Cultural Onboarding

0:00:17.5 S1: Hello everyone, welcome to this episode of The Heart of It Podcast, where we chat about what matters most in the world of HR, the people. My name is Sam Smeltzer and HR intuitive and healer. And today we are having a very special episode, that’s why it sounds completely different than what you’re used to because it is being facilitated live, and I’m so excited that for this first time a live podcast episode, two things never wanna get to hang out with one of the coolest people that’s been on the podcast before, Jen Thornton, and number two, we’re able to provide you continuing education credit via SHRM for the first time, ’cause the heart center is now a recertification provider, so I’m really excited for that. So I’m gonna stop talking for a moment ’cause I want Jen to be able to say hello ’cause I’m so excited to have her back with us here on the podcast. Jen, you wanna say hello, the listeners.

0:01:08.0 S2: Hello everyone, and I’m thrilled to be here. Sam and I could talk HR business all day, every day and get lost down that rabbit hole.

0:01:18.4 S1: So we have a really fun show planned for you today, we’re gonna talk about this concept of cultural onboarding, but because this is a little bit off from what we typically do on the show, I wanna take a moment just to formally introduce Jen to make sure that we all know why she is the subject matter content expert for our conversation today and why I invited her for this dialogue. So a little bit about Jen. Jen has developed her expertise in talent strategy and leadership professional development over her exciting 20-plus year career as an HR professional, she’s led international teams across Greater China, Mexico, the UK and US to expand into new markets, managing franchise retailers and developing key strategic partnerships. All while exceeding objectives and financial results, the rapid growth of her consulting firm, 304 Coaching has been largely due to Jennifer’s unconventional approach to building innovative workforce development solutions for companies who are facing breakthrough growth and accelerated hiring patterns. So, very impressive Bio Jen. So our conversation today, a spark from the very first episode that you did with us, and there was a couple of things that you were saying, and at the time we were recording, I was actually teaching my recruitment class, and we were doing this active project, and I just there was so much correlation that I thought, gosh, it would be cool to have you as a guest speaker, and then I thought, Well, why keep that isolated to just class when so many others can benefit from that information as well, and then birth the idea that we’re here today with you to have this live dialogue, and so when we came together and talked about the things that were my aha moments from that, it resulted in us kind of naming this episode cultural onboarding, and I know this is probably a new concept, not just for students or new HR practitioners were probably for tenured practitioners as well, when we’re talking about recruitment and retention, so I guess let’s start with what is cultural onboarding.

0:03:26.0 S1: So if you were to define it, how would you explain that to everybody listening today?

0:03:31.1 S2: So how I would define culture onboarding is really the way in which we work together in this environment, and when we’re hiring and recruiting, yes, we’re looking for what we love to call culture fit, and that may be someone who matches those cultural statements that we have in our handbook, and we have them on a poster on the wall, and it says things like authenticity or innovation or collaboration, any of those types of things, but then, what does that actually mean? And how does that play out in the workforce? And so when you’re onboarding someone new, not only do you have to think about how to teach them how to do their job, you have to teach them how to interact in the environment in a way that’s productive, in a way that allows them to feel comfortable to ask questions to collaborate. To do all the things you want them to do. And that can be as small as… We have a consistent kind of unwritten role that we end meetings on time, or it could be, we help our media department before we help others to ensure that the workload is never kind of left at the bottom of the train.

0:04:44.2 S2: There’s a lot of things that it could be, but it’s really about how does the team come together and actually do the work we’ve asked them to do.

0:04:53.2 S1: Yeah, which is always fascinating to me that we talk about things like this, ’cause we hire people to do a job, yet it’s like our recruitment process into the onboarding process hasn’t really caught up to materializing that aspect of our true intention of the entire task of why we’re hiring in the first place. So I think this speaks to making that process more effective, and I guess that leads me to the next logical question is our current onboarding process, the go-to that most of us that are tenure and HR, even students are being trained to be a textbook of how to onboard and those checklists, why is that process still lacking or has so much more potential? Can you kind of briefly evaluate maybe where the opportunities are there and why we’re having this conversation today and so significant.

0:05:51.2 S2: I think when we look at history and how we look at HR or how we look at interacting with employees, a lot of those best practices were created in the 70s, 80s, maybe early 90s, and they may have worked then, but the world’s a little different today than it was back then. And so what happens is we become this… ’cause we’re humans. That’s just how it’s done. Everyone gets a 30, 60, 90 day plan. Now you meet your boss on the first day, whatever, all those basic things, but I think what we haven’t done well at is really recognizing why people work and ensure that we’re onboarding in a way that they understand that and why people work is… Yes, financial security, but past that, why people work is a sense of purpose and contributing to a bigger goal, so through onboarding, you have to tell them what that looks like, and that is part of the culture here’s how you contribute and make this work no matter what position you’re in… We hired you, you’re important, they work because of personal growth and they want to grow and mature and have more experiences, and so what does that look like from a culture standpoint in an organization, and then they also work for connections and really feeling connected to the people around them and how do we create those connections, and so I think that we just haven’t always caught up with understanding why people work today and answering those needs, it’s just…

0:07:29.6 S2: It’s how it’s always been, so it’s how it should always be, but unfortunately those old ways of working are pretty broken.

0:07:37.7 S1: So as you gave those examples, I’m gonna go to the tried and true kind of probably answers when we’re thinking about our current onboarding process and you think about connecting them to the greater purpose, well, if I have an orientation that hits mission, vision and shares or organizational values, aren’t I doing that already in my on-boarding process? And then to take it one step further, you talk about growth… Well, if I show them the growth path per se, like where you could technically get promoted in the organization, is that taking care of that, is that… Are those sufficient or are you seeing that those are still lacking as well…

0:08:17.5 S2: I think they’re part of it. I think when you think of culture onboarding, you’re really thinking about What’s probably missing, but I don’t think it means we take anything away. I think you’re absolutely right, we have to say, Here’s our mission and all of that. But then, what does that actually mean? How does that actually come to life? You also have to remember when you’ve hired someone, they have experiences and perceived ways of work that they’re bringing with them from previous organizations, more than likely, and so if in my previous organization, it was inappropriate to ask my supervisor to be on some important calls, so that I understood and learned kind of what was going on and could make better decisions, but in this culture, it’s very appropriate to say, Hey, I know this project is coming up to help me understand how to make decisions, I need to be on some of these important calls Could I… So you have to know and teach people how to culturally work, and that again, creates growth just by being on a call in creating that experience, that person would be growing because they’re gonna be hearing conversations they wouldn’t normally have access to, and so teaching people things like…

0:09:31.3 S2: Here, when we work together, what we want you to do is we want you to seek out experiences, so that’s maybe part of your culture on paper, seek out experiences, but this is what that means. And that’s the piece, I think, that we don’t always share. And then once we say, This is what it means, then as an organization, we have to ensure that we’re setting up environments where that is true and that is a reality, and that’s sometimes the harder piece of it.

0:09:58.6 S1: Yeah, yeah. So thank you for helping establish the baseline and foundation of what we’re talking about today, I think where the magic really comes from this topic is basically what initially attracted me to having you as an initial guest on the podcast, which is talking about the fact that you’ve been connecting neuroscience to HR work, particularly retention, particularly recruitment and how that plays in this, and I loved your phrase of how we culturally work and what’s happening in the brain, because I think human biology has a piece in the way that we lead in our organizations and grow people. If you don’t think it’s related then… That’s a whole another episode in itself. Go check out the first one that Jen and I did, but it is the way that we function as humans, it plays a huge piece in this, and we have to figure that out, which is why a lot of psychology majors actually end up in human resources, because and also HR people end up taking psychology classes as electives because we’re trying to learn more and more about people, so I say all of this to basically go to my next question of connect neuroscience to what we’re talking about here, and taking this cultural onboarding concept to How does it transform into a true kind of retention strategy for us, which is where it really pays off…

0:11:30.8 S2: Oh my gosh, there’s so many different directions I could go with a question, but I think the place to start is around predictions, and so how we function, her brain functions is around predictions. So before I got on this call today, I knew that you and I could talk all day about this type of stuff, I was predicting this would be fun, this would be exciting, and we would hopefully contribute and make a difference, and so I came on air with you with that prediction, and therefore I perform that way, or therefore I feel excited and confident to be here. Now, same thing happens in any work situation, and so if I have these experiences where if you mess something up or you fail, you’re in big trouble, but yet at this new organization, it’s called experimenting, and so therefore it’s okay to not get it right because you’re learning what doesn’t work? And you’re learning how to be more efficient than my brain may predict, I can’t try anything new, because if I fell, I’ll be in trouble because… Those are your predictions. Now, with you do culture onboarding, you help create those predictions, you say, Here’s how we look at failure, here’s how we look at experimenting, here’s how we look at having difficult conversations with your peers, This is how we think about cross-functional conversations, and so allowing instead of allowing someone to make predictions based on their past or the unknown, you give them those predictions through language and through cultural onboarding to say This is how we work, this is our way of work, and you could have three job descriptions…

0:13:16.0 S2: I don’t know. We’ll make one up, you could have three people that are doing IT security, and you could have the exact same job description, and you could put that same job description in three different companies, but their culture and their way of work would make those jobs fill like three different entire jobs, and that’s a good way to think about that cultural onboarding, the work may be the same on on paper, but how we do that work is what’s so important.

0:13:43.7 S1: You know, I love when you talked about starting with predictions because that just made me do a couple more steps back in where does cultural onboarding begin? The students that are attending today, their first project was doing something called an employment brand audit, where they basically looked at the marketing from an employment brand, but also from a consumer brand, if they are online, ’cause everything is sending messages about, Do I want to work there or not work there. And so now I’m thinking My gosh, by the second they come on to our website, read the initial job description or the posting, or the way the application process is handled, that is all feeding into the predictions for the way that we’re gonna function in that environment. Right, absolutely. And I love that your students are working on employer branding, it is so incredibly important. It’s always been important. It can’t be any more important than it is right now, there’s no secret, there is a shortage of workers who are interested in a traditional job, and one of the reasons they do work is connections, and so employer branding is that connection to a company prior to applying, and too often, we can look at a job description is, Oh, I need this IT security person, I better go find one at the IT security person store, and I’ll just go pick one up, but this is a long-term…

0:15:07.6 S1: Recruitment is truly a long-term strategy, it is not a short-term strategy, and every piece of information you put out about your organization starts to tell people how do you do the work, and sharing stories of employees, even sharing a story around… If someone came in and said, You know, it took me four times to figure out how to land this one product, but we finally did it, but instead employers say, We’ve got this great product, but what they don’t share is the story of what it took to get there… Because that’s really the culture, right? Did that person get to try it for six months and then finally figured it out, and we’re celebrating the actual six months of failures and figuring it out, or are we just celebrating the end results, and that starts to give people this idea of What would it be like to work there, and.

0:16:00.6 S2: When you’ve got three or four job offers on your table, you’re making predictions on which place will I fit best? In which place will I feel the most connected?

0:16:11.0 S1: Yeah, wow, that’s just totally like… One of the things that popped in my head is thinking about the iPhone, how cool would I think would it be if it was… And it probably is posted somewhere, but the process of… Who thought of the phone, who makes the call when it gets bigger or smaller or… And what was that process like? And then I also, at the same time, I had the thought, does no one talk about it? Because it was such a horrible working process and the culture was so terrible, so you don’t wanna air your dirty laundry, but there’s a prime opportunity where you have a great marketing tool, but maybe can’t because your culture is not marketable.

0:16:47.8 S2: Yeah, there might be some of that for sure. And I think that there is… In today’s world, there’s this sense of transparency and authenticity, if an organization starts putting out these kind of mirage stories of how amazing it… And there are people go on, that’s not where I work, I’m not sure where they got those ideas, that hits glass door, that hits on LinkedIn when you post a picture, someone’s gonna make a comment saying that is not true, and so organizations are being held accountable for their culture through these items, so they can either hide the culture and not do any brand awareness because they’re embarrassed by it, which should be your first indication that something needs to be fixed if you’re embarrassed by it, or they can put it out there and someone can celebrate it and say, Yes, this is exactly what happened. It was amazing, or you’re not being often… Or autistic? Authenticity, sorry, authenticity. So there’s a sense of truth and employer branding that has to be there, you can’t make it ’cause there’s too many people out there willing to share their story.

0:17:58.3 S1: That’s so true. And I think that’s a great transition to the one final area I wanna cover in our formal programming, which is this concept of fear, as I’ve continued doing my studies in my focus area, which is completely not completely different, but focusing on employee engagement. I’ve realized that a lot of the hurdles for an organization is fear-based, there’s fear of what will happen if I take this risk or I do this. So how does fear play in effect when we’re talking about an onboarding culture development, this whole kind of concept we… Men recruitment right now. Yeah.

0:18:37.2 S2: So we all have fear, we are human, therefore we have fear, so if someone wants to walk around and say their fear less… I’m sorry. It’s not true. So number one, we have to recognize we have fear, and that is just the reality. Now, the amount of fear is what you can and can’t… Circa control at times, can’t control, and so what we wanna know or what we wanna be aware of is as we lead organizations, as we lead individuals, our language either increases fear or decreases fear, and the importance of decreasing fear is there because the lower the fear… The more access you have to the parts of your brain you need to collaborate, emotional control is in the prefrontal cortex, problem-solving learning. And so people will yell at someone Can, you don’t know how to do something, but that raises their fear and therefore they have less access to the part of their brain that learns, and so it’s incredibly important as leaders to create environmental… We are reducing fear and were the easiest ways to do that is through language, so that we can have environments where people are learning, and again, that creates a culture, that culture of reducing fear, so you hire a new manager, innovation may be…

0:19:55.9 S2: The thing on the wall, but how we do that is through reducing fear and how we reduce fear is by looking at experimenting versus failure, because they’re the same thing, it’s just two different words and you’ve have two different emotional connections to those words. So.

0:20:12.5 S1: What you’re saying is, if I have a new employee who starts and they are terrified of failing, they probably have a very low capacity to actually learn how to do their new job…

0:20:24.5 S2: Absolutely, yes, they go hand in hand, and you can have north of dot SOUTH left without ride or dark without light, you cannot have innovation with a little bit of fear, ’cause we are fear-based animals, and so the reduction of fear gives you more space for more innovation and learning and all that good stuff.

0:20:45.7 S1: So I think there’s one other thing that we have to talk about just because of the current climate that is happening with the pandemic, recruitment has really gotten shine with the spotlight. Retention has become more important than ever. We have people who are just refusing to work, refusing to work in certain conditions, it’s almost like this uprising and rebellion that’s occurring, and now we’re trying to actively put into place all of these changes that should have probably started to happen a decade ago, if not sooner, and so there’s a lot of fear, there’s a lot of functioning in a crisis mode, there’s a lot of HR practitioners who are tired, who are lost, ’cause they don’t even know what the answer is to fill these vacancies that their staff is slowly just burning out because they can’t fill them the way that we always have filled them, and so is there anything that you want to share for those individuals… I mean, that’s a big open bucket, but what would you say to them… Because I do know, I just know that that’s a situation that keeps coming up, it’s come up routinely on the podcast, ’cause we are in small business owners too, is…

0:22:01.6 S1: It’s all over the place. Yeah.

0:22:04.2 S2: There’s a lot of pieces to it. I think from a root cause kind of… Where do you start? One of the first places you start is making sure that the leaders understand that there are options and that again, that mentality we had of the 80s and 90s, if you were not in your chair at your desk, then you are not working, you know… Or the person who worked the most hours was clearly the best person, well, if someone can do that job and 30, someone can do it in 45, everyone gets paid this price for it, they do it when you can… You get it done. So that type of mentality is a HR professional, we have to start to help leaders understand what are the possibilities, are their work from home, are there job shares, are there certain things that don’t necessarily have to be done in a certain time frame every single day. There could be options of saying, every Monday and Tuesday, we work these hours, third, Wednesday through Thursday, here are your win, you give us your windows and we’ll work with… And you can work within them, there’s all these options, we just have to open our minds up to them, and when you have a more flexible mindset around work getting completed, then you open yourself up to additional candidates.

0:23:27.5 S2: So that’s one piece, but I know it’s easy for us to say that in this group, because we are HR practitioners, we know that, but we have to sell that concept to our supervisors, the leaders of the organizations and… That’s your first piece of it. I think the second piece of it is helping organizations really understand what work actually has to be done, if there are four people doing a group of set amount of work, one person leaves and that person then theory, their job gets dumped on those other three people, so they’re doing a job and a third… Well, maybe that’s not what needs to happen, maybe there are things that I love to call vanity work that we’re doing that we actually don’t need to do, and really stopping and saying, Is this work the right work? Does this work actually impact our business or have we just always done it that way, so we do it, or there’s just one executive who likes it that way, but it’s really inefficient. Do we have a conversation with that person about inefficiencies? And so there are other ways than just accepting the work that we can help people feel more productive and feel better about the job that they do.

0:24:41.1 S2: Yeah.

0:24:42.9 S1: So I’m gonna use this as an opportunity to transition to start doing Q and A, and I have some questions that were submitted by the students, so I’m gonna start working through some of those. And anyone else who was in the audience, if you have questions, please feel free to drop them in the chat and I will address this as well. So the first question that I have here, which I think is a really interesting one, and it goes to this idea that you just talked about a flexibility and having an open mind about the way we are working and how that should change for the future. And so if we take that and apply that directly to the recruitment process, as I have talked to a lot of recent college grads who are looking for employment, they share about this want and need for this personalized experience, this personal connection through the interview process, which is so polar to what we’ve kind of embraced as HR where it’s compliance and we wanna make sure that we don’t increase our liability, we don’t wanna cross any boundaries. Now, I do know, and I know a couple of people who signed up to attend us live today, I know they’re very experienced interviewers, and when we’ve done it for a long time, we can do that personal connection ’cause we know where the boundaries are, but when we’re thinking about hiring managers that we’re training to interview, integrating this personalized connection, what advice do you have for revisiting how we interview without putting us at risk, but also being flexible?

0:26:22.9 S2: Yeah, so really good question. I think how we’ve always looked at interviews, this is a one-way street, it’s like dating, but only one person gets to know that person, and it’s just this… And at the end, the last two minutes, we go any questions and we have this sense of like, please do and ask me and I’m really tired, I like to go home to that one, and you’re like, Sure, I guess I don’t have any questions. And so really teaching hiring managers about a two-way conversation, you should allow that person to interview the company as much as you’re interviewing them, because again, that starts to build that cultural fit, that starts to build the predictions of how things will work, and you’re teaching that candidate with that hiring manager to have really great two-way conversations. And I think that’s an important piece of it. I think the other piece, and you kinda have to train the candidate too, ’cause candidates come in prepared to just answer questions, and so some of those questions could be, when you look at building a relationship with your supervisor, What would it take for you to call it really successful for you to say this is a successful relationship, tell me what you would like and not like, and so that then creates a conversation, Well, I don’t like this or I do like that.

0:27:45.1 S2: Well, I can see this piece of it, but here’s how I work, is that something that you would be negotiable on because here’s… We can’t be flexible five days a week, but we can be flexible three days a week, and so it’s this conversation and getting to know each other because they’re gonna make a better decision on the fit and you will make a better decision on skill and fit. And again, you’re building up conversations, the other thing with hiring managers as they need that person, they’re desperate to get that person hired, right, all of those things that feeling we have in our stomach as a recruiter are like, Please let this interview go well, and that’s how I started my HR career as a recruiter, and I know that feeling when you know they’re in the interview and you’re like waiting for that recap phone call, see how it went. Well, people wanna know what the purpose is, they wanna have… So we’ve talked about connections and that two-way street, but how do you create purpose, and so that hiring manager and that recruiter have to have the same story about why this position is important, and so that hiring managers saying, If you take this role, here’s how you’ll impact our business.

0:28:53.8 S2: Here’s why this role is important, you know is this purpose that would fulfill you, and that’s an important piece too, because that’s why they’re showing up, and it’s why they’re leaving because they don’t have it. And so I think those are those new skill sets that we probably have language for yet we probably don’t have… I’m sure Korn Ferry hasn’t written a competency language for any of this new stuff yet, but again, anything that was working in 2019, just start over today and start thinking about things differently and start getting really creative, but never forget that why people are working in today’s world because that’s what you have to answer to them for…

0:29:36.9 S1: Well, and I love how your two suggestions materialize, very tangible kind of takeaways, I mean the whole concept of the two-way conversation by provoking that, you get do a structured interview guide with those prompts, like what you said, and it’s not too far from what we have been comfortable with, if you still get to maintain control of the context of the questions, yet you are generating that personalize and giving them more freedom, which is always one of the big hurdles. The other pieces, this training becomes even more important for hiring a managers on why they are working and how they are connected to something bigger for them to inspire and purpose in an interview. They’ve gotta have that figured out for themselves as well, and so I think now you’re even adding more value to some things that have been labeled as a waste of time when you look at how this is all replicating and generating ultimately retention and the best quality cultural fit, hire for an organization in the long term.

0:30:46.7 S2: Makes such a difference, and when everyone knows why their work matters, they’re gonna show up and do it in a whole different way ’cause they’re gonna want… People don’t wake up, I know we always laugh about this in HR, people don’t wake up and say, I’m gonna… I’m gonna just go and pull up my office, I’m gonna make everyone mad today, I’m just gonna… I’m just gonna do my work or my best to do that, my worst work, very few fever that happens, it’s about us creating environment where people have purpose… They know why it’s important for them to do the work that they have the capabilities of doing.

0:31:24.0 S1: So continuing on this concept of interviewing, I thought this was really fascinating, so the question came up on if we should ask people about their previous work place culture, what their past experiences have been, which is always interesting to me, ’cause I know sometimes… To me, that sounds like almost like a trap question to see if they will like bash their previous organization. However, I would want them to be honest. There’s obviously something that was not perfect about it, which is why… I mean, I know that there’s the CAN response as the interview, we will… I’m looking for greater growth opportunities, but you’re leaving for a reason, you can stay loyal to the organization for a reason, there was something off and so I want to know that. So I think this is a complicated question ’cause it’s something that we also have to let go of in our filters based off their response. So you think it’s something we should do or not do. And if we do, what are the parameters so that this is productive.

0:32:22.1 S2: I think it’s great, and I think you have to be careful how you ask the question because you do want a truthful answer, so how I would ask that question is, you know, looking at all of your previous jobs, tell me the traits of a culture in which you perform your best. And so then it’s not necessarily about one or this, it’s the collective traits because they may say, Well, I like this from this job, I like that from that job, and this first job, I like this one thing, but if I could get all five of those right here. That’d be really amazing. And so what are those asking What are those traits of the culture that make you do your best work, that create an environment where you bring up every day and your pump to go to work and your pump to deliver… What are those traits? And then let them talk to you about those traits… Yeah, I think that’s great.

0:33:11.9 S1: And I love how you give the example, ’cause I think the goal would be that they kinda create this perfect little… I don’t know if this is a great reference to share on the podcast, but cocktail of the perfect… The perfect cultural cattail set. I don’t know.

0:33:28.3 S2: I like it and it works.

0:33:32.1 S1: Alright, and then the other last piece, and this links back to when we were talking about employment branding and this fake work and that kind of sabotaging us in the long haul, so how honest and transparent should we be in the interviews as… I know that I’ve worked in places where I definitely was selling a dream that was not the reality, I mean, I could see the potential around me, however, that was not what they were gonna be walking right into on day one. And now I think we’re asked to be more authentic than ever, but where is that line that you’re airing too much dirty laundry, but also still being truthful.

0:34:14.2 S2: No matter how great a company culture is, there are things that aren’t perfect because… I always think of culture and a work and a job as kind of like marriage, my aunt when I was young once said, here’s how marriage works, you find someone whose word stuff doesn’t get on your nerves ’cause everyone’s got it. And I kind of think of jobs that way, you find a place where there are stuff that’s not great, it doesn’t bother you because there’s so much good stuff and you can live with that, and that’s obviously kind of simplifying things, but I think that as honest as you can be in an appropriate manner, if you have an organization that’s in fast growth cycle, so there’s rapid change, then you can say, Here’s what’s awesome about being here, we are growing like crazy, we have added 40 positions in the last 12 months in this company, and there is such a sense of excitement about where we’re going, the flip side of that is we’re still figuring out some of the ways we work together, we’re still figuring out efficiencies, and that’s gonna take us some time to figure out…

0:35:20.5 S2: So if you wanna come along for the ride of the growth, here’s what it feels like, if you wanna be somewhere really established, I don’t know if you would enjoy being here, and that’s a truthful answer of what’s great, but what’s the other side of that? Because there’s always always a trade-off.

0:35:43.5 S1: So we’re going to transition and talk a little bit about those hiring managers and the training for prepping them, which we already kinda hinted at, and I thought this was very appropriate, and I think it links back to your bio and I know Jen was my coach at one point, and one of the reasons why she was my coaches ’cause she’s much better with finances than me, and so me getting my business house in order was very important for me, and I was terrible at this when I was in the corporate environment, budgets, HRS routinely told to do a lot with less, but that HR prep, those HR trainings, even the one of helping them figure out why their work matters and how that’s gonna send those ripples is imperative to retention. So the things that we’re experiencing right now, a lot of them can be resolved fairly quickly if we can get hiring managers on the same page and prep the way that they need to be, they can make some of these shifts that could be monumental, and some of the quickest changes we can see in this entire process by kind of multiplying yourself using them, and so the question comes up about budget-wise, what do I even think…

0:37:00.7 S1: And I know this is gonna vary on every organization, but do you have any kind of advice as far as logically what I should think if I’m gonna try to pitch to have some money to invest in this… How do I figure that out? If there’s an equation, if there’s, I don’t know, an algebra equation or something like that, that I… HAI was actually good at algebra, letter should never be a Math, I was very… To me.

0:37:27.9 S2: So I think the first thing you have to do is recognize the cost of turnover, because that is something that most leaders don’t understand. I just got back from a conference and did a whole workshop on the cost of turnover, that dollar that they want HR to save will be spent somewhere, you just have to decide what line item you would like it on… Do you like it on your sales light… I am… Your sales are down 10%. Would you like it on product sitting in the warehouse because you can’t get the people to unload the track, where do you want that dollar to be spent ’cause it will be spent somewhere, and so really understanding the cost of turnover in your organization, and that is different from everyone, if you look at… There’s a lot of different numbers out there now, I know she uses the standard of 15 a person’s salary. And I would say that’s true for a lot of positions, but then you look at positions where someone has a ton of institutional knowledge and is able to do probably three or four jobs all wrapped into one because they’re so efficient, you lose them…

0:38:31.0 S2: It may be two to three times or salary, then you think about some high demand, really specific jobs, you go back to our IT security job, IT security professionals are incredibly hard to find in the market, so you lose one, you get hacked, that could have cost you 100 times that person’s salary. And so really stopping and thinking about your make-up of your organization, every time you lose someone who is that person, what were they doing, what were their impact… What’s that impact the team now that they’re gone, and start to really put some numbers to that, and then go ask for a percentage of that. Now, you could say, I’ve lost four people and it can add up to a million dollars in a blank, and you probably can’t go and ask for a million dollars in cash to do a recruiting project today, unless you’re a really, really big company, but you can go and say, Here’s what it’s costing us. I’d like 50000 out of this 1 million to see if I can move that number and to really start to think about how to drive our organizational results, then you have to track the progress and you have to keep going back and saying, Here’s what I did, here’s the impact, here’s where we’re moving the needle, here’s how things are more efficient, even things like our supply chain picked up one day in shipping time between unload and sort and reload, that’s millions of dollars back to an organization and as an HR practitioner, if you can say, how your retention created a one-day efficiency, heck, you paid for it, and then something that’s how you get budgets as an HR professional, you talk about how you strategically…

0:40:15.4 S2: Positively impact the business.

0:40:18.1 S1: Yeah. Wow. Yes, see, that’s why she was my coach. It’s always about impact, Hardman impact. Well, I think the perfect place to start is turnover, because people are experiencing a large amount right now for a variety of different reasons, we have people who don’t wanna work in this environment instead they’re doing early retirement, you have people who are burnt out, you have people who just realize, it’s not worth it anymore. So we’ve had all of those kind of come to a head at the same time, which is a perfect storm and a lot of fun for all of us to navigate immigration at a all-time low, and that compounds over a year, especially in sectors who really depend on immigration, there’s just a lot of ways to make a dollar in today’s world, and so organizations have to understand that, you know, just providing a paycheck doesn’t provide a reason for people to show up because they can go get a paycheck in a lot of different places, in today’s world. Yeah, yeah. So let’s close out this topic on HR training by talking about… What is this… So if I’m prepping these hiring managers and say, I do get this budget, what should it look like like as long as I get a PowerPoint slide and I run them through it.

0:41:35.3 S1: Is that sufficient? What does that look like? And then on top of that, what do I do? If they don’t buy in to say you spend that money and they’re not drinking the Kool-aid… What do I do?

0:41:52.8 S2: Yeah, I think that it’s always good to have different tiers of a plan, and so you go in with, Here’s what’s possible, and here’s what it’s gonna cost, always have things and they don’t cost… Because if I’m an executive and I’m like, Alright, you’re asking for 50000, but you also created this at no cost, you didn’t ask for 100000, so you have to always balance where you’re gonna find that those dollars, and it’s small stuff that really are no cost like experiences or a mentor program, there’s a lot of different things you can do that really have no cost, and so balance those out and show that in a spreadsheet or something, this is the 10 initiatives, here’s what each of them will cost to have a couple of things that show that there is something at no cost. I think the other thing is to know that you have to update people and you have to say, Here’s what I’ve spent so far, here’s where we’re landing. You have to understand how to manage a budget as an HR practitioner, because just like someone in finance or someone in marketing, there’s very few positions out there where there’s no expectations of managing a budget, and I think sometimes we forget as HR practitioners that we are budget managers also, and so really put that budget manager hat on and think about how to do it, talk about negotiations.

0:43:24.3 S2: You can say, Here’s a vendor I’d like to work with. Here’s where they came in at 60000. But I negotiated it down and did this, this, and I’m getting it for 30000. So I know 30000 sounds like a ton, a tough price of what they showed up with, I negotiated them down, share that, let them know that. Yeah, yeah.

0:43:45.6 S1: And I think those are great words of wisdom because if you haven’t used outside vendors, you can have a rude awakening when you start getting people to proposal, and that’s just the comment when I was in the corporate environment, my first time I started getting pricing you’re like, What, Costa, when you look at a breakdown, the hours, it makes a lot of sense, it’s just kind of this initial kind of sticker shock, so I do appreciate you throwing out 30000 because I don’t think that’s out of the realm of what you can expect if you’re trying to do interventions like this… Yeah.

0:44:20.1 S2: And a lot of times we use vendors because they have specialty knowledge and that specialty knowledge cost, but often times too, we use vendors because they are collectively pulling skills, and so you know here, three or four, we are a leadership education company, so we do leadership programs for organizations, and we white label, we custom design, and when we custom design a training and education program, there are nine people who touch it, the company couldn’t go in higher… Nine salaries to do it. And so that’s also what you have to think about when you’re working at vendors, you’re paying for specialized information and collective resources.

0:45:01.3 S1: Yeah, thank you. That’s always great stuff to help obtain buy-in, and then the entire process… So one of the things when I think about cultural onboarding is, and I don’t know why this is one of those aha moments that I had, and I think it’s ’cause I underestimate it for so long, is how detrimental the application process can be to the entire recruiting if it is painful, and in fact, I always say that, and I’m like when we’re thinking about recruitment strategies and retention strategy, sometimes the change can be as task-oriented as how we are initially inquiring about people wanting to entertain employment. And so one piece of that is assessments, ’cause we wanna find out as much as we can about these candidates before we talk to them, which I think is also another way that we need to revisit that, but are there some assessments that you think are really important during pre-employment that help people with this whole concept that we’ve been talking about this entire time.

0:46:07.3 S2: Yeah, I love that you asked that question, because more and more companies are using assessments right now, we represented an employee employment assessment here at 304 Coaching, and we use ad and we are a vendor for ad. But what I would say about assessments, number one, and please hear this, make sure they’re EEOC compliance. Please do not use an assessment that is not compliant, there is a Supreme Court case that lays out how an assessment has to be compliant to be used as part of the decision process, or… I talk to clients all the time and they will tell me what they’re using and pre-employment, and I’m like, Oh… That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. That is not a US compliance, so there’s my little so box for that. So getting off that soap box to why you want an assessment that helps you understand traits, so that could be a communication style detail, someone’s ability to be versatile, their level of interest and change, so if you’re in a high change organization, you wanna hire people who seek out, change. If you’re hiring someone for a position that’s in a high change organization, but yet it’s maybe a tax accountant, well, you can’t get really creative, you gotta follow the rules, so maybe you find someone who…

0:47:32.6 S2: You don’t want someone creative there, you want someone pragmatic and decision-style because that’s… Again, goes back to the culture, how you make decisions, impact the culture and how that works, so make sure whatever assessment you choose, give you the information you need to do to have a good conversation around work behaviors. No. Assessment should be the end all, be all. It is part of the process, so it’s about the interview or the conversation, as I’d like to say, it’s about the conversation, it’s about the connection, it’s about the assessment and the way that person works, it’s about their experience, their knowledge, their education. There are a lot of pieces of the puzzle too often people want an assessment that’s like a silver bullet, and if I can find it, I will, and then I’m gonna be… They were just person in the world, and Sam, you and I’ll just go off and live on the beach somewhere and talk business…

0:48:34.2 S1: I like how I’m included in that. So you see… So I’m gonna push you back on your soap box because I think that the way that people have found a way around it, so they’ve heard… If it’s not EEOC compliant, don’t do it, it’s a liability, so then they do it immediately post higher with the tagline, I’m getting to know them and how they fit with the team. Now, I’m just curious, your thoughts on it being that particular step in the process, considering what we just talked about in regards to fear and how that impacts the individual and the new hire and their ability to truly on board into the culture. Yeah.

0:49:18.8 S2: So if your organization is using an assessment, how you view that assessment, how you talk about that assessment is key, especially if it’s not EEOC compliant, so if you do one after someone’s on board, it was not part of the decision style, but it’s part of way of work or team building or any of those types of things, then the organization has to view them as a piece of the puzzle, just like in the onboarding. It’s not an end all be all, it’s not. Oh, I hired this person and they did this assessment and I just found out, and I’ll use a color, ’cause everyone uses colors and assessments, I just found out there a purple purple don’t work around here, and then all of a sudden they chart treating that person poorly because of that, that’s not okay, how we have to look at assessment as it is information to how to work with someone better, how to help them work better within our culture and that we celebrate those differences. We move from differentiation into linkage, linkage is what I like to call really strong teams who lean into differences, and we have to look at those differences that way as an organization versus judging.

0:50:37.1 S1: Yeah, the other piece I want to hit from your previous comment, you talked about the assessments, behavioral-based trait-based, and you made examples of referencing the traits, for example of this organization is experiencing this, this might be a trait that you’re looking for… This is a big part of human resource development, which is not everyone’s specialty niche, assessing from jobs, understanding the traits you’re seeking, so now we’re looking at specific traits that equate to success in our culture, which might be totally foreign and not something that you’re actively doing right. Now, and so now that could overwhelm me in itself, like, Oh my gosh, now Jen just said this, and now I’m trying to figure out what in the world are the treats that basically might serve as the foundation for my entire cultural onboarding. So how do we start picking those out and identifying them, any tools or resources or…

0:51:33.9 S2: How do I do that? So any time you are in conversations about possibly bringing in assessment, survey, whatever you wanna call them, never call them the test, and you’re trying to make that decision, what I would recommend to say, I wanna do a test case of performers, and it can be maybe everyone in one department or maybe you, depending on what you’re looking for, it could be across the board and do a good 25-50 person if you can, and you know what their vendors are gonna wanna sell you something to ask them to do it for you for free. ’cause you can negotiate with vendors, I promise. And so you do that assessment on a group of people, top performers, mental performers, bottom performers, then you start to see, can you find any correlation? All of my top performers have score or come out with these types of traits, all of my bottom performers do not have those traits and have these, and none of my top performers have those, my middle kinda have this and that, that starts to allow you to pull apart the data and really start to say, Oh, this assessment is identifying these types of traits for this job because I can see the difference and the profiles between top and bottom performers, it’s really interesting work to do.

0:53:00.4 S2: I do it with a lot of organizations when they’re looking and they’re considering the OAD that I sell, but I love doing that exercise ’cause then you can start to really show people where the value is, and then again, when you go to ask for money, then you can say I did a survey, here’s what we found, here’s the information, and I did that with an organization about a year ago, we did 100 sales people that all sold in the same markets, and we were able to see that exactly their top performers profiles were polar opposite to their bottom performers, and we found those consistencies and we found that information, and so they were able to go back to the board and ask for funding because we could start to prove what the results were through analytics and the world of HR of it just being the policy police, it is the data-driven department now, it’s a finance department, it is an analytical department, it is a talent department, it’s a risk assessment department, and I love that HR so dynamic because there’s so many ways to really drive the success of an organization yeah.

0:54:24.6 S1: Well, and I also, I love that your example is partnering collaborating with a vendor, so you didn’t automatically say, Well, here is like how you have to clear the next week to go ahead and find these traits, you actually talked about how you can collaborate with these vendors. And I think that’s something that… I don’t know, I guess I took for granted. I naturally figure that out, if I’m gonna pay you tons of money, you’re gonna show up and serve in that space that you’re helping me with and be part of my team, and so you need to create those partnerships with your vendors and do that. Yeah.

0:54:58.0 S2: I think it’s one of the competencies that the future leader is how do you partner with outside experts, and how do you bring them in… How do you know when to bring them in? Why? To bring them in, how to leverage them and… Because again, you can’t hire every expert in your organization anymore, no matter how big you are, and learning how to work with the appropriate vendors and get the most out of them is a skill set, and I think at some point will be a true competency.

0:55:29.1 S1: Yeah, so my last question for you today, which if the students are still on, which they’re supposed to be, will benefit from this. So their final project is to recommend a recruitment and on recruitment or retention strategy that’s supposed to be sourced in modifying something in the current onboarding process, so from start to finish, if you were gonna provide three helpful hints of somewhere specific that they should go, so they’re supposed to get tangible and small, so something… Not these big… Half an inclusive culture? No, something that you could actually do, like add to your to-do list, so if you are gonna take… It could be three areas, it could be three very small things, but you would… They could be wish list that you would want them to look into because you think these are areas that really need to be explored and shifted and changed, it could be areas that you’re curious about that they would conduct further research on and find out, but if you’re gonna give them three kind of helpful hints to take their work further on their path of trying to figure out what they should be proposing or thinking about…

0:56:36.3 S1: Where would you take them?

0:56:38.0 S2: And so they’re proposing, I just wanna make sure I it right. So don’t give you wrong stuff, how to make the onboarding and retention more efficient… Is that correct?

0:56:46.3 S1: Yeah, basically creating a retention strategy, but by morphing the recruitment onboarding process… Yes.

0:56:52.8 S2: Awesome, so if I was gonna do that project today, what I would do is I would divide it up into the the reasons why people work, and I would put something under each of those reasons, and people work for financial paycheck, we gotta have those. Unless we’re independently wealthy, we do it for growth, we do it for connection and greater purpose, and so I would take the reason why people work and I would find something to put under each of those so that you can create that package that speaks to today’s employees.

0:57:24.5 S1: Yeah, there you go. So you just had to pick one of those and give me… And then you’re done for the semester, that’d be awesome.

0:57:32.2 S2: A plus to everyone as to.

0:57:34.9 S1: You for today in… Great job, great job. So I don’t see any more questions coming into the chat, do you have any final words before I kind of… Well, I guess before you do closing remarks, I wanna remind the live audience that if you haven’t dropped your name and sitting in the chat and you want your Herm credits, make sure you do that, so staff can email you the activity code and certificate of completion in addition to that, if you are listening to the replay and you don’t have access to the chat because you’re on the podcast app, you want to go ahead to the show notes and look at the link and you’ll find all the details and how to earn your credits and get your certificate there, but yeah, so other than that, no, I’m gonna turn it over while we’re waiting to see if anyone needs to drop their stuff in the chat, Jen, you have any final remarks that you wanna say about today?

0:58:25.6 S2: Oh, well, number one, thank you for having me. I always have such a great time with you and you inspire me every single day, so thank you for that same… I do appreciate it. I think my final notes are, Don’t look at yourself as an HR practitioner, look at yourself as a talent Strategist, and that’s what we are as HR people, we are strategizing with the organization to deliver the business results through people, just like the finance department has a strategy the marketing department has a strategy, the supply chain group has this, Everyone has a strategy that HR people don’t always stop and say, Wait a minute, I’m supposed to have a strategy too, and so you keep your mindset set on, I am in charge of the talent strategy to deliver the results. And if you approach HR functions with that mindset, you will connect with the executives in a way that you’ve never connected before, you will be invited to the table, you will be a trusted advisor and you will have incredible results.

0:59:31.7 S1: Thank you, Jen. Great, final words, and I highly encourage all of you to check out the show notes for more information on Jen, learn about 304 Coaching, also the OAD assessment. Do I say that? I wanna make sure I had the letters in the right order there and learn about that ’cause that will be in the show notes as well. I also was just notified that if you were on the app, you cannot see the chat box, so if that is the case, please email stuff directly and you can get your certificate or respond to the email that you had today with all this show information. And as a reminder, if you’re listening on the replay, make sure that you look on the show notes for more information on how to download your certificate and get your credits, so other than that, that’s all for us today on this very special live episode. Thank you, Jen, for being with me today. Thank you to all the students and everyone in our live audience for joining us for this live session, and I will talk to you next week on The Heart of It Podcast. Have a great day, O.

Scroll to Top