Apple Fires New Hire Based on Employee Petition

On episode 64 of The HR Famous Podcast, longtime HR leaders (and friends) Tim SackettKris Dunn, and Jessica Lee come together to discuss Apple’s firing of a new employee based on an employee petition. Also: cursing in the workplace.

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

Show Highlights

1:30 – The whole gang’s back together again!

3:30 – KD is on the recruiting trail for recruiters! He’s learned a lot about the current market, and he says the biggest thing he’s learned is that a lot of recruiters viable recruiting jobs aren’t really that into the world of recruiting.  Many don’t work to create their own professional network, which means they’re just farmers, relying on direct applies.

6:00 – Tim thinks that there isn’t that big of a difference between a recruiter with some experience and a recruiter with a ton of experience that may be getting paid a ton more.

8:20 – When is it OK to swear at work? Shoutout to friend of the pod, Suzanne Lucas, for writing this piece for Inc. about when is it acceptable to drop some F-bombs in the workplace.

10:00 – BTS: KD wouldn’t run Tim’s episode of Best Hire Ever because he swore too much.

12:30 – JLee shares that when Marriott was vetting Tim to come speak, one of the lawyers said that Tim had to watch his cursing.

13:30 – Back in the day, Tim auditioned to do a “kitchen nightmares” type show, but for fixing businesses. The feedback he got was that he needed to curse more.

18:00 – Next topic: Apple terminated Antonio Garcia Martinez, author of Chaos Monkeys, a very successful book. He was fired from a paragraph in his book that some Apple employees found to be misogynist.

22:00 – Tim asks the question, “Do platforms like Slack and Teams give people an opportunity to speak online in ways that they wouldn’t speak in person?”

26:00 – KD thinks that the burden has never been lower and is easy to pile on. KD has read the book and talks about the fact that the book is written in a form of persona by the author. Also, Apple hired AGM even though he wrote a tell-all book on Facebook, which is interesting.

29:00 – KD says that Apple will likely settle with the author for $10 to $15 million, based on the fact they knew about the book, had talked to references about the book, and AGM is now unemployable in tech based on Apple’s actions.

7 Very Short Rules For Being Better At Recruiting!

Over the past few months have had dozens of conversations with Talent Acquisition leaders across America. From SMB to Enterprise, all types of markets, and all with basically the same kind of problem. The need to get better at recruiting, and the need to do it very quickly! (By the way, I actually wrote a book on how to do that! Duh!)

The reality is, none of these folks wanted to read my book (TL;DR). Okay, actually, some have, but they still wanted those silver bullets. Yeah, yeah, I can read the book, but “really” just tell me what I need to do right now to get better! We are desperate to hire better, NOW!

Very Short Rules for Better Recruiting!

1. You must advertise your jobs.

No, posting your jobs on your own career site doesn’t count! Also, this isn’t free. Quality advertising that gets results will cost some money. Also, just posting on job sites, for most, will not be enough. Job sites are for people looking for jobs. The best organizations advertise to people who are not actively looking for a job, and those people are not on job sites.

2. Stop working on requisitions for Hiring Managers who are not “immediately” ready to hire.

Your team already has limited capacity to recruit. You don’t need to be messing around with openings with a hiring manager who is unsure. “Well, just leave it open. Maybe someone will apply.” No, it’s canceled, when you’re serious about hiring we’ll re-open that position and make a hire.

3. If a job is always open, it’s never open.

No one wants a job that is always open. There is a problem with that job. Why can’t you fill it? Why is it never closed? “But, Tim, this is a greenfield position!” Stop it! Think about this from a candidate’s perspective and the recruiter’s perspective. A candidate doesn’t want a position that never closes, and a recruiter doesn’t want to work that position. Plus, it’s very difficult to get both recruiter and hiring manager ownership over a position that never closes. If you have openings that never get filled, there’s a bigger issue at play.

4. It’s not Quality or Quantity, it’s both.

When it comes to measuring a recruiter’s activity and performance, quality and quantity are not mutually exclusive. We need both. You must work through enough candidates to get both a certain level of quality and enough quantity to meet the obligations of the job. We don’t have a quality issue, because every one of our recruiters would only send high quality. Not having enough quantity then becomes a work effort issue, that can be solved in a number of ways.

5. If your recruiters aren’t using your old ATS, they will not use your new ATS.

We buy technology because we truly believe it will make our TA team/process better. Thus, if they are not using our technology, there is a belief that they are better than your investment in technology. So, you must assume that this will happen with any new technology you buy as well. In my experience, this actually happens in about 90% of cases. It’s not a technology issue, it’s an adoption issue.

6. You must know your own baseline recruiting capacity, then improve upon that.

Yes, I can tell you how many reqs, on average, a recruiter can effectively carry. Also, that number is basically meaningless to you. Your team, your leadership, your technology, your market, is different than everyone else. Continuous improvement of yourself, should be your true measure. You only know if that is happening, if you know your baseline performance.

7. Stop doing anything that doesn’t lead to or help you fill jobs.

Most of my job, as a recruiting consultant, is not about finding out what you’re not doing, but finding out what you are doing that you should stop doing. 100% of the time I find recruiters and recruiting teams doing things that have very little to do with filling open requisitions. While, organizationally, those things might be important stuff. Functionally, they are a waste of time.

Bonus Rule:

If you have recruiters who love to administer your recruiting process, but they do not love to actually recruit, you have two options: 1. Fire them; 2. Move them into Recruiting Operations if you’re an enterprise-size shop. You need recruiters who recruit, not ones who talk about the process. We do not have the time nor the resources to carry non-recruiting, recruiters on our teams. FYI, letting them go, won’t hurt your capacity, they weren’t really recruiting anyway!

What are your favorite recruiting rules for being better at recruiting? Share in the comments so we can all get better together!

If you can Recruit, you can Recruit!

I grew up and lived most of my life in Michigan. There are so many things I love about living in Michigan and most of those things have to deal with water and the 3 months that temperatures allow you to enjoy said water (Jun – Aug). There is one major thing that completely drives me insane about Michigan.  Michigan is at its core an automotive manufacturing state which conjures up visions of massive assembly plants and union workers. To say that the majority of Michigan workers feel entitled would be the largest understatement ever made.

We have grown up with our parents and grandparents telling us stories of how their overtime and bonus checks bought the family cottage, up north, and how they spent more time on their ‘pension’ than they actually spent in the plant (think about that! if you started in a union job at 18, put in your 30 years, retired at 48, on your 79 birthday you actually have had a company pay for you longer than you worked for them. At the core of the Michigan economy, this is happening right now and it’s disastrous! Pensions weren’t created to sustain that many years, and quite frankly they aren’t sustainable under those circumstances. Seniority, entitlement, I’ve been here longer than you, so wait your turn, etc. are all the things I hate about my great state!

There is a saying in professional sports – “If you can play, you can play”.  Simply, this means that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, how much your contract is worth. If you’re the best player, you will be playing.  We see examples of this in every sport, every year. The kid was bagging groceries last month, now a starting quarterback in the NFL!  You came from a rich family, poor family, no family it doesn’t matter, if you can play, you can play. Short, tall, skinny, fat, pretty, ugly, not-so-smart, if you can play, you can play. Performance in your specific field of play is all that matters. A few year back the NHL released this video supporting the LGBTQ community (if you can play…) –

This is why I love being a recruiter!  I can play.

Doesn’t matter how long I’ve been doing it.  Doesn’t matter what education/school I came from.  Doesn’t matter what company I work for.  If you can recruit, you can recruit. You can recruit in any industry, at any level, anywhere in the world. Recruiting at its core is a perfect storm of showing us how accountability and performance in our profession works. You have an opening – and either you find the person you need (success), or you don’t find the person (failure). It’s the only position within the HR industry that is that clear-cut.

I have a team of recruiters who work with me. Some have 20 years of experience, some have a few months. The thing that they all know is if you can recruit, you can recruit. No one can take it away from you, no one can stop you from being a great recruiter. There’s no entitlement or seniority – ‘Well, I’ve been here longer, I should be the best recruiter!’ If you want to be the best if you have to go out and prove you’re the best.  The scorecard is your placements. Your finds. Can you find talent and deliver, or can’t you? Black and white.

I love recruiting because all of us (recruiters) have the exact same opportunity.  Sure some will have more tools than others but the reality is if you’re a good recruiter you need a phone and a computer, and an ability to connect with people. Tools will make you faster, not better. A great recruiter can play. Every day, every industry. This is why I love recruiting.

Emotion vs. Logic is the Failure Point of Great Leadership!

“You can’t defeat emotion with logic.”

-Unknown

The biggest failures in my life in relationships have always been this singular issue. Someone was emotional, and I tried reasoning with logic. It’s the basis of almost every Twitter fight I see, Facebook fight, etc. It seems to the root cause of cancel culture in general.

I’m upset over something, no matter how trivial or inconsequential you might believe it to be, and you try and reason with me. Light fuse. Explosion.

I think one of the reasons logic fails so often when facing emotion is that emotion wants to be felt, and heard. When logic tells emotion, you are wrong, and here is a series of evidence of why you are wrong, emotion does not feel like it was felt or heard. I mean, logically, I think this is the reason!

I’m not a huge Star Trek fan, but I watched enough of it back in the day to get the gist. Captain Kirk was emotion, and Spock was logic. Captain Kirk was constantly frustrated with Spock because he addressed everything with simple logic. Spock on the other hand would constantly turn his head and look at Kirk like a dog when you talk to it, not understanding at all what you’re saying, but understanding you are trying to talk to it.

I find logic comforting. There is an order to the world, and that is calming to me. I find emotion exciting because you are never fully sure where this might be going. One second you are screaming at each other, the next second you are passionately kissing. Um, what!?! Emotion does some crazy stuff! Logic stays in its lane.

Great Leaders tend to be “Logically Emotional”!

When I think of the best leaders I’ve worked for and with, they were mostly logical. I mean of all the characteristics you want in a leader, being “unstable and emotional” will not make the Top 100 of that list! It’s one reason why employees will constantly say things about leaders in surveys like, “I don’t think she even cares!”

I can guarantee you that leader cares more about the success of the organization than you do, by a million percent! That she is living, eating, breathing every element of the organization. But, she is most likely not emotional enough for you to believe she cares as much as you. That’s because you’re getting emotional and she is staying logical.

At the same time, my great leader examples in my career tended to know the exact perfect time to show some emotion. It was usually specific, on the right side of history, and would fall within popular opinion with the employee base. Standing up for an employee going through a very difficult time, standing up for the company in a very difficult time, etc. They were experts in being logically emotional. Never a robot, but also never out of control.

The next time you find yourself feeling like you might be getting close to getting into a conflict, take a moment to just ask yourself, am I on the emotional side of this conflict or the logical side. Understand, if you are really emotional, you will tell yourself you are being logical! So, you might also have to ask yourself, is the other side of this conflict being emotional or logical. If they are being logical, most likely they are viewing you on the other side, because two people having a logical discussion about a topic that might be on opposite ends are not in conflict.

Does “Motherhood” belong on your resume? #HRFamous

On episode 63 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Tim Sackett and Jessica Lee come together to discuss Motherhood On The Resume (MOTR), time off from working, and how being a parent raises your levels of empathy. 

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

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:

2:00 – JLee was out last week because she was vacationing in a tiny house! She wasn’t the biggest fan of it…

4:00 – Have you ever seen anyone put being a parent as an experience on a resume? Tim has seen it a few times for people coming back to work after taking an extended break away to raise a family.

5:30 – There is a new movement to “add mother to your resume” in hopes to destigmatize the duty of being a mother in a workplace environment. 

7:00 – Are you okay with your kids’ calling you by your first name? Tim’s son calls his wife by a nickname that is similar to her first name and she’s alright with that but Jessica thinks it would be weird if her kids’ called her by her name. 

10:00 – Tim thinks that there are going to be lovers and haters regardless if you make a decision like putting “parenthood” on your resume. He says go do it if you want!

14:00 – MOTR: Motherhood On The Resume! Check it out here!

15:00 – JLee came across a viral LinkedIn post about getting asked ‘what you have been doing to occupy your time’ after being laid off. 

16:45 – Tim thinks that it’s a valid question to be asked from a TA perspective because you never know what could be going on in that person’s life, even if it’s in the middle of a recession/pandemic. 

21:00 – JLee asks Tim what’s the longest gap where you’re feeling extra weary. He says he only gives executive employees 12 months of a break on their resume before he gets curious.

24:00 – JLee mentions that empathy training for recruiters and TA pros could be really helpful in order to get honest answers from candidates. 

28:00 – JLee and Tim both note how parenthood has made them more empathetic in job interviews and recruiting settings. 

32:00 – Thanks to JLee and Tim for shouting out my (hi, this is Cam!) first BuzzFeed article. You can check it out here!

—————Jessica Lee, Kris Dunn and Tim Sackett

Kinetix

HRU Tech

Jessica Lee on LinkedIn

Tim Sackett on Linkedin

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

The Tim Sackett Project

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Boss Leadership Training Series

Delivering Exceptional Experiences to Employees and Candidates!

In 2021 and moving forward into the future, HR and TA leaders will be tasked with delivering “exceptional” experiences for both our employees and our candidates. It’s the future of work. People expect that “work” won’t be an awful experience, that we’ll get as much as we give, and we aren’t just talking about the exchange of compensation. Getting paid is no longer enough.

I’ve partnered with the folks at Symphony Talent to share some free resources and data because we share the same ideas and strategies around how to make this happen. The 4-part research study is called The Exceptional Experiences Research Report and it’s broken into four sections, which as of today have all been released and you can download them for free:

Also, on July 27, my friend and TA Technology Analyst and Expert, Madeline Laurano will be holding an exclusive limited-access roundtable event to discuss The Future of Exceptional Experiences for Employees and Candidates. Sign-up now, so you can reserve your spot!

Why should we even bother with delivering exceptional experiences?

  1. Because the risk is, someone you are competing with for talent will, and while you will still get talent, you will not get the good talent.
  2. Longer tenure delivers better operational performance. That is a fact. The better an employee experience is, the longer they will stay around. Another fact.
  3. If the Pandemic has taught us anything it’s that life is short and unexpected. You deserve to work at a place where you actually like that experience. So does everyone else. The great thing about being in HR and TA is we actually have some control over this!
  4. This isn’t difficult. Yes, it is work. But in the end, it’s work you can be proud of and get behind.
  5. This is strategic stuff! We always whine and complain about not being strategic! Here’s your chance!

Go download the four reports. They’ll give you the ideas and the data to get the leadership support you will want. Also, sign up for Madeline’s roundtable before all the spots are gone, this will be a dynamic discussion with fellow peers all looking to elevate their function!

How can you become a great HR/TA Pro?

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 in 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 of 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 Talent 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.

Get Tech Savvy. This does’t mean you need to learn to code, but you have to be comfortable with the capabilities and advances that technology is having on your specific field. You should demo technology consistently. You should put yourself in a position where you feel knowledgeable enough to make technology decisions for your function, so someone else is not making these decisions for you. Especially as a young professional, because most old pros won’t have this skill and few have any desire to acquire this skill late in their career.

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

Should Candidate Response Time Be a Measure We Care About?

I have expectations as a leader in my organizations for other employees who are in a leadership position in my company. One of those expectations is, if I call or text you on off hours, weekends, vacations, etc., for something that is urgent to the business, I expect a reply in a rather short time frame.

Some people would not like that. I don’t care. You’re a leader, the business needs you, there’s no time clock for that.

That expectation is set for someone at a leadership level in my organization. They know this expectation before taking the job. Also, I’m not an idiot about it. I can probably count on one hand the number of times in the past five years I’ve reached out to someone on weekends or vacations expecting and needing a response.

But, what if you measured candidate quality in the same manner? Seems unreasonable, doesn’t it!?

Well, check this out:

Nardini is the CEO of the sports and men’s lifestyle site Barstool Sports. In a New York Times interview, she detailed her process for vetting job candidates. After saying she was a “horrible interviewer” because of her impatience, she explained a unique process for gauging potential hires’ interest in the job.

“Here’s something I do,” she said. “If you’re in the process of interviewing with us, I’ll text you about something at 9 p.m. or 11 a.m. on a Sunday just to see how fast you’ll respond.”

The maximum response time she’ll allow: three hours.

So, Erika believes if a candidate doesn’t reply back to her on a Sunday at 9 pm within three hours, they are not interested in a job.

This is why recruiting is hard.

You have moron leaders who come up with stupid ideas of what they think is ‘important’ and then they make you live by these dumb rules. This rule is ridiculous. Erika’s assessment of why this works is ridiculous. But, she’ll get a pass.

Why?

She’s a she. If some dumb white dude came up with the same rule the New York Times would write an expose on how this guy is a complete tyrant and out of touch with today’s world, and how crappy this candidate experience is, and how bad leadership this is, etc. But, no one will. She’s just leaning in and doing what the guys do!

Yes, she is. She’s being an idiot.

Now, I’ll say I actually agree with her on her assessment on response time, assuming the roles she is expecting a reply from in three hours are time critical roles. She runs a media site with breaking stories. Twitter has these things up in seconds, media sites need replies to what is happening within minutes and hours. So, there could be some legitimacy to something as arbitrary as measuring candidate desire by response time.

It’s fraught with issues, to be sure, but for certain roles, it might find you some good talent. Should it be a golden rule of hiring for your organization? No, that’s just dumb.

If you really want a silver bullet I ask every candidate if they’re a dog person or cat person. Works every time!

What makes me truly happy?

I read an article the other day about happiness. All the science, all the research, Shawn Achor acting like we can actually make our employees happy, etc. It’s all a bunch of bullsh*t really, right? I mean, Shawn doesn’t think so, because he has studies and stuff, and he’s a nice enough fellow (Editor’s note: Who says “fellow”? Like ax murders and 90 year old men, right?), but can we be real for a second? You and I? We are not “making” anyone happy!

The reality is you can make yourself happy, but no one else can do that for you. Now surrounding yourself with assholes doesn’t help you, you must help yourself to become happy. But that’s not the asshole’s fault, that is your fault for making the decision to stay around the assholes! Or the phenomenon of “This guy just makes me so happy!” It’s not the guy. If you deciding that you’re going to open yourself up enough and allow yourself to be happy with this person. The guy is the guy, they come and go, you are the constant.

Thanks, Tim, I though you weren’t a Life Coach!?

I’m not. It just got me thinking about what truly makes me happy. Right now in my life, because it’s changed over the years and stages. Here’s what I came up with, it’s not an exhaustive list, that would be impossible, but just a few things that make me happy:

  1. Dogs. I have a great dog. When I get home he’s the first to greet me. He’s excited. He wants to snuggle, or I want to snuggle, it seems like we both want to snuggle. He follows me around. If I go outside he wants to be with me. There’s a new puppy in the neighborhood and I’m drawn to want to go play with that puppy. Pretty much any dog, I’m going out of my way to touch.
  2. Alone time with my wife. When you raise three kids and are very involved you realize that you have very little alone time. So, it can be on the water, in the mountains, at a restaurant, in the bedroom, just time alone with my wife, with no one else around. That seems rare, but we are always our best selves when we are alone.
  3. Talking with my buddy Kris Dunn. It’s rare as an adult male that you find someone you can pretty much tell anything to, and I found that in KD. Adult males rarely have “real” conversations about “real” sh*t. I always feel like KD and I can do that. Having that has brought real joy into my life as a grown-ass man. I wish more guys had that.
  4. Being outside on a beautiful day. On the golf course, on a lake fishing, hiking in the mountains, sitting on a beach, anywhere where it seems like you could be a million miles away from the stresses of real life. Alone or with folks I love, away from phones and computers, just enjoying the beauty the world gives us if we are willing to pay attention.
  5. Having a Gin and Tonic in the Cayman Islands on the deck of this restaurant called Catch. Wow, that’s specific! Yep, it’s the world’s best Gin and Tonic, and I’ve tried a lot! Combination of great atmosphere and a perfect drink. It has never let me down each time I’ve gone. The drink is simple enough, Hendricks, Fever-Tree tonic, one giant ball ice cube, a twist of lemon peel, one small thin dried chili pepper, served in a large stem balloon wine glass. I’ve tried to replicate it and I can’t. It’s the combination of drink, place, atmosphere.
  6. Helping people, when I don’t feel like I’m being taken advantage of. At my core, I love to help people. Brainpower, sharing ideas, physical labor, whatever, I’m down to help. Especially when it feels like the people you are helping truly values the help they are getting. Yes, this can sometimes get overwhelming and I spread myself thin, but in the moment of helping, it never feels that way.
  7. Laughing. I’m the first to admit I have a fairly dark sense of humor and some stuff that makes me laugh would trigger a lot of other folks. That’s why I value those friends and family I can share my sense of humor without judgment. Or at least without judgment to my face!

Bonus round – interacting with co-workers face-to-face, seeing my niece smile and hearing her laugh, hugging my Dad and he gets emotional, watching my kids succeed, hitting a pure golf shot, sitting by the fire and listening to music, watching live sports, a great steak, cooking in my kitchen without interruption, creating/writing something new that challenges my own thinking, babies, sh*t that works like it’s supposed to, unexpected great service, a perfectly cut lawn, new shoes, and hugs.

What makes you happy? Hit me in the comments.

How Should We Structure New-Hire Sign-On Bonuses for Hourly Hires?

Right from The Project mailbag comes this beauty of a question! Very timely in that so many organizations are moving super fast to add sign-on bonuses for new hires to help them attract more hourly candidates right now. Here’s the actual question:


Dear Tim,

We are looking to offer a new hire sign-on bonus for our hourly hires. I was wondering if you have any advice in terms of what is the best way to do this that one, makes it attractive to candidates, and two, works to help retain these hires so we aren’t just throwing money away?

Thanks for the help,

Mandy


How would I offer an hourly sign-on bonus?

It’s a great question because there isn’t any one correct answer. The correct answer is you do what it takes to meet your goals! In this scenario, without giving up Mandy’s specific details, here’s what I would do:

  • Offer an amount that makes staying on extended UI/Stimulus a non-issue. So, if someone is making $300 a week additional stimulus ($1200 per month), I’m going to pay that on top of our hourly wage.
  • Pay this sign-on as a fraction per hour worked. So, an additional $300 per week would be $7.50 per hour over your normal hourly rate. So, a person who normally makes $15/hr, would be making $22.50/hr until the “sign-on bonus” is paid off.
  • The decision you have to make is how long do you pay this additional extra hourly sign-on addition? One month, two months, until the end of September?! I would pay it for one month and if the person quits and tries to collect unemployment, we would challenge it. The reality is, once someone has worked for a month, there more than likely going to keep working. The ones who really don’t want to work, won’t make it a month.
  • “Tim, we just can’t afford that much”-edition. I hear you, $300 per week is way too much. What can you do? Steal workers from other employers who are making roughly the same as what you pay, but you pay more, just not $7.50 an hour more! Maybe you pay $2/hr more.
  • But, wait, you’re not done! What about your current workers? The reality is, if you start offering a sign-on bonus to new hires, your current employees are going to be upset, especially your best ones! So, you have to make it good with them. More than likely you end up in a compensation track that pays your more experienced people more than your new hires. The key for success here is whoever is getting the best pay must be your best performers, or you get rid of them.
  • Also, you can’t pay your more experienced hourly workers $.50 to $2/hr more if you’re paying new hires sign-on bonuses worth more than that, but you don’t have to pay them the same. The key is to make sure your best workers are being paid at a rate that leads the market, so they can’t go anywhere else for similar work in your market and make the same or more. Pay for performance.
  • Move quickly to make changes to market compensation. In crazy employment times, as we have right now for hourly workers, you can not rely on paid compensation data and services. They move too slow. Pay attention to what candidates are telling you and make some calls to fellow pros around your market to see what folks are paying.
  • Bonus Tip: Have multiple sign-on bonus/retention plans for potential new hires/current employees to choose from! Let’s face it, no one plan will be what everyone wants. So, design three and let them choose. Maybe some want an additional hourly rate, maybe some want a retention bonus paid at the end as a lump sum, and maybe some want something totally different. Get creative!

Brainstorming Idea: What if you paid bonuses for certain activities that lead to the new employee behaviors you wish to have? Show up for the interview, get $50 cash in your hand. Show up to the first day of work, get $100 cash in your hand. Make it through the first week, etc.! Reward based on the behavior you want to happen, and ensure it happens. Yes, payroll will hate you, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done!

Yes, this is expensive, but not as expensive as going out of business because you can’t find labor. You can always increase your prices for your products and services to meet this additional demand. Say hello to inflation, it’s going to happen, the current administration made sure of that with a multi-trillion dollar stimulus package!

The key to making sign-on bonuses work is to only pay those bonuses fully to those workers who truly are working. If you start paying that higher wage to slackers, you’ll be dead in the water. People are willing to work market leading wages, but they are also willing to collect market leading wages for not working so hard if you allow it.