In this special episode, we talk to three current HR postgrad students to discuss what they think they've gotten themselves into, their hopes/dreams, any moments of reality they may have experienced so far, and why they continue to pursue HR. Tyson and Alexa feel old and try to instill wisdom, but this one is for the kiddos!
Release Date: June 22, 2022
[00:00:00] Recorded Voice: Good 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 This is not a stuck-up PC compliance-based or employment law podcast about stuffy, outdated HR practices.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] Alexa Baggio: Just another day in the office.
[00:00:17] Tyson McKenzie: There's nothing better than a bunch of people that work in HR getting around the table and sharing these stories. We have this like out-of-body experience in HR where you're like, [unintelligible 00:00:25]
[00:00:27] Alexa: It's not that bad.
[00:00:26] Tyson: HR's not bad, it's not.
[00:00:29] Alexa: Come hang out with Tyson this podcast will make you laugh.
[00:00:31] Recorded Voice: This is the people problems podcast with Alexa Baggio and Tyson McKenzie.
[00:00:39] Alexa: Let's start.
[00:00:41] Alexa: How are you, Tyson?
[00:00:42] Tyson: I'm doing good. Not too much to report. I feel like the sun is shining so it's just like trying to manage my sunburn and be outside for as much as possible. [chuckles]
[00:00:54] Alexa: Yes, the fact that you have the option to be sunburn is, I'll take that as a win.
[00:00:58] Tyson: Yes, it's awesome. I love it.
[00:01:00] Alexa: That's great. I am backstage [unintelligible 00:01:02] which is fun. I'm in a weird setting and having traveled, you're always like, "I forgot the cord and I didn't bring the thing," and that's just been one of those days. I'm realizing that I don't know if I told you or if I told listeners that this is actually my last month officially states in Boston.
Right now I'm in Chicago, which is just adding to this whole complexity of this conversation but I will be in a different country every month for the next five to six months. I will have a different background every time we record, I'll be able to bring you new and interesting things from France and Denmark and Portugal and Mexico and all kinds of stuff so I'm going full digital [unintelligible 00:01:42] I'm really going to practice what I preach here.
[00:01:46] Tyson: That's amazing. That's like a life I can't even imagine. [chuckles] I will enjoy [crosstalk] for you. We are really the opposite. [laughs]
[00:01:57] Alexa: That's okay, I still love you.
[00:01:59] Tyson: I'll still be here. Yes, in a country with no internet and a baby. [laughs]
[00:02:03] Alexa: It's okay. I will very much look forward to you anchoring my week regardless of where I am-
[00:02:08] Tyson: I love it. It's going to be great.
[00:02:10] Alexa: - and Recording at all hours of the night mostly is probably what will be the most interesting part of this, so you'll get tired, grumpy Alexa for a couple of months. All right, Tyson. I got to do a little housekeeping. Today's episode is brought to you by Inkd Stores. Are you looking to build your company swag store? No minimums, no custom build, no monthly host fees all emerge and none of the fine print because Inkdstores.com, I-N-K-D stores.com, and mentioned the People Problems podcast to receive your discount. Cool. Well, awesome. See you [inaudible 00:02:37]
[00:02:52] Alexa: All right, for [unintelligible 00:02:53] the news today, we have I would say less of an article. Although there are quite a few articles that have sort of come out about this. Fox Business has one CNBC has one, but largely I would say it's a headline than an article. That is the companies are starting to come out and say that they will cover travel costs for employees who are needing to access abortion services.
The ones that are named largely in these articles. It's a short but growing list, I would argue is Tesla, Amazon, Citibank, Citi Group, and a few others are basically coming out and saying publicly, that they will cover-- it's a little different for each of them, but they will cover basically cross state transit costs to help support employees who need to get that procedure done. What do you think Tyson? [laughs]
[00:03:41] Tyson: The fact that we need this like I'm sorry. What is it?
[00:03:46] Alexa: I get it too, it's 2022 what is this? [laughs]
[00:03:47] Tyson: It's 2022. This is freaking Handmaid's Tale, like coming to life in the USA. Again, I feel like I always bring the Canadian perspective to these conversations. I struggled to understand culturally from a Canadian perspective, I struggled to understand the intricacies of what's going on specifically in the States right now, and I'm not going to pretend like I know what-- it's so different there. I understand that it could be different by state and that sort of thing.
Whereas Canada, it's kind of I know, our prime minister has said that this will always be a safe place for people to get an abortion. If people need to come to Canada now, I know--
[00:04:28] Alexa: We've had people say this was precedents before.
[00:04:30] Tyson: -I know and I know that we have a small handful of people that are working against that as well in Canada like, "Look, we're not perfect here by any means." Anyways, I digress. Again, there I go with my political views, but I think that it's great that companies are doing this in the climate that we're in if they have to do this. I think that it's important that companies are giving their employees a safe space to do something that's really, in the end, their decision, because my fear with all of this that's going on is that if someone is determined to make this decision.
Unfortunately, whether it's legal or illegal, they will be searching to get their abortion or whatever. If they can do that safely with a doctor, someone who can do this, who does this regularly, that sort of thing, then I think it's important for companies to allow just to protect the safety of their people.
[00:05:23] Alexa: Yes, I think what's fascinating about this for me is regardless of the political landscape, and yes, the United States is a patchwork of insanity. It's just what it is. It makes me very glad to live in some of the states that I have lived in. I think a lot of the argument around this is, is abortion health care? It actually doesn't really matter where you fall in that spectrum for the purposes of this conversation.
I think what's so fascinating about it and what I would get on a soapbox about this or in this topic about is that this really is actually wellbeing. This kind of move where you're like, "It's okay." If you have to get access to an emergency issue or an emergency procedure or something that's truly going to affect your well-being and your financial health, and your physical health.
There's all caveats to why people and women seek out this procedure like, "We got you. We're not going to put you at risk of having to like you said, ban that procedure on your own." I think what's fascinating is that that is employee well-being. That is like, "We got you. We understand it can be expensive and can be scary. Regardless of the political landscape, we got you and we will get you to places where you can do that safely."
That overall walking challenge, I would take all day. It is really sad that this is such a political move. I would argue that. Look, let's be serious, these companies are grabbing this for a PR headline. Say, "Look at us [inaudible 00:06:48]." It's Tesla who everyone knows has crazy Elon who can be a little tumultuous. Amazon, who we also know is one of the world's potentially worst employers at the same time [laughs].
[00:07:01] Tyson: I wonder if, like you said, because here's the thing. We've had a lot of guests on this show, and we have learned that women are still afraid to tell their employers that they're pregnant. People are still afraid to ask their employers for simple accommodations. Where Paul told us that they're less than $500. I wonder how this plays out in reality. That's just what bothers me about this is that--
[00:07:28] Alexa: I think this is probably it's a very easy thing to say you'll do and probably something like less than five employees will ever do in their [inaudible 00:07:34] tenure of your company.
[00:07:35] Tyson: Yes, right. Right. That's the shitty thing about the whole situation.
[00:07:41] Alexa: I think the spirit of it is correct.
[00:07:43] Tyson: Same. I agree.
[00:07:45] Alexa: It doesn't help that it's coming from some employers who could stand to do some things better.
[00:07:51] Tyson: I'll just say one last thing. It's just so interesting to me how employers are really having to step in to make up for the shit that the government is dropping. For example, like we say, [crosstalk] mandates and stuff like that, employers mandating, which I've always said that I was against the vaccine mandate. Anyways, employers really having to step it up in these cases, but the government's just shitting the bed on.
[00:08:19] Alexa: One of the nice parts about the private sector, I think that these prime examples make me realize, is they just don't have the luxury of being political. Employers don't have the luxury of being political. They're like, "We have to do what gets people to work safely and do well for us." [crosstalk]
[00:08:33] Tyson: A lot of people do see this as political moves just as much.
[00:08:40] Alexa: It's funny because I don't see-- I don't read this headline go, "This guy is being political." I read this headline and going, "This is the private [unintelligible 00:08:45] I'm going to seize on this opportunity for my brand."
[00:08:48] Tyson: I feel like if you were on the other side, though, you would see it as political possibly.
[00:08:52] Alexa: Possibly. That's possible.
[00:08:53] Tyson: I think they might. Anyway.
[00:08:55] Alexa: It's something with the mandates and stuff. I just think the private market is going to do what it has to do to try to get people to work for them.
[00:09:00] Tyson: Right. Because I'm on the other side of the mandate. I feel like it was a political move by employers and it failed huge big time.
[00:09:09] Alexa: I never saw it that way. I just was like, "They're just trying to get people to come back to work."
[00:09:14] Tyson: I'm like, "Don't tell me what to put in my body and how I can show up to work. Thank you very much."
[00:09:19] Alexa: I know you've never even eaten a Cheeto. I know you're perfect.
[00:09:22] Tyson: I actually don't eat Cheetos?
[00:09:24] Alexa: No. What do you eat? Spicy Cheetos?
[00:09:26] Tyson: Oh, God, no, absolutely not.
[00:09:28] Alexa: I'm teasing. I'm teasing. Anyway, enough about Tyson's perfection and sainthood.
[00:09:33] Alexa: I am going to take this opportunity to introduce our guest today. Our guest today is Rebecca Khan, or Becca, as her friends call her. She is a student in HR and she did her undergrad at York in psychology. She is currently an HR postgraduate student at George Brown College, currently in her work term with [unintelligible 00:09:49]-- I'm sorry, SickKids in talent acquisition. She's not just studying HR.
She is also fulfilling orders for her small business presence. She began her small business in February of 2021, making customisable triggers [unintelligible 00:10:01] epoxy resin. She also loves baking, art, animals, music, friends, family, traveling, and learning new things. Well, excited to learn some new things from you today, Becca. Thanks for being here.
[00:10:11] Rebecca: Thanks for having me, I'm glad to be here.
[00:10:14] Alexa: How are you?
[00:10:12] Rebecca: I'm doing good. How are you guys?
[00:10:17] Tyson: Good.
[00:10:17] Alexa: Good. Where are you coming to us today from? Where have you been?
[00:10:20] Rebecca: I'm coming to see you from a little outside of Toronto like the [unintelligible 00:10:25].
[00:10:28] Alexa: Okay, cool. You're on Tyson's side of the Border.
[00:10:31] Tyson: We call that the GTA.
[00:10:32] Rebecca: The GTA--
[00:10:34] Alexa: The Greater Toronto Area.
[00:10:38] Rebecca: [unintelligible 00:10:38] someone familiar with this area coming out of Cornell.
[00:10:43] Tyson: I have. Absolutely, yes.
[00:10:44] Rebecca: I was like, "Cool. [unintelligible 00:10:45]" [chuckles]
[00:10:47] Tyson: Yes.
[00:10:47] Alexa: Very cool. All right. Well, nice to meet you, Becca. You're studying HR as a grad student, tell us a little bit about why you're studying HR?
[00:10:57] Tyson: Why would you do [crosstalk]--
[00:10:59] Rebecca: Why would I do such a thing?
[00:11:00] Alexa: [crosstalk]-- Why are you doing this?
[00:11:01] Rebecca: It's so funny, today actually. I just [unintelligible 00:11:04], but anyway. I basically, I did an undergrad in psychology and I've always had an interest in the human [unintelligible 00:11:14] how we interact like all that [unintelligible 00:11:18]. I'd also finished my undergrad and was like, "What am I going to do with psychology." Like I don't want to go to school-
[00:11:27] Tyson: Been there.
[00:11:27] Rebecca: -to be a psychiatrist. Like, "Do I want to become a psychotherapist?" I enjoy talking with people, but will I enjoy that for the rest of my life. Then I just came across [unintelligible 00:11:38]. I know you guys probably were just like, "That came out of nowhere. What's going on?" [chuckles] I was literally set on doing dental hygiene and was ready to start for September 2022.
Originally I was supposed to go through September 2021 at George Brown, but then the pandemic hit, so it was deferred. I couldn't go. I was going to do just the normal BA, but I ended up taking a year to do an honors BA. Anyways, pandemic hit. I get into doing epoxy resin which is-- How do I explain it?
It's pouring the liquid plastic into molds and putting dried flowers, and gold, and all sorts of other things into it, to become something that's beautiful like [unintelligible 00:12:27]. Anyways, I get into this school small business I made. My dad actually suggested to me like, "Have you ever thought of going to HR?" I was like going to HR like.
Like going, "Well, what do you mean?" He's like, "It's like as you painted this business there's entrepreneurial side [unintelligible 00:12:47] if you like it." I look into it, I'm sold. [chuckles] I cancel my seminar, dental hygiene [crosstalk]. Registered [unintelligible 00:12:57] thank you. I'm doing a postgrad in HR for September 2021, and it just made sense. Yes, if you ask me--
[00:13:09] Alexa: What about it made sense to you? What did you read that you're like, "All right. Man, I'm sold." Like them.
[00:13:13] Rebecca: Yes, that's a great question. Just the fact that it's like dealing people. It's actually using humans instead of-- It's not like liquid stands, it's not-- When I think of my selling items like holding items or [unintelligible 00:13:28]-- When I think of places [unintelligible 00:13:30] selling items that you can buy at a-
[00:13:33] Alexa: Which is--
[00:13:33] Rebecca: -store or like-- Exactly, I actually sell these things--
[00:13:35] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:13:35] services.
[00:13:37] Rebecca: [chuckles] Exactly. Even I have a small business of doing handmade stuff. It just made more sense because they combind the actually human behavior with actual peo-- It's not personable, which I love.
[00:13:50] Tyson: It's like the humans are the resources.
[00:13:52] Rebecca: Exactly. It's actually [unintelligible 00:13:53]--
[00:13:55] Alexa: Humans are not resources, Tyson. Come on. [laughs]
[00:13:59] Tyson: No, I feel you though. It's like people are what makes the company go. HR is making people do things, I love it.
[00:14:07] Alexa: Yes. That is what interested me in it. Along the way discovered [unintelligible 00:14:14] that HR was so much more than just doing recruitment like occupational health and all those lingo terms that-- I don't know if you guys spoke upon it in this podcast because it's like HR, and not HR. Right?
[00:14:31] Tyson: No, but it's true. Like there's a--
[00:14:32] Alexa: [crosstalk] HR.
[00:14:33] Tyson: There's like a different flavor of HR for any interest that you might have. Like the difference between recruitment-- Like being a recruiter and comp analyst, it's like you can't even house those under the same-- It's crazy that they all fall under the same thing. I want to go back.
I love that your dad connected your entrepreneurial mindset, and your entrepreneurial skills with HR. I think that that is-- That is what I want to see with the future of HR is that side of things because that's not typically-- Usually, people are like, "No, you're like the anti-entrepreneur in HR, right. You're like the corporate--"
[00:15:13] Alexa: Risk-averse, stays within the lines. Loves the rules, yes.
[00:15:18] Tyson: Though I love that, and I can't wait to see how you use that in your future HR.
[00:15:22] Rebecca: [unintelligible 00:15:22]
[00:15:23] Tyson: That's amazing.
[00:15:24] Alexa: Do you see any parallels just in your-- from studies and your work term so far between running your small business and your degree?
[00:15:36] Rebecca: 100%. I can give an example where we were learning [unintelligible 00:15:40] we learned to organizational business and learning about dealing with-- Even though it's [unintelligible 00:15:49] what you can and cannot ask. Interviews and stuff like that, and also just talent management, and retaining your talent, and I can correlate with retaining customers. Because my main output for my small business is Instagram.
Having to retain, it's a little bit different because, I'm putting out big talent the talent per se, but I'm trying to retain my customers and also try to make them happy. I do so many correlations and a lot of the problem-solving I [unintelligible 00:16:23]. I don't know if that makes sense?
[00:16:28] Tyson: It absolutely does.
[00:16:29] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:16:29] I'm an entrepreneur and Tyson's the HR expert, so we get why this works. It makes a lot of sense to [crosstalk]
[00:16:35] Rebecca: It does.
[00:16:36] Tyson: You'll see, I often think of HRs as service, right? I am in service to the people I work with, the clients I work with, employees, that sort of thing. I think even some older, more old-school HR or companies will still call HR like client services. There is that idea that the employee is our customer, and we need to create.
[00:17:02] Alexa: We need to get back to them.
[00:17:03] Tyson: We need to make sure that we are designing the right product for the customer who is the employee, right. The product is our HR initiatives and practices and whatever, and the employee being the customer in that scenario. Yes.
[00:17:16] Rebecca: [unintelligible 00:17:16]
[00:17:18] Alexa: I love that.
[00:17:21] Rebecca: In the next session, [unintelligible 00:17:22] Both of you attended George Brown, [unintelligible 00:17:27]
[00:17:28] Alexa: I did. I did. [unintelligible 00:17:30]
[00:17:31] Rebecca: When you were at George Brown, did you take the project management course?
[00:17:35] Alexa: Yes.
[00:17:36] Rebecca: You have to make your own little project?
[00:17:38] Alexa: Yes. Yes, yes.
[00:17:39] Rebecca: Okay. For my project, we actually ended up doing something based on small businesses. We went with planning a little kiosk for small businesses, and there's so many elements that crossed over as well, which was so interesting. That was cool.
[00:17:53] Tyson: Yes. Project management is just one of those life skills I feel like [crosstalk]
[00:17:58] Alexa: I was going to say I feel like I need to take this course.
[00:18:00] Tyson: Anyone can benefit. Yes.
[00:18:01] Alexa: Too many projects, not enough management.
[00:18:04] Tyson: There was an accounting at the time, too, which everyone really hated in our program and my cohort. Everyone hated the accounting class, but it's important.
[00:18:13] Alexa: It's so dry, but it's so useful.
[00:18:17] Tyson: It's so useful.
[00:18:18] Alexa: It's like managerial finance, you're like--
[00:18:19] Rebecca: [unintelligible 00:18:19]
[00:18:20] Tyson: Good, good.
[00:18:22] Alexa: Good, Becca. Stay like that, and I get it. It's usually taught as a really dry subject.
[00:18:28] Tyson: It's hard. If you don't like math and stuff it's hard because there was quite a lot of the debits and the credits and shit like that. You're like [unintelligible 00:18:37] your charts and stuff. It's hard.
[00:18:38] Alexa: Look, I will tell you, I run multiple businesses and I don't always look at a balance sheet. I know exactly what I should be seeing. It's a little bit more interpretation than sometimes it probably should be, but you literally cannot run a business without understanding how it moves and how people both work through it and work costs. It's one of those things. I think academically it's not very fun, but in practice, it's actually insanely useful.
[00:19:03] Rebecca: [unintelligible 00:19:03] You just need it for yourself. [unintelligible 00:19:06]
[00:19:07] Alexa: Yes, [unintelligible 00:19:07] accounting.
[00:19:09] Rebecca: It's like [unintelligible 00:19:09] right. Life skills, project management, accounting, all these things you learn in HR are life [unintelligible 00:19:18] pretty much.
[00:19:20] Alexa: It's so funny to think of it like that, right? Because what we should be teaching people in HR is life skills and how to implement them and coach them into others and use them on an organizational level. I realized that you're young in your career, so you're not cynical yet, but that's not a lot of what gets talked about and taught in the older guard of this industry.
You find people who come to the space who actually lack a lot of basic life skills, and you're like this feels like maybe a misconception here. What about your psychology degree, Becca? I feel like there's also got to be some parallels between psychology now that we're talking about it and HR.
[00:20:03] Rebecca: Definitely, so many of the [unintelligible 00:20:08] hierarchy, so many of the theories crossed over. To be honest, I'm not undermining the theories that are studied today, and even [unintelligible 00:20:21] if they don't not make sense, but you know what I'm saying? There's only so much you can do with the theory.
[00:20:28] Alexa: Right. It's just a theory. It's a working theory.
[00:20:30] Rebecca: It's very impressive. When they're coming from all the years from the 1800s, is [unintelligible 00:20:37] but beyond just a theory-based side of psychology. Just more of the behavior of how the relationship between employers and employees and the whole reinforcement and how you want to give job satisfaction and employee motivation, employee morale. That relationship is really, really, really interesting and has a huge psychology aspect, which I've noticed.
[00:21:11] Tyson: I too have a psychology degree, and I refer to that as what makes people pick [chuckles]. That's a very professional psychological HR term for it [laughs].
[00:21:24] Alexa: What are you most excited about, Becca? You're in your work term, what's some of the experience you've had so far and what--
[00:21:29] Tyson: You just started, right?
[00:21:31] Rebecca: Yes, I just started. Yesterday was my first day.
[00:21:33] Alexa: Oh, congrats.
[00:21:34] Rebecca: [unintelligible 00:21:34]. It's really special to be working at SickKids.
[00:21:38] Alexa: What is SickKids for people who do not know?
[00:21:41] Rebecca: SickKids is a hospital for children in Toronto and--
[00:21:47] Tyson: It's the hospital for children.
[00:21:53] Rebecca: It's just such a special place to work. Just knowing that everything you're doing is for the kids. Being in talent acquisition-- I know I've only been there for two days, but knowing the people I'm working with are hiring and doing the interviews to hire the nurses or compliance or anyone within the hospital, they need to hire the best talent to support the kids, right?
Just knowing that it's such important, it just makes me smile. Me working there, whether the placement goes on longer or not, I'm just happy to get this experience. What I'm excited to do in my placement is just actually put what I learned in class to work and see it in action because it definitely does not go as smoothly as in class. The talking about the whole procedures there's no way it goes--
[00:22:54] Tyson: The theories.
[00:22:56] Alexa: You haven't busted out a theory on a coworker yet?
[00:22:59] Rebecca: No. Yes. [chuckles]
[00:23:01] Tyson: I just want to say, hearing you talk about how what happens at the company that you're working for. SickKids, how that makes you smile, I just hope for you, that you carry that feeling with you throughout your career and you don't settle for less when you go and choose a job or a company, whether it be after your placement or in the future. I think that that feeling of just being so aligned and happy with what it is that your company does is a feeling that you need to chase versus chasing a salary or chasing anything else.
I think that is super important to feel that way when you work, because we talk a lot about an engagement and how engagement is like, this shitty buzzword, that's what makes people engaged. That feeling of just wanting to smile when you talk about what your company does, hey, you might not be saving lives in HR, but you feel that connection to that purpose, and I think it's an amazing thing to hear from you, especially this early on in your career.
[00:24:03] Rebecca: Thank you. Hopefully, [unintelligible 00:24:06].
[00:24:07] Alexa: Yes. Two days in. I don't know. Let's put the bar a little lower.
[00:24:14] Alexa: It's the cause, right? Yes, it is. I think engagement is really being excited about who you work with, being excited about the work that you do, and being excited and trusting the organization you do it for. I think that's something to look forward to.
[00:24:28] Rebecca: Also, I'm totally open to the fact that I might end this internship position and be like, "Talent acquisition isn't for me. Working in a hospital setting isn't for me." That's okay. I do have experience working in a hospital setting through volunteer work, so I know I do like working in a hospital setting, but I'm not stuck to anything. There's so many different avenues within HR--
[00:24:53] Alexa: Do you have any others from your studies that you're like, "Oh, I think I might be interested in." Our last [unintelligible 00:25:00] we were talking a lot about labor relations. Is that your jam? What are your jams?
[00:25:06] Rebecca: Unions just don't do it for me. I'm all for unions. I think that they're important, but the whole working with unions is not for me. Maybe one day, maybe if I get the experience or be a part of a union, that I'll have more.
[00:25:22] Tyson: Maybe you will leave the hospital.
[00:25:24] Rebecca: Yes.
[00:25:31] Rebecca: Everything around what you do is with labor relations.
[00:25:41] Alexa: For example, what are the other things that you study that you're like, "I think that's cool."
[00:25:45] Rebecca: Project management, I really enjoyed, the whole leading the project, hiring, getting just organizing an event or just something from start to finish. I found it really, really interesting. I really enjoyed recruitment and selection, hence why I'm in acquisition internship.
I just love talking to people, the club, just learning about what you said, what makes people tick, and just making relationships and networking with people. I also really enjoyed conversation, specifically the benefits portion. I thought that was really cool. There were so many courses. No, there's 13 courses.
[00:26:35] Alexa: Where do you want to go long-term? What's your-- Now that you've got-- You're finishing your degree, you're doing your work term, what do you and not specifically like, "I want to stay SickKids forever and do talent acquisition," we know that may change. Now that you are getting a specialty, what would you like to do with this in 20 years?
[00:26:57] Rebecca: It's a great question, but also so hard.
[00:26:59] Alexa: It is hard?
[00:27:00] Rebecca: 10 years from now is scary, but exciting.
[00:27:04] Alexa: Give me five.
[00:27:06] Rebecca: Five years from now. I'd like to have-- I'd love to be working for a company and just maintain this positive exposure about the field of HR, and just I can't put my finger on it, where exactly I'll be in HR. I would love to be working in HR, but I just like to have a job five years from now and just be happy with what's going on in my life. I know that's not very specific or anything.
[00:27:34] Alexa: It's about as specific as you should be I think. [crosstalk] You should be open to new things, so I'll take that [crosstalk].
[00:27:41] Rebecca: I'm not attached to any [unintelligible 00:27:44].
[00:27:44] Alexa: Good, soak it all up.
[00:27:46] Tyson: Maybe presence with a Z will really--
[00:27:51] Alexa: Presence, yes.
[00:27:52] Rebecca: Maybe. We'll see, we'll see.
[00:27:54] Alexa: Yes. Awesome. Any questions for Tyson and I? While we got you?
[00:27:58] Rebecca: What's your favorite? What parts of HR make you guys excited?
[00:28:04] Alexa: Tyson, what makes you excited about HR?
[00:28:07] Tyson: My answer is it sounds so malicious. We have very similar trajectory pathways, I guess. I also have a psych degree. Thought, "What the hell am I going to do with this?" Then I took the program at George Brown as well, and it was an amazing program. They [unintelligible 00:28:22] make me say that. It really is truly a great program.
Anyways, but for me, it really is all about how do we create a space to make people do the best work? I'm a business partner by trade, so very much a generalist. I specifically work with management for the most part, and for me, it's the conversations with managers that keep me going. I love building relationships and rapport, and I always call it my start of my puppeteering, all the things that I get to do in the background to really make shit happen. That's what I love about HR.
[00:29:01] Alexa: Mine is not super dissimilar. I think it's why Tyson and I get along so well. I come from the business side of this as a business owner, and someone has built a few businesses in the HR space and really, truly do believe in evangelizing the role of people and making it more of a skill and a tool of business.
For me, it's a lot of the same puppeteering but it's all around the psychology of how you get your team to operate in the way that you need to as a business. I think that's a really fascinating challenge. I also think it's something that gets maybe standardized a little too often. We don't give organizations that are specifically people, professionals, enough bandwidth and enough leeway to figure out how to make an organization work organically and holistically.
I think you actually mentioned it earlier, Rebecca, but you made me think that while companies have products, you produce widgets and services, the organization and the atmosphere that you create is also a product that you as an organization are creating, right? Your product is not just the widget you make, there's also the organization you're able to build, and the environment, and [unintelligible 00:30:07] you can create.
[00:30:11] Rebecca: I do brands.
[00:30:12] Alexa: Yes, but the actual environment you can create with people that you work with, but the way that you get people to work together is, maybe not your primary product, but it is at the very least, your secondary, and for me, I think that's fascinating. I think it is. If I had to argue maybe the most underutilized tool that businesses in modern day, at least commercial economies have.
I think people wildly underuse their people, even after all this talk about HR and the future of work, and employee experience, and insert other buzzwords, I still think people wildly underutilized their people, so I get fired up about fixing that.
[00:30:47] Rebecca: Can I go back to what I was saying earlier, because today I was meeting all the people on the team, and there's one conversation with one of the [unintelligible 00:30:57].
[00:31:00] Tyson: No. Tell us.
[00:31:03] Rebecca: I'm specifically thinking, we had this riddle, which was really awesome. We had 15 minute meetings and teams set up with each TAS, which is talent acquisition specialists. One of the girls at the meeting was like they tell us about them, and then they asked about us. There's two of us talent acquisition specialist interns.
We're not TASs, we're just HR students in talent acquisition, but she was saying, "How did you guys get into HR?" And how no one she knows has ever gone into HR by choice. It was like [unintelligible 00:31:37] said before. I just want to bring that up and be like, "Why don't we bring HR up in high school?" I didn't know HR was--? Did you learn about HR in school?
[00:31:49] Tyson: This is why.
[00:31:50] Alexa: No, but they also don't teach you personal finance in high school either.
[00:31:52] Tyson: Hold on. This is why you don't know about HR, tell a small anecdote. I was out this weekend, and I met someone for the first time. I was at a party, and I met someone. It was just casual conversation. Back out in the world, right? They asked me what I do for a living, whatever. I said that I work in HR, and their immediate response was, "Oh, are you the HR person that everybody hates?"
[00:32:20] Tyson: It's shit like that-
[00:32:21] Alexa: I hope you're holding a cranberry-colored drink. [laughs]
[00:32:26] Tyson: There was actually cranberry in my mocktail. Anyways, it's comments like that, that I think have created this huge, dark storm cloud around HR. People don't realize what the true power, like Alexa was saying, this untapped power until they really get into it. They take a program, like the program that we took at George Brown. I can't stress how amazing that program is, because it really does show people how amazing, what the opportunity is in HR.
I think that's maybe one of the reasons. High schools don't tell you a lot about jobs other than like you could be a teacher, [crosstalk]
[00:33:03] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:33:03]
[00:33:05] Tyson: -but you're right, in that a lot of people, we say that, HR chooses us versus the other way around. I have met people in my lifetime who have an undergrad in business with a specialization in HR, that was their choice, but you're right, that it oftentimes is this like afterthought, "I don't know what the fuck else to do, my psych degrees is useless, so I got to go to something." That's how you ended up because you can take an easy program, get an internship and get a job.
[00:33:32] Alexa: The moral of the story is don't get a psychology degree. [laughs]
[00:33:36] Tyson: Or a Master's in HR. Okay, if you wanted to know, don't get a Master's.
[00:33:40] Alexa: Amazing. All right, Becca. Well, thank you so much for being here. Good luck with the rest of your internship, and good luck with everything.
[00:33:47] Rebecca: Thank you.
[00:33:48] Alexa: Yes, hope you see where your career goes.
[00:33:52] Rebecca: Thank you. Feel free. I'm going to do shout out to [unintelligible 00:33:53] Thanks so much for having me.
[00:34:04] Alexa: Well, thank you. What's up Tyson? How are we doing?
[00:34:07] Tyson: We're doing great. Just great. I don't really know. [crosstalk] I don't really have too much still going going on, but--
[00:34:12] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:34:11] with a ponytail?
[00:34:14] Tyson: Yes, got a new look every time.
[00:34:15] Alexa: I know, I get in a different look each time now, I like it. Now that you're back in the world.
[00:34:20] Tyson: Just wait, you haven't even seen the best of me yet. Honestly,--
[00:34:24] Alexa: I can't wait for the fall when I get to hang out and realize that I think you're probably like four inches taller than I am.
[00:34:31] Tyson: Yes, we talked about this. I'm almost 6 feet, but no, it's--
[00:34:36] Alexa: To me, we're the same size, because I think we're the same person. No, I'm just kidding. Yes, cool. Nothing else is new? Everything is treating you well?
[00:34:46] Tyson: Yes, just pretty standard. Our typical weather report that we do on here, it's cold again.
[00:34:54] Alexa: Yes, it's cold again. I can concur. Although by the time this drops, it may not be cold anymore, and I hope not, but--
[00:34:59] Tyson: It won't be. There's no way. There's no way just as long as it doesn't keep snowing be I'll be happy.
[00:35:05] Alexa: Yes. Amen to that. I just need some fucking sunshine over the long winter. All right, cool. Without that, I guess I'll just do some quick housekeeping which is that as I mentioned, Tyson and I are going on the road together this fall. Any listeners of this podcast can join us at any of those events. The events are at perkscon.com.
Then you can use the code people probs P-R-O-B-S spelled that out because it sounds weird. People probs you can use that code to get a free ticket to come see Tysons and I live in San Francisco on September 15, in LA on September 21, and in Toronto on October 5.
[00:35:40] Tyson: Wait, is that the first time we've announced the locations?
[00:35:43] Alexa: I don't know.
[00:35:45] Tyson: [unintelligible 00:35:45] [laughs].
[00:35:46] Alexa: This is a really tight ship so I hope not [laughs] but maybe we're going to go to California and Toronto together.
[00:35:54] Tyson: I can't wait, California.
[00:35:55] Alexa: Hopefully we get some other stuff on-- we're getting Tyson out of Canada for the first time in a long time. We're going to do some live episodes together and just excited to hang out, so get some tickets while they last.
[00:36:07] Tyson: Can't wait.
[00:36:10] Alexa: We'll see you guys there. We're going to do a very special episode today. This is going to be a mash-up of a couple of different interviews. Tyson and I talk a lot about the future of this profession and where the people ops industry is going and where we think it needs to go and trying with this podcast for listeners at the time to usher in the future but I also think it's really important to talk to actually students of the profession.
We are going to be joined today, by a few different guests. Our first guest is going to be Aaron [unintelligible 00:36:37]. He is a postgraduate HR management student at George Brown College. He's coming into the program at a strange time. Some restrictions are changing every other week, navigating being a student, and applying to jobs, which has been a self-proclaimed weird experience. Aaron, we're excited to have you here.
[00:36:53] Aaron: No, it definitely thank you for having me.
[00:36:56] Alexa: Tell us a little bit about where you are physically where you're coming to us from today, a little bit of how you got into being a-- why you wanted to go to grad school for HR.
[00:37:05] Aaron: I am, I guess we'd be 20 minutes out of Toronto, Ontario so pretty because I'm--
[00:37:12] Alexa: We'll see you in October.
[00:37:13] Aaron: Yes, definitely I'm going to be there at the live one. It's a postgraduate one year program that I decided to go into after my undergraduate degree. I went to University of Toronto for political science. Whenever someone says political science are like, "Oh, cool, so you wanted to be a lawyer," and then you realize you were bad at it, which is kind of the route.
I feel like second year I among many other students was like, "Okay, cool. I don't know what I want to do with my life. I don't know why they told me to decide it when I was just 18." After that, it was just a lot of I guess, looking into different professions. I was lucky enough to be able to land some internships at major banks, which helped me get into that professional space, and then at least knew that I wanted to work in that professional environment.
It was just a matter of I guess, how to use my skill set that I thought I had, in that kind of way. The other thing being that out of really nowhere, I hadn't done it at all my entire life. I just started dancing randomly in university. I was on several dance team that it led some dance teams, it's kind of cool.
[00:38:20] Alexa: Which kind of dancing?
[00:38:22] Aaron: I guess you can call it. I don't really know what the term is for it anymore. A lot of stuff happened over the pandemic, in terms of naming things and allowing things to be called what they're supposed to be called.
[00:38:32] Alexa: Is it like Hip hop? I was used to be a dancer, is it lyrical? Is it Hip hop?
[00:38:39] Aaron: Hip hop is supposed to be like what hip hop is only and we do stuff that isn't necessarily like hip hop, hip hop so we can't call it hip hop, hip hop because that's disrespectful to hip hop, hip hop. This is actually perfect. It's like, kind of HR sort of stuff, but in the dance scene. There's really no dancing for people just started calling it like choreography without any kind of descriptor for it. It's pretty much a hip hop inspired with like, it draws from other facets.
[00:39:15] Alexa: Were you getting down in the student center? I remember those kids, I didn't go to UFT but the kids in the student center that were just breaking it down, doing like I don't know the warm.
[00:39:26] Aaron: Oh yes. Honestly we would. It's funny because you think that again, this school is big as UFT would make their gyms and studios and stuff more accessible to their students, but they really don't. That's why you have so many students randomly in like the math building, just breaking it down by the elevators and you go on online on Twitter or Reddit and people are like, "Why are these people [unintelligible 00:39:52] constantly playing music in the basement of math building, whatever gallery or whatnot?" Then they're getting mad at--
[00:40:00] Aaron: It's okay we don't have any relative, you understand some are on the street.
[00:40:02] Alexa: I want to [crosstalk] with just breakdance on the street, they literally just like getting up in the parking lot and be like, "We're just going to do this here."
[00:40:08] Aaron: Yes, they pull up the cardboard.
[00:40:10] Alexa: Yes exactly.
[00:40:11] Aaron: Then just go for it.
[00:40:11] Alexa: A few boxes and cardboard, yes exactly in front of the library. It was actually a pretty popular spot but anyway. All right, so you got into dancing how did that lead you to a postgrad in the HR?
[00:40:23] Aaron: All right you think that it would be more natural to just go through that, but I guess I know a lot of HR people dance so I think it was just a natural-- I'm just kidding.
[00:40:36] Alexa: Really?
[00:40:38] Tyson: Especially when you have a few glasses of wine.
[00:40:39] Alexa: [crosstalk] was like yes.
[00:40:41] Tyson: All six feet of me.
[00:40:45] Aaron: I guess so what really helped me I guess find my way through that was that after my first couple of times, just like dancing. I was lucky enough to be in a situation where I could actually lead a couple of teams so I was organizing. We were doing auditions. We were doing interviews for those people, we were assessing them.
Actually, we had like-- they always tell you it like recruitment or training class you have to have makeup breakdown of your table for what's acceptable, what you want. We actually had to do that, so I was practicing HR stuff, best practices. While I'm not actually an HR yet. I guess that process-- I guess I honed a bunch of skills in terms of working with other people.
I realized that I loved seeing through an initiative from the beginning to the end, and I just liked working with people and resolving conflicts and whatnot. Again, I was like, "Okay, cool I like to work in professional environment, I've done all this stuff and dance and it's hurt my grades, but I'm graduating, so that's good. Where can I go from here," and it just fit perfectly in that. I developed skills that I think are applicable to the HR, while HR being that setting that I wanted to work in.
[00:41:49] Alexa: Awesome and what are you-- Go ahead.
[00:41:52] Tyson: I love so, like spoiler alert, I took the George Brown program, the one-year program, so that program is just made up of a tonne of people that are just soul searching in a sense. They're like, "Wait, I didn't really pick HR," but I'm thinking I want to go into it and this one year is very non-committal and it's not a huge investment so you go and it's all these different people with these different backgrounds.
It's not just business people. It's so many different folks. That's the best thing about the program is you get such a diversity of backgrounds. I love that is what's feeding the HR field as well, like jobs in HR is this diverse group of people.
[00:42:34] Alexa: We need a lot more multidisciplinary attraction to the space I think for sure. Aaron, tell us a little bit about what you're hoping to do with your degree in HR. What are you hoping to do next?
[00:42:48] Aaron: Find a job, that's a big one. Get paid big money.
[00:42:52] Alexa: Hold the irony.
[00:42:53] Aaron: It's funny I don't know when I first started getting thinking I wanted to go in HR, I started talking to my RPC, or [unintelligible 00:43:01] I was talking to my RPC manager, I was like, "Okay, well, I'm thinking to get into a professional setting and what do you think? I was thinking HR." He's like, "Get your MBA, there's no money in HR, they'll fire you if there's any crash," and I'm like, "Oh, that sounds a little more grim than I would expect."
Then I ignored him and now again it wins it's still went into it anyway but, I don't know, given what I've learned in the years lets say years, in the year I guess I've been studying HR, I think what I'm looking more towards is compensation. I think compensation, total rewards, or that sort of thing. I think it's like the centerpiece.
As far as I can tell, it's the centerpiece of HR because it's recruiting but you're not going to recruit anybody if your compensation packages are bad. There's training and development and stuff, but no one has loans incentivized to do that thing unless they want to stay at the job and want to grow in the company thing.
It just keeps that retention high and just the idea of it being effectively a large puzzle with parts that don't fit together that you just have to find the right match for it, it's a quarrel, I guess, place and that also applies to labor relations, but labor relations is really hard. I just done a project where we had to do a, I guess, what you call it like a bargaining settlement, like a mock bargaining settlement where like, we are representing union.
[00:44:20] Alexa: [crosstalk]
[00:44:21] Aaron: Yes, and then another team asked to represent the management and we go at it with each other and like, it was so stressful this morning, and my team was like, "Okay, you're the one who's talking for us," and I'm like, "Oh."
[00:44:35] Alexa: What was stressful about it? How did it shake out? I'm so curious, I wasn't speaking in debate in high school talking and I know. This is like speech and debate for HR.
[00:44:44] Aaron: No, honestly.
[00:44:44] Alexa: Yes mock court or whatever it was called. Tell us a little bit about the simulation what happened?
[00:44:50] Aaron: It started off and I think one thing that undercut the entire thing was that if we went on strike, both sides would have to write an extra two-page paper. Being on the union side, I already knew I'm coming in here, I'm going to win because if nobody wants to write this paper, and if I can strike, and cause everybody to write this two page paper, there's no way they're going to go for it. I don't know.
Annoyingly, it started at eight in the morning, and it's just like, you're your brain's not awake yet. We pull into this meeting at eight in the morning over Microsoft teams, and nobody wants to put their camera on, which is fine because, in the end, it's 8:00 AM. I don't think anyone's ready at 8:00 AM for that kind of thing. Again, going back and forth with people, I guess it's also hard that it isn't actually an adversarial environment.
If you're actually a union worker, or a union representative dealing with management, you're really fighting for your workers, you're really looking to get the best deal from them. You don't really care what management wants, you care about what you want, but then when you're coming in as a student in this, you're like, oh, I feel bad. I don't want them to get a bad mark if we take too much off them.
Also like, I know that they can't budge off certain things that the teacher's telling them, they can't budge on. It's hard to navigate that anyway. We went in the mentality that, we don't really care, we want to win. Overall, [laughs] it was a hard. We took so many caucus breaks, just took taking five minute breaks coming back in, arguing, taking five minute breaks coming back in.
Overall, it was stressful. Initially, I thought labor relations was really stressful, and all I learned was that it really is, given you can experience that is not even real. I don't really want to go near that.
[00:46:46] Alexa: That is not something I would ever want to go near.
[00:46:48] Tyson: Just to be clear in Canada, labor relations equals anything that has to do with the union. Right? I'm not sure if it's the same in the States.
[00:46:55] Alexa: Yes, it's a similar term. Yes. I think it's probably, significantly more rewarding in some ways, but also significantly more stressful in some ways. Also, I think it's the profession, where there is no winning because it's like tennis. Right? It's such a jock, but in every situation you're in, someone has to lose. Right? Someone wins, and someone loses. There is no like, okay, we mediated this to a mutual agreement. There's a lot of winning, and losing in labor relations, which sucks. It's a constant wait.
[00:47:26] Tyson: Speaking of losing, are your teachers on strike right now?
[00:47:30] Aaron: Right. It was a funny time when I guess first got the email to be on the podcast. I think last month, I can't remember which date. It was the day I responded was literally the day before we were about to go on strike, because all the colleges going, well-
[00:47:49] Alexa: I'm not Canadian. Someone fill what the college teachers were going to strike.
[00:47:54] Tyson: Why?
[00:47:55] Aaron: Well. Again, their collective agreement ran out, and they were trying to rebar for whatever other issue. I think it was the teacher's union wanted to go to an arbitrator, but they wanted to do the arbitration, where they mediate between the two deals, and pick, and choose different clauses. Whereas the colleges just wanted them to pick one side for the entirety of the deal, and the colleges just weren't having that. They basically, gave an ultimatum of either you come, you either accept our arbitration, or you come back to the bargaining table, or we go on strike.
Yes, we were completely unsure for about a couple of days. We had an assignment due. They were going to go on strike on Friday, and we had an assignment due that Sunday. I was like, I don't want to go on strike, because I don't want to go on strike. That's annoying, it'll delay all my classes and stuff, but I also don't want to write this like 12-page paper. I'm like, "Oh, pros, and cons." It ended up not going on strike thankfully. I think the night, I think it was like 11:00 PM.
They were like, "Oh, we averted strike." The colleges has accepted it. From what I can hear from other students, some of the teachers seem like the government's putting a little bit of pressure on the colleges just, because, we're not going on strike immediately after like COVID restrictions are finally letting up. I guess I got a little lucky with the timing.
[00:49:22] Tyson: Are you guys completely remote then?
[00:49:25] Aaron: That's actually funny. I believe that when we initially signed up for the program, the first semester was guaranteed to be remote. The second was supposed to be depending on how it goes.
[00:49:39] Tyson: College was so fun in person though.
[00:49:42] Alexa: I think grad school is super fun in person.
[00:49:46] Tyson: I did both grad school, and my post-grad-- Well, I did all of my school in person. Here we go. I'm old to shits.
[00:49:51] Alexa: I'm older than you so easy over there, killer.
[00:49:55] Tyson: What was fun about college--
[00:49:56] Alexa: She put this, I'm like, "I'm older than you."
[00:49:58] Tyson: No. What was fun about college though, is that you had all the same people in your class. I didn't even have that High School. It was every single class you had the same people. I created some of the best friends and it was just so fun because you got to know people so well, and that was part of the fun thing in college. I feel I gave my heart and soul into college. That was the hardest I've ever tried in school. I loved the program because it was so applicable.
Like what you're saying, some of these-- Actually going through a bargaining or building a compensation structure for a pretend company. It was so applicable and I tell everyone who asks and wants to hear me talk about this, that I would recommend a college program over a university program, a master's in a second. I would probably not have done a master's [crosstalk]
[00:50:43] Alexa: The undergrad versus masters.
[00:50:46] Tyson: Well, no, so, it's different in Canada again, so this is just a one-year college program. It's not at a university versus a master's, which is a complete waste of time in nature.
[00:50:59] Alexa: [laughs] Got you. Aaron, if you were going to sum up, to bring this all home a little bit for people who aren't hearing from the next generation of someone getting into the space. I have two questions, but I'll ask them-- I'll ask you both and then I'll ask you one at a time and they are basically, what are you most hopeful and excited about getting into the profession for the realm of HR and what are you most scared of or worried about getting into the profession? Maybe let's say we'll end on a good note. Let's start with what you're maybe most fearful of or scared of getting into this space?
[00:51:37] Aaron: I'm lucky enough to have a secured cooperating. Fingers crossed I do a good job and they keep me on. What am I most afraid of? Honestly, I think one thing that-- It's funny to jump off, like Tyson's point about the in-person college. Because we are online, it's a lot more or less interpersonal, I guess you can say. Again, you're talking to a lot of people through WhatsApp groups, my team, Teams groups, random emails and whatnot. A lot of the time people aren't putting their-- Even putting a profile picture on.
When we go on video calls or when you're going on calls, people aren't putting videos on or putting a picture. You have no idea how anyone looks like, and everyone's scheduling around their life rather than-- Because when you have to be in class, you have to go in and be there for the day basically.
You can't really-- Because commuting time is a thing and whatnot. It's hard to schedule work on the same day. Now that everything's remote, someone can schedule a shift 30 minutes after class ends and then work the rest of the day.
What I'm quote-unquote scared of is that the actual work environment is going to mirror how I felt about college, which is actually less that it's a lot of fun. I'm enjoying the material quite a bit, the-- I feel it's really engaging.
Again, the assignments are great and the teachers are great, but the relationships with other students have been a little bit weird in that a lot of people are a lot more concerned about getting their part, doing their thing. The amount of times I've had a group assignment-- We have group assignments for every class. It's six classes per semester, all have group projects that are massive and they're all different groups. You don't get to make your groups. It's different people, so completely different schedules--
[00:53:20] Tyson: That sucks, you don't get to make your group?
[00:53:23] Aaron: Especially, yes.
[00:53:24] Tyson: That's [unintelligible 00:53:24] out of me. Oh my God. I had the same people, we had like-- Okay, if it was a pair, I was with one person, if it was three, okay we had the three and if it was et cetera, et cetera. We had the same people every single time because I'm very, very competitive and I'm very--
[00:53:37] Alexa: Tyson doesn't do new friends.
[00:53:40] Tyson: First I hate meeting new people. First of all.
[00:53:42] Alexa: No new friends.
[00:53:43] Tyson: Also Stress is that shit off out of me because if I wasn't getting an A-plus, heads would fucking roll, right? It just wasn't happening but anyhow, I digressed. The group work was very stressful for me.
[00:53:59] Aaron: No for sure. Again, it's really hard to deal with, again, completely different people for different groups.
[00:54:03] Alexa: No, it's a real concern. The office environment, relationships matter and how you work together as a team matters. People have talked about this for two years now. It's a real concern and it's really something to be mindful of Aaron, for sure. It's going to be harder to not only build those relationships yourself but help people manage them. That's going to be a big part of what you step into. It's really hard to understand what's going on when half the relationship is over a screen.
[00:54:30] Aaron: Again, the important part of HR is just work culture, right? Having a culture that it promotes working together, all that kind of thing. Again, the amount of times I've had a group project where someone either-- I'll put, "I helped on this section because we spoke about it and I gave them ideas," and then they'll be like, "Why'd you put that? That's my section. You didn't write that."
I'm like, "Oh, okay, sorry, I'll take that off." Then they'll have a section where they didn't necessarily write anything, but I won't say anything because I don't want to escalate a situation. I just hope that I land in a company or in a team that is a little less, I guess self-focused. I don't know if it's because they don't know me, they don't see me, it's behind a computer screen that they can be like that, if you get what I mean? I'm not sure.
[00:55:18] Tyson: I hate to disappoint you, but that shit has been going on way before we were remote, right?
[00:55:24] Aaron: Yes, fair enough.
[00:55:25] Tyson: There are assholes everywhere.
[00:55:25] Alexa: People are always looking out for number one, yes. I was going to say. You will find that people will just look out for themselves. That's one of the hard parts of managing people is you're trying to optimize everybody's version of why the fuck they're in this but it's also maybe an opportunity to-- Wherever you wind up to be like, "Okay, guys, we're all in the same room once in a while doing this shit together, it's a significantly different experience. We're all rowing in the same direction."
Grad school is also like, everybody's there for their degree and they've got their lives going on. When you're at work, it's a little bit more core to your identity, because you do it all day. I do think people are a little more open to being a little more team-oriented because your success is their success basically, in some sense.
[00:56:07] Tyson: One thing that's interesting about HR depending on where you end up in HR, so let's say you go on an HR business partner track, even actually, if you were in compensation, a lot of our work is lone wolf. We go out into the world and work with our clients, versus working on an actual team to deliver results. Yes, there's always going to be team stuff but a lot of what you do is solitude and working with the business versus actually working on a team. I personally love that because then I'm controlling and managing every situation and micromanaging my life.
[00:56:45] Alexa: Tyson is a manipulative control freak, but we've covered that already.
[00:56:48] Tyson: From that respect, it's nice because you can do your own thing and present that to the business versus some other asshole who's taking credit for your work. Now, that still happens, always. It's going to happen. You're going to get a boss that does that, I'm sure at one point of your life but that's one thing that I like about HR is that you get to control things yourself.
[00:57:12] Alexa: [laughs] I just love your face when you say that. [crosstalk] All right, moving on from Tyson being a control freak. Aaron, what are you most excited about? What are you amped for?
[00:57:26] Aaron: I think what I'm amped for is the state of HR. Given the state of the job market and everything I feel like again, even to your point, people want certain things, people want to work remote, people want to work hybrid, people want to feel fulfillment in their jobs. There's currently a shift, and then there's going to be probably an even bigger shift too. What I think, again, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM feel like they're-- again, I wouldn't say the 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM are losing their allure, I guess but I'm excited to see how HR progresses in that.
For example, a 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM shift, if it's not really relevant to-- If you don't have business partners that you need to be actively working for from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, why does it matter if again, you do something at 9:00 AM or if you do something at 7:00 PM, so long as again, it's totally factorable, or it doesn't affect the work being done. Moving away from that set schedule, moving away from in-person workspaces mandatorily. It's giving workers a lot more freedom in terms of where they're working from, when they're working, how they do their work and whatnot.
It's such an interesting space to be moving into right now, especially again, with a compensation focus, because that's a benefit, your flexible work hours, your ability to work from anywhere in the world or whatever, on whatever hours. It's something that's really cool and I'm pretty excited to explore that. I think that's mainly it, just the way everything's changing.
[00:58:57] Alexa: Super exciting time to be doing this because nobody knows where the focus is all going.
[00:59:01] Tyson: Yes, so much is up in the air.
[00:59:03] Alexa: Yes, exactly. All right. Aaron, any questions for us? While you got the famous Tyson of HR here, any questions for us?
[00:59:12] Aaron: What's the advice that you would give? Because again, you get a lot of advice from-- I've cold messaged a bunch of random managers on LinkedIn asking for stuff, and sometimes they'll answer, sometimes they won't. You get a lot of different kinds of advice from those managers and whatnot about what the job market is like, what looks good on a resume, all that kind of stuff. I guess what's your-- From you two and you're a little bit younger, you see a different landscape of HR than some other older managers or whatnot might. What is your insight into, again, myself, someone who's just getting into the field right now?
[00:59:48] Alexa: You want to go first, Tyson?
[00:59:49] Tyson: Yes. My advice for you, especially as you're looking at going into your co-op, and some people are going to say this is bad advice. I'm pretty sure I've said this on the show before. This is maybe bad advice, but it's my best advice is that you should never, ever, ever say no. Do all of it. Do everything that anyone asks of you in your co-op, don't hem and haw, don't, "Oh, I don't know if I can get that done. I'm pretty busy." Nobody gives a shit how busy you are. You say, "Yes, I'd love to help you."
Even if you don't know what you're doing, say, "Yes, I'm happy to help you." Then find other people and figure out how you can help them. Literally, message everyone you possibly can and ask them how you can help them. Get into all the nitty-gritty work that everybody's doing, whether it's your managers, your colleagues, anywhere. Someone asked me to be on the health and safety committee, and I was like, "Yes, I'd love to."
Always, always, always say yes, and then figure out how to do it afterwards. Find a friend that you can ask, don't necessarily always ask the same person, look for advice from other people, like, "Hey, I've got this project, I'd love to know how you'd work on it," but my biggest advice for you starting out in your career is to always, always, always say yes and then figure out how you can do it after the fact and manage your time after the fact.
Don't ever show anyone that you're too busy because the second you stop and take a pause, they're never going to come back and ask you for help because it was too complicated. That's my biggest piece of advice for you going into your co-op is just do as much as you possibly can.
[01:01:24] Alexa: That's good advice. I don't hate that advice. Not at all. Yes, I also think that's easier said when you're younger, and you're early in your career, for sure. Look, I don't know whether my advice would be specific to this industry. My industry-specific advice for you Aaron would be don't paint this to be all about culture and all about working with people because a lot of it is shit. There's a lot of shit that is involved in working in this space, anywhere near, quite frankly. We joke about it all the time on this podcast, people don't do this for the glory and you've got to just be prepared that it's not all wide-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Aside from just being a realist, I think that's also what makes this space really interesting, and gives it a lot of cool interesting aspects for the future. I would say, just as someone who's early in their career, what I typically coach people on that I mentor out of undergrad specifically is that you can only do so many things with each move in your career, right? I tell people you can only move on two axes as you move further and further in your career.
One is the industry you work in and the other is the skill that you pass over time. You have to pick an industry and/or a skill till you get further in your career where people have to typically hire you for both like, "Oh, he's a great B2B marketer in healthcare tech." You're not going to start there at your first gigs in the space.
It sounds like you're leaning for a comp or total rewards, that's awesome. Starting out in your career is almost entirely about figuring out what you don't like and what you're not good at. When you orient it around that, it is actually significantly easier to start to make decisions as you get more comfortable in roles.
So you say, "Okay, my first job I did this, I thought I wanted to do A, and turns out I don't really like A. I find it very boring. It's not what I thought it was, and, oh, by the way, I'm actually not great at X, I'm much better at Y." As you get further and further in your career, you can get to the things not only that you like doing, that you enjoy doing and that give you purpose during the day but there also ultimately are strengths in the space.
I think so many people early in their career get wound up in like, "Oh, well, I don't know what I want to do yet, and is this exactly what I want? My first job out has got to be perfect because I just spent all this time in college paying for school, and I've got to justify my existence," and it's like, "No, no." Your first three moves are entirely about like, "I tried that and here's what I hated and now I know not to do that again and I got some things that I liked out of it," and you move yourself towards your strengths.
There might be parts of comp and total rewards that you love and then there might be parts that you're like, "This is boring as fuck, I don't want to do this," or "I don't want to do if it's structured this way," or "I don't want to do it at this organization because comp and total rewards at a huge organization in certain industries is going to be very different than startups or other industries."
My advice to you would be, just take it as the more I can learn about what I don't like doing and I'm not good at, the better this experience is for me so that by your second or third move you're actually moving towards the things you're good at and the things you like doing. Because there'll be plenty of shit that you're like, "Oh, man, this is not what I thought it was."
Your goal over time with your career is to get paid as much as possible for the time you give to the thing you like doing the most. That's the trifecta for everybody. Most money, least time, most enjoyed, right? That's what I would say. That goes along with Tyson's philosophy, which is you just got to take on a bunch of shit.
[01:04:42] Tyson: Just try it all. That's the great thing--
[01:04:43] Alexa: Just do a bunch shit.
[01:04:44] Tyson: That's the great thing about being Junior in HR is usually you're in a role where you can take a look at everything and try everything and then as you [crosstalk]--
[01:04:52] Alexa: Don't overcommit, but, yes. Don't disappoint people who are with you.
[01:04:55] Tyson: Yes, you can specialize or not. Because I love being a generalist. I absolutely love it, and I get to do comp stuff all day long. I don't have to look at spreadsheets and stuff and do analysis so much, [laughs] which is not my forte. I get to talk about how much people get paid and I love it.
[01:05:12] Alexa: Yes, cool. Yes. Well, thanks for being here. Thanks for talking to us. Good luck.
[01:05:17] Tyson: Awesome. Thank you, good luck. Stay in touch.
[01:05:18] Aaron: No, for sure. Thanks for having me.
[01:05:20] Alexa: All right. Our guest today is student Jessica Kingapardon. Jess is a postgraduate student in human resources at George Brown College, and she is passionate about recruitment, employer branding, and excited about putting the human in human resources. What's up, Jess?
[01:05:34] Jessica Kingapardon: Nothing. Nothing much. Thank you so much, guys, for having me.
[01:05:38] Alexa: Why did you decide to do this crazy podcast?
[01:05:42] Jessica: [laughs] Because I've never heard of a podcast for HR before. I was like, "Okay, there--"
[01:05:47] Alexa: I'd like to say we're the only one. We're not the only one. I think we're the only good one. I'll say that.
[01:05:52] Tyson: The best one for sure.
[01:05:53] Jessica: Yes. If I've heard of it, I'm like, "Okay, it's pretty good. It's pretty good." I was thinking I finally found people just as passionate about HR as I am, but in a very modern sense, not like I'm a people person type of I love HR. It's more realistic perfection.
[01:06:12] Tyson: [unintelligible 01:06:13] the problem is part of HR.
[01:06:15] Alexa: The problem is part of-- Yes, yes. The human part of human resources. Got it. Cool. Got you. You're a postgraduate student now. Tell us a little bit about your journey into this program. Why did you decide to study this? What were you doing before?
[01:06:28] Jessica: Yes. In Middle School, my parents were like, "You're in grade seven. You don't know what to do with your life." I was like, "Huh, got it." I'm going to start looking.
[01:06:40] Alexa: In my 30s, I don't know what I would do with my life.
[01:06:43] Jessica: I got immigrant Indian parents, they were like, "Grade seven, you don't know what to do." I'm like, "No, I don't. I don't think I grew boobs yet."
[01:06:51] Jessica: I think I [inaudible 01:06:50] the journey.
[01:06:53] Alexa: Parents are a fun ride.
[01:06:56] Jessica: I was like, "All right, I like working with people. Should I go into nursing, doctor or whatever. This brain is not [inaudible 01:07:03]. I can't do blood and I can't do science."
[01:07:08] Alexa: Blood and science are required to be [crosstalk].
[01:07:09] Jessica: Yes, blood and science were requirement. Unfortunately, I have none of those. My boyfriends' sister was actually in an HR program when I looked into it and my initial thought was, "Oh, I love working with people, I love solving problems, I love being in a business environment." That was the Kickstarter and in Uni, I did a bachelor's degree in labor studies and that was more about learning about unionized environments. Me and my dad both worked in the unionized environment. We worked at Chrysler Automotive Assembly. Tough shit, tough shit.
[01:07:43] Alexa: Yes, I want to hear about that.
[01:07:45] Jessica: That was a lot of people problems. I was--
[01:07:48] Alexa: We're going to come back to that.
[01:07:50] Jessica: That was a lot of people problems. I hated how HR worked there. I hated the fact that this was my dream job at one point, textbook. I was like, "Okay, I'm going to fucking stick with this and I'm going to see if I can change it because this is ridiculous." It was just filled with people that didn't want to be there. I was like, "What the fuck are you guys doing? You guys are causing the problems in this people department."
[01:08:17] Tyson: Wait, when were you working at Chrysler? Not when you were 13.
[01:08:21] Jessica: No, no, no.
[01:08:22] Alexa: The first people problem.
[01:08:24] Jessica: This is the first people problem.
[01:08:25] Alexa: Child labor.
[01:08:27] Jessica: [unintelligible 01:08:27] to make your cars. No, no, no. I was--
[01:08:30] Tyson: When you were in Uni, right? Or in some University.
[01:08:34] Jessica: When I was in University. It was a summer job. I was able to work--
[01:08:36] Alexa: What were you doing there? What did you do for Chrysler?
[01:08:39] Jessica: I was assembling the cars, girl.
[01:08:41] Alexa: Which part of the car.
[01:08:43] Jessica: I was first assembling the seats into-- We had this big arm thing and I would drill the seats in. I kept backing up the line because I'm a child. Then they were like, "Yes, we're going to--"
[01:08:56] Alexa: But not actually a child.
[01:08:56] Tyson: [unintelligible 01:08:57] legally.
[01:08:58] Jessica: No, no, [unintelligible 01:08:59]
[01:09:01] Alexa: Allegedly.
[01:09:03] Tyson: The FBI [unintelligible 01:09:03]
[01:09:04] Alexa: This ground is not uncovering a case of widespread child labor. Just to be clear, that's not what's happening here.
[01:09:11] Tyson: We vote Chrysler.
[01:09:14] Alexa: Yes, her dad was there with her, it sounds like, also working. She had supervision and parental consent.
[01:09:21] Jessica: Anyways, I was 20 and I was drilling the seats and they're like, "Yo, you can't do this. You're backing up the line and getting people pissed off." I'm like, "Okay." Then I moved down to the final line and I was basically inspecting the cars and then driving them on to-- You know those big trucks where you see cars are stacked? I was driving them onto that truck.
[01:09:41] Alexa: Oh, that's sick.
[01:09:42] Jessica: Oh, it was sick. There were nice cars, Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger. Those are the big three ones in the assembly plant.
[01:09:51] Tyson: Just so I'm getting this right, in grade seven, you had the foresight to say, "I want to work in HR."
[01:09:58] Jessica: Yes.
[01:09:59] Alexa: Because you met someone. A family friend who had worked in the HR space.
[01:10:02] Tyson: My heart is starting to flutter. If we could inspire middle schoolers to work in HR.
[01:10:09] Alexa: We're ushering in the new guard Tyson. We're just getting them younger and younger.
[01:10:12] Tyson: I love it.
[01:10:14] Jessica: You know what? I feel like HR back then was like Toby from the office. Everyone fucking hated him, the personal department is boring as fuck.
[01:10:23] Alexa: There's just still a lot of HR, unfortunately.
[01:10:25] Jessica: That is.
[01:10:26] Tyson: Still like that a lot.
[01:10:27] Jessica: My perception of HR was what can I do in this space more than what can this space do for me?
[01:10:33] Alexa: That's awesome.
[01:10:33] Jessica: I probably think I had ADHD as well, I still do so I'm always just very like, "Oh, I can do this, this, this and this," and just go crazy. That could have helped fuel that blind passion at the time which was great because it kept me focused on one thing. Because HR was growing and it still is growing into more than what it-- From a personnel department to now a strategic partner there's so much more that is happening in the space that people my age and younger generations are seeing.
Especially since the pandemic I feel like they're like, "Oh, HR is huge on work-from-home policies, they're the reason why you're able to work from home and you're not, certain pay salaries," the rights that you have in the workplace, that all fuels from HR as well. I feel like I got around it and secure in the HR field when I started doing HR internships.
I spent every summer in my university career doing an HR internship because I looked at my labor studies degree, there's only three labor studies programs in Canada and I'm like, "No one's going to fucking hire me with this degree," [laughs] because this-- I was in commerce first year and then I almost died from accounting. I was like, "No, I'm not doing another three, four years of internship."
[inaudible 01:11:49] organizational behavior, I only did labor studies and I was like, "I need to back this degree up." My first internship was HR admin, super basic. I think that’s the perfect place to start for any student that wants to go on into HR. Start in admin because you're supporting the different branches of HR, and you're viewing what's happened behind the scenes.
[01:12:12] Tyson: Basically everything.
[01:12:13] Jessica: Yes, exactly. I was fortunate enough to support the executive assistant to the VP of HR for a major health care company.
[01:12:22] Tyson: That's awesome.
[01:12:22] Jessica: It was great, it was a lot of exposure. My second HR internship was strictly recruitment, and that was a punch in the fucking gut. Now I understand.
[01:12:32] Alexa: Why?
[01:12:33] Jessica: You either you love recruitment or you fucking hate recruitment.
[01:12:36] Alexa: Well, that's how people feel about labor and union.
[01:12:39] Jessica: Oh yes.
[01:12:39] Alexa: Everybody has their flavor.
[01:12:41] Jessica: Yes.
[01:12:41] Tyson: Yes. I would say though with recruiting though, you definitely need-- I find personally recruiting is very, very salesy and you have to care a lot about bringing people in.
[01:12:51] Alexa: Be on-- Yes.
[00:12:53] Tyson: I just can't be fucking bothered most of the time, so recruitment is very difficult for me. Having to follow up with people and be like, "Hey, are you still interested?" No.
[01:13:02] Jessica: No.
[01:13:02] Tyson: You call me, okay? I'm not calling you.
[01:13:05] Jessica: You're the one that works here. No.
[01:13:07] Alexa: It doesn’t surprise me at all Tyson.
[01:13:13] Alexa: They're like, "Oh, you want to work here? You call me."
[01:13:15] Jessica: Yes. Basically the first interaction with recruitment it sucked because it was sugar-coated for me going into the role. It was like, "Oh, you're going to talk with great people and it's going to be easy, it's going to be smooth sailing." They don't let you know shitty things about recruitment and what can go wrong.
[01:13:36] Alexa: What were the shitiest parts? Come on give us the dish.
[01:13:38] Jessica: All right. This was for a real estate company. Oh my God, we're probably going to have to bleep this shit out because they're just going to-- [crosstalk]
[01:13:46] Alexa: Just don’t say the name. We're good.
[01:13:47] Tyson: We won't say the name.
[01:13:47] Alexa: We won't out anybody.
[01:13:51] Jessica: Because it was real estate and businessy people there was a shit ton of shitty personalities and it was very entitled, it was to [unintelligible 01:14:00]
[01:14:00] Alexa: Not that it has anything to do with real estate.
[01:14:02] Jessica: It does. No, but-- [crosstalk]
[01:14:04] Alexa: They got a lot of them.
[01:14:05] Jessica: It was just-- If it's a business position I'm like, "Oh God. They're either going to be super humble and professional, whatever or they're just going to be super entitled." That was my-- [crosstalk]
[01:14:14] Tyson: Big egos.
[01:14:15] Jessica: Big egos. Oh God, I saw they were from Western, big Ivy school, I'm like, "Fuck," they're going to--
[01:14:22] Tyson: Oh yes. We'll have to delete that shit out too.
[01:14:27] Alexa: All your biases, no, I’m just kidding.
[01:14:29] Tyson: No, I'm in campus recruitment right now and I'm talking [unintelligible 01:14:31] so that's totally worth it.
[01:14:35] Jessica: Especially for a student, you don't know shit, you're going to fuck up a lot. The scariest part for me for phone interviews was me asking them, "Do you have any questions?" Because they would ask maybe super specific questions that I didn't know or really give a shit about. If I didn't know the answer they gave me shit for that.
They were like, "Oh, do you even work for the company?" Or, "Can I speak to your manager?" I'm like, "Are you being a fucking [unintelligible 01:15:00] right now? You're asking for a job from me." I think recruitment, it is really sales-based, it's really tiring. It's a constant race to fill that position. Then it's gone and you just let go. You don't really see the progression of that candidate or employee, unless you run into them or something. I think from that [crosstalk]-- Sorry.
[01:15:22] Tyson: It's so easy to blame recruiters too, because from a manager perspective, they have a gap and it's very clear to fill that gap will solve their set problem. Not filling that gap it still leaves the hole, right? It's obvious when recruiters are starting to fall behind. It's like, is it the recruiters fault? Or is it because managers really suck at recruiting as well and the process and they don't really know what they want, et cetera, etcetera.
It's so obvious when recruiters aren't getting bumps and seats, so they're really easy to blame. I've been in meetings with recruiters that I've worked with in management and I'm sitting there and the managers are just shitting on them. I'm texting them on the side, like, "Hey, are you okay?" Because it's just so-- I often see recruiters getting shit on when there's so many vacancies.
[01:16:13] Alexa: I think it's a double edge sword too because for someone who's dealt with many outside recruiters and I get constantly bombarded for shit, it's just a bunch of throw a bunch of shit against the wall, see what sticks. That seems to be the general mentality for an external head hunter.
Then you find the internal recruiters who I think to your point Tyson, they actually know the culture and they want to fill the role for the right person, but they're either struggling to get the candidate pipeline or they just get the-- The well gets dry or the manager that they're hiring for isn't picking the candidates that they like. It's really easy to make them the scapegoat, when usually I find that it actually has nothing to do with the recruiter. It's usually-
[01:16:51] Tyson: That's what I mean.
[01:16:51] Alexa: -the person that they're looking for hasn't been clearly defined or the team-
[01:16:56] Tyson: Well, that's exactly what I mean.
[01:16:56] Alexa: -doesn't agree on what they want.
[01:16:57] Tyson: It's the manager. Oh, that's 100%.
[01:16:58] Alexa: It's always the team dynamic and it's like, "No, no, no."
[01:17:03] Tyson: That's what I mean. It's so easy to shit on them.
[01:17:04] Alexa: If your recruiter is regularly putting shitty candidates in front of you, like something got missed, but if it's someone whose been there for a while, every recruiter I've ever worked with internally works their fucking ass off.
[01:17:15] Jessica: Yes.
[01:17:15] Tyson: Exactly.
[01:17:17] Alexa: It's like sales, it's a low return game. It's a lot of volume. You got to take a lot of rejection and you got to be on your game. It's exhausting. Exhausting. Was that your last internship desk?
[01:17:29] Jessica: No, I did four altogether, so that was the second one. My third one, I was with municipality, I got to do research in organizational development, which was really cool.
[01:17:41] Tyson: More unions. [laughs]
[01:17:42] Jessica: No, it actually was not unionized. It was with--
[01:17:44] Tyson: Oh, it wasn't? Wow.
[01:17:45] Jessica: No, it wasn't. No, it was with-- I basically got to pick a research question and it was COVID during that time. It still is, but I got to research the connection between the COVID-19 pandemic and how HR departments in the different municipalities in Ontario, how are they affected? How's work from home going with them? Any tech issues, mental health resources? What is the city doing for them?
Surprisingly, it was really interesting because the smaller municipalities, you would think that they're on fire right now and shit is going off the wall. They were doing great. They were doing really good because they had-- It was a smaller workforce, so there was more attention to them. The bigger municipalities were on fire really, they were getting lost in the cracks. It was really stressful to see, because these are HR departments for major municipalities.
If they're on fire, everything else is on fire. That goes back to the point where HR is a strategic function of any entity of business.
[01:18:55] Alexa: Municipalities are pretty stuck in-- They're one of the last guards that's going to get the more strategic piece of this. I've worked with quite a few of them and it's a lot of checking boxes.
[01:19:07] Tyson: It's totally different work.
[01:19:07] Alexa: It's unfortunate because they don't get empowered to do much. It's totally different work.
[01:19:11] Tyson: No. My mom is actually in HR and she's an equivalent to an HR business partner for the City of Ottawa. Much of her work is based on the union stuff, because the biggest challenge with unions is if somebody can't do their job, you need to find them another job for some reason, whatever the reason is. There's a lot of that happening. Most of her job is placing people into jobs that fit whatever.
I don't know if it's an accommodation case or for some other reason why they're not doing their job. Anyways, from her perspective, she was remote pretty much before the pandemic. The pandemic didn't really change much except she made it more permanent, I guess.
[01:19:55] Alexa: I just think a lot of those jobs are just significantly more administrative than they would be at [unintelligible 01:19:58].
[01:19:58] Tyson: It definitely is.
[01:19:59] Alexa: Their signi-- Just the way the departments are structured is like, you got one person who just does leave policy paperwork [unintelligible 01:20:07]
[01:20:08] Tyson: Anytime you're working in a unionized environment, so much of your job does become, and I know people that will challenge me on this, but so much of your job does become administrative because you do have to follow the collective agreement to a tee. You don't have a lot of wiggle room. Now, I know people who are really, really into labor relations from the HR side of things and they would definitely challenge me on that. [crosstalk]
[01:20:27] Alexa: I would love to talk to them [unintelligible 01:20:28]. That would be gangster. All right, Jess, so then you did the union thing or the municipality research thing. What was your last one?
[01:20:35] Jessica: My last one was at [unintelligible 01:20:36] strategies in Vancouver, they are awesome and awesome.
[01:20:40] Alexa: What do they do and what did you do for them?
[01:20:42] Jessica: I was a recruitment and HR coordinator. I was one of their students and they're basically an anti-agency recruitment agency.
[01:20:52] Alexa: What does that mean?
[01:20:53] Jessica: Still to this day I don't really know. They act like a recruitment agency, but they were-- I guess, morally, they were against what agency recruitments--
[01:21:04] Tyson: It sounds like a shtick.
[01:21:05] Alexa: throw a bunch of shit against the wall and see what sticks. They're anti-that? Okay, cool.
[01:21:10] Jessica: Basically, they actually--
[01:21:11] Alexa: It sounds like they have a great marketing department.
[01:21:13] Tyson: I was going to say. I think they're awesome.
[01:21:16] Jessica: They're really, really awesome. The founder's a fucking girl boss to the sun. She was basically-- Our clients, they're not just we do one job for them, we get the hell out. We are making relationships with these people and we want them to come back to us. They do more than just recruitment.
It's more employer branding, HR policies, HR consulting, a bunch of stuff. It was really great to work with them because Vancouver has a bunch of small businesses that have-- They can't afford an HR department or they never prioritize an HR department. These are mom-and-pop shops. They can be warehousing or whatever.
[01:21:54] Tyson: Sounds very millennialized. A millennialized version of an agency.
[01:22:00] Jessica: It was pretty cool to work [unintelligible 01:22:01] because I got to see how HR looks in different industries. It made my skin a lot thicker, because again, you're dealing with a lot of personalities but this time, I was [unintelligible 01:22:12]. I went through this the first time, I'm not going to just go home and cry about it.
I'm going to fight back and show them that, "You listen to me," type of thing. I don't care if you think I'm a kid. I don't care if you think I'm an intern, you are on the phone with me for a reason and you're going to listen to me because I know more than you in this space.
[01:22:30] Tyson: Damn.
[01:22:31] Alexa: Yes, get it, girl.
[01:22:33] Tyson: Love that for you.
[01:22:35] Alexa: I wish I had that much conviction at your age.
[01:22:37] Tyson: That's awesome.
[01:22:40] Jessica: I was raised by parents who question my career choice when I was in the seventh grade. You wouldn't believe the conviction I have.
[01:22:47] Alexa: I'm sure I wanted to be a school bus in seventh grade. I think my parents were questioning my choices for a different reason. Where are you going post your fourth, I'm assuming final internship? What are you headed into? What are you excited about in this space.
[01:23:06] Tyson: Because you're in one now, right? Currently.
[01:23:08] Jessica: Yes. I'm in one now. My college program requires a co-op. I'm in one now for eight months. I'm at OMERS and Oxford Properties, which is to me, amazing. You wouldn't believe how competitive the co-op market is right now. I thought I was-- I've seen my resume, not even you guys have seen my resume. I've seen my resume. I'm like, "Oh."
[01:23:30] Alexa: We do not ask for guest resumes. I just want everyone to know that we are not asking for resumes. We do have an application-
[01:23:37] Jessica: My bad.
[01:23:38] Alexa: -but we don't take-- We don't read resumes.
[01:23:42] Jessica: Imagine I sent my resume in the email. "Hey guys, attached is my resume." Fuck off. I was like, "Oh, I'll be okay. I like to find an internship. I shouldn't worry too much." Then, by fucking March, I still wasn't having an internship.
[01:23:58] Tyson: It's just the most stressful thing and then everyone else starts getting theirs. [crosstalk] I don't know, I guess if you were remote, you might not have felt that pressure. I remember in that second term when people started getting their internships and they'd come to class and they'd be like, "Guys, I got my internship," and you're sitting there, you're like, "Oh, fuck, I still didn't get mine." It's hard.
[01:24:19] Jessica: I started looking in September. Our school suggested we look starting February and I'm like, "Okay, you're [inaudible 01:24:25]." I started looking at September and I got my offer in the beginning of April. It's because when I was looking for internships before, the main requirements was, "You're able to come into our office in Toronto or in Brampton or Vaughan whatever."
Now, all these companies are like, "We don't give a shit where you work. It's all remote." You can be [unintelligible 01:24:46] in Calgary. That means it's a larger and more competitive candidate pool.
[01:24:53] Alexa: It does mean that.
[01:24:52] Tyson: How do you feel about remote internships? Do you feel like you're getting the internship experience or do you feel you'd rather be in the office more. How do you feel about that?
[01:25:03] Jessica: That's a good question. I've done a remote internship but [unintelligible 01:25:07] because they're based in Vancouver, and I was still here. That was one of the reasons why I didn't go back, it was because I was missing that human connection with my team. I was there for eight months.
They're an incredible team, but I still felt so disconnected from the work itself. I wasn't meeting clients in person, I wasn't going to the actual sites to see like, "Okay, as their HR consultant, what are the goals that I'm missing because I'm not there in person?" I feel like for students that stuff really does matter. Maybe four or eight months you can do virtual, but eventually you'd want to move into a hybrid environment, right?
I also feel that's up to the company to implement, it's not always on the student. They need to have a safe hybrid or in-person environment for these students to work in. I definitely prefer in-person. Currently in OMERS it's hybrid, so I'm two days in-person and three days virtual, which is great because I think hybrid's the best option because the pandemic's not over, shit is still on fire. It brought to light that people have responsibilities other than work, people have dedications and responsibilities at home too. I'm a caretaker for my brother, he has autism.
Before it was me and my parents, my sister, juggling who gets to go to work in person, who's going to miss a full day to make sure that we have someone to watch my brother. Now it's like HR has to listen to their employees and accommodate, and be like, "Yo, listen, my kids have COVID, my kids are sick and I work from home here." Before working from home was seen as a lazy thing or a super-
[01:26:50] Tyson: Oh my God, yes.
[01:26:51] Jessica: -accommodating thing.
[01:26:54] Alexa: Which Tyson and I find hysterical because we've both been remote for many years before it was cool, but--
[01:26:58] Jessica: [laughs] Many years before it was cool.
[01:27:01] Alexa: Hysterical whether you think it's lazy, I've never worked more in my life. [laughs]
[01:27:04] Tyson: You work so much more.
[01:27:05] Alexa: You work so much more when you work remote. Assuming you give a shit about your job and you're engaged. I used to love working from home because I was like, "I can get so much work done."
[01:27:14] Jessica: Yes. I used to work from home to get stuff done back in the day.
[01:27:17] Alexa: Literally, yes.
[01:27:18] Jessica: Yes.
[01:27:19] Alexa: Exactly. That's a really funny vantage point. You're right Jess, you can't-- I think, and we've talked about this before, it's just that you can't un-see it. You can't un-see that your team has shit they want to do, families, obligations, requirements. Everyone just finally was like, "Hey, I'm just going to be honest about this now," and like, "You forcing me to go back to the office 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, five days a week, sucks balls for all of these reasons." Everybody agrees with me, so good luck with that. Boy, you've got a-- [crosstalk] Go ahead.
[01:27:46] Tyson: When you are in person you're actually doing cool shit, you're not just sitting on your computer.
[01:27:51] Jessica: [unintelligible 01:27:53] I'm a campus recruitment coordinator, and I feel like campus recruitment is the sweet spot for me, for now, I hope. I hope it's not ruined for--
[01:28:00] Alexa: It's super fun.
[01:28:01] Jessica: It is fun because I'm meeting students who are super energetic and I get to do campus swag. I'm going to go on university campuses, talking about the company. I feel I don't have to and I don't want to be ever, I want to be as personable as possible for students because that's a great employer brand technique as well.
If you show that you're in a super puffy like, "Oh, OMERS [unintelligible 01:28:25] this and this, and we only take the best of the best," the students are going to be like, "Fuck off, I'm not going to work for you, this is going to be the fuck--" I know I wouldn't. I'd be like, "Oh, great, you're this X company and you only get the best of the best. Bye, because I'm not the best of the best, and I don't want to work up to be the best of the best especially to you." That's me personally. I don't--
[01:28:46] Tyson: I love this generation. I feel like the perfectionism of millenials is gone and out the window.
[01:28:53] Alexa: When I was talking to campus recruiters, the more dry and the more best of the best they were, the more I was like, "I got to get [unintelligible 01:28:59]."
[01:28:58] Jessica: I was like, [unintelligible 01:28:59] [laughs].
[01:29:03] Alexa: [unintelligible 01:29:00] which kid do I have to give you in my future for you to hire me right now?
[01:29:06] Alexa: I was such a little hoe for over achievement for no reason. Little did I know at the time I was talking to some--
[01:29:11] Jessica: I would [unintelligible 01:29:11] this podcast. [laughs]
[01:29:17] Alexa: Yes, geez. Also, your resume at 21, which is just I'd serve the ice cream and I'd taught tennis, like, "Cool, congratulations. Cream of the crop right here."
[01:29:28] Jessica: [laughs] It's like the more personable a company is-- People need to find that sweet spot between being personable and being professional. Just because you're professional doesn't mean you're [unintelligible 01:29:37].
[01:29:38] Alexa: Yes. Girl, employer branding, that's my fucking happy place, I can talk about that shit all day, but I think it's interesting to see you meet the industry where it is as someone who wants to change it. I think that's the most interesting part of this, is you have such a different lens.
You've lived so much and you're still so young, you've got so much experience. You're taking it all on. You're not maybe as wide-eyed and bushy tailed, but you're also not jaded. You're not-- You're still ready to go. I'm curious to hear, what are your plans after school or for the future, and what are you most excited about doing in this space?
[01:30:14] Jessica: That's a good question. Hopefully, if there's an opportunity at OMERS in Oxford in campus recruitment I'd love to work there full time. OMERS in Oxford if you're listening. [laughs]
[01:30:28] Alexa: They'll listen once you share it with them, obviously.
[01:30:30] Tyson: [unintelligible 01:30:31] to my manager.
[01:30:33] Jessica: No, I think campus recruitment right now is where I really want to be because campus recruitment in itself is very strategic. It's part of the pipeline for--
[01:30:42] Alexa: If you can make campus recruitment work, it can be a gangster strategy. It's just really hard to get depending on the size of the company you are. It's really hard to make that labor pool really effective fast enough that it's not for-- At least for small companies which is mostly my world these days. It's really time-consuming and it's pretty expensive. That's why you only get those recruits at big companies because they're like, "Okay, I got time to train them."
[01:31:03] Tyson: I feel like what I'm seeing now with campus recruitment is almost you bring in heats of students almost and you have a set. Almost a curriculum for them to do. It's literally, okay, you come in you and they all follow this same guideline. I don't know if that's with-- If you're seeing that as well. Once they come in everyone does the same thing. Oftentimes we're rotating kids through.
[01:31:31] Alexa: Rotationals are much more popular. I think they're a really strong [unintelligible 01:31:36].
[01:31:35] Tyson: Yes, but it's very by the-- It's detailed exactly like, this is what they're going to do. This is who they're going to meet. It's dictated and you create that, and then once you have that created it's just about getting people in and rotating them through. It's following pretty strict to the guidelines. That's what I'm seeing at least trending.
[01:31:56] Jessica: I also feel like campus recruitment, we're trying to get-- Especially from where I've worked, people put that at the back of their to-do list when it comes to recruitment. Because it's about students they're like, "Oh, it's temporary workers. They don't really matter as much."
When it's time for them to graduate they're going to want to go back to either their best internship and come back here for hiring, or they're going to recommend-- It's part of the brand. It's part of employer branding, especially when you start with students. I really want to grow in campus recruitment. I feel like it's such an untouched aspect of HR and it's fun.
[01:32:32] Alexa: Yes, it's wide open.
[01:32:34] Jessica: It's so fun to do and it's so exciting to see all these new perspectives when people are coming into organizations. I'm going to meet some fucking wild ass generations after me and it's going to be great.
[01:32:47] Alexa: I already feel old. I don't know about you Tyson. [laughs]
[01:32:50] Tyson: I feel so old and look, okay, I just got my hair blonde.
[01:32:53] Alexa: This episode specifically is making me feel very old.
[01:32:56] Tyson: Okay, okay. Hold on. Hold on. I just got my hair colored and I'm blonde. I've always been blonde. I get highlights. I just found out--
[01:33:02] Alexa: Which is fire by the way.
[01:33:02] Tyson: Thank you.
[01:33:04] Alexa: Keep that colorist.
[01:33:05] Tyson: Thank you. I just found out that the young kids are calling this cheugy, and that means that-
[01:33:10] Alexa: What? Cheugy?
[01:33:11] Tyson: -I'm not in style. It's cheugy.
[01:33:14] Jessica: What the fuck is that?
[01:33:14] Alexa: Cheugy. Spell that shit for me.
[01:33:16] Tyson: C-H-E-U-G-Y, blonde is cheugy. It's not in style. It's cheugy.
[01:33:23] Alexa: The '90s are coming back and we fucking lived the '90s so I think we'll be okay.
[01:33:27] Tyson: Yes, we invented the '90s.
[01:33:29] Alexa: Yes, I was going to say. We were the '90s.
[01:33:31] Tyson: We were the '90s.
[01:33:33] Alexa: [unintelligible 01:33:33]. You all be cheugy or whatever the fuck too.
[01:33:36] Tyson: I've been racing the cheugy though.
[01:33:38] Alexa: Yes, I rocked the '90s hard.
[01:33:41] Jessica: Cheugy, what the fuck.
[01:33:42] Alexa: I don’t know what the fuck that means, but I never know what happened with the fucking internet is talking about. That's what Tyson tells me what I need to know. I'm the fucking grandma in this relationship. I'm like, "How do I post this story? I'm so bad at this." [laughs] Tyson is like, "Nobody does stories anymore." I'm like, "What do they do?" She's like, "I think TikTok's, but I'm still working on reels."
I'm like Jesus fucking Christ." [laughs] I don't know what any of that is. It's not true. I know what it is. I just refuse to do it. All right, Jess, what questions do you have for us? What are some parting thoughts, parting wisdom that you want from Tyson or I? Not that I can guarantee any but let's try.
[01:34:20] Jessica: How did this podcast come about? What went in your mind and you're like, "Okay, we need this or this needs to happen"?
[01:34:30] Alexa: I think it's more of a few things that came together. The story of how Tyson and I met is-- We've talked about it before. It's not super new. I think I have gotten into the HR space as someone who has worked with the HR profession for a very long time. Everything I do with my free brands in this space and everything I do is try to evangelize this particular profession. I just got really fucking tired of how nobody says some of these things. I was very lucky to meet Tyson. It was a small fan girl of hers, and we just came together and it was like, "I like talking to her, she likes talking to me, let's fucking do this."
A lot of the feedback that we get is that people don't hear people talk about this stuff like this, and there's not a podcast for this kind of HR and I think we get really energized by people being like-- I've just had someone text me, it was like, "Hey, I listened to that episode on disabilities and holy shit, that was so great. I need to tell my team about that."
We know how much-- Tyson as a practitioner and myself having worked with this space for almost a decade, we both know that everybody in this space is a fucking rockstar that wants to do good for their teams and for their people and that we have to break the crust off of the industry to allow the new guard to happen.
We just came together and said, "Fuck it, let's record it when we hang out." [laughs] It wasn't really more complicated than that and truthfully, that's still why we do it so, it's the labor of love.
[01:36:00] Jessica: It sounds so simple but its so needed. I listen to-- For five minutes I listened to one of your podcasts while at work, and once you guys started swearing I was like fuck. [laughs] I had to pause it just in case because--
[01:36:14] Alexa: We don't have any clean versions, sorry. We're not safe for work sometimes I guess.
[01:36:18] Jessica: I was in the office and it was empty and then I just had it on speaker and I heard the swearing. I'm like, "Oh shit. You know what? This is for on the train type of shit." [laughs] No, but I like it because it's-- That's one of the things, putting the human back in human resources. It just needs to-- I feel the HR department needs to translate into real human language.
What actually goes on, these certain topics are still very important. But how do people really feel? How do HR people really feel about this and what can actually happen when you're actually just honest with yourself. No fucking HR policies, no company policies and can't say this, can't say that. No. I want to know how you really feel about this.
[01:37:00] Tyson: It just-- HR just needs that to rebrand and I think what I--
[01:37:05] Alexa: [unintelligible 01:37:05]
[01:37:06] Tyson: Exactly, I'm not superposed to the easing HR, but anyways.
[01:37:13] Alexa: I love you and I tolerate it.
[01:37:15] Tyson: Because I'm of this mindset we need to take it back but I just think that when I talk to people about these things and as we've talked to people through people problems or just general life, everyone wants to do the same-- We all are striving for the same thing.
It's a very small minority now, that stuffy HR people and a lot of are working in stuffy HR environments but the individuals themselves just need a little nudge because we just need to break through those barriers, because most people that I know that are working in HR right now, they truly do want to do the fun strategic shit and actually provide value to the business. They just don't want to be pushing policies, right? I think that's what's super exciting.
We're just all underground right now and just waiting to hear people problems and just swear our heads off and get out of our little problems of policy making.
[01:38:07] Alexa: I feel I'm Neo and Tyson's, you're the oracle or Morpheus where it's just like I'm just trying to get everybody out of the matrix.
[01:38:17] Jessica: Just see it as [unintelligible 01:38:17]. Everyone in every HR department just say the word, "Fuck" and they're free.
[01:38:21] Alexa: Yes. We should just have a collective night where we get every-- Thousands of people are listening to this podcast on Zoom and we're just all screaming fuck at the same time and record it and then be like, "We're just going to play this for the general layer community." LinkedIn, Live Stream, everyone can just be-- Thousands of HR people just screaming fuck at the same time. I think we have to make this happen.
[01:38:45] Jessica: You can't do anything because--
[01:38:47] Alexa: We have to come up with a name for it though, like The Great Fucking Man or something. That doesn't work. That's probably a porn term or something.
[01:38:55] Tyson: Probably not okay.
[01:38:56] Alexa: It's probably not. I think we should call it but I think we need to howl at the moon on this one. We agree with you Jess. Good luck with everything. I love your optimism. We think you have a big career ahead of you.
[01:39:07] Tyson: Absolutely.
[01:39:07] Alexa: Keep it up.
[01:39:09] Jessica: Thank you so much. It was great to speak with you guys and I'm so grateful for Joanne to connect me to you guys. Keep doing what you're doing and I hope to be back one day, be a super power HR boss girl and say fuck.
[01:39:25] Alexa: Fuck.
[01:39:25] Tyson: You definitely will be, Jess.
[01:39:26] Alexa: You can say fuck either way but we'll hold you to it. Thanks, Jess.
[01:39:31] Tyson: Wait a minute before you leave, take some time to leave us a five-star rating. We'd really love your feedback. Also, if you'd like to see our lovely faces each week as we're recording these episodes, check us out on our new YouTube channel. Thanks.
[01:39:43] Alexa: This episode was executively produced by me, Alexa Baggio with audio production by Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies. Our music was also done by the-
[01:39:49] [END OF AUDIO]