Episode 324: Talking HR With Tim Sackett, President of HRU Technical Resources

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Episode 324: Talking HR With Tim Sackett, President of HRU Technical Resources

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Table of Contents

Intro: [00:00:00.99] Welcome to the Workology Podcast, a podcast for the disruptive workplace leader. Join host Jessica Miller-Merrell, founder of Workology.com as she sits down and gets to the bottom of trends, tools, and case studies for the business leader, HR, and recruiting professional who is tired of the status quo. Now here’s Jessica with this episode of Workology.

Episode 324: Talking HR With Tim Sackett, President of HRU Technical Resources (@TimSackett)

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:00:27.18] Welcome to the Workology Podcast sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace The HR Exam. I am so pleased to have Tim Sackett back on the podcast and I think this is his fourth or third time since the Workology Podcast started. Tim is a good friend and I’m excited to talk with him about recruiting and hiring and HR and really just whatever we want to talk about during this particular interview. A little bit about workplace culture, hybrid workplaces, what’s happening with all the jobs in HR and recruiting these days. These are some of the things that we’re going to be covering and Tim and I’s time together on the Workology Podcast. Tim is a former corporate HR leader who has experience owning a small business as well as working as an agency recruiter. Tim is the president of HRU Technical Resources. It’s a leading IT and engineering staffing firm headquartered in Lansing, Michigan. He has 20 years of experience combined in Executive HR and Talent Acquisition, working for Fortune 500 companies in health care, retail, dining, and technology. Tim is highly sought after. He’s a national and global speaker on leadership, talent acquisition, and HR execution. He’s also a prolific writer. He writes every day and has for the last 10 years at the Tim Sackett Project. You can also see him on Fistful and Talent. In 2015, he was named one of the top 50 recruiting and HR Thought Leaders to follow on Twitter by Glassdoor. Tim, welcome back again again to the Workology Podcast.

Tim Sackett: [00:02:00.51] Thanks for having me! Jess, like, it’s been a while, right? With the pandemic, so it’s great to get back and have a conversation with you.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:02:08.10] Yeah, and you sound so fancy when I read this bio.

Tim Sackett: [00:02:12.45] No, I hate, like, when people say, like, like, when you write a bio, you know, it’s like a small, like, you know, four sentences and you think, OK, that’s good. When someone reads it out loud, it sounds like you’re an obnoxious idiot.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:02:25.26] Well, I mean, it’s kind of true. We all are on the internet, right?

Tim Sackett: [00:02:30.07] I mean, oh for sure, right? Yeah.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:02:31.20] That’s right.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:02:32.37] Well, let’s jump right in. I wanted to talk to you about your thoughts about how the industry has changed or adapted because of the pandemic, because there is a lot of moving pieces, and I would love to hear what, what you’re seeing.

Tim Sackett: [00:02:46.80] Yeah, you know, a great stat that I read this, this week. One of the, it was one of the job boards or someone of those tax, right? That brought it out. There’s actually more recruiter openings right now than software engineering openings. And, and I think, because a long way to get your answer to your question, which is, I think like the recruiter experience of, I think people initially thought, Oh, this is going to be cool, more flexibility. Some remote work as recruiters because you can recruit anywhere. You don’t have to be in an office to recruit. Well, at least that’s what we thought. I think when, when recruiters went home or were kind of forced to go home to work, they all of a sudden realized like the technology their tech stack that they were using wasn’t really conducive to being super productive in a home environment, whether that was, you know, just, you know, they had clunky technology built around a desktop applications or whatever that was, it just was kind of really hard for them to, to fill openings and really an environment where, I, you know, I’ve been doing this for 20+ years and I don’t, I can’t remember a time when every single market, every single organization at every single level had openings to fill and everyone’s just in a panic mode. And so like, you know, I don’t think it’s going to change anytime soon. I think we’re in this kind of demographic kind of situation that the pandemic kind of hurried along where we don’t have enough workers for the jobs we have. I mean, Japan and some of those kind of aging countries have already faced this or are in the midst of this, I think the U.S. is right on the cusp of this. So it’s not really, you know, a UI stimulus issue. I don’t think that’s the real issue. I think the real issue is pandemic change, you know, how people thought about work. Demographics are aging quickly, and we have, like, some real severe staffing issues that we’re going to face over the next 24-36 months.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:04:46.29] So, as you were talking, I was thinking, you’re talking about recruiter openings and HR openings with the same way.

Tim Sackett: [00:04:52.59] Yeah.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:04:52.74] There have never been so many companies who have said, I need to hire HR. So it’s a good time, I guess, for us to be in demand. We all need to go to our bosses and ask for, you know, a $15,000 increase minimum, I think, or move on to something else. So this is the time for you to increase your income earning due to the demand.

Tim Sackett: [00:05:15.72] Yeah. Or even like side gig stuff like I think a lot of organizations are like, Hey, we could we could use some help on certain HR projects or we could use some stuff here. Go pick up an extra 10 hours a month, price yourself out at a really good premium that makes sense for you, that you’re going to feel good about doing the work and then just build that into your resume because I think, I get, you know, you and I both could ask a lot like, Hey, how do I become a consultant or how do we become do this? Or how do I kind of run my, my own business? And part of that is, is, hey, do it while you still have that full-time job and then add in some things here or there because, you know, every organization that you and I talked to, they have needs in no capacity.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:05:56.71] Yeah, I like the idea of a side hustle. I mean, there’s obviously platforms that you can go to, but use your network and just let them know that you’re open to some project work. And like you were saying, Tim, make sure that you’re priced appropriately. Don’t say 25 dollars an hour for, for writing a handbook or 500 bucks, I’m going to write your whole handbook for you. Be reasonable. Check the market and put something out there. And then you can kind of go from there. Yeah. The other thing that we were talking about before we started recording, too is like, this pandemic has changed I think the way you and I are thinking and a lot of our friends are thinking about the, the workplace and how we work. You just got back from vacation. I am getting ready to head over to Jamaica, and we were talking about some mutual friends who are going to go move for a period of time to Portugal.

Tim Sackett: [00:06:52.63] Yeah, I mean, yeah, I think people have figured out like we can kind of work, you know, I mean, from anywhere, depending on obviously the company and the organization, you know, so let’s, let’s get out there and go do it.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:07:05.86] I agree. I was saying that I just want to move to Belize and run my HR business from there, and everybody can come and visit. We’ll come and visit you in the Caymans. You can hop on over to Belize and, and they’ll be maybe four or five, and then you go to Portugal, like, you can just get all your vacations and have a nice, comfy spare bedroom to stay in.

Tim Sackett: [00:07:24.49] I know, yeah, it is amazing to see how people have changed, like their perception of, you know, where they have to be. I think it’s also a problem for so many of us in HR right there. I talked with a guy the other day. He lives in New York City and he’s looking for a job and he’s in our kind of industry and he’s like, I need one hundred and fifty thousand. And this wasn’t like a leader position. This was like an individual contributor like HR role, which is pretty hefty, right? Like, there’s not a lot of those individual contributor roles at one-fifty. And you know, the problem is, is the companies that are looking to hire, they don’t care that he’s in New York City, they’re looking to hire anyone anywhere, and the role pays a hundred. And, by the way, they’re going to get a lot of people in the Midwest that will eat that job up for a few thousand.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:08:08.59] That’s good money, that’s good money in the Midwest.

Tim Sackett: [00:08:10.54] Yeah. And so he’s like, that’s the struggle, and I think we’re all trying to come to grips with that. When the pandemic first hit, they’re like, Oh, we’re going to keep paying you Silicon Valley or New York City wages or whatever, but you can go work anywhere. But what we didn’t realize as you start to replace those positions and you’re hiring people anywhere that, that comp range really does adjust and change. You can’t, you know, if you’re in, you know, Duluth, Minnesota, or wherever, like, you know, the 150,000 is a CHRO proposition, you know?

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:08:42.07] Mm-hmm. Yeah. And Duluth is a fast, one of the fastest-growing places right now. Maybe.

Tim Sackett: [00:08:49.21] I didn’t know. Didn’t know that.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:08:50.44] I don’t know. I’m making it up, but I know Iowa.

Tim Sackett: [00:08:53.18] That’s amazing.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:08:53.18] Iowa is in a great, is a great place. Maybe everybody from Austin, please move to Duluth, Minnesota. It is a amazing place. Fastest growing. Come on over. Offer 300,000 dollars above asking so I can buy a house here in Austin.

Tim Sackett: [00:09:07.90] I just, that, I was in Detroit last night and we were at an outdoor event for like recruiting folks. A woman from Oracle that was working in Detroit in HR and BI, actually move from Austin to Detroit and like that never happens. I never have heard that happening before. And she’s like, Oh no, I actually met a person like a month ago as a friend of mine now, who also moved from Austin and, you know, and went to Detroit. She’s like, I mean, Tim. She’s like, I can, I have like this really big house, and my husband and I are redoing it. And we’re like five miles outside of the city center in Detroit and like, it’s amazing. She goes, I can never even think about buying a house in Austin.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:09:47.35] It is. It is crazy. I mean, we had planned the summer when the like around the summer of the pandemic before that. That was our plan we’ve been renting here. When we moved, we sold our house in Oklahoma City, and then we kind of continued to wait because, you know, I was like, Oh, maybe we can get a better deal? And then the reverse happened and everybody has been moving here. So I’m not looking forward to when everything opens up back here driving around because there’s so many people that moved and traffic here is horrible. So it’s going to be even worse than it was before. And you know, it’s hard as heck to find an affordable house.

Tim Sackett: [00:10:26.05] I know my, my middle son moved to New York City during the pandemic, got a great deal on a place for him and a couple of roommates right in Manhattan. And, but they already know like everyone’s already moving back now. Like, they thought it’d be like, Oh, everyone’s moving out of the city. He’s like, Yeah, our next lease, we’re going to be crushed. We’re going to have to like, move to Jersey or Brooklyn or something.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:10:46.51] Yeah. If I was going back to like the San Francisco Bay Area right now, because all the houses are now in my price range, because I, from when I lived there, I still had my alerts on. Like, I would sign the longest term lease I could in the bay right now, five years, lock it in. I’m going to pay two years upfront, something so that I can afford to live in my desired area so. Well, I want to talk about events because we have been pretty event-driven prior to the pandemic. That’s where you and I would see each other honestly. Obviously, that’s changing, especially for you and me. I mean, we’re doing a lot more stuff online. Luckily, we were kind of already built for the internet in our businesses. What are you seeing in the, like, online or the, like, the in-person conferences? Are you talking to anybody about events opening back up?

Tim Sackett: [00:11:42.89] Well, I’m actually at three, three live events this fall, so I’m at SHRM, SHRM National and HR Tech, which are all going to be live and they’re doing the kind of the pseudo, Hey, we have some live content that’s just going to be for those people who are attending live. And then there’s going to be some live virtual content. So those people who want to come virtual, because, you know, they don’t feel comfortable yet, you know, you’ll have certain, you know, content that some of the live people will be getting. And so I think that combination will continue. But, you know, before the pandemic, all of those conferences were like, No, no, no, we need to get people here. We would never even think about doing virtual content, giving it away. And I think what I’m seeing from the bigger conferences now are saying, Oh, wait, you know what? We can still get 10,000, 20,000 people to show up for a really large kind of national conference. And at the same time, we might be able to get 50,000, 100,000 to show up virtually. If you’re a vendor, that’s great legion, right? Like, you want that. So you’re like, Hey, we don’t, we don’t really care if people, I mean, we do care if people show up in person and we want to be able to kind of show them what we do, but at the same time still becomes a little bit of a legion kind of game for the vendor community.

Tim Sackett: [00:12:58.76] And I think, quite frankly, it’s a little bit, I always use this analogy, it’s a little bit like the crack dealer, given that first kind of hit away for free. It’s like, Hey, I want to go to national, but it’s so expensive and you’re like, Well, I can do virtual for half the price or a third of the price or whatever. I’m not even sure what they’re charging. And then you go, Oh my gosh, that looks so amazing there. You get to see the crowds and you’re getting to see people there and then you just go, You know what? I’m going to build it into my budget for next year or the year after. Maybe I go once every three or four years because you and I both know those are expensive to attend for, you know, Mid-Enterprise SMB HR pros. And so I do think like going forward, we’re going to see this kind of combination of live and virtual content and how do we separate, and I would, I would foresee, you know, foresee that. I think you’ve done a really great job of saying, Hey, you know what, when you do virtual stuff, you have to be entertaining, like you just can’t show up and do a PowerPoint deck with 40 slides for an hour.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:13:57.87] Not anymore.

Tim Sackett: [00:13:58.98] I mean, there’s too many, there’s too many things. And I think I just, I mean, I was just in Detroit the last two days with a live camera crew like literally doing like almost like skits and stuff for Transform Recruitment Marketing Conference, that’s going to be virtual. And they were one of the first ones to really figure out, like the first year they went virtual. They did this big unboxing and we did opened up gifts throughout the day and like, they figured it out like, you have to make it entertaining. You can’t do hour, hour, hour content. You have to do, hey, 15 minutes of this and then 30 of this and then have 45 and then back to a 10, and really kind of adapt, you know, to more of an entertaining, entertainment kind of thing versus, you know, what we, what we’ve done in the past.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:14:41.97] Yeah, you can’t just snap talking heads behind PowerPoints like you need to mix it up. We have music. There’s some dancing, bad dancing on my part. And what is super funny is I was banned from the playlist for the last conference because I thought the music sounded good, I was just picking random stuff, but I, I hadn’t really listened to the words, so it was a little offensive, but I thought, Well, OK, my team was like, No, do you know what they’re saying on that? I’m like, No, but the beat was good, so I was removed from being the DJ.

Tim Sackett: [00:15:17.22] Yeah?

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:15:17.82] But, yeah, you do have to have fun. I mean, we, give time for bathroom breaks and certain things, you know, hopefully encouraging people to chat with each other like online should be a networking opportunity where you’re able to connect with people. Kind of like the old days when we used to be on Twitter chats all the time, you know, but we can do that in a, in a forum where we’re at an online conference, so.

Tim Sackett: [00:15:44.96] Yeah, I was at one that recently, you know, that I really like that they, you know, they kind of did like had like a little kind of fireside chat, whatever, you know, like two or three of us talking about whatever. And then as people had questions, they actually brought them in live. Like, so, like, on a Zoom, whatever platform they were using, where the person was like on camera with us, like, OK, ask your question. And again, I thought that really added, you know, a touch that you know, was, was different than I’ve seen. You know, I’ve done a million.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:16:14.28] That’s so risky. I mean, as a marketing person for an HR tech company like to relinquish control to some stranger on the internet that works in our industry. It makes me think of I had an internet television show like forever ago, 11 or 12 years ago, and I actually had somebody pop on their webcam and they were naked. So I think that, not that I want to encourage that kind of behavior, but, man, the risk, I guess, is worth it because you want to have engagement. So I’m not encouraging anybody in HR to be naked on a webcam during the next HR virtual conference. But that is, I think, every marketer’s fear in that something like that’ll happen.

Tim Sackett: [00:16:56.46] Yeah. But I think you have to take some risk right now, right? I mean, everyone’s trying to do it. And you know, it’s I think people are getting checked out in the virtual stuff a little bit because, because, I think, because it was bad virtual stuff, it’s really what the thing is, right? So I think we see this evolution of really getting better, better content streams that are a little bit more engaging.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:17:17.55] Yeah, yeah. And I’m going to try. We’re, I was telling you before we went live that I’m going to do some live events like, I like traveling. I don’t want to go to conferences unless, you know, I’m being paid to attend or, well, paid to attend. Or maybe it’s a friend’s event that I want to support, but mostly paid to attend. And, so, I’m going to start hosting my own. We’re going to do the first one I believe in, like Q1 of next year in Jamaica, and I’m just going to rent an entire plantation house and invite 20 of my closest friends to come. And we’re going to have a great time and we’re going to get some HR recertification credits and drink, and have a great time, and maybe get some massages, and just relax and have fun like every conference should be like that.

Tim Sackett: [00:18:06.04] That is amazing. Because you think like if you could figure out a way which I know you can because you’ve kind of gone through this, but it’s like, Hey, even if it’s what do you get like 20 some credits at a SHRM national, you’re going to dump probably 4 to 5 grand total, right? With conference, with hotel, with meals, with plane tickets, you know, blah blah blah. And so, you know, wouldn’t that be better to go down in Jamaica and be on the beach and have, you know, great food and great company and great conversation with a really kind of inclusive, smaller group? You would get so much more out of that for the same price and still get the credit. Like, that’s a no brainer, right?

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:18:43.21] Yeah. And we have a butler, and a private chef, and our own private masseuse. I mean, it’s like we can live like the Kardashians for a week.

Tim Sackett: [00:18:54.67] Yeah.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:18:55.57] But HR style.

Tim Sackett: [00:18:57.43] HR style.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:18:58.07] Yeah. More close, maybe. So another question that I wanted to ask you about. We talked a little bit about remote work. This hybrid thing, I think, is so hard for everyone right now. What advice would you give HR leaders who were trying to have re-entry back into the office or some sort of combination in remote/ hybrid/ in-person?

Tim Sackett: [00:19:22.93] I think you have to be very clear of who you are and why to your, to your employee group, and you’re going to have some people that that self-select out either way, right? You might have people, you might say, you know what? And I already know. In fact, I talked to a couple of leaders the other day that were like, Hey, we literally gave up our leases for our office buildings and everybody’s remote and like, How’s that working out? And they’re like, You know, we’ve lost a couple of people and we, it’s a real struggle for us to bring on new people with digital onboarding, with training. We were struggling. And so what they found was like, Hey, not everybody wanted to be remote. And then you find out the other way, too, where someone will go, Hey, we’re coming back in office and you’re going to lose some people. I think the key is you just have to go and know who you are. And I always tell people, it’s like, it’s really more of, Hey, does your crazy match are crazy? And if it does, awesome. We’re going to be great together. But I want my brand in my messaging to be such that people will self-select out. They’re like, Oh, no, I don’t want that. Well, good, because, because that would have it would have ended bad for both of us.

Tim Sackett: [00:20:25.90] You know, let’s make sure that we know who we are. And if you say, you know what, we just have to have you in five days a week, and here’s why. And here’s why we think this is going to make you and us the most successful. That’s fine. You’ll find people that want to come to the office. I had people, we went full remote during the pandemic, you know, in I had people that literally two people that said, Hey, Tim, I can’t do this. I’m failing. I need to come back in the office. I need that structure, can we? And we were like, Sure, yeah, I mean, we can do that. And so I think part of that is figuring out. To me, it still goes back to being successful, right? I mean, just you might go, Oh, I want to be remote. And that’s exactly the job I want. And then if you’re failing as an organization, I have to go, well, either you can come back in the office or you’re going to be fired, right? I don’t care what you want. If you’re failing, we need to surround you and help you be successful. And if you can’t understand that you’re not successful but you still want to be remote, then you got to go find somebody else to work for.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:21:26.35] People don’t, or maybe they do understand a little bit more now, like, it’s so great to be remote because you can, you know, not wear pants and shower, you know, irregularly and like you can multitask in between meetings. But then there’s the downside in that you’re multitasking between meetings and the dog is barking and kids are there and you know, you start doing laundry in the middle of your conference call. I mean, those are not good things, I think, in terms of your productivity, just like any good manager, if somebody wasn’t performing, I would say, like, Hey, let’s figure out a solution here. And maybe that is if you can’t go back to a regular office because somebody is giving up a lease, getting a co-working membership, or just trying to create some structure. Don’t go to a coffee shop and work. I think that’s the most distracting thing to do, and you’re going to waste all your money on cappuccinos, but you should find something that works for you. And good managers are going to say like, Hey, this is not working, let’s try something or you need to go somewhere else.

Tim Sackett: [00:22:29.80] Yeah. You know, I think it’s, you know, it’s going to be one of those things. I, I wrote a post today about the dance that we did for, at work, right? Which such a dance was showing up at a, you know, going and getting your coffee and talking to people about what they, what you did in the last 12 hours before you saw them last, you know, and then you wait till lunch and do the lunch thing and come back and afternoon, make it to five and you go home. And then we all had to kind of go home for a little bit. And not all of us, but many of us had a chance to go home and work remotely and figured out, holy crap, I can actually get my job done in like twenty-six hours a week. So what were the other 14 hours? It was the dance, right? We were acting like we were working, and I think we just have to get back to saying, Hey, let’s treat people like adults. And again, going back to really good goals, really good measures, productivity, understanding, like, Hey, this is what it does.

Tim Sackett: [00:23:22.02] I think so, so many organizations want to see asses in seats because they fail at really producing measurable goal results for, for their individual kind of contributors to say, Hey, like in my office, we, you know, we’re very metrics-driven and I tell people all the time, I don’t care if it takes you 10 hours a week to do your job or it takes you 60 hours, that’s up to you. You get the job done. And if you meet the goals that are out there that we both agreed upon, we’re both going to be happy. Now, you’re not going to be happy if it’s taking you 60 hours a week. So we have to dig into that and figure out why is it taking you 60 hours when the person is sitting, you know, you know, in the same position as you can do it in 15 or 20. Like, that’s a major problem. And then obviously, if someone’s doing that job in 10 hours a week, you might have to go, Hey, are those goals are a little too light, maybe? Like, how did we get this back to kind of a normal balance? You know.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:24:16.77] It’s one of the reasons why I decided to take Fridays off this summer. And I’ve just been more intentional about my schedule. And you’re right, like, we don’t we can if we’re really focused and we’re not doing all that dance stuff we can, we can get our jobs done and meet our goals.

Tim Sackett: [00:24:34.12] Yeah, I agree. And so I just I hope that coming out of the pandemic, we see a little bit more of organizations treating people like adults because the vast majority of our employees will actually act like adults. And then we have this small minority that will act like idiots. And let’s focus on the idiots and not on the vast majority.

Break: [00:24:53.30] Let’s take a reset. This is Jessica Miller-Merrell and you were listening to the Workology Podcast sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace The HR Exam. Today, I’m talking with Tim Sackett, and we’re just getting a brief overview on the trends and the topics du jour that are happening right now in the human resources and recruiting industries.

Break: [00:25:13.07] Personal and professional development is essential for successful HR leaders. Join Upskill HR to access live training, community, and over one hundred on-demand courses for the dynamic leader. HR recert credits available. Visit UpskillHR.com for more.

How Has HR Changed or Adapted From a Global Pandemic?


Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:25:29.03] Another thing I wanted to ask you about was your thoughts on politics in the workplace. It was mentioned on a July episode of the HR Famous Podcast, your podcast and, and we’ve seen some backlash about companies banning politics talks on online chats. They were trying to restrict it. What do you think? Do, do we need a policy? Should we be policing everybody like that?

Tim Sackett: [00:25:53.86] Yeah. I don’t know if you need a policy. Again, I think part of it is the culture of what you want your organization to be, I don’t think that you really need to talk about politics at work, I think, you know, you get hired in a position to do a job and help yourself and the company be successful. I don’t think politics plays into that. I think we have some people in organizations that, you know, I would question if you have time to really talk about and discuss politics all day on Slack. What’s the, what job are you, how are you performing in the job, right? If you’re performing great, cool. I still think it gets back to, you know, our intent for all of our employees is to help each other be wildly successful, right? And if you’re being divisive, if you’re trying to cause conflict within the workplace, that’s not necessarily helpful to anybody. And, you know, so I think there’s a time in a place when, you know, you can go into the lunchroom or you can have personal conversations with your friends or with coworkers at work about certain things. Once it becomes divisive, we really have to start to dig in to say, wait a minute, why? Why is this happening? Because this isn’t going to help you to be successful.

Tim Sackett: [00:27:10.50] It’s not going to help the person that you’re upsetting, be successful, and it’s not going to help your organization be successful. And at the end of the day, we have a business to help the whole, right? And if we don’t have this business, guess what? You’re out of a job, they’re out of a job. We’re all out of a job. And so how are we dealing with this? You know, we’ve seen the examples play out in the media of organizations who have let this go on to the point where it’s costing the organization, you know, millions and millions of dollars in lost revenue and lost margin and turnover and whatever that might be. So there’s probably some young folks that don’t want to hear that. But like I just I think once it becomes a problem, you know, we have to be able to address that in a way that makes sense. I don’t care what your politics are, I don’t care if you’re ultra-liberal, ultra-conservative, whatever that might be. That’s fine. I mean, that’s, that’s being inclusive, right? I want, I want to have all of those kinds of folks come and work for me at the same time. Once, once your decision-making around your politics becomes a divisive measure within the organization, it has to be addressed.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:28:22.83] Even I feel like topics that weren’t maybe in my mind, necessarily political conversations, vaccinations is one that’s that comes to mind. And companies are right in the middle of this, should they mandate, should they create a policy? I had somebody DM me on Facebook saying, Hey, I’m somebody who doesn’t want to get a vaccine. I asked everybody to get one in the office, like, what do I do? So it’s, it’s, if it’s going to keep you from being successful in your job or it’s required by the company, then I feel like it’s not really a political conversation.

Tim Sackett: [00:29:01.20] Yeah, I mean, the vaccine thing is kind of a workplace safety issue, right? It’s OSHA. So if you want to mandate it and we start to see lots of organizations starting to mandate that you get a vaccine under obviously the, the rules and laws of the land. But you know, I think that’s just another one where you have to really start to listen to what’s really going on. I think so often what we see play out in the media with, with organizations that are struggling with whatever issue it might be, it’s the tail wagging the dog, right? It’s a very small minority number of individuals who are like, This is going to be an issue and I’m going to raise it up. And Business Insider has been, like, I don’t know what’s happened to them over the last, like 18 to 24 months. They will take an organization, let’s say, like Wal-Mart, just for, for an example, over a million employees right at Wal-Mart. And Business Insider will come out and say Wal-Mart is the worse organization in the world towards women, and like, and then, then you look, you start reading the article and it’s like we interviewed seven former Wal-Mart employees who were female. Seven out of one million?

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:30:07.44] Total clickbait, total clickbait. They just need those clicks for their advertisers, probably.

Tim Sackett: [00:30:12.72] But is the worst journalism. And I know some of these people that are writing and they actually are like journalists, and I’m like, How how are you considering this journalism when you’re not getting the full story? You’re not, you know, again, what you would say is like, Hey, hey, we talked to former employees right to have issues. We talked to some current employees that either believe or disbelieve or whatever, but also like just the understanding of, Hey, this is 0.0001 of the population that we’ve asked. And we all know as HR people that you’re going to have, like some troubled children in the, in your employees, you’re going to have some cancers, right? That are currently working for you, that you just haven’t had a chance to get rid of yet that are going to say, we hate it here, and you’re like, come on, that’s not reality. Of course, we have bad people and bad organizations doing bad things. But so often I see like organizations who are really trying to do the right thing. And it just takes time, right? You don’t turn culture over overnight, you can’t change culture. And like, we see this, you and I, you’ve been in the tech industry, in Silicon Valley and in Austin. You know, the bro culture is there. It’s real. You can’t change the bro culture overnight. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes resources. And yet you have some young people in these organizations who are like losing their minds that the organization isn’t exactly the way they want it. And you’re like, Hey, you’ve been here for like 13 seconds, will you? Can you, like, at least understand where we were and where we’ve come from and where we’re trying to go? And this is the plan. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight, but we just have this kind of like gaslighting of organizations right now that I don’t think is necessarily fair.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:31:56.46] You know, you mentioned the bro culture and it is alive and well. I see it every single day and I’ve been reading a book that I really love. It is, but it is. It is a hard read. It is a long read, but I feel like it really sums up a lot of the things that are going on in the workplace with some potential solutions. And it’s the author of Radical Candor. She just came out with a new book called Just Work. Kim Scott. It’s, it’s really good, and she’s from Silicon Valley, has worked for Apple and Google and a whole host of other places. But she talks about her own experiences and then some of her coworkers, which I’m not surprised about, but if you aren’t a woman in tech, you, or you work in HR, that might be a new, a new, whole new thing to you.

Tim Sackett: [00:32:46.44] Yeah, by the way, Radical Candor, great book as well. If you haven’t caught that one, catch that one too, and then I will definitely pull Just Work in and give that a read because I love her as an author.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:32:58.83] It’s less, it’s less entertaining than Radical Candor. But, but it’s a serious topic, and she, I feel like, does a really good job of making it inclusive and being really honest about being a white, cis woman in tech.

Tim Sackett: [00:33:16.62] Yeah.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:33:17.37] And, and so I think she’s she’s handled it very well. So I, I’ve enjoyed it and we’re going to be launching some diversity training this fall and it’ll be one of my recommended reads for our students.

Tim Sackett: [00:33:31.44] Nice.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:33:32.82] So I think this is the third time you’ve been on my podcast. So you are the, I think, the most visited guest that we’ve had. So thank you, Tim.

Tim Sackett: [00:33:42.59] Nice. Three, Three Timers Club

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:33:44.28] Yeah, you’re like the hat trick here at the Workology Podcast. What are you working on right now? Anything new or something that’s on your radar that you want to share?

Tim Sackett: [00:33:54.64] You know, really just continuing, you know, obviously the staffing, you know, we do IT engineering, kind of tech-staffing around the nation and that we are like literally slammed with hiring new recruiters and training. And just every single client has jobs and every one of their jobs is a priority. And so that’s obviously been super busy. Continue to write every day at the blog and continue to do a lot of advising in the HR tech space. So that is all, you know, done. I have, you know, a couple of books that I want to write that are in the works. You know, that just again comes to back to capacity. So, you know, more of the same, you know, staying busy. And then obviously the conference, you know, Circuit will turn back on. And then I’m assuming based on what I’ve been asked to do already, we’ll probably be back on the road again for. In 2019, I think I was on the road 30 weeks out of the year. So, you know, after you wrote the after I wrote the book, like, I just didn’t think it was going to change my life that much. And like everybody came out of the woodwork kind of wanting, wanting kind of the live speaker.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:35:05.62] So I love that. Well, congratulations. It’s, it’s so much fun to watch friends in the space do well and find their voice, and I, hat’s off to you for writing every day. Still like that is a job.

Tim Sackett: [00:35:23.23] It’s been a decade.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:35:24.28] I know, I don’t know. I don’t know how you do it, but it’s probably really therapeutic. I’m, I’m sure, so.

Tim Sackett: [00:35:30.76] One hundred percent. Yeah.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:35:31.69] Tim, I appreciate you taking the time to talk with us. We’ll link to your LinkedIn, your Twitter, and the blog so you can check out Tim Sackett project. And then we also link to the book too, so you can pick up a copy of Tim’s book and maybe have him come and speak at your next online or in-person event. So thanks, Tim.

Tim Sackett: [00:35:50.23] All right, thank you.

Closing: [00:35:51.22] I’m so excited to have the opportunity to catch up with Tim. It’s crazy. I’ve known Tim for, gosh, I think, 12 years, but our businesses are very parallel, so we don’t get to see each other unless we’re at events, which aren’t happening right now. They’re happening and speeding up soon, or we see each other online on each other’s podcast. So I’m so excited to catch up with Tim. I can’t wait to visit him in the Cayman Islands very soon. Thank you for joining the Workology Podcast. It is sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace The HR Exam. This podcast is for the disruptive workplace leader who’s tired of the status quo. I know that’s you. I’m so excited to have you here. My name is Jessica Miller-Merrell. Until next time, you can visit Workology to listen to all our Workology Podcast episodes.

Connect with Tim Sackett.



– Tim Sackett on LinkedIn

– Tim Sackett on Twitter

– The Newest Red Flag In Hiring!

– The Talent Fix: A Leader’s Guide to Recruiting Great Talent

– Episode 323: TA Insights featuring Rob Dromgoole, Diane Sanford & Jude Reser

– Episode 322: Executive Buy In For DEIA With Kim Crowder

– Episode 321: Commitment to Full Inclusion with Susan Mazrui, Director of Global Public Policy at AT&T

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