20 - Just Love

Tyson is back on the airwaves with new mom wisdom, and we sit down with Miriam Scholes – VP of People at Madison Reed – to talk about great hair and what love has to do with it. We discuss how on earth a “policy” could possibly, somehow, be applied to an individual… individually, and what keeps her up at night when she thinks about scaling in 2022.

Release Date: November 2, 2021

[00:00:00] Voiceover: Morning. This podcast is about the realities of working in people operations. This is not a stuck-up, PC compliance-based, or employment law podcast about stuffy outdated HR practices. Shit will get real here, and we assume no responsibility.

[00:00:16] Tyson: We had a strict no-alcohol policy, and everybody was like, oh, don't drink. HR is here. Meanwhile, I'd like made cracks of beer.

If they're that disengaged before, they're going to be that disengaged in the office sitting at their desk looking at Facebook. They're going to find ways to [unintelligible 00:00:30]

[00:00:31] Voiceover: This is the People Problems Podcast with Alexa Baggio and Tyson McKenzie.

[00:00:39] Alexa Baggio: All right, Tyson, welcome back. I'm so excited to have you in front of me.

[00:00:44] Tyson McKenzie: I know. I feel like it's been forever.

[00:00:46] Alexa: Yes.

[00:00:47] Tyson: I feel like it's been forever since I've talked to anybody in this manner, aside from my mother, who, thankfully, has been here a lot helping me and my husband, of course, and my newborn baby. She doesn't--

[00:00:58] Alexa: Are we calling her Rosie or are we going full name?

[00:01:00] Tyson: Yes, yes.

[00:01:02] Alexa: Okay.

[00:01:02] Tyson: Her full name is Rosalind. Not Rosalind. It's Rosalind, and we call her Rosie or Roro.

[00:01:09] Alexa: Roro. Adorbs.

[00:01:10] Tyson: Yes, so we call her Rosie mostly, or Rosalind when she's acting up, which is pretty much 95% of the time.

[00:01:17] Alexa: Well, she is a newborn, so hopefully, that gets better.

[00:01:20] Tyson: I know, I was so naive before. I'm like, how hard can it be?

[00:01:23] Alexa: Yes, you said that a lot of times. We have it recorded. [chuckles]

[00:01:26] Tyson: I know. I know. I misjudged it. I misjudged the 24 hour milk bar situation. I think that was my biggest mistake going into this. It's not mistakes, but misunderstanding.

[00:01:37] Alexa: There is a reason they give you weeks and months away from work to deal with [unintelligible 00:01:41] There is a reason.

[00:01:43] Tyson: She's five weeks. She'll be six weeks this Sunday, and I could not imagine having to go back to work on Monday, next Monday like it is in the States. I still have 11 months ahead of me, and that's making me nervous.

[00:01:58] Alexa: Yes. Well, the States has gotten a little better. We've gotten our FMLA act together a little bit, but that's unpaid and I don't know, it gets really dicey. Congratulations.

[00:02:06] Tyson: Thank you.

[00:02:06] Alexa: I'm so happy for you. I'm glad she's good. You look great. I'm glad we're doing well.

[00:02:10] Tyson: Thank you, yes.

[00:02:11] Alexa: I'm just stoked to have someone else to talk to on Tuesday nights now.

[00:02:14] Tyson: I know. It's amazing. We're back.

[00:02:16] Alexa: For those of you who don't know, we record on Tuesdays.

[00:02:18] Tyson: Yes.

[00:02:18] Alexa: Yes, yes. Not that anybody's missed us, but I've done my best to hold the gauntlet while you've been gone, Tyson.

[00:02:23] Tyson: Absolutely.

[00:02:24] Alexa: I am nothing without you. I am truly nothing without you. All right, my dear, anything else you want to catch up on before we jump into our first segment?

[00:02:32] Tyson: No, let's bring it on.

[00:02:34] Alexa: All right, I am going to bring us to Pops in the News.


I will try not to wax poetic too hard about this one. By the time this comes out next week, we are talking about the headline of the New York Times about 24 hours, 48 hours ago said Inside Amazon's Worst Human Resource Problem. Which we've only had this podcast this will be our 20th episode when it is released. We can almost drink legally here in the States, and we've done a lot of shit-talking about Amazon, but it just keeps getting worse.

This article came out. It's maybe two whole pages. There's a lot of really sad photos in it. Basically, long story short, Amazon has been underpaying people pretty aggressively across their lattice of offices and infrastructure for quite a while now, and people are pissed. Examples in the article are things like someone who makes $540 a paycheck, is $90 short on a regular basis, and is missing bills and can't pay mortgages. Long story short, the summary of the article is that Amazon is the first or second largest provider of leave in the United States. Probably globally, top 10, right?

They have 1.3 million workers to date, and there's a combination of short-term leave, vacations, disability leaves, all the things. I'm sure they have a ton of disability and short-term disability claims because of all the crap they do to people in their factories. Long story short, instead of, and this is where I promise I won't get too aggressive, but instead of investing in doing this well and doing this right, they have under-invested in the process and in focusing on the consumer, they've grown the employee base so large quickly that they have hacked together what sounds like a hodgepodge of Oracle and Salesforce and some other softwares on top of an app that they built, and the fucking thing doesn't work.

[chuckles] They have a clusterfuck of issues with people not getting paid correctly and people are pissed. The New York Times just came right for the jugular and was like, you guys yet again have sacrificed the employee experience for the customer experience. WTF, Amazon.

[00:04:54] Tyson: Not to be super particular, but the title of the article was that this is the biggest HR problem. This is actually a payroll issue and I'll just make this-

[00:05:03] Alexa: This is actually HR systems problems. It's HR IT problem.

[00:05:05] Tyson: -very clear that this is not HR payroll. It's not HR, but what a nightmare.

[00:05:13] Alexa: Yes, but some people would argue it is because it's a function under HR. We argue all the time on this podcast that it shouldn't be.

[00:05:19] Tyson: It should be under finance.

[00:05:19] Alexa: It should be an administrative function. Yes, payroll should be a finance function. Then you would be mad at the finance team and you should be mad at them.

[00:05:26] Tyson: Be mad at the finance team.

[00:05:30] Alexa: Not like, oh man, I'm pissed at the people that take care of me.

[00:05:32] Tyson: I'm not surprised that like Amazon's fucking another thing up that hurts people. What really bothers me is the payroll HR.

[00:05:41] Alexa: Yes, that gets me. That's definitely like a big, again, we got to rebrand despite writing book, Tyson.

[00:05:48] Tyson: No, no, I bet you that payroll falls under finance at Amazon. It should, like the article title.

[00:05:53] Alexa: No. Okay, the other alarming thing here, you want to keep getting to my point, is in this article there are 67 full-time employees in the HR department whose only job is to approve leaves. 67 fucking people who all they do is approve leave. That's it. That's all they do. It just says they're in the HR department.

[00:06:18] Tyson: You know what, and leaves falls would fall under HR like that's stuff would definitely.

[00:06:23] Alexa: Total [unintelligible 00:06:24].

[00:06:24] Tyson: Yes, exactly. So interesting. These are people that are on leave that are getting mis-paid.

[00:06:29] Alexa: Yes. It's everything from I want to take a vacation with my husband to I can't work anymore at all. I'm on long-term disability. There's an example of this one guy who his disability checks stopped coming randomly. He had to sell his wedding rings with his wife to pay for shit.

[00:06:44] Tyson: I feel those 67 people need to be replaced by a computer. Why is Amazon not doing that? HRPA told me that we are all going to be replaced by computers by now. Why [crosstalk]

[00:06:54] Alexa: Don't me get me started. Okay, well I'm sure that was the latest hottest thing to talk about at HRPA five years ago when they probably talked about the robots coming and wiffed on that one. I was just at HR tech to be clear and there is a lot of fucking software in HR. I brought a software business in the benefit space. What I see is this exact issue everywhere, just not at this scale. What people don't understand and what people- and, again, why I empathize with the like this isn't an HR problem, it's a payroll problem, it's actually a fucking systems problem. The problem happens is that nobody wants to give HR extra dollars. Nobody wants to be like, oh, let's make sure that people teams flush with cash.

They're constantly making these decisions to hack things together and get one thing, like get a point solution for something done versus pulling back and saying, how is this going to work with the entire infrastructure of what we're trying to do? Then you get these behemoth companies, like Workday is the "best" HRIS system. Everything about a lot of that experience is terrible, but ADP, there's all these companies. Nobody is impressed by the software in 2021. Then you're just throwing shit at the big system to see what you can get solved without spending too much money and it becomes a clusterfuck.

[00:08:13] Tyson: They nickel and dime those systems. Every company I've ever worked for has never used their HRS system to it's full potential. They nickel and dime the systems and then what happens is they're like, okay, Workday's too expensive, so I'm going to use a different program for this. Then they Frankenstein an HRIS.

[00:08:28] Alexa: They Frankenstein the systems and then they get pissed because they're like, well, Workday's trying to do too many things, it doesn't do this thing well effective. It doesn't do this one thing well. It's like, yes, you probably shouldn't have a system that does benefits payroll leave, performance reviews, people analytics, et cetera. You probably shouldn't have all those things in the same system and expect the experience to the employee to be anything that's even remotely engaging.

I read this article and went, "Oh finally, they're exposing how bad the HR tech stack is and what a clusterfuck the systems are. Then I feel bad because the HR teams who really do care about the people are stuck with these systems that are just super antiquated and they want to go buy one to make someone's life better or give the employees a great interaction when they get onboarded and they just get stonewalled because they're like, no, we've been using Teleo for 30 years and it's too expensive.

[00:09:20] Tyson: Oh God, Teleo.

[00:09:22] Alexa: The switching cost of getting off of Teleo as an onboarding process is too big.

[00:09:27] Tyson: I actually did that at a company.

[00:09:28] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:09:28] They just eat shit on this stuff all the time.

[00:09:30] Tyson: Very quick anecdote, we switched from Teleo or wait, maybe we switched to Teleo. God, I don't even remember. This is a previous company a few years ago. There was so much change management. I swear to God, we had a weekly meeting every, probably for like six months after the rollout. A little bit before and a little bit after, but like six months, a weekly meeting to talk and bitch about how we hated the changeover of the HR system. I remember talking to my boss and being like I'm not going to that meeting anymore. We're not doing that anymore. Enough is enough with the change management. It's bullshit but anyway.

[00:10:00] Alexa: Yes, I work in [unintelligible 00:10:01]. It's the same shit. It's like I'll get on the phone with an employer I'll be like, okay, what systems do you use? I use this HRS and then they'll name 17 other things you got to log into just to get to all of the rewards under total rewards. It's like, this is a shit show. This is an actual shit show so I'm sad for these people and I think Amazon will probably fix it. They should just throw a bunch of money at this solve the problem and then sell the problem back to the market because that's what they do with everything. This was a little bit for me of like a haha I fucking told you so. This stuff is all terrible.

[00:10:28] Tyson: If Amazon hasn't replaced these people with computers yet, I think we're all safe in HR. That was such a thing like, oh HR should be replaced by computers now. We're really not as advanced as we think we are.

[00:10:40] Alexa: There's a lot of admin that's not going anywhere for a long time. That's what I think everybody thinks.

[00:10:43] Tyson: There's probably paper files at Amazon.

[00:10:45] Alexa: Yes, this is my last comment before we're going to introduce our guest because she's patiently waiting and I'm excited to hear what she thinks. Everyone thinks that because we talk about shit like AI and the future of work, people are so much further along than they are. Then you sit down with a 5,000 person employer and you're like, oh my God, you're operating in the fucking Stone Age. You might as well be doing this shit on chalkboards. It's so much more antiquated than the publicity, the technology industry would have you believe. It's pretty bad and it's pretty ridiculous some of the systems these people are on. It's crazy, so anyway, yes, Amazon--

[00:11:23] Tyson: We do like Workday, though. Not against a sponsorship.

[00:11:28] Alexa: There we go. Yes, Workday, give us money sponsor people that [crosstalk]. All right, without further ado, I'm going to move us on to our guest. I'm very excited. Our guest today is Miriam Scholes. She is an experienced human resource executive who leverages her authentic and down to earth style to operationalize people strategies. Miriam has spent over 20 years supporting teams across a variety of industries and business life cycles, resulting in her delivery of both strategic and scalable planning. A founding member of the People Ops Society and previously in roles at Ross Stores, Solaris and others, Miriam is currently the Head of People and Places for Madison Reed based in the San Francisco area. What's up, Miriam?

[00:12:02] Miriam: Hi, thanks for having me, Alexa and Tyson.

[00:12:05] Alexa: Thanks for being here. All right, let's talk about your great hair, let's start there.

[00:12:09] Miriam: Oh gosh. I am not a great representation today, I've got a little bit of a shimmer. I'm due for my next hair color bar appointment because I am in that percentage of people that won't do my own hair. I just don't trust myself, so I'm like a mess so I'd rather go to our hair color bar and let our pros take care of it.

[00:12:26] Alexa: Nice, I went blonde from a box once and I came out with like Storm from X-Men. It was not good.

[00:12:32] Miriam: Oh my gosh.

[00:12:33] Tyson: I did a brown from a box once and it came out looking like Little Mermaid so never again.

[00:12:40] Miriam: I'll have to hook up so you can try our amazing products.

[00:12:42] Tyson: We'd love that.

[00:12:43] Alexa: There we go. We got our sponsorship, shameless plug, nailed it. We're only accepting guests now from people who work in companies where we want the products. This a secret plan.

[00:12:55] Miriam: That's smart.

[00:12:56] Alexa: Awesome. Well, thanks for being here. Any thoughts on the Amazon fiasco?

[00:13:00] Miriam: Yes. Well, first of all, I love that we can curse because I'm like what if I drop an F bomb? They're going to have to totally edit it out. [unintelligible 00:13:06]

[00:13:06] Alexa: You'll be my new best friend.

[00:13:08] Miriam: Yes, awesome. We like that shit. Amazon, not surprised but extremely disappointed. They tote themselves as this great place to work and we're big and I, unfortunately, think that they've got this halo effect going for them because of Prime and Whole Foods and all these other things. When you peel back that onion, it's a facade. They've got the same problems and probably worse, the larger that they get, but to put it on the HR people that's just blasphemy.

[00:13:38] Alexa: That's the whole fucking reason we're here. This is all people do. Like, something sucks, it's the HR team's fault. No. First of all, you do treat your HR team like shit and you should fix that. There should not be 67 people whose sole job is to just approve leave because I would quit that job in a minute. I would probably be really bad at it because it's fucking boring.

This is exactly the thing that we talk about. Amazon is not any better at this than anybody else because they don't invest in this function. They don't invest in the HR function, they've got 67 I'm going to venture to guess probably low to middle-wage people doing those jobs. They've hacked together a bunch of technology rather than investing in good technology and slowing the fuck down for a minute and doing it right. This one woman said she's been paid wrong for two years. They just keep paying her wrong, and there's nothing she can do about it. It sucks.

[00:14:27] Miriam: They need to really revisit their values and at their core, what they're really about.

[00:14:34] Alexa: It came out and one of the other ones that Jeff Bezos doesn't give a shit about the employee. He thinks everybody's lazy and replaceable so that's how you wind up here. Although the guy that replaced him, forgive me I forget his name, it's mentioned in the article, Andy Jassy is saying that they're going to become one of the best places to work and yadi, yadi, yada.

[00:14:51] Tyson: I'm seeing a lot of that-- I don't know if it's--

[00:14:56] Alexa: "Earth's best employer" is the quote.

[00:14:58] Tyson: Yes, I'm seeing articles and stuff come up on my LinkedIn and stuff like that. [crosstalk] I feel Jeff's listening and targeting my LinkedIn feed because I'm seeing more stuff come up about Amazon best place to work and how we're changing the way we work. There's a commercial that I've been seeing. I don't know if it's playing in the US. There's a really funny Amazon commercial about I wanted to come to work at Amazon because I wanted to be a manager and they are helping me go to school at the same time and all this stuff. [crosstalk]

[00:15:29] Alexa: This is when Facebook puts up ads about their privacy policies and you're like, "Stop."

[00:15:34] Tyson: I'm suspicious. [crosstalk]

[00:15:35] Miriam: You're like, "Am I being punked right now?"

[00:15:37] Alexa: Yes, you stop.


I see what you're doing. You stop.

[00:15:41] Tyson: Yes. [crosstalk]

[00:15:43] Alexa: Anyway, all right, Miriam, let's tell the people a little bit about your trajectory into this space. How'd you get here? How'd you wind up getting into people ops? What do you love about it? How'd you get here?

[00:15:50] Miriam: Oh gosh. Like you mentioned, 20 plus years in the people space. It was my major in college. I knew I wanted to do something about supporting and helping people. I've always had that servant leader mentality and so I'm like, hmm, what would make sense? What do I want to do? Who do I want to help? What impact do I want to make? I landed in HR and here's my story. I've had experiences and great opportunities across a ton of industries from healthcare to fitness, to biotech and transportation. At the end of the day, people problems are people problems everywhere you go. It's just applying different context.

When I came across the Madison Reed opportunity, I thought, wow, this is a no bull shit, real deal as it gets authentic culture that I want to be a part of because when I was looking to make a jump, I wasn't going to just jump to any company. I wanted to make sure that it was meaningful. Again, no bull shit. I was tired of the politics and tired of the backstabbing, even within your own HR teams at a large corporation. I was like, "No, I'm done with this. I'm not doing it." Came across medicine. Amy is the founder, Amy Eric, who really established some really hardcore, authentic, real values. A week into founding the company didn't even have product in the tube, didn't have anything, but knew what the values were going to be. That meant a lot to me, so that's where I landed here almost three years ago now.

[00:17:14] Tyson: I'm always really fascinated by people who choose HR in college or university. I want to know, okay, so first of all, how did you even know what HR was when you were 18? Let's go back further. What made you choose HR at that young age because usually people have this story about how they landed in HR. They fell in HR. It wasn't their first choice, so I'd love to know more about that decision making and how you decided that that early on.

[00:17:41] Miriam: Okay, truth be told I started off as an accounting major because my sister was an accounting major. I'm like, "Well, if she can do it, I can do it. Let's see what this is all about." I was failing cost accounting. If it wasn't for one of my best friends I still have today, I wouldn't have passed with my C minus just to get me out of the door so that I could say this is not for me. I like spreadsheets, but not that much. Don't really want to deal with numbers. What else? Looking down, well, what's this HR stuff? HR101. Great, let's try that. Aced it, loved it and ever since then that's where I knew my path led me. It was good that I was failing out of accounting [laughter] at the time. Really pointed me into the right direction as a north star.

[00:18:25] Tyson: I failed out of biochem, if it makes you feel any better, so that's how I ended up in HR.


[00:18:29] Alexa: Mine was some complex economy and math course and I was like nope, done. I am not going to be an economist. No way, I'm not. [crosstalk] No, not happening.

[00:18:38] Miriam: People was my jam.

[00:18:39] Alexa: Nice. Tell us a little bit about Madison Reed. Tell us a little bit about is the organization growing? Tell us a little bit about what you've learned there. I presume you guys are growing. You're a hot brand, so.

[00:18:48] Miriam: Yes. Madison Reed has been very fortunate during COVID. Madison Reed is a hair color company, omnichannel, started off as direct to consumer, then went into wholesale. We've partnerships with Huta and then also now have hair color bars. We've got close to 50 locations nationally. 30-plus of those have been actually open throughout COVID, which is astonishing.

Again, we were fortunate enough to have that silver lining of hair salons closed down during the pandemic in the beginning. They started going to DIY at home solutions and enter Madison Reed. We, overnight, 10Xed our business. It was remarkable. Silver lining is, yes, great. The business is growing and profitable doing great. However, our infrastructure did not. It had to jump 18 months ahead of [crosstalk] where we were.

[00:19:40] Alexa: Are you putting Salesforce and Oracle and Workday and a bunch of homemade shit together or what are you doing?

[00:19:45] Miriam: No, we've got one system and I will not name it because we are not pleased with them either. There is no perfect one system either, unless we all get together and that's our next.

[00:19:56] Alexa: Yes, and just out of curiosity, so people know how big is the team?

[00:20:00] Miriam: We've got close to 450 team members, we call them team members, across the nation. I'll give you a couple of stats. We've got over 80% that identify female, over 50% are people of color and over 50% are millennial. That gives you a good cross-section of what we're made up.

[00:20:18] Alexa: By Sherman HRPA Sanders I just walked right into the lion's den. You were like, just give me the hardest possible demographic to deal with. Let's go. I'm sure people are like, what do the millennials want, Miriam? Tell me. What do they want?

[00:20:35] Miriam: My little [unintelligible 00:20:36]

[00:20:37] Tyson: You mentioned earlier this idea of this authentic culture. Here tat the People Problems Podcast we love that word "culture". Honestly, what does that mean to you? When you chose Madison Reed, how did you know going into it that like, "Oh, yes, this is an authentic culture." How do you know right off the get-go? Because I'm suspicious, usually in an interview process when you're like, "I'm going to sign up for this culture," because you don't know what the fuck is going on in that company.

[00:21:05] Miriam: You got to peel back. Give me your dirty laundry. I want to know the worst of the worst. Tell me what's really happening. I was fortunate enough to have multiple conversations during that interview process, and not just with the founder, that really spoke to people's real realness, and honesty. I think, once you're in the people space for a while, you got a bullshit meter. You know when somebody's blowing smoke, and you understand, like [unintelligible 00:21:29]

I was getting all the right signals, like, "Wow, these folks are genuine. This is real. They're giving me really good examples of how the culture," because it's such an abstract term. For me, culture is really the manifestation of your values. If your values aren't showing up every single day in every conversation, and every decision that you're making, then your culture is bullshit because culture is elusive. It is fluid. It'll be one thing today and another thing tomorrow.

If your values are at the core foundational and strong, it's going to be consistent. What we tend to do is [unintelligible 00:22:03] really well for the values. Yes, we've got behavioral-based questions. Yes, we have competency framework, but it's those core values that we inject into the interview process that really helps us that to say, what are we really seeing? What are we hearing? How is it? Has it shown up prior to them just reading our values online?

[00:22:22] Alexa: Do you have an example of how you checked someone against your values in an interview?

[00:22:26] Miriam: Not many companies have love as a value. I think sometimes people are surprised by a question that says, give me a detailed example of how you show up every day with love. Give me an example of where you've actually showed this in the workplace to let your team member if you're-

[00:22:43] Alexa: Tyson, you fail the interview.


[00:22:47] Tyson: That's your value. One of your values is to love your team members.

[00:22:51] Miriam: It's love. Love, joy, courage, trust, and responsibility.

[00:22:55] Alexa: Just love. Kumbaya, motherfucker. Just love.

[00:22:58] Miriam: Just love. Love heals all, love, kindness. It solves all problems. We vet for that, and we let them riff on what does it mean to them? How does it show up for them on a regular basis? Speak to it. First of all, do you even know our values? Have you done your homework? Do you even know that you're asking to work at a company where we're asking you to love and trust and have courage?

[00:23:26] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:23:26] All right, well, on that very light topic, Miriam, you have mentioned previously that you are a believer in this idea of treating an employee holistically, especially as we're talking about post-pandemic shifts here. I'd be very curious to hear a little bit about what your mindset is around that and how you came to it. Then maybe some of the things you're looking at for the future that you think maybe employers could do better.

[00:23:50] Miriam: At Madison, we ever seen that we meet people where they are. Really, you have to holistically especially during the pandemic. When more than ever have you had to really meet people without a cookie-cutter point of view or judgment. We don't believe that there's any part of anybody that you leave at the door. That's total complete bullshit. You take the person holistically for who they are, what they bring to the table, what they're dealing with in life professionally, personally, at that moment and you allow them to feel comfortable, and having the courage to be themselves and feel like they belong in this culture.

When we think about benefits and offerings throughout this time, one of the first things we wanted to do is make sure that our team members felt like they knew they were our first priority, first and foremost. Mental health right off the bat was critical, health and safety, looking at benefits like One Medical memberships for all of our team members, Talkspace memberships for everyone whether you're full-time, benefit-eligible or not part-timers, everyone in between, and really just said give them resources to help. Every situation that we've been presented with, you were talking about leave status earlier, none of it has been identical or addressed in the exact same way at any point in time. You can't. Nobody is exactly the same as anybody else.

[00:25:14] Tyson: Would that manifest as flexibility in a policy or is it just treating every situation in a bespoke manner? If we go back to the leaves example, oftentimes there's a policy that says X, Y, and Z, but then we're thrown in with an A, and are you able to deal with A bespoke or is it flexibility? How does that show up?

[00:25:36] Miriam: We've always had the flexibility because we put people first. Forget the policy at the end of the day. Great, okay, it is what it is. Yes, consistency, yes, it's a guideline. Now, if it's going to get us into trouble from a compliance standpoint, absolutely. We've got to measure that risk but for the most part, we need to do right by this individual. What they've got going on is not exactly the same as what this other person had going on. To apply the same solution would not be rational. Let's be real, people.

[00:26:05] Tyson: You gave the exact answer I was hoping you would by throwing in that word policy [unintelligible 00:26:13]

[00:26:15] Miriam: Yes. It really wouldn't be living, again, by our values if we didn't meet people where they were regardless. A policy is a policy, fine, but it shouldn't dictate our world. I think sometimes folks in the people space, in the HR space, get criticized for sticking to policies. It's like, yes, you're right. We shouldn't be. We shouldn't be doing that at all times. Just having that flexibility and knowing that at the end of the day, if I make a decision outside of policy I'm comfortable going to our founder if I have to speak to it and say, "This is why we did it. This is what made the most sense for that individual."

[00:26:52] Alexa: It's scary to think of someone saying, "Well, there's a policy. Sometimes we apply it differently." I feel like people's heads will explode when they hear them say that.

[00:27:01] Miriam: Yes, they will.

[00:27:02] Alexa: Because it's not always applied uniformly. It has to happen. That's the thing I think they get so bastardized. Not that there's a limit of things that gets bastardized in this industry, but people just assume it's the policy so it must be uniformly applied no matter what to everyone. It's like, no, that's actually how you just create resentment for the policy and resentment for the team that implements it. It's like do not read between the lines. We have a whole fucking court system in the United States that just reads the same rules over and over again and interprets them. Nothing is this black and white.

[00:27:31] Tyson: What's crappy though, is sometimes what will happen is there's going to be a policy in place and let's say one HR partner and manager are following the policy and they say, "No, unfortunately, I can't do that because that's what the policy says." Then someone else comes along, and they're a little bit more flexible and wishy-washy. Then they're allowing the flexibility and, "Yes, it's fine. Like it's a grey zone, but let's just do it." I've been bitten in the ass doing that before. I've held the line because of that and then someone else has just come along and been like, "Oh, no, it's fine. Let's just pay the leave versus an unpaid leave." Then I've been like, "Ah, fuck, I should have just done that." Unlike eating shit afterwards.

[00:28:13] Alexa: My question is why are you and that other team not on the same page? I get it, big organizations, this is where it becomes a clusterfuck. It just depends. I used to say in college, it wasn't about the classes you took, it was about the professors you were smart enough to go be in their class. I had a calculus teacher that I was like, "Oh, man, I'm not going to learn anything from this guy. I don't understand him. I don't get it, at all. This is wrong."

I just took the same class with another professor and got an A, and it was like, I probably shouldn't be doing that but it works. People will do that. If they're like, "Well, Tyson is always the one holding the policy." They're either going to start to resent Tyson or they're going to go find the other person. It's like when someone's like, "Can I speak to your manager?" When they don't get the customer service response they want, they will do that shit with HR all the time. I'm sure it's infuriating but one of my questions would be, why is everybody not on the same page?

[00:29:03] Miriam: I just like the idea [unintelligible 00:29:04] What it sounds like to me is that it's not the policy first, it's like we love first.

[00:29:10] Alexa: Person first within the policy.

[00:29:13] Miriam: Everybody knows that's interpreting the policy, everybody knows that first comes the person and the flexibility that might be needed to address the situation versus first comes the policy. Having that underlying that value ahead of the policy, which is how it should be.

[00:29:31] Alexa: It's like address the person and make sure that you didn't go outside the boundaries of anything meaningful in the policy of compliance, yes.

[00:29:37] Miriam: Yes. People first, people-centered at the core of every decision. The policy is a guideline, we take the essence of the policy because we're acting in good faith. It exists because you've got to create guardrails, absolutely, but it's also not black and white people are grey in every shade of grey in between.

[00:29:57] Alexa: What are the hard parts about like this, Miriam? Because this all sounds fucking wonderful. It sounds great. Sounds like you work for a great organization, I'm stoked. [unintelligible 00:30:06] looking for a job to work for Madison Reed. My question for you would be, how did you get to this? What were the struggles that you've seen people do that you've gotten to a place where you're like, no, this needs to be done differently? What were your learnings that got you to this mentality? What have you seen people screw up?

[00:30:24] Miriam: Having worked in other organizations, other companies where the policy was king. If it was whatever the letter of the law was and the policy forgets what the person may have already contributed throughout their career with your company, at the end of the day it's because somebody put together this piece of paper that said you've got to follow XYZ rules, even though there was no risk to the organization to go outside the bounds.

That just never sat well with me, number one. Number two, it didn't make any sense. Really aren't we here to help advocate for these people who are your greatest asset and will always come down to your people? It was just nonsense. Having thought through that, I thought, "Well, if I'm ever going to lead a team and have the ability to make these decisions, screw that, I'm not going to create that scenario for somebody to question later on.

[00:31:17] Alexa: When you're in the bigger organizations, do you think that comes from fear? Does that come from just [unintelligible 00:31:24]?

[00:31:23] Miriam: I think it's laziness. To be honest--

[00:31:26] Tyson: And flatness. I assume Madison Reed is pretty flat versus as soon as you start to bring in a hierarchy and levels upon levels, upon levels, upon levels that we trust you to make the right decision goes to the wayside. I've worked for companies that when I've started, it's been like we trust you to make the right decision, and there's a lot of trust in that, but as the company gets bigger and the hierarchy starts filling in, then all of a sudden it's like, well, no, if you want to go above and beyond the policy, then your manager needs to approve. If you go above and beyond even more, it's like [unintelligible 00:32:02].

[00:32:02] Miriam: Are you just speaking to within the people team, Tyson, or just overall?

[00:32:07] Tyson: It depends. I'm, I'm sticking to this policy example just because for the safe examples. Let's say we're going to go above and beyond the policy for somebody's leave. Well, then my boss has to approve it from an HR perspective and then the supervisor needs to approve it. Then let's say we 10X that exception to the rule then the next level has to approve. In every organization I've worked with with a heavy-duty hierarchy, the worse the hierarchy, the more approvals that come into play when you're making exceptions to policies. Does that make sense?

[00:32:43] Miriam: I could see that happening. I think to your point, it just depends on how many levels you've got that have to be involved in this approval policy, but then you also have to be able to educate and trust and have enough communication and partnerships with your teams throughout the organization to ensure that everybody's on the same page. It's people first. If you're always leading through the people's lens, what mistake could you really make? You're acting in good faith.

[00:33:11] Alexa: The third-level manager I'd be like, "Just, yes, cool. I don't give a shit. Give the guy the leave. Why has this gotten to my desk?" [crosstalk]

[00:33:18] Miriam: Why? Why did it need to get here?

[00:33:18] Tyson: The approvals that I've had to get in my career that I've been like, "This is so fucking shitty," because I'm following an approval matrix. I've worked for very large organizations that always have some bullshit approval matrix and it comes, again, with that ridiculous hierarchy. There are seven levels above each person.

[00:33:36] Alexa: Can we talk about this for a second, because this is fascinating? Between the two of you, Miriam, you're at a smaller organization but growing. I'd call you middle market. Tyson, you've been at largely larger organizations, and in theory, you could see a world where Madison Reed gets to be a much larger organization or a retailer that starts out early B2C and then blossoms into a Warby Parker or something.

You get tens of thousands of employees, especially when you're adding retail and all this other stuff to the mix. My question for you guys would be what is the right trajectory of growth for the structure of the people team? I'm assuming, Miriam, and I don't want to put words in your mouth, that you're a smaller lean people team. Hopefully, not a team of one, but maybe a couple of people?

[00:34:18] Miriam: Not a team of one.

[00:34:19] Alexa: Not a team of one?

[00:34:19] Miriam: Yes.

[00:34:20] Alexa: Cool, team of a couple, at least. Then, Tyson's over here fighting with fucking approval matrices. [laughs]

[00:34:26] Miriam: I live in that world too, Tyson. It's awful.

[00:34:29] Tyson: 100%.

[00:34:31] Alexa: How do you get away from that though?

[00:34:34] Tyson: Both companies that I've worked for have grown very quickly, to the point of growing overnight, and have had to go back and play catch up on all things, because the systems didn't grow fast enough. They had so many growing pains from getting so big so fast. I've seen those companies have to stop and go back and you need to do that. You can't just keep doing the Amazon thing, which is Frankenstein. No, we need to hire the right leader to come in here, take a look around, see what works, what doesn't work, then start again. If that doesn't happen, that's when things end up like Amazon. That's been my perspective from working for 10,000 plus people organizations.

[00:35:24] Alexa: Yes. It's inevitable. Every company that grows regardless if it's people team or not, you're going to have to go back and take the [unintelligible 00:35:30] and clean it up.

[00:35:31] Tyson: Sure.

[00:35:33] Alexa: Yes. What do you think, Miriam? What's the right structure and how do you grow the structure of a people team so that it's not fucking [inaudible 00:35:39]

[00:35:39] Miriam: I don't know. I had been asked the same question as like, well, what's the right headcount ratio for a people team to a headcount? Well, it depends how fucked up your systems are. If you're creating more work for yourself because you've got the wrong systems and it's all manual and burdensome, yes, of course, you're going to need more people to just deal with that BS that your system can't do. Is there a cookie cutter? Again, numbers, a ratio that's the right formula, maybe, maybe not. I haven't found that to be true. It also depends on what your organization is trying to accomplish. If you're high growth, you probably need a heavier talent acquisition team.

You got to bring in people. You got a full pipeline to fill. If you're Steady Eddy and you're just running the machine, great, you can manage that differently from an org design standpoint, but I don't know that there's an exact formula. What I will say is you got to vet for the right people. To your point earlier, Tyson, is yes, bring in the right leader, but then who is that leader bringing in to be able to carry forward the messaging and build the team the right way to have the same frame of mind.

You're trusting the decisions they're making. I made the comment earlier that I think larger organizations and putting these policies in place have gotten lazy because they do want to take this cookie cutter approach, just check the box and move on. This is people's lives, livelihood you're impacting. For example, on the leave standpoint. Sticking with that example, you're not just going to check a box and potentially negatively impact this person's trajectory or life or taking them off of paid time that they need to be able to support their family. [crosstalk]

[00:37:15] Alexa: This is the people paradox though, because organizations will say, well, it's actually cheaper and easier to scale if we just treat everybody the same. Then what happens? To your point, Miriam, is you treat everybody the same and you get that one situation where you could have just helped the person out because something fucking crazy came up or something unfortunate happened or there's some special circumstance or if they've been with you for 15 years, you're going to make an exception, give them an extra vacation day because of a storm or something, and then you don't do that for that person and you lose that person.

What organizations don't realize, and this is what I wax poetic about all the time and why I'm writing a book, is that is actually much more expensive. It is significantly more expensive to wait until that person goes, "Fuck your one size fits all policies. I'm out," than it is to just say, "We have the policies. We also have invested in a team of people whose job it is to treat you like a human and just keep us within the guidelines of what we have to do to treat you well."

[00:38:13] Miriam: Yes.

[00:38:14] Alexa: Pennywise and dollar foolish.

[00:38:15] Miriam: Absolutely.

[00:38:16] Tyson: But then going back to that ratio, and I love that you brought up that ratio, that HR to employee ratio, because I get asked that all the time, what is the right ratio? I think it goes back to also what are your values. Because if your value system is love first, then you're not going to want to have one HR person to thousand employees. You're going to want to make sure that there's definitely more manpower, woman power, to actually support in a way that makes sense or like, Alexa, what you were saying, you need to have the people there to actually support the people. [unintelligible 00:38:53]

[00:38:53] Alexa: ROI, baby.

[00:38:54] Miriam: It takes people to support people.

[00:38:58] Alexa: You got to spend money to make money.

[00:39:00] Miriam: Exactly. Don't underfund me and then tell me you want to drive culture and engagement. That's bullshit. That's baloney. I challenge you all day long if you're telling me that. [crosstalk]

[00:39:13] Tyson: I was going to say, I think it is also important. I try to bring this up on this podcast a lot because we always talk about this best practice. The Amazons of the world, they don't have love as one of their values. Let's remember that. If you're an HR business partner working for Amazon listening to this, you aren't expected to show up in that way. You're probably expected to enforce a policy in the same way to each and every person. Grow, grow, grow, exactly. Thinking about that strategy as well, that business strategy that comes behind it and maybe you are a high turnover organization, you're just trying to get people in and if they leave then, whatever. Just always take that with a grain of salt.

[00:39:48] Alexa: Yes. It's a really good point. I think what's interesting and what I hear from these conversations is with the people of society and all these guests like you, Miriam, we spend a lot of time with people who are thinking about this differently. Sometimes you forget that the whole guard of HR is still very old and we're still trying to turn it over with our futile efforts over here at the People Problems Podcast. One of the things this makes me realize is it must be really hard.

We talked about technology. You Frankenstein all these systems, and then all of a sudden you got to take the techs and go back and fix the systems. In a lot of ways, the good news with that is the technology gets better. The later you make the techs, the more advanced your system will be when you upgrade it. However, you can't do that with your people team. A lot of times the HR function gets Frankensteined together and they start with like, oh, shit, we need talent acquisition because we're growing. Oh, shit, we need somebody who's in charge of compliance. Oh, shit, nobody's managing culture. The CEO's busy. We'll give it to the HR team.

Then all of a sudden you Frankenstein this function, you underfund it and then you try to go back and fix it because you're "culture" sucks. You can't just go fix it. The way people have come to interpret the people function in your organization is done. You have to sunset it and start over. I have never seen an organization do that super effectively without a lot of other hard things that go with it like riffs and other things that you got to start fresh and with a blank slate. But that's the thing I think people don't appreciate. It's like, if you think of your people team as an afterthought you're going to have to do the same shit with this team, and then your culture is fucked.

[00:41:23] Miriam: Yes, you can't change it overnight.

[00:41:24] Tyson: That's like my actual job though. That is my dream job. Finding a fucked up organization, going in, looking around, studying every facet of the people organization and then being like, "All right, you got to go, you got to go, we need one of those. We need a better one of those," just re-orging and just fucking everything up to make it more [crosstalk]

[00:41:43] Alexa: Not that this industry needs one more fucking HR consultant, but we could do that, Tyson. That would be [unintelligible 00:41:48]

[00:41:48] Tyson: I'm not talking about HR consulting. I would want to come in as the chief people officer. I'm here to run shit. I want to hire my team. I want to build out the entire- rebuild it. I don't want to build it from scratch. I want to find a fucked up HR org.

[00:42:00] Alexa: Distressed people ops.

[00:42:03] Miriam: Be careful what you wish for. [laughs]

[00:42:05] Alexa: Yes. I was going to say there's probably a lot of people who work at organizations that are like, Tyson, let's go, are you ready Monday?

[00:42:11] Miriam: You know what? The first person that you should be looking at to determine how successful you're going to be and be able to fix that org is the top. Who is the person at the very top? If that is dysfunctional--

[00:42:22] Alexa: Usually when it's that broken, yes, you got to go.

[00:42:25] Miriam: -the CEO is not even trying.

[00:42:26] Tyson: It's not even the chief people officer. It's actually the other chiefs at the table, because they all have to be bought into the people strategy and they need to support it. The chief people officer needs to sit at the table and hear that.

[00:42:39] Miriam: Yes. Absolutely. But luckily I have the fortune of, again, Amy founded this company on these values a week into saying this is now a company. I have the greatest asset of all in my corner is Amy herself as the founder to say, this is why I founded the company in this way, and this is how I want it to progress. Go forth and carry the values and in how you operate, make sure that those are at the forefront.

To your point earlier, luckily I have a team of 15. We do invest in our people so that we've got the right people to acquire talent, to build out L and D functions, to support them from an HRBP standpoint, and then people operations as well. I think that speaks volumes to the investment that they've made, especially during the pandemic where we've had to grow pretty darn quickly without having all of the infrastructure in place.

[00:43:35] Alexa: What would be the next set of challenges if I was like, all right, Miriam, by this time in 18 months, you're going to be 1,000 employees. What do you start to go like, all right, we got to have our eye acutely aware of the following? What starts to get harder as you scale?

[00:43:50] Miriam: Funny, you say that because it is on our roadmap to essentially double ins size by the end of next year. We would be at 800 to 1,000. What's keeping me up at night--

[00:43:58] Alexa: Let's do this exercise, your homework today, Miriam.

[00:44:02] Miriam: What's keeping me up at night, being able to acquire talent. This talent shortage is a killer and it is hitting all industries. I spoke to earlier that we are made up of over 80% people that identify female. Well, this talent shortage and COVID has really impacted the female population the most, pulling them out of the workforce, keeping them out of the workforce, decisions to not come back into the workforce.

We could have the best culture in the world, but if that's not a priority for them that your family is, how do you compete with that? How do you continue to find talent that wants to work, and has the ability to, or hasn't moved out of the state and has chosen other locations to work out of because the cost of living is more cost-effective for them and their family?

[00:44:55] Alexa: That's interesting because I've espoused this a few times, but I think people are finally going to listen to me which is I think we've gone from employee experience to employee lifestyle which is, what is the lifestyle that you afford me that is going to justify me working for you and not a competitor or just not working at all or working for myself?

[00:45:12] Miriam: I totally agree. Totally agree.

[00:45:13] Alexa: You've got to invest in benefits and you've got to curate your benefits. Don't just slap a bunch of shit on the wall and be like, "We offer you a bunch of discounts and healthcare." You have to actually be really thoughtful about how you do that as a brand. We're Madison Reed, we give you benefits, 80% female, we give you child care benefits-

[00:45:31] Tyson: Child care.

[00:45:31] Alexa: -mental health benefits and we give you all these things based on who we know our demographic to be and what we care about as a company. If you're going to work for Equinox, and they don't cover your gym membership, big fucking red flag. Not even that, you now I think in the future the go forward with the labor shortage or just the changing expectations of the workforce is like, "I don't want just the gym membership covered. I want free personal training from the best trainers that we get here at Equinox and I want Kine bars and lettuce in the cafeteria every day.

[00:46:03] Tyson: The time. The time to go work out.

[00:46:05] Alexa: I want the expectation to be that we all take a break at noon and we go work out for an hour. I want to see the CEO on the treadmill next to me.

[00:46:11] Miriam: Well, it's so funny, you just said, what do millennials want? You're speaking their language right now. [crosstalk]

[00:46:16] Alexa: I am them.

[00:46:17] Miriam: You are them. [crosstalk]

[00:46:19] Alexa: I is millennial. Yes.

[00:46:24] Miriam: Yes. Well, there you go. I think we're exploring lifestyle benefits. It's exactly that right now. Giving people flexibility, giving them choice, again, going back to meeting them where they are. Just because I say, "Here's the benefit I find value in," they don't give a shit. It doesn't matter. It might not be valuable to them. Let individuals have choice into what benefits they select. We're currently looking into revamping our benefit offerings to say, "You've got this bucket of dollars or points. Go ahead and spend that wherever you want within this platform that offers you everything from MasterClass to DoorDash to Hulu to childcare to whatever it is you need at this time, because who am I to tell you?

[00:47:07] Alexa: Who am I to tell you but also we want to signal some things. We're also going to cover this shit for you for serious because we think that's important. If you don't use it, fine. Well, hopefully our system will give us data on that. Because it's not just about, "Oh, here's 400 benefits, use what you want." That's one piece of it. That's flexibility but also there's the things you want to signal.

[00:47:24] Miriam: Sure. Absolutely.

[00:47:25] Alexa: I want to signal to you as an employee that we care about female health and family time or whatever. Those are non-negotiable. Those come regardless of what you do with the other allowances.

[00:47:36] Miriam: 100%.

[00:47:37] Alexa: Yes, I love that. I think that's smart. All right, Tyson, you want to move us to our people problem.


[00:47:53] Tyson: I get this question all the time on HR Shook. I guess it's a people problem but it's a little different than we normally go. The question is, how do you ask for a raise?

[00:48:04] Miriam: Alexa is silent.

[00:48:05] Alexa: I'm going to go last here because the way I probably have the least opinion on this for once.

[00:48:11] Tyson: Okay, Miriam.

[00:48:13] Miriam: I've never been good at this myself. I know what value I bring but to present on a platter my business case as to how do I quantify that and what does that mean and why you should really reinvest in that. It's always been challenging for me. It's a bit of that confidence issue, Impostor Syndrome issue that I think a lot of women experience in the world. I think at the end of the day you do have to be able to quantify the value that you bring to the table and what you've contributed in some way. It can't all be fluff that people like to label HR people as fluff.

It cannot be qualitative. It definitely has to be some level of measurement that really shows what you've brought to the business and how you've improved it, what you've done to be a culture add to the organization. Whether that be numbers, bottom line, engagement, reducing turnover, what have you done for that organization?

[00:49:12] Tyson: I totally agree with everything you said. What's funny is, because I'm reflecting on this, and I'm like, "Hey, in my experience, how have I asked for a raise?" Or when I see people getting raises, how that comes to be. Oftentimes the strategy is just to find someone else who does your job and gets paid a shitload more than you and identify that person and go to your boss and be like, "What the fuck? This person is getting paid twice as much as I am."

I've personally done that early, early, early on. I was just a baby HR when I did that. I was getting royally screwed. It worked in my favor. Basically, I just went and cried to my boss because I was like, "How come this person is getting paid so much more than me and I'm so much more valuable than them?" I see a [crosstalk]

[00:49:58] Alexa: Don't bury the hatchet there. You're more valuable than them. You have something to back up that argument I presume.

[00:50:04] Tyson: You always have to have something to back up the argument, but I've seen that happens often the squeaky wheel syndrome, which is too bad, but often. This is my tip then. I see all the time, the squeaky wheel getting pay increases. Number one, just fucking ask. That's all you have to do, is just bring it up and ask. People are so terrified to do that, but if you don't ask, chances are, you're just going to get the status quo because they're like, "Oh yes, that person is happy. It's no big deal." Ask and then have the backup. You also have to have the backup. Think really, truly reflect on yourself and your skills and your abilities and whether or not you actually are worth getting that pay increase. I say that with the kindest of love.

[00:50:55] Alexa: Be really worth it. Tyson's like-

[00:50:57] Tyson: You have to actually be worth it.

[00:50:57] Alexa: "Look in the mirror and ask [crosstalk].

[00:50:58] Tyson: Look in the mirror.

[00:51:00] Alexa: This is--

[00:51:00] Tyson: I think you're totally right. I think it's step one.

[00:51:02] Alexa: It's the opposite of affirmations. Are you really worth it? Great advice, Tyson.

[00:51:10] Tyson: I'm encouraged to ask a question.

[00:51:10] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:51:10] imposter syndrome. Maybe just don't ask because we're not worth it.

[00:51:15] Tyson: Are you really worth it?

[00:51:16] Alexa: Are you really worth it?

[00:51:17] Tyson: Are you worthy?

[00:51:18] Alexa: Amazing.

[00:51:21] Miriam: I always tell people don't come to the party empty-handed. Always bring something to the table so what are you bringing to the table for them to agree with you that you earned that, you deserve that?

[00:51:33] Tyson: Reflect on what happens if you have a negative outcome. That's another thing that's very important. Before you ask, reflect on that.

[00:51:41] Alexa: I want to preface my feedback here because I have limited experience at larger organizations as a much younger employee and largely I've tried to avoid them like the fucking plague for most of my career. Take this with a grain of Alexa salt, which is a stronger salt than normal, but the first thing I will say-

[00:51:57] Tyson: More grainer salt.

[00:51:58] Alexa: Yes, just extra, extra salt.

[00:52:00] Miriam: Rock salt.

[00:52:01] Alexa: Yes. Big chunky rock salt. My first incendiary comment here is, I actually don't think you should have to ask. If you work for a good manager, they already know. If you have been adding value and you have a good relationship with your manager and your team has articulated to you roughly how the comp structure works, you should almost never have to ask. You should never be in a situation where you're like, "I've just been getting paid the same for a long period of time. I need to go mention that I would like to make more money."

Any manager worth their salt is going to understand that people want raises. There are only so many levers you can pull to move an employee forward on the ladder. A good manager is going to recognize this well before you have to fucking ask. The second thing I will say is I have seen quite a few times in my career, people not understanding the timing of when you mention this and when you ask for these things. I don't mean wait for the comp cycle or wait for your review. That's actually not what I mean at all.

What I mean is you need to be very cognizant of how long you've been in a role, how much experience you've gotten, the comps around you, so how long were the other people in roles before they got raises and they got promoted. I see a lot of times this expectation that's like, "Well, I've just been here for six months. I deserve a raise." It's like well, no, first of all, the company has articulated to you multiple times that we do this on an annual basis, the comps are reviewed on an annual basis. Also, you're not a subject matter expert yet. You haven't been here long enough to articulate exactly to [unintelligible 00:53:42] to tell the story of why you're worth the raise.

So I think you have to be very conscious of the timing of when you do these things. Do it around some wins or some successes if your manager has not brought it up with you or articulated to you when comp conversations happen and what the expectation should be. Again, I think you should probably go into a role knowing pretty well if you do well here, your next raise and your next promotions, and all these things should be fairly clear. Obviously, harder in small companies where it's just, who the fuck knows where it's going to go.

Then I would just say bring comparables.

First of all, understand what the inflation rate is, understand the cost of living numbers, and then don't go ask for a $20,000 raise if that's like a huge percentage bump of your salary. You have to be realistic. You have to do a little homework and prepare for that conversation and say, "Hey, the average cost of living increase right now is three to 5%. I know I'm a little junior on the wrung, but ultimately the market pays X for this role. I'd like to get to Y number." You have to be able to articulate your own argument, not just say, I want a bunch more money and I'm going to mention this at an off time when I haven't been in a role long enough to accept it.

My only advice is, first of all, good managers should be way ahead of this, because what the last thing you want is someone asking you for a raise that you know full well, you cannot get one to for a while. Not even because you don't want to just because you don't have the budget or you're not going to get the approval or you haven't been greenlighted to grow in that particular area.

Then as an employee take it upon yourself to make the argument and be very mindful about the timing. You got to do it gracefully. You got to do it exactly to Miriam's point where you're probably on a high, you've just done something that's well, within your scope, you've mastered it or gone above and beyond, hey, I just wanna let you know if I'm going to continue moving forward in this role, I would like to discuss the expectation of increasing my pay [crosstalk] to continue to do things like the thing I just did.

[00:55:41] Tyson: Right. Also, considering, this is so manipulative. I always come up with these really manipulative answers. Honestly, let's pull the curtain back. Let's say you're part of a team and you've had three people just quit and you're one of two left. That's a good time to ask.

[00:55:58] Alexa: Great time.

[00:55:58] Tyson: That's a really [crosstalk]

[00:56:00] Miriam: Retention strategy for sure.

[00:56:02] Tyson: Right. I told my husband this once because people around here were dropping flies and I'm like, "Now is your chance to ask for a raise because it's a hell of a lot easier to give you even a $5,000 raise than it is to go hire the three people whatever or to rehire your backfill." Think about some of those things that are happening around you like that climate that's happening around you and something that you should not do, and I actually had an employee ask me this once, is just to go out and interview somewhere else and get another job offer and then expect your company to match it because if I'm the HR person supporting that manager, I say don't match it. I say let them go.

[00:56:40] Alexa: Yes, that's a real tricky game.

[00:56:42] Tyson: You're playing with fire because you don't know what's going to happen. I have had a friend do this very successfully. She gave an ultimatum and it was very successful. She literally got promoted the next day, but that doesn't always happen.

[00:56:54] Alexa: Yes. You got to be really sure you're a gangster before you do that. We'll be screwed if I leave. I have a lot of value here. [crosstalk]

[00:57:02] Tyson: People think you're half in, half out. Then just go.

[00:57:08] Alexa: Right. Exactly.[crosstalk]

[00:57:09] Miriam: [crosstalk] more of a trend than I'd like it to be.

[00:57:12] Alexa: You got to remember it's also an employee's market right now. They get to go do that which is why you should be very cautious of the shit that you're doing to your employees right now and how you're promoting your employer brand. Don't be full of, kids it will backfire. Miriam, if people like what you have to say, how can they get in touch with you?

[00:57:30] Miriam: You can totally find me on LinkedIn.

[00:57:33] Alexa: Love it.

[00:57:33] Miriam: Easy peasy. [crosstalk] Reach out. Happy to chat.

[00:57:36] Alexa: Yes. Thanks for being here this has been a ton of fun.

[00:57:38] Miriam: My pleasure. Likewise, I love that we can say fuck on this podcast. [crosstalk] let's do it again sometime. [laughs]

[00:57:48] Alexa: HR podcast with the most F-bombs, we definitely win that category. All right, guys, thanks for being here. Tyson, welcome back.

[00:52:57] Tyson: Yes. Happy to be. Back.

[00:57:58] Alexa: This episode was executive produced by me, Alexa Boggio with audio production by Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies, our music was also done by the wonderful Ellie Brigida of Cleear Harmonies. You can find more information about us and future episodes at peopleproblemspod.com or follow us at people problems pod.

[00:58:13] [END OF AUDIO]

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