Mr Meaningful Work and Tim Sackett

Episode
3
June 25, 2024
55
min

In this episode of the Humanly podcast, talent acquisition expert Tim Sackett joins our host Tim - Mr Meaningful Work - Olaore, to discuss the evolving landscape of recruitment and leadership in the age of AI. They delve into the importance of embracing AI and technology, focusing on data-driven decisions, and enhancing organizational talent. Sackett emphasizes the critical role of HR in increasing talent and provides practical advice on measuring recruitment success beyond traditional metrics. The conversation also touches on change management, the significance of transparency, and the necessity for HR leaders to proactively adapt to technological advancements to stay ahead in the competitive market.

Transcript

All right, it is the Humanly Podcast. I'm your host, Tim "Mr. Meaningful Work" Oleare. I am joined by a writer and thought leader. We've got Mr. Tim Sackett in the building! I wish I had one of those things that go...

I wish I would... I need to have like, "Tim 'Mister Just Get Your Ass Back to Work' Sackett." What is your moniker? Like, "Mister Tim, get in the building" ...uh, Sackett?

But dude, I am so excited to have you here today. We're excited to have this conversation. The whole premise of the Humanly Podcast is really to explore the nuances and dynamics of the future of work, and really delve into the stories that are driving us, the experiences that are driving us to this future of work. These conversations are how we do it.

In lieu of a super long bio intro and just reading off all of these beautiful accolades that you have, one of the things I like to do for my guests is ask them, "What are you famous for?" That could be... and I actually want two answers. I want you to start with what you're famous for personally, like what your circle of friends and family know Mr. Sackett for, and then professionally, what are you famous for? So what's your fame, man?

So, weirdly, I think I'm famous for hugging, which can be creepy and like, all at the same time. I'll tell the story quickly and I've told it a lot. I was at a SHRM annual conference in Atlanta. I had a client there that we did a bunch of work with, and I just said, "Hey, we're both gonna be there." It was, I think, a Monday evening. I spoke at like, first thing, 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning, and so we went to dinner, had a couple bottles of wine. I'm a hugger, she's a hugger, and when we go to say goodbye—and again, I've worked with this woman for, I mean, years—she kissed me right on the mouth. I'm married, happily married, over 30 years married, three grown children married. So, like, we left. She was in her hotel; she went to her room. I went directly outside and called my wife and said, "You're not gonna believe what just happened."

Now, again, in hindsight, I think she was just a little tipsy, came in just... I mean, it was not meant to be like a romantic kiss, but in my mind, I went... I write every day on the blog, so I went back to my room and I'm like, "There should be rules about this. Like, you can't just kiss somebody professionally." But I also knew I couldn't write that this happened because she's gonna read it; she reads the blog. So, like, in a half-drunken stupor at 11:30 at night, I wrote the "11 Rules of Hugging at Work" and put it up, scheduled it to go the next morning, and then went and spoke at 7 a.m. It went live while I was speaking. I get off stage and literally had hundreds of text messages, and my first thought was, "Oh shit, what did I write?"

During that time, it was when LinkedIn only had, like, 12 people who could publish on LinkedIn. It was Jeff Weiner, the CEO, like Obama, Richard Branson. Remember that time? There was a weird window where only certain people could publish, and they weren't even publishing—it was their PR teams. But anyway, somebody shared it with him, he published it, and it went viral like instantly. I started getting calls from like San Diego Radio Morning Zoo, like, "We have Tim Sackett on the line. He's like the world's foremost expert in workplace hugging."

It's the classic 15 minutes of fame. People are like, "Why are these people hugging at work?" What you come to find is people are either huggers or they're violently non-huggers, like Karate Kid. "I will kick you if you try to get close to me," and there's no in-between. I spent the next five years, when I went to speak, everybody would say, "You have to do the hugs. You have to do the hugging thing." So I would spend 15 minutes, I would go out in the audience, I would try to find the biggest dude possible—I'm not a big guy, I'm like 5'7", small in stature. I would find like a 6'6" giant human and say, "Hey, will you stand up and we'll show the crowd, right? We'll show some of the hugs."

What happens with dudes is they become a board when you hug. You guys want to hug out, like you're like, "Yeah, Bam, dap, gone," you know? I would literally hold them and not let go, and they just got tighter and tighter and freezing as I'm like burying into their chest going, "You smell so good, you know, hold me, hold me." The crowd would lose their mind just seeing the dynamic of two dudes hugging, and then the difference in size and one person being so uncomfortable. So I would say that my wife calls me a micro-celebrity. She's like, "There's 13 HR ladies in the world that want your picture," and I think it's so appropriate from that standpoint.

I love it. So, yeah, and then personally... that's an interesting That's probably a better question, right? When people say, "What are you known for personally?" Yeah, um... I am an introvert, so I have a ton of friends and... well, I say yes to everything. It's probably my downfall because I'm that guy when, like, you call and say, "Hey, we're moving on Saturday," I'm like, "Sure, yeah, I'll be there," looking like, you know, really? Is that really what you wanna do? Like, no. I say yes to everything.

Well, that's beautiful. That's beautiful, and I love the personal approach, right? The thing I like about the hugging piece is that it breaks down these barriers, right? Your comfort zone has to be down. The trust is almost like forced, if you would. I don't know if "forced" is the right word, but in that moment, whether it's a staged hug or real, in that moment when we're chest to chest, cheek to cheek, or cheek to chest, whatever it is, those barriers are broken, and it's just two humans. It's two humans that are connected, and that's really what any work that we do is about. It's about the humans that are driving it, and the way that work gets done is by that.

You know, Stephen Covey talks about the speed of trust and how we can build that, enable that, and celebrate that in cool and creative ways, right? You found a cool and creative way to do that. You talk a lot about HR and talent acquisition and all of those things. We'll dive into that, but the way that I want to kind of have this conversation is because even in your bio, you say "husband first, father," and then everything else, and often maybe not in that order. But I think leading with that is super important, and that's kind of the basis of what our conversation is gonna be today.

You know, as we talk about talent acquisition, you had a recent piece today talking about wanting to be wanted, which I just found so beautiful, about the dynamic of recruiting and hiring managers and candidates and how we just want to be wanted. I was thinking about my relationship, right? Thinking about them is almost like... this is gonna be a Tim and Tim marriage counseling session. But that dynamic of pursuing, right? When you're pursuing your girlfriend or your boyfriend or your crush, there are the things that you do to impress them and be the center of their attention and be top of mind. But talk to me a little bit about how that relates to, in your experience, the talent acquisition process.

I've been married for 10 years this year, and I dated her for a year before that. How long have you and your wife been married?

32 years.

Congratulations! We need to have like an applause effect and laughs all over the place, confetti growing up, yeah. But yeah, so in the light of marriage and relationships and that pursuit, talk to us about that shift of wanting, having the candidate feel wanted and pursued in that employment relationship.

Yeah, Tim, I call this like the recruiter superpower, right? We are... and by the way, it's not just a recruiter superpower; we all have this superpower. It's like an innate human superpower, but so many of us don't ever use it, or we always are worried about the reciprocating factor. And even in recruiting, like, one of the things that... where recruiters fail is constantly this rejection side. But yet, here's what happens.

So I always like... I'd love to share this scenario: I have a great job, love my job. It's rare that anybody could ever offer me a job, and I've been offered really big jobs, and I've just said thank you, but no. I have a great job now. If the Lakers call and offer me the head coaching job, I'm taking that job, right?

Even after yesterday or was it the day before that little...?

Yeah, I don't care. I feel you know there's probably not... really, any NBA coaches I would probably take. But anyways, here's what happens in this. Like today, somebody could call you and they're talking to you about some job, not really a job you want, you know. You're just like, "Okay," and you do the pleasantries and say, "Okay, no thank you, blah blah blah." You get off the phone and the first person you run to—your wife, a friend, a business colleague—you even go, "Yeah, I got this call, man. I didn't want this, but..." like, you feel so good that somebody actually wanted us that we have to share this with everybody. Share this like, "I didn't want that job, but you know they wanted me."

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

And so often When you get recruiters to really think in that sense of, you're calling all these people, and even if they don't want your job, they're gonna go tell everybody that you offered them a job or that you wanted them for this job. To me, it's the single most powerful emotion that we face: we want to be wanted by others. And that's why I always tell my team it's either a yes or a no. There's no in-between in recruiting. Either they say yes, they are interested in the job, or no, they're not. But a no response just means they haven't said yes or no yet. The more you pay attention to them, the more you can break them down.

Again, with our significant others in life, there was a piece that we had to break them down to go, "Why would I want to spend the rest of my life with this guy?" And that's part of that pursuance of... we all want to be pursued by somebody. The one trait that I see in the best recruiters in the world is... it's not that they have the best technology or the best phone voice; they just pursue better. Yeah, they pursue them.

I think about my day job now, where I work serving at a healthcare system out here on the West Coast. Coming in, one of the most impressionable pieces of the recruiting process was when I was talking to the executive that I would be reporting to and how she, in the conversation, asked about my strengths, what I wanted to do, how I wanted to grow, and then wove the organization and what they're doing to fit that. It was like, "Look, if this is what you want to do, you need to be here." It just felt like this draw, like somebody was... you know when you feel like somebody is flirting with you, that kind of stuff. It was that sense of, "Man, they're really trying to impress and draw," and it gets harder to say no in those situations, especially if it aligns with your goals, aspirations, and career trajectory.

But that piece of being pursued is huge. There's a huge misnomer that most people change jobs for a promotion. Actually, most people change lateral jobs. So often, we just give up on those because we think, "Oh, they wouldn't want this because it's just a lateral move." But think about how often someone's working for a company where the company just doesn't find them pretty anymore. They're not paying attention to them, and all of a sudden, someone comes along and says, "Hey, you're pretty, and I want to pay attention to you. We have this better thing over here, a better culture." People change and go work someplace else. They might say, "Oh, well, we were able to pay them a few thousand more," or "It was a little closer," and those things do matter, but at the end of the day, it was really because somebody just paid attention to them and made them feel pretty again.

Yeah, and to that point, this is a perfect segue. So once you're in that relationship, how do you stay pretty, stay interested, or stay engaged? You mentioned in your book that talent acquisition should own retention. Folks that are going to stay... we have this whole thing, like 2021, you had COVID in 2020, and then 2021 you had this great resignation. Everybody was leaving, and then you had quiet quitting and then loud quitting, and all these things around people jumping and moving around. You talk about if you do the attracting properly, bring them in, now it's about how do we keep folks.

So talk to us a little bit about... right, you've been married 32 years, I've been in my marriage 10 years, and it's work to keep those things going as the real life of life starts to happen. So talk to us a little bit about that retention and engagement piece and what talent acquisition leaders should be doing.

I think it's critical moments in people's professional and personal lives that are where this all falls apart. For the most part, most of the stuff we do every day is just coming in, doing the work. Everyone's kind of doing the work. Then there are little things that come up throughout the year, throughout the years that we work with people, that are big things for them in their life. It could be having a child, getting married, a parent or someone passes away, something like that. All you can do in that way is support them 100% and know that if you do, 99% of the time it's gonna reciprocate back to you.

I tend to set this up, and I had super long tenure, and I always like to make jokes like, "I'm just the greatest person to work for." I'm not the greatest person to work for. I have super high expectations, and I'm very direct, which doesn't usually lend itself well to high tenure. But what I do support and what I tell them is, "Look, I'm gonna teach you a set of skills. I wanna see you be so successful that other companies are gonna pursue you and wanna take you. My hope is that I'll never allow somebody to overpay you the value that I think you're worth, so I'm gonna pay you well, and I'm gonna give you the freedom to act like an adult. In those little times where you really need me to support you, I'm all in. Whatever you need, you do you."

I've only had it blow back once in my life, because here's what happens, especially in bigger companies that you're in there Like, you have to have rules around bereavement. Like, it's two days if your spouse dies, or we'll give you three days. Like, are you kidding me? Three days if your spouse dies? That's what you're gonna give me? So we don't have a bereavement policy. We go, "Look, you take the time you need for you, but just keep us informed of how we can support you."

I've had one time where it blew back, where somebody was literally taking weeks and wasn't communicating. At the end of the day, they were just taking advantage of the situation. One time in all of my career that that's happened. For the most part, people are so appreciative they bend over backward and probably come back to where they need to be from a performance standpoint faster because you gave them this freedom to decide on their own. But so often, companies just won't do that.

I want to know about their kids and their families because while there's a lot of joy, there's also a lot of heartache, frustration, and it's hard to raise a family and do all that day in, day out. Sick kids, this and that. That's the stuff that separates you from a bad employer to a good employer—when you have managers or leaders that are trained to lead by policy versus leading by human. That's where all that stuff breaks down.

The other thing I love is, when somebody leaves us, we tend to do the classic thing—rip our clothes, like, "You're dead to us." I don't do that. I make sure I support people. I give them a hug on the way out the door. I follow up with them in the weeks after. We invite them back for lunches and activities we do at work because I want people to know I'm not doing this just because you work here. I'm doing this because I value you as a person, and I'm gonna continue to value you even though you leave us.

What I find is that it's more of a value to the people working for you because they see that and go, "Oh, that's cool. If I leave here, I know I'll still be supported, and that's so calming for them." For the most part, they decide not to leave.

Dude, that is so consistent. When I talk to great HR leaders, they're saying similar things. We had a previous conversation with Claude Silver over at VaynerMedia, and what you just mentioned was consistent. We talked about the pre-employment, the attraction process, the employment, the engagement, retention, but then there's also honoring in post-employment. How do we honor you on your next journey or on your way out? You're not only a human to us when you're here with us. It's everything around that makes you who you are—what you did before and what you're gonna do after. How can we enable you to be successful in that next thing and be okay?

The fact that you're able to wrap that up in such a meaningful way and it's consistent with the folks and really thinking about it, that's heartwarming, man. I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with leaders that have hired people that worked for me. I maintain these relationships, and at conferences or something, I have someone come up to me and say, "Hey, I'm Mary. I hired John from you a couple of years ago. I feel like every day I'm held to your standard by my team." It's like, "Yeah, I know that that's working from that standpoint." To me, that's the best thing ever. They come back and say, "They're a great employee, doing great at their job." I'm not looking to steal them back; it's just like, "Oh my gosh, they're constantly sharing things in ways that have made them a better leader." To me, that's the magic of that.

That's beautiful. So we're gonna switch modes a little bit now, go from being a husband and the pursuer in the relationship to being a dad—parenthood, fatherhood. I have three kids. My twin girls just turned 7 yesterday, and I have an eight-year-old boy. You have kids?

Three boys. 23, 26—wait, he just turned 27—25, and 20.

Man, so yours are out?

Two out, two off the payroll. One still in college, still being supported there.

One of the things I think about as it relates to working with people, HR leadership, and fatherhood is the need to drive results. One of your recent blog posts talked about leaders and results. Maybe just being a man or a father and a driver, one of the lessons I see all the time is I try to do mass parenting, copy-and-paste parenting, where it's the same thing for everybody. The morning is probably the most stressful time, trying to get everybody out to get to school. We're trying to get everybody out...

One of my daughters, my sweet baby girl Jayelle, the youngest of the twins, just is so slow. She takes a bite, then she thinks, then she ponders, and then she looks at the spoon. She looks at the table; she doesn't even need the hat. And it just takes painstakingly forever. Meanwhile, the brother and sister are done. They're out jumping on the trampoline, they've got their stuff, they're waiting at the car. And Jayelle is just in this... and I'm like, "Take another bite. Let's go!"

As it relates to trying to get somewhere, trying to move in a certain direction, you have these people with different styles and different paces. Talk to us a little bit about the leadership aspect and maybe some of the lessons you've learned from fatherhood—raising three boys—and the team that you have. Talk to us a little bit about that dynamic.

Yeah, I think I was lucky enough that it probably fits my leadership style, having three boys that are completely exact... I mean, they're opposites, right? People always said, "Do your kids fight?" Like, no, they never fought because they were so different from each other. There was never... I think people that really get into it are when they're so similar to each other. There's nothing in common to fight about.

But that's one of the failures of leadership, right? We try to do leadership like an assembly line or a manufacturing plant, which is important. I'm a very results-oriented person, but at the end of the day, how you get the result doesn't necessarily become the most important thing. The result is the most important thing. What we get tied up in is the process of how to get the result because we think that's the magic of it. Yet, we are all these people where we can get that result in a lot of different ways if we give people freedom to work in the way they're most comfortable in, but we hold them accountable to the result.

You'd be shocked at how some people get this. I have recruiters that seemingly work 20 hours a week and get the result. In the old days, I would be like whipping them to work the other 20 hours, but not really getting any more result because now they're gonna feel awful about having to work instead of going, "Look, this is the way it is." We see this constantly, and I think the ultimate failure of leadership is that we don't hold people accountable to results. We hold people accountable to process. We think, "Oh, we didn't get the result," so we go back and reprocess. We keep hammering on process. We keep hammering on "I have to see you work," and then they don't work. It's like, well, no. Hold them accountable to what you actually have to get done and let them do it the way they can because introvert, extrovert, experienced, not experienced, networking person, not networking person—we all have our different ways to get this stuff done.

Ultimately, I'm not a big remote guy. People always then think I'm anti-remote. I'm not anti-remote. I am pro finding the environment that you work best in—not where you feel you work best, but where measurably you actually work best because that's where you're gonna be successful. You can't say, "I just love working remote, but I fail at my job." That doesn't work. So often, that's what we see. I think there's a very low percentage of people, maybe 10 to 15%, who have the ability to work remotely and be successful because they're that driven to be able to work in an environment where they don't have distractions.

I'm an in-office guy. I'm just better working in an office because when I'm at home, there are just too many distractions for me to be as successful. Then there are some people that love the hybrid kind of side of this. For me, even on my own team, I have people working remotely, people working in the office, and people working hybrid. We tell them, "You find where you're...," and again, we measure everything. So, we're gonna tell you, right? We know your baseline. We know what we need to get from you. If you say, "I want to work remotely," and you can meet the goal, great. Have fun. But don't tell me you want to work remote and then fail, but then say, "I love working remote." I don't care. Obviously, this is not the environment that works best for you because the fridge is there, Netflix is there, there are errands there. Different things are vying for your time.

Being thoughtful about it honors... because we want to bring the best out of you. This is because we want to bring the best out of you. It's not about being a taskmaster or being controlling. It's about, "How are you able to contribute at the highest level?" When you're able to contribute at the highest level, the level of confidence, the level of dopamine and all of those things come out and are going to drive you.

we'll get a productivity benefit, but then for you, right? You also get to feel that level of fulfillment because you feel shitty when you don't do well, right?

Yeah.

Just because I sit on the couch or in your shorts doesn't equate to you feeling well. But when you accomplish, when you do, when you succeed, when you have ownership, those are the things that actually chemically, physiologically, mentally, spiritually help you be well, right?

Yeah. I have a line that I say that I think really challenges people to think. I said, "You can't have amazing culture and crappy business results. You can't have that if people go away." You can't. I mean, so you—what happens is you can have really bad culture and then you start to drive success of the company, and all of a sudden, as the success of the company increases, the culture fixes itself. It happens all the time. You can't have great business results in a bad culture, right?

But you cannot have great culture and bad results.

Yeah.

It can't happen. People go, "Wait a minute, I love working at this job," and it's a death spiral of a company. And you're like, "Well, you can love it, but it's not a great culture."

Haha, I love that.

That's gonna be—we're gonna take that as a snippet for one of us as far as culture and love and performance and things like that. We're gonna do a quick segue before we jump into the rest of our meet. We're gonna have a quiz, alright? We're gonna do this quiz. You have 20-year-old children. I got seven- and eight-year-old children. I think we look at the generations, like Gen Z, Gen Alpha. One of the things that I have been slightly obsessed with is Gen Alpha and Gen Z slang, right? Like, what are the words that they're using?

In fact, I got called out the other day. I was texting a niece or something and I said something and she was like, "What the Sigma?" And I'm like, "What the—what is that?" So I looked it up to find out and it is so deep, it is so complex, and they use it so flippingly. So we're gonna do this quiz and see how much you know, and I'm sure you're gonna get a 10 out of 10 on these Gen Z slangs.

Alright, let's see if we can pull this up real quick.

The first one is: which of the following terms is another word for uncool? Is it "skr" (s-k-r-r-t), "chuggy," or "bet"?

"Chuggy."

Okay, that was actually... How did you... Do you...

Well, I'm a hip-hop guy, so I know "skr" wasn't that. I also know "bet" is not that.

Oh, process of elimination. Good test taker, you know. Okay, here we go. If something "slaps," it is excellent or amazing, surprising or scary, or beautiful or handsome?

The first one.

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. Let's go 2 for 2 for Tim Sackett. Let's go.

It slaps. That boy slapping. Alright, here we go. If something is "snatched," it means it was stolen, fierce or on point, or exhausted?

Hmm, I would say the first one, but like, I could be wrong. In my Gen X...

Yeah.

Yeah, in Gen X, if you snatch something, someone took it, right?

Exactly, exactly, exactly.

But yeah, fierce or on point is like, yeah, that thing was... Usually talking about a person or outfit. Alright, so which of the following means a look or a style that is extremely fashionable or sexy? Is it "bussin," "bet," or "drip"?

"Drip."

You said that with so much confidence.

I already know that one.

Say less. Alright, last question. What does "no cap" mean? No lie, for real; chill or without stress; or not cool?

No lie, for real.

No lie, for real.

Come on, Tim! Let's go!

Let's give this man a round.

Oh, you got it.

I must have ribs. Dude, that was impressive. That was impressive. We need to have some type of badge or something that you can put on your LinkedIn profile that shows that—like a Gen Z verified or something like that.

The hard thing about all this is that they change those words on a daily basis. That stuff is changing so fast. I saw one the other day where someone goes, "Hey, it's super uncool to use the crying emoji. Like the crying laughing emoji, you can't use that." And I'm like, "Hell no." Everybody I know that's a Gen X or a Millennial uses that. I'm like, "Shut up, Gen Z. Shut up."

They're gonna cancel you right now because you said, "Oh, it's uncool to use the crying laughing emoji." Like, no, we all use that one.

I got called out for that. Like, don't pull that. Like, it's cause you gotta use a skull. The skull is what you use now cause you're dead. It was so funny. I'm like, "Okay, shut up. Shut up, Jessie. Shut your mouth. You guys are dumb. Go to your room. Get out of here."

Why do we listen to young kids anyways? They know nothing. They literally know zero. It's like when they come into a meeting as an intern, like, "I got an idea." Shut your mouth. You sit there and listen. Tell me not to use a crying laughing emoji. OhI'm gonna fight you because of that, haha.

You don't own the emojis, come on. We created those, come on. Get out of here, come on. We can't use a smiley face? Anyway, so as we were talking about the leadership, um, the leadership and you were talking about, you know, the results and, you know, rallying around the, the, the result and then how you do it, how you approach it will be based on your strength and measure it and all these around that measurement piece, right? How does data, right, data-driven decisions, um, for leaders, being able to say, yes, we're gonna do this, no, we're not gonna do this, we're going in this direction, we're not going in that direction, how does data play a role in, in driving those results in your experience?

I mean, I've always been a data-driven kind of person. I just believe in math, I believe in science. I think now the hard, the hard part we have is, like, I'm much more confident in making a data-driven decision than a gut decision. Now, the data-driven decision also might be wrong, okay? Statistically, right, I have a better chance of actually, you know, coming out in the right. And so, like, we see this constantly. I mean, I spend most of my time in the TA world, in terms of talent acquisition, and constantly we see this churn of TA leaders that fail. And almost always when I dig into, like, what was their biggest failure, it was, it wasn't that they weren't hard workers or they didn't know recruiting—they knew that—but they weren't data people. And so, their lack of data awareness caused their failure. Even though they felt like they were working harder than ever, they were more stressed than ever, and it's because they didn't know the capacity of what their team could actually produce. And so an executive would come to them and say, "Hey, in the fourth quarter, we need to increase hiring by, you know, 250 people." And they would go, "Okay, we're on it. We'll work 24/7. We'll work harder." Working harder is not a strategy. Going to them, having the executive come in and then being able to respond with, "Well, we're currently at 95% capacity on the team. I can give you probably another 25 hires, but the 225 we will not make. We will fail unless we have X, Y, and Z in terms of additional resources." If you have that conversation with an executive, they're gonna go, "Holy crap, they're on top of their game," and we'll give you the resources you need. But they're not gonna—but, you know, so often people just go out there and they're just like, "We'll work harder, you know, we'll make it happen," and then they fail. And they're almost surprised they failed. Then you're like, "Working harder is not a business strategy."

Yeah, what would you say to that point? If we were gonna make it, you know, practical for somebody that's listening, they lead a team or they lead, uh, you know, part of a certain part of the business and, you know, obviously, there are tools and resources and technologies to—yeah, but if some—what would be some practical, practical, "I can do this tomorrow," and why for how to start knowing your numbers? Like, that capacity question is so good, right? Like, "I know I got 10 people, we have X amount of hours, we can do this much, we have X amount of projects, so I can give you three more hours a week," right? Like, that's a very—but what can somebody start doing today or tomorrow to start tracking numbers like that for their team?

Yeah, you could, you have to note first and foremost, stop using time-to-fill as the success metric. This is—it's the correlation versus causation argument, right? Now, is it—like, the classic one is when they say, "Hey, shark attacks and ice cream sales go up in the summer, and so we just stop selling ice cream, sharks would stop attacking." I can correlate those two, but there's zero causation, right? We know why that happens, you know. And so, that's the same thing in recruiting. We're like, "Oh, time to fill. If we just are faster, we must be better." I could argue that you're faster and you're actually worse. Your quality of hire drops, you're, you know, you're not giving the time for the actual marketplace to actually, you know, figure out what their best talent is, all that good stuff. But so often, 90% of the companies I start to work with, they're all using one success metric—time to fill. And then every year, they're having celebrations around meeting their metrics. And then I go to their executives and they're like, "Our recruiting sucks. They're failing." And I'm like, "Well, they're having a pizza party today because they're successful. And by the way, you paid them a 100% bonus every year for the last three years because they manipulated their numbers to make their time to fill actually look good." So—and that right now, there's zero correlation from time to fill to success in TA. What you can do is start to measure the funnel of recruiting. How many candidates in the top of my funnel do I need to get to the screens, to get to the interviews, to get to the hires by position? Not just overall one giant funnel, but you know, the funnel is gonna look differently for every single position. And then from there, when they come to you and say, "Hey, we need to hire 25 more software engineers," you have specific data around what it's gonna take for you to do that. And if you know it takes you 30 days to get 100 candidates into your funnel, and you need 1,000 candidates, well, guess what? Like, you can do the math. Like, it becomes a pretty easy kind of thing from there. But I mean, 99.9% of the time when I go into a TA shop, they can't tell me that. They can't tell me their conversion of somebody that hits their career site to how many people apply. By the way, if I ask somebody what their conversion is and they don't know it, but they'll say—I'll say, "Guess how many? Somebody comes to your career site, it turns into an application." What percent actually does that? Most of them will say 50%. It's 5.85% on average. 94% of your candidates don't turn into an applicant. You don't need more candidates, you need to convert more candidates, right? And this conversion thing is killing companies. And we're just shocked that we haven't figured this thing out. And I'm always shocked that, how do you have a job still in TA, but you don't know your conversion, right? "Well, my time to fill is 37 days." Like, who cares? Like, stop it. I wanna punch you in the face. I tell executives all the time, like, if you have a TA leader that comes to you and you ask them, "Hey, how do you know if you're successful in TA?" and they give you a measure of time to fill, you should fire them immediately. And they're just like, haha. Like, what? I said, because what they're, what I can tell you right now, you could hire me, and no matter what you gave me for resources, I could lower the time to fill in a year. And they're like, "Well, how?" I'm like, "I would just close jobs and reopen them." This is—you can manipulate that number so quickly. I can make that number every single month.

Absolutely. So, do away with time to fill. Measure the funnel, right? Look at the funnel. Look at how folks are going through, um, going through your process and how they are converting, and do it by role, by department. I think that's really good because, again, we try to look at it in mass, and it needs to be more bespoke. Like, okay, for these engineering roles, what is that looking like? For these tech roles, what is that looking like? For these support roles, administrative roles, what is that looking like?

Oh yeah, like healthcare, like healthcare somewhere else, right? Like, might not be looks like it might be somewhere else. Go ahead.

In healthcare, like nursing versus a cafeteria worker, I mean, those funnels look completely different, you know, in terms of how that is. And yet we try to go, "Oh, we just have one giant funnel," and you're like, "No, that's not how that works." Plus, if I have recruiters that are working like RN hiring versus recruiters that are doing more kind of like ancillary hiring, I have to be able to measure them differently as well, right? I need to have kind of like that baseline of what does that funnel look like, and then we go from there.

It's the one failure, man, that we see constantly. And then what I hear from them is they go, "Well, if I start measuring the funnel, it's gonna feel like they're being micromanaged." And I'm like, "That's because you're gonna use the funnel as a hammer versus development." Because I will go down and say, "Hey, like, even if you started with one measure, do quality of applicant." So, hey, every time a recruiter sends an application to a hiring manager, and let's say I send that hiring manager ten people, I say, "Hey, I screened these people. They're all great, or I wouldn't send them to you. I'm not gonna send you garbage." And they come back and say, "Okay, I want to interview these two." Your quality of applicant is 20%. That's terrible. As a corporate recruiter, it should be 90%. In fact, I could argue that it should be 100% and that you shouldn't even send applicants that you screen to a hiring manager. You should just schedule them for interviews.

So often people are like, but we've set this up over decades where we go, "Oh, we'll send a hiring manager ten people, and they'll just go, 'Send me ten more.'" Can you imagine if, like, your General Motors and you said, like, every seven cars that came off the assembly line, you basically just junked because they weren't good enough to sell? You'd be out of business tomorrow. And yet TA, we do all this work, and then people just go, "Send me more. Just send me more." Like, shut your mouth. Shut your mouth. I'm the expert in talent. I know the job. I know the candidate, and I'm gonna set them up, and we're gonna have some false positives, man. We're gonna have some that just come in and they crap the bed, but for the most part, we're gonna have good interviews, and you're gonna hire people.

Yeah, now that I think is going to be being able to measure and for leaders to be able to own that piece of their business. And I think it also, as we talked about before, it honors and makes those folks feel wanted, right? Because when you are thoughtful, conscious, intentional about how you are reaching folks, right, it's not just we plastered it on the website, and if you come, you come. If we catch you, we catch you. Like, it's a very passive, non-relational, transactional type of thing versus, "Hey, I know you spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, so I'm gonna put my efforts on LinkedIn. Hey, I know you spend a lot of time on Pinterest or you're in the PTA group or you're like—I know that this is where your eyeballs and attentions are, and if I want to bring you and your talent and your experience to us, we're going to do that there, and you'll convert to coming and work." Like, those things honor the experience. So, measuring the funnel is actually a way to honor that candidate experience.

So, the last thing here will kind of switch to the wind-down gears is, this will be talking about kind of family, right? Family first, person first, human first, as husbands, as spouses, as fathers, as parents, and the lessons that we learned in how we attract and, you know, manage and lead people. I think part of our roles as husbands, as fathers, is making sure that we are helping our families navigate change, right? The environment that we are in, and making sure that they are set up for success and protected from the threats, right? That's our job, to protect and to navigate. So, as we're thinking about that for our people, right, you wrote your book that means, like, 2018, 2019 or so. As things have changed, right, it's been about five or six years since then, what have you noticed that has changed in the environment? You talked about AI and technology and what that looks like for talent acquisition. What has changed between when you wrote the recruitment fix to where we are now, and what has stayed the same?

By the way, um, so plug because The Talent Fix Volume 2 just got launched last Friday. So, the new book—

Okay. The Talent Fix Volume 2.

You heard it here. Last Friday, we got the new one.

Yeah, so, no, there was a lot of differences, right? When SHRM asked me to say, "Hey," they were like, "Hey, we need—it's been five years since this thing came out. We need an updated version." I said, "Well, gosh, there's so much that's new. Like, I would just rewrite it completely." So, added a bunch and did that.

AI is, I mean We talk about just change management. AI is gonna be one of the bigger ones that's out there, um, in—in—it’s not just in HR/TA; it's in every single function, right?

Yeah.

That we have to become kind of these leaders around. And I wouldn't say like this is—I'm not—I'm—I'm very hopeful around technology and AI. I'm not one of the people who are like fearmongering AI because I think I've seen in my career so much technology and automation change that every single time it came, it was gonna destroy, you know, humanity and take jobs. And what we see in the technology curve, and again, historically this happens time and time again, is if there is a reduction in all kinds of different kinds of jobs, but there's also an increase in so many, there’s actually a net increase in jobs with every technology advance. And so what we have to go is say, "Look, if I'm an individual, no matter the function I'm in, I want to know—I want—I'm gonna get it, I'm gonna dig in, I want to learn as much as I can about AI. I want to start using the generative models. I want to be a part of all of that because AI is gonna replace jobs of the people who don’t embrace AI." It's the people who embrace AI that are gonna be just fine. It's those people who are like, "No, like, I am never gonna use AI." You're gonna be out of a job, and you're gonna—it's gonna happen faster than you think, right?

Yeah.

So it's like, "Hey, jump on board, learn it, get involved," and then you'll be the first that people are gonna be tapping shoulders on. It says, "Hey, we gotta figure out this thing. I know you're involved with it. You know, let’s do it." But every change that we have, right, in the workplace, and like we take a look at the future of work, for me as a leader, it’s all about transparency, right?

Yeah.

I’m never gonna—I’m never gonna be that person that’s like—that's gonna lie and go, "Oh, it's not gonna cut jobs." It's like, you know, no, it’s gonna cut jobs. And so we got to be in front of this thing. We got to learn how to use it because we want to be on the forefront of this. We don't want to be lagging and then going and then reactive. Like, I just want to be proactive about it.

Yeah, that's smart. You gotta be proactive. You gotta see what's coming and be able to, you know, get ready for it. It's not necessarily about—sometimes it’s not necessarily about removing the mines or the pitfalls or covering the holes or whatever. It's just about how do you go around it? How do you build a bridge over it, right? How do we, if we fall in, how do we get out of it? And so if we're busy trying to move something that can't be moved, you know, we're wasting our time. So let's prepare for it. Let's be smart about it. And then how do we engage folks, right? That change management process. How do we engage folks in the process, get buy-in, build awareness, and help people move along that—move along that curve? Because we want them to be successful. At the end of the day, we just want you to be successful. We want you to grow. We don't want you to be left behind. We want you to, you know, get to that future that we're all trying to get to and be successful in that process.

So, the last thing I'm gonna ask you here is you talk to executives, you talk to leaders, you speak across the country. You're all over the place. People pay you for your knowledge. So if we were to take some—if we gave you, I don't know what your schedule or your prices, but let's say we gave you $50,000 and said, "What is $50,000 ten-second advice that you give to an executive?" Like one thing that we can walk away with and anybody listening to this, watching this can write this down in like ten seconds. Drop the gem. What would that be for us as we head out today?

Suck less. No.

Suck less and then check. Thank you.

I always say this, and I think, again, it makes HR people think a little bit because, again, I’m a recruiting kind of talent attraction, talent-focused person, but I also spent like half my career as a solid HR person. I think the No. 1 job of the HR function is to increase the talent in the organization. Period. End of sentence. That's the statement. And then if you put yourself in that mind frame of saying, "Everything we have to do increases talent," whether that is attracting better talent and developing the talent we have, retaining, and so we have this longer employee value proposition that we have. Like whatever that is, your only job in HR is to increase the talent. It's not to be the mom of the organization or the cop of the organization or to mitigate risk of the organization. It's to increase talent and put everything in that lens.

That would be an amazing HR department.

I love that. And that's—

So, as you're filtering decisions and comes like, "Does this increase talent? Does this increase talent?"

That's it. Does it increase talent? Because it—and I always—like it works at every single function. I’ve yet to find a function in HR where they go, "They couldn't ask that question." You know, payroll, "Hey, we're gonna make this change." And so often we see process changes where it's really more of a payroll CIA than it is like a benefit to the employee. Like, does that—does that increase the talent of the organization? No.

Yeah, that is good. That is good. Anybody that was listening, watching, I hope you wrote that down. Rewind it. Listen at point five speed so that you can hear it slowly and let it sink in. So, thank you so much. This has been such a—I didn’t even get through—I have—I had some, like, other kind of like tangent questions and stuff. I was like, we might have to do, just like we have a Volume 2, will be Tim and Tim Volume 2. So you’ll catch us. But for everybody else, catch us on the next Humanly podcast. We really appreciate any thoughts, any comments, any feedback that you have on moving us into the future of work and the stories that drive us there. Please feel free to let us know. Tim has been so awesome. We will catch you on the next one.

Thank you.

Thanks for having me out.

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