What’s Your Code?

Everyone lives by a certain set of rules. Morales, ethics, values, experience, call it what you will, but when you put it all together it kind of creates this code you live by. Like any code, it’s all about trying. We aren’t Yoda – do or do not. Life isn’t usually that simple.

The code evolves and changes over time. You are probably born with a base set of codes that nature has given you like it’s nice to survive. Your environment and upbringing teach you another set of codes, and your life experiences along the way give us a bunch more code to add to it all.

As we grow, we might learn that certain pieces of code are outdated and just flat-out wrong and hurtful. As a child, I know I recited racist playground songs about catching a “tiger” by its toe, but we didn’t use “tiger”, and honestly, I was a pre-teen with a best friend who was black before I knew it wasn’t “tiger”! That’s bad coding. That had to go!

I was listening to something recently and the person speaking was talking about the code they lived by and it made me think, “what is my code?” I mean I have to have one, but I’ve never really sat down and thought about it. What are the pieces of code I’ve picked up along the way that I’ve decided at this point in my life to hard-code, or can I even say I’ve got hard-code?

What is my code?

As I mentioned above, some of the code you live by is many times aspirational. I know this code is right, but day-to-day, man, this is hard to live by. The goal, I think, is you know that certain code is better if you can use it more than you do. So, you strive to use it more each day. Also, none of our code is unique. Remember, all of this we’ve picked up from someone or somewhere along the way.

I try to help people whenever I can. Sometimes to my own detriment, and I know I’m not alone in this feeling. Because there are people out there with code that says “take” and if you are a giver and a helper the takers can really work you over some time. My dad taught me this. It’s both good and bad, at times, because helping people means sometimes your own family takes a backseat to others.

I love to love, I don’t love to be loved in return. This is a tough one because we all want to be loved in return, it’s a basic human need. But I truly try to love others because I just love them regardless if they love me. It brings joy to my life.

I believe the glass is half full. I’m not a negative personality. I love pessimistic humor, but I live my life believing a lot of stuff is possible with the right work, the right network, the right support, and some good timing. So, I guess I’m really a believer in people because I rely on a lot of people in my life to continue my belief that the glass is half full.

I believe in hard work. Sometimes that’s actual back-breaking hard work that makes you sweat and hurt. Sometimes that mentally draining hard work that leaves your brain tired and exhausted. I’ve rarely ever met a very hard-working person who isn’t doing pretty well. They might not be the most successful, or the richest, but I’m not worried they won’t make it. Hard work has always been the one thing I could control on my own.

I like to laugh often. I’m coded to laugh and smile. It’s both my best natural state and a defense mechanism. When I’m stressed, I like to make others laugh because I think it reduces the stress, but that’s not always true. Still, I prefer laughing to most other emotions. I love children for this reason. They laugh all the time because the world hasn’t beaten it out of them yet. Hanging out with little kids is so much fun! And if you throw puppies into the mix with little kids, watch out!

I like to win. I mean I like to win at everything! Not just games, but debates, and life, and money, and love. Winning is so awesome, it’s way better than losing! By like a trillion million! The thing is, you have to have some big losses in life to really enjoy the big wins. And you have to be playing.

If I look at my codes I would say, “yeah, that’s me” but it’s also just a portion of me. It seems so incomplete. It’s probably why I’ve never really put a ton of thought into “my code”. When someone says, “Oh, I live by this code…” I find that as a challenge to discover when that isn’t their code, which is probably another piece of my code!

I married a Jewish girl. Because I was not Jewish when we got married, a Rabbi wouldn’t marry us. So, we used a Cantor (a singer in the Jewish faith, that can still marry people). This Cantor made national news by bringing in a former disabled Nazi into his house to live with him.

This Nazi was coded to hate Jews. But when the world turned its back on him and no one would take him in, this Jewish man did and cared for him. Fed him, took him places, etc. This man hated Jews because he was coded to hate Jews without really knowing any Jews. This friendship obviously changed his code. He realized that part of his coding didn’t fit reality.

We all have a code we live by, and I think the greatest part of that is we all get to choose and change that code as we see fit.

What is one of your favorite pieces of code?

As a Boss, should you send an email out at 9 pm?

On episode 84 of The HR Famous Podcast, longtime HR leaders (and friends) Tim SackettKris Dunn, and Jessica Lee come together to discuss business travel during the pandemic, sending late-night emails, and whether you should opt-out of a group message.

Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/20865626/height/90/theme/custom/thumbnail/yes/direction/backward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/87A93A/

Show Highlights

3:00 – KD asks Tim what his favorite OG from old-school rap is. He loves LL Cool J, and JLee likes Dr. Dre because of his purple satin suit.

5:15 – KD has been hitting business travel hard over the last few weeks. He has been in four different locations after not having much at all for the last year and a half. He has really started to notice the different mentalities to Covid precautions/mask-wearing in different parts of the country.

8:00 – KD was surprised by the strict mask mandates that were in place in Las Vegas when he and Tim were there for a conference.

11:00 – JLee is happy that the housekeeper at the hotel that KD stayed at felt empowered enough to enforce a mask-mandate policy.

14:30 – On a Southwest flight recently, KD heard the initial reactions of Southwest employees to a vaccine mandate.

17:00 – Tim mentions how some airlines offered early retirement to pilots during the pandemic and are now begging pilots to come back to work.

20:00 – KD wrote a post recently titled, “Are you a jerk for sending an email at 9 pm?” KD references a study where they looked at this and they found that receivers of late emails overestimated the quickness of response needed.

23:00 – JLee thinks that people in their mid-career won’t care when emails are sent and more senior employees may be more careful with their messaging.

25:30 – If the future of remote work offers more flexibility, Tim thinks that email send time doesn’t matter as much anymore (with caveats).

28:45 – There are folks out there that are very anti-after-hours emails.

32:00 – Tim doesn’t understand the people that want to have their cake and eat it too. How are we going to be working flexibly and then also defining after-hours?

37:30 – JLee thinks it’s a power move to opt-out of group messages, like group texts or chain emails. KD thinks it’s better to opt-out instead of not participating at all.

Are Employer Vaccine Mandates Going to Kill Diversity Hiring & Retention?

If you follow most mass media outlets you would think the question posed is ridiculous! How the heck would vaccine mandates hurt diversity hiring, Tim? We all know the unvaccinated are mostly uneducated, Trump-loving, white folks! Right?! Right? Right…

Turns out, the “Unvaccinated might not be who you think!” The link is to a recent NY Times article and the current administration and the mostly left-leaning mass media don’t want all of us to know something:

“Almost 95 percent of those over 65 in the United States have received at least one dose. This is a remarkable number, given that polling has shown that this age group is prone to online misinformation

In New York, for example, only 42 percent of African Americans of all ages (and 49 percent among adults) are fully vaccinated — the lowest rate among all demographic groups tracked by the city.

This is another area in which the dominant image of the white, QAnon-spouting, Tucker Carlson-watching conspiracist anti-vaxxer dying to own the libs is so damaging. It can lead us to ignore the problem of racialized health inequities with deep historic roots but also ongoing repercussions and prevent us from understanding that there are different kinds of vaccine hesitancy, which require different approaches.

If you check the data in every major urban center, you see basically the same data. African Americans are more likely to be unvaccinated than white Americans.

Why does this matter?

I’m not judging African Americans about not getting vaccinated. I’m pro your body, your choice! I know this community has a deep mistrust of government and health care in our society based on history!

Here’s the problem! Every decision we make in organizations has short-term and long-term impacts. Many times we know and understand the short-term impacts. Often we have no idea of the long-term impact.

If Biden and his administration mandate all employers require employees to be vaccinated (I won’t get into the specifics of over 100 employees, etc.), and many enterprise employers, like major airlines, etc., require employees to be vaccinated or get fired, we are disproportionately impacting Black employees over every other race of employee!

Thank you, Democratic administration and President Biden! Thank you for getting more black workers fired than any other race by mandating vaccines. This is super helpful to our diversity hiring initiatives! What the what!?!

Stop it, Tim! This is about Workplace Safety!

Yes, it is. It’s always about something when we are firing black workers, isn’t it?

Ironically, I say this with a smile at how stupid we all are, the amount of workers who are getting fired, who are refusing to get a vaccine, who by a higher percentage are black workers, happens to almost identical the same percentage of Americans who actually die from Covid.

That’s to say, this number by percentage is extremely small!

“Yeah, but every life matters! If everyone was vaccinated we could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives!” Yes, you are correct, and I agree with you. Every. Life. Matters.

Inclusion.

Those vaccinated, matter. Those unvaccinated, matter.

Even all those black employees you have, who are fearful of taking a rushed vaccine that hasn’t had years of testing. Who have a history of bad stuff happening to them when it comes to government, healthcare, and mandates.

We love to think employer and government vaccine mandates are fine because it only impacts “the stupid”. Natural selection! If you’re too stupid to get the vaccine well then who cares if you get fired and die. Which is kind of the opposite of inclusion, right?

Mandates are easy when you are led to believe that it’s all about firing poor, dumb, white folks. But, when you look at the data and realize that once again we are targeting black folks more, are vaccine mandates still the correct answer?

(Okay, that’s like 3 vaccine posts in the last week. I’m done, you know my stance. I’m pro-vaccine, I encourage it for everyone, but I’m also pro-choice about decisions that impact your body.)

Do Candidates Really Love to Get Text Messages from Recruiters?

In the past ten years, there hasn’t been a bigger advocate, publicly, for text messaging candidates than myself. When recruitment text messaging software first hit the market I was all-in from day one.

At this point, the data speaks for itself. As compared to other forms of messaging (email, LinkedIn Inmail, snail mail, smoke signals, etc.) text messaging gets at least 5-10x more open and replies than any other form of messaging. So, the answer to the title question has to be, yes, right?!

Not so fast, my friends!

At the beginning of 2021, I was struggling with a lot of the data around candidate experience (CX). While we’ve been focusing on CX for the better part of a decade, we haven’t really seen the numbers consistently in a productive way, and recently we’ve even seen candidate experience numbers drop. My thought was, maybe we are focused on the wrong thing. Maybe it’s not about their “experience” but simply about the “communication,” we deliver.

We reached out to every single candidate we interviewed in 2020, thousands, and got over 1500 responses from these candidates. One of the basic, foundational questions we asked was “What form of communication do you prefer to receive from a recruiter about a potential job, as the first outreach?”…  

The form of communication candidates prefer is…

Read the rest of this post over on Emissary.ai’s site by clicking through here!

The Tim Sackett Covid Vaccine Employer Policy!

Let me start this by saying I’m 100% pro-vaccine. I’m vaccinated and my entire immediate family is vaccinated. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated where it’s healthy for them to do so.

Organizations are really struggling right now to figure out what they should do about Covid vaccinations and employees. We see some giant employers mandating vaccinations and I’ll also publicly say I think that mandating vaccines for 100% of your employees is basically stupid.

Wait, what?!?! (TRIGGERED!)

I get that we all want everyone to be safe. I do as well. I also pay attention to the science and after you had Covid, there is no reason to get vaccinated. There is a growing mountain of global research and evidence, from real doctors and scientists that care about ending this pandemic, that show those who have had Covid already carry the same amount of antibodies as those who have been vaccinated. So, forcing someone who has had Covid to get vaccinated, is frankly, stupid!

Too many good employees are losing their jobs over this and many of these folks have valid reasons to not get the vaccine, and some honestly have already had Covid and don’t need the vaccine, but we are forcing it upon them for really no reason whatsoever.

The Tim Sackett Covid Vaccine Employer Policy

1. If you want to work here you have to get a Covid vaccination. We care about each other. We care about our customers and clients. We all want to live our best lives, alive.

The caveats:

  • If you have had a verified case of Covid. That means you have to be able to show a positive PCR test, and or a blood anti-body test that shows you previously had a positive case of Covid, you do not need to get the vaccine as a condition of employment.
  • If you have a religious objection to getting the Coivd vaccine, you do not need to get the Covid vaccine. But you do have to document your objection (see form A). This form gives you the ability to explain your religious objection and it also has you sign off that our company is not responsibile for your medical care if you become Covid positive. Upon completion and signature of this form A, we will not require you to get the Covid vaccine as a condition of employment.
  • If you have a medical disability where a doctor documents that it is not in your best medical interest to get the Covid vaccine, we will not require you to get the Covid vaccine as a condition of employment.
  • If you receieve a religious or medical accomodation, and you have not recieved a Covid vaccination and you have not had a verifiable case of Covid, you will be required to wear a medical approved mask while at work over your nose and mouth. We will provide you with a mask if you choose not to have an approved mask of your own.

Policy Instructions for HR Leaders and Executives:

  • If someone fills out Form A and signs it. Accept it and walk away.
  • If someone brings you a signed doctors note saying they shouldn’t get the vaccine for medical reasons. Accept it and walk away.
  • Ensure no one, either vaccinated or unvaccinated, is discriminating or harrassing the other because of their status.

That’s it. That’s the policy. Short and simple. The best policies are.

I know some folks will lose their minds about this. I get that. I’ve heard stories about HR departments forcing people to “prove” their closely held religious beliefs. I mean, really?! This is time well spent? Forcing someone to prove their religion. Come on, we are better than this. We are smarter than this. There are better ways we can torture employees, right!?

I think there are only two real arguments when it comes to mandated vaccinations:

  1. Hey, let’s try and not kill people! But, it’s basically them killing themselves, not the folks who already got vaccinated. As both vaxed and unvaxed are passing the virus around to each other. But those who are vaxed are much more likely to have a less severe case.
  2. Hey, you getting a bad case of Covid cost our insurance plan a ton of money, which means we all now have to pay for your stupid decision. This is a super valid argument, and if I’m running a big HR shop I would really be thinking hard about a “Unvaxed” health insurance premium. Great! You don’t want a vaccine, your insurance now costs an additional $2000 per month.

FYI – for those looking for a link to “Form A” there isn’t one. It’s just an example of what we do and what we make in HR. If you want a Form A go make one, you don’t need my help!

Zig when others Zag! Hiring the Unvaccinated!

So many people are getting fired for not getting vaccinated! Or at least that’s what the media makes it sound like, right?!

In reality, the number of employees getting fired for refusing to get vaccinated is actually super low. About as low as the percentage of people who catch Covid and die, I’m guessing…ugh! data, am I right!?

Southwest Airlines CEO claims that he didn’t want to mandate vaccines for his employees, but he got pressured by President Biden. Seems like a strange flex for a powerful CEO. “Joe made me do it!” Really, he did? Really? Or is it, you just are following the industry trend and your competition is doing it and your customers probably feel better about being in metal tubes with a staff that is vaccinated?

Still, I believe that there are certain advantages for doing the opposite of the populous in many situations. Like, maybe, this one. You are having a really hard time hiring folks, why don’t you just make a public display out of “We want your poor, and your hungry, and your Unvaccinated!”

Zig when others Zag!

Now, this plan is free of problems. If you have some folks who are super-vaccinated (what does he mean by that…) maybe they’ll want to leave your employ and go somewhere else. That might happen.

Also, having a larger population of employees who are less likely to be vaccinated, may lead to some additional health risks, and possibly some additional costs associated with increased health insurance costs! You could offset this by not having health insurance and just paying extra for your employees to go out to the government exchange, or some other form of skirting this bill.

But, you would definitely be in the minority of employers who would be welcoming the unvaccinated! I’m also assuming your employee demographics would skew younger and republican, but, hey, fly your freak flag!

Also, not mandating a vaccine could have a big impact on increasing your diversity numbers, as black folks as a percentage are less likely to be vaccinated than white folks across the country. So, if diversity matters to you then this might be a great strategy to try out!

The market you hire in, of course also matters. Down south, might be something to think about. Hiring in the big metro coastal cities, well, this might work against you.

Recruitment Marketing Messaging for this “Zig” hiring strategy!

I wonder what it would look like if an organization just came out and full unvaccinated is the way to go! I’m guessing we would see some job advertising messaging like:

“Didn’t want that Covid Juice!? We might be the place for you!

“No shot? No Problem! Apply today!”

“We are a Vax-Free Workplace for Americans! Or really anyone who will show up and work!”

“We’ll love you even if you are unvaccinated and have a hickey! Apply Today!”

Any day you can use “hickey” in job advertising is a day you’re winning at life.

Our reality is, whether you like or agree with it, there are some outstanding people who have made the personal choice to not get vaccinated. Smart, hardworking, great employees, who someone will be terminating for this choice. Their loss, the organizations, is your gain or could be.

If you read my post yesterday, you know I’m pro-vaccine, but I’m anti-vaccine mandate for employees. I think there are many things we can do besides forcing an employee to get a shot they don’t want and still protect our other employees, customers, and even the unvaccinated workers.

Here’s what I know, if I can think up an idea, someone else already has as well. So, it’s just a matter of time before we hear about a company out there that will market itself as the “Unvaccinated Workplace” and welcome all those employees that other companies are terminating.

Is Market Compensation Dead? #HRFamous

On episode 83 of The HR Famous Podcast, longtime HR leaders (and friends) Tim SackettKris Dunn, and Jessica Lee come together to discuss Halloween at work, Zillow’s new remote comp approach, and JLee’s new job!

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

2:00 – Halloween is coming soon! JLee asks the crew if they’re dressing up for the holiday this year.

4:15 – JLee wonders if she is forcing fun onto her friends, family, and co-workers by making them do fall/Halloween-related activities. Tim says that people almost always have fun when they’re forced to partake in these types of activities.

8:00 – How do you feel about group costumes? The crew goes back and forth on good group costumes.

10:30 –  JLee saw a post on LinkedIn of an update from a CHRO at a major company. She reads the update to Tim and KD and then reveals that the company is Zillow.

12:45 – KD is softening to the approach of not factoring in location when determining salary/pay.

16:45 – JLee notes that certain brands have the privilege to exercise changes in pay and salary because people are willing to give something up to work for your brand.

18:40 – Tim worries that the fact that companies are doubling down on not changing pay based on location will result in something bad happening years down the line.

22:00 – JLee wonders if everyone is overreacting to these discussions and changes in company policies. She thinks some things will just go back to how they were and this might just blow over.

24:00 – JLee praises KD for changing his opinion and having the ability to develop a new stance on something.

25:00 – JLee got a promotion! She asks Tim and KD for some advice on her new job.

28:00 – KD advises JLee to give patience to new people that she is now managing. He advises her to walk the line between being patient but also being decisive when the time comes.

31:30 – Tim advises JLee to bring a third party, within the company, to lead transition meetings in order to give a voice to her new employees.

36:30 – JLee asks Tim and KD how to manage new stresses with a new job at home when it comes to family. Tim says your time becomes more valuable and there are things you have to figure out that will make your life easier.

39:00 – JLee mentions that her husband recently reached out about any extra support she needs now with a new job. KD and Tim are impressed.

What a Big Ten fan Learned Going to an SEC game!

This past weekend I went down to Alabama to attend the Auburn v. Georgia game at Auburn. I was a guest of the one and only, Kris Dunn, Auburn season ticket holder. Earlier this year, Kris went with me to watch Michigan State play Miami, in Miami, but that wasn’t the true Big Ten experience.

The Auburn v. George game is billed as the “South’s” oldest rivalry (I mean minus the North), as Auburn and Georgia started playing each other in the 1800’s. Both teams were ranked, but Georgia was the favorite (and now #1 team in the country) so Kris and I knew coming into the game it would be a tough one for Auburn to win.

What did his Big Ten guy learn about SEC football games?

1. If I get invited by a friend to go to a game, I’m cheering for their team (assuming they aren’t playing MSU!) and I’m wearing their colors! So, I told Kris I needed an Auburn t-shirt for this beautiful fall day in the 80’s, and maybe an Auburn hat. Kris comes out wearing a polo, no Auburn logo, but Auburn colors. KD’s boys did the same thing, polo shirts, no Auburn logo, Auburn colors. KD’s wife, no Auburn logos, Auburn colors. I’m decked out like a f’ing cheerleader with “Auburn” colors and logos all over my body!

First Big Learning – SEC dudes don’t wear t-shirts, they wear collard shirts to games. Only knuckleheads who don’t know anything would wear a t-shirt! Also, apparently sporting name and logos of the university isn’t really that big of deal. In the Big Ten, it’s the opposite. The more logos and colors and better, and it’s t-shirts and hoodies up north! Also, southern folks (KD and his family) are too nice to tell the Yankee to drop the t-shirt and put a collard shirt on like a gentleman. Or maybe that’s just the south’s way to profile northerners who try to sneak into games!

2. College football and students go together like peanut butter and jelly. Up north you see beautiful young people all over campus on game day. Down south in SEC country, it’s a completely different level. Gameday is a must-attend event. It’s not a game, it’s a social event. The boys wear shirt, tie, and a blazer and young ladies dress up likes they are going to the club.

Second Big Learning – G*d damn I’m sure thankful I didn’t have girls! Okay, when I say the young ladies dressed up like they were going to the club, this is not a joke. It’s like “oh, hey, there’s a football game, what’s the shortest skirt I can find, with a blouse and chunky boots, let’s party!” First, it does not look comfortable AT ALL! Second, where are these girls’ fathers!? The girls up north do not dress like this, even when it’s warm, not saying short shorts are any better, but at least up north it gets cold and the yoga pants, jeans, and hoodies come out for a few games!

3. SEC fans get to the stadium earlier than Big Ten fans. The stadium at Auburn was 80% full with 25 minutes before kickoff. The entire student section was packed way before that. Also, the student section was loud and proud.

Third Big Learning- The SEC has male cheerleaders that are called something like “Yellers”. They give these dudes a microphone and they lead the stadium through cheers. This is a huge honor to get this title and be in the middle of the field pre-game leading all these cheers and it’s loud and folks are into it! College football, nationally, is known for tradition and pageantry, but the SEC takes it all to a different level.

4. You know, people from the south are just more polite. It’s hard coming down south from up north and constantly hearing “Yes, sir!” “No, sir” “Thank you, sir!” And that’s coming from the young men and ladies. The respect level, on average, for adults is at a different level, or at least the show of respect, which I think leads to actual respect, either way, you think about it.

Fourth Big Learning – Civility often starts with words and leads into actions. It’s hard to be uncivil when all of your words towards each other are civil and you have folks doing civil things towards each other. The traffic to and from the game is more civil than up north. The people walking to and from the game are more civil towards each other. Heck, they won’t even cross the street until it says cross!

5. I’m not sure if this is a north vs. south thing, I know the tailgating is huge in SEC country, but I didn’t see the alcohol consumption, publicly, on Auburn’s campus, as I see on Big Ten campuses. Of course, you see some drunk folks, but at Big Ten campuses, you can’t walk twenty feet without seeing someone drunk. At Auburn, it was not that frequent, and I didn’t see anyone totally fall down drunk.

Fifth Big Learning – I have no research to back this up, but I would guess there is way less alcohol consumed at SEC games than Big Ten games on average. The tailgates are much more spread out around campus which might help with this, or maybe it just goes back to being dressed up for games, acting like ladies and gentlemen, so yeah we’re going to have fun and drink, but let’s not be stupid.

DisruptHR Lansing is Back! Oct. 21st!

I’m hosting DisruptHR Lansing next Thursday, Oct. 21st at 6-8 pm at Urban Beat in Old Town Lansing, MI. We have a few tickets left if you would like to come and we have a great lineup of Michigan-based HR speakers! ONLY A FEW TICKETS REMAIN! Also, some great Sponsor Gift Giveaways!

DisruptHR is a live event where speakers get 5 minutes to share an idea or thought they have on subjects around HR, Talent, and leadership. Besides the 5-minute time limit, they also have a PowerPoint deck with 20 slides that automatically moves to the next slide every 15 seconds!

These talks are fun, fast, and enlightening!

The Speakers!

Me! Of Course! My session title – The Future of Work? Adulting!

Greg ModdTrenches of HR: Troopers Enlist

Justin Caine Your Company’s IEP

Julia Keider Gen Z: Your New Talent Pipeline

Kat Hoyer Holistic Workplace Development: Woo Woo, Woke or Warranted?

William MaurerYou’re worse at this than you think, an intro to evidence-based selection

Tina Marie Wohlfield Only YOU can prevent HR Fires!

Brian Town Advertising for talent hasnb’t changed in 50 years!

Jen LaidlawAre your company values more than just some words on a mousepad?

April Callis-birchmeierLeading others out of the valley, and into successful change

It’s a great time to get back out an network with the local HR and Talent community!

See everyone in downtown Lansing!

Shout out to our Sponsors!

7 Things Not to Say When Asking for a Raise…but You Always Wanted To!

Columnist, Jeff Haden, wrote an article called “Ten Things You Should Never Say When Firing an Employee”  in which he tries to give good advice, in typical HR fashion of over-reducing risk, in how you should speak, or not speak, to an individual regarding their near termination.  As you can imagine, there were the classics:

  • “Look, this is really hard on “me”!”
  • “We’ve decided to make a change.”
  • “Compared to Mary, you just aren’t cutting it.”
  • If there is anything I can do for you, just let me know.” (Okay, how about giving me my job back, idiot!)

Among a few others, including the most recent classic of firing employees via email, which is just unimaginable, for those HR pros who struggle with conflict, Haden nailed pretty much all the normal things we would tell hiring managers not to do or say. The question then really comes down to thanks for the info, now what should I be saying to someone when I fire them?  The article probably would have been better served here – but that would have been difficult and thought-provoking – and taken more than 13 minutes to write.

The piece did get me to thinking about certain conversations in our work lives that cost people the most anxiety, besides the above example of having to terminate someone, having to go in and ask for money was, on my list, the next most anxious work conversation I could come up with.  I can think of many times that I wanted more money, though I was deserving through results to get more money, and heck even our good old Comp people said the market should be paying me more money, and still, it is a difficult conversation to have with your superior (at least for me).

Like many, I think I do a good job, give my best effort, produce great results and after all that, do I really need to ask? Shouldn’t my boss get it and just want to write me a blank check? I mean really!

So, here are the lines that you would like to say when asking for more money – but probably shouldn’t – if you really want more money:

1. “If you pay 10% more, I will really put in some extra effort!” – So what you’re saying is you’re not putting in extra effort now…

2. “I looked in our HRIS system and I know Sheila on the 5th floor is making $5000 more than I am – and she’s an idiot!” – Not the best strategy to look at others’ private comp information, even if you have access, then call them an idiot – at least in my experience…

3. “If you don’t pay me more money, I’ll be forced to find another job that will pay me what I worth” – Be careful, I’ve tried this one, and they might call your bluff!

4. “I’ve done the math and if you fire Mike, I can do his job and mine, you save $50K, after giving me $25K of his $75K salary” – This actually might be a really good idea, But Mike might be the last one standing with the $25K raise, not you!

5. “I really don’t understand how you can be worth $50K more than me, I do all your work – and deserve more money” – Bosses just love to hear they are overpaid, don’t do anything, and you can do their job – NOT!

6. “I saved the company $1 million in reducing recruiting fees, by implementing a social media strategy successfully, I should at least get a fraction of those savings” – Why, yes you should – if you were in sales, but you’re in HR, and this was part of your job description. Sorry for the wake up call – all employees aren’t treated equally – put on a helmet.

7. “I know times are tough, so I was thinking instead of more money you could give me an extra weeks vacation or pay for my health insurance or something else like that.” – Okay, Einstein, stop thinking – it’s all money. Vacation, health insurance, paid parking, lunch money – it all hits the bottom line on the income statement. You just showed how expendable you really are.

I’ve learned over the years, through trial and error, okay, mostly error, that many, if not all, of the above statements, just don’t seem to have the impact that I was hoping for with my supervisor.  I have seen others, who I will not name, who performed well, gave it their all, and were dedicated to doing their best for themselves, their co-workers and the company, and showed a little patience who actually did very well in both the raise and promotion category.

Supervisors are as uncomfortable as you are to have the compensation conversation mainly, because if you are as good as you profess to be then they really do want to give you more but probably can’t due to the budget, the economy, they like your co-worker even more, etc. The reality is you have to follow what Yoda would say – Patience my young Padawan…