E4 – The HR Famous Podcast – #Microaggressions – or things white folks don’t get!

In Episode 4 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee, Kris Dunn, and I get together to dip into uncomfortable territory by talking about microaggressions – what are they, how they manifest themselves and what HR leaders can do to make awareness of microaggressions part of their broader D&I stack.

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!!! Listen on iTunesSpotify and Google Play.

Microaggressions can be defined as brief and commonplace daily verbal or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group, particularly culturally marginalized groups.

There’s less laughter in this one – but more real talk. Tough topic, but if you’re an HR leader or HR pro, 100% worth your time to raise your awareness and lead your organization accordingly.

Show Highlights:

3:10 – KD intros the topic of microaggression, tells the gang why it’s on his mind and gets sidetracked automatically because JLee and Tim don’t donate at least annually to Wikipedia.

6:20 – KD finally gets the definition of microaggression out using Wikipedia as his primary source. Turns out the concept has been around since 1970.

7:40 – JLee and Tim react to the concept of microaggression as individuals and HR pros. JLee talks about being from Cali, but people persisting in asking where she’s from. Tim talks about the fact that people seek connection by asking others where they are from in metro/urban environments and may be unaware of the connection to microaggression, as well as the fact they might be offending someone.

11:25 – KD leads the gang through the game, “Is it a microaggression? JLee gives great thoughts about low awareness of those providing the microaggression and why the subject of a microaggression should think about giving feedback to the provider.

Covered in this game:

–Where are you really from?

–Asking where are you from to white people with accents.

–Gender references (Sir, Ma’am) and being wrong.

–You don’t speak Spanish?

–No, you’re white!

–Hey Guys!

22:00 – The gang talks about the impact of microaggressions in the workplace, and how HR leaders should start the conversation in their companies, etc.  Linkage to bias training and starting to raise awareness as well as training to lay down a form of behavioral muscle memory across employees is discussed. Framing awareness training as civility rather than the foreboding term microaggression is also discussed.

25:20 – Tim talks about the need to train and coach people to accept feedback (someone telling them they’re using a microaggression) in a graceful way rather than feeling attacked or defensive.

28:00 – KD talks about introducing the topic of microaggressions at your next training session/meeting by conducting a simple quiz like the one performed on the podcast to get people talking.  Get ready! Tim talks about the fact that many people would say that doesn’t actually happen, and a better path might be to have people who have experienced microaggressions talk about their experiences.

29:40 – KD points out that the quiz they did didn’t include the nuclear bomb of all microaggressions – “You’re so articulate”.

30:45 – “OK, Boomer!” Tim drops the fact that when it comes to bias, ageism is an under-discussed topic, including microaggressions towards older workers. KD talks about JLee referencing the fact that he looks older while she looks the same.

31:57 – KD talks about the fact that he routinely calls JLee a Tiger Mom and asks her if she’s considered that a microaggression in the past.  JLee provides positive feedback but notes that others that hear it might consider it a microaggression even if she doesn’t.

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

Career Confessions of Gen Z: HR without a Degree

It was exam season of my 2nd year at UC Berkeley, the “#1 Public University in the World”. Per the typical college student in the midst winter, I thought, “What am I going to do this summer?”. Little did I know, this single thought would change my life forever…

To paint this picture a little better, I am currently writing this blog from my desk at work in Detroit, MI. If I didn’t have that little thought, I would currently be finishing my final semester of college in a couple short months.

What did I do exactly?

I accepted a job as a sourcer at a company that I knew I loved despite being less than a year away from completing school.

How did I do it?

I internalized what I really wanted and compared the pros with the cons.

Cons of leaving school to work

  1. I won’t have a college degree if I drop out — at least not yet
  2. I have to leave a good amount of friends that I’ve built great relationships with
  3. All of my family is back in California

Pros of leaving school to work

  1. I was going to school to do what I am doing now
  2. I have spent 3 internship seasons building relationships and finding mentors (something I lacked in the past)
  3. I was DROWNING in debt – loans, friends, etc. — I could pay this off if I take this job!!

 

Honestly, it was one of the easier decisions I’ve had to make because it made perfect sense for ME. After 8 months in my current role, I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

What I did not know would be an added benefit for me was empathy – more specifically, I am more motivated than ever to seek to understand. I think this is a benefit in all aspects of life; seeking to understand something before you seek to be understood. Now that I’m much more open with my experiences and invite the same from others, seeking to understand has become second nature to me and I can’t imagine a close-minded life.

So, I guess the point of my story wasn’t to tell you all that I dropped out of school – it’s to let you know that people have got a lot of junk sometimes. It may take a little digging to come out with that nugget of gold I like to call understanding.


Hunter Casperson — self-proclaimed “Sourcing Nerd”, is currently an Associate Talent Strategist at Quicken Loans out of Detroit, MI. Originally from Southern California, he spent lots of time outdoors and in turn, loves nature. Hunter attended UC Berkeley where he studied Math & Psychology for three years before joining Quicken. His all-time favorite thing to do is beat-box, where he has consecutively ranked amongst the Top 10 in the United States over the past 3 years (under the name Huntybeats)!

Career Confessions of Gen Z – Quit Catfishing

When I graduated from college, I remember being so excited to start my job search. I was convinced that I was not going to settle for a job and that I was going to search until I found the right fit for me. Though I was determined, finding the right fit took a lot longer than I expected. Granted, I was not in any big rush. I had put my two weeks into my current job and was going to enjoy a break without working for the first time since I was fifteen. However, my once excitement for the job search quickly faded and turned into frustration and skepticism of job ads and companies. Below are the main causes of frustrations I ran into during my search for the right job:

  1. The job title included the word, “marketing”, but the description exposed that the job was actually not marketing but instead sales, customer service, or something else not marketing.
  2. The job was an entry-level position that had a billion requirements that made me feel unqualified as a new grad and that the right applicant actually needed like five years of experience.
  3. The job ad sounded like just what I was looking for so I applied, landed the interview, and then learned that the job was NOTHING like the description in the ad but something completely different.
  4. The job ad sounded great, I researched the company and the company looked great, I applied, got an interview, and then realized I was catfished. The environment, culture, and people were nothing like how they had sounded or appeared.

I felt like I needed to hire Nev Schulman, the host of Catfish, just to determine if the job ad was a scam or not before applying.

After looking for and applying to jobs, taking interviews, and being exposed to just how many companies try to make their job ads appealing by not being transparent, I was sure to tell my friends of my experiences so that they would not fall for the same lies that I did. These companies lost my trust, respect, and potential to ever apply again. They also lost other potential applicants due to negative word of mouth. Today, I often see these same companies constantly having the positions that catfished me always open and with the same job ad. If I had to guess, they are still struggling to fill the positions. So, was the lack of transparency really worth it? Probably not. Had they been real and transparent from the start they would likely have found someone that is the right fit for the position and saved their reputation from damage. Will these companies ever be transparent? I don’t know, but I sure hope so to prevent others from going through the same experiences that I did.


Hallie Priest is a digital marketer for HRU Technical Resources, a leading engineering, and IT staffing firm based in Lansing, MI, using her skills to create content to serve all involved in the job seeking/hiring process. When she is not strategizing campaigns, going over analytics, or talking about her dog you can find her at the nearest coffee shop fueling her creativity. Connect with her on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/halliepriest

 

A Job Post with Your Name On It!

I was in a conversation the other day with another Talent Pro and she was asking me for some advice on getting better applicants to apply for her postings.  I asked a number of questions but one that really got the conversation moving was:

Do you know who you want to apply for this position?

She told me “Yes” and then went on to give the specifications of the job description.  I said “No”, do you know the Name of the person you want to apply to this position?  She laughed – she thought I was joking – I wasn’t.   Well, I half-wasn’t.   It was a quirky idea, but in the right environment and small to medium community you could really make a splash by actually naming your post after the person who you really want to take the job.  Can you imagine!

Wanted “Michael Smith – Chemical Engineer” – please apply today!

The obvious issue at play here is – well – if I knew the name of the person I wanted, why wouldn’t I just call them up and ask if they wanted the job!?  GREAT question – why don’t you?  It’s actually fairly easy to find names of competitor employees you might want to hire.  So, why don’t you call them up and ask them if they want the job you have?  You know why?  Because it’s F’ing hard to do!  That’s why the search industry is a multi-Billion (with a “B”) business.

So, instead of calling them – just make a job posting with their name on it – and go float it around town – through your social channels, on your website, maybe a job board posting, etc.  Believe me – it will get back to the person you are looking, and if they are interested – they will come calling.  Seems silly, but I bet it would work far more than it wouldn’t.  People like to feel wanted.  How much more wanted can you get than a company creating a job posting with your “actual” name on it!  THIS job is for me! You would say to yourself.

In a tough talent marketplace, sometimes it’s the easy, simple things that make the difference.  Sometimes people just want to know they’re wanted.  We make this search game so difficult sometimes.   I always tell people I have the easiest job in the world.  I just have to ask people if they are interested in a job, I have open.  Pretty easy!  I’m not trying to launch the space shuttle or fix someones heart – I just need to see if they would have interest in making a job change.  The rest is just market variables, all of which, are probably pretty similar to the next guy.  Many times, it comes down to only one thing – me showing interest in them, and their current company not showing the same level of interest in keeping them.

I say give it shot – what’s the worse that can happen – you get your community talking about your company and how aggressively you’re going after people?  That’s not all bad – either way!

Recruiting is Worthless

Paul DeBettignies recently had an article over at ERE – Where Have All the Recruiters Gone – which gave me the idea for this post.  In Paul’s post he wonders why recruiters are networking face-to-face anymore. I think many of us in the recruiting field who have been in the field pre-internet, probably wonder this and many more things as we look at how the industry has totally transformed over the past 20 years.  A person today can get into recruiting, sit at a desk, have great internet skills, marginal phone skills and make a decent living.  They probably won’t be a great recruiter – they probably won’t make great money – but they’ll survive – they’ll be average or slightly above.  It’s why the recruiting function in most organizations gets a bad rap!  In corporate circles I’ve heard it called “worthless” many times – and for some this is their reality.

Recruiting is Worthless, if…

…you’re a hiring manager and you never have face-to-face conversations with your recruiter when you have an opening, and when you don’t have an opening.

…you’re recruiters believe it isn’t there job to find talent, talent will find them.

…your organization believes it’s the recruiting departments job to find talent.  It’s not, it’s the hiring managers job to ensure they have the talent they need for their department, recruiting is the tool that will help them.  This “ownership responsibility” is very important for organizational success in ensuring you have the talent you need.

…your recruiting department acts like they are HR – they aren’t – they are sales and marketing.  Too many Recruiters, in corporate settings, don’t want to recruit, they want to be HR – which makes them worthless as recruiters.

…if your recruiters have more incoming calls then outgoing calls.

…if your recruiters believe their job begins Monday thru Friday at 8am and ends at 5pm. The best talent is working during those times and most likely won’t talk to you while they are at work.  That’s not a slam on you or your company – they are great employees, it’s what we expect from a great employee.

…your senior leadership team feels they have to use an “executive search” company to fill their higher level openings, because our recruiting department “can’t handle it”.

…if they are victims – “it’s not my job”, “we can’t do that because…”, “marketing won’t allow us to do…”, “our policy won’t allow us…” etc.

…if they just send hiring managers resumes of candidates that have come to them, without first determining if the person is a fit for the organization and a fit for the hiring managers position – before sending them on.

…they haven’t developed the organizational influence enough to change a hiring managers, hiring decision.

Recruiting is worthless if in the end they have failed to show the value of their service back to the organization.

Recruiting is the one department in the organization, besides sales, that truly has the ability to show ROI back to the organization, yet so few of us take advantage of the opportunity we have!  There is nothing more important, and have a bigger competitive advantage, than our organizations talent – and oh by the way – THAT IS US! We control that.  Recruiting isn’t worthless, unless you make it worthless.

 

 

Are You Drowning In Your Position

You know the crazy thing about drowning?  It doesn’t look like you’re drowning! Read this from Mario Vittone:

  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

Take away the eventually water death – and this seems eerily familiar to some of our employees…

As HR Pros/Hiring Managers/Supervisors we have people who are drowning in their positions right now – but we can’t “see” them drowning.  Employees have natural things they do in terms of self-preservation, much like some one who is truly drowning.  They begin to do: put in extra time at the office, they seem a little to stressed for normal work, they make things bigger than what they are (this gives them an excuse in case of failure), etc. – it gives you an impression “they’re on top of it” – but they aren’t.  They tend not to ask for help – they don’t want anyone to know they’re in trouble – they can handle it on their own.

How do you spot an employee who is going under?

1. Look for employees who are disengaging with key relationships they need to have to get their job done.  Why?  Employees who are drowning – will disconnect from those who will be the first ones to spot them drowning – key hiring managers or peers from other departments – which buys them time from their own supervisors finding out they aren’t staying afloat.

2. They become defensive or blame shift – when this isn’t usually part of their normal behavior.  Another mechanism they use as a life preserver –  “it’s not me – it’s them!”

3. Drowning employees tend to cling to each other.  Rarely will you see a drowning employee hanging with a top performer (that’s one more person who will see they aren’t making it).

How do you save an employee who is drowning?

That’s even tougher than spotting them!  Because it takes you confronting them, and not allowing them to cop-out, most HR Pros/Hiring Managers/Supervisors find this very uncomfortable (hello Performance Management!) It basically takes you jumping into their role – deep – and pulling them out.  Most of us don’t like getting our clothes wet and ruining our iPhone – so we try and throw them things to help instead – additional training, words of encouragement, EAP, discipline…sound familiar?  When what they need is some full life saving – to push them up for air and take them to shore (you’re sick of metaphors at this point! – actually do the job with them for a while, so them how it should be done).  You still might decide when it’s all done to let the person go – they just can’t handle the position – but some will actually learn from the experience and turn out to be really good.

Make HR Suck Less

Are you working in a HR department that sucks?  You know if you are, it’s alright, you can admit it – it’s the first step of changing it.

I bet I talk to over a hundred HR Pros a year that begin the conversation with – “our HR department sucks!” or “my company doesn’t get it when it comes to HR” or “Our HR department is terrible”.   It’s not the outlier, it’s the norm.  So, many HR Pros working in HR functions where the organization has the feeling that “HR” sucks in our company.  If you’re not in one now – great – but chances are you have either been in one before, or eventually you’ll make a “grass is greener” decision and put yourself into this situation.

You know what?  We have the power to make HR Suck Less.  Yes, you do.  Stop it, you do.  No really, you do. Alright that’s enough, just play along with me at least!

Here are the 3 steps to making HR Suck Less:

1.  Stop doing stuff that Sucks.  But Tim! We have to do this stuff.  No you don’t – if your HR shop blew up tomorrow – your organization would still go on.  Over time you’ve “negotiated” to do all this sucky stuff – thinking it would “help” the organization, or give you “influence”, etc.  Stop that.  Give it away, push it out to other departments – start doing stuff that doesn’t suck, more than doing stuff that does suck.  It’s not easy, but it can be done, little by little.

2.  Get rid of people in HR who Suck.  Some people get real comfortable with sucking.  They wear their suckiness around like a badge of honor.  You need to cut the suck out of your department – like cancer!

3. Stop saying that you Suck.  We brand ourselves internally with everything we do – and if you say that you suck at something – the organizational will believe you suck at something.  If you say we are the best in the industry at recruiting our competitions talent away from them – you’ll be forced to live up to that – and little by little you will live up to that and the organization will begin to believe it as well.  Signs and Symbols!

Every single HR Shop who feels they suck – doesn’t have to suck.  If you feel you don’t suck, but everyone else tells you that you suck – you suck.  You’re just delusional and you keep telling yourself things like “we have to do this stuff”, “it’s the law”, “we don’t have a choice”, etc.   This is the first sign you’re comfortable with sucking – you aren’t listening to your organization.  No one has to suck – you can decide to do things in a complete different way. Perception is reality in terms of sucking.  You need to change perceptions, not reality.  You can still accomplish the exact same things, just do it in a way that people think you rock.  Start saying “Yes” to everything – not “No”.  “No” sucks.

Sucking less is a decision – not a skill.  You all have the skills – you just need to make the decision – to stand up and believe – Today we will no longer Suck!

All Hail The Newest Job Board

With the Death March of Monster that has been going on in the media lately (check out Jason Buss’s post on it from last week – 7 Warning Signs For Monster), I thought it was high time we start giving kudos to the new King of the Job Boards!

So, without further ado – Please give a warm welcome and many slaps on the back to…

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you think I was going say – CareerBuilder?!  They are just Monster with different shoes.

The real congratulations goes to LinkedIn!   They put so much time and effort into building their next generation job board, I’m really proud of them.   It wasn’t easy to reinvent the job board industry, but they found away.  Sure it was by first establishing themselves as a credible “networking” site, before pulling wool over the eyes of its members and selling their contact information to corporate recruiters for $8500 per year.  I mean it was pure genius!  It actually brings a tear to my eye.

Monster and CareerBuilder could only have dreamed of making a site that looks like a legitimate networking site, one that HR folks actually encourage their employees to get onto – only to be systematically picked off by their competition.  Pure magic!

Today I’m going to recommend, as a HR community, that we do something to recognize LinkedIn as the biggest HR innovation of the 21st century. Somebody call Bill Kutik to see if he can put this award together in time for HR Tech 2012.   It was going to be no small task to reinvent the job boards – but as a Talent Pro I’m sure glad that somebody figured it out – Thank You LinkedIn!  We bow to your greatness.

 

 

What would it take to get you to work 80 hours per week?

I’ve interviewed a ton of people in my career.  When I ask people what their normal work week looks like – I “often” hear – “Oh, I work 70-80 hrs per week, all the time!”   I instantly know they are lying – because no one works 80 hours per week all the time!  Do you really know what 80 hours per week looks like? Here’s some examples”

  • 16 hours per day – Monday thru Friday – that’s coming in at 6am and not leaving until 10pm – EVERY day.

or

  • 12 hours per day Monday thru Saturday with an EASY 8 on Sunday.

or

  • Oh, and by the way, the two above examples must be with paid lunches and breaks.

Liars.

The only way you work 80 hours per week is if you own the place. How much would I have to pay you to work 80 hours per week?  Would you do it for $10,000 per week? $520K per year?  No you wouldn’t – you would quit after a month or two – now you’re lying to yourself.  Heck – most owners aren’t even willing to work 80 hours per week.  That’s why so many small businesses fail – people underestimate how much it takes to make a business successful!

“Oh, I would work 80 hours per week if I LOVED what I did.”   Really?  You think you would still LOVE it after working 80 hours per week, week after week, month after month, year after year?  I think it’s incredibly awesome when I meet someone who I truly see Loves their job – you know the type – even if they weren’t getting paid, they would be doing what they’re doing.  Unfortunately 99.9% of us aren’t in a position where we can “work” for free – no matter how much we Love it.  We have bills, responsibilities – we don’t have daddy or a spouse paying our way – we have real life.

80 hours per week – now you’re thinking about it, right?  It’s a lot of time to put forth for one part of your life.  How do you get your grocery shopping done? Watch your kids play at school? Get the cat to the vet? Get your haircut? Get your teeth cleaned?  See your therapist?!

As HR Pros we put so much time, effort and thought into building our rewards and recognition systems.  Many of us think we do this so we can get our employees to give us that extra discretionary effort – to work those hours over 40.  To get our employees to want to work 80 hours per week.  Unfortunately, most of us have rewards and recognition to just get our people to do the job they were hired for – not extra.   When this happens – you no longer have a rewards and recognition system – this now becomes part of their full compensation package.  Rewards and Recognition shouldn’t be put in place “to get the job done” – it should be put in place to reward and recognize those who do more.

I know what you’re thinking – “Tim if I could just have a rewards and recognition system that would get my employees to actually work 40 hours, I’d be happy! 80! You’re out of your mind!”  Believe me, I understand, but that’s what we do, or should be doing for our organizations.  Get great talent, keep great talent, find ways to get that great talent to give us everything they’ve got =’s great HR Pro.

So, what would it take to get you to work 80 hours per week?

 

 

 

Essential vs. Non-Essential Employees

I’ve had many conversations in my career with employees who “essentially” felt they were probably more important to the business than they really were.  You know who I’m talking about!   The ones who at some point let it slip: “This place would shut down if I wasn’t here” or “Let’s see how you do if I leave” or “I made this company what it is today”.  It’s usually a sales person, or technical person who have had big roles, no doubt, but they begin to get a little to big for their own britches (as my grandmother would say).  Over time I’ve developed a good two point test to determine if someone is Essential or Non-essential to your business:

1.  In a snow storm, is this person required to make it into the office/facility no matter what? (think large storm – more than one day)

Example: I worked in a large Health System – Doctors & Nurses had to get in – we actually had plans on how to get them to work in an emergency.  I on the other hand, being in HR – didn’t have anyone coming to pick me up in a 4 wheel drive SUV.

2.  Does the person in question spend way too much of their time trying to convince you of how important they are to your operation?

Examples:  “Without me are largest client wouldn’t be here.” ; “Our department (a non-revenue generating department) saved the organization over $500K last year.” – on a budget of $3.7M…

You know what is really interesting about looking at the life of an organization – when they start out, in their infancy, there is only Essential employees.  We make widgets, all you need is someone to get widget material, someone to make widgets and someone to sell widgets and someone to collect the cash and pay the bills.  Pretty basic.  No HR, No Marketing or Finance, No customer service – it’s a very straight line organization.   Most companies don’t even add an HR element to their organizations until they get over 100 employees – usually an office manager/payroll/accounting person or the owner takes on this responsibility.

I always like to remind myself of who is “really” essential in my organization.  It’s important.  It’s important that as a “client” to those people, I make sure I focus what I’m doing on things that will help them do what they are doing.  That only happens when I actually talk to them, face-to-face, and ask them – “What can I do, to help you do what you do?”  Doesn’t seem overly complicated – but somehow we try and make it harder than that.  You see, that’s what non-essentials do – we convince you that what we do is really important!

I like to look at organizations the same way you pick a team on the playground.  If you had the most essential person in your company begin picking a team – where would you get picked?  First, 10th, last?   It’s a good exercise to go through.  What you’ll see is your most essential person will pick individuals who will/can help them get the job done – without hassle, without issues, without extra work.

Are you Essential to your organization?