH

If you want and like working from home, your answer is “Yes!”

If you hate working at home and can’t wait to return to work, your answer is “No!”

The truth?

Some people can be productive anywhere. You could put them on the moon and they would find a way to get done what needs to get done. Many of us, need a great deal of structure and guidance, and proper motivation.

We have this giant Work from Home experiment going on right now and a lot of HR folks are pointing to this and going, “See! I told you it would work!” But, is it really working?

The problem is what most of us are doing right now isn’t truly working at home. If you are trying to do childcare to co-habitat with multiple people in a house all trying to do work, it’s not really what a normal work at home situation would be.

Pre-Covid most studies on Work at Home were done by folks who had a mission to get more people to work at home, so quite frankly, I think most of those studies are crap. They didn’t really set out to see what situation would be better, only that working from home is better.

One of the main issues we see with working from home is that your real workers, those ten percenters who put in the most work, put in even more when working from home which could lead to burnout of your best talent. So, you might see productivity gains, but it’s not equal across the board. Like most work, the vast amount of gains is coming from folks who already probably gave you the most!

I’m not a work from home hater by any means. I think it’s a great way to add some flexibility for those employees who need it and can actually make it work. To be very clear, that is not all of your employees. The vast majority will not be more productive at home. And those who love working at home the most might actually be your least productive.

So, should you allow your employees who can continue to work from home? I think during a pandemic the answer is yes! I think once this is all behind us, we have to look at productivity in a normal work from home environment and make those determinations on our own.

In the small sample size, I have with my own company I know there are folks who would kill it no matter where they were working, and I have some folks who better get ready to return to the office!

The key to working from home isn’t your ability to actually be able to work at home. It’s your ability to be as good or better working at home as you were working from the office, in a normal business environment. We are not in a normal business environment. So, you working at 40% compacity at home doesn’t mean you’ve proven anything.

So, during this great Work from Home experiment, do you think you are more productive, less productive, or about the same? Hit me in the comments and let me know what you think!

The New Normal for Hiring Hourly Employees!

Not many of us are actually doing a ton of hiring right now. How do I know? There are 25 million people who applied for unemployment! That means there’s probably another 75 million that are currently under-employed or utilized.

This means that when we all get back to the ‘new normal’ of working, a bunch of stuff is going to change! How we attract, select, onboard, etc. can not be the same as what we did only sixty to ninety days ago.

Hourly hiring has always been a very “hands-on” endeavor and we must change that! My good friend and Recruiting Expert, Madeline Laurano has done a major research project looking specifically at hourly hiring. I’ve been spending time interviewing TA and HR leaders on the changes they are planning moving forward, and we are going to share with you all of those ideas and strategies!

Join us for a free Webinar on Tuesday, May 12th at 1pm EST: The New Normal for Hourly Hiring: 5 Strategies TA Leaders Must Consider Moving Forward! 

I’m so excited to have this conversation and share the information that Madeline and I have found! It’s always a great time just talking shop with her, and this is a topic we are both passionate about.

Thank you to the great folks over at Get.Fountain.com for sponsoring this and allowing us to present this information. Fountain is an easy to use Hiring Software trusted by the world’s leading companies. Source, screen, and onboard your hourly workers, giving them a great experience without all of the physical high-touch!

Your Hosts with the Most!

E10 – The HR Famous Podcast – Unlimited PTO or Accrual? What would your employees choose?

In Episode 10 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee, Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn get together to discuss how COVID-19 has changed their daily life, the Cuomo brothers and work-life balance. Tim wants to talk about PTO: accrual vs. unlimited. What’s better? There are different answers with many variables…

The gang continues to talk about how PTO will be molded by the COVID-19 crisis with Kris wondering if unlimited PTO might attract the “average” performers. The team closes by talking about the differences in how different types of employees want their PTO and Tim brings up the demise of the Unlimited PTO plan.

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!

Show Highlights:

1:56 – Tim brings up the question “How your life was pre-coronavirus vs. now – what’s the percentage?” He says he has had a 50-60% change where Jlee has had nearly a 90% change, drinking more and bonding with family.

4:05 – KD talks about how he isn’t doing anything. He’s going on a run sometimes and avoiding people as much as possible. He’s also being a little more introspective. Tim calls KD out on his new deck-lifestyle with the cat.

7:00 – KD hits the cancel culture with a “BACK OFF” and brings up the Cuomo Brothers (recently featured in a POLITICO article) since Chris Cuomo has the coronavirus but is still doing shows from the basement. Where’s our work-life balance? Is he a bad example? JLee says haters are going to hate, and maybe he should use that sick leave – but he’s doing a service to the people by showing them what COVID-19 looks like. POLITICO is just hating.

12:10 – There’s rarely a moment where someone reaches the top without outworking someone. KD calls out the bullsh*t – for everyone, you have to put in the work and people who don’t work as hard, can’t expect the same results. You have to grind it out. Shout out to Chris Cuomo.

14:47 – Tim brings up unlimited PTO vs Accruals – you’re not going to be using 4 months of BeachPTO, but what would win if you had to choose? Would more people choose the unlimited plan?

18:26 – KD says the answer is different pre and post COVID-19. Tim brings up that HR pros have different opinions than the majority of workers.

22:15 – KD likes a system where you use it or lose it for your vacation time – but sick leave can be rolled over for extended sick leave, extended maternity leave, etc. It’s important for major medical! Jlee kind of agrees but when she was younger, she banked those days for an unused PTO pay out.

25:03 – Tim says PTO will be shaped by COVID, because people may stop coming to work sick. Hybrid PTO packages might be in our future…

28:00 – KD challenges Jlee – what plans would workers select, if they could? Jlee says, there’s no way it’s a one size fits all.

31:20 – KD asks Tim, “What plan will the top performer select?” Tim says unlimited, but Jlee and KD say no – KD says the real answer doesn’t matter because the best managers treat their high performers different.

34:48 – Jlee and KD talk about accruals being preferred over unlimited because sometimes, you don’t want anyone to call you and you want the official day off.

38:50 – The team closes it out with their final comments and how unlimited PTO just might go away post-coronavirus.

Resources:

Jessica Lee on LinkedIn

Tim Sackett on Linkedin

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

HRU Tech

The Tim Sackett Project

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Kinetix

Boss Leadership Training Series

Do you have your CEOs cell phone number?

The world is moving pretty fast right now. Seems like you can’t step away from the news cycle for a minute without something new popping up and changing what we thought to be fact just seconds before.

That’s why I found it refreshing this week when I read a story about Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick giving out his personal cell phone number to all of his employees. If you work for a small or even medium-sized business you might not find this to be a big deal, but Bobby has 10,000 employees!

“The uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic can take its toll on employees. For the 10,000 or so who work at Activision Blizzard around the world, one person they can call is CEO Bobby Kotick

“About a month ago, we sent out an email from my email address with my phone number and we encouraged every single employee that has a concern that relates to their health care to just contact me directly,” Kotick told CNBC’s Becky Quick on “Squawk Box.”

Kotick said “a few hundred” employees have reached out to him since that email. “But we’re fortunate. Very few actually tested positive so far for Covid-19.”

I’ve met a lot of great CEOs in my time. Some wonderful, extremely caring folks, and a few assholes. There are not many who would do this with this number. There would be meetings with PR and Comms and HR, and eventually, there would be this rollout of a hundred underlings who would be taking your call directly.

The decision would be made that the CEO would do a weekly town hall, live, and you could send in your questions to be answered, etc. All of those questions would be washed and pre-loaded, and the CEO would say the exact right thing. That is how the sausage is made kids!

The vast majority of CEOs would tell you they would do the exact same thing as Bobby, but they haven’t and they won’t. I don’t know if Bobby is a great leader, but that was a great leader move.

Your people are nervous and scared and frustrated. They don’t want a perfectly prepared Q & A. They just want to let you know how they are feeling. The best CEOs I’ve worked with would find that information priceless. They search out unfiltered news from the trenches!

Turns out, all you have to do is email your cell phone number out to the email list titled”
All Employees” and hit send!

 

#CoronaDiaries – Return to Work Protocols and Your MVPs! (video)

This week on the Corona Diaries I dig into what the heck it’s going to be like when we finally all come back to work, from our Work from Home sentences! At least for the extroverts who can’t wait to get back to work, or those parents who have been locked in with their crazy kids!

I also talk about the concept of those employees who contract and get better from COVID (should we call them “Covivors” – shout out to Mary Kaylor at SHRM as we were discussing what we might tag someone who is on the backside of the virus) and now have a special place in society.

Are you working on your RTW Protocols – if so, share a tip you’ve discovered while talking through this and strategizing at your organization in the comments below!

Reader Question: Can I negotiate my offer during the COVID Pandemic?

So, we like to think that no one is hiring right now, or the only people hiring are Amazon, Grubhub, hospitals, etc. The reality is, even in the worse economy, a lot of stuff still needs to happen.

Many organizations are finding out they can still get a bunch of their work done with folks at home, and collaborating in new ways, and the learning curve is steep, but everyone is working together to figure it out.

I had a call this past week from a soon to be college graduate, dual major, Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering from a great school, so it makes sense he already has an offer. He had some questions for me. He was excited, of course, and understood that he was the exception right now, not the rule. With historic unemployment, companies are still going to want him!

One of the questions he had was where and how do you negotiate during a crisis situation like this. The company that offered him the job, was also laying employees off! Not the best environment to play hardball negotiator! Plus, his school had stopped all career fairs, etc. So, he didn’t have a traditional route many college students would have in normal times to connect with some other employers.

Can I, and should I, negotiate my offer during this COVID crisis? 

My answer:

You can negotiate anytime you feel you need to, but having the political savviness to understand the situation and current timing might work for you best long term if you don’t right now.

That being said, here’s how I would negotiate right now! First, you have to play this very coy. You, and the person making the offer, both know the dire straights going on right now, especially when employees are being laid off, but they’re making you an offer.

There are two things I might try if you feel like you can play this very soft. First, you still have a semester left of school, you could politely ask if they have any kind of tuition assistance and would they be willing to help you out during this last semester? The other ask could be for a signing bonus, to be paid upon start, which is later in the year, but good to negotiate now.

There is little risk they will pull the offer because you are trying to negotiate, and if you play it right you will come out looking fine, no matter the outcome. The other option is to just wait until your actual start date in December and then ask for a sign-on bonus at that point, or as you get close to starting, make the call and say something like, “Hey, I’ve got some friends who have accepted at other companies and they are all getting some sort of sign-on bonus, is this something I can get as well?”

You will learn a few things in this process:

  1. You don’t get what you don’t ask for, but timing can be everything in terms of when you ask.
  2. You are the only person managing your career. If you wait for a company to do it, you’ll miss out on a lot. Manage your own career.
  3. The job offer is contingent on them actually needing you when it comes time for you to start. It’s not a guarantee the employer will need you, so you don’t need to act like you’re signing a guaranteed contract. Things can and will happen between now and December.
  4. Know your value. Just because it sucks for everyone else, doesn’t mean it sucks for you.

What do you think? Should you negotiate in trying times?

 

Trying Not to Lose in HR!

I usually love this time of year, primarily for March Madness and because I love basketball.  I should have spent the weekend watching the NCAA Tournament but alas nature had other plans, and instead I spent that time watching past games which weren’t quite the same.

While enjoying this pastime I heard very often the sports cliche: “They are playing not to lose versus trying to win”.

For those who have competed in sports (and for many in business), you know exactly what this looks and feels like. It’s playing keep-away with the ball when you’re up 3 in the first half!  No! Stop! Run your normal offense. It’s your favorite NFL team going into a prevent defense up 10 points with 15 minutes to play (Don’t do it – it’s going to “prevent” you from winning!).  Playing not to lose is being conservative may be too conservative to the point of you stop doing what it took that got you in the position to win.

We do this in HR.

Too many times we tell managers “No” when we should be telling them “Yes” we become so risk avoidant that we miss out on some very good opportunities for our organization. It’s not HR’s job to avoid risk, it’s HR’s job to measure the level of risk and work with our organizational partners to determine if they are comfortable with the level of risk we are about to take. Those are two very different things and many HR Pros misconstrue this issue. They try at all costs to avoid all risks, which isn’t necessarily the right thing for the business. They aren’t trying to win, they’re trying not to lose.

The next time you find yourself in a position of giving advice to your operations partners at work, ask yourself this one question –

  • Am I trying to make the company/organization better right now, or am I trying to eliminate risk?

Then determine, what should I be doing? For some of you, the right choice will be to say – at this point, right now, I have to eliminate risk it’s the right call. But for many of you, you will have to circle back and truly try to make your organizations better by managing the risk that is presented.

Spend today trying to win.

Who are your “Essential” employees!?

Karen in Payroll – can you come to the CEO’s office!

In Michigan, we got the governor’s executive order to work from home for all nonessential companies. Basically, the only companies that should still be working at the office are those saving or sustaining life.

The order was like 18 pages. One of the bullet points directed that HR professionals responsible for ensuring payroll checks were processed and benefits administration continued were considered essential!

Eat that you other HR and Talent Pros!

Payroll and Benefits are Essential!!! You’re all non-essential! If fact, why are you still here? Get out, let the pros work in peace and safety, you dirty, virus-carrying waste of space wannabes!

It’s true. If our folks don’t get their paychecks, it’s a problem! Right now, more than ever we need access to our benefits, and for many people, who rarely use their benefits, they’ll have questions and be in a panic! So, feel yourself right now Karen in Payroll! We salute you as a first responder!

Have you ever wondered if you were an “Essential” employee? 

Many of us are finding this out for the first time right now. For those who worked through 9/11 and the Great Recession, you’ve probably experienced this. At some point in crisis situations and terrible economies, organizations go through a strategy talk about who is essential and who is non-essential to the business.

A great example of being an “Essential” employee is I heard a story from one of our Utility clients recently where they have certain employees who will be locked in the power plants during the pandemic. They have beds, and food stores, etc. But, the utility has to ensure these employees don’t get sick or the power grid could come down!

I’ve been in the unenviable task, many times in my career, where an executive has said, “Tim I need a list of employees we can cut, and still deliver our critical services, products, etc.” Big spreadsheets, a lot of conversations with leaders, and ultimately the list of death.

It’s not fun. It’s not exciting. You go home each night and drink.

Almost every time I’ve put these lists together I did the one thing I thought was responsible, which was I put my own name on that list with all the other names. After making sure we have all these talks, and make the moves we need to make, the last move will be me locking my door and leaving as well.

Every single time, and CEO, CHRO, etc., who I was reporting to saw the list and said, “Take your name off the list” you are essential and here’s why. Now, I didn’t think I wasn’t essential, but it’s a great test to find out, because if they accepted the list with me on it, then I know for sure!

The thing is we always want to be essential. If you think about your current role and you can ask a few questions to determine if your role is essential:

  1. If you don’t come to work, your customers can’t get your products and services?
  2. If you don’t come to work, a system or process doesn’t get done that ensures your product or services function in the way they should?
  3. If you don’t come to work, and your work doesn’t get done, something catastrophic will happen to your organization?
  4. You are the only one in your organization that does what you do?
  5. Someone else makes decisions on what you do and has the ability to do what you do?

Non-essential doesn’t mean you’re not important. It just means you might not be critical to keeping the lights on and making the donuts. When it comes to career security, being “essential” is truly the ultimate security.