27 - 10 Biggest HR Fails of 2021

In our last episode for the year we recap, recount, and re-laugh at the 10 biggest HR fails for the year. 2021 was an unforgiving and endless supply of epic f*cks for us all to enjoy.


Release Date: December 2021

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[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 This is not a stuck up PC compliance-based or employment law podcast about stuffy outdated HR practices.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 Mackenzie: And we had a strict no alcohol policy and everybody was like, "Oh, don't drink. HR is here." Meanwhile, [unintelligible 00:00:22] crack a beer.

[00:00:24] Alexa Baggio: If they're that disengaged before, they're gonna be that disengaged in the office and just be sitting at their desk looking at Facebook. They are going to find ways to [inaudible 00:00:30]

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

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[00:00:40] Alexa: Tyson.

[00:00:41] Tyson: How are you doing?

[00:00:43] Alexa: I'm good. It is our last episode of the year of 2021.

[00:00:47] Tyson: Oh my gosh. This year just like flew by. It's such a blur.

[00:00:49] Alexa: Time flies. And we got just over the hump 'cause I think this will be 27, and in theory there's 52 weeks in a year so we're just past halfway.

[00:01:00] Tyson: That's amazing. Wow. I can't believe we lasted this long.

[00:01:04] Alexa: I know. Right? We're-- we-we lasted, we've lasted this long. I don't know if anyone's still listening, but we're- we're still making them.

[00:01:10] Tyson: If you're there, please let us know.

[00:01:12] Alexa: Please let us know. Please share. Please tell your friends. Please tell us what you like and don't like about us. I also did us all a favor and I looked up some of the best jokes of 2021, which-

[00:01:24] Tyson: Oh.

[00:01:25] Alexa: -is actually very funny because you and I have tried to look up jokes on the internet before and there's none. It sucks when you try to look for jokes, but this one has some real- some real gems, like what did one hat say to the other, Tyson?

[00:01:37] Tyson: I don't know you. What did it say?

[00:01:39] Alexa: You wait here, I'll go on ahead.

[00:01:42] Tyson: [laughs] All right.

[00:01:44] Alexa: What are-- where are totally average things made?

[00:01:48] Tyson: Where?

[00:01:49] Alexa: The satisfactory.

[00:01:51] Tyson: That doesn't even make sense.

[00:01:53] Alexa: [laughs] Doesn't even make sense, they're all terrible. They're all terrible. Did you hear about the actor who fell through the floorboards?

[00:02:01] Tyson: No.

[00:02:02] Alexa: He was just going through a stage. [laughs] I can't read these. They're so bad.

[00:02:10] Tyson: Terrible.

[00:02:11] Alexa: You know what they say--

[00:02:12] Tyson: Who likes these?

[00:02:13] Alexa: You know what they say about cliff hangers?

[00:02:15] Tyson: What? They leave you hanging?

[00:02:18] Alexa: Just no, you're not supposed to respond. You just--

[00:02:20] Tyson: Oh.

[00:02:20] Alexa: [laughs] Bad jokes are the worst. Cringe. Anyway. All right. So we're gonna do something for our- our, what is- what the fuck does Spotify call it? Our year wraps?

[00:02:33] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:02:34] Alexa: And we are gonna do, today we are gonna bring you the top 10 HR fails of 2021. I'm sure there are more than these 10.

[00:02:45] Tyson: I know. I'm sure everyone's thinking about their own personal top 10 HR fails.

[00:02:48] Alexa: Yeah. And we wanna hear them and we want you to send them to us, pretty please. Um, I would love to work a regular fail segment into this podcast because if there's anything I've learned from the crazy stories episode that we did and-and some of the other ones where we've gotten listener feedback, is that shit is fucked sometimes.

[00:03:06] Tyson: It's crazy. It's crazy

[00:03:07] Alexa: And it's really funny. Uh, there's so much poop. So there were so many poop stories. [laughs]

[00:03:13] Tyson: Oh my gosh.

[00:03:14] Alexa: Still laughing.

[00:03:15] Tyson: Yeah, definitely got to go back and listen to that one. [laughs]

[00:03:18] Alexa: So many poop stories. Uh, all right. So are you ready, Tyson?

[00:03:22] Tyson: All right. Let's hear them.

[00:03:23] Alexa: All right. Rock and roll. Number one, everyone's delivery on their DE&I promises.

[00:03:28] Tyson: Mm-hmm.

[00:03:29] Alexa: So, I'm gonna say that this came out of 2021 as probably the hottest topic of the first half of the year.

[00:03:36] Tyson: Yep.

[00:03:37] Alexa: And obviously bled over from-from 2020, they're basically the same fucking year as far as everyone is concerned, I think. Just all the pandemic year. But I'm gonna venture to guess and I can tell just from the general zeitgeist which moves very quickly in this industry, uh, a lot of fads and a lot of bandwagoning in HR, that a lot of people have actually let this shit go by the wayside.

[00:03:57] Tyson: Yeah. And honestly, like, it's sad, but like, uh, I knew-I knew that this would happen. Like the-the summer of 2020 when everyone was coming out with like all these like major like commitments and everything like that, like I-I remember, I think I posted something on HR Shook like, "Okay, that's all like good, all these like major, major, major movements and big, big, big pieces of work that people want to do." And I'm like, "Ooh." Like, I feel like we really need to start small if we wanna achieve anything and like start small and actually execute because--

[00:04:28] Alexa: [crosstalk] of the time.

[00:04:30] Tyson: Right. So like now here we are. And like, I can't even think of any major company that's probably like really delivered on what they promised.

[00:04:37] Alexa: Yeah. I can tell you people are definitely, like all the groups I've worked with are still talking about this as part of their recruiting process and I think we'll--

[00:04:43] Tyson: Yeah, yeah, for sure.

[00:04:44] Alexa: -we'll talk more about some of- some of this later with the resignation stuff, but like-

[00:04:47] Tyson: Mm-hmm.

[00:04:48] Alexa: -I don't know that I've seen any great examples of people like crushing this. Um--

[00:04:51] Tyson: No.

[00:04:52] Alexa: And truthfully, like with all the other shit that's going on now in the world, like it's like definitely dropped to may-maybe like, not even like a B list topic, it's like a C list topic.

[00:04:59] Tyson: Yeah. It was deprioritized I'm sure.

[00:05:02] Alexa: Epic fucking fail.

[00:05:03] Tyson: As it always is. It always is the first thing to be deprioritized and it's really starting to piss me off.

[00:05:08] Alexa: Well, it's also-- this is why I get so frustrated by the fads in this space though, is like, we keep doing this and then by the time it comes back in three or five years, everybody's gonna roll their fucking eyes. And the problem is like, these are big, hard, complicated things to work on.

[00:05:20] Tyson: Yes. Yeah.

[00:05:21] Alexa: And you can not work on DE&I as like an occasional when we fucking think about an initiative. Like if [crosstalk]

[00:05:27] Tyson: Or when something bad happens. It's when something happens.

[00:05:29] Alexa: Right, when something shitty happens, basically.

[00:05:30] Tyson: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:05:31] Alexa: Exactly. And just to be clear, like not everybody has to work on this. Like there are some companies that do a pretty good job of this and their practices are fair and they've got good teams that reflect good practices, but like, you can't say it's an initiative and then be like, "Oh, actually, you know, fuck it. It's hard, so hiring's our new initiative." It's like, "Well, that was always gonna fucking happen.

[00:05:50] Tyson: Well, that's exactly what happens. Right? So it's like, "Oh yeah. Like, you know, we're looking for di- uh, diverse candidates so you have this like, you set out to like, when you're hiring, and then all of a sudden it's like, 'Oh, shit, we don't have anyone here, we just need to hire anybody as quickly as we can." And then [unintelligible 00:06:03]

[00:06:03] Alexa: Exactly. So it's like, "Well, we-we've focused on this more if we had the luxury of doing so." And it's like, "Well, then you weren't ever really focused on it then. And so--

[00:06:10] Tyson: Yeah 'cause it won't happen. Right.

[00:06:12] Alexa: I call a big fucking fail on that one.

[00:06:14] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:06:15] Alexa: All right. Number two. Ready? Recruitment technology.

[00:06:19] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:06:19] Alexa: Has just completely shit the bed in 2021. Uh, with-

[00:06:23] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:06:23] Alexa: - the reasons that we will- we will talk about a little later in this list, but like, it is just not-- There's so goddamn much of it. Like I was at HR Tech this year and it is just, between human capital management systems, whatever the fuck that actually means, and recruitment software, it is like, and tale-- like talent management software. It is fucking asinine the number of companies that are trying to attack that space. And it is still, from everyone I know that's been hired in the last year, an actual nightmare, or is trying to hire, an actual nightmare to find and weed out candidates.

[00:06:54] Tyson: Yeah. See that-- so that's like usually the side that I see it from, is folks who are trying to like hire, right? So like--

[00:06:59] Alexa: And I've experienced this myself in the last year like--

[00:07:01] Tyson: Right. So, and like sometimes--

[00:07:03] Alexa: So many LinkedIn resumes and they're all so bad.

[00:07:06] Tyson: Yeah. Like I talk to managers and I talk to recruiters and stuff and I'm like, "First of all, why are you still doing that?" Like why are-why are you still as a- like a-a manager, like looking through, screening resumes? Like we should have a-a useful technology that can like do that for us that actually comes up with some like good-good candidates.

[00:07:25] Alexa: I think we need like hinge for recruiting. [laughs]

[00:07:28] Tyson: The problem is like when you go-when-- if-if you go, you know, so far just like using keywords and that sort of thing is then you're like, 'Well, are we gonna be, you know, getting people out that like we-we-we shouldn't be. What's the word I'm looking for? Screening people out that- that shouldn't be screened out.

But we've also talked about how like the technology makes it so easy to apply to jobs that, like that becomes like just a nightmare to go through resumes. That's the biggest thing I think that like we're kind of like focusing on is like looking forward is how do we make it like more difficult to apply to jobs so people [crosstalk]

[00:07:58] Alexa: Yeah which I think is, yeah, you gotta really want it and--

[00:08:01] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:08:01] Alexa: You actually have the skills, does this actually fit your story? Like, I feel like there's a lot of ways to weed that shit out.

[00:08:06] Tyson: Yeah, for sure.

[00:08:07] Alexa: I know there's a lot of stuff happening in video in that space, but just still feels like a clusterfuck.

[00:08:11] Tyson: Oh God, video. I-- yeah.

[00:08:14] Alexa: Well, just like, you're not gonna make a video of you [crosstalk]

[00:08:15] Tyson: I'm never getting another new job if I have to make a video. I might--

[00:08:20] Alexa: We are-we are-we are technically recording video right now.

[00:08:22] Tyson: My-my lame, uh, attempt at Reels put me out of the video game.

[00:08:29] Alexa: Oh. Your attempt was appreciated though. It really was. That's right. Like I said, we-we have the face for podcasting.

[00:08:35] Tyson: For sure.

[00:08:36] Alexa: Yeah. So anyway, recruiting tech is just still, with everything going on with the rest of it, like it is just a clusterfuck, like between yeah. It's just bad. It's just not helping. It could have had such a moment given everything else that's going on in the world right, now for it to be like, "Look how this technology has really like, changed the face of how we hire."

[00:08:52] Tyson: It's such an easy win, too, like it's such an easy win and like, I-I always like think back to like the HR conference that I went to in like 2016 or 2017, where they were like, basically that we're all gonna get replaced by AI.

[00:09:04] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:09:05] Tyson: And I'm like, "Hey, I'm still waiting." Like, we don't, like, we're not even close.

[00:09:08] Alexa: Yeah. Recruitment tech and the AI- the AI bots that never came. Big fucking fail.

[00:09:12] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:09:13] Alexa: All right. Number three. Uh, everything that Amazon has done basically all year. [chuckles] Including and not limi- but not limited to Jeff Bezos going tra- going to the edge of fucking space while he's being written up in the news for not being able to pay his workers correctly and people pissing in bottles.

[00:09:32] Tyson: Well, no. So Jeff Bezos going up into space or to the end space is like--

[00:09:36] Alexa: Just everything Amazon

[00:09:37] Tyson: -is the epitome of what's wrong with Amazon. Like the world is literally crumbling-

[00:09:41] Alexa: Yes.

[00:09:42] Tyson: -below, on the earth. Like the earth is crumbling. And like-

[00:09:45] Alexa: Literally.

[00:09:46] Tyson: - people are out of work. Um, our freaking-- the climate impact to this space shuttle is like ridiculous and everyone's struggling and this jackass goes up into space?

[00:09:56] Alexa: Literally can't pay his employees correctly, but he is like, "Fuck you. I'm gonna get my rocket and show everybody-

[00:10:00] Tyson: Yeah, exactly.

[00:10:01] Alexa: - show everybody what I can do. It's like, well, a bunch already dick- a bunch of dickheads already did that. Like it's not even original.

[00:10:06] Tyson: Yeah, no. So--

[00:10:07] Alexa: And then came out and was like, "We wanna be the world's best employer." Like fuck you guys. Like they have just, Amazon has taken the hardest L for 2021 as far as like employer branding goes.

[00:10:16] Tyson: Yeah and it's just--

[00:10:17] Alexa: That's my- my big-- I'll die on that hill.

[00:10:20] Tyson: Yeah, it's just- it's just, I, yeah, everything that's wrong with Amazon is symbolized in Bezos going up to space.

[00:10:25] Alexa: It's just, it is-it is just like the fucking icing on the cake. Just like, oh yeah. You know, it's [crosstalk]

[00:10:30] Tyson: It's almost like laughable. Like you have to laugh to keep from crying on that one.

[00:10:34] Alexa: If you just picture him afterwards in his fucking cowboy hat, like that pretty much encapsulates the whole fucking situation.

[00:10:44] Tyson: Oh man. Just keeps getting richer.

[00:10:46] Alexa: Yeah. Amazon just took it on the fucking chin this year from an HR perspective, man. They didn't, I mean, they managed to-to-to fend off a union- a unionization at a major plant, but I, they didn't get a single fucking good piece of PR this year and honestly, they didn't deserve one and I- I'm happy that people are finally talking about it. So I say the only non-fail about Amazon failing all year is that people are actually talking about this shit now. And it's like in the news, but--

[00:11:11] Tyson: And they're commercials even, like, you know that they're- they got hit hard from like an HR perspective in- in these latest commercials that show like, "We are like, uh, you know--[crosstalk]

[00:11:22] Alexa: Oh, Amazon paid for my master's degree.

[00:11:24] Tyson: Yeah. I went and became a nurse with Amazon paying for it and you know, they're, it's so diverse and inclusive. I feel so included here. And like, it's like, okay. Yeah. You know, you're in trouble when you need to set those commercials out.

[00:11:36] Alexa: Exactly. Yeah.

[00:11:37] Tyson: But I do have to hand it to them. I'm pretty sure they like turned around a commercial with like an Adele song and I'm like holy shit, how did they do that so fast? But anyways.

[00:11:45] Alexa: Well, we'll give them a win for that.

[00:11:46] Tyson: Amazon doesn't sleep. Honestly, when my package arrives on like Sunday at 10:00 AM, I'm like, these poor bastards man. Like they don't- they don't quite [unintelligible 00:11:53]

[00:11:53] Alexa: Some fucking abused employee had to like piss in a bottle for you to get your fucking face cream tomorrow. [laughs] So fucking sad.

[00:12:02] Tyson: Oh man.

[00:12:04] Alexa: Oh, Jesus. But we still order from them

[00:12:06] Tyson: I tried to boycott but it's just too easy. Look, when my baby needs something like the next day.

[00:12:11] Alexa: Ugh, my whole Christmas tree. So some of that if you're listening, you cannot see. But if you're watching, you can see is all Amazon fucking decorations because I didn't have time to go anywhere else. And when I did go, which we'll talk about in a second, the supply chain's fucked--

[00:12:22] Tyson: There's nothing.

[00:12:23] Alexa: - and like every single store I went to looked like fucking hyenas had been there. It was crazy. I went into a Target, like a major Target in the city in like- like early December and it literally looked like fucking hye- like a zombie apocalypse. Like there wasn't a fucking ornament left in the Target.

[00:12:41] Tyson: Been like looted. Yeah.

[00:12:42] Alexa: I'm just like oh my God.

[00:12:44] Tyson: Yeah, we have the same issues here.

[00:12:46] Alexa: Yeah, yikes, we'll get to that, 'cause that is causing all kinds of other issues, but all right. Number four, are you ready? Number four on our top 10 HR fails for 2021 is everyone's return to office plan.

[00:12:58] Tyson: Well, especially now. It's like everyone, oops, everybody go back.

[00:13:02] Alexa: Everyone started the year being like, we're going back to the office in March. Then we're going back to the office in June. Then we're going back to the office after Labor day. And then we're going back to the office January 1st. And now guess what? Nobody's going fucking back to the office right now. It's just not fucking happening.

[00:13:18] Tyson: No one's going back. And if you did go back, then you're, like if you did go back to the office, I'm sure you're probably getting sent back home now

[00:13:24] Alexa: Potentially. Or-or they're just gonna mandate vaccines and testing and all that shit, which- which is actually some of the [crosstalk]

[00:13:29] Tyson: Even those guys those-- even-even those people I think are-are getting shut out. I know I was talking to my husband and like even their vaccine or no vaccine, no office.

[00:13:38] Alexa: Fascinating. Yeah, it's probably coming, we'll see. It's uh, but I have, I just feel bad 'cause I've watched so many groups like try to plan for this and then have to like put it on pause and then try to plan again and then put it on pause. And it's just like, I'll be honest. I don't think anyone's return to office plan is gonna go the way they think it is because I think flexibility is just here to fucking stay. But I don't, I, whatever the fuck hybrid, I don't know what that means. But like I think the concept of like getting everyone back to a sort of consistent structured office space is probably a dead concept for the next decade.

[00:14:10] Tyson: Yeah, I have no interest. I have no interest.

[00:14:11] Alexa: But getting people back such that they can use the office, or have it as a space, or have it as part of the environment, not a requirement, but a part of it, I think is gonna be a big topic for the next couple years, but anyone's return to office plan has been fucked. [crosstalk]

[00:14:25] Tyson: I think that if-if we, if COVID had been like a two minute thing and like- like I think people wanted to go back to the office, like, let's say like last April, 'cause they were like getting like a little bit like cabin fever, staying at home. But I think people have just gotten to a place where they've so settled in to working at home. At least the people that I know, that to go back into the office just sounds like bizarre.

[00:14:44] Alexa: I just think it's gonna be an option instead of a requirement. And I think people are gonna have to work really hard to make the office like an actual meaningful part of the experience.

[00:14:53] Tyson: Useful space. Yeah.

[00:14:55] Alexa: Exactly, 'cause I do think there's-- Look, as someone who has a fully remote team and has no- and what -and did well before the pandemic and has no intention of- of not, like, it would be nice to just have a designated space that I could fly everybody into and not have to worry about like booking shit all the time, but-

[00:15:08] Tyson: Mm-hmm.

[00:15:08] Alexa: - outside of like, again, that would be a thoughtful space that's not, you know, optimized for bodies in the door and, you know, six square feet, you know, what they used to be. I mean, people used to fucking cram into offices.

[00:15:19] Tyson: Like a collaboration space.

[00:15:21] Alexa: Yeah, exactly. Like a- like an innovation space and a lab space where you could like get together and use it. And I-I think that's sort of the future of the office and yeah, God- God bless the people who have now planned like three times to go back. I'm- I'm sorry to those teams-

[00:15:35] Tyson: I'm happy that I- I don't have to do that.

[00:15:35] Alexa: - 'cause they're gonna have to do it again.

[00:15:38] Tyson: Yeah. It's such a waste, man. Like I-I don't know. I-I, I'm fully remote and I'd never had to deal with that. So like it's-it's awesome.

[00:15:45] Alexa: Yeah. I have, I-I know people that I've, look, I'm-I'm, I've been the biggest proponent of remote for the longest time, but I do have friends that are like, okay, well we're starting to go back. We're back at like 20% capacity. We're back at like 30% capacity. And then it, they're just doing this fucking tiptoe. And it's like, I feel so bad for the people that are managing that bullshit. Like, oh my God.

[00:16:03] Tyson: Yeah I know.

[00:16:03] Alexa: Like, okay, you're, you're squad, your cohort A, you're in on these days. You're cohort B, you're-- It's like, this is so fucking stupid.

[00:16:09] Tyson: Even just like the nightmare of people who are like, I don't wanna go back. Like I don't wanna go back or like, guess what? Sorry. I moved, like I moved to a different city. Like I'm not going back to the office, like-

[00:16:18] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:16:18] Tyson: - that from my like, from my perspective, from like dealing with that HR shit, like that comes with getting people to go back in or people who are-- Yeah, no. No thanks.

[00:16:27] Alexa: Yeah, yeah. Yep. Return to office. Big fail.

[00:16:30] Tyson: Let's just hunker down till next summer at least.

[00:16:32] Alexa: Big fucking fail. I think people are gonna start to get out after this Omicron shit dies down a bit. I mean, whenever the fuck that is. But I think people are--[crosstalk]

[00:16:39] Tyson: I was gonna say whenever that is-- [crosstalk]

[00:16:41] Alexa: I think people are over the COVID thing, like at least here in US.

[00:16:43] Tyson: Oh for sure.

[00:16:44] Alexa: Like we're not shutting all the way back down. Like--

[00:16:46] Tyson: We will, we, I--

[00:16:48] Alexa: I don't think we're gonna shut all the way down. I think people are over that shit.

[00:16:50] Tyson: Quebec is locking down, I think, in Canada and I suspect that Ontario will be close behind. But Ontario's been the most locked down place this whole pandemic, so.

[00:17:02] Alexa: I don't know if I can do it again, man.

[00:17:03] Tyson: Specifically Toronto.

[00:17:05] Alexa: I don't know if I can do it again.

[00:17:05] Tyson: Yeah, I'm pretty much on lockdown anyways, so. Babies will do that to you.

[00:17:10] Alexa: All right. Onto number five. So this one might be the one that hurts my heart the most. Well, Amazon's I still think is the biggest on the list. This one hurts my heart the most. And again, this is a bit of a U- US-centric list, so I apologize. The Paid Family Leave Act extension that we were trying to pass in this country to extend paid family leave to 12 weeks.

Part of Biden's like $1.85 trillion economic and environmental recovery act, just got totally fucking swiped. There- it's just, we have done nothing in this country to support, uh, paid parental leave. After a whole fucking year and a half of talking about how the single most important thing you can do to support working parents is just get them sufficient leave and sufficient childcare benefits.

Like it is fucking fascinating to me. I realize that I'm saying as someone who's on a year long mat leave so you're like, I don't get it, but-- And you should stay- you should stay smug 'cause Canada's right on this one, but what an epic fucking fail.

[00:18:08] Tyson: I get this more than anyone. I get this because I-I chat with like a group of moms and a lot of them are in the US and a lot of them are planning to go back. So they had their babies around the same time as me and they're all planning to go back in the new year. And I just think like, I-I couldn't do it. Like I couldn't- I couldn't imagine. And like, it just, it-it does really hurt my heart to think about that 'cause like, I know I couldn't leave my baby yet. Like I just, there's just no way. She's not ready. Like I'm not ready. Like it's just, it kills me. I don't know.

[00:18:37] Alexa: I just think that was an epic fucking fail on our part. I think it's penny wise and dollar foolish 'cause I, yeah, anyway.

[00:18:43] Tyson: I just like, don't know how something like that gets, like fails. Like it's 2021. Like we're moving into 2022. Like get on with it. [unintelligible 00:18:50]

[00:18:51] Alexa: There's just a lot of selfish bullshit that goes into some of- how it's thought about.

[00:18:54] Tyson: It's a lot of old white men making these decisions. I think like--

[00:18:58] Alexa: I also think, well, I also think there's like religious groups and lobbying and people tend- people tend to be very skeptical of like large welfare based subsidies. So they're like, oh, I don't wanna pay for you to have kids. Which like, I understand in a way, but also like, we have to have productive workers in the economy and one of the only ways to do that is to empower women to join the workforce. But the only ways you can do that is to give them appropriate leave. Like--[crosstalk]

[00:19:22] Tyson: And the thing is the government wastes so much fucking money on other bullshit.

[00:19:25] Alexa: Oh my God. Don't even get me started. Yeah.

[00:19:27] Tyson: Yeah. Like, so I don't know.

[00:19:30] Alexa: It just felt like it was such a tee up because we just experienced a year and a half of articulating how fucking important that was and we just epic fucking fail. So epic fucking fail. Moving onto number six, which is equally as big a fail and that is, at least here in the US, the Biden and OSHA attempt at corporate or employer vaccine mandates over 100 employees. So at least here and-and- and countries all over have done a version of this, but for us at least it got tied up in Supreme courts and there basically, it just got- it just got released saying that OSHA actually can now implement this vaccine mandate, but I'm not giving the actual idea a fail and I don't really care where people stand on this stuff.

[00:20:05] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:20:06] Alexa: This is not a- this is not an opinion conversation, but it is more just like the act of attempting to do this and-and trying to just like blanket the issue with like, "Well, we'll just make every employer over 100 employees, like require vaccine mandates." Like the fact that they thought that that was just gonna go through [laughs] its like a lot of like wishful ignorance there and so just epic fail that they--

[00:20:26] Tyson: I don't even know, like to be honest, like again, I-I can't speak to like, what's going on in the states at all, but like in Canada, pretty much everyone did that without being told to, right? So you either have a vaccine mandate or a testing--

[00:20:39] Alexa: Testing. Yeah.

[00:20:39] Tyson: So I don't- I don't know a lot of people that work jobs that don't have that at this point, unless obviously like they're self-employed or they- they are fully remote. I don't know. But like-

[00:20:47] Alexa: Well, it's also--

[00:20:48] Tyson: - people just kind of did that.

[00:20:49] Alexa: Yeah. It's also really funny because I think-- and one of the reasons I think this is a fail, again, not because I don't think it'll eventually be implemented, and-and not that I do or don't agree with that. It doesn't matter.

[00:20:59] Tyson: Mm-hmm.

[00:20:59] Alexa: Is that one of the things that started to happen as soon they put this out there-- I was recently reading an article that was- that was like, it was some astronomical fucking number. It was like 20% to 25% of people who are being required to show vaccine proof to return to the office are willing to forge the documents. They're willing to fucking lie about it just because they're like, well, fuck it, I got to do it, but I'm not gonna do it, so I'll just fucking lie about it. I'm sure they're gonna wind up making that some sort of like horrific criminal offense, but--

[00:21:29] Tyson: It-is, it is just one of those, like, people are getting huge fines.

[00:21:31] Alexa: It might be here. I don't know but--

[00:21:32] Tyson: Yeah,

[00:21:33] Alexa: Just like one of those sort of like unintended behavioral consequences of like implementing something without doing a whole lot of like behavioral research is like, yeah-yeah, we're gonna make you do this and the outcome is gonna be that one fourth of you lie about it.

[00:21:45] Tyson: I just feel like so much--

[00:21:47] Alexa: But I guess if you lie about it, they can't be liable for if you get sick and they don't have to pay for you, which is probably the biggest concern.

[00:21:52] Tyson: Like, look, I just feel like so much of everything that's gone into COVID is just the biggest fucking waste of time and money. Like we have not done anything right as it relates to COVID at this point. And I'm just like, I-I'll speak on behalf of the entire world. We're sick of it so [laughs].

[00:22:09] Alexa: Everybody wants this shit to end.

[00:22:11] Tyson: Everybody wants this shit to end so I'll leave it at that.

[00:22:14] Alexa: I give them- I give them- I give them an A for the attempt. I give them an F for the full execution and-and how that got perceived, rolled out, and in general executed to date. So that is number six on our fails list. All right. Number seven, and these start to get, we're going sort of in quasi-chronological order. Is Tim Cook's Apple return to the office announcement. There were other announcements like this. I'm just using this one as the sort of like prime example, also because we talked about it on a prior episode, but like, what an epic fucking fail like, not just [crosstalk]return to work thing. Yeah.

[00:22:47] Tyson: Let's remind people.

[00:22:48] Alexa: Yeah, so Apple came out, I think it was like maybe June or July. Came out and said, "Hey, so we're gonna do a hybrid arrangement. You're gonna start to come back to the office and you can work from home, but you have to be in the office Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday." Like, or-or Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, whatever it is. They like mandated the days-

[00:23:07] Tyson: Yeah, the days.

[00:23:08] Alexa: - that you-you had to be in the office and it was like, so this is not really flexible. This is just a three day in the office work-week and people went fucking ape shit, as they should, because it's a ridiculous fucking policy. Don't call it flexible and then mandate the days and hours I have to be there. That's fucking stupid.

[00:23:26] Tyson: Right. With no, like let's say like they mandated it, but again, like, so let's say on a team level, they mandated that, "I want you to be here on Monday, Wednesday, Friday." With the intent that we will be doing, you know, innovation and like research and development, like team stuff. Like, you know, like there was no requirement with that. Does that make sense? Like, what I'm trying to say here is like, if you're gonna mandate, when people need to be in the office, it better be for a damn good reason and not just like bums in seats, right?

[00:23:52] Alexa: Right.

[00:23:52] Tyson: It should be because like, maybe there's like a, I don't know, an all staff meeting or something.

[00:23:57] Alexa: That's-that's what they were trying to say is like, well, we need you in the-- we need you in for these and these meetings and it's like, there's just no fucking way that everybody's having these meetings on the same day.

[00:24:04] Tyson: The whole company, no, no.

[00:24:06] Alexa: It's fucking ridiculous.

[00:24:04] Tyson: At a team level, like it should be done at the team level and the manager can decide.

[00:24:08] Alexa: This is just butts in seats, yeah. Like why should we tell 10,000 people that they have to work on these days in the office. Like what the-- No, this is not a fucking flexible work policy so shame on you, Tim Cook. That was a terrible fucking idea and you get an epic fucking fail for 2021 on that one. And everyone who did the same shit 'cause that-that is just not, you cannot put the cat- this cat back in the bag that easily.

All right. Speaking of cats, out of the bag, number eight, the Great Resignation. And there are so many things that have gone into this, but let's define why the great resignation is a fail. One, the branding of the great resignation is a huge fail, like--[crosstalk]

[00:24:45] Tyson: I was listening to like another pod-- Hold on. I was listening to like a-- this is how mainstream, I didn't realize how mainstream the great resignation was, but I was listening to like another podcast and there was like a commercial break and like companies are using this as like their promotional material now, the great resignation. It was like for like a recruitment company or something. Everyone's trying to make money off the great resignation now.

[00:25:05] Alexa: Everyone's trying. Yeah and it's just like, I don't know who the fuck coined it, but it's a-- it's an obnoxious branding and it's funny to see other people play with it. Like I-I read an article the other day they called today they called it like the great reshuffling cause it's not really a resignation--

[00:25:16] Tyson: Yeah-yeah.

[00:25:17] Alexa: Like I want something different.

[00:25:19] Tyson: There's an article that's literally dedicated to all the names that other-- that people are calling the great resignation.

[00:25:25] Alexa: Talk about that, cause it-it's probably pretty fucking funny. Um, but you know, I-I think in a lot of ways this is a fail, one, because it is not a good thing for there to be such a disparity between jobs needed and people enter entering the label- labor market. I also think one of the things that gets missed on, which is also a huge fail and not something to be like sort of lightly overlooked, is a lot of people because of everything going on in the world just opted for early retirement. They just got the fuck out. They were like, well I'm-- I was four years away before, the pandemic's lasted for two years. Fuck it, I'm dipping out.

[00:25:59] Tyson: Or women. Women also quit.

[00:26:01] Alexa: Yeah. Women who-- yeah, that was-that was a huge, speaking of number five, [unintelligible 00:26:03] leave was a huge fucking problem. People-people quit or downsized their schedules and I just think it's-it's gotten painted as this like, oh, everyone's just quitting cause they've decided they want something else and it's like, it's actually a lot darker than that. Uh, and it's not good. Like it's not good for the labor market to have this much disparity. It's not good for this many companies to be hiring and there to be so few applicants. Um, because it means that the economy will not grow.

[00:26:29] Tyson: Yeah, and like, I don't know about you, but like we have, like where I am living, like in all like the major like shop complexes and like where there's like restaurants and stuff, there's like help wanted signs everywhere. Like it's like, it's so dystopian, like all these help wanted signs and like I know they-they raised the, um, minimum wage, but I don't even think that's helping cause I feel like this isn't like again, Canadian context, like people are still making a shit load of money off government handouts, so if they were laid off for COVID reason, there's no reason for them to work. They're still making more money than they-they would probably when they were working.

[00:27:05] Alexa: Yeah you can't- you can't give people a bunch of shit and then expect- then expect them to work for it. But same thing, like here in the US, we just ended those subsidies a few months ago and people are definitely getting back to work but one of the-one of the things we've talked about in this podcast before is like a bunch of these resignations are just people who were in shitty restaurant jobs.

[00:27:20] Tyson: Well, that's what it is. It's low wage work. Yeah.

[00:27:23] Alexa: Work that they were like, well, for a while, I'm gonna just go live on my subsidy or on my payments and like, I'm gonna think about how much I really want to go be a busboy for 18 hours a day.

[00:27:31] Tyson: I-I also think that there was a lot of people that, um-- like, okay, if we're not looking at low wage, but let's say like more like white collar jobs. A lot of people who probably would've quit in 2020 held off because the pandemic, there was still a lot of uncertainty. So people maybe stayed longer than they would've. And then it was just like a whole bunch of people that, uh, quit at the same time to go somewhere else.

[00:27:51] Alexa: [inaudible 00:27:51]

[00:27:52] Tyson: Yeah, but again, like it-it-it was probably cause they were planning on quitting anyways, but then it just-- they all stayed up. It's like at the weddings, right? Like no one could have a wedding in 2020 so there was like 8 billion weddings in 2021.

[00:28:02] Alexa: Yeah, exactly. Uh, no, Omicron's having a fucking field day.

[00:28:06] Tyson: Fucking Omicron, man. [chuckles]

[00:28:08] Alexa: The silver lining of the low wage piece of this is that-

[00:28:10] Tyson: Yes.

[00:28:10] Alexa: - people like Amazon are now paying $22 an hour and giving you a $3,000 signing bonus, like--[crosstalk]

[00:28:14] Tyson: Walmart too, doing crazy stuff like that.

[00:28:15] Alexa: It has made some of these- some of these groups get their fucking shit together and hopefully that-that-that stays the norm and they-they continue to pay a living wage and be mindful of their employee experience. But yeah, uh, the whole conversation around the great resignation has been a cluster fuck. I give it a fail.

[00:28:30] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:28:31] Alexa: All right. Moving on. Similarly related, number nine, is the Supply Chain Issues that are now causing-- so the chain reaction to supply issues is that it is now causing inflation.

[00:28:44] Tyson: Mm-hmm.

[00:28:44] Alexa: And the problem with inflation that makes this a huge fucking HR fail is that this is about to fuck with everybody's pay. So when inflation rises, the value of your dollar lessens, and if you are not accurately adjusting pay, which a bunch of organizations will not, well, the lag will be so bad that it will wind up fucking a bunch of people in the meantime, means that you're actually getting less for the dollars you're being paid.

Uh, and that is a huge problem for HR professionals.

It's also a huge problem just trying to stay on top of, cause we don't, nobody knows how long this nobody knows how bad it'll get, you know, cost of gas is up in at least the US to like $3.50, $3.60. It's not cheap and like that's just one example of like your paycheck does not go as far as it used to right um, which compounds a lot of these issues. So that is a fail for everybody. Yeah. Um, the supply chain stuff is fucked.

[00:29:33] Tyson: Yeah. It really is. I-it's-it's definitely concerning like-- it's like this vicious economic circle of like not making enough money, not being able to afford stuff, not working. Just a whole cluster.

[00:29:49] Alexa: It's a vicious, it's just a cycle. I mean, these are the cycles that people go through. Right? I wanna make more money, I wanna do something else, I wanna do something different, you know, I don't wanna work at all and the-- they're always going to continue to cycle. I just think combining an already depressed labor market with the value of the dollar-

[00:30:07] Tyson: Right.

[00:30:07] Alexa: -as a paid employee being weakened is like really not fucking helping anybody, uh-

[00:30:13] Tyson: But, like, maybe I'm just, like, a dummy when it comes to economics but, like, shit's expensive, okay. Like stuff is really, really expensive. So you think, like, with that, like, people need to work but, like, people aren't working because the government is like giving out handouts.

[00:30:28] Alexa: Some of that is gonna tail off. Some of that is gonna tail off.

[00:30:30] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:30:30] Alexa: People are gonna have to get back to work.

[00:30:32] Tyson: Not here, not in Canada. Trudeau loves it when people don't work. Not to get political.

[00:30:39] Alexa: God bless him.

[00:30:41] Tyson: He would prefer none of us work and we all just get government handouts, I think.

[00:30:44] Alexa: That's how-that's how the movie Wall-E starts, I think. Uh, we just all wind up in tracksuits on fucking hovercraft recliners, drinking milkshakes.

[00:30:52] Tyson: Okay. Wall-E is like, I've been thinking a lot about Wall-E lately. [laughs] Okay, like just- just saying. Just saying.

[00:31:00] Alexa: Yeah, that's a slippery slope. A slippery slope. Yeah, we're all gonna wind up on-on big fat hover Lazyboy.

[00:31:09] Tyson: [laughs] Just [unintelligible 00:31:10]

[00:31:10] Alexa: In our tracksuits. Um, yeah. Anyway, um, so the pay- the pay comes, people are- at your company are-are fucked for the next few years, um.

[00:31:20] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:31:20] Alexa: It's a big fail. And then last but not least, our most recent probably story. This is not a new one for anybody, but it is really icing on the cake right before the holidays, uh, and that is thebetter.com CEO firing 900 employees-

[00:31:32] Tyson: Sad.

[00:31:32] Alexa: -in something like three to six minutes on a mass Zoom call.

[00:31:36] Tyson: On Zoom, yeah.

[00:31:37] Alexa: And I know everybody knows that story, I know that's not new. Um, but that is probably the biggest and most recent fail because it's just a perfect example. It's like Amazon, his fucking cowboy hat after his rocket-his rocket trip, like, it just totally missed the mark on where-where the culture has gotten on these things-

[00:31:59] Tyson: Mm-hmm.

[00:31:59] Alexa: -and how people have learned to do this and remote culture. And those guys just took a huge fucking PR L for no reason and it's like, "What? Has that guy hit his head under a rock for two fucking years?" Like what-what, like what-what you don't do. Shit on Zoom you want your employees to record. Like, there's one thing we've learned in 2020 and 2021, it's like don't do shit that your employees can record.

[00:32:25] Tyson: Seriously. Seriously it's and just, like-

[00:32:28] Alexa: It's not only a fail 'cause it sucks for 900 people before the holidays but I'm sure they got some-some comp. It's-it's a fail because it's like, how the fuck did you [unintelligible 00:32:35] this hard?

[00:32:37] Tyson: Right. So here's-- Let's just, like, go through this thought process very quickly. So when you're firing 900 people or 800 people, whatever it was, like, that's a lot of coordinate-- Like that's a lot of work goes into, like, a layoff of that magnitude.

[00:32:52] Alexa: Yes.

[00:32:52] Tyson: Like huge, huge, huge amounts. Like I've-I've done, like, probably max, like 40, and the work and coordination that goes into that and, like, the re-resources needed to do, like, a layoff of that size, like it's a lot-a lot of effort, right? So, you know, you might think that, you know, just doing it over Zoom, like a mass termination is-is the best case scenario but like, it's just so insensitive at this point. And like all you have to do is get the manager of the person to have the conversation with the individuals and you split up that way and it's not nearly as, like, as difficult. But I guess easier said than done. The-the, like, planning of something like that is-is a lot of work. So, uh, it's a-it's a shitty easy way out.

[00:33:36] Alexa: It's a lot of work for an epic fucking fail.

[00:33:38] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:33:41] Alexa: Yeah. So that's my-- That-- Those are our top 10 fails, so.

[00:33:44] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:33:45] Alexa: DE&I delivery, Recruitment Tech, Amazon everything, return to office plans, paid family leave not getting passed, vaccine mandates, Apple's office announcement, the great resignation, inflation leading to pay issues, and the Better.com CEO epic fail. So those are my-those are my fails for 2021. I'm sure there are many more.

[00:34:05] Tyson: Oh yeah.

[00:34:06] Alexa: Um, we would love to hear them if you have ideas. We also obviously would love to hear your feedback. Um, if you give us one gift as a listener of this podcast, it would be to share this with your HR friends and colleagues, um, tell the world about People Problems. And, um, I guess number 11, if I had to say, Tyson, would be just not starting this podcast with you sooner. Well, we've only- we've only been doing this for 27 episodes, so.

[00:34:29] Tyson: It's so wild. I think that this podcast, in general, is the biggest win that came out of 2021. So we'll just leave it with that.

[00:34:36] Alexa: Yeah. Leave it with that. All right, my dear. Enjoy-[crosstalk]

[00:34:38] Tyson: Awesome.

[00:34:39] Alexa: Talk to you in 2022.

[00:34:40] Tyson: See you next year. Ha, ha, ha. Bye.

[00:34:43] Alexa: Bye.

[music]

[00:34:44] Voiceover: This episode was executive produced by me, Alexa Baggio, with audio production by Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies. Our intro music was also done by the wonderful Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies. You can find more information about us and future episodes at peopleproblemspod.com or follow us at People Problems Pod on all things.


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