24 - Mind the Gap

Joined by Sheila Repeta - Head of People at TeamSnap, we put on our consultant hats and discuss the most common mistakes made when scaling HR teams fast. Don't make the same mistakes as other fast-growing companies and prioritize recruitment and employer brand (duh?). We also discuss how to ensure that HR is not seen as an overhead function and how to get the resources needed o design the best People Operations team, yo.



Release Date: December 2021

[00:00:00] Speaker 1: Warning, 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 This is not a stuck-up PC compliance-based or employment law podcast about stuffy outdated HR practices.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] Speaker 2: And we had a strict no-alcohol policy, and everybody was like, "Oh, don't drink. HR is here." Meanwhile, I like mid cracked a beer.

[00:00:24] Speaker 3: If they're that disengaged before, they're gonna be that disengaged when the officers would be sitting at their desk and they'll be on Facebook. They are going to find to ways to [bleep].

[00:00:31] Speaker 1: This is the People Problems podcast with Alexa Baggio and Tyson Mackenzie.

[00:00:40] Alexa: Rock and roll. What's up, Tyson?

[00:00:42] Tyson: Not too much. What's up with you? Other than your eyebrows are looking fly, so good.

[00:00:45] Alexa: I know- I know, I took- I took all the feedback from this very seriously and I decided to get them professionally done. So they're really on point right now. They actually hurt a little bit, but if you're not watching the video of this, I have some aggressive eyebrows on, hopefully, they fade a little bit, but--

[00:00:59] Tyson: No, they look amazing.

[00:01:01] Alexa: Thank you. It's very nice to know that after being on Zoom calls all day, I don't have to worry about the symmetry of my eyebrows. It's just being done for me.

[00:01:07] Tyson: And that's all you need. We've talked about this on the podcast before.

[00:01:09] Alexa: The symmetry.

[00:01:09] Tyson: All you need is a good set of eyebrows. Like-

[00:01:12] Alexa: Exactly.

[00:01:12] Tyson: -don't worry about rest of your makeup. A good set of eyebrows, and you are, like, good to go-, honestly.

[00:01:16] Alexa: Exactly. I walked in this morning and she was like, "Oh yeah, I can work with this." Like you just need a little filler, a little symmetry.

[00:01:22] Tyson: Amazing.

[00:01:22] Alexa: They're just a little flat right now. You're gonna love this. And I walked out and I was like, "Yes, spent a small fortune, but I'm so excited." So these are my-

[00:01:30] Tyson: Okay.

[00:01:30] Alexa: -these are my podcast eyebrows. I did this for you, Tyson.

[00:01:33] Tyson: Podcast, it's audio-only.

[laughter]

[00:01:35] Alexa: These are my audio eyebrows.

[00:01:38] Tyson: It's awesome. They look great.

[00:01:39] Alexa: Yeah, money well spent clearly. Uh, being a girl sucks. Like if I tried to explain this to a boy, right, or like a guy right now, like I- like I-- No, just don't, just like, they don't even notice. They're like, "Oh yeah. Just your eyebrows." Yes. Mm-hmm, okay. Yes. This just-- this is just how I look all the time.

[00:01:56] Tyson: Beautiful.

[00:01:56] Alexa: So everything's good. Family's good. Canada's good.

[00:01:59] Tyson: Yeah. Canada is great. Canada is cold. I'm sure you're cold-- You guys are--

[00:02:01] Alexa: I like asking as if you represent the entire country. [laughs]

[00:02:04] Tyson: Yeah, well better me than our leader.

[00:02:08] Alexa: That's true.

[00:02:09] Tyson: Not to get political or anything. No, but it's good. No, I don't know about you guys, but it's getting quite cold here. So I went out for a nice walk today, but like it got too chilly and it's dark shit all the time.

[00:02:19] Alexa: It's the season.

[00:02:19] Tyson: All the time. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:02:20] Alexa: Yeah. The seasonal depression is real.

[00:02:22] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:02:22] Alexa: The dark at four o'clock is-is fucking soul-crushing.

[00:02:26] Tyson: Yeah. It's fun at first cause it's, like, novel and it's cozy and I put my little fireplace on and like it's all nice. And then like, come January. It's like, "Oh, the worst."

[00:02:36] Alexa: Yeah. I can do like a couple of weeks of this. And then I'm like, "Oh winter cute." And then I'm like, get me somewhere with sunshine.

[00:02:41] Tyson: Yeah, after Christmas usually I'm like, "Yeah, get me outta here. It's brutal."

[00:02:45] Alexa: Yeah. Yeah. All right. My dear. Well, I am gonna move us to our pops in the news. Speaking of not getting political.

[music]

[00:02:56] Alexa: Uh, we may have hit a record. This might be our longest article title in People Problems' history so far but it is a Business Insider article that I'm actually gonna let you lead the explanation on, but it is called the CEO of cosmetics retailer Lush says that he's "happy to lose $13 million by deleting Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat accounts over teen mental health harms." So you wanna- you wanna give the quick overview here, Tyson?

[00:03:26] Tyson: Yeah. So I guess like what's going on right now is because they're saying, because of social media, it's actually resulting in trigger warning here. We're gonna talk about suicide, but, uh, is teen girls an increase in teen girls committing suicide or suiciding I think you-- [crosstalk]

[00:03:39] Alexa: Right. This is because all the Facebook stuff that's coming out saying-

[00:03:42] Tyson: Right-right.

[00:03:43] Alexa: -that they-they know it's harmful to teen girls and they don't care.

[00:03:45] Tyson: Right. Exactly 'cause like the shit that you see on there is just like speaking of seasonal depression, like, it's just the worst, right? Like--

[00:03:51] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:03:52] Tyson: So what he said-- doing is he's gonna take a stand against the Meta.

[00:03:56] Alexa: Yeah. Meta.

[00:03:57] Tyson: Meta and Facebook.

[00:03:58] Alexa: They're just Facebook. Everyone should just call them Facebook and be like, "Mark, your attempt to like distract and deflect is not working. No one wants to call you fucking Meta anyway."

[00:04:06] Tyson: Exactly. So what they're gonna do is they're gonna get off those platforms in sort of like a-a petition of saying like, this-this is a bad media outlet. We're not gonna be present on it. And now, look, so in the article it actually says that Lush has done this in the past.

[00:04:21] Alexa: Yep.

[00:04:21] Tyson: They got off social media, Facebook last year, I think amidst some of the-- Was it the Black Lives Matter movement?

[00:04:28] Alexa: I do not remember off top of my head, yeah.

[00:04:29] Tyson: I can't remember. There was something else that came out and-and they got off and-and this time the CEO is saying, no, this is for good. So you-- When I sit-- sent this article to you, you were kind of like, "Oh, like what does this have to do with people ops? And my response to that was it's interesting when companies make major sort of statements like this and then like the trickle effect that, that then has on people, not only consumers and people who buy the product, but also the people that work there.

So for me, right, I just put in a $200 order of Lush stuff that I thought that I needed last night because I was like, "Hey, you know what? Like this, company's making a big statement and that's something that I wanna get behind." I also agree that I think that social media can be really damaging. And-and-and so-so there I'm gonna support the company, but then go ahead.

[00:05:13] Alexa: I was just gonna say, I-- what I thought was interesting is he's quoted as saying, "We're talking about suicide here, not sports, or whether someone should die their hair blonde," Constantine continued telling The Guardian, "How could we possibly suggest we're a caring business if we look at that and don't care," which I think is-

[00:05:31] Tyson: Right.

[00:05:31] Alexa: -not to highlight what you're gonna say.

[00:05:33] Tyson: Exactly. So then, you know, I see that the-the one side is the consumer, which I just mentioned, but then also like, okay, how does that trickle down then to the employees and the way that they care about their employees and like how their values are. And I use values loosely, 'cause if you look at the Lush values, they're very much, uh, about-- a-against testing and organic and like it's more about their products and stuff, but I'd love to know like from the people-people that work at Lush, like what it's actually like to work there. And if that, you know, trickles down into to being more caring. I don't obviously know. Um--

[00:06:03] Tyson: Yeah. I think I-- what I will say is I don't know anything about it and we'll see if we can find a little bit more about Lush employee values or maybe a listener knows and they can- they can hook us up. We can always do part two, but it's fascinating when-- it's not fascinating. It's fucking infuriating when companies have these like very lofty consumer goals, kinda like Amazon, right.

Being like, "Oh, we're, you know, we're the best retailer in the world." And then they just shit all over employees. And it's like, "Those two things are connected." So like how can you say that you care and how can you say that you stand by these things you don't actually live and breathe them for your own team.

[00:06:33] Tyson: That's exactly it. Yeah.

[00:06:34] Alexa: And, you know, I think that's, you know, a lot of building culture and-and building successful teams. And like, I-I think a successful company called Ze-Zeitgeist is like, just not being full of shit. [laughs] Like, just not saying one thing and doing another, like the hypocrisy of-of sort of the way that a lot of HR stuff I think gets treated around this is it's like pretty laughable and it-it's-it's just a really easy way to break trust.

[00:07:00] Tyson: And the way their values are written. The ones that I-I did see are actually really interesting and it's actually, they're-they're good well-written because like-like I said, so let's say they're against animal testing. One of the things they say is like, they also don't work with other companies that do animal testing. So they're kind of like, well-thought-out, which I liked.

And then the other thing that I liked was that they said, this is totally off-topic, but one of their things was like, we believe in making a profit, but giving people a good product. So I'm like, "I love that. Like, just call it." Like we wanna make a profit. That's what we're all here to do. Like, don't try to say like Amazon, that's just like, "Oh, we're just like the best people, like freaking Mother Teresa over here." No, like--

[00:07:36] Alexa: Yeah, that's customer service or whatever.

[00:07:37] Tyson: Right. No, hey, we're here to make a profit, but in turn, we're gonna give you an amazing product. So I just, like, I kind of like the transparency around that. I don't know. It was just-

[00:07:45] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:07:45] Tyson: It was a- it was a nice-, nice read, go-go check out the Lush values page and like--

[00:07:49] Alexa: I like it. And these are-- this is one of those moments where you're like, and I'm like, "Well, what does this have to do with people ops?" What will happen or hopefully won't happen in this situation is we'll get the backend of this story in six months where it's like, remember when Lush said they were getting off Facebook because they care about like women, you know, young women's mental health and turns out inside, there's like a bunch of misogynists and they treat women like shit.

And like, you know, we only hear about it in this industry when it's like on the back end of like the hi- the hypocrisy, right? So like if they do this well, like, this is the only headline they're gonna get sadly.

[00:08:17] Tyson: Right.

[00:08:17] Alexa: Which is- which is a little broken, but all right. I, any other thoughts or things that you wanna- you wanna divest? I-I have never purchased a Lush cosmetic in my life, but maybe I'll go buy some, um, some bath bombs or something.

[00:08:29] Tyson: Get a bath bomb. I-- My problem with Lush is that I can't stand the smell. Like when I go in there, 'cause it's just like way too much. So I just like walk right by, but I just did a big online order to-to-to get around that. So--

[00:08:40] Alexa: Amazing. Well, you'll have to tell us how that goes. All right. My dear, I'm gonna move us on to our guest who speaking of teenagers has a few of them. Our guest today is equal parts, strategy, empathy, and passion. She loves pulling the people levers to make an organization thrive. And her name is Sheila Repeta and she's the head of people at TeamSnap. What's up, Sheila?

[00:08:59] Sheila: Hi. How are you all doing?

[00:09:01] Alexa: Good. How are you?

[00:09:02] Tyson: Welcome.

[00:09:03] Sheila: A big fan of Lush here. So we are trying to reduce our plastic use. So my wife and I went there and we like there. Actually, I just didn't even know this, and went on Sunday and picked up new shampoo and conditioner that is their-- One of their values is-

[00:09:19] Alexa: One of their values is what?

[00:09:20] Sheila: Naked.

[00:09:21] Alexa: Oh yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah. Okay.

[00:09:23] Sheila: I also think it's--

[00:09:23] Alexa: It's one of my values too, but I meet it a little differently.

[laughter]

[00:09:26] Sheila: But most people use naked. So it's kinda funny, like a little play there, but yeah, it was funny if you both were talking about that, I kinda looked up their Glassdoor reviews, which is everyone's love-hate relationship and people ops is fascinating.

[00:09:39] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:09:40] Sheila: It seems like for the most part, like they pay a living wage to transfer-- to like people ops, so like they don't pay the minimum wage even in states-- like people in general, you know, take it with a grain of salt as all things Glassdoor, but it seems like overall on the surface, they're kind of living up to it. So from a people op perspective.

[00:09:57] Alexa: So they get one disgruntled employee with a Glassdoor uh, account. [chuckles]

[00:10:01] Sheila: Oh, there's a few of those. I mean, it is not perfect. I mean, that's-- which is highly often. And--

[00:10:05] Alexa: It is-- I think it's almost-- it's almost like a Yelp account, it's almost impossible to have a perfect score.

[00:10:10] Sheila: Yeah. You take it with a grain of salt, although like, they don't respond to them or reply to them, which is interesting too, because there's a moment of authenticity there if you're a talent acquisition team. So interesting stuff, but, yeah, looks like they do somewhat at least practice what they preach.

[00:10:24] Alexa: All right.

[00:10:24] Tyson: Need to do more research on that one.

[00:10:26] Alexa: Yeah, it's because I-I feel like we could-

[00:10:27] Sheila: Mm-hmm.

[00:10:28] Tyson: I'm curious now.

[00:10:28] Alexa: -do a segment of this show just reading Glassdoor reviews.

[00:10:30] Tyson: Anybody listening who works for Lush, [chuckles] please, come on the podcast. [laughs]

[00:10:32] Alexa: Please get in touch, yes. Priority guests. Let's go.

[00:10:36] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:10:38] Alexa: Uh, all right, awesome. Well, Sheila, do us a favor. Tell us a little bit about your journey into people op, tell us a little about TeamSnap, how did you get here?

[00:10:43] Sheila: Yeah. So it's funny. I have one of those atypical career trajectories as well. So I actually got in HR in-- it was college. I was one of those early people who found it.

[00:10:53] Alexa: You are like Tyson.

[00:10:55] Sheila: Um, I was gonna be a teacher and got- and got in the classroom for one day and was like, "Oh, shit, I made a mistake." [laughs] Uh, it was so terrible. Now I met a coach, and have a house full of teenagers, I love them but at that point in my life, I wasn't ready. But I was a resident advisor and what's interesting about being a resident advisor, at least in the US, uh, college and university system is you go through HR training, right? It's conflict resolution, it's looking at diversity, equity, and inclusion even though this was, like, decades ago.

So I really got into that and I fell in love with organizational development, which was probably about 15 years ahead of my time. So I got this master's degree and was like, oh-oh, like, no one's gonna pay me for this shit. [chuckles] But I loved it and-and I was so passionate about it. So worked, took a detour. I did one of those where I jumped out of my career for a while, and I was home with my kids. I taught college, I taught what sucks, there you go. I got stuck with teaching again, but it was young adults, so it was a little bit better.

I taught what I did while my kids were younger, and then when they got a little bit older I went back in and went in-house and then did 10 years of HR consulting, which was amazing. It was probably-- maybe a little under 10 years, but it was awesome, I got to work across industries. Everything from working with Ford, Comp, like I did a whole employee lifecycle, which was just like 20 years of experience jammed into, you know, hair under a decade.

And then, you know, really decided to go back in-house and was a TeamSnap customer actually, and saw the job description and every once in a while you look at something and I was like, um, oh, someone had passed it on to me. So they were looking and I-I was like, "This is my job. These are- these are my people." And it, there were just all these little puns and jokes in the job description. And I've been with TeamSnap for about three years. So--

[00:12:41] Alexa: Nice and what does TeamSnap do? How big are you guys?

[00:12:43] Tyson: Yeah, can you tell us about that?

[00:12:43] Sheila: TeamSnap we are about 25 million users. We are a sports management app. So most parents with school-aged children use our software and it's basically sports management. So telling parents, "Oh my gosh, the field's closed, uh, it's notification. Go here because the sprinkler has broke."

[00:13:01] Alexa: Wait, you mean the phone chains are done where you have to like call the next person on the list and-- [chuckles]

[00:13:05] Sheila: We disrupted that about 12 years ago.

[00:13:08] Alexa: Okay, cool.

[00:13:10] Sheila: [laughs] So it's-it's great. I wasn't-- actually, my storytime is, like, magical. I was on a plane flying back and my son was at a baseball game. And he was pitching and I couldn't be there because my flight got delayed. So I was watching the score on our app like all his pitches because the coach was updating it and I pulled up right when the game ended and was able to rattle off his stats. And so it was like I was there, but it wasn't and so it's a really neat product.

[00:13:34] Tyson: It's awesome.

[00:13:34] Sheila: And really, we get to make a difference, uh, for families. So, awesome.

[00:13:39] Alexa: That's super cool and how big are you guys?

[00:13:41] Sheila: So we have gone through quite a journey, uh, with COVID. Right now we're in about 150 but we're growing, we've kind of done the ups and downs. So when I got here, we were about 120, went up to about 200, reduced that by about half during COVID because we were highly impacted through an acquisition. So we went from VC to now we are PE-backed, and now we have a new owner, new CEO and we are at about 160. We should be just shy of about 200 next year. So--

[00:14:10] Tyson: All right.

[00:14:11] Alexa: So do you focus-- Does your team focus-- Are they focus mostly on talent acquisition right now? I know we wanna talk a little bit about sort of strategically building an HR team but I would- I would love to hear a little bit about just sort of how you got to having thoughts, uh, about that particular piece of this.

[00:14:26] Sheila: Yeah, mistakes mostly. [laughs] You know, it was bad. I-- right now, everything-- So my team, about a third of them are dedicated to that, you know, and we make sure that we hire that have the ability to do recruiting, and everyone's professionally trained in it too. So when it ramps up, the team can help.

[00:14:44] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:14:45] Sheila: Um, but we make sure, uh, a teammate is dedicated who also can do like employer branding, like, we look at the whole lifecycle for recruitment. So we do have a part of my team dedicated to that, yeah.

[00:14:55] Alexa: That's awesome. So-so tell us a little bit about so-- Okay, so you got into this, you left, did some teaching, got back into it, and what did you learn when you came back?

[00:15:07] Sheila: Yeah. So just it's just how non-translatable what our employees are learning in the academic environment. They show up to work and it's like, "Oh my gosh, you are so ill-prepared for what's about to hit you." I think that was really helpful. And my journey from being in-house as well as doing consulting, is a really good perspective of being able to step back too and look at how sometimes you don't realize when you're embedded in a system, how easy like, sometime-- I would walk in and sometimes honestly judge my clients like, "How the hell does this get this broken?" And doing both you realize like, when the system is built slowly around you it's like the frog in the boiling kettle. You don't realize the water's boiling because--

[00:15:53] Alexa: Yeah, two degrees at a time.

[00:15:54] Sheila: Right, right. So I really appreciate now being able to sometimes step back and be like, "Okay, if I was coming in as the consultant externally, what would I be looking for, and what do we need to assess, and how do we create feedback loops?" Because that's usually where the gaps start forming is when there's no feedback loops throughout the organization about how people operations are working. So, um, all those things have helped kind of deal with that.

[00:16:18] Alexa: So tell us- tell us a little about that. How-- What are- what are some ways that you start to feel-- like you walk into an organization and you're-- Not to- not to give you flashbacks being a consultant, but like you walk in and you're like, "Oh, man, there's no feedback anywhere." You know, the frog is about to boil. Well, how did you like-- how do you- how do you identify that and how do you- how do you break it down and sort of change it?

[00:16:36] Sheila: Yeah, so our reviews like to tell you potentially, which is assess the line act, right? So you come in and you have to assess like, what is your current state and what's your ideal state and that's not just for your people ops team, it's for your stakeholders. So you have to go and talk to, I mean, we're customer service, right? Or we have internal customers, but they're still customers.

So looking at like, where is the gap between, o-o-oftentimes we think we're doing a great job, and then you start talking to your customers and you're like actually there's like a complete disconnect, you know, that-- whether it's talent acquisition sourcing improperly, or like these policies that we think we've put into place that are so awesome, are actually inhibiting growth.

And so, I started with just straight-up assessment, so oftentimes not consulting and even when I started at TeamSnap, and still do throughout my days is like interviewing people, like what's working, my whole team meets regularly, and we do what we call stay interviews. And it's like, we ask the question, like, "What's working? What's standing in your way? If I gave you a magic wand, what would you change?" Like, top two things that come to your head, go.

And then we asked the question "When was the last time you brushed up your resume and thought about leaving? Or went to LinkedIn and started looking? Like what happened that day? Not just the date, but what happened that day that made you think about that?" Because all of that assessment gives you data, whether it's quantitative or qualitative, you can work with to build an action plan to do something with and make the changes and pivot.

[00:18:05] Tyson: That's such a good question asking like, "What happened that day?" Because I've been there. I'm sure a lot of people have been there where that one thing just sets you off and you're like, you know what, that's it. I'm gonna pull up the resume and like, I'm going to start looking-- I'm going to call back that recruiter that just reached out to me or who's bugging me in my inbox.

[00:18:20] Sheila: Yeah.

[00:18:21] Tyson: Um, I'd love to--

[00:18:21] Alexa: My friend mentioned that job and I'm gonna ask her to tell me more about it.

[00:18:24] Tyson: Right, I'm gonna follow back up. I-I want to know those who like, maybe you can't have an answer this question but like when you're thinking about like your experience as a consultant, was there any like major mistake that companies made as they were scaling their HR team quickly?

[00:18:39] Sheila: Yeah. Okay, and I made it too. For an organization to grow healthily, right? There's often this growth echelon, so you grow very quickly, and then you have to kind of stabilize for a little while, right? And like breathe. I always talk to people about how it's like, I live with teenagers right and we were talking about better products that's targeted towards kids. So when kids grow and, uh, you know, humans grow their hands and their feet grow faster, and then it gets really awkward.

That's why kids they are always tripping and teenagers are so funny to watch, right? Is because their hands and feet grow and they have to get used to it and then they grow into them. In organizations during healthy periods of growth, need that moment. Now, sometimes it's a couple of months. Sometimes it's a year. And what happens during that time is you see organizations and I've done this too. You peel back on talent acquisition, "Oh, well, we're not going to be hiring for six months, or for 12 months we're only doing back sells, right." And then all of a sudden, you go to turn on the engine again into high growth, and the car is cold.

[00:19:35] Alexa: And it stalls.

[00:19:36] Sheila: Like it stalls, and it stalls, and it's awkward and you're clunking down the road and every one of your customers is like, "Drive faster. Let's go, the business is waiting on it. We built this strategy that's dependent on revenue, get me my salespeople." And so don't turn the recruiting engine off. If it's worth it maybe pare back, but you've always got to have it in idle. Like keep your employer branding efforts, which feels frivolous in periods of slow growth. Now, I'm assuming you're on a growth trajectory, not just stabilizing, right? Like long-term. And so that's one thing that it-it's that we cut to the bone in talent acquisition. We just shut off everything. Now, if you're in austerity mode, you've gotta do it. I get it.

But I think that's one of the biggest mistake or cutting back on kind of the HR business partner role, where they're there helping advise and support because all of a sudden you start-- turnover starts going up because our managers don't have the support they need to-- or they're not dealing with underperformers. And all of a sudden performance starts plummeting. So I think it's shifting into austerity mode too fast, which is really hard because a lot of times, especially when directives are coming from the board or it's very CFO-driven, it's-- I think HR professionals struggle, especially leaders. We struggle to make the business case to keep the spend on for our teams.

[00:20:55] Tyson: Especially when it's entirely overhead. Right.

[00:20:57] Sheila: Mm-hmm.

[00:20:58] Tyson: So--

[00:20:57] Alexa: It's never overhead. I hate that.

[00:21:01] Sheila: That's how it seems.

[00:21:01] Alexa: It's like I get why everybody thinks that.

[00:21:02] Tyson: That's how it seems, right?

[00:21:03] Alexa: I know, it's like my fucking life's mission to get people to stop thinking about this function is overhead. It's like, you guys are the keepers of the fucking realm. Like what-what, like, if you just treat it like overhead, you just start/stop it all the time. And like you said, you turn off your employer branding.

Like I cannot tell you if there's one thing I would say to most of the company I work with in this space, it is like, get your fucking employer branding together and make it a priority both internally and externally. Not just externally, you gotta do that shit internally, too. Don't even get me started on that one. But yeah, I think it's-it's-it's curious to me and I-I would be curious to hear your-your thoughts. Like if you were putting your consultant hat on here, like how do you go about making the business case?

Because I could see a world where, you know, the shit hitting the fan and the CFO's like, "We need to stop spending money on that thing that you use for branding, or we need to stop-- you know, we need to stop-- I mean, we're gonna cut back on the talent acquisition team because we're not hiring that many people." So there's not anybody out keeping candidates warm. And so your six-- We'll hire in six months, turns into, we can't hire for 12, but like, how do you make the business case proactively for that? Any good tips or tricks?

[00:22:06] Sheila: First and foremost, for me personally, like, I'm not gonna take a job if a CEO says, "Oh, you're a cost center. I'm out." Like I'm not taking that job-

[00:22:13] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:22:13] Sheila: -period. I think that if companies want to be successful and we know that optimizing your people engine is what makes them successful. Right. And for most companies, it's the most expensive asset. Like, [crosstalk] so I think first and foremost, I mean just say no, and if the good HR people leave, then those CEOs are either gonna get canned. I mean, or they're-- and it's gonna create, you know, until you get the right leader in the place that will help, number one, so--

[00:22:38] Tyson: I just find that status quo is tough though. Right? 'Cause people will be like, "Oh, well-

[00:22:41] Sheila: Mm-hmm.

[00:22:42] Tyson: -the last HR person didn't wanna take a job or they left 'cause we treat it like a cost center. So we'll just find somebody else that does it. And then nothing gets better.

[00:22:48] Sheila: Yeah. Yeah, then we--

[00:22:48] Tyson: Penny wise and dollar foolish.

[00:22:50] Sheila: Yeah, exactly. I do think that there is the business case to look at it. I mean, there-there's certain nuances you can do. So, for example, today I was working with my director of talent acquisition on just recruiting. Right. So naturally, what is the board gonna want? Or, you know, a CFO, give me your ratio. So a recruiter should be able to have 20 people.

Well, yeah, but no, there's some great tools out there that can look at-- There's actually this beautiful tool. It's a calculator that looks at all the dynamics, like how much administrative support, what is your employer branding? And it takes those industry ratios and it corrects them for your unique situation. But more importantly, it looks at, is this a leadership role? Is this a technical role? Because those ratios are very different than filling a bunch of sales, development representatives or customer experience folks.

So I think being able to get some nuance and building the business case, number one, I think it's also just aligning to the business, like the cost of turnover, the cost of disengagement. So there's some great metrics out there that, you know, if you have-- if an employee is engaged, they're at producing at 100% of their salary, that's what they're gonna-- productivity they're gonna give you, a somewhat engaged or like, you know, neutral. They're gonna usually hit it.

And then a detractor is gonna be pre-- working at 70 to 80% of their salary. Take that. And I've done this when I consulted and I've done it here at TeamSnap. And at other companies I've worked for, put those numbers on top of your metrics and show what the productivity of your workforce is to make the business case for, well, if I can move the meter on fulfillment or engagement up 20%, this is how much more productive our workforce is gonna be. One HR business partner costs X, you know-

[00:24:27] Tyson: Right.

[00:24:27] Sheila: -we'll-we'll get the returns. So I think it's getting some financial acumen and just really taking data that you can use to validate it. And what I find is a lot of board members and a lot of executives are excited to actually see that quantification, even if it's a little loose on the science, right. It's as validated as we can get 'cause it's people, but it's better than just saying the cost of turnover, you know, turning over an individual contributor is 0.75.

[00:24:52] Tyson: Yeah. And I-I would even just go like a step further in talking about like how it then evolves as well. Right. So I think like some-

[00:24:59] Sheila: Mm-hmm.

[00:25:00] Tyson: -executives think like, "Okay, HR is sort of like a one and done thing. Like let's get like a few good practices in place and we've got them and they're good. And we can just like, you know, go on our merry ways." But like how then is the HR team gonna evolve to help the evolving business? And then, you know, having to not only keep and not get rid of HR people, but add more and add unique skill sets. So like maybe you're growing to a space where you need to have a compensation expert or a learning expert or et cetera, et cetera.

So kind of like exactly what you said, but then that one step further, which is like, yeah, we wanna keep our team, but we also want to make our team a lot bigger and bring on like, maybe these like unicorns in this space as well. And I think like a lot of executives kind of think like, oh yeah, I've got like the policy. We're like, we're good to go.

[00:25:44] Alexa: Or just think about recruiting-recruiting into a-- an organization where everyone is functioning at 70 to 80% of their capacity. Right? So like, those are the managers of the people who they're gonna-- like the trickle-down there is not 20-- a 20% haircut. It's like a 60% haircut if you get a few layers deep because everyone is underperforming-

[00:26:00] Sheila: Absolutely.

[00:26:00] Alexa: -because of stupid stuff that you can control. That's, you know, for a couple of extra HR people and a budget to the HR team, that's negligent compared to those like, it's-it's so counterintuitive, right? 'Cause you're like, people are your most expensive asset, almost always a company's biggest line item, you know, give or take or-or at least one of them, right. You've got a whole group that's in charge of that line item. And then you treat the group in charge of the line item like a cost center. How is that intuitive? And it just- it just hurts.

[00:26:26] Sheila: It's not a-- It's-it's the responsibility of the HR leader. Like I told my team, we talk about this all the time. I'm like, "We've been given a gift, we aren't seen as a cost center. We are seen as value add to-to this organization. We have to prove that, we have to earn that. We need to continue that, right?" That is our responsibility to continue to be indispensable 'cause I-I think for HR leaders having a high standard, you know, like we have some guiding principles that are really focused on how they add value to the business. Like basically like one of them, we built solutions and processes for top performers, not our underperformers. Like I will say that to the day I die as an HR leader.

[00:27:03] Tyson: Well done.

[00:27:03] Sheila: I need a policy. And then they proceed to tell me about somebody who's underperforming and that policy will constrain anyone at the company. My answer is you need to have a coaching conversation. I'm not making a policy for it.

[00:27:15] Tyson: I fucking love that.

[00:27:15] Sheila: And that-- I'm probably one of most policy aversive HR leaders, because I just-- I don't want a book of rules that constrains behavior and performance. We hire well, we hire adults who are responsible and I trust our managers to performance manage out if they aren't. So these-- If you build an HR team that's gonna add business value, which also comes with hard conversations and accountability. Don't get me wrong. It's not all fluffy fun programs. It's hard work, but it's the HR leader. I think it's their responsibility to build a team that lives up to that value add. And then the more that's seen by the leadership team, generally, the more they're gonna invest in it. Yeah.

[00:27:55] Tyson: That's a key point though. They need to see it because I think- I think once you get to like a certain level and management, like a-as they get really high, like we're talking about the people who really are-are making the-the major decisions. Like they just think this stuff sort of happens or that like their management teams are just sort of like doing the right thing or that, you know, recruiters. Yeah. But really people just wanna work here. So like everyone's coming to us and like, you know, they have like all these assumptions about really what-

[00:28:20] Alexa: That ship has sailed.

[00:28:22] Tyson: Well, right. So t-t-t-there's still so many assumptions though, in terms of like what HR is actually doing. And so many people don't know. Like in the organizations that I've worked for, like the first meeting I have with managers is really like, this is what I do. And you have to do that every single time. This is what I do, this how I can help. This is, like, my contribution to the company. It doesn't matter if that person had a business partner before me, I have to do it every single time. Every new relationship I have to tell that person what it is that I do.

[00:28:51] Alexa: Yeah. It's roles and responsibilities. I mean, I think, Sheila, it's pretty telling that you got on here and you-you described yourself as customer service, but internal. And I think that-that is in and of itself a shift away from just the general thinking of this industry and, you know, the kind of philosophy we're big on here at, at People Problems.

But I think I'd be curious, you-you mentioned sort of building an HR team and obviously it's gonna be different for, you know-- I've worked in this industry, I on us a decade. And-and what I know is that every HR team looks different. It's just a bunch of fucking snowflakes, but I'd be curious to get your thoughts-

[00:29:21] Sheila: We are all special snowflakes, come on.

[00:29:23] Alexa: Really. Every organization does this differently, which is so interesting, right? Because I mean, you get like your standard silos, right? Like you've got comp and payroll and you know, you get sort of the standard silos, which I wouldn't actually necessarily argue is the way to structure a team. But my opinion doesn't fucking matter here. It's why we have guests. I would love to hear your thoughts on how you build a team and maybe, you know, h-how you start building a team and then maybe how you come in and fix a team, specifically an HR team that's efficient.

[00:29:54] Sheila: Yeah. So I think this is where I get to the talk about every these guiding principles that like just come outta my mouth all day long. I mean, feedback. And feedback is the oxygen that fuels excellence across the business. Like you have to get feedback from what are the business needs. So again, justifying your own existence. 'Cause that's the game we're in, right? We are not at a point in most companies where it's like, HR is awesome. I'm really fortunate. I'm at that place at TeamSnap where it's like people first and I have CEO who's all in on that.

But in most cases and in parts of my career, we've been justifying our existence. So the best way to do that is get the feedback so you'll understand what the business problems are you're solving-- that you are solving for? So starting there, I mean, there are basic functions. Like you have to have payroll, right? Payroll needs to be done, but talk about [crosstalk]

[00:30:39] Tyson: It doesn't have to live on your HR team though. [laughs]

[00:30:42] Alexa: When you put on the finance.

[laughter]

[00:30:43] Alexa: Let's put payroll right under finance. [laughs]

[00:30:45] Sheila: A hundred percent. I will never, [laughs] again. I know, I-- but they're real partners.

[00:30:49] Tyson: It's very ridiculous that people do that.

[00:30:51] Sheila: We provide the input for it. And we have the bonuses or the different things, depending on your organization. Like there are inputs that come from us. Nobody's like, oh, you know, payroll reports up to finance. It's their problem. When their paycheck-paycheck is wrong, who do they reach out to? HR. So we have ownership for it. And it's sacred. Like I'm always like, get that right. Because if that is questioned, like what's going on at the Amazon? The second that's question, I'll be sending blocks all the fucking day.

[00:31:18] Tyson: Yeah. You don't fuck with people's comp.

[00:31:20] Sheila: Right? Period. End of story. So get the fundamental right. [crosstalk]

[00:31:22] Tyson: So one thing people need to know you do as an employer is fucking pay them. It's like the one reason they're there, everything else is ancillary.

[00:31:29] Sheila: A hundred percent agree. So figure out that partnership, if you own it, Godspeed. I'm so sorry. [laughs] If you're in HR and that's people to own and you have that-- you have to carry. But, um-- [crosstalk]

[00:31:39] Tyson: It is an important relationship though. And most people in payroll, I never met a payroll person that like, is like happy. They're always like the grumpiest people of all time. So as an HR person, find your friend in payroll and like hold them tight and close because it's-- it is an important partnership to have.

[00:31:55] Alexa: Yeah. If you think HR is thankless, talk about being in-in payroll where it's like, literally nobody knows who you are until gets fucked up. [laughs]

[00:32:02] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:32:02] Alexa: Like, otherwise, you're just-- people don't know you exist, you know.

[00:32:04] Sheila: They go to HR to complain and then they send-

[00:32:07] Alexa: Exactly. They're like, who's that guy. I didn't even know he existed, but now I'm pissed at him.

[00:32:11] Sheila: He was there in Thanksgiving.

[00:32:12] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:32:13] Sheila: Senior payroll.

[00:32:13] Alexa: Didn't-didn't know Derek in payroll even existed and now I hate him. [laughs] Gone are the fucking grumpy. Yeah.

[00:32:21] Sheila: Yeah. [laughs]

[00:32:21] Alexa: All right. So you need payroll, what else? So you start to- you start to grow-

[00:32:25] Tyson: Get the basics right.

[00:32:26] Alexa: -you got your payroll figured out, maybe you're on a PEO, then you get- maybe get some benefits under the payroll or somewhere around there. What else?

[00:32:31] Sheila: Great. I think you gotta look at that. And then it's looking at the business needs. I think different companies-- to your point, different companies evolve in different ways. You may have a strong leadership team where they're like excellent, it's a-- and they're good intuitive people leaders. Well, just get someone in to help them. You don't need to build all of this training. You may have a really green team, especially if you're in the startup space. People who tend to be really good and entrepreneurial, tend to not be awesome people leaders.

Well, then you need to get somebody with the HR business partner skills in there. And that's where it's-it's really about listening and getting that feedback like-- and partnering on the business needs. Like what are the business outputs that are needed? And how do you solve for that through your people operations? Is it training and development? Is-- some people bring that in early because they need that.

And I think-- and not to go on a total of tangent, but remote work is shifting all of this by the way, in a whole new way. Because what we need, like communication, way more of a priority than it was before. And so you just gotta really take the time. To me, doing it well, is that whole assess, align, act. Assess what the business outputs are, align your business that you need to build as an HR leader or as a team, and then build the action plan to get it done. Whether it means justifying the budget, getting the numbers, but that's gonna come from feedback. Whether it's interviews, I constantly pulse our organization.

Like I'm always running these stupid poly pulse surveys, but people like it because then I have data. I can go and be like 7% of people found that useful. Let's do it again. 'Cause so many times in HR, we're accused of being feelings driven because we're intuitive. Right? We see it. And we're like, "Oh, people don't like that, but if you have data, that's gonna make it an easier sell.

[00:34:13] Alexa: Yeah. We have all the feels. Yeah. Look. So my question for you would be, so you start to sort of add to tentacles to the- to the beast. Right. And you know, I-I'd be curious to hear your philosophy on what-what I see, especially organizations are growing really quickly, you know, not so much in the like uber corporate world, is you get like, you assess the business needs and the- and the CEO is like, we just need to hire, like we have to-- we get- we just got VC money, your PE money. Like, I just need you to go hire fucking 200 people in the next like-like 90 days. Like fucking something like an asinine number of people in an unrealistic amount of time. And so the organization is like hire, hire, hire, hire, hire, hire, hire. So they bring on a person or two to do that.

Maybe some recruiters and some outside help. And then they go, "Oh fuck, now we're not a 50-person company. We're a 250-person company. Now we need an HR person. Right? Like, oh we don't-- So-so what they'll do is they'll try to cram those functions into those one or two people who they actually hired for talent acquisition. They didn't hire for all this other shit.

Maybe aren't specialized. Maybe haven't even done it before. And they're like, okay, now not only are you the head of talent acquisition and we've grown maybe arguably too quickly, but now you're in charge of culture, policy, benefits and like the, all the things. And so-

[00:35:23] Sheila: Mm-hmm.

[00:35:23] Alexa: I feel like there's two ends of the spectrum here, which is like, you'll-you'll speak to people in this org- in this- in this industry, you'll say, you know, "Oh, well, you know, if you are, you know, growing really quickly and you're a young company, like you think you need one person, really, you need three and a half." And then there's the other people who are like, well, we're just gonna try to get this one person to do as much as fucking possible.

[00:35:42] Sheila: Mm-hmm.

[00:35:42] Alexa: And that's really, I think just the-the-the sort of like weight of people's experience being like, I can't do everything and-and like, people want to be specialists, but I'd be curious to hear like what you think in terms of like, when you are trying to add a function and the business-

[00:35:54] Sheila: Mm-hmm.

[00:35:54] Alexa: -has a use case for multiple functions, how do you think about adding that function to someone's existing, like scope or like adding a whole separate, like, tentacle to the octopus? That's a terrible analogy, but--

[00:36:07] Sheila: Yeah. [laughs] Yeah. If somebody has eight functions that early, they're really lucky. So we, uh, I just went through this where we were-- we hired a bunch of generalists, honestly, that was what we had to do. Right. That was the coping mechanism, but we intentionally hired generalists and we hired people who were nimble and creative learners. Like people who were willing to tackle a problem and were kind of growth mindset and learning-oriented, as well as getting some people that just had experience of across the gamut. Right?

So getting those generalists, and then what we were able to do just recently is we kind of looked at it and went, "Okay, what are the business needs?" So I just broke our function into talent acquisition. We have people ops and then we have people partners and what-- that was a hard move because we literally sat down. We got together when there was this like boiling COVID, met our guys. And we ran through like a DCI, and-and we did it as a team, just the leadership team, not the whole team of, uh, our people experience team.

But we had to really have some hard conversations about who owns this? And I don't know if you've all seen that article that went around years ago about giving away your Legos during scaling. And it was all about like the hardest part about scaling is you build-- you get your Lego set, right? And you start building and you're-- you have this goal of building this big, beautiful thing, but during periods of scaling, all of a sudden, it's like half-built and your heart's in it and you have to hand it to somebody else. That's the emotional shit that you've got to let go of.

[00:37:31] Tyson: Yes. So hard.

[00:37:31] Sheila: And so hard, right?

[00:37:33] Tyson: So hard.

[00:37:33] Sheila: You have this being the one to cross the finish line with it and you don't get to it. And so we had some really hard conversations where we went through all of the functions of people operations said, and by the way, the lines are really blurry and you can make a justification, like where does onboarding live, or-or not onboarding, but orientation. Right? Does orientation belong in talent acquisitions? Does it belong in people ops, like, and we had to say, who's gonna drive it?

Who's gonna be accountable? You know, who's gonna be-- we went through a daisy on it. And then we decided, and we had to make things trade-offs and it was not easy, but we were able to go through that process to kind of divvy that out. And honestly, we probably made a few mistakes. Like there's some things we've shifted and been like, this felt right here, but this really needs to go over here. So actually that means we have to shift a few headcounts, you know, and move somebody over here in order to let onboarding or orientation live in a certain place.

[00:38:23] Alexa: What's an example of something you learned that you were just like, "Oh, shit, we fucked that up." And you're like, "Oh, I didn't anticipate that."

[00:38:29] Sheila: Yeah.

[00:38:29] Tyson: And this is an important too-- point too, right? Like I-I think this idea of iteration is we should like really like double click on that because that's the-the biggest mistake I've seen is that you build this, like let's say it's like comp system for your 50 people organization. And then it's not until your 500 people that you're like, "Oh shit, this doesn't work anymore." So like-

[00:38:48] Sheila: Mm-hmm.

[00:38:48] Tyson: -iterating as you go and having the team in place to be able to do so.

[00:38:53] Alexa: Um, most organizations do not give their HR functions any ability to do that. But that's a--

[00:38:57] Tyson: Well, especially something like comp. Redoing comp all the time is not an easy, you don't wanna-- you wanna- you wanna get that right when you're small so that it does scale big, 'cause changing comp is a fucking mess.

[00:39:09] Alexa: But also looking further out.

[00:39:10] Sheila: Yeah.

[00:39:10] Alexa: Right? Like being able to say like--

[00:39:12] Tyson: What does that mean? Yeah

[00:39:12] Alexa: Yeah. Like, "Hey, we're gonna build it just for right now. We're gonna build this."

[00:39:16] Tyson: Well, that's exactly it. Exactly.

[00:39:17] Alexa: Knowing we wanna grow by 300 people in a year.

[00:39:19] Tyson: Also the long term.

[00:39:19] Alexa: Exactly.

[00:39:21] Sheila: Yeah. Our people team is probably so sick of me saying this, actually not just them, but our entire leadership team is I-- like people will be like, I need this time out. What do you need in 18 months? Tell me about it.

[00:39:31] Tyson: Mm-hmm.

[00:39:31] Sheila: What is 18 months like? How many people are in your function? What's going on? What knowledge, skills, and abilities do you need? If it does not fall for 18 months, it's not happening. And-and that is actually one of our gu-guiding principles, is like we built for long term solutions because in periods of scaling, otherwise yes, you have to iterate, but you will add extra iterations if you think myopically, or you think only six months ahead. So the question is not just how does this solve anytime we talk about a solution we look at, okay, what does this solve now?

And then we're like, "What does this look like with 400 people? What does this look like in 18 months? What does this look like when we have double the directors? Is this doable?" And if the answer's no, then we have to go back to the drawing board and rethink about it we're not gonna roll it out. We just did this with performance management. We-- it was like what we did before, sure it worked, but that's not gonna be scalable and we had to make some tweaks to our performance management and our talent management approach.

[00:40:23] Alexa: Yeah. All right back to my-

[00:40:24] Sheila: So I-

[00:40:24] Alexa: -back to back to my question, which is what did- what did you learn that you didn't see coming?

[00:40:28] Sheila: Yeah, I think orientation was one. Like where that led, it's still is confusing. I think-

[00:40:34] Alexa: Why?

[00:40:34] Sheila: -we've got it. We've got--

[00:40:35] Alexa: What's-- what-what are some of the things that come up that make it confusing?

[00:40:39] Tyson: This is confusing in-

[00:40:39] Sheila: That--

[00:40:39] Tyson: -every organization. [chuckles]

[00:40:41] Sheila: Yeah, right? [laughs]

[00:40:42] Tyson: It is.

[00:40:43] Sheila: It's that handoff from talent acquisition. We actually put it in people operations. Why? Because at the end of the day, they're the ones getting them computers. They're the ones that are interacting a little bit more with the hiring managers or getting the I-9s done. They have a little more of a relationship with the forward-thinking, not just the moment of bringing the recruiting in cause our TA team is really good about thinking about the business, but they're not always thinking about how-- what those people are doing as much long term whereas our team, our people ops team, which partners with our people partners team very closely about like what are the knowledge and skills they need. So we just had to have a conversation.

We assess at 30, 60, and 90 days, we ask the new employees, they get a popup. I told you I love popup surveys, you know, what are you learning? But we asked the recruiting team, is this a good fit? Like, do you think you're getting what you thought? 'Cause by 90 days you have a reasonable idea it's-- and it's not just the hiring manager it's everyone who interviews that person.

So I think that one was tricky and it's gone back and forth. I think it's in the right place but, for example, we had a-a recruiter forget to accidentally CC an offer letter to our people ops team, and then all of the sudden it was 48 hours out and we were like, "Oh, shit." Like they don't have their equipment, we have to get their accounts, and it was a scramble. So by having it live somewhere else, those things can fall through the gap. And for the record, I'm super proud 'cause out of like 90 people we brought on this year, that is the first one [laughs] so.

[00:42:07] Alexa: That's pretty good.

[00:42:08] Tyson: And that's- and that's super important is like knowing like what you're responsible for and staying in your lane so that you don't end up in that weird position where you're like not really sure and then you have to take something from someone that they think they own, which is like really heartbreaking in the HR world. I don't know why it's so hard to like-- I'm like that with my clients. Like I just want, like, all the clients and I don't wanna give the-- any of them up. And then I feel like, "Tyson, we need to like give one of your groups to someone else," I'm like, "No, like they're my clients," but no, super-

[00:42:34] Sheila: Exactly.

[00:42:35] Tyson: -super important and it's funny that you say that about onboarding just 'cause I feel like that's like a common- a common thing to like-

[00:42:40] Sheila: Yeah.

[00:42:40] Tyson: -wanna know. Cause recruiters, their job is just to bring the person into their organization and then they tap out.

[00:42:45] Alexa: That's why-

[00:42:45] Tyson: That's how I see it done.

[00:42:45] Alexa: -it's so important to like-like I feel like a lot of HR is like minding the gap, right? It's like someone's gotta keep their eye on the holes. Like it's very-- it's-- shit rarely gets fucked up when you hire decent people and they tend to know their roles and responsibilities. Where it gets fucked up, is like the handoffs and the gray areas.

[00:42:59] Tyson: The handoffs.

[00:43:00] Alexa: It's like this person didn't know the handoff process or the handoff process was not designed for the way that we bring people into this organization or-or it's, you know, it's new-

[00:43:08] Sheila: Yeah.

[00:43:08] Alexa: -and it wasn't communicated. It's like that's where- that's where you wind up fucking up on the- on the employee side-

[00:43:13] Sheila: Yeah.

[00:43:13] Alexa: -and the employee goes like, "My onboarding was a little weird, you know, it's kind of a strange experience. Like it was great and then it wasn't then it was."

[00:43:19] Sheila: Where it's tricky is onboarding to orientation. So orientation is owned by people operations 'cause they're doing that. That's like the first to us. We have corporate onboarding it's like two and a half days, this virtual environment, but 30, 60, 90-day onboarding where people know roles and expectations, that shift had to go to people partner. It just did because-

[00:43:37] Alexa: Right.

[00:43:37] Sheila: -they're in touch, they're the managers. And that was- that was another one that it was hard to delineate, right? As to your point, Alexa, about minding the gap, that's another transition, right? So it-- those are the ones that get a little bit trickier and I think performance management like there's a lot of training and development that helps with it, but who's really having the hard conversations and coaching the managers. And so that one, we had to kind of shift around a little bit.

[00:44:01] Alexa: Yeah, the bigger you get, the more, you know, the more silos you make in this function, the more- the more potential stops there are along the way to get something and that's when employees start to go like, "Oh, I hate our HR function, they're so bad." And it's like, actually, there's someone on this team that's rooting for you that's doing their best. There's just 15 red lights because they gotta get all the way over to like the benefits team who is in their own silo, who this isn't a priority for, and so the more sort of gaps you create, the harder it gets to sort of like move quickly. I think that's when people start to get-- they start to loop the whole function together and get frustrated by it. And that's when-

[00:44:34] Sheila: Yeah.

[00:44:34] Alexa: -it starts to break down so.

[00:44:35] Tyson: And also get the managers in on those. You know, HR shouldn't be owning this entire thing especially-

[00:44:40] Alexa: I think-

[00:44:40] Tyson: -onboarding, right? Like--

[00:44:41] Alexa: -managers just need to be more aware of the process and held accountable for helping the process happen. Like if I'm hiring for your team, you need to know how the HR team does this so that you can be in charge of getting your person through that process. It's not just like, "Oh, HR will get 'em in here. Like people team will take 'em and then-

[00:44:57] Tyson: Right.

[00:44:57] Alexa: -will hand 'em off." It's like, "No, you're-you're as accountable for us executing this process as we are."

[00:45:03] Tyson: They're fully accountable. I would say-

[00:45:05] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:45:05] Tyson: -they're fully accountable. Like--

[00:45:06] Sheila: Yeah.

[00:45:07] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:45:07] Alexa: Managers get-- they don't get enough shit in my opinion anyway, we've talked about that enough-

[laughter]

[00:45:11] Alexa: -and--

[00:45:11] Sheila: We have guiding principles which is kind of like our tenets, right. And we have our mission and we have our objectives and the first one is so intentional 'cause it's empowering our leaders to build organizational trust enthusiasm. I talk to my team all the time I'm like, "We don't build programs it's about empowering managers because that's actually how you build relational glue in an organization. So we help-- we are here to support, we are here to nurture, but like at the end of the day, the employee isn't gonna trust HR, they're gonna trust their manager way more. So it's all about empowering them. Like how do we set them up for success because, you're right, they should take some more accountability and they-- I think HR gets used to be blamed and I love to-

[00:45:49] Alexa: All the time it-

[00:45:49] Sheila: -run a function.

[00:45:50] Alexa: -goes for sure.

[00:45:51] Sheila: Yeah, I wanna run a function that's like, "No, no, no, this is a partnership." Like, every employee knows as part of our orientation, like, we empower our leaders like that is they are your first line of defense, they are there. And so I think if you structure how you build your programs and your policies and practices, you can try and nurture that. At the end of the day, a manager has to take accountability for it too.

[00:46:12] Alexa: Yeah, you gotta set it up that way, right. You're like yeah, it will be like the people function here is really intended to be the WD-40 to the gears not like the fucking whole engine, but that's-

[00:46:19] Sheila: Yeah.

[00:46:19] Alexa: -just, you know, it-it depends on how it got built and-and who's at the top mostly and-and the emphasis they put on that. So all right, sadly, we have to move to our people problem.

[music]

[00:46:40] Tyson: So this one is, do you ever get sick of working in HR or ever do you get tired of working in HR? [laughs]

[00:46:46] Alexa: I feel like this is--

[00:46:46] Tyson: And I guess what you do--

[00:46:47] Alexa: I feel like this-- Yeah, this feels like a-

[00:46:48] Tyson: What you do when you're feeling-- Let me elaborate-

[00:46:50] Alexa: -odd set-up-

[00:46:50] Tyson: -on that.

[00:46:51] Alexa: -question.

[00:46:52] Tyson: That was the question was, do you ever get sick of working in HR, but like let's a-add onto that of like, what do you do on those days where you're really feeling [laughs] shitty about being-

[00:47:01] Alexa: It feels-

[00:47:01] Tyson: -being in HR?

[00:47:01] Alexa: -where you get all the feels about being in HR.

[00:47:04] Sheila: Is that why there's like a big bottle of tequila is my advice. Is like is this specifically for those days-

[00:47:09] Alexa: Yeah, I was gonna say-

[00:47:09] Sheila: -[crosstalk] drink?

[00:47:10] Alexa: -I would- I would- I would say 90% of our guests have some sort of alcohol collection, uh, in their house and/or office in near proximity, uh, when we record these. So there's that, but aside from substances and vices, Sheila, what do you think? What do you-- do you ever, I mean, I can't think-- you cannot be in this profession and not just like have days where you're like, "Fuck this."

[00:47:33] Sheila: It's hard like we clean up messes, that is our job often, right. As much as we can try and build a perfect beautiful system and I love trying, people are human and messy and so our job is human and messy, and so-- and there's real people at the end of every decision and that is heavy. So yeah, like there are lots of days I don't want to do it anymore because it's just heavy and hard, right, and complicated. There's not a lot of black and white people love to think that. I find, I think, that's why just really focusing on building a strong team and having a good support system. I mean, honestly, for me sometimes if I get stuck and I just go for a run, I have to carve out like I'm a runner-

[00:48:18] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:48:18] Sheila: -sometimes I just have to say, "I'm walking away, I'm shutting the computer, I'm tying up my running laces. I'm going for a run or I'm going to step away from this problem and try my best." Um, the best thing I found for me, honestly, personally, was the-the job can consume you. I got a hobby that's why I started coaching. That was something for me that--

[00:48:39] Tyson: What do you coach?

[00:48:40] Sheila: The high school cross country and running. It was great for me because I'd start my days early at like 6:00 and I would go to like 6:00 or 7:00 at night, but to at 4:30, shut my computer and walk away and shift into something. So getting a hobby that allows you to shift your brain and be passionate about something else can often help. That's one of the best coping mechanisms [crosstalk]

[00:49:01] Alexa: Do you find that leaving for a while also helped?

[00:49:04] Sheila: Yeah, I mean, sometimes I think we just feel as though-- I think good HR people feel so committed and they have to be present and engaged. So like and have a high response rate and it's like, "You're human it's okay to step away and let that Slack or email not get answered for 30 minutes, you know, it'll be all right. Like go take care of yourself."

[00:49:22] Alexa: Yeah, we talked about the shelf life of HR on a prior episode and it was like, yeah, maybe this is-

[00:49:26] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:49:26] Alexa: -not a thing that you do-

[00:49:27] Tyson: Even like leaving HR-

[00:49:27] Alexa: -full throttle-

[00:49:28] Tyson: -yeah.

[00:49:28] Alexa: -all the time.

[00:49:28] Tyson: Yeah, yeah.

[00:49:28] Alexa: Like leaving the profession for a little while-

[00:49:30] Tyson: Leaving the profession.

[00:49:31] Alexa: -fucking great.

[00:49:31] Sheila: That--

[00:49:32] Tyson: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:49:33] Alexa: What do you think, Tyson?

[00:49:33] Tyson: That's funny I-I feel, okay, first of all, I put all my eggs in one basket because [laughs] because I work in HR and then like my side gig is like more HR and then my other side gig is this podcast so like more HR.

[00:49:45] Alexa: [laughs]

[00:49:46] Tyson: So I'm like maybe I should probably take a break. But I think one of the things that-- I-I-I saw this really cute post recently and it was like, take like a screenshot of like any sort of like good feedback that you get or anything like that and put it in a little happy folder on your desktop. And if you're having a shitty day read that and it sounds, like, a little, like, cushy but as a proper Leo, I love good feedback. So I-- that's something I definitely think I'm gonna- I'm gonna try to do but it's-it's just a cute idea just if you're having like a shitty day just generally like and you don't have to be in HR to do something like that.

But do I ever get sick of working in HR? I don't actually think so. I'm one of those freaks. I love it. When it's really getting hard and there's like a lot of drama, I just love it even more. So there's something like shitty things that I hate. Like, don't ask me a payroll question. Speaking of payroll, I can't stand that shit, um, or a benefits question.

[00:50:33] Alexa: Tyson, how do you feel about payroll? I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding. Don't touch that.

[00:50:38] Tyson: Can't stand it.

[00:50:38] Alexa: [laughs] Yeah. Yeah, look, I think it's like with-- I mean, I don't think any-- I don't think anyone loves everything they do all the time. I think Sheila-

[00:50:47] Tyson: Right.

[00:50:47] Alexa: Sheila, and you are right in that it's about, you know, I hate to use the balance word [inaudible 00:50:51] about work-life balance I feel like is a little hokey. You know, I think it's-- 'cause it's, like, it balances what you make it. That's-that's on you, right? Like no one else can determine your balance. Uh, and it's not necessarily a face value thing but I think, you know, with all things you've gotta decide what is your threshold for what you're willing to tolerate that makes the rest of it happen. Like when you're training for, you know, I'll be the jock again and make like a sports analogy. Like when I used to be a boxer, you do a lot of rounds on the bags.

Like you hit the heavy bag a lot, you hit the speed bag a lot and nobody fucking likes doing that all day. It's boring as shit and it's tiring and it's hard and it's repetitive. And you're like, but this is the thing that's gonna make me better. So I'm gonna suffer through it. And you have days where you just get clocked and you're like, I don't wanna do this anymore. But then you have to sort of pull back and go like, what is the larger goal of doing this to Tyson's point, what are the good moments I can remember?

And like just keep perspective, you know. Like I think one of the things that's sort of a theme that we talk about a lot that's sort of ties this in a nice bow is like when your function is not appreciated on an organizational level, it is so much easier to get to this point when you're in this profession to feel unappreciated, to feel exhausted, to feel-

[00:52:02] Sheila: Mm-hmm.

[00:52:02] Alexa: -you know, you're the person talking to the team about burnout and you're fucking burned out. Uh, and nobody is recognizing that because they're just like, "Ah, HR will deal with it." You know, everyone's having a mental health breakdown. HR will deal with it but we haven't checked on their fucking mental health. Like it's-it's just the irony roll-rolls pretty deep. So I think, you know, keeping your own perspective and then trying to check your perspective against your organization and-and like just being realistic if that's maybe working against you. I see a lot of people work quadruple to your point, uh, Sheila, 'cause they feel responsible and they, you know, most people don't get into this for the glory. They get into it 'cause they wanna help people.

[00:52:37] Sheila: Go into any other industry. Like pick something else [laughs]. Like, don't do it.

[00:52:41] Alexa: Yes. It's-it is selfless for sure. All right, Sheila, if people like what you have to say, where can they find you?

[00:52:46] Sheila: If you look on Twitter, it's probably very old but, uh, LinkedIn is gonna be the best. Uh, you can find me at Sheila Repeta. I think I'm the only one out there on the planet actually. [laughs]

[00:52:56] Tyson: Atta, girl.

[00:52:57] Alexa: So pretty easy. That's the best way or I can send over my email address somewhere, uh, for y'all. I love connecting with folks who are struggling. Like I think that's the other thing is how do you survive is we've gotta help each other because we don't know the answers and we've gotta be able to go to other organizations and be like, help me through this. What did you do?

[00:53:16] Alexa: Do you have mentors? Do you have people that-that have helped you through that in your career?

[00:53:20] Sheila: I do. I do. And there are people I still go to. There's probably five or six that, you know, I still talk to. And by the way, it's a very mutual thing where they come to me too where it's like, I'm stuck on this and how do we-- what do you do? And so some I talk to more or less frequently but I think that's really important. And being able to have that, the people off society, that's another way. Like it's just finding resources that, I mean, my team loves that they go there all the time because it's just great to find resources and people. Why-why rebuild something if someone's done it before and tells you it works. I think that's one of the other mistakes, so.

[00:53:56] Tyson: It's so much great. It's always- it's always good because nothing is black and white like you said. So it's always good to be able to bounce ideas off with people in your organization but even better sometimes outside your organization, so.

[00:54:06] Alexa: Yeah. All right, Sheila. Thanks for being here. You're a rockstar.

[00:54:10] Tyson: Thank you, talks soon.

[00:54:11] Sheila: Have a good day.

[00:54:11] Alexa: This episode was executive produced by me, Alexa Baggio with audio production by Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies. Outro music was also done by the wonderful Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies. You have more information about us and future episodes at People Problems--

[00:54:23] [END OF AUDIO]


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