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HR Superstars
HR Superstars

Episode 19 · 1 year ago

Impactful HR Through the Lens of Empathy

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode of HR Superstars, we talked with Elisa Garn, VP Digital Brand at GBS Benefits, Inc., who shared several personal stories explaining how she became more empathic and learned firsthand the sting of pity and sympathy in a vulnerable and painful situation.

With great humor and candor, she offered unique perspectives around the difference between tactical and strategic HR. She also provided a fascinating framework for the evolution of roles and responsibilities in one’s HR career. She uses the metaphor of a city to refer to your business and the three HR archetypes are: The City Planner, The Traffic Cop, and the Mayor.

You can read more about “The Governance of your HR Career” in Elisa’s Forbes article.

We also talked about:

-How HR can reshape society by improving the employee experience

-Understanding strategic objectives, not getting bogged down in admin

-How Elisa increased her empathy after experiencing discrimination at work

-It’s not your job to engage employees, it’s your job to empower them


For the entire interview, subscribe to HR Superstars on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher. Or, tune in on our website.

These people that are eight two fibers go home at the end of the day and how they how they were at work, affects the kind of stuffs they are, it affects the kind of parent they are, it affects the kind of neighbor that they are and when you start to really like think about the ripple impact of that, of how HR is showing up in that environment to curate that experience for the however many, dozens, hundreds, thousands of people in their in their care that's mind blowing to me. You're listening to HR superstars, a podcast from one thousand, five, hundred and five that highlights stories from the front lines of HR and people offs. Each episode will showcase fascinating conversations with leaders offering their unique experiences and advice for building an extraordinary company and culture. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to another episode of HR superstars. I'm your host, Shane Metcalf, and I'm here with my cofounder and CEO, David Hassell. Really excited today to have Alisa garn join us now. Alisa's somebody that I've been following on Linkedin for quite a while now and I'm always just completely touched, inspired and kind of amazed at the truth telling that she does on Linkedin. I recently described her to David as one of the most bold, no fx given, yet equally compassionate and loving voices on Linkedin. So I highly recommend go and follow her on Linkedin. and her official bio is that she is vp of thought leadership and brand marketing for GBS benefits, a full service broker based in Salt Lake City. Her experience includes more than fifteen years in HR recruiting and employer brand strategy, primarily with small to mid sized businesses. A true believer of the global impact hr can have on creating a better human experience, a Lisa's career path now focuses on the advocacy and influence for the progression of the HR function within the business environment. So welcome to the show, Lisa. It's really great to have you. Thank you. I just so you know. I know everybody says it's about their bio, but I wrote that really late one night while I was eating a big bowl of ice cream and probably feeling pretty good about myself. So I'm so sorry to all of your listeners that they had to get get through that whole thing to finally hear us talking. But thank you. BIOS are one of the weirder, weirder things, especially to hear other people read them and you're like what is this? You know who I think I am. I love writing those. So I feel like when other people read what I wrote, it's sort of like a testament that, hey, I'm like a published author now because my bio is out there and being read by other people, not me, so it's it's official. Okay. So one of the first things I'm really curious about is this, you know, this intersection of thought leadership and brand marketing with HR, and can you just break down a little bit of what do you actually do? How are you combining, you know, hr with brand marketing and brand development and just how does that all work? Well, okay, I'm calling a spade a spade here. You want to talk vulnerability. We made that title up because I went three months being at this company without a title and we're like, I need to have something for business cards. So it was like, well, we want you out advocating on our behalf, we want you serving our clients, in our prospects, you know, the Hur community at large. You're a great writer. You talk on Linkedin a lot. So let's call you a thought leader, which, anecdotally, I feel like the minute that you get the title is thought leader, you've just lost all credibility in the universe, like it's okay for somebody else to call you that, but you don't call yourself that. This other side of what they have me doing, though, on the branding side and really understanding and tapping into the mindset of our clientele...

...of HR professionals. Most brokers don't have that Trojan horse, you know. They sort of. They have their brokers that know what they know and they're amazing at the skill set of being an advocate for providing great benefits and negotiating great rates for their for their clients. But GBS is pretty progressive in the way that they see, you know, selling through service. Really like there's more that we can do when we understand the core needs of our clients, and the core needs of our clients are not always centered around insurance. Believe it right? Yeah, shocking, yes, it's it's a crazy day, but I think that the intersection of those for me, which, interestingly enough, at the day that we're recording this, just yesterday I announced that I have a new title, which is the VP of digital brand, because the other one truthfully didn't fit on a business card. So it's funny but also true. And that whole concept is again about customer centricity. How do we make hr the the hero of their own story? We're not the hero, they're the heroes and I think that nobody understands that like you, guys and and you, having been a practitioner for for so many years now, actually helping to understand and translate those those needs. Right, what have you've learned about how the the kind of core challenges needs have evolved for HR people of the last, say, five years? Like, what's different now that it was even five years ago? Well, we're there's HR is always been one of those you do a million things and the people that you serve know that you do three things and then they complain about two of the three things. Exactly. Yeah, I think that the last five years specifically, but I would even go back probably ten years. Yep, of course technology has been a factor. The big discussion, the big buzz five years ago was how artificial intelligence was going to like and machine learning was going to just annihilate hr and we were going to be obsolete. I think that, you know, like it's proving that that's probably not the end of the world that we thought it might be, but it is absolutely having an impact on how we are providing the most value to our businesses. So historically, where, you know, when you look at even just the progression of HR in general, starting in the early nineteen hundreds, HR was around to protect people from getting killed and mutilated at work and and working in horrible conditions with rats and disease and, you know, losing limbs and basically like putting the production ahead of human life. And thankfully today we've come a long way. We've got a lot of progression since then, but there's still a lot to be said about the new way of the new nature of our profession. is still about protecting human life. We just do it in a lens that's not maybe as physically as relevant, but people are still people, and think thinking about even topics like mental health, which I advocate for very openly. I'm very open about, you know, my own journey and my therapist knows way more about me than any other person on the planet, probably more than I know myself. But that's the that's the evolution of where I see the difficulty of our profession and the challenges that we face is take care of people physically is a lot easier, right. You can have safety protocols and you follow ohsher regulations and you you know, you put the yellow tape and you wear your safety equip rate. But protecting people on the inside of caring for their mental health and their stress levels and their professional development and all of these different facets that are the complexity of being a human being, were not most of us are not trained human psychologists. Know we know things like how to process payroll, and hopefully on time, and how to tell people not to park in handicap stalls when they are not qualified to do so, and, you know, keeping people...

...safe and compliant and following policies. So this new challenge, I think, really centers around putting the human and the people at the center of the business, to create opportunities, to set people free to do the best work that they can. Yeah, I mean that's why I'm a lost. We think of it, as you know, HR is kind of following the progression of going up the hierarchy of human needs. You know, like if you look at maslows hierarchy of needs and it's like cool, physical safety is first one. Physical Safety is handled and Great Wolf, do you belong? Do you belong to the tribe? And then you have a steam and ultimately, I think there's more of a demand, and I'm carriers curious your thoughts on this, of self actualization, of companies providing a viable path of I'm going to come to work and not just be sack physically safe or even have a sense of belonging, but I actually want my company to be providing some some avenue of self actualization. Yeah, and David, did you have something to add, because you were I'd you know, Shane, you and I love that you just share that, because that's exactly what I was going to say. Is it seems like HR is following this path of Maslow's hierarchy, working from the bottom to the top, and I would say that most people are still just making that leap from the physical to the emotional. But what's beyond that, and where I'm already way out in the future, is is that, you know, the next level of because Meslose Sary hierarchy, if you remember, because physiological safety, belonging, esteem and then self actualization and and I think that the the most progressive companies are going to start leaning into you know, we've already got the belonging piece handled, we've got the love and belonging. Now we're into helping people identify their strengths and then unlocking them, like you said, to do their best, the best work of their lives and have fulfillment in the process. So I think it's a great road map for where we're going and locating yourself and where you are as an organization. I man, you guys just summed up basically the essence of all the shits that I give about right there. Yeah, it's interesting because it comes into play and branding too. So when you're trying to create a brand, you know that people resonate with and have shared values and they're more likely to to take the path to purchase. There's like the Yucky side of trying to manipulate human psychology. I don't sign off on that particular approach. Is something to be said about human psychology and understanding how we make decisions and what we're looking for at different phases of our life, and MASL's hierarchy gets. Of course there's other variations. Not Everybody believes in Maslo's and thinks that that's like the Bible of our universe, but I particularly prescribe to it in the lens of HR and branding, which is a fun intersection sometimes, that, you know, if you can create opportunities for people that need their needs, you know, like if they're so worried about I might even going to be able to pay rent this month, yeah, forget about sense of community and showing up, but you know, some tree planting ceremony or like, they don't give a shit about any of that, because it's like, I don't even know if I'm going to be able to feed my family or if I'm going to have reliable transportation or put food on the table for my kids tonight. And that's real what I've noticed over the course of my career I've been very fortunate and, I would say probably arguably Hashtag blessed, if I may be so bold, but I have really benefited from being able to grow and progress in my career financially, through stability, through growing my network, and so I have been climbing MASL's hierarchy in an order that I haven't had to take a lot of steps back. But what that has done, unfortunately for me, and I can't speak to everyone, but I've seen it in my network. You get to a certain point and you forget sometimes what some of those lower bills feel like. That's rights. Empathy, empathy. I I almost has a shelf life, you know, like we forget, you know, like we...

...we don't just because I was, I went through poverty, I always will have empathy for people that are in poverty. Yeah, I think, and I think we for we assume that we will and then we actually just get very disconnected from the actual lived experience. So I want to get empathy has a shelf life needle pointed on a bunch of pillows and send those out as Christmas gifts this year, like beautiful. I love that quote. You're absolutely right. And the the cool thing about being a late bloomer. I will I have what I call Ugly Duckling Syndrome. So in high school I was not only not popular, but I had no friends, I had no sense of identity, I was painfully shy, like would just flush at the drop of the hat because I have very first skin. So I'd get very red and embarrassed and just did I just wanted to be invisible. I did not want to be around other people and so finding like my place in this world was really hard for me until later in life. Interestingly, sales is what did it for me. That's what my confidence. But I see kids at my age then and look at like just the crap that they're going through and the you know, the bowling, the social media crap that happens now that thank goodness I did not have to deal with with that age. But I still notice that. I'm like, you're going to be you'll be fine, like, don't even worry about it. Look, I was the same way, but look at me now. I have a great career year and I'm amazing and I'm on the fifteen five podcast talking about hr you're going to be just fine. I hate that that's my instant reaction because when I remember the pain of the moment, of what it felt like to be ostracized, to be alienated, to not have that sense of community and tribe and not feel valued and accepted, which really is like a core need as a human, I hate that I've forgotten that feeling. HMM, and it's it's it gives me pause sometimes that it has to be intentional. Empathy has to be intentional. I know I derailed a little bit on this particular part of the conversation, but it is such a critical element of anything related to doing impactful HR. If you're not doing it through a lens of empathy, and by the way, I'm not talking about pity, I'm not talking about sympathy, I'm talking about empathy, which is the next level, you know, and then ultimately compassion, it really is going to stunt your career growth. So when it one of your linkedin post that I really loved was the you know, kind of like what people what what people on what h our professional talk about on Linkedin and kind of the aspirational vision of what we think we're doing, and then there's the reality of HR, which is often very reactive and difficult and dealing with people that aren't really empathetic towards HR. You know, they did the difference between the aspiration and off in the live reality, but I'm curious, when it comes to leading with empathy and building empathetic cultures, what it's where's the gap there? You know, like what do you think is the aspiration, because empathy is all of a sudden totally in vogue and which is awesome. Right people are talking about this. There's a almost a shared collective understanding that, hey, we should have more empathetic cultures. And then what do you think is some of the uglier truths about where collective they were still at around empathy? That's that's a hard one. To the that particular post that you're referencing. It hit a nerve. I mean, man, hr people were all over that. They had lots to say about that particular topic because when we when we think about the potential of HR, the cool thing about working in this profession is I can't think of another profession, truly. I mean maybe you guys have perspective on this, but I cannot think of another profession that impacts as many lives as we do on a secondary and tertiary level in HR, because we are creating the human and employee experience at work as far as you know, like how people feel and the the physical environment that they're in, and you know what we celebrate and tolerate and like...

...values and all that. But these people that are eight two fibers go home at the end of the day and how they how they were at work, affects the kind of spouse they are, it affects the kind of parent they are, it affects the kind of neighbor that they are. And when you start to really like think about the ripple impact act of that, of how HR is showing up in that environment to curate that experience for the however many, dozens, hundreds, thousands of people in their in their care, that's mind blowing to me, me to the people don't take it as seriously and with a sense of I don't know if expectation is the right word, but what a gift that you have this opportunity to help shape the world. I know it's I'd like it gives me goosebumps even talk about it because I know it's like really big picture stuff, but that is the highest calling I can possibly think of. So you know, when you're talking about this, deal with the bullshit day to day stuff of making sure that FMLA paperwork is filed and that you have your eyines audited and up to date and just like the bullshit stuff that has to happen in HR to free you up for hopefully that twenty percent chance of having the opportunity to engage in the strategy, to understand the business objectives, to really get to know your people in a way of what motivates and drives them, to tap into that discretionary effort, you know, magic sauce like those. Those are the moments that we live for in HR the other stuff is the necessary evil to get us there. But the other thing that I think is important with that is the perspective, speaking of empathy, the perspective that it gives you to be a better leader when you're in those conversations. If you're if you if you start your career in tending to be a strategist and you're going going in and advising we need to do this in order to accomplish this, and you haven't had that boots on the ground experience, you're probably doing it through the Lens of an executive and not an employee, and that that's not always going to be the wrong choice, but I can definitely think that if you're doing it through the lens of your employees, the ones doing the work, you're likely going to get better, longer lasting results. Yeah, and I think the what you just said about the ripple effects is the potential for the collective cultural change in hr across the board is so, so massive in terms of the human impact. I actually think that it probably has bigger potential social impact than all of our political systems could have. Think about everybody's involved incorporation. If we if we move the kind of center of gravity and in the in the discipline and a profession of HR, in that direction like it could reshape our society in a really positive way. And I think empathy is the super skill. It's the thing that we all need to learn for all that to actually happen. So I'm curious, like your own personal journey and in learning to be more empathetic as a leader, what were some of the keys for you and in folks listening, I'm curious to the kind of help you know, as we all lean into be becoming more empathetic. What are some of the things that you think about in that regard? HMM. Well, empathy usually doesn't come without pain and I got a lot of pain in my life. There's there's one scenario that I share very openly about about this topic because it gender in the workplace, especially as an HR professional, is delicate. Hm. You know, we're known as being a very female heavy profession because HR, the history of HR has been very subservient ARY. You know, Phil a need find the gaps, do a bunch of things, multitasking, which I'm not here to talk about the science of that today. But don't don't get thanked for any of it. Yeah, exactly, like we don't need to be thanked or mother's we just do it for the love of people. Bullshit. We do want to be thanked. We do. I have never been in my entire life...

...or career. This is probably my privilege talking, so I'll just give that caveat. But I've never really had to deal with what I would consider blatant sexism or racism or, you know, things that a lot of people in my circles have have its first firsthand. So without that perspective. It's a little embarrassing to admit this publicly, but I was not a big advocate for things like women's rights and the feminist movement and to me I was just like girls, like it's okay to be a lady, like don't, why are you being this way? Like men can be men and women can be women, and can't we help just get along? It wasn't that I disliked them per se, but I felt like the intent was still very polarizing and ostracizing and it was about like an US versus them thing, and I also just I'd never witnessed that. I'm like okay, like this is not s madmen anymore. If you want a job, go get a job. If you want to stay home, stay home. Until a few years ago I had an executive HR position that I had started really, really excited about and I'd only been there a couple of weeks and I started to have some coaching conversations with with my with my bosses, with the founders. One of them included some coaching on a dress that I wore that did not have sleeves, which in Utah's kind of a big deal because we have a predominant religious culture here where if you don't wear sleeves it's very obvious that you're not a part of said predominant religion, which can absolutely affect your reputation and some of that community and tribe that we referenced. Eventually it led to us parting ways, but in my termination meeting they had asked the HR will love this. They asked me, do you feel like you're a good culture fit here? You never want to hear that during incrimination meeting. But they had also told me that one of the reasons they chose they were too using to let me go was because their male administrative team, their GM's of their various locations, were really struggling taking direction from stretch such a strong female personality. Wow, first of all, I should a boarding that shit right like lawsuit, lawsuit, lawsuit, but I was so stunned and at the time, you know, this was at a point in my life where this hit me hard. I mean I was I was questioning myself worth. I went into a pretty dark depression for several months. This one shook me and I grew a lot from it. Whatever. I got a lot of positive things, but it wasn't until that meeting where I was told that, because of who I was and the value that I had brought to other organizations of that personality was now a reason for me not having a job. You want to talk about empathy building experiences like, oh my gosh again, I'm so ashamed to admit that I didn't see this for other women and other people of minorities that go through this more than once in their life, if at all, like it should never happen. But that moment, like I'm still you know, I'm not a run my bra up the flagpole and burn around and protest marches or anything, but the new found empathy I have for that particular experience and cause how I show up in those conversations is very different now. I'm grateful for those. Again, in retrospect, you're always you're always happy be for the pain, right, if you're going to the gym and killing yourself and you hate it, you always like how you look in the mirror when you're done. You just hate it when you're going through it. And that, to me, has been every empathetic lesson I've had in life. Is The shit storm of when...

...you're in it and then the opportunity to reflect and say, wow, I grew so much as as a person because of that. Hey, it's kind of more spiritual teaching that I subscribe to is in this idea that suffering is grace. You know that our suffering is actually part of the root of our awakening, that you know that, like I used to say that I I mean I guess maybe I still do of like I don't really trust somebody that's never had their heartbroken because having had my heartbroken, having gone through deep grief deep suffering, there is a there's a level of knowing that somebody that hasn't gone through that just doesn't ever really going to get me, doesn't really understand what that's like, and it really I'm just reflecting on this right now, of how that has led me to being a more empathetic human. But there's very few things that people can share with me that I can't actually relate to on some level. And of course there's limitations to that, but that and so I guess then the I'm kind of wondering is there is there a way to Manu facture and kind of grow empathy inside of a human being without them actually having gone through the pain and the suffering? Fifteen five is the only evidence based people and performance platform for highly engaged and high performing organizations. Strategic HR leaders in all industries use the platform to win by improving communication, up leveling their managers and increasing company wide engagement. Learn more at fifteen fivecom well, empathy. By definition, empathy is putting yourself in somebody else's shoes and situation and seeing it through their lens. HMM, I empathy. I do think is hard to really really get right without a shared experience, because the other thing about empathy is we're also experiencing that situation from our own life Lens. Right, like, if I did grow up and I did, early on in my life experience a lot of discrimination or, you know, other things that shaped my expectation of what work was like, that exact same experience would have manifested differently and I would have processed it differently than I did because my previous Lens, you know, the under the iceberg waterline stuff, that came into that for me. That's why it shook me so much as because I didn't I didn't think that that was a thing, that that was real, you know. So I do think that a lot of people, I've mentioned this a few minutes ago, but I think there's a lot of confusion, especially in HR between the difference of pity, sympathy and empathy. And empathy is you you put yourself in somebody else's pain, you see it from their perspective, not your perspective, and it takes intent. I mean you got to spend time with somebody, you have to ask questions of that person you have and, by the way, they have to allow you in, which is another super vulnerable ask when somebody is is in a situation of meeting empathy. So there's so many variables in parts of that recipe that have to come together just so in order to have true empathy for another person or something they're going through. Sympathy is like, you know, I lost my son. I had twin boys and we lost one of them at birth very unexpectedly. The sympathy that we felt from people, as an example of the difference between the two, people would come up to us and at the funeral and say things like, you know, we're so sorry for your loss. God needs another angel. At least you have another baby. Like just they're trying, they're trying to help us find peace from their lens right like, as a non religious person, they were telling me things that were cutting me to...

...the core, but it had I said those things to them in the exact same situation, it probably would have provided them peace. So that to me was sympathy and I appreciated the effort of it, but it meant fa nothing like please just stop talking to me then. Yeah, so it sympathy seems like it often does exactly the opposite of what it's hoping to do, which is actually cause more distance. Sorry for them. Yeah, it's like, please, don't pity me. But here's the thing. So there was a couple of people that that came to that funeral that had also lost children. One of them had a pretty far, you know, part far advanced miscarriage, and the other had lost a baby to sids at about eighteen months. So those two people came up and we're talking to my husband and I about about what was happening. First of all, just just the presence. I mean you could just tell it was very different the way that they were communicating with us. But here it was the magic of it. They didn't say much. All they said was we love you and there's nothing that we can say that makes this better for you and we're just so sorry for your loss. That was it. I was like, you know what, thank you. And, by the way, they also didn't go the extra mile and say we get how you're feeling, we lost a baby too, because, like, their experience was completely different than what we had just gone through. But when you have experienced it, you know better than to say that to somebody else because you know what it feels like. So I use that example when I when I try to talk about the difference between the two. People have good intentions, you know. We don't like to see people in pain, unless you're a psychopath, sociopath or massochist possibly, which, you know, only makes up about seven percent of the population. So they're there, they're out there. I get that, but I think that HR especially is notorious for we do care and we want to express our care and we want to make people feel better and we almost take on this excess like persona of like the camp counselor for our businesses. Even though I talk so much about human advocacy and human experience and like seeing things through other people's lenses, I am the first one to stand up and say it is not a business as responsibility to take care of their people, like your responsibility. Is a business to create and foster and environment where people can have a sense of belonging and they can do great work and they feel accepted and there's not like all of these layers of bullshit to try to rifle through in order to be able to do that, but it's not a company's responsibility to make them engage or make them happy or, you know, like all of these variations that are still intrinsic decisions for us as people, and I think that's hard for hr to you know, we because we just want to help, we just want people to be their best and we take it upon ourselves to to figure that out for them instead of teaching them to fish for themselves. Thank you for sharing the story. Really really powerful and I really illustrates the, you know, the importance of US shifting out of sympathy and into that empathy. I'm changing gears, changing direction a little bit. I'm curious, you know, so the part of your job is understanding the hearts and minds of HR practitioners, and so I'm curious right now in, you know, mid two thousand and twenty one, what what do you think is top of mind for the HR industry? I think a lot of them have had to figure out how to rebalance additional expectations and responsibilities. You know, in a post pandemic world where people are starting to return to work and even in the thick of figuring out how to move people remote, keep people safe, all the compliance factors that we're coming in, unemployment claims, the the task and roll and responsibility of HR professionals really amplified over the last year of you're already a generalist that's expected...

...to do ten to fifteen things really well, but now we've added three to five more when it comes to prioritization of that. I think that's difficult for hr right now. From from the temperature that that I'm getting. It is putting a huge back seat to their own self care. I've talked to a lot of HR professionals that feel it's you know, it's their job, it's their responsibility to take care of the the employees that are inside the organization at the cost of their own mental health. Like, you know, we sponge as people, like we hear all of this stuff that's happening and like we take it upon ourselves. And I talked to I have a manage a board of directors for h our professionals in the state, and one of my directors was sharing with me. You know, they're one of the largest employers in the state and you know, when I was talking to her about her daily work, you know what's going on with you right now. She's like, well, it's performance review season, you know, so that's not Super Fun, but it's a nice break from dealing with the suicides that I've been dealing with over the past few months. And I was like, oh my gosh, okay, that's really heavy right there, and maybe that's not indicative to all ah our professionals, but when you think about that scope and that level of responsibility of life and also trying to maintain businesses, keep the doors open, keep people getting paid, like you're already at the bottom of that, like you don't get to go get massages, you're not going out for for hiking, you know, like your exercise routines. You're probably right now processing pay roll. But I think that that is indicative of what we're challenged with in this profession right now, is we're having to figure out the next evolution, not only how we get this work done, but how do we balance the responsibilities of the tactical skills that are still necessary with this higher calling of making sure that people are okay and that we're okay, and you combine that with, you know, the distinction you made before around I think that sometimes we forget that our job isn't just to create the in conditions in which people can choose engagement. Sometimes we think we don't. We need to create engagement, we need to create high performance and take on a lot of that extra weight that we put on our own shoulders versus understanding that people are are actually responsible for themselves ultimately. M This is kind of related, kind of unrelated, but sometimes in a lot of my public speaking it's really important to me to create shared language, whether you're talking to an audience at a conference, whether you're trying to pitch something to a CEO, whether you're on a podcast. Like creating shared language to understand each other's points of view and perspective is so important when you're trying to have shared understanding. Yeah, so I have this analogy that I use for the variations of how HR tends to show up in most businesses right now. And if you think of the analogy of a city, the first persona or the first personality that it's going to show up there is the traffic copy to our person, traffic up age Ark. They are like usually HR departments of one. Sometimes are the office manager, but they are all about compliance, super reactive, blowing their whistle directing traffic all day long and their biggest value of where they feel most important, is keeping people safe, and that's by following policies, procedures, you know, talking to managers of out how to coach whatever is going on with the with performance. But they are so in the thick of the drama that they don't have the opportunity to slow things down and just go not just wait a minute, if we move this traffic pattern or if we put in a stoplight over here, or we could automate this process if we did X, Y Z.

They don't have time to do that because they are literally having traffic stuff come at them all day long, every single day. The second persona that I talked about is the city plan or HR professional, and it is not, as necessarily always an HR title, but it's usually a head of responsibility. It could be a CFO, it could be a VP, it could be a director, could be CCH R oh, but these people are tasked with the strategy of aligning business outcomes with people initiatives. So they're super good at organizational development and design, looking at infrastructure. They're usually heavily involved with like merger acquisition activity, but these people are in the high rise. They're looking down on the city thinking infrastructure. Where do we need to put an additional plumbing and lighting, and where's the next residential neighborhood going up? And at what point do we need to put in a whole foods? They don't care, and it shouldn't say don't care. I take that back. They're not connected to the pulse of the community. They don't have that tie to understand what's the sentiment, what's the emotion? How are people feeling? What you know, are our values being lived and breathe? So their value is very much tied to business outcomes. Now the third persona that I talked to or talk about. I added this one a few years ago because, like four years I was like, well, I'm not a traffic cop or a city planner, so I've got to create a new one. This one's just for me, not you like creating new titles that I like. I don't and I'm going to just make my make my own role here. Hey, I feel like that's our when you live their life. If it doesn't exist, go make it happen for you for sure. Yep. So the third one is the mayor persona and the sake of the analogy, let's assume politics or noble. We know they're not, but let's just assume they are. Mayor HR professionals a lot of times are tied to something related to the talent and the employee. So, whether it's recruiting, talent management, talent development training, there the extroverts of HR. So they love, love, love shaken hands, kissing babies, they want to know what you did over the weekend, they want to know all of your kids. They, you know, want to come out and greet you at every single company party and can reference something that you mentioned at the water cooler eighteen months prior. Their value is usually tied heavily to being a great brand ambassador. So they're typically very positive and reflective about the company. They're good at getting other people they're kind of like the internal PR getting other people excited about ideas. If they are if you're implementing a wellness program, this is the person that you want launching the program because they're going to get everybody excited about it. Mayor's can sometimes also have the capability to be a really good hybrid of understanding that pulse of the community and seeing what's happening with those traffic cops, but being capable and having the skill set and articulation to also take the elevator up to the city planners office and say hey, based on what's going on down here and where the company is headed, here's some things that we need to consider or that we possibly implement to meet those goals. But they hate the details. They don't get jazz about FMLA paperwork. They don't want to be doing compliance. It's not that they won't do it, but that does not fill their cup. They are energized by being around people and understanding how to help them be their best selves. So basically just described my role. You're the mayor, the mayor, and I know I'm like yes, I'm the mayor. The mayor is a fun place to be if it's your personality. Man, I've met some traffic cops that got put in the mayor per but, like positions, they were very, very unhappy. So the reason that I talked about these analogies again, creating that shared language, is CEOS, when they learn about hr, especially like if they go to business school or find out about it through hard knock, their expectation of HR is one hundred percent tied to traffic cop mentality, like they're there. Whatever two week course that they get in their NBA program about hr is all about compliance, how to mitigate risk,...

...you know, like at what stage do you need to offer benefits? They are not getting this new way, this progress the side of HR strategy. And what can happen when you tap into intrinsic motivators and massles hierarchy of needs, like they don't get the human psychology one on one. No. So what this has done is absolutely changed the language. That are the conversations that I have with executives, because I can come in and talk about these three things and say, based on your company right now, if you were to hire an HR person, what's going to be bring the most value to you for where you are today? And I can't even tell you how many times they say, well, I want one person to do all three. Oh do you? Well, do you also have a CFO who happens to also be your accountant as well as your accounts payable and accounts receivable and your controller? Oh course not. I mean maybe, like when your ten employees, but as you scale your business you need to look at these different applications of HR in a way that like taps into the talent of the individual personas of those HR professionals, but also aligns with what you're trying to accomplish as a business. Otherwise, you're going to hire a mayor HR person super excited about your brand and then put them in a traffic cop roll and they're going to hate it and leave in six months and had terrible like impression of your your company. So, okay, my rant is over. I know that was a lot, but I love sharing that story because I think it helps a lot, especially from this empathy point of view. Sometimes you have to approach people with intentional shared language that you both understand in order to bring them to your community and understand your own dialect completely. And I think that, you know, most organizations, if they want to do it right, you've got to have all three of those roles right and you have to understand the distinctions between them. Only only if you want a functional city exactly, if you want to complete jet show of a city, then you know ignore this advice. Yes, so, so, at least that we have time for one last question. I'm curious, as you look out into the future, and all the work that you're doing and how you've seen things progress. What do you want to be true about the world of HR ten to twenty years in the future? If you could just wave a magic wand and say this is how I would love that the the the function to operate. Well, I'm really good at weaving magic wands. Oh good, I were. We were met, we were meant to be friends. I actually have several magic only unaccomptable, I believe, or I should say that what I would love to see of my beloved hr profession and what will eventually change to be, you know, the common is for one valuing themselves in a way that creates the sense of confidence needed from the employees and team to know really and truly what it is we do and and what we have to offer, without having to discount it and without having to hide it or dismiss it or down play it. I would love to see that confidence level increase, but along with that, I'd love to see the credibility of the profession really rise in business as well. We Are we are challenged with, you know, the lives of so many different humans without the authority to really have the autonomy and the authority to make the right decisions to protect that. So I think it's a combined effort. Of It's not it's not a very specific thing, but in general I want to see hr treated with the respect that it deserves from itself and from those that they serve. All right, so, if you want to coelevate together with other HR and people leaders, go to fifteen, Fivecom community and you can sign up and there's a wealth of resource and information there. At least a what a fantastic conversation. We truly appreciate your perspective and I...

I just want to reflect the point you made about hr being one of the greatest callings humans can have. You know, the potential, the purpose of us being able to influence tens hundreds thousands of human lives is something that we all need to remember and I hope that everyone listening to this takes a moment to appreciate yourself that you have either answered that calling or, if you are just collaborators with HR, to show them a little bit of that love, to remind them of that higher purpose of the work that we're all doing. If anyone has questions or follow up, what's the best way to connect with you. I mean, obviously I'm a big fan of following you on Linkedin. What are the other ways to stay connected? Linkedin is my love language, so all of my contact information. I'm super easy to stock, but if you go to Linkedin you'll find everything. My email, my phone number. You can text me like I get so many scam calls. So if you call me, I will not answer. If you leave me a voicemail or semi a text, I will, but Linkedin is wonderful. I'm you. So you're going to crochet empathy as an expiration date and I'm going to have it put Linkedin is my love language on a Tshirt. Thank you so much. What a pleasure. So we would like to thank our guest, at least a garn our producer, sweetfish, media guest coordinator, Sidney Lee, our executive producer, David Misney, all of our fifteen five employees and customers who make this possible, and thank you for listening. You've been listening to HR superstars, stories from the front lines of HR and people ops. Be Sure you never miss an episode by subscribing on your favorite podcast player. If you're listening on Apple PODCASTS, you'd love for you to leave a thoughtful review or give a quick rating by tapping the stars. Thank you so much for listening, until next time,.

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