34 - Getting Ahead of the 'Great Whatever'

We are joined by Elizabeth Meagher, growth stage People Ops extraordinaire, who specializes in scaling 2 person start-ups to 400 and then knowing when it's her time to go... We drill down exactly WTF is the 'Great Resignstion', where the heck is everyone going, and what should you do when people leave? Big opportunities on this one, kids, listen up!


Release date: Feb 23, 2022

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[00:00:00] Ad Voice: 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 This is not a stuck-up PC compliance-based or employment law podcast about stuffy, outdated HR practices.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] Alexa Baggio: Just another day in the office.

[00:00:18] Tyson Mackenzie: There's nothing better than a bunch of people who work in HR getting around a table and sharing these stories. We have this like out-of-body experience in HR, where you're like [unintelligible 00:00:26]. It's not so bad.

[00:00:26] Alexa: It's not so bad.

[crosstalk]

[00:00:29] Alexa: Come hang out with Tyson and I on this podcast. We'll make you laugh.

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

[00:00:41] Alexa: Hi, Tyson. I'm glad you're prepared.

[00:00:44] Tyson: Hey [crosstalk]--

[00:00:45] Alexa: Starting this one feeling a little unprepared now that you said that.

[00:00:48] Tyson: You're scrambling all over the place. I'm just sitting here ready to start.

[00:00:50] Alexa: It's just Tuesday. This is the best part of my Tuesday every week is recording with you because Tuesdays are always a shitshow. It's not as good as a Monday, there's less adrenaline from the weekend, I'm not halfway there, it's not Wednesday yet. It's just a big old shitshow.

[00:01:04] Tyson: Every day is just Groundhog Day for me these days so--

[00:01:08] Alexa: Crying babies and--

[00:01:09] Tyson: Yes, I can just live vicariously through you and your busyness and all the spinning wheels that you have up in here because I'm like-- All right, but yes, so she's crying today a lot, so [crosstalk]--

[00:01:21] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:01:21]

[laughter]

[00:01:24] Alexa: I love it. All right, cool. Anything else new?

[00:01:27] Tyson: Not really. I'm literally so close to getting 10K followers on HR Shook. So, just like a shameless plug, make sure if you're not following, go follow @hr.shook [crosstalk]--

[00:01:37] Alexa: If you're listening to this podcast and you're not following HR Shook at this point, I'm disappointed in you.

[00:01:41] Tyson: Yes, but I really just want to get to 10K. It's been a personal goal of mine for a long time, so get on it.

[00:01:46] Alexa: Well, let's get you there with the four people that listen to this podcast.

[laughter]

[00:01:52] Alexa: Amazing. All right, cool. Well, without further ado, let's move to POPS in the news.

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[00:02:07] Alexa: Our article this week is, I would say, less of an article and more of just an FYI if this is interesting to you. It is a topic we tend to sporadically cover here on People Problems. The release is basically that Lululemon has released its second annual Global Wellbeing Report. The reason this is interesting is not because this report is earth-shattering, by any means, but it is what they call a Global Wellbeing Index.

They're tracking how people are viewing overall workplace wellbeing and wellbeing for employees on the whole. The index actually rose a point this year, which is interesting. Then there are some interesting takeaways from the index based on how people feel across physical, mental, and social dimensions of wellbeing. They found some interesting stuff like higher well-being is driven by an increased focus on mental health and better coping strategies.

Probably not rocket science that a bunch of people have gotten better at coping in the last two years, but some other interesting stuff like social media mindfulness continues to be something that people are actually paying attention to. Community. We're obviously big community proponents around here, but community plays a huge role in wellbeing, and people are actually starting to recognize that. Half of global citizens, 52%, recognize the importance of community, that a sense of belonging to a community is one of the top drivers of their wellbeing. All kinds of fun little nuggets in here like that.

I thought it was fascinating that they've continued to do this and that-- Obviously, it fits what Lulu stands for. A lot of the [crosstalk] [inaudible 00:03:41] this report, you probably buy Lululemon to do.

[00:03:44] Tyson: Yes, but I love that. It's shameless. No, I love that. Quick question. One thing [crosstalk]--

[00:03:48] Alexa: Shameless but helpful.

[00:03:49] Tyson: Yes, exactly. What I didn't understand from the article, who are they surveying? Is it employees or everybody? That's one thing that I couldn't gather from this because it was talking a lot about Gen Z's and stuff like that. Because at first, I thought it was like an employee wellbeing report, and how they were going to help their employees with some of these wellness items, but I wasn't sure. Because it really got into like Gen Z's using social media more, which resulted in lower wellbeing, so I just wasn't sure.

I guess Gen Z's are working. How old are we? [chuckles] But [crosstalk]--

[00:04:17] Alexa: Everybody works. It is a global survey. It says it was managed by Edelman Data & Intelligence. They fielded responses in 10 markets: Canada [crosstalk]--

[00:04:26] Tyson: It's like sponsored by Lululemon?

[00:04:26] Alexa: -the US, the UK, France, Germany, South Korea, Japan, China, Singapore, and Australia. Yes, I think they [crosstalk] sort of paid for this to be done.

[00:04:33] Tyson: Okay, got it. Right.

[00:04:36] Alexa: Yes, but all these questions, like if you feel eating healthy makes you feel better or is part of your wellbeing, I don't think that matters if you're a worker or not. I would assume that most people who answered this probably have jobs.

[00:04:49] Tyson: Right, yes. The only reason I wondered is because I was like, "Hey, wait. Is this a way of surveying people in a way that actually benefits folks?" Let's say we were looking at people responding and saying that they, I don't know, need more fitness or whatever. Are they acting on that as a company to help their employees? Are they acting on that as a business to say, "Hey, we're Lululemon. Buy our shit and work out and you'll feel good about yourselves," or they're just doing something good for society. Because I actually found it [crosstalk]--

[00:05:16] Alexa: Just to be clear-- [crosstalk] I would always assume that this research is trying to serve the larger purpose of selling more fucking clothing for Lululemon, but-- [chuckles]

[00:05:25] Tyson: Well, of course, because it's what they stand for.

[00:05:28] Alexa: Exactly.

[00:05:28] Tyson: It's their corporate social responsibility. They put this forward, it represents who they are, which is amazing. Honestly, I loved it. I thought some of the things that came up in it were really great. I love, love, love that people are talking more about social media. We talked about Lush shutting down social media. I'm becoming a little anti-social media because of the effects that it's having on young people, despite the fact that I do run a social media account.

[00:05:51] Alexa: Maybe we should have someone else run ours. Just kidding.

[00:05:53] Tyson: Maybe. No, look, I'm not posting my freaking $800 avocado toast. That's what's making people feel upset because-- Yes, so anyways [crosstalk]--

[00:06:04] Alexa: You're also not always the highlight reel. A lot of people, I think, get tired of the highlight reel and it gets really exhausting like, [crosstalk] and people are like, "Oh my God, everybody's life looks perfect and mine is not that-" [crosstalk]--

[00:06:13] Tyson: The young brains can't process that. I think now because I have a daughter, I'm super anti-social media from that respect. Anyways.

[00:06:21] Alexa: Just to be clear. Most social media about HR at this point, if it even exists, is just poking fun at this whole industry. It's like the meme troll and it's hysterical but, yes.

[00:06:29] Tyson: [unintelligible 00:06:29]. Yes, for sure.

[00:06:32] Alexa: Yes, cool. I just thought it was interesting that it's a pretty robust report about physical, mental, and social wellbeing, [crosstalk] so love [crosstalk]--

[00:06:37] Tyson: Yes, I liked it. Go check it out.

[00:06:38] Alexa: -love to see that stuff [crosstalk]--

[00:06:40] Tyson: Yes, for sure.

[00:06:40] Alexa: Certainly not an ad and for once, we're talking about something positive [crosstalk] [inaudible 00:06:43], just for once. All right. Without further ado, kids, I'm going to introduce our guest for the week. I'm very excited because she is not only a friend, she is also the head of-- She is a Head of People.

For the past 10 years, she's specialized in going into startups and early-stage, high-growth organizations with three goals: building a culture of feedback and development where every employee has an individualized career and growth plan, helping to bring together the right leadership team for strategic direction, and having the team in place that can execute the product and investment goals.

She's also a founding member of the People Ops Society and a member of the Advisory Board for POPS. She is definitely a friend of mine and one of my favorites in this space. She's also a total go-to in this space for, at the very least, the Boston startup community, having worked with Spartan Race and Toast. She's also a single mom to two future leaders; one of which, I think, is cooking dinner while we record. She is Captain Marvel in human form. Elizabeth Meagher, without further ado.

Hey, Elizabeth?

[00:07:35] Elizabeth Meagher: Hey. How are you?

[00:07:37] Alexa: Good, how are you? [crosstalk]--

[00:07:39] Elizabeth: Good [crosstalk]--

[00:07:40] Alexa: What's for dinner over there?

[00:07:40] Elizabeth: Yes, it's Taco Tuesday.

[00:07:42] Alexa: Wow, all right. Jealous. I'm coming over after this.

[00:07:47] Elizabeth: Yes, please do.

[00:07:48] Alexa: I'm pretty sure there's Greek yogurt in my future, but-- [chuckles]

[00:07:52] Tyson: I literally can't wait until my child is able to cook me dinner. That's the end goal. [laughs]

[crosstalk]

[00:08:00] Alexa: There's a lot of episodes between now and then.

[laughter]

[00:08:03] Tyson: I've got 11 years.

[00:08:05] Alexa: Yes, 11 feels like Elizabeth is doing something right if her 11-year-old is cooking tacos. I don't think I could tie my shoes at 11. How's it going, Elizabeth? Any thoughts about wellbeing?

[00:08:20] Elizabeth: You know what? It's so interesting that that was the article that you chose because the topic that's so much on my mind right now is, what are people looking for in their workplace? What are their priorities in general, in their lives? What I think they're saying, whether they're serving their own employees or the community in general and the global community, it sounds like people are really coming out of the pandemic with a renewed sense of what's important to them, and we're seeing that in the workplace for sure.

[00:08:50] Alexa: And going back to maybe some of the simpler things, like feeling good and looking good and being around people you like [crosstalk]--

[00:08:55] Tyson: And social connections, yes.

[00:08:57] Alexa: Yes, exactly.

[00:08:59] Elizabeth: Yes, I know. It's been so interesting. As I talk to, whether it's candidates coming into our organization or- we're going to talk in a few minutes about the Great Resignation, the buzzword, but as I've talked to other companies, people just want to work with nice people. They want to feel like they belong wherever they are. I think that people are seeing that in their personal relationships and in their working relationships.

Gone are the days of suffering through a jerky boss because of the opportunity that you're in. People are like, "Forget that." They don't want to do that anymore.

[00:09:31] Alexa: I always say, there's only three reasons anybody works anywhere: the work you do, the people you do it with, and the lifestyle it affords you, full stop. There's no fucking other reasons that people do this shit, [crosstalk] and you get paid for your time. Time-money tradeoff. That's it. Nothing else.

[00:09:48] Elizabeth: It's crazy too. I'm on mat leave right now, which means I have no interaction with people at work. I don't think I realized how much social interaction I got from work. I've got my friends that are not at work, but you really get a lot out of the relationships that you have at work, and I find myself missing it. I'm almost five months in and that's what I really do miss about work, is having that. It's a huge factor that we forget about. You don't know what you've got until it's gone. That's where I'm at. [chuckles]

[00:10:21] Alexa: Well, speaking of which, before we dive too far into this, I would love, Elizabeth, just because you and I have had the pleasure of many drinks together and meeting in-person and having social connection, but the listeners of this podcast have not. I would love for you to just tell a little bit about your background. How you specifically got into focusing on the growth-stage base, I think would be really interesting for people to hear. Then we'll hop into the great- whatever you want to call it.

[00:10:45] Elizabeth: Yes, the great whatever you want to call it. Totally. I've been in this field for 22 years now. I finished college in 2000, so I'm kind of a younger Gen X or new millennial. There are Gen Z's in the workforce. They've been in the workforce now for a couple of years. You guys mentioned that when talking about Lululemon.

I started my career in training and development, and so that was how I grew up. Harnessed an opportunity during the economic downturn in 2008/2009 during when credit crisis was happening, where a lot of our team was laid off, and I had the opportunity to start to take on more pieces of HR work then, which we now call more like People Ops.

Learned benefits and I had already had a handle on understanding talent coming into the organization because I'd spent so much time coaching and developing people, so that was a natural fit. Then I just learned the other pieces as we went along, but for a minute then I wanted to work in finance and do more FinTech type of stuff and put my career there for a few years. Then quickly figured out that after having been in organizations for- I think at this point maybe I had three organizations under my belt, I was about 10 years in. I was like, "Gosh, I keep going into these companies and having to fix everything that I see is wrong." Whether it's fix the culture, or fix the way that things are set up. "What if I could just do that from the beginning?"

It really paralleled with what was happening in Boston, where I'm located, back when we used to have to go into offices, and you were hiring people where they lived, where the startup boom was really starting to happen. I had an opportunity to go into Spartan Race when they were first starting. They're a little less on the tech side and were more in like a sports and wellness field, but really got the bug of like, "How can I just build everything from the beginning in what I see as the right way, with more of a focus on people?" Talked my way into that job, and I've taken it ever since.

Every couple of years, I go into a new, really, like series A people, first 20 hires, and build up all the people programs.

[00:12:46] Alexa: Which is a fascinating choice because I feel like we see this more, especially through the People Ops Society and some of the other people that we get to talk to here on People Problems. It's an interesting space that you have to have a particular stomach for and a particular skillset, so I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. To join a company at first 20 employees and leave at 200 or 400. That's typically happening in just a ridiculously short amount of time.

If you're in a venture-backed or a private equity-backed company, yes, you're talking like 18 to 36 months you're going to 10x your team. How do you do that well? What are the things that you've learned and just hypergrowth that you're like, "Okay, so couple takeaways"?

[00:13:30] Elizabeth: Yes, it's wild. I think you definitely need to be minded to be like, "All right, I understand the chaos, I can see through all this chaos," and figure out how to organize and systematize it. Because everything that you're trying to solve on those early days are either, I'm going to put processes in place, or I'm going to put people in place to do this; and it's like, how do you make the decisions about where and at what point does that change? This goes back to what we're going to talk about today too. At what point do we start automating things? Because we have to scale. Because in the early days, everyone's doing everything.

I think the other thing that's really interesting about these sort of person 20 to person 400 is, like what you're talking about, the people who are right at 20, 50, 100, 150, are not usually your same right people at 200, 400. Either they're like, "I don't want to be a part of a company that's that big," or maybe the skills that you need needs to level up. There's usually a moving of the founder to having a new CEO at some point during there too.

There's always a lot of really interesting change that happens there, but being able to foresee that change and manage it and be really proactive about getting people on board with it and talking about it and being transparent and having a strong culture from the beginning, that's a huge help as you take these through, like what you're saying, a ton of change in a really short period of time. As opposed to someone who might go into a Fidelity, or go into a J.P Morgan, and it's like, okay, things might change every five or six years with maybe one new product coming in, right?

[00:15:04] Tyson: Yes, maybe.

[00:15:05] Elizabeth: We're usually developing new products [crosstalk]--

[00:15:06] Alexa: They do more reorgs than they do new products, I'll tell you that. [chuckles] More stints with McKinsey than new products but, yes. What about from a people team perspective? You've grown teams. We talk about that a lot, and I don't know that anyone's ever given us a great answer here on People Problems. What are some of the things you think, just in terms of scaling the team, that you're like, "Okay, no"?

[00:15:27] Elizabeth: We actually-- We had this question that came up in POPS too that I was trying to help someone in a similar situation get to the heart of the answer of, which is-- When I started in HR like 20 years ago, the answer was, okay, for every 100 employees, you have 1.5- [crosstalk]--

[00:15:43] Tyson: The ratio.

[00:15:44] Alexa: Yes, speaking of Mackenzie, what asshole came up with that?

[laughter]

[00:15:49] Elizabeth: You might have one person who is a little more focused in benefits, you might have a recruiter or whatever. I don't look at it that way at all. I look at it as, what are the strategic priorities of the organization? Are we going to grow? For example, when I went into Toast, it was all about growth. At one point, we were bringing on 80 people a month. I had to scale that recruiting team ultra-fast and try to layer in some management and just have enough people to keep the Recs going and the work moving.

I was quieter on the People Ops side. I know there was another podcast about what is a business partner, whatever you call it, but whoever that person is that then helps the organization post higher, so from day one until the day that they leave. That's more of what I focus on. If it's going to be a ton of growth in the beginning, I really scale up my recruitment team quickly, and then try to have some more generalists on the POPS side who can help with whatever. They could do a little bit of benefits. They could do some onboarding, they could do employee relations.

Then as the organization starts to get a little bigger, I tend to lean towards creating some silos in the org. Finding someone who can speak the language of engineers, which is really different than speaking the language of go-to-market and salespeople and marketing. So, I will put that business partner or whatever. [chuckles]

[00:17:11] Alexa: It's okay. We just hope all the HRBPs aren't like Tyson. That's really what we hope for around here.

[laughter]

[00:17:18] Elizabeth: My People Ops person. I tend to hire junior to mid-level in those early days. Find someone who thinks in the similar way to the way that People Ops Society thinks is really- can be focused on development, can be focused on partnering, is less an enforcer or rule-maker, but can also help put some process into place. Because usually in those early days too, you have young managers who need a lot of help and support, but I think it works really well to give people opportunity and grow them.

I love to find myself in a situation where I'm really focused on growing my team and helping them to develop in their careers, doing a little less of actual benefit stuff myself or actual recruiting stuff myself. Then that also frees me up to work really closely with leadership. Which is the other thing that I love, is how are we identifying the right leaders at the right stage, and how are we coming together as the team.

[00:18:12] Tyson: How do you know when it's your time to leave? Don't you ever feel so connected, like you built this beautiful thing and you don't want to leave? I would feel major attachment issues. [chuckles]

[00:18:25] Elizabeth: Yes, I do get that. It's always been a time- it's always like when I have someone who I can see as my successor, who's ready to step into those shoes and have that next opportunity, or something that happened at Toast was they brought in a Chief People Officer above me. At that point too, I was like, "Oh, gosh. Okay, is this--" I'm able to do what I want to do, and now I felt like I had a ceiling and wasn't quite sure about what my path to growth was. That was a little different.

For example, at Spartan Race, I built everything that I could build and what I thought the organization need next, the organization didn't agree with. I wanted to spend a lot of time in development. We've built this whole team, we've gotten all this chaos really organized, and I was like, "Here's where we need to invest next." They were like, "I don't think that's what we need to do." I'm like, "All right. Well, then there's not much I can do for you here."

It can be a couple of different things, but usually, it's like, "Oh, God, everything's in place. It's all working."

[00:19:26] Tyson: This is [crosstalk]--

[00:19:27] Alexa: I also think that's a testament because I will say, one of the coolest things I learned about you that I was immediately drawn to when I met you, Elizabeth, is you were like, "No, no, my specialty is this particular growth stage." I feel like I've met very few people-- Look, I've worked with hundreds if not thousands of HR people across the years at this point.

I have never had someone say to me, "I just do this stage. I grow you from X to Y," and look, go-to-market leaders do that all the time. Marketing people do that all the time, like, "I'm great for your early stage. I'm not for your Fortune 500 company." I've dabbled in between, but the fact that you've identified that niche and said, "This is usually the tipping point where I start to get bored, you start to need my skill set less. I've put everything in place for a good foundation. I'm going to go do it again," I think is just the coolest way to think of a career in this space. Because it gives you a lot of reps doing something that a lot of people don't, probably, want to do. It's a hard stage to be in.

I feel like so many people look at- and we've talked about this on other episodes with other guests, but so many people look at this as a career that's supposed to be like, oh, 30 years of doing the same sort of generalist thing. It's like, or you can just be a fucking assassin at one piece of this, like you are, and just keep go doing it, just go rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat for this particular stage. I think that's just such a super cool way to identify and categorize a skill set because so many people need it. It's like, good people, people early is make or break for a company [crosstalk]--

[00:21:02] Tyson: Having that foundation.

[00:21:04] Alexa: Yes, and making sure that somebody built it right based on where you are trying to go as an organization, not, "Well, you hired me to do HR stuff, so I did all the traditional stuff, but your goal wasn't traditional HR things. It was hypergrowth, or it was product development, or it was having the sickest engineering team, and we didn't hire someone who could hire someone that understands engineers."

It's just such a fascinating way to think of it that I hope people take away from that, that it's a really cool lens to have on a career in people, which I'm a big fan of.

[00:21:33] Elizabeth: Yes, I totally agree with that. I think too what I've found in my world, which is early-stage series A tech startups in the staff space, primarily, I've found that the founders and VCs, they're starting to really recognize the need for this role very early on and putting much more of an emphasis on it. Understanding that it's not just like, "We make sure that people's [unintelligible 00:21:57] are done and that their benefits are signed up for, and we put them on PIPs and then fire them eventually."

That they're really recognizing that we need to be winning on talent, and it's becoming more and more with all these other roles that we have and what's happening in the job market [crosstalk]--

[00:22:10] Alexa: Or my favorite, which is, "We'll just ask the recruiters to do everything." It's like, no, no, no, no [crosstalk]--

[00:22:15] Tyson: Definitely not.

[00:22:17] Alexa: Definitely not what you should be doing, but that's how it always happens. It's like, "Oh, well, she's doing recruiting, that's kind of HR. She can just do everything." [crosstalk]--

[00:22:24] Tyson: It's an entirely different skill set. [chuckles]

[00:22:27] Alexa: Yes, totally different.

[00:22:30] Tyson: Totally different [crosstalk]--

[00:22:30] Elizabeth: I do not have [unintelligible 00:22:31]

[00:22:32] Tyson: Me neither. I couldn't be a recruiter to save my life.

[00:22:35] Elizabeth: No. No way. I've had people be like, "Let me tell you why you should apply for this job," and I'd be like, "No, I'm not interested," and at the end of it, I'm like, "Oh my God, you're totally right. I should. This should be my next move." I could never do that. I could never do the sales piece of it, but I'm so thankful, definitely, to the people that do, and they have caused a ton of success in the companies that I've worked for.

[00:22:56] Alexa: That's awesome. All right, so let's move on to our topic de jure this evening. I want to be cognizant of the transition here. Because I think, yes, we've talked about this as a buzzword. Yes, we've poo-pooed the buzzword itself, but it is a really important conversation, I think, definitely what we've seen and thank you, as part of the People Ops Society community, for talking about and spearheading the conversation on, is this idea around the Great Resignation, but what that actually means when you're on this side of that, when you're on the people side and you're working with organizations that are experiencing this. What are your biggest takeaways right now in the throes of this? What are maybe some of the things that you see organizations discussing?

Because it's not just-- People always think of this from the side of like, "Oh, I'm the employee, and now I get to quit," or, "I'm considering quitting or I'm considering changing." It's like, how do organizations have to think about the Great Resignation? What is a guide to, I don't know that you could prevent it at this point, but to preparing for it and maybe being a little bit more resilient to the change?

[00:24:01] Elizabeth: Yes, exactly. I think that you hit it exactly. Companies just need to be ready for it, and you're not talking about you need to start tomorrow with talking about it. It's something that we're seeing in trends. We're coming out of the pandemic globally, hopefully, I think so.

[00:24:17] Alexa: We're just going to put an asterisk on that for the next like five years. Everyone is like, "The pandemic is kind of over, I think, almost, I hope-" [crosstalk]--

[00:24:22] Tyson: Every spring we're going to say it's ending.

[laughter]

[00:24:27] Elizabeth: Exactly. I know. I was talking to my kids' school and it was like, we need to stop blaming everything on the pandemic, but it changed us. It changed our DNA. Being stuck inside of our houses for a year and homeschooling our children changed us. I see it in my kids. It changed them as people. It's really changed the way that we think about work. I pulled a couple of stats. One in nine jobs is vacant right now, a million more people are resigning every month than resigned in 2019. The data is telling us that people are making moves, and there's more jobs than there are people.

That's happening in the work world, but then what's happening with people is that they're like, "I just have different priorities than I've had before." Like what we heard in the Lululemon data, "I want community. I want to work with people that I really like. I want to be attached to a mission." We had an engineer recently resign who was like, "I want to go work in climate change. I want to be working on software that's solving problems for the world. I'm not happy solving problems for media and entertainment anymore." What do you do with that? You're just sort of, "Great, how can we help you?"

It's like what's happening with people than what's happening outside of your organization, things that you necessarily can't control. Inflation is a huge topic right now with people. I know that what used to cost me $100 a week in groceries is now costing me $150 a week in groceries, and I'm not buying anything different. Everything is just getting more expensive. There are some of those things happening like inflation, job vacancies, and then some external salary factors, which we can dig into.

Then also what's happening inside of our companies is another factor that we need to think about. What do cultures look like? How are you developing your people? Are you being transparent? Are you having these conversations? Compensation is huge. People are leaving their jobs and getting $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 increases and going to a new role. Depending on what your organization has been doing over the last couple of years thinking about the compensation perspective, just doing 3% merit increases isn't going to cut it, right?

[00:26:37] Alexa: Literally doesn't cover inflation right now.

[00:26:39] Tyson: Yes, and that was a problem even pre-pandemic, is these shady comp systems. Someone needs to-- What's the word that we hate? Disrupt compensation. I feel like no one's doing that. Everyone is doing the same thing, the 3% merit increase. [crosstalk]--

[00:26:55] Alexa: Well, everybody is trying. Really quick aside on the comp thing. At least in us first-world capitalist societies, what is going to wind up happening is everything is just going to wind up going to the highest common denominator, which is basically the New York and San Francisco market for the average salary. [crosstalk] Gone are the days of arbitraging, like, "Oh, you work in Kansas, so I pay you $40,000 less than a guy in New York." [crosstalk] It's like, well, now that guy chooses to live in New York. [crosstalk]--

[00:27:21] Tyson: Yes, but that's obvious. That's obvious, but the problem is that once you're in, you get that to get the person in and then every year thereafter, they're getting this 3% increase, which that no longer keeps up to the inflation of what the base salary starting in San Francisco is. Even if we're using that [crosstalk] as the start point, it's the movement of salary.

Anyways, we're going off on a tangent. [crosstalk]--

[00:27:43] Alexa: Yes, I think that gets much harder the bigger you get. I actually have not seen a whole lot of groups, at least in the stage we're talking about with Elizabeth and some of the groups I've worked with that have done the sort of standard 3%. I feel like that's much more a bigger-- And yes, it's fucking unoriginal and not very exciting and like, "Hey, we're just giving you this because we're kind of, sort of obligated to do it." Yes, that's not super innovative.

[00:28:06] Elizabeth: Yes, I've seen it in my companies too that I've been in. 3% for a merit, 5% for a promotion, or, "We're going to promote this person internally, and you're going to get five grand more," whatever it may be. There's transparency happening like I've never seen before. I'm seeing it on LinkedIn, where people are posting their salaries, people are talking about it in ways that they never used to. Employees are definitely hungry for more transparency. That could be its whole other topic because so many factors go into deciding comp; for different roles, for experience, you have your internal equity and size of company, all those things, as you're determining what compensation should look like. That's been a huge factor for people.

Also, when I coach, especially women, I say, "Having come out of college in 2000, living through 2008/2009, and then COVID in 2020; when you have these opportunities to harness jumps in your salary, you have to take it." Whether it's giving your company that you work for now an opportunity to maybe match with some things that you're hearing. I'm not a big fan of counteroffers, but I am a fan of saying, "This is what I'm hearing," or, "This is what people are proposing to me. How does this look? Could you meet me there?"

That is something that some employees need to be harnessing as well, and so companies need to be aware of that. What is it going to cost you to backfill that role in the market? We're in comp season right now, for the most part. If you're considering doing 3%, 5%, 7%, maybe, for your internal teams, but knowing that you're going to backfill that role like 30 grand more than maybe you're paying it right now, plus have the cost of having it open and the recruiting cost and all that; I think paying attention to your compensation and thinking about what you want to do there is going to be important for companies, and it's one of the reasons why we hear people are moving.

[00:29:54] Alexa: And it's, to your point, people are seizing the opportunity. Just because you make a certain amount at a certain place doesn't mean you are always forever and ever and ever going to make at least that much if not more. People forget that careers ebb and flow and things go up and down, and the context with where you work is always going to affect your comp. If you're moving solely for dollars, it's a great fucking time to leave. Any job, this is a great fucking time to go shopping.

It is a buyer's market. However, it's-- Excuse me, it's a seller's market, the laborer is the seller here. You can't necessarily take what you got last year at a Fortune 500 company and go get that at a 60-person startup because you want flexibility and remote work. You've got to be willing to take the contextual shift. That's where this stuff gets super messy, is you're like, "Oh, well, I'm a VP-level this, and I make $150,000 a year here, but I got offered $90,000 over here." It's like, well, that company is like four years old and it's 50 people, and you're the first VP-level hire. There's got to be more context here [crosstalk]--

[00:30:55] Tyson: Yes, you have to look at total rewards.

[00:30:57] Alexa: Exactly. That's, I think, where transparency can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Transparency is big right now because the market is just so flush with talent and people are like, "Should I be making that much? I had no idea. My friend over there makes twice as much as me. Fuck it, I'm out. I'm going to go see what I'm worth." That will stabilize for a lot of people, but when you're making shifts across the contextual plane, it's just an arbitrage game. It's negotiation, right?

[00:31:21] Tyson: I hate transparency because I want there to be space for better performers to make more money, you know what I mean? That's not as easy of a conversation to be like [crosstalk]--

[00:31:31] Alexa: It's why salespeople make a shitton of money because you could just [crosstalk]--

[00:31:33] Tyson: They're making more money because [crosstalk]--

[00:31:36] Alexa: Look how much they brought in, look how much we paid them.

[00:31:39] Tyson: Right, and that's if there's commission too, that kind of helps, but with this, I want to be able to say, "That person is getting paid more than you because they're doing a lot better job, or simply because the company values that work more than you." Sorry, but people who work in, unfortunately, the HR team might not get as much as the people who are in R&D or the engineers. That's the other problem with transparency, is people don't-- People aren't mature enough [crosstalk]--

[00:32:03] Alexa: You just have to be able to make that argument.

[00:32:05] Tyson: Yes. People aren't mature enough to have that conversation, but it's true, so [crosstalk]--

[00:32:09] Alexa: That doesn't mean we shouldn't have it.

[00:32:10] Tyson: Right. Yes, let's all be honest here. [laughs]

[00:32:14] Alexa: Exactly. Let's be honest.

[00:32:17] Tyson: There are better performers making more money than you. Then what gets really shitty is if the better performers are getting paid less than the shitty performers because that's a real good way to lose your good performers.

[00:32:27] Elizabeth: Yes, totally. We went through an exercise today where we were looking at our-- We were using 9-box, so everyone was like, "Up in the top right." I'm like, "Oh my God, we have a whole company of superstars. This is amazing."

[00:32:38] Tyson: You've got to cut out that middlebox. It helps.

[00:32:41] Elizabeth: Exactly. You probably have these same conversations about, "Well, I went on Glassdoor and this is what I saw." I'm always like, "That's user-reported data. It doesn't help. Anyone can say anything."

[00:32:55] Alexa: In some ways, I'm so glad it exists because it really will check a company real quick if people start piling on, but part of me is like, this is like a Yelp review. I don't trust Yelp reviews from fucking strangers. I ask my friends. [crosstalk]--

[00:33:06] Tyson: There's a new one now. It's called Blind. You probably should know about that.

[00:33:10] Alexa: Is it anonymous? Because I remember JuicyCampus and that didn't end well.

[00:33:14] Tyson: I don't know if it's anonymous or not, but Blind, it's huge for the tech space.

[00:33:20] Alexa: Oh, all right. I'll have to check it out.

[00:33:20] Tyson: Yes, and people go off on there.

[laughter]

[00:33:27] Alexa: Yes. All right, so comp. What else about-- What the fuck were we talking about? We got off on a comp tangent.

[00:33:33] Elizabeth: Looking at comp, that's the reason why people are moving, changing their jobs. I agree with you. Some bigger companies I know are doing this, but live where you want to live and as a company, value a role the way you're going to value a role. Then [crosstalk]--

[00:33:46] Alexa: And pay people a livable wage to pay them a fucking livable wage, not arbit because they're in different states. Either value the person and want to pay them a livable wage or not, full stop. [crosstalk]--

[00:33:55] Tyson: We stopped paying for cost of living a long time ago. I feel like that has been out of vogue for a long time.

[00:34:04] Elizabeth: Agreed. [crosstalk] They're like, "Let's just call it cost of living." Then I'm like, "Okay, but you just made me write a whole performance review for them to then-" [crosstalk]--

[00:34:10] Tyson: Right. Yes, we don't do cost of living. There's no COLA increases anymore. Unless you're in a union, and then [chuckles] you're getting 1% every year still.

[00:34:20] Alexa: Yes, it's like can you look this person in the eye with a straight face and not feel like an asshole when you deliver this number? That's usually the guide. [crosstalk]--

[00:34:26] Tyson: That's good. I love that.

[00:34:27] Alexa: People do this with equity in startups all the time, constantly talking to people, "What should I offer this person? Is this enough equity?" They'll be like, "The standard rule for a non-technical founder who came in after this round is this, this, and this," and I'm like, "Can you look at the person with a straight fucking face and offer them that percentage and actually have them not think you're an asshole?" If the answer is yes, then it's probably the right number. If the answer is no, then you need to increase it.

There's no perfect number here. It's what the other person is willing to accept that you believe is going to make them feel valuable. For some people that's 60 grand with a $10,000 bonus and a 5% increase, with other people it's double that. Just depends. What are they doing? What's the context around the person?

[00:35:12] Elizabeth: Exactly, I totally agree. It brings me to my other point too, which is if you're still talking about a return to office, you've got to get over it. That's another huge reason why people are leaving. It just is creating so much uncertainty and havoc. More than a year ago, spring of-- Well, it's so hard to keep track of time. At some point during 2021, early spring a year ago [crosstalk]--

[00:35:33] Alexa: Some time in the last two years.

[00:35:35] Elizabeth: Some time in the last two years, we were like we're remote forever. You never have to come back in if you don't want to. We're not even going to be having this conversation anymore. I was spending so much time making return-to-work plans and thinking about how we were going to handle that, and how we were going to message it, and what was it going to look like, and buying masks and doing all this stuff, and finally we were just like, "No, we're remote forever. It's working, people like it."

I think that's the other big factor in this, is people just are not willing to give up their flexibility. If you're still managing people and like, "I need to see you on Slack at 9:00 AM and when I ping you at 5:30, you still answer me," that's the other thing. Employees are like, "I drop my kids off at school at 7:00, and I love that time that I'm not commuting, like love it."

[00:36:17] Tyson: Yes, I couldn't imagine commuting.

[00:36:19] Elizabeth: I did it for so many years, trying to rush home and make dinner. Well, now obviously they're making dinner for themselves, so it's helpful, but back when I used to have to plan all that stuff, I couldn't do it anymore. Some of that time I fill with work, but some of it I fill it with exercise, I fill it with just reading for an hour, looking into something that I'm interested in. [crosstalk]--

[00:36:39] Alexa: Before the pandemic, the average commute in the United States was 52 minutes one-way. I used to say to people [crosstalk] who were like, "Why do you like working from home?" I'm like, "Because it's 104 minutes that I don't hate the place I work. Every day, it's 104 minutes I don't fucking curse that brand-" [crosstalk]--

[00:36:54] Tyson: It's expensive too.

[00:36:56] Alexa: "-for making me do this every day."

[00:36:58] Tyson: It's so expensive. When I was working Downtown Toronto, people were paying minimum $20 a day to take the train in and back. Then they have to pay for parking at the park-and-ride sort of thing at the train station. [crosstalk]--

[00:37:11] Alexa: A lot of companies used to cover that stuff, or they'd give you some sort of comp, which was also ridiculous. Why are you paying for this? [crosstalk] If they don't want to be here, don't pay for it.

[00:37:20] Elizabeth: Then there's your $8-a-day Starbucks habit and your $20-a-day Sweetgreen, and all those things add up. I think that's the other thing. If you are still talking about a return to office, no way.

[00:37:32] Alexa: What about for groups where there's some reason they've got to consider that?

[00:37:36] Elizabeth: There might be, and even I've had conversations with senior management teams where they're like, "Why would we bring people to the office?" They're like, "We're in the office." I'm like, "Okay, but are you doing the alone together thing, where you all go into the office and then you all sit in separate conference rooms to be on Zoom?"

[00:37:52] Alexa: Right, because in that case, you guys should just get WeWork subscriptions and [crosstalk]--

[00:37:55] Elizabeth: Yes, exactly.

[00:37:56] Alexa: -save your fucking lease. [crosstalk]--

[00:37:56] Elizabeth: Maybe because your spouse wants you out of the house or whatever?

[00:38:00] Alexa: Right, do you hate your partners and your children?

[laughter]

[00:38:05] Alexa: Let's go down the list here. Do you hate your spouse, yes or no? If yes, do you hate your children, yes or no? [chuckles] Just keep going. All the yeses are all in the office. Got it.

[00:38:18] Elizabeth: Right, exactly. The other one I see too in our stage is I have three roommates, we all work from home, and so I sit in my bedroom all day long because we don't have space. They're early-career people. They want to be in the office too. Again that's the flexibility. I can choose to go into the office if I wanted to, but the reasons why you should be going into the office are your collaboration. You need to have no Zoom meetings and be all day in-person together brainstorming, whiteboarding, collaborating, building community, having those types of meetings.

We're doing the like if one is remote, it's all remote, and we have people all around the country. It doesn't make sense to just go in in day-to-day work because you're not really getting much out of it. There could be reasons why some companies want people in, and I also worry about early career. There's so much you learn in those first couple years of your career by just having exposure to people, hearing conversations.

I know our customer support team, one of the things that we've worked with them on is that they used to hear each other, and they would hear each other solving problems. It was like, how do you take that stuff that you used to get by osmosis from being inside an office and translate it out? We were toying with ideas. We did a written form of it. We did daily meetings where they talked through their problems, but it kind of went to weekly meetings. I still worry about those people in their first five years out, and maybe what they're missing from mentorship, or just getting exposure to--

I've been in small organizations. They used to be able to just chat to the CEO because they were both standing getting coffee at the same time. That doesn't really exist anymore.

[00:39:53] Alexa: That was pretty important in my career, to be fair. I cannot imagine having the experience I had in my 20s without-- between investment banking, and sales and all the various roles I've ever had, I just am a human that learns through osmosis. I just learn by getting a general vibe, by talking to a stranger in the elevator. You hear a product guy talking about something and you're like, "Oh, that's interesting. What does he do? Why is he asking that?" Or when you're in sales, I used to just listen to my colleagues talk all day and be like, "Oh, that's a really good fucking question he asked." You just get the general vibe for people a lot faster. I also think from a conduct perspective, it's super important. You're 22, and you never go into an office and you never meet real professionals, like, "Oh, fuck."

[00:40:37] Tyson: When I started in HR, my boss used to sit by the women's washroom. Literally, I'd go into the washroom, and then I'd come out, and she'd beck into me and be like, "Hey, come in and chat." Because she'd see me. We'd sit, and we'd talk and we'd learn. One thing you mentioned is the one remote, all remote. I think that that is one thing that might help with this. It levels the playing ground when everybody is remote versus if there's some people in the office and other people that are remote, there's nothing worse than being like that one person that's on the phone trying to cut in and talk when in a group of people.

I think that does help because it alerts people to the fact we are all remote, and mentor-type folk have to just be more intentional about remembering the new people and bringing them in. I think that that's just a muscle we're all going to learn to flex a bit better as this continues, hopefully.

[00:41:32] Alexa: Yes. I think it's more like you have to create a space. We've talked about this.

[00:41:36] Tyson: We do, yes.

[00:41:37] Alexa: You have to create a space that people want to use, that they feel is helpful, is collaborative, is attractive to them for various reasons. Doesn't need to be like, "I need your ass in this seat Monday through Friday 9:00 to 5:00." That is shit over and if it's not, you're going to struggle for talent for basically forever from this point forward. You have to give people the space, I think, to create some of the stuff that you guys are talking about like out of this idea of like, "Oh, this used to all happen at HQ, so it can't happen if we're not in HQ." It's like, "No, give your managers happy hour budgets and let them go do it locally." Or let them get their team together a couple of times a year in their own ways. People just have to be more flexible and more creative, I think.

[00:42:17] Tyson: I think the problem with remote and I feel like we've talked about this is just that people's calendars are booked solid, from 8:00 to 5:00. Then that [crosstalk] just results in people not being able to say like, "Hey, do you have five seconds to chat?" Because you see their calendar, they're red all day. That I think is something people need to be cognizant of.

[00:42:38] Alexa: I just hit that fucking button on Slack and I'm like, "I'm dropping into your computer screen with that obnoxious Slack ring tone, answer my call." Now, they have that silly huddle thing where you can--

[00:42:50] Tyson: Like a huddle, whatever.

[00:42:50] Alexa: It's basically like chirping. You chirp your employee, but it's the fastest way to just be like, "I'm tired of texting. I just want to drop in real quick and ask you this. I don't need to see your face, just answer my question for me real quick." We go to be more cognizant of that stuff. What else? Comp, stop return to office. What else have we got?

[00:43:10] Elizabeth: The other thing that I'm working on and thinking about a lot is there's a quote, it's attributed to Richard Branson. I don't know if you actually said it or not, but--

[00:43:18] Alexa: He's one of my idols.

[00:43:18] Elizabeth: Okay. You might know. He said, "I don't worry about the customer because I worry about my people and then I know, in turn, my people take care of my customers." That's a quote that's been around for a lifetime. I've never worked for Virgin. I don't know anyone who has, so I don't know if they actually live that, but I think about that a lot. I think that what people are looking for, whether it's in forming their decisions to say or thinking about looking in organization outside of theirs is how am I being taken care of? Is my company taking care of me as a person? Whether it's caring about them on a personal level, putting programs into place. Whether it's your maternity leave. I know that you're Canadians, so that you have.

[00:43:59] Alexa: It's like, "Have a maternity leave."

[00:44:00] Elizabeth: Yes. You have a maternity leave, but how is your company viewing different-- How are they supporting you in your financial health? How are they supporting you in your personal health? How are they supporting you in your wellness and in your community? Most importantly, I think it's how are they growing you as people? One of my goals, when I go into companies, is to somehow be a monumental moment in people's careers. Whether it's like they learn something, they get an opportunity that they've never had. They feel a ton of growth or they figure out that this wasn't the right place for them, they go somewhere else. I want to be that moment for people that they were like, "Wow, that really made a difference in my career."

I think that companies need to be focusing on that, really doubling down on the development of their people. In the companies that I work for, it gets a little bit easier because I'm like, "Crap, I got to scale these people because the organization's got to scale." There's a reason to attach that development to them, but even if you're not in a really fast-growing organization or maybe you work for a bigger organization, which sometimes can even be a little bit easier because you have levels and you can move people through maybe a tiny bit easier promotions and all that.

I think if you are really worried about retention of your people and you're losing people, helping them to get really meaty work, stretch themselves, develop in their careers, and spend a lot of time on that is going to be huge. Also, if you're not soliciting feedback from your employees, you need to start doing that tomorrow too. You need to know what they're thinking, what they're saying, do engagement surveys, do poll surveys, and respond to what it is that they want and they need. Every organization's going to be a little bit different, but in--

[00:45:33] Alexa: That's the company responding.

[00:45:34] Elizabeth: Yes, you have to respond.

[00:45:35] Alexa: Actually.

[00:45:35] Elizabeth: We do engagement surveys twice a year. I tell everyone, I'm like, "Your feedback is anonymous, but I use this to plan my work. These are the areas that I focus on, depending on what you tell me." We have built a great culture around it because of that because we've taken in their feedback, we've responded to it, but then, in turn, it gives us an opportunity to give them a lot of feedback. Not only are we soliciting and responding to it, we're giving them feedback and expecting them to action it too.

One of the things that we heard from our company is they have great relationships with their managers. I am doubling down on that, that their managers are continuing to grow that relationship, that they are giving them development opportunities. Every single person has a plan for growth. Every single person is going to make some steps in their career, whether it's growing within their role or thinking about the thing that's next, take on more responsibilities. A lot of that's happening through delegation. Leadership needs to start delegating down and continuing that to give people opportunities. That's the other thing.

Making sure that you're taking care of your employees in the ways that you know means a lot to them, depending on your population. Are people starting to become young parents? Do you focus on your parental leave or do you have really early career? Are they focused on their student loans and their financial health and they're thinking about moving and buying their first house, whatever it is. Sitting feedback from them and really doubling down their development, I think that's going to help a ton in retention of employees and then also attracting new talent as you need it.

I think everyone can expect that you're going to see at least a quarter of their workforce start this year is what we're hearing from the data. Somewhere between a quarter to 30% of people expect to be in a new company in the next year.

[00:47:15] Alexa: Sorry. It's just so funny because it's also like everyone is thinking about this because we talk about it as the great resignation. What we're not talking about is the great opportunity to hire new people. You also have the opportunity in the near future to potentially level up 25% to 35% of your workforce. That might actually be more grim, but it's also so an opportunity as an employer to sit here, and get in front of your own branding, and your own messaging, and the way that you're attracting talent, and the way that you recruit people.

If you're recruiting people who their goal is to be X, Y, and Z, and you're focused on providing A, B, and C for most of your employees, it might not be a great fit for them, or if you're focused entirely on filling a role and the role is great, but the cultural fit and the growth mindset is not great, now's your chance to flip the script on that.

[00:48:11] Tyson: I want to know where everyone's going.

[00:48:13] Alexa: I think they're all just moving around. I think people are just going across the street for $10,000 a year more.

[00:48:20] Tyson: You know how on the Instagram insights you can see your followers, the plus and minus and how much you equal.

[00:48:29] Alexa: No, question. You're the only one here who has Instagram followers. We should get the statistics.

[00:48:29] Tyson: I would love to be able to see this for companies. Imagine you've got Google and it would say like, "Plus 200 in the last seven days minus 500." I'd love to see that for all [crosstalk]

[00:48:43] Alexa: Google would never let that fucking happen.

[00:48:46] Tyson: No. No company would, no company would. Of course not, of course not.

[00:48:49] Alexa: We could speculate.

[00:48:49] Tyson: That would be interesting information to see.

[00:48:52] Elizabeth: Yes. The stuff that I have is that there are 17 million open jobs right now. One in nine jobs is currently open and that there's not enough people to fill it.

[00:49:01] Alexa: It's nuts.

[00:49:01] Tyson: Where are those people going? I think a lot of people probably left the workforce as well.

[00:49:07] Alexa: A lot of people early retired. There's a little bit of that.

[00:49:10] Tyson: Early retired.

[00:49:10] Alexa: There's also a lot of wage and lower-skilled workers that just said, "Fuck this, I can make as much money selling pottery on fucking Etsy, as I can make working for $12 an hour at McDonald's." There's a lot of that. We've talked about that before.

[00:49:23] Tyson: Yes. For sure.

[00:49:23] Alexa: Then I think everyone in the middle to upper-middle class here is basically like, "They're just having the market." Or they've got groups that are like, "Okay, I work for consulting firm A. They're telling me I have to go back to being on the road and traveling five days a week or four days a week in late 2022," but their competitor consulting firm B is like, "No, we're actually shifting 80% of our client work to virtual. Come work here and we'll pay you as much, if not more." Everyone's making decisions about this shit right now and not everybody's doing it well, so people are having those changes and arbitraging those changes, and I think it's--

[00:50:03] Tyson: There's like big-time family decisions happening too. Even I know, me and my husband have talked about-- we probably could get by on one salary and see how that turns out. If we had a kid in school right now, I would not be doing the back and forth, I would pull the kid out, and I would commit to homeschool. I wouldn't be doing the back and forth that schools are doing, like the online learning. I'm sure a lot of people are having those discussions too, like real family discussions. We don't travel anymore, so we could probably get by, it's like, those types of discussions.

[00:50:36] Alexa: Yes, or like, "Hey, you have better health coverage, honey, why don't we switch me to your plan, during the next open enrollment cycle, this company, if I take a new job offers 20 hours a week of covered childcare or whatever the fuck that the arbitrary is from the [crosstalk]. That's why benefits is super fucking important because it's lifestyle support, that's what it is at this point. I think people are starting to consider that stuff.

I think the pandemic has just thrown a nice big fucking gigantic cannonball into all of this. We'll see what happens when some of the water lands on the pool deck. I also think that before all of this, the world is obsessed with the freedom it has right now and the gig economy seems really attractive and a lot of people are doing it, that the backlash of all of this is that a lot of those people are going to realize that working for yourself is fucking hard. [chuckles] It's complicated. The taxes are not your friend. It's a bitch, and you have to eat what you kill.

Being a gig worker is great if you have the stomach to constantly be finding more clients and constantly be managing your own books and constantly be watching your own tax dollars. That's not going to wind up being for everybody long-term. Does it give people a shit ton more freedom in their career trajectory to use that as a period to figure out what they want to do next? Absolutely. I think there's a lot of people dabbling in that world right now, because of the freedom the pandemic has allowed, or the things that it's forced them to consider that will not wind up staying there forever.

They will not wind up freelancing forever. Again, we've talked about this too. You've got to be as an employer more flexible about what you consider to be a team member. It does not have to be a full-time, salaried 40 hour a week, on Slack, 80 hours a week style person. That just isn't going to be everybody. You got to be able to scale. I think it's fascinating. All right, we've got our small guide for preparing for the great, whatever the fuck, compensation, got to be competitive, stop talking about return to office, you've got to train and develop your people. What did I miss? Anything else?

[00:52:37] Elizabeth: Like you said, this is an opportunity to bring new talent in and to up-level the talent that you have. Tyson, you may or may not agree with me but one of the problems is that your poor performers tend to stay. [laughs]

[00:52:51] Tyson: Oh yes. No, I agree.

[00:52:52] Elizabeth: It's like your superstars that are leaving.

[00:52:54] Tyson: Yes, yes.

[00:52:55] Elizabeth: I think managing performance closely, thinking about what it is that you need, who do you want to double down on? Who are you saying like, "All right, these are the people that we think like, let go." Especially if you're thinking about making some of these compensation decisions. On the other side of it, when you're thinking about bringing new talent in recruiting, like, "Oh my gosh, we don't have a recruiter now, get a recruiter." You're going to be sourcing talent in a major way.

You need to be thinking about what is your value proposition, or whatever the buzzword is that we're calling it now. How are you differentiating yourself, how are you attracting the people that you want to bring in? The pace is something I have never seen. I just had a personal experience around-- I had a bad week at work, decided to take a couple of phone calls, don't have a resume, wasn't even looking, was telling everyone, "I don't even know if I want to leave my job." One week later, I was in third rounds with four companies. A couple days after that, I had three offers.

[00:53:51] Alexa: That's fucking insane.

[00:53:53] Elizabeth: I could tell everyone, "I don't know that I want to leave my job."

[laughter]

[00:53:58] Elizabeth: The recruiting pace is moving so so quickly. People are getting snatched off the market really fast. That is something that I don't know that all companies are responding to either.

[00:54:08] Alexa: Something to be super cognizant of. There are other things we've poked fun out on this podcast is the recruiting process can be very good in some cases, it can be also real shit in a lot of cases.

[00:54:20] Tyson: Brutal.

[00:54:21] Alexa: If you're the company that's not getting back to candidates for three weeks, or not telling someone the next steps after a round of interviews--

[00:54:28] Tyson: Or giving them 10 interviews.

[00:54:30] Alexa: Yes. Fuck off. Especially if you're looking for competitive talent. I have a couple friends that have some friends that are engineers, I have a bunch of friends that are salespeople. Pretty highly sought after, every company needs salespeople and engineers right now. Exactly the same thing, Elizabeth, they're skipping technical interviews, they're skipping super days.

They're like, "No, it's two rounds." I just saw a post from-- Tyson, you and I talked about it. Someone was posting at-- I've seen a couple of these. People are trying to poach the Peloton Interactive people that got laid off. I've seen four of these on LinkedIn. The companies will be like, "Okay, if you just got let go from Peloton Interactive, we're making a promise-

[00:55:06] Tyson: Call us.

[00:55:07] Alexa: -call us, we're making a promise that you'll get a call back in 48 hours. We're making a promise that you'll absolutely be guaranteed a first-round interview within the next two weeks." It's insane. Get your fucking recruiting process together, because it's the only way you're going to be competitive right now, is to make it not a horrible process and make it really attractive to people. Which is, again, a huge opportunity to stand out because most people's recruiting process is total shit.

[00:55:34] Elizabeth: Yes. In old days, a couple of months ago, someone would interview you, you would get feedback, you would reach out to them and schedule the next round. I'm having my interviewers schedule their next interview while they're on the phone with them. I'm like, "If you like them, schedule their next interview." Look at the calendars and figure out the next one. Then we'll worry about feedback later, even if you think you might want them. Also, we're changing our recruiting processes.

There's a big way to respond to just how quickly things are moving. People ask, the number of head of people jobs that I'm getting, of all company sizes, I would say five or six a day. I've been trying to hire just even a temp HR generalist, a contractor, which used to be like you could have 30 resumes on your email the next day. I had to go to four different temp agencies to find someone who is even like, "I might have someone for you." They're like, "There's nobody." The people on space right now is also super in demand.

[00:56:30] Alexa: We see this in POps. We're getting all kinds of crazy offers just to post a job posting in the people Ops society. I'm like, "I can post your job. You do realize that there's not a lot of talent out there for this. I'm going to read it before I post it. Make sure your comp range is reasonable because if it's not, good fucking luck." Exactly to your point, people are starting to take this stuff more seriously and realize how important the function is. Speaking of which, time flies when you're having fun. I got to move us to our people problem.

[music]

[00:57:11] Alexa: Tyson, we got people problem this week?

[00:57:13] Tyson: Yes. Okay. With all these resignations happening, the question is how should we be handling people quitting? How should we be treating the person that quit?

[00:57:23] Elizabeth: I have a philosophy where we make alumni, we don't make ex-employees. My boss right now, I worked for him at Circles in the early 2000s. I left that organization in a good place and got a callback. You never know when people are going to boomerang, or you're going to want to work with them again. The world is small. Depending on your culture, if your culture is transparent with you, be transparent with them. Let them know what you're thinking. Let them know what you need.

The example I gave earlier in the podcast about our engineer who was like, "I want to go work on climate change" We were like, "Great, how can we help you do that?" I want to make sure that when people are leaving organizations, that they're still leaving with a really great impression of us on the way out. I think these days of, "You quit, you're dead to me. I'm never going to talk to you again and make your last couple weeks miserable, or walk you out the door or whatever." Companies need to be done with that because you never know who knows who and--

[00:58:21] Alexa: They're also people, it's not personal. I have a small team. I just had a long term employee leave and it--

[00:58:25] Tyson: It's an emotional--

[00:58:28] Alexa: Yes, sucks, mostly because I like this person. I'm proud of him, good for him. I hope he does really well in his next role. We celebrated him on his way out. It's not personal. You can't be everything to a person. There's all kinds of shit going on.

[00:58:41] Tyson: It's a tough decision to leave. I've only ever quit one job. It was a really emotional decision. I was treated very, very well. I've said this so many times in this podcast, I look back at that company, and I hold them to a gold standard because of that. I would consider going back there, or I would recommend other people work there. I always speak so highly of them because of that exit experience.

You mentioned boomerang, let's celebrate boomerangs. I love a boomerang. Go out, learn something new, pick up some new skills, and then come back and bring that to us and teach us something new. If you've been in the same company for a long time, you might get stagnant, you need to shoosh things up a little bit. Come back and let's celebrate it.

[00:59:28] Alexa: I also think, it all depends on the context. 1,000% it depends on the context. I actually think it's a good thing when people move on like, "Hey, we did enough for you as an organization that you can go spread your wings elsewhere." That's a pretty good fucking testament to us. As long as they're not shitty about it, they're not leaving for some stupid fucking reason like that. You can't be fake about it. I used to work for a group, they did the alumni thing, and they had an alumni blog.

There were some bullshit on this alumni blog, but I was like, I just know that not to be the case, but, "Okay, cool. You want to tell the story and combat the Glassdoor reviews, fine. But, look, people talk to people and it's like everything else never know when the world's going to come back around."

I do think one of the things that can be really helpful and we actually had I think it was a POps member that was talking to me about this. Not that long ago was like, "You have to decide at what point you institutionalize a little bit of process around this stuff. If you're not doing exit interviews and you've got a lot of weird turnover stories, or you don't have a lot of consistency, you might want to consider implementing that. Or, you know what people have talked about exit interview, stay interviews and make sure--"

[01:00:41] Tyson: I love an exit interviews.

[01:00:42] Alexa: Make sure you're getting something out of that and that they're done in a way that it's actually beneficial to everybody. Like the person feels heard, the organization feels like they can grow. Everybody understands the context.

[01:00:52] Tyson: Do not delegate the exit interview to your HR admin. I hate, hate, hate that as the business partner, I do every single exit interview. I know these people, they know me, they open up to me. I get some crazy shit out of people during exit interviews. They are so honest and it's not just like, people just shit talk to the company in exit interviews. Absolutely not. I've had really great conversations.

[01:01:17] Alexa: Yes, and it's really important that you understand that, so you don't start changing things based on the perception of someone's leaving versus like, "No, they actually really wanted to stay." It's just like their wife needed $10,000 more a year because the wife is now supporting the mom or something. There's all kinds of context about people's lives that you don't see. I think it's really important to be mindful of that and it's not personal. This shit is not personal. As long as you treat people like humans, just don't be a fucking dick.

[01:01:49] Tyson: Groundbreaking people.

[01:01:50] Alexa: Don't be an asshole.

[01:01:50] Tyson: Treat people like humans.

[01:01:52] Elizabeth: I found too, I get super honest feedback because I don't go back to leadership team and say, "Here's everything we talked about in the exit interview." Like you said, there might be a period of time where your population's been there for three years. All these people hired at the same time. Now they're all looking for the next opportunity. Maybe you'll have some attrition all at once. It was like, "Well, I was ready to be a manager and there wasn't going to be a manager job that was going to open so I had to go find it somewhere else."

I always take it as themes too. I'll say I'm not going to share-- Be as transparent with me as you possibly can and let me have it for it just informs my work and it helps for me to bring themes to the organization. If we start to see compensation, compensation, compensation, compensation. All right. That's a huge data point for us. If it's about growth, then that's a huge data point for us, but sometimes it's you have six in a period of time and it's because all these funky personal--

[01:02:44] Alexa: Yes. Or all to your point, like you had a sales team of a bunch of like 23-year-olds you hired all at the same time. They're all almost 30 now. This is just the natural course of things. That's just how this happens. They stay for three to five years and they go. That's totally normal. You don't have to solve for that. You don't have to panic because someone left. That's the thing I think I would encourage everyone to be more cognizant of is like, "How are you categorizing the leaving and how are you internalizing that?" Because everyone still talk about attraction, retention, attraction, retention, attraction, retention. It's not about just the pure retention number, right?

It's about the health of that number. "Are you keeping a majority of the people you should, and you do have the control to keep?" There's going to be a percentage of your population you cannot fucking control. There's nothing about your job that you are offering them that's going to keep them based on them. Why waste time, dollars, resources, or anyone's time thinking about how to save those people? It's out of your control, but are you saving the people you have the ability to save? I think is the way to think about retention and attraction.

[01:03:52] Tyson: Retention isn't always a good thing. Right? You don't want to retain any--

[01:04:00] Alexa: 100%, your underperformers always stay. All right. Awesome. Well, Elizabeth, if people like what you have to say because we love what you have to say about prepping for the great resignation or otherwise, where can they find you?

[01:04:09] Elizabeth: Oh, okay. I guess you could find me on LinkedIn, right?

[01:04:11] Alexa: Yes, totally. That's usually what everybody says, but I feel obligated to ask that question, tie the episode in a nice little bow. All right. Linkedin under Elizabeth, Meagher, M-E-A-G-H-E-R. I get that right?

[01:04:24] Elizabeth: Yes. That's right.

[01:04:25] Alexa: Nice. Oh, it's right on your screen too. Sweet. Awesome. Well, thanks for being here.

[01:04:29] Elizabeth: Have you answered any questions like, talk with people, dig into it more. We also have a ton of resources for POps. If you're not already part of our like POps community, that's a good place to come to you to talk with your peers about a lot of this kind of stuff. Then also find some of the great resources that we pulled together. Help our other people professionals.

[01:04:49] Alexa: I love it. Well, thanks for being here. Always a blast.

[01:04:52] Elizabeth: Thanks for having me.

[01:04:53] Alexa: Good luck with taco Tuesday.

[01:04:55] Elizabeth: Right. Talk to you all soon. Great. Bye.

[01:04:57] Tyson: Bye.

[01:04:58] Alexa: This episode was executively produced by me, Alexa Boggio with audio production by Ellie Frigida of Fear Harmonies. Our intro music was also done by the wonderful Ellie Frigida of Fear Harmonies. You can find more information about us in future episode--

[01:05:09] [END OF AUDIO]


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