30 - HR Buzzwords: Part II

Back by popular demand! The buzzwords you know and are slightly annoyed by Tyson and Alexa cover in another comical episode about the terms, phrases, and things that are a buzz in the wild and wonderful world of People headed into 2022.



Release date: Jan 25, 2022

[00:00:00] Intro: 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 This is not a stuck up PC compliance-based or employment law podcast about stuffy, outdated HR practices.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.


This is the People Problems Podcast with Alexa Baggio and Tyson Mackenzie.


[00:00:40] Alexa: You did your hair for me. What's the occasion?

[00:00:43] Tyson: Nothing actually.

[00:00:43] Alexa: Who you straightening your hair for over there, Boo?

[00:00:46] Tyson: I'm just like bored as hell. I got one of those like big round brushes. I have like crazy frizzy hair, so I got one of those like big round brushes that's like a blow dryer as well.

[00:00:55] Alexa: Yes, I got one of those.

[00:00:56] Tyson: You just comb it and comb it. I still have to straighten it a little bit.

[00:00:59] Alexa: It doesn't blow hard enough [crosstalk]. It takes a while.

[00:01:01] Tyson: Yes. I have to puff dry it first because my hair is like pretty-- It was thick before I had like post-partum hair loss. Yes, sometimes it's nice to take like an extra long shower and blow dry my hair when my husband's looking after the baby.

[00:01:15] Alexa: Yes, girl. It's little victories. I love it. Sometimes you just have a day were you're like, "I needed to do my hair. I just need to blow dry it."

[00:01:22] Tyson: Yes, exactly.

[00:01:23] Alexa: Then there's me every day who's like, "Let's just hide this from Zoom."

[00:01:27] Tyson: That's usually [crosstalk]

[00:01:28] Alexa: The headphones really help. The big headphones really help. You can't see how little is happening.

[00:01:33] Tyson: You can't see like my-- I am someone who use to get my hair bleached like every three months probably. Now I haven't gotten it done since November of 2020 because I knew that we were going to lock down, so I got all my hair chopped off really super short, and I got it shadow rooted so it'd grow out nicely. Anyhow. I digress, but I haven't gotten it done for a long time, and I'm just like so desperate to see my guy.

[00:01:57] Alexa: I just got mine done, but you didn't notice. Tyson, [crosstalk].

[00:02:01] Tyson: I think I noticed a couple weeks ago. I think you got it done last week [crosstalk]

[00:02:04] Alexa: No, it was last week. You also can't tell because it's half- wet, and I'm sitting basically in the dark with a neon sign in my face, so it's not like you're really getting the whole ambiance over here.

[00:02:14] Tyson: Yes, true.

[00:02:16] Alexa: Yes. Anyway. All right, let's move to In the News. [music] We'll keep this one quick because I want to get to our episodes today. It's going to be super fun. I will say, this is a longer article that I'm going to talk about. This is in Human Resource Executive, which I would articulate is a bit of a hit or miss publication. It is sometimes has decent articles that they mostly rerouted from other groups, but also sometimes it's just like, "What is this sponsored crap I'm reading?"

This one is called, Here's how leading edge companies are redesigning for hybrid. The reason I picked this this week is because this starts out mostly with the CEO of Rite Aid, the pharmacy chain here in the US talking a little bit about how they are actually moving away from a very large headquarters into what she is calling Enterprise Collaboration Headquarters. They had a 2,800 person headquarters in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Shout out to Pennsylvania, my home state. They're moving away from that, and they're actually moving a smaller collaboration headquarters to Philadelphia because Philadelphia's a more desirable location for people, I think they want to attract younger talent.

Then she goes on to say that they are actually going to start launching "regional collaboration centers for staff in other parts of the country" For those of you diehard fans who listen to every episode of People Problems, I fucking predicted this. This is me being the oracle, so I'm just bragging in the news session this week. Basically, she's talking about exactly what I predicted, which is like people are going to have to create more boutique, more regional experiences that are specific for employees in those spaces and they're going to have to focus on attracting people to them as part of the experience instead of being like, "You come to this mega corporation HQ to get away from your wife and kids."

They continue to go through the article. I want to talk about the rest. That's really what I thought was interesting to highlight, and I think it's interesting that she says this-- the woman from Rite Aid says explicitly like, "We are doing this because we got push back from the employee population. We just got a knee jerk reaction, and people don't want to work that way anymore." They just got called on their bluff, and they're like, "Screw HQ. We're going to downgrade it. Make it cooler. It's like ultra modern." They're being thoughtful about what they're doing with it. She was like, "This move is entirely coming from the employees." Which I think is super cool. It has begun, Tyson. I am the oracle.

[00:04:50] Tyson: For sure. Honestly, I couldn't imagine companies not doing this because here's the thing. Although, yes, you predicted it in one of our recent episodes-- go back and check it out, this has been happening. This is been a long time coming. This has been something that's been happening over time [crosstalk]

[00:05:05] Alexa: It's like hybrid and work from home. This was already going to happen.

[00:05:09] Tyson: It started out with people downsizing and having like work spaces like a parking lot where you'd go and you'd see where the work spaces were available, and you'd go if you needed to work there. That's how it started. There wasn't enough seats for everybody. You didn't have an assigned seat, and then the pandemic happened. Now it's like, "Look, there's no way you have me going into the office unless it's for something meaningful."

[00:05:31] Alexa: Right. What am I going back for? I'm going back to eight square feet. I think the average desk in a corporate office in a city was something like eight square feet of space before the pandemic. They were literally just cramming fucking sardines on to floors' "open layouts" that were super unproductive for 90% of people.

Yes, I think you're right. I think that this was already happening, but I think it's cool to hear companies say like, "No, no, no." And we're being a lot more deliberate about why that space exists.

[00:05:59] Tyson: Especially a company like Rite Aid. [crosstalk]. It's not like it's a tech company or something. It's good. Awesome. I love to hear it.

[00:06:07] Alexa: Check enabled. Yes, exactly. Shout out to Rite Aid, and also I can predict the fucking future.

[00:06:14] Tyson: Now, what are the lotto numbers? I need that in my life.

[00:06:17] Alexa: 16 and 21, man. Those are always my lucky numbers, and any derivative thereof. Two, eight, four, seven, three. I'm like, "What's 21?" What do you multiply to get 21?

[00:06:28] Tyson: I don't know. This sounds like prime numbers. I don't know. I can't remember how that works.

[00:06:31] Alexa: This is why we don't do math. Yes, we don't do math here on People Problems. All right, Tyson. Moving on. Very excited for today's episode. New year, new things to bitch about, and we are going to do, drum roll, buzzwords round 2.

[00:06:44] Tyson: Yes, this is a popular episode originally, and a lot of fun to record. Whether people listen or not, I like to talk about it.

[00:06:51] Alexa: Yes, exactly. If anyone's still fucking listening, this is their fault because they liked the first one. All right, but these are also super fun. I love what listeners come up with because this stuff is so-- Some of these, I wouldn't have pick, but I think some of these are great. You want to kick us off here?

[00:07:07] Tyson: Yes. The first one is calibration. I think before we start talking about it, I just want to talk about how I've used calibration at work. Some people might have different experiences, but I'll just give a quick deal in how calibration works in the HR space.

Typically, calibration looks like a bunch of leaders coming together and calibrating people. No shit. Usually, it's around performance or talent reviews. When you're looking at performance versus potential, or our favorite is pay. You sit down and the leader says, "You know what? I gave this person this rating. What do you guys think?" You get opinions and thoughts thrown around, and you either stack rank people, or you're looking at someone's pay in comparison to someone else, and you're calibrating your thought process in how you came to that salary, that rating, whatever. That's how I've seen it done in the people space. I'm not sure if you've had a different experience.

[00:08:04] Alexa: No. It's the same experience. I don't hear it quite as much, but every time someone brings up leveling and comp, it always comes up, which-- I'd love your opinion on it before I chime in.

[00:08:15] Tyson: Yes. I think the calibration actually can be a really useful tool, but only in the comp space. I prefer to see it in comp. I don't want to see it in performance or talent review. I think it's a useless waste of time.

Now, the reason I like it for comp is because oftentimes what happens when you have leaders that should probably know more about comp than they do, they're applying different increases and whatever, over time, things get a little bit wonky. Maybe somebody came in really high, maybe somebody came in really low, or maybe they've been promoted really, really quickly, and comp just gets out of whack over time.

I always like to at least annually, usually twice a year, go through comp from top to bottom, and just have a look at what's going on. Like, "What the hell is happening here? Are there any outliers? Is anyone falling behind? Are there any pay equity issues?" I actually do find this to be a useful thing when it comes to comp.

[00:09:06] Alexa: Yes. I couldn't agree more. Yes, I can't imagine how to fucking calibrate people and performance next to each other.

[00:09:13] Tyson: No. As a leader, you should know. If you're coming and you're saying that this person is like exceeding expectations or whatever, then I trust you. I don't know. Unless there's some other thing going on in the system that creates politics or something.

[00:09:28] Alexa: Yes. People try to make-- A lot of the times I find this, people are trying to do this because they're trying to take a manager out of management. They're trying to formulaically decide that everything is equitable and therefore, the decisions that managers are making largely are not up to the manager.

I don't think you need to do that in organizations where management is strong and using sound decision-making capabilities. I do think from a comp perspective, if it's getting super out of whack regularly-- obviously, you have to check it. Also, let's be clear. The market on comp is all over the place right now. I think one of the things that's going to continue to happen is you can pay someone in Nebraska less if you want to, but odds are, everyone is just going to start paying San Francisco-based rates because they can't be competitive otherwise.

I think the jig on geographic-based comp is probably up at least for the competitive labor markets, things where you don't have to be geographically based. Like retail and stuff like that. I'm sure there'll still be some arbitrage on comp based on where you're at. If you're a remote-based employee or a digitally native eligible employee or skilled worker, like odds are the whole comp market is just about to shift to the highest common denominator because it has to.

I think in that case, yes, I don't hear calibration enough to be like annoyed as it, as a buzzword, but I agree like it needs to stop being used in performance because it's not, you're not calibrating, you're just judging performance and making it better or based on a person, right. The context for each person with each manager is different.

[00:10:50] Tyson: Yes. It's extremely time-consuming, and oftentimes the people that are in the room having the conversation actually don't even know the people that they're calibrating. Because it happens at a higher level. My opinion is yes, at the very highest of levels, that person who owns comp from like the highest of levels should be doing a calibration. This shouldn't be something that you need to sit down with necessarily every single person, maybe a team from time to time, whatever. A good solid calibration on comp is always helpful. Okay, next. Humanizing the digital experience.

[00:11:23] Alexa: Oh geez. That sounds like a fucking bad [unintelligible 00:11:25] article. Humanizing the digital experience.

[00:11:30] Tyson: Yes.

[00:11:30] Alexa: The fuck does that mean?

[00:11:32] Tyson: Because we're all remote now. It's like, how do you make the remote experience and therefore the digital experience, more human?

[00:11:42] Alexa: You're humanizing a lot and that makes me want to gag a little bit because everybody's like, "Oh, put the human." It's like future of work used to be for me, it's like, okay, now where everyone's just talking about being a human, we didn't all turn to robots when we moved on Zoom.

[00:11:54] Tyson: But let me, so I'll be devil's advocate here a little bit.

[00:12:01] Alexa: Please.

[00:12:02] Tyson: The switch-- in my experience, the switch to remote really, really, really did take a lot of the side conversations, the chit chat, the learning through osmosis, the, all these things that like would've happened like in space where you're with other humans and all that went out the window.

I think how I responded to this, unfortunately, was that my day became very much work, work, work heads down. It's very easy to get caught up in work and like meeting after meeting, after meeting, after meeting, without actually taking a beat to converse with humans in a way, that's actually beneficial to work or just beneficial to mental health.

I see where this is coming from, but going back to what we chatted about earlier, is there a way of being more intentional with humanizing things in a public space?

[00:13:00] Alexa: It's like we talked about the Zoom CEO having Zoom fatigue.

[00:13:05] Tyson: Yes. That's the thing, right? Because it's hard.

[00:13:07] Alexa: Maybe we need to calibrate our humanizing of the digital experience. Sorry I had to.

[00:13:16] Tyson: Yes, no, I don't know. It's interesting. I have--

[00:13:19] Alexa: I totally get you. I've been, this is my 14th phone call of the day. I found myself a little annoyed earlier when someone on my team was like trying to shoot the shit with one of our clients. I was like, "We got to go. I only have 20 minutes to talk here," and then I was like, Alexa, stop being a fucking asshole and take five minutes and listen to this crazy story. This guy got locked in-

[00:13:37] Tyson: Hold on.

[00:13:38] Alexa: -Guatemala or something because he got COVID and I was like, "Stop. You actually should be taking more time with these calls so that you can fill in this informal interaction that you don't get otherwise."

[00:13:48] Tyson: What I wonder is if you were sitting in a boardroom and you only had 20 minutes for that conversation, would it be any different if you're all really sitting in that in a boardroom? I don't know if this is human if we need to humanize the digital experience.

[00:14:02] Alexa: Or we just need to all not be dicks.

[00:14:04] Tyson: Or we just need to calm the fuck down.

[00:14:06] Alexa: I think it's probably that. I vote for calm the fuck down and chill the fuck out. When in doubt, chill the fuck out is usually my motto. It's usually me and usually not the experience. I'm going to have a lot of meetings in a day. Doesn't make me a dick when I walk into the kitchen to get coffee.

[00:14:24] Tyson: I don't know. I question humanizing the digital experience. I think we need to humanize work.

[00:14:29] Alexa: I think I agree with that. I think this is a way that we do in this industry all the fucking time and I'm not going to go on a soapbox about how HR has shiny penny syndrome. We do this all the time in this industry where it's like, oh the issue now is that we have to humanize this inhuman thing, this inanimate experience that we're all having.

It's like, no, literally everything we're talking about just goes back to being a decent human with high EQ and thinking about the team involved in the interaction. If you're sitting down with an employee, did you take five minutes to see how their weekend was? Are they the employee that cares about that? When you're onboarding someone, what are the touchpoints? Are they meaningful? Are they thoughtful?

This isn't rocket science, but it's a way to other, it's a way to categorize the problem. You can always tell because this shit-- this humanizing the digital experience sounds like a bad [unintelligible 00:15:21] headline talk. It sounds like marketing speak and then it gets adopted like it is this issue and like, it's not. To your point, we need to humanize the experience in general of just working together, not the digital experience. It was already pretty fucking digital to begin with truthfully like we're all sitting t our screens all day.

[00:15:39] Tyson: That's exactly it. Did any of us not sit in front of a computer all day even before? We were at home, like now think about it. I'm like [crosstalk].

[00:15:46] Alexa: I remember people would be in the office and they would be bitching about if someone wore their headphones. If someone had studio headphones on like these in the office, it was like, "Oh, that kid's a developer. When he has his headphones on him, don't fuck with him. Don't go near him. He doesn't want to talk." We were all just finding ways to close ourselves in on our screens anyway.

[00:16:05] Tyson: I had headphones on all the time, listening to podcasts actually.

[00:16:09] Alexa: I used to just go hide and hide in empty rooms and be like, I got to get this shit done because otherwise, people bother you all the time. I actually, I miss some of that. I don't, and I do. Look I'm a believer of like Rite Aid. I get my team together in different locations every once in a while to make sure we see each other, that's an important part of us bonding.

[00:16:29] Tyson: We don't need to humanize the digital experience. We just need to humanize in general.

[00:16:33] Alexa: The experience. Full stop.

[00:16:36] Tyson: All right. Next, this one isn't really a buzzword, but it's just something that I think a lot of people are doing right now. Touting remote work as a benefit. Come work here, you can work remote.

[00:16:48] Alexa: Are buzzwords just buzzwords, or are they intended to be obnoxious and negative? You tell me.

[00:16:52] Tyson: This one, the person was upset because it's like, no remote work is no longer a benefit. It's like just the way we work. It's no longer--

[00:17:00] Alexa: Expectation.

[00:17:01] Tyson: Yes. It's an expectation versus giving you any sort of upper hand.

[00:17:05] Alexa: I think that person's naive to how many employers are trying to make people go back to the office truthfully?

[00:17:09] Tyson: I agree.

[00:17:11] Alexa: I think this is a little bit like the other stuff we talked about. Cat's out of the bag. Ain't no going back, but people are going to try. If you're stuck at one of those companies sucks for you.

[00:17:20] Tyson: I personally would, I don't-- now, who knows where the future will bring me, but I don't think I would ever work for a company that wasn't remote. I could not imagine.

[00:17:29] Alexa: Yes, but you and I were remote before this was cool. We are in industries where we can afford that in places that that's happening. I think again, I think this is like comp, I think the cat's out of the bag, I think the highest common denominators what's going to wind up happening here.

I think if there's a reason, there's a reason you're not remote or flexible, then there's a reason but if there is no reason and you're trying to force it on people, you're just going to wind up losing in the talent market. Just know, you're just going to lose the best developers and the smartest minds. Especially depending on their age bracket right now, want to be you nomadic, they want to be free. They want to work on their own terms. We talked about in our other episode about getting rid of the concept of hours. I think that's all going together.

What I do think though, to piggyback on our last comment is again, think about the experience, right? It is not fun or a benefit to work remotely if you have no fucking support, no fucking connection, you don't work well that way and there's no general experience to bring you back to the employer.

It is a benefit, if it's a thoughtful, flexible way to work that you prefer, it's supported by perks, benefits and tools that make you productive in that environment, you have the opportunity to lean on people and connect with people in the ways that you need to, whether that's in-person sometimes or digitally or whatever.

Working remote is not just like a binary switch. It's not just like, oh, it's on or it's off. Like I work from home or I don't, it is that in theory, but ultimately again, it's all about the experience of what that work actually is. It's designed to be a benefit. If it's just like, fuck you figure it out then it's not a benefit.

[00:19:02] Tyson: I would say that it's not so much as a benefit as it is like a remote job or not a remote job. Do you have the ability to be remote and if you do, you're likely already doing it.

[00:19:13] Alexa: Some people like it, some people don't.

[00:19:15] Tyson: Exactly. There's obviously jobs that are not going to be remote for various reasons, but any job that could be remote was remote these last two years.

[00:19:22] Alexa: I think what happens, is the best [unintelligible 00:19:24] of talent stay remote or stay hybrid. We will all optimize these sort of curated, more boutique experiences like we've talked about. Then, unfortunately, the groups that, again, let's take scientists and healthcare workers and people work in geographic location and in-person attendance is mandatory for lots of different reasons-- The best hospitals in the world are still going to have the best talent locally, that's literal, but beyond that, like I think the talent pool just you wind up tranching the talent pool because the best workers and the best corporations will have remote.

They'll also be more global. They'll also be more diverse, and then what happens is you trickle down to, oh, this corporation's CEO decided we have to be in the office in fucking Nebraska and we just can't attract the talent we wanted or used to have.

You just wind up not being competitive. I think that's probably what winds up happening is it just sifts the labor market. I agree. I also think, look, we're a huge proponents of this Tyson because we do it and have done it. Not everybody loves this shit.

[00:20:28] Tyson: Not everyone loves. I was just going to say I'm very biased because I do like it and I take advantage of it by living in literally the middle of nowhere. We're lucky that I have internet right now.

[00:20:39] Alexa: That's because you have like two small children not one and you're not on mat leave and you're trying to work from home and you don't have childcare.

I would be like get me the fuck out of here. Some days I'm like, I need someone to walk my dog, I wish I had an office so I could get away from my dog, you know? But not most days, she's lovely but days where she's having an attitude, I'm like, I wish I had an office to get away from you, you're on one today kid, but I get it.

[00:21:05] Tyson: For some people. Also there's like a lot of other reasons, like economical reasons and stuff like that why people would want to go to an office.

[00:21:11] Alexa: Yes, exactly.

[00:21:12] Tyson: All right. Let's keep moving on. The next one, this is a funny one, Journey.

[00:21:16] Alexa: Like the band that they play when they close the bar?

[00:21:20] Tyson: Yes. I don't know. This is just one of those like fluffy HR words where people are like "Tell us about like your HR journey."

[00:21:28] Alexa: Oh God. I wish everyone could see your face when you say that.

[00:21:33] Tyson: Yes, check it in on YouTube.

[00:21:34] Alexa: It's your journey.

[00:21:35] Tyson: I don't know. It's just like it's a flu-fee word. It's kind of like I don't know.

[00:21:40] Alexa: It's funny because HR seem to get stuck with the lingo that marketing had like two cycles ago. Customer journeys was like a really big thing. That's like old news in marketing terms now, like customer journeys. It's like personas used to be. HR's just coming around to the concept of personas. I've been touting this concept forever. It's like you have to market to your employees when you market to customers.

I recently heard like a benefit broker in a presentation use the word personas and my jaw almost hit the fucking floor. It's not new lingo. It's also not a new concept. It's just funny that it's now been adopted 20 years later.

[00:22:16] Tyson: I think the reason I don't like this word is because it reminds me of like when you're saying we need to do better and it comes with a lot of bullshit. You know how people are always like-

[00:22:28] Alexa: Tell me how you fucking got here. Is that better?

[00:22:31] Tyson: Like, no, no, no more like we're acknowledging that we made a mistake. We need to do better. This is a journey for all of us, like that kind of bullshit. That's what I like lumped this journey word into. I've heard a few CEOs-

[00:22:45] Alexa: Alright, I'll give you that.

[00:22:45] Tyson: -have that speech. I feel like it's just one of those words that you use when you're trying to make it sound flu-fee when it's really not. You're just buttering your employees up.

[00:22:56] Alexa: Yes, I could see that. I'll give you that. I'm not going to bite you on that. I haven't had that context as much, but yes, it sounds like bullshit.

[00:23:03] Tyson: Okay.

[00:23:04] Alexa: Sounds like bullshit.

[00:23:04] Tyson: Let's keep going.

[00:23:06] Alexa: All right.

[00:23:07] Tyson: This next one is-- Just to be clear, these are ones that our listeners have sent to us. We did not pick these because this next one is very sacred to me and it depends. We need to protect "it depends" at all costs. That is for us and for the legal folks to use whenever we need to. Let's not fuck with it depends.

[00:23:30] Alexa: I wonder why people don't like it depends. Maybe because they don't like the answer because it means they don't getting a clear answer.

[00:23:37] Tyson: It's not a straight answer.

[00:23:38] Alexa: I can see you hear this enough and you're like fuck you. Also I can see how if it is used too much that it winds up losing its intended purpose, which is like, it depends as a way of saying there's more nuance and complexity to that answer than I can gratify you with a quick response.

Most people don't think in a whole lot of nuance and complexity, it turns out. Imagine a world where we turn the tables and you're just a shitty HR person and you don't want to be fucking bothered and you don't like people and you get a question from an employee that's a little extra and you're like, it depends. Then they ask you again and you're like, "It just depends."

[00:24:19] Tyson: You don't stop at it depends. The only time I would ever stop at it depends is if someone like in not a work environment comes to me with like, "Hey, like I have an HR question for you, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah," and I don't know anything about that person, their job, their company, their collective agreements and they're asking me a question in HR, like an HR question. I'm like, "I don't know. It depends."

[00:24:40] Alexa: But I don't I think this is like a yes and. I don't think we're going to Brene Brown it depends. I think you can just say it without saying it.

[00:24:48] Tyson: Is there a period after it depends? I don't know.

[00:24:50] Alexa: It depends, period. I think you can say it without saying it though, which is like, well, if the scenario's A then B, if the scenario's X then Y, like you can use a little more lingual eloquence to do it without just being like, it depends.

I would venture to guess I'd say that people are not reporting this as a buzzword that they hate if people are actually using it to then further describe the nuance. Sounds like somebody's just getting stuffed with it depends and is fucking tired of it.

[00:25:19] Tyson: Yes, no that's for sure. Okay. Moving along.

[00:25:24] Alexa: It's borderline overused, but I agree with you, it's important.

[00:25:26] Tyson: Yes, it it's important again, like I said for HR people and legal people. Okay. The next one is I'm pulling it up here because I want to read it word for word the way that they sent it in "For the love of God, no more the great, whatever the fuck they're calling it now." AKA like the great, I think most popularly known as the great resignation.

[00:25:51] Alexa: Okay. Got it. I was like, is the great whatever a thing, but now I get that they're saying the great resignation.

[00:25:56] Tyson: Because it's renamed a few times.

[00:25:58] Alexa: The great readjustment--

[00:26:00] Tyson: The great revolution.

[00:26:01] Alexa: The great reassignment.

[00:26:04] Tyson: Reassignment, reassessment.

[00:26:06] Alexa: Reassessment.

[00:26:07] Alexa: What else have I heard? The great reckoning. Yes, I've heard a lot of-- whoever put this, whoever this listener is, I fucking agree with you. [crosstalk] This is the future of work.

For me, I'm done with this one. I will die on this hill. I think it's fucking obnoxious. By the way, if you dig into a whole lot of nuance on the data, it doesn't actually support most of what people think this is. Props to whoever put this one in the hat because I agree.

[00:26:33] Tyson: Yes, and I feel like we've like kind of touched on it a few times and discussed it, our feelings on this one.

[00:26:38] Alexa: For sure, we definitely have. Every article that's mentioned it has called it something else as well. So I'm [crosstalk]

[00:26:44] Tyson: I think, no, we talked about-- There's even an article that talks about all of the names for the great resignation.

[00:26:50] Alexa: Oh, I don't know if we did that one. I think you and I talked about that.

[00:26:53] Tyson: Anyway, there's an article out there that literally just goes through all the names that it's been called and like why each of the names is like valid or something like that. I don't know. I forget. It was in Wall Street maybe, but I don't know, but with this one, I think like, I don't know. Maybe we've talked enough about it.

[00:27:13] Alexa: The great whatever?

[00:27:14] Tyson: The great, whatever. That's just what we should call it, let's rename it again.

[00:27:19] Alexa: Also known as the big quit. Oh, here we go. All the other names for the great recession. Okay. Here we go. Fast Company tells us it should be the great reprioritization. At LinkedIn, it's the great reshuffle. The commerce department says it should actually be the great recognition, the self-publishing platform Medium--

[00:27:37] Tyson: Well like recognizing what? Like, oh, this job sucks. I'm going to go somewhere else?

[00:27:41] Alexa: Yes. The great recognition of how shit this government job is. The great-- Wait, the great-- Medium calls it the great realization, the great questioning and the great change up. Apparently it's always great, Forbes notes. Why can't people stop re-christening this concept? That's pretty good.

[00:28:03] Tyson: All those things sound like a scary like Doomsday kind of thing. That's very Doomsday for me.

[00:28:13] Alexa: Yes. This actually looks like it might be a decent article, but yes, there's many, many iterations of this and there's still just like, this is more than like bougie people being like, "I don't like my job, I'm going to rethink it." It's like a massive labor reshuffling in like very important sectors of the labor market that like have pretty long-term consequences, but yes if a bunch of like white collar people want to quit their jobs and rethink their lives that's fine too.

[00:28:39] Tyson: The only thing again-- like let me speak from personal experience. The only thing that I kind of saw was in 2020, there was a bit of a hold on people resigning. No one really moved in 2020 because there was a lot of uncertainty. Except for me. I actually changed jobs in 2020.

[00:28:52] Alexa: Was like the great gasp [gasps].

[00:28:56] Tyson: But everyone just stayed put, because they're like, I don't know what the hell is going on. I don't want to move anywhere blah, blah blah. Yes, we did see a little bit of a downfall from that at like the Q1 of 2021 as people were like, all right, I kind of see where this is going, I have a little bit more certainty at this point, I'm going to quit my job.

We saw like a no turnover into 2020, and then a little bit higher turnover beginning of 2020 and 2021.

[00:29:17] Alexa: Which makes sense, like its okay, well everybody was waiting to see where this shook out, and so it's basically just two years combined.

[00:29:24] Tyson: Yes. But I think where we see like the issues now, and I'm sure everyone's seeing this, I just saw an article saying that in Ontario, we're going to have a lot of grocery stores closing because of lack of staff and lack of product.

[00:29:37] Alexa: Childcare.

[00:29:38] Tyson: Right. There's a lot of stuff that's closing because I see everywhere when you're driving down, like, you know, Tim Horton's like we're hiring. grocery stores we're hiring, a lot of places like that that are desperate for work.

My opinion on that is very political and that's that you can probably get paid more in Canada for not working than you can for working, which is unfortunate. They've gone and hiked minimum wage again, because of that.

[00:30:00] Alexa: Yes, that backfired on us here too. It sounds like we're learning from it though.

[00:30:05] Tyson: We don't learn from things in Canada as I say, sitting in a fricking lockdown, like three years into this bloody pandemic.

[00:30:16] Alexa: You're months into your year of mat leave so pros and cons.

[00:30:23] Tyson: Oh, man, let's keep going because-

[crosstalk]

[00:30:24] Alexa: Let's move on because I think we-

[crosstalk]

[00:30:27] Tyson: We don't need to pay more mind to great resignation.

[00:30:29] Alexa: We can put a great big goodbye onto that topic.

[laughter]

[00:30:33] Tyson: The great goodbye-

[00:30:35] Alexa: Goodbye to talking about that.

[00:30:36] Tyson: Exactly. This next one, best places to work. Now, I don't know if this is the same in Canada as it is in the US but just so we're all clear, when you see best places to work as like a stamp, people pay for that.

[00:30:53] Alexa: Oh, yes, every time.

[00:30:53] Tyson: You pay for that. I was actually at an HRPA conference, and I saw the best places to work and I was like, okay, interesting. Let me talk to these people and I was like, how do you get on this list? They were like, well, you pay a fee to get considered. I guess there might be some application stuff that goes into it.

[00:31:11] Alexa: Yes, there is an application.

[00:31:12] Tyson: Just to be clear, people who are on that list are people who applied to be on that list and that goes with a lot of this like, stance.

[00:31:20] Alexa: It's all of them. It's literally every single one. It's really every single one of them, you pay to get recognized. Inc 5000, fastest-growing companies they pay to apply to that. Inc made something like 1000 times, 5000 plus companies who applied, it's an absolute fucking industry for them. I must get an email a week from one of those groups. It's like apply to be best places to work in Boston. Best HR tech startup, or it's like, I'm not paying you 700 bucks for you to just throw my name in the hat.

Thanks, but that's everywhere. There is literally a group called Best Places to Work. There are quite a few other groups I just saw-- it's really funny that this came up because I was just rolling my eyes. There was a day recently where I think someone had made a comment on our LinkedIn or something so I was checking it out and I just happened to notice that every single person on my LinkedIn feed was posting the same like, "Hey, we got noticed as the best place." It was one of these, best company to work for this.

It's just some media company. I'm sure I can find one if I scroll on my LinkedIn for two minutes here. Some media company figured out another one of these applications where you fill it out, they put you on a list and then you get to put on your LinkedIn like, hey, we're one of the best places to work in New England, or whatever it was. It was literally like one day, they must have just announced it that morning or something like it must have been fucking 30 people on my LinkedIn feed all with different companies.

I was like, what the fuck is happening right now? Is like the world getting taken over by this whatever it was, I can definitely find it and I was like, no, they released whatever this announcement was and so now everyone's doing their PR around it. Look, like I get PR is PR, you got to do it but I would hope that most people see through this bullshit at this point because it's just everywhere.

It's not original, like when Best Places to Work came out and it was original.

It was great and it really probably was like no, we're actually going to go around and we're going to actually pick the best people and learn about them and all those things but all of this now is just crap.

[00:33:23] Tyson: Yes. Especially with LinkedIn.

[00:33:24] Alexa: It's fucking noise at this point.

[00:33:26] Tyson: Yes, agreed.

[00:33:27] Alexa: I am trying to find it. I will find it before the end of this episode because someone I know posted one and I was like, really, we're really still doing this?

[00:33:35] Tyson: In the meantime, moving on to the last one here and its well-being. Now this one's interesting because I feel like it was wellness was the word in 2015 to 2017 but then we got '18, then wellness got a bad rap because it shifted and now we're like oh, no, it's like wellbeing. I akin wellness to toxic positivity almost, like the wellness scene. It just got really negative and dark.

[00:34:04] Alexa: Like Nine Perfect Strangers.

[00:34:06] Tyson: Oh my God, that show was so good. We've already talked about this. The show was so good way better than the book. I love Leanne Variety but the show is way better. I'm a big Nicole Kidman fan. Anyways so now we're on to wellbeing.

Where I have issues with these words, when we start renaming things like this, we get so caught up in like what are we going to call it and we're actually not doing anything to actually fix it or we don't spend enough-- we spend more time figuring out oh, what are we going to call it unless I'm actually doing stuff. Wellness didn't have to have a negative connotation, but it does now. I don't know. What are your thoughts?

[00:34:45] Alexa: Well, I agree with you. I think the whole wellness thing is a little bit of an eye roll. Although again, I think companies can support healthy habits and great behaviors in their employees do things to support them and wellness. I don't know that the fucking crazy like meditation rooms in every office. [crosstalk] bullshit.

[00:35:01] Tyson: No, don't get me wrong like I love me some Gwyneth but

[laughter]

[00:35:06] Alexa: I don't, fuck you. I think her whole thing is weird, but--

[00:35:08] Tyson: It is very weird but I love her.

[00:35:10] Alexa: It's just too much and it got-- I'm going to agree [crosstalk]

[00:35:14] Tyson: She does some crazy things. [crosstalk]

[00:35:17] Alexa: She is also a boss. I'm not mad at her for that but the Jade stuff in your vagina I could do without.

[laughter]

All that crap I could do without. Thank you though. It's her turn-- Emmett Oz can rot in hell for some of that but no, whatever, it's her empire. People want to do that stuff fine. I think I'm with you on this one, I think wellbeing is just like the latest and greatest. Like, how are we going to package this and market it back to you? It's one of the reasons I get so frustrated by how quickly this industry turns on things because it's just like soaking up all the marketing it possibly can all the time, because the people in this industry are really trying to do good for their team.

They're always looking for innovation. They're always looking for new ideas. They're always looking for products to support what are usually pretty crappy and underfunded experiences and so we get really susceptible to like, oh, new language or oh, wellbeing and it's like what the actual fuck are we trying to accomplish here? What does wellbeing mean? Like, what does that mean for your organization? What does that mean for your specific team? What does that mean you're going to fund?

You can skin a cat a lot of ways or change the name doesn't make it any less a cat. I think this is just another one of those like, okay, cool. Now we call it wellbeing, great.

[00:36:30] Tyson: That's, I think, to wrap up this entire conversation, the life lesson about buzzwords and why we hate buzzwords. Less about the catchy marketing [crosstalk]

[00:36:41] Alexa: Focus on the doing and less about the catchy bullshit.

[00:36:42] Tyson: Exactly. It's [crosstalk] the doing.

[00:36:43] Alexa: It's more like I work a lot in benefits, and I get a lot of people are like, Oh, that's just like the latest and greatest fad. I'm like, no, no, to be clear, all of these things have their time in place but if you're going to throw pet insurance at a shitty culture, I can't fucking help you anyway. It was fluffy bullshit from the beginning but that's not the point. You shouldn't be adding pet insurance to fix your culture. That's not how this works.

I get very frustrated by the shiny penny, like just eat up the marketing lingo bullshit and it-- exactly to your point, distracts from the core and there's just so many people in this industry that are focused on the right things that I have never seen an industry of all the ones I've had the pleasure of working in.

I've definitely been in this one the longest. I have never seen an industry where the vortex of marketing speak and consulting and sales velocity is so rampant.

There are so many more people selling and marketing into this industry than any other industry I think I've ever seen. It's fucking bananas. It's a lot to navigate but all the latest and greatest guru bullshit. The good thing I will say, without mentioning the great whatever is what has happened and what has been great about some of this is the pandemic separated the bullshit from the no bullshit.

There was some stuff coming into this space being marketed to the HR community prior to the pandemic that I was like, "You have got to be fucking kidding me." Like, really virtual reiki and like some crazy stuff that I was like, we've really gotten to this point, like, everyone wants to sell this stuff to employers this badly. We're really reaching for the stars here and the pandemic basically righted that.

It was basically like if you were not really in the right place for the employer market, and you weren't a priority, and you weren't actually making a difference you probably got weeded out in the last two years. If you were not a core solution solving a real problem and that's nice. It's been nice.

[00:38:34] Tyson: It is good. I feel for my HR colleagues because I think that at the end of the day, people in HR just want to do good. We want to help, we want to help people and it's very easy to fall victim to humanizing the digital experience. Again, if we can learn anything from this discussion, it's just to question these things. Sift through the bullshit, [crosstalk] figure out what you're doing and usually on a day, like let's say-- so we've talked about this on our last episode, but coming up in Canada's is Bell Let's Talk Day. It might be like this week or next week. Anyhow--

[00:39:13] Alexa: This is the mental let's talk about mental health day.

[00:39:15] Tyson: Let's talk about mental health. The idea is like to strip away the bias. Now, everyone always posts like a big banner of like Bell Let's Talk oh my gosh, it's, it's a big deal but usually, I try to take on a day like that and I say this is specifically what I'm doing, whether it be in my personal life, whether it be at work, so like specific things.

The other big one that I did I talked about was like, what everyone was saying like Black Lives Matter. Cool, you can post your little blackout square, but let's actually talk about what you're doing today as an HR professional to ensure that we have diversity? Break it down to the smallest of the tasks that's actually achievable. Not some big banner. Cut away the bullshit and do something.

[00:40:00] Alexa: And separate the PR of your business from the way that your business treats your company or your employees. Those are different things and unfortunately, you get a lot of crazy PR, CEO speak, and then you like read a Glassdoor review and you're like, these two things don't add up [chuckles]. It's one of the things I love about some of where this industry's gone. It's just that you can't fucking hide anymore. If you're full of shit and you treat people poorly, the world, the internet's going to get you.

[00:40:22] Tyson: Think about that when you're designing your employer branding. Do stuff that's actually real. Don't say, "Oh, we're so good at this," when you're not.

[00:40:31] Alexa: Yes, don't follow the latest and greatest.

[00:40:33] Tyson: Exactly.

[00:40:33] Alexa: Every year a new fad comes in and people are like, "Oh look, we got financial wellness for our team." Well, was that what your team needed? Is that what your team wanted? Why did you do that? Because it was like, you put your finger in the wind and you were like, this is cool right now we have to stay competitive. It's much more nuanced than that. You got to be more thoughtful. Humanize the experience, cut the bullshit. That's my tagline for our buzzwords 2.0.

[00:40:59] Tyson: That's a wrap.

[00:41:00] Alexa: That's a wrap.

[00:41:01] Outro: This episode was executive produced by me, Alexa Baggio with audio production by Elle Bridgida of Pure Harmonies. Our intro music was also done by the wonderful Elle Bridgida of Pure Harmonies. You can find more information about us and future episodes @peopleproblemspod.com or follow us @peopleproblem.

[00:41:15] [END OF AUDIO]


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