I’m sure you’ve been seeing the headlines, across America we continue to hear about front-line workers, healthcare workers who are refusing to get the Covid vaccine. In Ohio, it’s estimated that 60% of nursing home workers declined to get the vaccine!
I want to believe that those choosing not to get the vaccine when they could get that vaccine are just ignorant and natural selection will take its course. But, not even 100% of hospital workers, nurses, and doctors on Covid units are getting the vaccine they are eligible to get!
So, we know that when it comes time that we can help our own employees get the vaccine, not all will want it. This will cause a bunch of issues in organizations that we haven’t even come close to really knowing, yet.
Can you fire an employee who refuses to get a Covid Vaccine?
Short answer? Yes. The longer answer depends on a number of factors. Do they have a legitimate religious exemption, not one they’ve conveniently made up in the past day or so? Do they have a document medical issue? Etc.
The reality is employers have a lot of ground to stand on when forcing employees to get a vaccine or lose their job. Getting the vaccine becomes a workplace safety issue and the government and the courts have shown a willingness to back these protections.
The more important question is, do you as an employer want to force employees to get the vaccine, or is there a better way to get the same result? This is really a company by company decision.
What are some ways to get employees to want to take the vaccine?
Let’s face it, the vast majority of most employees, at most employers, will actually want to get the vaccine and get back to life as “normal” before the pandemic. So, anything you roll out to entice your employees to get the vaccine will be a bonus most probably didn’t need. That being said, here’s what I’ve been hearing some employers are doing:
Cash bonus to get the vaccine: $100 if you get the vaccine in a certain time period once it’s available.
Extra time off.
Extra flexibility around their schedule.
Making it super convenient, like offering vaccines onsite at the workplace.
It’s basically the carrot or the stick. Most likely, organizations will have to use both to get to the point of ‘herd immunity’. The reality is, based on data, you don’t actually have to have 100% of employees get vaccinated to make your workplace safe.
I think it’s important to remember that factor. You really don’t need 100%. As organizations do we really want to fight that battle with someone who just refuses, yet, they are a good, solid employee? I don’t think it will be worth it in the long run.
The one thing you might try is drafting an agreement for those who refuse which would state, they are refusing to get the vaccine and I would try and add in some language that gives you the right as an employer to be able to let other employees know who are those employees are aren’t vaccinated from a workplace safety issue, so other employees know who they need to continue to social distance from. Is this ideal? Heck no! There are HIPAA issues, among others. But, this is about how do we keep the majority of our employees safe.
Now, before drafting some agreement like that up on your own, get your legal counsel involved. They’ll balk at first, but with some pushing, they can put something together that will protect the organization from any legal blowback.
Again, you have to weigh the outcome of doing something like this. Those employees who refuse the vaccine, sign your agreement, and you make that public among your employees is now wearing a scarlet letter around. That isn’t good either, from a cultural standpoint.
This is why HR is so much fun! We don’t live in black and white, we live in the gray. There isn’t one perfect answer to the question. Of course, the best-case scenario is every single one of your employees wants the vaccine and gets the vaccine. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening with too many organizations.
In a good, long-term economic outlook, building talent will ultimately be better.
In a questionable, short-term economic outlook, buying/renting talent is the best bet.
2021 is not the time to decide to build talent, at least not in the first two quarters. Most organizations have already started renting talent and we see contingent labor as a percent of the workforce rising in Q1 and Q2 as organizations determine how the economy will come back.
We actually saw this start to increase in Q3 and Q4 of 2020.
If the economic uncertainty continues into later 2021, we’ll see these numbers continue to rise.
With so much talk about “Internal Mobility” in the HR Tech space, it seems like the opposite is being spun as the better solution. For a few organizations, who have continued to stay busy during the pandemic and believe they’ll continue after, this is probably the right strategy.
For the vast majority of companies, the focus on hiring more contingent is a better strategy over the next 12-18 months, to ensure they will have much more flexibility and the ability to move quickly to move their headcount up and down based on immediate business needs.
In Questionable Economic Times, You Need Workforce Flexibility!
I run into a lot of mid-sized enterprise organizations (500-2500 employees) who freak out when you talk about contingent labor. “We only hire direct, Tim!”
Um, okay, so all those Fortune 1000 organizations that have anywhere from 15-30% of their workforce as contingent are doing it wrong? You know better than they do, is what I’m hearing? Or, are you feeling like hiring contingent labor is somehow a sign of weakness for you as an HR/TA Leader?
Our reality is we saw a decade of crazy growth since the Great Recession. Many organizations during that time forget. Forget the need for a fast flexible workforce that you can ramp up and ramp down very quickly. Large organizations, tend to move slower and forget less. They probably have people around who remember what bad economic times look like.
Quite frankly, I don’t care how or who you hire.
I do know those TA leaders who move up in their careers tend to understand total workforce strategies better than those who stick to one strategy no matter what the external circumstances they are facing. Also, they are more likely to incorporate multiple strategies and test what works more.
In 2021 we see more organizations buying and renting talent in the short-term. They want to make sure, before adding a permanent headcount, that the organization can sustain itself in the long term. If it can’t, quick and easy ramp down. If it can, they already have some trained and proven workers to pick from for the long term.
You only get talent in two ways, buy or build. Both are valid strategies for corporate TA leaders, and both are used often together. What will you be doing in 2021?
We’ve heard for decades that most interview decisions are made within seconds. Someone meets you and pretty much sizes you up in those first few moments. I think that’s mostly correct, but every interviewee still has that time to change hearts and minds.
Sure, you came in and immediately made a verbal gaffe or smelled like old lady feet, that doesn’t mean you’re dead in the water! You can still make a comeback, but it really depends on your personality and how you engage with those in the interview.
Here are 5 magic phrases if you used at the right time and context can make you exponentially more likable in your next interview:
1. “Wait, can you say that again, I want to write that down?”
Of course, you need to use this phrase when appropriate. Let’s say a leader in the interview says something about how they like to manage, or something about their leadership style, etc. It should be quotable or something that would need writing down. But the phrase is very flattering to the person it’s said to.
“I love that idea! I’m going to write that down so I don’t forget it.”
“That’s interesting, I like how you do that, I’m going to write that down so I remember.”
2. “Thanks for asking…”
Again, needs to be used in the right context. “So, tell us about yourself.” Is not a good time, to say, “Thanks for asking, well let me tell you about me!” That seems corny at best! But, many times in interviews we get the, “Do you mind if I ask…” This is when it’s a perfect time. “No, in fact, Thanks for asking that question…”
3. “Sorry for interrupting, I’m a little nervous during this interview and can get really excited to respond.”
This works well when you know you probably jumped the gun, but the interviewer was let you go on anyway. To be able to finish your thought, but let them know that you know, you probably stepped in too soon. “I’m sorry, I think I interrupted what you were going to say…” Also, especially in a setting when you’re a male being interviewed by a female, you don’t want to come across as mansplaining or hogging the floor. Being able to acknowledge you’ve interrupted shows high self-insight and gives the floor back to the person who should have it.
“Sorry for interrupting, I’m just really into this topic!”
“Sorry for interrupting, I think I didn’t let you finish your question or thought.”
4. “I’d love your input on…”
In every interview, usually towards the end, there is always the, “do you have any questions for us…” A better way to approach that as an interviewee is to use the “I’d love your input on…” I’d love your input on how you believe “X” technology will evolve or change your business? I’d love your input on how you think my skills can be used within your department? From a communication standpoint, asking for input connotates conversation and peer level. It brings the interview back to the level of professionals having a conversation.
5. “I usually dread interviews, but this has actually been fun.”
Now, it might have been torture, but you don’t want your captives to know that! Letting your interviewers know you had ‘fun’ when interviewing them lets them know you feel comfortable. Much of the interview process is about “do we and they feel comfortable together”. Just as you worry about do they like me, many interviewers are worrying about the same thing! You are saying, whoever I am, I match you guys and I could get used to this.
ME! No, I’m only joking. I’d be way higher than 75%!
You all know I love data and some of the fun things we can pull out of studies about performance and selection. A 2014 study on world-class athletes found that the top-performing athletes had older siblings in 75% of the participants studied!
So, want to hire better performers? Ask this question:
Do you have older siblings?
Ironically, those only children, the super great ones all those parents love, only have a 5% chance of being world-class! Oldest kids get the other 20%, and middle kids, well they don’t get anything but to continue to complain it’s unfair!
Why do people with older siblings tend to perform better?
Okay, I get it, we are talking about world-class athletes and performance, but really the same foundations are set by older siblings no matter what the skill or profession. Want to be a better cook? It probably helps to have older siblings who were cooking around you and showed interest, which made you interested, etc.
Siblings tend to compete with each other, and the youngest will always be at a disadvantage until they are not. If you’re kicking little Timmy’s butt all over the court, you won’t work as hard to continue to get better, but little Timmy will never stop until he beats you. (By the way – this isn’t a “boy” thing, the study was done on female world-class athletes – it works across all genders)
The youngest kids get all the advantages of being pushed harder and getting knowledge transfer from seeing older siblings fail and succeed. On average, they are more likely to gain from being in an environment where older siblings are performing.
Does this concept transfer to the world of work?
I don’t have hard data from a study that it does, only anecdotal evidence to say it depends! I’ve worked with brilliant people who come from all kinds of family dynamics. I do find, on average, that those people who were raised as younger siblings bring competitiveness to the workplace that if channeled appropriately can be very good.
I do think it also depends on how close in age they are to their siblings. The closer the better in my experience. My younger brother is 15 years younger than me. He’s more only-child than younger sibling grinding it out trying to beat me. My two oldest sons are twenty months apart, one year apart in school age. They are strong competitors, and my youngest you is four years younger than his brothers gets competition shoved down his throat, by his brothers in everything he does.
So, today, younger siblings who have taken all the beatings from your older siblings, smile bright! You probably have a better shot a being great, because of those beatings!
I found some cool data that probably got overlooked a while back from CB Insights. Now, this data is from 2016, but it’s super relevant!
CB Insights did some testing with their own email newsletter that went out to 175K+. A very big sample and the reality is they have the exact same goal as we all do, Get Candidates to Open Our Email!
These 4 things work really well in getting people to open your email:
1. Brand Names. CB found that using a big brand name like Apple, Google, Nike, etc. in your subject line increases your odds greatly of getting someone to open your email. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Tim, how the heck am I going to use a brand name in my recruiting emails!?” How about something like, “3 Ways we are a better place to work than Apple!”
2. Short Titles. Less is more when it comes to attention-grabbing subject lines! I suggest under 5 words if possible. “Are we paying too much?” or “I’ve Got a Quick Question” or “Sackett” – Yep, in my own testing, the one email that gets open at a higher rate than any other is when I only put my last name in the subject line!
3. Negativity. This seems counter-intuitive. No way! People love positivity. You are right, but negativity draws them in! “How Candidates Fall on their Face!” will get opened way more than “How Candidates Succeed!” Again, in ten years of blogging and making headlines, this data also rings true. I get way more interaction on negative headlines than positive headlines.
4. Surprises. Different viewpoints that people don’t expect. “Punching Your Boss Can Get You a Raise!” or “Older Workers Have More Energy Than Millennials!” or “Hiring Dumb People!” Basically, people open these because they don’t agree with the headline. What the heck is Tim talking about today!?!
So, if all of these things work. What does CB Insights say doesn’t work, in fact, what should we stop doing with our subject lines?
All of the opposites of above! Long headlines, positive headlines, boring, etc.
Question Headlines. “What 3 Things Are You Doing to Hurt Your Brand!” While Buzzfeed has made billions with these clickbait headlines, CB found readers are getting fatigued with these types of headlines. (I will tell you “The X Things to do…” headlines still work in my world. 5 Ways to Hire More People! Will always do well.
Broad topics do worse than Niche. A headline that says “5 Ways to Attract More Talent” will do worse than “5 Ways to Attract More Nurses Right Now!”
The key to great email subject lines is they get opened! If you send out a hundred emails to candidates and no one opens them, it doesn’t matter what the content is and how much time you spent making it perfect. Get Them To Open Your Emails! Is the single most important thing you should worry about first!
It’s very Recruiting 101, and it’s something almost every recruiting shop struggles with, but then we go and focus on the picture we’re using. Does it have a puppy and a kid in a wheelchair? No, stop the presses! Stop it. Fix the basics first, then worry about doing the higher level stuff.
There is not a lot of overlap among the proposals that President Donald Trump, a Republican, and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, have championed regarding private-sector and government retirement benefits. Below is an overview of the candidates’ proposed changes to employer-sponsored savings plans and Social Security.
Biden Favors ‘Equalizing’ 401(k) Tax Benefits
Biden’s tax plan calls for changes to the traditional 401(k), ending upfront tax breaks that grow larger as more money is saved and replacing them with flat-tax credits.
Current tax benefits for retirement savings are based on savers excluding their retirement contributions from tax in traditional 401(k) plans, and then paying taxes when they withdraw money from their account. “This system provides upper-income families with a much stronger tax break for saving and a limited benefit for middle-class and other workers with lower earnings,” according to Biden’s website. “The Biden plan will equalize benefits across the income scale, so that low- and middle-income workers will also get a tax break when they put money away for retirement.”
Roll Call reported that Biden’s plan would “equalize” the incentive system by replacing tax-deductible contributions with flat-tax credits for each dollar saved. “The campaign isn’t saying what that percentage would be, but the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center has estimated a 26 percent credit would be roughly revenue-neutral over the first 20 years and beyond, which the Biden campaign is aiming for,” Roll Call reported. “Under this plan, someone earning $600,000 would get the same tax break as someone making $60,000—an identical $260 tax credit for their $1,000 retirement contribution.”
The credit would also be refundable, so employees earning too little for the credit to offset their income tax liability would still receive the full value.
Vince Morris, president of resources investment at OneDigital, an HR technology and services provider, noted that “business owners bear plan liability, the cost of employer contributions and sometimes plan administrative costs,” and they see their ability to make large tax-excluded contributions for themselves as offsetting the costs and administrative burdens of plan sponsorship.
“When offered a plan, we know that people save more for retirement than those who don’t have access to a plan,” Morris said.
“SHRM believes that every American worker should be afforded the opportunity to save for his or her own retirement,” Birbal added. “Retirement reform proposals should facilitate and encourage voluntary employer-sponsored plans, as well as individual savings, through consistent tax incentives and simplified regulations.”
Retirement Plans Snapshot According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2019 Employee Benefits survey of 2,763 HR specialists from among SHRM’s members:93 percent offer a traditional 401(k) or similar defined contribution savings plan. 74 percent match employees’ contributions. 42 percent automatically enroll new employees into the plan.Somewhat fewer but growing numbers also offer Roth 401(k) accounts, which employees fund with post-tax dollars and from which funds withdrawn during retirement are tax-free. Biden’s tax-credit proposal would not apply to Roth accounts.
Biden’s campaign website also addresses the following retirement plan issues:
AUTOMATIC ENROLLMENT 401(K)S
“Under Biden’s plan, almost all workers without a pension or 401(k)-type plan will have access to an ‘automatic 401(k),’ which provides the opportunity to easily save for retirement at work,” the website states. Although details aren’t provided, this could involve a mandate for employers to provide auto-enrollment plans with subsidies for small businesses to set them up, or possibly a government-provided defined contribution plan option, building on state-run auto-enrollment savings programs.
“Retirement plans represent an important aspect of the total compensation package used by employers to recruit and retain employees,” Birbal said. “As a result, many employers are already proactively enrolling employees into employer-sponsored retirement plans.”
MULTIEMPLOYER PENSION PLAN RELIEF
Forthcoming Biden proposals, according to his website, will include “issues related to pensions, starting with passing the Butch Lewis Act,” which would provide federally backed loans to underfunded multiemployer defined benefit pension plans.
Trump has not proposed fundamentally changing how 401(k) plans operate. Among actions the Trump administration has taken regarding workplace retirement plans, the Department of Labor (DOL) recently proposed a set of rules that, if finalized, would:
The DOL said it was attempting to keep fiduciaries from making decisions that further social and political aims but do not advance the goals of growing and securing plan participants’ retirement accounts.
Democrats have criticized these proposed rules, and a Biden administration could seek to replace them. Democratic majorities next year in both houses of Congress also could pass Congressional Review Act resolutions to overturn any rule finalized by a federal agency within 60 legislative days of the election.
The proposals seek “to influence corporate policy on issues that some argue are not directly related to ‘economic value,’ including with respect to [ESG] issues,” according to an overview of the DOL’s 2020 regulatory agenda by October Three, a retirement plan advisory firm. “In this regard, there has to some extent been a different ‘Republican Administration’ and ‘Democratic Administration’ position at the DOL.”
Different Views on Social Security and Payroll Taxes
The candidates have staked out different positions on the future of Social Security.
TEMPORARY PAYROLL TAX SUSPENSION FOR COVID-19 RELIEF
In August, Trump issued an executive order that led to IRS guidance allowing employers to temporarily stop collecting Social Security payroll taxes during a “suspension period” from Sept. 1 through the end of the year for employees whose wages are less than $4,000 for a biweekly pay period. Companies that suspend collection of employees’ payroll tax would collect additional amounts from workers’ paychecks from Jan. 1 through April 30 next year to repay the tax obligation.
Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have called for legislation to forgive suspended taxes. Biden criticized Trump’s executive order, calling it “a reckless war on Social Security” funding, The Hill reported.
TRUMP FLOATS THE IDEA OF REPLACING PAYROLL TAXES
Trump also suggested, but not in any formal proposal, replacing the Social Security payroll tax with funding from general tax revenues. According to Politifact, Trump said during an Aug. 10 briefing that “the payroll tax is a big deal for people … and we intend to terminate it at the end of the appropriate period of time.”
BIDEN WANTS EXPANDED BENEFITS AND A HIGHER EARNINGS THRESHOLD
According to Biden’s website, his administration would expand current Social Security benefits by making changes that would:
Provide the oldest beneficiaries—those who have been receiving retirement benefits for at least 20 years—with a higher monthly check “to help protect retirees from the pain of dwindling retirement savings.”
Implement a minimum benefit. Workers who spent 30 years working would receive a benefit of at least 125 percent of the poverty level.
Allow a surviving spouse to keep a higher share of the benefits, raising the monthly payment by about 20 percent for affected beneficiaries.
Provide earlier benefits for teachers and other public-sector workers.
Biden’s plan calls for having high-wage earners pay taxes toward Social Security on a higher percentage of their income. Currently, employees and employers each pay 6.2 percent from wages to fund Social Security for a 12.4 percent combined tax rate, but the tax is capped at wages of $137,700.
In July, the DOL proposed guidance that would change requirements for advisors who recommend investments to retirement plan participants. The proposal would still require advisors to act in participants’ best interests and to avoid conflicts of interest when recommending specific investments, but it is less restrictive regarding how advisors are compensated than a 2016 rule by the Obama administration, which was struck down in 2018 by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
A recruitment agency will have access to the best talent available; this includes access to candidates that are actively seeking work, as well as talent that is currently employed elsewhere.
If you use a recruitment agency, you’re statistically more likely to access the best job-seekers on the market; candidates who are actively looking for a new job position are more likely to register with a recruitment agency due to their efficiency. Most agencies will position job vacancy adverts on a range of job boards, understanding the logistics and marketing value behind using each one – invaluable knowledge that can only be accessed from working in the recruitment sector.
Finding the right candidates can sometimes be difficult, simply because they can be hard to find. If candidates don’t position themselves as ‘actively seeking a job’ then they are most likely to have a trusted, specialist recruiter who commits to job applications on their behalf – that’s access to a ‘talent pool’ that may be unreachable otherwise.
Recruitment agencies have many networks – each consultant has the potential to leverage their networks to help connect you to the right people.
4. Saves Time
It’s common knowledge that in business, time is money; however, if you use a recruitment agency, you are saving time. Recruitment agencies save your business time because they take care of the initial steps in the hiring process. No more sifting through applications and CV’s, a recruitment agency will ensure that the time you spend in the application process is spent wisely on viewing those worth considering.
However, it doesn’t end there; a recruitment agency will then schedule interviews and prepare the candidates with all the information they need – all you have to do is prepare and turn up!
Recruitment agencies deal with all of the administration issues such as: communications with successful candidates and unsuccessful applications, as well as verifying candidate information like qualifications and references.
If a business chooses to use a recruitment agency then they will reduce the time and in-house resources needed for recruitment dedication; this can lead to a quicker turnaround in filling vacancies and an increase in the efficiency of the organisation.
3. Additional Services
Recruitment agencies conduct background checks on candidates, which is essential when considering potential employees; this can be really time consuming as it involves following up on references, conducting preliminary interviews and making sure the candidate matches what they promise on their CV. Another reason as to why you should use a recruitment agency is because a business can feel assured that any candidate you meet has already passed the provisional tests as part of the additional services.
It’s important to consider the additional services provided by a recruitment agency when choosing which to go with, for example: psychometric tests, contract and permanent recruitment, executive search, project support and managed services are all beneficial facilities provided by the best recruitment agencies.
If your business has a job position available with an uncertain salary, a recruitment agency is ideally placed to give you an accurate market rate using salary data and local market knowledge. Most recruitment agencies will use website’s such as Glassdoor and Indeed to benchmark salaries and expected candidate rates.
Once you have developed a relationship with a recruitment agency that you trust, your future hiring’s will be easier as the agency will be aware of the qualities that are needed to make the right fit within your business. The best recruitment agencies will act as partners and collaborators, and will be your eyes and ears in the market.
Recruiters are industry specialists in their markets, and can give the hiring team regular insight in to what is happening. These recruiters will know: how to reach out to the best available talent, salary rates, career expectations, current hiring complexities, available skill-sets and shortages. For example, if there is a struggle to find the same quality of candidates in other relevant businesses, then expert recruiters will be able to advise on alternative solutions.
1. Short-term And Long-term Cost Savings
Recruitment agencies will have allocations on the all the top job boards, so you can ensure that your business’s job advert is in the correct place – posting single one-off jobs with advertising agencies can be expensive.
The cost of sifting through CVs and conducting initial conversations adds up, however if business’s use a recruitment agency then not only is that cost reduced, but there is also the ability for the recruiter to help negotiate the best salary (giving both guidance and advice on what is fair pay) resulting a greater chance in hiring the top candidate.
Almost every solid TA pro and leader I know wants to have cool, hip, on fleek, whatever new saying the kids on Snap are saying, type job postings. What most organizations end up with is still the old written job description, KSAs, boring I just feel asleep same posting as they always have had.
The main problem is you usually have some over-conservative lady in a cat sweater cardigan who a tiny ounce of power and believes you adding the word “crazy” to your job posting will get you put in prison. True Fact: I’ve been in the HR/TA game for twenty years and still to this day I have never seen anyone go to prison for getting ‘crazy’ with job postings!
I even, yes this is true, saw one company not put “EOE” on their job posting! Yep, no prison! Not even a fine! No grounding. Nothing!
Still, most of us struggle to do something about our crappy job postings and job descriptions. Well, Apple tried to do something! They got creative, kudos for that, but sometimes being creative and HR don’t mix well. Apple’s attempt was to create “Apple’s Orchard” (see what happens when HR and Creative get together! Lame city!) to attempt to recruit entry-level marketing professionals to Apple.
Because you know what’s really hard to do!? Get entry level marketing grads to want to come to work for Apple! Here’s how it sounded:
“The moment is now. Throw everything you know out the window. All in. Head first. Join the Orchard. If you’re lucky enough to make the cut, expect to surround yourself with like-minded souls who are as terrified and excited as you are. Be part of a hand-picked team with a plethora of talent. Kick ass together. Panic together. Grow together. Work alongside the brains of all the iconic work you love from Apple. Watch and learn. Trust your gut. Challenge our ways. Have an impact on everything you touch. Be prepared to stumble and fumble and embarrass yourself. It will be messy, and it won’t be pretty at times, but if you stick together as a team, you’ll build a special bond and something truly great will come out of it all. Take it from us. It’s the only way. Does this whole proposal sound crazy to you? Good. We like crazy.”
“We like crazy!” Like certifiably crazy? No, wait, I’m asking for a friend, who’s locked up..
Apple was forced to take down the land sight almost immediately after complaints started raining down on them like dollar bills at a strip club where you took the new entry level marketing recruits to show them how cool you were.
It’s kind of creepy and overzealous, right? I’ll give them credit for trying to be creative. Apple found out what most of us find out. Writing really good, creative, engaging, funny, endearing, job postings are really freaking hard! 99.9% of TA and HR pros will never be able to do this. My advice is to go out and hire real creative types to do this work, don’t kill yourself trying to do it yourself.
The one great thing I love about going to HR and Talent conferences is that you always get reminded about what really good HR should look like. It doesn’t mean that your shop will be there, but it gives you something to shoot for. I’ll admit, sometimes it can be frustrating listening to some HR Pro from a great brand tell you how they ‘built’ their great employment brand through all their hard work and brilliant ideas. All the while, not mentioning anything about “oh, yeah, and we already had this great brand that marketing spends $100 million a year to keep us great!”
Regardless, seeing great HR always reminds me that great HR is obtainable for everyone. Great HR has nothing to do with size or resources. It has a lot to do with an HR team, even a team of one, deciding little by little we’re going to make this great!
I think there are six things you need to know to make your HR department great:
1. Know how to ‘sell’ your HR vision to the organization and your executives. The best HR Pros I know are great storytellers and in turn great at selling their visions. If you don’t have a clear vision of what you want your HR shop to look like, how do you expect others to get on board and help you get there? Sit down, away from work, and write out exactly what you want your HR shop to look like. Write it long-hand. Write in bullet points. Just start. It will come.
2. Buy two pairs of shoes: one of your employees and one of your hiring managers. Try them on constantly. These are your customers, your clients. You need to feel their joys and pains, and truly live them. Knowing their struggles will make you design better HR programs to support them. Support them, not you.
3. Working hard is number 1. Working smart is number 1A. Technology can do every single transaction in HR. Don’t allow tasks and administrative things to be why you can’t do great HR. Get technology to do all of this busy work so you can focus on real HR deliverables.
4. Break something in your organization that everyone hates and replace it with something everyone loves. This is usually a process of something you’ve always done, and people are telling you it still has to be done that way. Until it doesn’t, and you break it. By the way, this doesn’t have to be something in HR. Our leaders and our employees have so many things that frustrate them in our environments. Just find one and get rid of it.
5. Sometimes the path of least resistance is the best solution. HR people love to fight battles for the simple act of fighting the battle. “NO! It has to be done this way!” “We will NOT allow any workarounds!” Great HR finds the path of least resistance. The path of greatest adoption. The path which makes our people feel the most comfortable, even if it isn’t the path we really, really want to take.
6. Stop being an asshole. You’re in HR, you’re not a Nazi. Just be nice. We’re supposed to be the one group in our organization that understands. Understands people are going to have bad days and probably say things they don’t mean. Understands that we all will have pressures, some greater than others, but all pressure nonetheless. Understands that work is about 25% of our life, and many times that other 75% creates complete havoc in our world!
Great HR has nothing to do with HR. Great HR has a lot to do with being a great leader, even when that might not be your position in the organization.
If someone was to ask me I felt that, on average, were people working more, or less, during the pandemic I think my gut feel would be less. Not that I don’t think most people want to work, it’s just so much got shut down and so many jobs went remote, it would seem natural that most people worked less.
Our perception of how long we work, as an employee, is truly warped! I wrote a post years ago on the lie of working an 80 hour week and I get so much strong reaction to that post to this day! An 80-hour workweek is super rare, but the amount of people who claim to work that much is exponentially higher!
A new COVID-19 study on our work habits came out recently and the findings are fascinating. The study looked at meta-data from calendars and emails from over 3 million users. So, it wasn’t interview data, which tend to be a bit more subjective. Here are some of the findings:
So during the Pandemic, our meetings have increased by 12.9% per person
The number of people in our meetings has increased 13.5%.
But, the average length of our meetings has decreased by 20.1%!
The net effect is we are spending about 11.5% less time in meetings.
So, we are having more meetings being remote, but spending less time meeting, which probably has a lot to do with virtual meeting technologies like Zoom, Teams, etc. If you are face to face in a conference room you probably tend to linger around and socialize more. We don’t do that as much on digital meetings.
The other major finding was that our average work time per day has increased by 8.2% or roughly an additional 48 minutes per day! So, it would look like we are working more, not less. How can that be!?
Let’s go back to the perception of how long we think we work. Most people have some commute time when going to work. On average that’s anywhere from 30-90 minutes per day. If you work remotely, you have zero commute time, but you now might check your email first thing in the morning before that first cup of coffee. So, while you normal in-office workday might start at 8:30 am, now maybe you’re checking email by 7:30 or 8:00 am.
Our actual workday probably has extended on the ends. When you have a remote office you tend to have more flexibility when you work. Put the kids down, and return some messages at 9 pm. So, our calendars and our emails are showing this day extension, but it can’t show the flexibility we enjoy throughout the day to go throw a load of laundry in or enjoy breakfast and lunch with our family or run out for a quick trip to the store midday.
So, we’ve extended when we will do work to a longer path throughout the day, but we also added in a ton of flexibility. More meetings, less time in meetings, interacting with more people, and a longer tail of when we allow ourselves to work. Welcome to the new world of remote working!