66 - Retail Therapy with @hrsagentofchaos

Tyson and Alexa are joined by Franky ‘Tank’ Rhodes, better known as @hrsagentofchaos - to discuss his leap from retail to People Ops and the commonalities between the two (basically, people are the worst all over). They discuss HR’s new philosophies around policy and people management, how important it is to take chances in HR, and HR’s glaring white girl…ahem, diversity issue. It’s a doozy.


You can follow Franky on Tiktok @HRsAgentOfChaos Or connect with him on LinkedIn


Release Date: October 5, 2022


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 This is not a stuck-up PC compliance-based or employment law podcast about stuffy, outdated HR practices.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

[00:00:16] Alexa Baggio: Just another day in the office.

[00:00:18] Franky: There's nothing better than a bunch of people who work in HR getting around the table and sharing these stories. We have this out-of-body experience in HR where you're like, "[unintelligible 00:00:26]."

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

[00:00:26] Tyson Mackenzie: HR's not bad. It's not.

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

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

[00:00:39] Alexa: What's up, Tyson?

[00:00:40] Tyson: Not too much. I just got back from the farm. We did a little petting zoo situation, fed a few goats today, it was--

[00:00:48] Alexa: Just so listeners know when I say you have country ass wifi, I'm being very literal.


[00:00:53] Tyson: Literally just came back from the farm.

[00:00:55] Alexa: Literally in the country. That's cool. Lot of animals in your life now that you have Rosie.

[00:01:01] Tyson: Yes, yes. Little Miss loved all the animals and stuff. She was going crazy and we went on this ridiculous train. It's so funny. I'm so not that, super mom. When I find myself in these situations where I'm doing very mom-type things, I stick out a sore thumb. I'm like, "Ugh."

[00:01:21] Alexa: I feel you like you are a super mom. [unintelligible 00:01:23] be the cliche super basic version of a supermom, but you're definitely a super mom.

[00:01:28] Tyson: I do drive a RAV4, so it's like a mom mobile.

[00:01:33] Alexa: Well, I can't help you there.


You did that all by yourself, girl. Maybe even before children. That one is on you. That's amazing. Well, cool. I'm glad you're getting out there and enjoying it before Canada gets super cold and all that.

[00:01:51] Tyson: Yes, it's already cooling down here, honestly, but I'm ready for fall. I love the fall vibe.

[00:01:54] Alexa: Just stop it. Stop it. The fall vibes. Stop it. I'm not.

[00:01:57] Tyson: I just want to be cozy and I already bought a Halloween decoration, so let's just get on with it.

[00:02:01] Alexa: Good God. All right. You're already drinking pumpkin spice lattes over there. Good Lord.

[00:02:06] Tyson: I would. I would.

[00:02:08] Alexa: I am trying to enjoy as much of the summer weather as the world will give me through September. Cool. All right. Well, you want to get us paid today, Tyson?

[00:02:16] Tyson: Let's do it. Today's episode is brought to you by our community, the People Ops Society. Join our community of listeners and People Ops professionals at POPS. You could use the forum for feedback, download awesome resources and templates shared by peers, and get access to cool free courses like my course, The Art of Compensation. Use code PEOPLEPROBLEMS at peopleopsociety.com to get 20% off your membership today. Again, use code PEOPLEPROBLEMS at peopleopsociety.com to join our community. Also, shameless plug, please make sure to follow us on all things social. We're @PeopleProblemsPod. I'm @HR.Shook, and the new and improved @theinfluenchr spelled with an HR.

[00:02:56] Alexa: Oh, @alexabagadonuts had to go. It was cool and that was my private account, but my life's on display for the world now.

[00:03:01] Tyson: This is clever. It's clever, but I think people are copying you. I've already seen copycats of this, and they came after you.

[00:03:07] Alexa: Whatever. Haters going to hate. Can't do anything on the internet these days without people copying what you do. All right, let me finish this off here so we can keep moving, which is last but not least, we're officially on the path to PERKSCon tomorrow in San Francisco. Join us for a happy hour, meet and greet and listen on a live episode where we're going to talk about HR for pause, which I'm very excited, and you can join us in LA next week. We're going to be joined by the amazing Veronica of People Culture Collective, if you follow her on TikTok.

That is on September 21st, which is next week in Los Angeles at PERKSCon LA, where we will continue our chat with her from two weeks ago about planning for bad bosses and other fun things. Go back and listen to that in advance. Obviously, use the code PEOPLEPROBLEMS perkscon.com for free Expo tickets. Again, use the code PEOPLEPROBLEMS perkscon.com and join us live in Sunny California this week. I'm so excited. So many things. All right, I'm going to pops in the news only because this is not really pops in the news.


At this point, this will be a little old, but we have to talk about the crying CEO, Tyson. Because-

[00:04:15] Tyson: Oh my gosh.

[00:04:16] Alexa: -I even felt compelled to do humor on the internet about it, which I never do, but I just couldn't help myself. For those of you who maybe missed it, I don't know how you could miss it. You have to live in a cave if you missed this, but there is a gentleman. His name and his company's not even important because I don't want to disparage his company, but he basically posted a picture of himself crying.

[00:04:37] Tyson: Like one of these. Yes, but there were really some tears going on, but it is a very odd photo, and he goes through this whole litany post that as Daniel Space would say in this silly LinkedIn garbage format. We love me some Daniel, but he basically says that he laid-- It's unclear how it's written because obviously, he was crying when he wrote it, so it's a little garbled, but he laid off something like three employees I think, or maybe 100s. It's unclear in the post, but he's crying about it. I think he's trying to like humanize the fact that like, CEOs are human too.

[00:05:09] Tyson: Wait. Three employees-- [crosstalk]

[00:05:08] Alexa: It's very unclear how it's written. I don't really get it, but he's basically trying to say that it's a really low moment to have to let people go. From the bottom of his heart, he feels bad.

[00:05:22] Tyson: He just completely ruined his entire character over three employees.

[00:05:26] Alexa: I don't know that he ruin his character.

[00:05:27] Tyson: Good God. [unintelligible 00:05:27] 30%, that guy should be crying.

[00:05:31] Franky: I know. It's just one of these, like, why I hate social media, but I do it sparingly. It's like, this is just the moment where you realize that this is a bad idea. It's too late.

[00:05:48] Tyson: I'll tell you. I broke my damn hip running to the comments on that one. Honestly, like the comments was where it was at for me.

[00:05:56] Alexa: LinkedIn is like a whole new form of entertainment. [crosstalk] LinkedIn comments. It's where it's at right now.

[00:06:00] Tyson: It's worth the read. Oh, yes. It's absolutely worth the read. For the most part, I feel like people are saying, "Hold on a second, why is this about you?" A lot of people are bringing up the fact that like, he just bought a house and like he just adopted an otter and blah, blah, blah.

[00:06:15] Alexa: He didn't adopt an otter, by the way. That's not what happened. Someone donated for his birthday to like an otter rescue on his behalf.

[00:06:26] Tyson: That's cute. Here's the thing. People going on about like, oh, how it's terrible for him to have just bought a house when his company's suffering. I don't really buy that shit.

[00:06:34] Alexa: No, that's not okay.

[00:06:35] Tyson: That's-- sorry. That's life but I would love to be a fly on the wall watching him take that picture. How many do you think he took and do you think he added the finger? Like the little, like biting his finger? I don't know.

[00:06:49] Alexa: Oh, talking about the finger. The finger is really bad. [crosstalk]

[00:06:52] Tyson: Biting this little finger. It's so bad.

[00:06:54] Alexa: I've just never genuinely cried and been like, "Wait, let me make sure I take a selfie. [unintelligible 00:07:01]

[00:07:01] Tyson: When you're feeling really sorry for yourself, when you're having a good cry and you look at yourself in the mirror, even that is like so fucking awkward.

[00:07:11] Alexa: Yes. Then post it on LinkedIn. That's the worst. That's the part that was--

[00:07:13] Tyson: I could not imagine. We're going to see a lot of weird shit happen, right? We're seeing companies doing a lot of layoffs right now. We're in this really weird time where we're like trying to show our emotions and like CEOs are trying to like manage like, "Okay, how do I show my emotions?" Then this guy comes out with a crying photo and everybody's like, I don't know about that.

[00:07:37] Alexa: I agree with that. I also think LinkedIn is just fucking weird place right now.

[00:07:42] Tyson: It is.

[00:07:43] Alexa: It has become like-- it's like everyone migrated over from Facebook to LinkedIn, which you should have stayed on Facebook because nobody wanted to listen to you there either. Now because it's professional, people have decided that the things are appropriate to post about are like a death in the family, some horrible trauma, which like, "Okay, whatever you wanna share your shit?" Cool. Most people, if you want to share it, that's for you. Rehab and sober posts and then these long rambling-- as Daniel's space loves to-- he's such a viper.

I love it. He loves to point out like he's long [unintelligible 00:08:15] [crosstalk]

[00:08:15] Tyson: You got to follow him.

[00:08:16] Alexa: He's the fucking best but these long rambling posts about some trying to like virtue signal or something and they were almost always just the person looking for attention, which is just to be clear, fucking social media. I think this is the moment where everybody goes, okay, LinkedIn has just like, we got to change this.

[00:08:37] Tyson: We need to make a new LinkedIn. It's bizarre.

[00:08:41] Alexa: It's horrible.

[00:08:41] Tyson: Going back to this gentleman's CEO who was crying, it's been my number one rule since I was a baby in HR that you do not cry. I hate when managers cry during the termination meeting, put on-

[00:08:58] Alexa: We've talked about this. Yeah.

[00:08:59] Tyson: -this big girl or boy pants and-

[00:09:02] Alexa: Big person pants.

[00:09:03] Tyson: -hold up this decision. Yyou have made decisions what has resulted in this person losing their job. Fucking own it. Stop crying and blubbering.

[00:09:12] Alexa: Also to be fair, everyone involved here is an adult. You don't get a job with a guarantee. Especially in certain states where your employment is at will. There's no guarantees here. You're an adult, you just set your life up for when shit hits the fan, you've got a plan. If you haven't done that, obviously certain situations and other things excluded, like that's on you. Shit happens. If you haven't learned that in the last two fucking years, there is no helping you.

[00:09:38] Tyson: Seriously. Yes, it's going to be weird times. This is going to continue to happen. It's so funny. I fucking dare someone to cry when they fire me. Oh my god. I would lose my shit.

[00:09:48] Alexa: I just secretly want to be a fly on the wall in that meeting. Anyway, I'm going to introduce our guest really quickly because I can tell he's like bursting at the seam to comment on this and I really wanna know his thoughts. Our guest today is Franky Rhodes. Franky is a People Ops Partner at TravelPerk, and he comes to the profession by way of retail, which I will let him tell the story. He also goes more importantly by the hrsagentofchaos on TikTok, and he shares his raw and uncut experience of being a Black man in HR while navigating corporate America as it is today. Whether it's on the slopes or in the streets, or I think maybe on a drum set, he always has time to talk about improving the world of people, and we are super stoked to have you here today, Franky. What is going on?

[00:10:25] Franky: Yo, what's up? I am very, very excited. I'm sweating trying to get to this topic because this is good board.

[00:10:36] Alexa: Just give us your real--

[00:10:37] Franky: I'm very glad to be here.

[00:10:37] Alexa: We want to talk about you, not the crying CEO, but give us your real quick, this is fresh. This episode will come out a little later, but this is fresh for you. I want your uncut take on this one.

[00:10:48] Franky: First off, shout out Dan, Dan from HR and shout out Veronica. They are both OG followers of mine on TikTok. I look up to both of them. Dan is an absolute menace and I love him.

[00:10:59] Alexa: He is. I fucking love him.

[00:11:02] Franky: First things first, I like to remind people that LinkedIn wallet has a purpose. It is still a social media platform. That being said, most of the stuff that y'all are putting on there, we do not care. We really don't.

[00:11:18] Alexa: Just to be clear, most of the people anyone puts on the internet at all, nobody cares.

[00:11:22] Franky: We don't care. I just caught wind of this early this morning. I, of course, go down to rabbit hole and my favorite things are TikTok comments, Twitter comments, and LinkedIn comments apparently since people don't know how to behave on there anymore. I damn near trends and fell on face first in these comments. It took everything in me to not say something. It's the picture that gets me. Everyone does these nine paragraphs postings.

[00:11:54] Alexa: That's why I just posted a picture of me eating popcorn.

[00:11:57] Franky: Everyone has these posts that reached the character limits on LinkedIn now.

[00:12:02] Alexa: Oh my God. If we could stop one thing on LinkedIn first, it would be the fucking novelas that are the posts. You got to be a God damn character.

[00:12:10] Tyson: I don't even want to reach my emails, let alone that.

[00:12:15] Franky: I'm guilty of it a little bit. This is it.

[00:12:17] Alexa: Yes, but you don't do it all the time. You do it sometimes and usually, you get me there.

[00:12:21] Franky: There's a point.

[00:12:22] Alexa: If I click see more and that shit goes more than two scrolls down my page, no chance. I don't care what you have to say. It's probably sappy and I don't want to hear it.

[00:12:30] Franky: To be real, it's LinkedIn. It's still social media. I might block you because I'm usually going to do this daily and I don't need that. There's just so much behind that that people are taking so many elements of how they behave on other platforms and forcing it onto LinkedIn users and the picture-- first off, there's that album of photos like that dude took that picture 92 times.

[00:12:55] Tyson: Oh, yes.

[00:12:56] Franky: It's edited. He might have paid somebody to edit. We can go real deeper around companies [unintelligible 00:13:01].

[00:13:01] Tyson: I was going to say, do you think his team was there with him?

[00:13:03] Alexa: No, I'm going to give this guy the benefit of the doubt.

[00:13:05] Tyson: You think his PR team was there?

[00:13:06] Alexa: Just a few, but they were only on his phone.

[00:13:10] Franky: If the PR team wasn't involved, if this person has any beneficiaries of any sort, they definitely helped him.

[00:13:18] Tyson: I'm sure that PR team was involved.

[00:13:21] Alexa: I don't know. Maybe.

[00:13:23] Tyson: I don't know.

[00:13:24] Alexa: I don't know. No press is bad press.

[00:13:29] Franky: Layoffs are sad regardless if it's 3 or 300, we get it. One of my things that I want to tie into this is I'm a little afraid that just layoffs just seem to be more of a trend lately than it is a business decision. I've been trying to rationalize that, but that's all I have right now. I feel like it's every day I see like 6, 7, 10 posts like mad people just lost their job because of whatever infrastructure really went wrong.

[00:13:57] Tyson: It's so different now too. The way that these layoffs are happening is like nothing I've ever seen. There's all these alumni email accounts for people. There's so much weird stuff, people trying to be like, "Hey, if you were impacted by the layoffs at X company, we're hiring." There's so much. I don't know if it's like comradery maybe of people helping these individuals.

[00:14:17] Alexa: Yes. I think it's just the first time people are like, there's a chance here to help with the news like, "Okay, there's bad news. Now, let's be helpful," which is actually a lot of the positive comments I think that have come out of this dickheads crying photo.

[00:14:31] Franky: I think the community that's being built around trying to help people connect with other people when they've been laid off, I think the foundation is great and the concept is great.

[00:14:39] Alexa: Yes. I'm all for that.

[00:14:39] Franky: I think we need to hang out there right now. One of the big mistakes that I think we've been making in relation to this is we moved too fast with trying to go to enhance the thing we just started last night. It's all right. People got laid off. All right, cool. We built this whole network, this new version of networking where there's Google Sheets and emails and all these things. We're trying to get people hooked up at their next opportunity. Then it's like, well this is now the next thing to be monetized and now it's going to become this thing that's like, well, if you could submit your email, but if you get a job because your email was on this Google Sheet, you might have to slide us a couple of dollars.

[00:15:22] Tyson: Wait, maybe that'll be the new LinkedIn. Maybe the new social platform will be everybody who's just fired. Wait, let's copyright that. Is there a lawyer listening?

[00:15:35] Alexa: You heard it here. Tyson's got the idea first. Although as a business owner, Tyson, it's all about execution. Ideas are a dime a dozen. I think that's a really good point. I also think there's a couple of things happening. I think it is a weird time for LinkedIn to be like a prominent social media platform. I just think like in combination with TikTok, those two things could not be more different. Which is weird, but also amazing at the same time. Then I also think it's like there's this period of time right now where like everyone is being told, myself included, I wasn't on social media for like three to five years and now I'm like on here.

Because my team is like, "Alexa, you got to say we like hearing you. You got to be on there." I'm like, "Okay, just don't let me be cringy." Someone tell me if I'm being cringy because I hate doing this. Everyone is being told they have to do it. Like everyone is being told that if you want to be relevant, you've gotta like, "Gary, be yourself on the fucking internet." It works for some people. I think this is just an example of it not working very well because he just didn't, I would argue, I ventured to guess he took that photo by himself because if he had had a team of people there, someone would've been like, Dude, don't fucking post this.

[00:16:47] Tyson: You'd hope.

[00:16:48] Alexa: I would like to think that if there were 10 people in the room, one of them for the sake of humanity, 10% of us would've been like, maybe don't fucking post that. I don't know. Might be giving too much credit to the human race. I don't know. I hope his business survives. I do think he's a small business owner, so I hope that--

[00:17:07] Tyson: I don't even know what his business is.

[00:17:09] Alexa: B2B marketing agency, which is ironic. This could have been very calculated. This could have been calculated. All right, before we go any further here, obviously it's really important, Franky, that people get a little history on you and how you got into this profession. You have a fantastic story. Give us the quick, like how Franky walked into HR.

[00:17:30] Franky: Yes. I spent 15 years in retail more give or take. Did all the things work to management and then just was like, this isn't psychologically safe for me anymore. I won't call it an accident. It's menacing. It drains everything outta you. I was feeling everything but good. I got to a point where I was like, I need to figure something else out because this isn't good for me, whoever I'm around.

[00:17:57] Alexa: Just to specify, you were specifically in-store retail.

[00:18:00] Franky: Yes. I was like in-house learning and development, in-house hiring, all that stuff. Then was unemployed for a few months, which was absolutely shitty. Then I was hit up by one of my old retail managers, in fact, and still a really great friend of mine who was working out this recruiting agency north of Boston. She hit me up and was like, "Have you thought about recruiting?"

I was like, "Well, I'm already working with recruiters because I'm trying to find a job." She was like, "Nah, like are you trying to get in this?" I said, No, a couple of times. She said something that still sticks out to me to this day, "If you're worried about getting into this space because you see jobs with all these requirements and degrees and certifications and all that stuff."

She's like, "No one goes to school for recruiting." I was like, "Oh, shit. Let's see what this is about." Fast forward a few months. I wound up at Lola for just under two and a half years, which was one of the dopest experiences I've ever had. Just in general. Super great teams, super great people that I looked up to in senior management especially and got acquired. Hung out at Capital One for a little bit and now I'm at TravelPerk.

I've been here for two months as of five days ago. Equally as awesome experience, lots of autonomy, and I really enjoy being the unconventional version of human resources. I get comments all the time and it's intentional in terms of my behavior and my approach. I never expected outcomes like this or I'm dealing with people who've had way more experience than me and have set the foundations and are working on enhancing those foundations for improving everything in this space from how we treat people to the representation of it inside of it. It's been a really dope journey over the last four years.

[00:19:52] Alexa: Yes. That's cool.

[00:19:53] Tyson: What's an example of like something that's unconventional? Like how would you like double down on that?

[00:19:59] Franky: Well, [unintelligible 00:20:00] White lady, let's start there.

[00:20:03] Alexa: Okay. That's a start.

[00:20:07] Franky: I made a video about this on TikTok I think a month or so ago. I had this realization that in my working life and both of the careers that I've had now, I was the first Black HR person I ever met regardless of any other identity. It was cool until I realized it wasn't. I remember a few months before that I had put this post on LinkedIn and I was like, "Yo, where are all the brothers at in HR?" I knew literally one, he works at Hub Squad.

I was like, cool, there are definitely more of us but this wasn't a career path as a six foot three built football player that was talked about when I was a kid. It wasn't talked about when I was in school. There was no conversations of like, you have this opportunity to make an impact in a way that isn't brought up in where I grew up and the type of environment I was in. Now, you can do all of these things.

HR isn't this silo with just one person style has to fit how everyone else has been doing it. It's like you can't be yourself and support people while being yourself. Essentially, my approach to it is somebody has something to say about it. They can say something about it, but it's not going to change who I am.

[00:21:32] Alexa: Maybe figure out how you say it before you post it on LinkedIn.

[00:21:36] Franky: Don't schedule the photo shoot either.

[00:21:42] Alexa: Oh, man cringe. I have so many questions for you because I think you have such an interesting trajectory into this. I think Tyson and I talk about this with guests all the time and ourselves all the time which is like most people come into this at least the people that we think are on the forefront of how to change the perception and the brand of HR and the profession itself are not people that come to this from super traditional backgrounds.

There are people that fell into it. Stumbled into it for reasons they have high EQ and they really just want to get it done for a group and they tend to be overachievers. There's lots of things that make I think the mold of what is the new leader of HR and it's none of the things that we've been told HR is. To be fair, I don't know that anyone grows up, and go mommy I want to work in HR.

[00:22:26] Tyson: My mom literally worked in HR and I didn't do that.

[00:22:31] Alexa: Exactly. Tyson's mom literally worked in HR and she would grow up being like, "I want to work in HR."

[00:22:38] Tyson: Not even close.

[00:22:39] Alexa: I think that we could change that. I think people could be like, I want to be on the people team. I think that would be dope. Just the way every smart person who's having a midlife crisis I find, finds that they want to get into strategy. I'm like, "What the fuck." That just means you want to get paid for your fucking ideas. Who does that? What is strategy? Go work for Mackenzie.

[00:23:00] Tyson: This is like business intelligence is another one I'm hearing a lot.

[00:23:05] Alexa: I've met many people at quarter and midlife crisis. They're like, "I just want to get paid help a business do cool shit." I'm like, "No one's going to pay you for that."

[00:23:13] Franky: Do you know who else gets paid to implement strategy? Video gamers, professional gamers, go play games.

[00:23:21] Tyson: They make a crap sun too.

[00:23:22] Franky: They make so much money.

[00:23:22] Alexa: Also find a way to add value first and then you can figure out the strategy. Anyway, same thing with people I think we could get this profession to a place where people grow up or at least get into college or earlier and go like, what do those people do? That's cool. It's the way consultants used to be hot shit. Anyway, now that you're a few years into it, Franky, you've done a couple turns at some different groups. What are some of the things that you wish you knew now that you're in it and maybe some of the things that you're stoked that you have experienced with that maybe you didn't expect when you got into it?

You said when you just told that story that the first couple times your friend called you and was like do you want to get into recruiting? You were like, "No, I'm good." I'm curious what your perceptions were and what you thought it was going to be and what it is now and what you wish you knew.

[00:24:10] Franky: Yes, what I thought it was going to be was what I was experiencing as a candidate working with agency recruiters which was not a great experience. You do the whole sign up and you meet with somebody and then it's like, they take your resume and they optimize it and they send it to a bunch of places that you flat out said you wasn't trying to get into.

[00:24:31] Alexa: My favorite is when they call you for roles that have nothing to do with what you're qualified to do. That's my favorite part.

[00:24:37] Franky: It happens to me every single time. I just got this pissed and I'm very intentional about how I go about things. When that was happening to me, I was like, "Fuck this. I'm going to figure it out." One of the things I wish I knew was not so much how something worked but more so why there's such a difficulty around transitioning from one space to another just that like the retail-to-people pipeline is much larger than people think. I wish that we knew how to get into it without having to go through 900 loopholes and being told that there's so many things in our resumes that like, don't qualify us to be even in just like entry-level positions. Like who's deciding these things?

[00:25:30] Alexa: What would the process be if you were going to change it? Like if you were going to hire yourself today, what would you require?

[00:25:37] Franky: I don't think it would be about changing things with the candidate. I think we need to change the mindset of the leaders who get to make these decisions that like, first off, you need to be way more open than you think you are. There are learned behaviors that go into the decisions that we make at a senior level and running a team of any kind, but specifically a people team. If you're going to have a roll open and you don't really have set parameters outside of the bullet points you put in the job description.

How open are you to bringing someone in who might have the right approach, but they need some structure, they need a little bit of mentoring, they might need to take a course or two? How are you going to support that? Is that something if you can't support it as their manager or as a company, can you at least guide them to the right thing so they can do that on their own? Create that autonomy the second they start, but also give people a chance.

People gave me a chance and I made sure that I spent every single day just learning, like asking questions even if I didn't think they made sense. Just asking questions. Leaders have to create a safe space for people to not only be new in their job and up a little bit in their job, but be new in the fields that they're coming into. You can only put so much of that on a new hire in the beginning. That has to slowly become their responsibility the majority of the time. If we're talking about transitioning, only so much of it can be on the candidate, because we don't know what we don't know.

[00:27:17] Tyson: You know what? I find really funny as I'm thinking about this idea of like accepting people with transferable skills and good attitude and all that great stuff is, those are also a lot of the job, most of our jobs that we do that are out there, not engineers or lawyers or doctors, obviously, some of those like more technical roles, but a lot of the jobs that are out there in a typical business, our jobs that can be done with transferable skills. You see a lot of that happening internally.

People that move in like on their career ladder, their little jungle gym thing, right? We don't do that a lot with candidates externally. What's also interesting is you mentioned, I didn't really hear about working in HR when I was a kid growing up, but you also don't hear about all those other jobs either that transferable skills are like-- I don't know, when I was in school it was you're going to be an engineer, a lawyer or a doctor and everything else, then if you're not any of those things, then you're a tradesman and it's like, you don't know, there's just no visibility into what jobs are out there. I don't know, I'm going on a tangent, but there's a lot of that that happens.

[00:28:20] Franky: No, it's funny you brought that up because I always think about my own journey and y'all mentioned people accidentally fall into this and they see an element or a series of elements of it and they're like, "[unintelligible 00:28:37]. I want to see what this is like." For me, it was actually always very intentional. I just didn't know how to do it. The times that I thought I knew how and attempted to communicate that and things like that, it was always like, "No, you don't have enough experience." It's like, okay, so you all, let me run a store where--

[00:28:59] Alexa: You definitely have experience. I think you just didn't know how to sell it at the time.

[00:29:02] Franky: I'm doing payroll and I'm building out learning. I'm doing all the things that y'all do that takes five of y'all to do it, by myself in the store. What's-- make this, the math is not math.

[00:29:16] Alexa: This is my new favorite saying, the math is not math.

[00:29:20] Tyson: My new favorite saying is that I'd like to fuck with HR. I too would like to fuck with HR.

[00:29:26] Franky: Love it. My own shitty experiences that I've had interacting with HR in my retail career especially, I don't know what's wrong with them, but I want nothing to do HR retail, but those things is what drove me to want to be in it more. All the things that I was reprimanded for in terms of how I approached engagement especially are the very things that all of a sudden people were very woke to in 2020 and 2021, and throughout this year of how to be more human. It's like, "Well, I got punished for this for the first.

[00:30:04] Alexa: You also got to remember your retail is-- we talk now about customer experience. Retail is an operations business. Full stop. Retail is about the process, the script that clicks on in your little brain as a retail employee when a customer walks in that door to get you to buy more brass and t-shirts and walk the fuck out, and say nice things and come back. It is very, very operational, and now we coded it with this idea of customer experience and oh, you got to say hello to me when I walk in.

Then if you measure me for certain things, I'm more likely to buy and all the stuff now, and then you see how that easily transitions into employee experience, and then here we are today, fast forward. It's very much an operations-based business, which is why the holiday season, staffing. Staffing and retail is like a whole fucking industry in and of itself it's insane. I love this idea of thinking about maybe even outlining in your candidate process where you have transferable skills and a way to actually use that in your hiring rubric.

I always tell people, I mentor a lot of undergraduates and different young women through some of the other stuff I do, and I'm always telling because all these overachievers want to like graduate and get their first perfect job. I'm like, "No, your first couple jobs are going to suck. Just accept it." Your goal, your job is to learn the things you don't like to do but more importantly to this conversation, your career steps are like a two axis. The first axis is your skillset. What can you literally do? What do you capable of doing, and what do you know?

Then the second axis is your industry because there's just things in your industry that are very specific to that industry, whether it's healthcare or retail or whatever. Each time you make a move, it's very easy to move on one axis or the other. You can say, "Okay, well, I've been doing customer success and customer service in this industry and in retail and now I want to go do operations in store management or customer service in healthcare." People are like, "Yes, cool. Get them over here. We'll take them all day."

Then you can go, "I've been working in healthcare for 10 years and I want to go from marketing specialists to something quasi-adjacent to that." Pretty easy to do because people can draw the line. It's very linear versus what I think people miss a lot of times is like, you ran a fucking retail store, like if there's a human that can work with people, it's you.

[00:32:37] Franky: I've already done this, I just don't want to stand for 13 hours a day.

[00:32:42] Alexa: How did we missed that in the process for this role that someone who's worked in retail and people-facing roles should be someone that we surface through this process. Not just someone who's got a talent acquisition degree.

[00:32:57] Tyson: Franky, you were approached. No. Someone did see that in you because you were approached twice.

[00:33:02] Franky: I was very lucky because I'd already worked with this person, so I already knew what type of time I was on. Once it was pitched to me and I understood the path that was available for me to start developing in this arena, that's when it clicked on and I was like, it would be absolutely foolish for me to at least not try.

[00:33:24] Alexa: That person was like, you have the skills to transfer industries here.

[00:33:28] Franky: Absolutely.

[00:33:28] Tyson: What I love about your story is that, you were actually the person that put up the walls around your experience, you were the one that said.

[00:33:38] Franky: I do to me.

[00:33:39] Tyson: ''No, I can't do it.'' Then you had someone who saw the potential in your abilities, your skills, the transferable skills, and then now that's your approach to this space. I love how you've taken that and your own experience and then created this mission for yourself.

[00:34:00] Alexa: My thing now is like, don't play yourself. I almost did that. Don't play yourself. Whatever it is, you got it, go put it in time, grind it out, learn what you want to learn, make the connections, all that shit but don't play yourself.

[00:34:14] Tyson: What helps you come to that though? What helped? If there's someone listening right now that's not in HR and they're like, I really want to be in HR so I listen to Tyson and Alexa every week so they can teach me how to be proper HR?

[00:34:24] Alexa: I actually have friend who has this exact situation. I think she's just about to take a job by the time this comes out, but she's like, "I listen to you guys every week."

[00:34:31] Tyson: Don't make the same mistake I made, don't hate for a masters, I just have to stick that in there, every other episode.

[00:34:37] Alexa: This particular friend to the point of our conversation is having this issue though, where she's being met with like, "Oh, well, you've been over here in this department doing, I don't know, maybe program development or L&D or something."

Hopefully, she doesn't know I'm talking about her so she won't be offended that I can't remember what she does at this exact moment but she's trying to get into people and she's being met with a bunch of, like, you don't have the exact experience. I'm like, if you knew this woman, there is not a person in the world that is a than this person to be in this role. Anyway, brutal.

[00:35:07] Franky: Yes.

[00:35:08] Tyson: What helped you, Franky, when you were coming to that realization?

[00:35:12] Franky: I think I just had to get in it. Once I started, it was just a train with no brakes.

[00:35:21] Alexa: Small gas, no breaks.

[00:35:22] Franky: Oh Gas, no breaks.

[00:35:23] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:35:23]

[00:35:25] Franky: Yes. I got in it and there's no exact moment when it happened. It was just like, I'm really fucking good at this.

[00:35:36] Alexa: That's amazing. That's so lucky. A lot of people go through their whole careers and never have that moment because they're not doing something they feel like they're really good at, or if they're doing something they're not actually good at.

[00:35:46] Franky: Right. I think the approach is what made that made sense. The approach made me, like, I really made sure I did my best to study and become a student of the game and understand what I did and didn't like, and how I wanted to put my own personality and each of these things. There's no separation, Franky at work and Franky somewhere else. I'm the same person 24/7. I think you shouldn't have to feel like you have to turn certain things on and off. Obviously, there's nuances in this element of yourself. You don't have to share with people, but in a broader picture, like be your fam like, don't play yourself.

[00:36:25] Alexa: Yes. What do you like about it? What do you like about doing this work?

[00:36:28] Franky: The generic answer is helping people and I used to say--

[00:36:31] Alexa: You're not generic, Franky. I'm not going to give you that one.

[00:36:36] Franky: It really is the fundamentals. What actually makes sense? What are the things that I can do to support everybody? The first step is listening. A large part of listening is shutting the fuck up so you can do that. Once you start paying attention to not just what people are saying, it's how they're saying it, when they're saying it, and why they're saying it, that's when you can really start to mess around with creating common denominators that make sense.

That's my favorite part of it. It's getting a chance, creating the safe space for someone to roll up to me in any scenario, work, whatever, and be like, "Yo, Tank, I have like these stops about this particular element of whatever support system we do or don't have in place." My job is to hush and be like, so what's up? They just lay it out on the table and we have a conversation about it. I think that regardless of how large your organization becomes, there's a trickle-down effect that has to happen with creating that model that HR shouldn't be solely responsible for.

We're having these conversations as business partners with managers and C level people of like, all right, how are y'all setting the examples so people do feel like they could roll up to you and literally talk about whatever. I love the one-on-one aspect of it. I love hearing each person's approach to literally whatever's on their brain and helping them find an answer to whatever it is, or them just venting. That's my favorite part of it because it does, it encourages me to continue to seek out new ways of trying shit and making everyone feel as safe as possible at their job. You spend so much of your life at work, you should feel like you want to be here.

[00:38:33] Tyson: That's like the puppeteering, I call that puppeteering when you're in HR and you-- [crosstalk] That's my favorite part. Manipulation is my favorite part of HR. No, but it's because you know the people, you know the company, you know the strategy, you know the goals, you know how to make money, you know everything including, Well, the thing that others, the HR especially knows is like the people aspect.

What are the skills that you have on the team? What are the wants, desires, the aspirations of the people on the team? You can stand there and have a conversation with an employee when they're telling you I really want off this team. I want to go over here. Then you're in another conversation with the leader and you're like, they're like, Hey, I really, I'm high. I can't hire for this role. You're like, Ooh, well I know someone over here.

It's like this magic thing that happens in HR because you just know all this is happening everywhere. I love that. I love that too. That is just it. Yes, it's great. It just makes my heart beat fast.

[00:39:29] Alexa: It can be a powerful position when correctly harnessed.

[00:39:32] Franky: Exactly.

[00:39:33] Alexa: Which is why we're here on this podcast to bring the power to life. Cool. I love that. All right, well sadly, because of time, I am going to move us to our people problem.


Tyson, what we got this week?

[00:39:54] Tyson: All right, so this is something that came up actually in our Art of Compensation training that I did on People Ops Society. Although we were talking about compensation mostly, of course with that came a big conversation about performance. One of the questions was, should we keep or lose performance rating scales?

[00:40:13] Alexa: Ooh, okay. Just in general, like just scales?

[00:40:18] Tyson: Well, when you get your performance rating and it meets or exceeds. Doesn't meet those types of rating scales.

[00:40:26] Alexa: Right. Not necessarily when they compare you to other people and there's a whole--

[00:40:30] Tyson: No, let's leave the talent review. Well, calibration sort of has to happen if you're going to have the scales, in my opinion sometimes. If it can be done right.

[00:40:30] Alexa: What do you think, Franky?

[00:40:40] Franky: That's a tough one because we may or may not agree with keeping it or losing it in whatever capacity that may be, but I think if you're going to get rid of one thing or consider getting rid of one thing, what does another version of that look like? You don't have ranks anymore. You have the whole thing, like you're not a five, all right, well cool. I'm not a five, but like, I'm not a one, so where am I at? What is that one-on-one conversation?

What's your organization's structure and approach to that? If you're going to get rid of performance reviews to that or that element of performance reviews, something has to exist to create that conversation between you and whoever you have that conversation with. I think until that happens, that's just a very fundamental approach to it. At Lola, we didn't do performance reviews, it was just frequent one on ones and you had your bi-annual, looking at how much you getting paid and all that stuff.

That's just a normal schedule. We had a really, really solid foundation around how each person should approach a one-on-one and having those conversations and whatever frequency that they happen in. I don't like ranking people. That's not something I was ever fond of because of all the stuff that happens behind the scenes that go into it, not so much the scale itself.

[00:42:05] Alexa: Yes. There's like a lot of data that supports that people finish those ratings because they're trying to game the system some other way. They're like, "Oh, I'm trying to get this person a promotion or a pay bump, or this person's my homie, or I'm trying to get this person on a pip, so I got to give them a two, even though I think they're actually a three." It gets really political.

[00:42:23] Tyson: I've been in organizations that have done both, so like no scales whatsoever. Just like your regular conversations et cetera. [crosstalk] Then I've been in another organization that has pretty strict rating scales, which then contribute to how much you're getting as a bonus, how much you're getting as a pay increase whether or not you're able to be promoted, move roles et cetera. It dictates a lot of what you can do. Even if you can go on different sorts of like benefits and stuff. It dictates that. I have to say I am a fan of the rating scale only because it allows employees to know where they are.

I find that people actually crave that and they do want that. Same with managers. They like to be able to put people in boxes as much as we're trying to be like, let's step out of the box. It's human nature to want that sort of order. Then what I like about it is that it can create more transparency in terms of process. I can say very clearly, you're getting X amount of an increase because you were rated at this point. Then it allows more transparency in the process, which people feels is fairer.

Now the caveat is that people have to believe that the rating scale is fair and they have to understand that it's calibrated and calibration is like literally pulling teeth and it's very difficult. You need to have managers that are extremely well-trained in what exactly each level looks like. It has to be dictated like these are the actions of someone who is above and beyond whatever your skill is. You have to be careful about that middle rating too because people like to just hover in the middle.

There need to be mentors on how to use the rating scales like other leaders that can be like this exceeds, this is not meets and calibration needs to happen. The problem with calibrations that you spent the entire meeting, it's like two hours debating what the definition of each of the ratings are or the scale definitions are. It comes with a lot of a lift to have the rating skills. They have to be good to be executed well.

[00:44:22] Alexa: Every time I've sat in with someone who does these, I'm like, holy fucking shit, my head is spinning.

[00:44:27] Tyson: It's Brutal.

[00:44:27] Alexa: It's brutal. I will just say as the sort of entrepreneur in the group who's here because I believe we need to change the function of HR to help people like me just like with all things performance management. Again, you guys have way more experience with this than I do and I think especially from the larger company organization side, Tyson than me. People try to do way too much with some of these things and they're not deliberate about how they implement. Like if you want to do a rating, I guess I don't give a shit if it's a rating scale or not, the question is like, do you have a system that is trusted and fair and communicated that your employees feel like they get the feedback they need to keep moving, or the feedback they need to get their ass in gear because they're not moving.

That doesn't have to be the same system that then turns around and tells you when you need to do a riff that then turns around and tells you when someone gets promoted depending on the size of the organization where obviously the large you are, the more those things probably need to be connected, but you have to empower, and one of the things I think that gets away from people and especially large companies is you start to layer in all these things that performance management is trying to accomplish, you lose the autonomy of the manager and the business unit to say, ''I've been told I have to cut my budget by 20%.''

I get to decide how that happens and it's these six people, or it's this system and it's this marketing budget, you wipe all of that which I also think can really harang a business. It pros and cons to both, but the one thing I will say is just be very fucking deliberate about who it is for and what is the point, and don't try to do it all with one rating system.

[00:46:10] Tyson: Be transparent. The employees have to know it exists and know what it means.

[00:46:15] Alexa: You don't want to create a situation where you've got a bunch of stellar employees who just because of the way that the system gets done and is rated and the fucking software they bought works, they always feel like a three out of five, and they're like, "Well, fuck me. My manager loves me, I do great work, but I'm always stuck in this band. I can't get out because of the way the ratings get done", you do not want that. Performance management.

[00:46:38] Franky: That's exactly why I hope that was going because the approach to that is like overall, the secrecy in HR. Obviously, there are things we can't just publicly talk about. You can't be talking about how somebody did something crazy to another person, but there's such a lack of understanding of the different elements of what we do and how we do it from people who are not in this field, and it does need to be a conversation. People should know how this area of the business works. It is a corporation.

[00:47:06] Alexa: How goddamn much is in this bucket, that's the other thing talking about HR and recruiting is not the same as talking about HR and comp benefits is not the same as talking about HR and compliance. Not the same as talking about HR and performance management. Not the same. It's like Jesus is fucking Christ.

[00:47:20] Franky: There's so many branches and each company does it differently. Everybody does it differently. If you can get each of your teams wherever they end up in their career to understand what the infrastructure is like of the whole business which includes HR.

[00:47:34] Alexa: You should never have an HR function where people don't know what the fuck they do. That's my motto. All right, Franky. I can't believe we're out of time somehow we'll have to have you back, but if people like what you have to say work, and they find you and all your awesomeness.

[00:47:47] Franky: I am mostly on TikTok by way of hrsagentofchaos, all one username. I like to mess around on there.

[00:47:56] Alexa: You're very fun. I really like following you on TikTok.

[00:48:01] Franky: That's where I'm at, and I hang out on LinkedIn. Franky Rhodes. You can search Franky Francis Tank. They'll all pop up. I'm in a picture with a snowboarding somewhere. That's usually where you'll find me.

[00:48:13] Alexa: Nice. Thank you so much for being here. It's been an absolute pleasure.

[00:48:16] Tyson: Thank you so much.

[00:48:17] Franky: Appreciate y'all. Thank you. Appreciate it.

[00:48:19] Tyson: Wait a minute before you leave, take some time to leave us a 5-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.

[00:48:31] Alexa: This episode was executive produced by me, Alexa Boggio, with audio production by Le Brigida of Clear Harmonies. Archery music was also done by the wonderful Le Bridge of Fear Harmonies. You can find more information about us and future episodes@peopleproblemspod.com or follow us at People Problems.

[00:48:45] [END OF AUDIO]

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