HR Superstars
HR Superstars

Episode 20 · 1 year ago

Valuable Remote Work Lessons to Implement Permanently


If we choose to revert to a system of work that looks like 2019, we’re missing an opportunity of a lifetime. The role of HR is to enable the talent and culture in an organization, to equate business success with human success.

One of the best ways to do that is to carry forward the lessons we learned about flexible work and communication into the future of work.

In this episode, we interview Tracy Layney, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Levi Strauss & Co., about how the past 16+ months have transformed work as we know it.

In this episode we discuss:

-Hybrid work models finally creating real work/life integration

-HR’s role in creating a meaningful whole work experience

-Intentionality and motivation among managers and employees

-How the new work framework will stand on flexibility and connection

-Developing a more advanced manager skill set

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

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for HR Superstars in your favorite podcast player.

If we revert back to a model that existed in two thousand and nineteen, or even a model that looks sort of like it existed in two thousand and nineteen, I think we will have squandered the opportunity of our lifetimes, and so it's going to be incumbent on us to create this new way of working, and what we're talking a lot about at levies is we're not going to have all the answers on day one. We're going to have to learn and grow. You're listening to HR superstars, a podcast from one five five that highlights stories from the front lines of HR and people ups. 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. Hello and welcome back to another episode of HR Superstars, and boy do we have a HR superstar with us here today. Our pleasure to welcome Tracy Laney from Levi, Strauss and company. Tracy is the SVP and HR row at Levi's. She is responsible for their people strategy on a global scale, including talent management, acquisition, employee engagement and diversity, equity and inclusion. She recently served on the Board of H R people in strategy, the executive network of the Society for Human Resource Management. Tracy also as a lifelong love of dance, feud or in art and is passionate about travel, visiting destinations near and far with her husband and son. Tracy, welcome to the show. It is a true honor to have you. Oh, thanks so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here and I for those who are just listening, I dawned my my Levis Jacket for the special occasion. It's a little warm and Colorado right now our jacket, but I will suffer through it because bills appropriate. I appreciate that and I of course have my levice Geans on, is I have on every single day, which is it's one of the great things about working for this great company. Is there a free jeans perk? You know, we still only have a very healthy and played discount, which is really important, I think, for any apparel retailer, and we do not disappoint in that arena. That's great. So, tacy. So in some of our pre show conversations this idea of how do we not lose the fruits the positive learnings from the last eighteen months of covid and racial reckoning in the the American country, and how do we take this for how do we actually harvest the fruits of these and reinvent work for the better? And so that's where I'd love to beget and you know, we talked about this idea that work wasn't working before. COVID has exaggerated a lot of the things that were already be broken and you know. So it's this amazing opportunity we have of thinking about, well, what do we actually want work to be, what is possible? How do we actually get the best work out of our people, well, also elevating the human experience? That's just start. They're like, what do you think are the lessons learned from these past eighteen months? That would be a real shame to not actually carry forward. And this is the question I spend almost every day, all day, thinking about right now, and I know it's a question that a lot of other heads of HR and folks in just corporate America are thinking about right but I think unfortunately a lot of the discussion has gotten reduced to this notion of quote unquote feature of work. But actually, for a lot of people that just means WHO's coming back into the office, when are they coming back into the office? What does that look like? And if we simply do that, if we revert back to a model that existed in two thousand and nineteen, or even a model that looks so sort of like it exists in two thousand and nineteen, I think we will have squandered the opportunity of our lifetimes, to be quite blunt.

Right. So we had one model of work that, you know, there are people who know much more than I do about this, that goes back probably hundreds of years, coming out of the industrial revolution. That then translated to corporate life is for the organization man at the s and then it just continued and and then, because of technology and other things, it just became more and more intense and more and more always on and more and more amplified. And also, we also know from our reckoning with racial injustice and just our diversity issues across every aspect of diversity, you know, very unfair and very not, you know, sort of a vibrant workplace that I think most people aspire to work in. And so we ended up, I think, if you again look at two thousand and nineteen in work that, as you said, it wasn't working. It wasn't working for most people. We had, you know, high levels of burnout, always on long hours, long and longer and longer commute because of things like cost of living. And all of a sudden, one day it changed, almost overnight, right, we all had to work quite differently. We had to go work in our individual spaces, in our homes. Again, for those of us in corporate life, I'll always like to remind myself that the majority of people in the world haven't been working at home. They've been going to their jobs, working with the public or in factories and things like that. So we need to be mindful of that. But whatever kind of worker we're talking about, I think it is incumbent on us to take these lessons of the last sixteen plus months and bring those forward, right, the pieces that were better at this last time. And so I think about things like authenticity. We've seen in each other's homes this entire time. Right, you're seeing my house, right now I'm seeing your house, presumably, right, we actually have kids in the background or dogs or cats or spouses and partners or friends and roommates, and that's not a bad thing, right. That's a level of authenticity. The veil got dropped, if you will, about you know this, this this somewhat artificial distinction between work and life. So I think austhenticity's one thing, and I remember thinking that very early on. I actually started it levies in March of two thousand and twenty. I've not been in the office regularly about and so you are. You're undoubtedly already interviewing it's not like you and and of like, Hey, everything's about to change, so we're going to bring in Jay z because she knows how to navigate a company through a pandemic. Exactly. No, not at all. I had we actually announced that I was starting and I very blessed. I actually came in a few weeks before the shutdown happened, not knowing that was about to happen, and met with my team and got to meet people's that was the huge blessing. But no, had no idea. Right, in fact, started a month early because the travel I was planning on doing wasn't happening and I got to sort of help help the company navigate this really tough period. But that's the beginning. I remember noticing, okay, get to see people's lives in a way that I probably wouldn't have seen I think sort of time, as stressful as it is, and I don't want to make any of this sound like it was a happy period, there was a lot of loss, a lot of fear, a lot of uncertainty and you know, and that was really real. I think grief has been a big part of this whole experience, unfortunately, but I also think that as there were blessings. You know, you were more integrated with your life, you did spend Moret we did spend more time with our families. We did actually, know, stop commuting, which isn't always a I think meets can have their place, but you know, I know for myself I'd been walking regularly and things like that. There were there were good elements that just felt like my life was more connected to my work, and I think that's when we think about a future. How do we take some of those blessings with us, as well as go back and actually really challenge ourselves to think tea, as you suggested? How do people bring their full selves to work? I believe work actually is important to the human experience in a way that creates a vibrant workspace for all. Right. That, to me, is what I would like to understand and to bring forward, and we can dive into some specific elements of that. That that's really really I think that it's time for all of us, especially those in...

Hr, to not be afraid to really imagine a different future of work and in a meaningful way that is about the whole work experience and how that relates to the human experience. How do you think about some of that imagining? You know, one of the things that I've noticed is that there were there were a lot of assumptions people had before covid happened about different ways of work, like it's not going to work for us to work remotely, or it's not going to work if people do this and and I think a lot of these assumptions and beliefs were refuted and squashed in a way and People's Oh my God, it actually does work. And there's probably a bunch of assumptions that were still carrying on that maybe we need to question to be able to imagine that new future. So how do you tease out, you know, what are the things we should keep versus. What are the things we should question? Versus? How do we determine what is the optimal way to work that's going to create thriving yeah, I totally agree, and I mean I can't tell your how many of my peers I've talked to in the HR space or even seeos directly. He said, I never thought we could do X. I never thought we could actually, you know, keep our culture going in a virtual way, etcetera, and we've learned that we can. We've learned that. You know all the statistics hells. Productivity has gone up. You know, a lot of companies have. You know, crystal, including Levis, has leaned into our strong culture and actually strengthened it, I think during this time because of how we've responded. And so some of those have already, as you said, been dashed and I think we have to resist the temptation to default back to something else. I think there's still some of that still exists right because you know, and also be realistic about what we're missing. You know, I think there is an element of personal connection. I think it's an interesting period right now in parts of the world, including where I live in northern California, where our personal lives are getting a little bit back to normal right, like we can kind of see our friends again, you know, things to things like vaccines, which have been, you know, life changing literally that, you know, that's starting to feel more normal, and so I think they're also starting to feel like, okay, now, I kind of missed the connection with my colleagues, and so I don't. I think for me it's also not operating in binaries and allowing ourselves to think about how this could work. Right. A lot of companies, leavies included, are moving to what we call hybrid model into for corporate life. Right, people, you're in, you're out, you're managing your life in a way that's very holistic. I think it's actually work life integration in a way that we've talked about four years but in some comitties have been doing for a long time, but I don't think has been done on a mass scale. So I think part of it is just is figuring out how to imagine what that new way of being is and resisting the will what if and the what abouts and I this and oh my gosh and that, especially because we actually don't know yet, right. We don't know if you would ask us in two thousand and Nineteen, oh my gosh, this is going to happen and we all have to move to remote work. A Lot, how many companies? Was said, I can't do that, like I don't have to physically, just can't do I don't have the technology infrastructure, I don't have that. And somehow, within days, if not weeks, the vast amounts of corporate you know, not just America, the world, figured out how to do it right. So I've trust us as humans, were extremely adaptable and resilient and I'm confident we can figure it out. But we also fall into old patterns and so it's going to be incumbent on us to create this new way of working. And what we're talking a lot about at leavies is we're not going to have all the answers on day one. HMM. We're gonna have to learn and grow and that means managers aren't going to have all the answers on day one, which may be uncomfortable for them. Right, but we're also going to talk about what it's what it's like to lead in a different way and to lead with empathy and to lead with grace and to lead with also humility to say I'm not going to have all the answers and we're going to figure this out together. And to do that we have to be dependent on trust, openness, communication, a acountability and all the things that just make strong human relationships right. And we have to do that individually and in teams and then ultimately organizationally. But even if we tried to write everything out and get at all perfect sitting here now, we would that wouldn't be possible because, you know, organizations are, you know, made up of humans who are going to continue to learn and grow. And, by...

...the way, the pandemic is not over. A lot of countries are still in the thick of it, even you know, we don't know what the future holds there. But we should at least use this opportunity to try for a new way of working because, as I keep saying, if not now, when are we going to do this? When are we like, when are we ever going to have this opportunity to again, to basically take the best of these last sixteen months and take the best of what might have existed before and build something new? Okay, so that's that's I dare to dream for a moment. What if you had a magic wand and you could reinvent the corporate world and mass what are some of the other assumptions, ways of of doing and being that you would challenge and potentially reinvent? And for instance, you know one that I think has been getting a lot of press lately and that's been kicking around in my head is the four day work week, for instance. You know this idea that hey, maybe we actually maybe we can get as much done in four days and we give people the threeday weekend and a kind of changes the game on that. And you know, it's funny. I think I'm tempted to try this internally. Fifteen five and kind of like David was like, Oh, what do you know? Just not yet, maybe next quarter, you know. And so it's that that cantion of kind of planting the seed of these kind of radical ideas. But you know, so like, what are the other aspects that you think are ripe for reinvention? I think that the nation of radical idea is really important right and I think what's interesting about this whole even using that term, though, is that, given what we've just done the last sixteen months, it doesn't really feel as radical anymore right some of these ideas, even the forty work week, doesn't feel as radical. I'll give you an example of something we've done at Las and Co, and I don't know if this will continue, but we did move to meeting free Fridays in like September of last year because we knew the organization was dealing with a significant amount of exhaustion and sort of the nature of such an integrated work in life, we just need to give people space to not have a meeting and to be able to have time to kind of catch up. And then we also took the last Friday off as the corporate holiday globally of the month. So everyone's had the last Friday off of the months. They have a threeday weekend and culturally we don't send emails over that time. We really try to refrain from just loving everybody have it, and I will tell you, time away is actually really important. I don't have an opinion really about the forty work week as an example, but I do have a strong opinion that flexibility to come in and out of like your work life with your personal life is critically important and that's basically what we've lived this past year plus. Right. So I think flexibility and also okay, you know, time to really step away and say I am away now, because the challenge of flexibility, the flip side which happens with it, existed pre pandemic and has its own flavor now. Is the always on nature. Right. So it has to be okay to say I'm really stepping out and I'm stepping out for vacation, I'm stepping out for a weekend, I'm stepping out for my evening, I'm doing whatever and how I interact with my teammates. The organization has a degree of flexibility, right, that they're inten an intentionality, right, you know, we need intentionality around. This is getting a lot of news right and pressed right now to synchronous work. At a synchronous work. Does this have to be done together? Does it not have to be done together? How do you come in and out of that right as we get back together physically, how are we physically together and how we not physically together? And and I think that just that, to me, is the most radical idea, if you want to call it that, which is just there is no prescription, there is no one size fits all. Because sometimes the work. Again, if you're working in a leafy store, you have to be in the store right. So so there's the nature of the work that requires that certain, you know, physical places at certain times. But there's also thinking about, you know, we're very global company and we work across, you know, dozens and dozens of time zones, and so how do we also make that work? And so, to me, the most radical idea and the most when I have a vision for the future, in the vision for the corporate world, is to really think quite differently about all the norms that were put in place, that got put in... probably decades ago and evolved, that we never really I could step back to think about, and now we've actually had to stick you know, step back and think about it. So let's think about all the aspects of that. Yeah, we spend a lot of time thinking about performance management, since that's what we're in the business of. Of what were the assumptions that old models of performance management were baked on? You know that humans are lazy, that you always have to use extrinsic motivators, that you need to just constantly be kind of pushing people, like the only way to which you high performance is by working sixty hour weeks, you know, all of these kind of archaic ideas, and then reinventing the core idea of performance management based on the cutting edge social science, because it's like we're twenty one century human beings, right, we actually have different needs, even though there's like universal core human needs. I think that that culture is really about meeting human needs and helping helping people fulfill their own potential, and there isn't a cookie cutter approach to that. It totally agree. And so what I often think about is, okay, I think, I really do think it's an essential part of a fulfilled human life to do work that you are motivated by right, whatever that is, and it doesn't have it doesn't have to be that you're an artist off creating a piece of artwork. That's great. People that who do that and it could be any kind of job, it could be anything right, and people find great satisfaction, and I believe, in work that's done with excellence among commoderie of people that they care about spending time with again, virtually or in person. I think working for a place whose values aligns with theirs, that's work that we talked a lot about at Leavis, because we were very values different company, and just how how they are contributing to the world around them. Right. I think that is actually the essence of human need. And I don't know, to your point, that all of our systems, quote unquote, within human resources or corporate America, have a line to those assumptions. Right. It has been sort of more all the time, more, I don't trust you. I've got to, you know, check on you, I've got to do all these things, including where people used to know, are you in your seat every day for certain number of hours? Right, and I actually just don't think, to your point, that's at all the human experience of of two thousand and twenty one. And I think this is the time to say if the companies can, you know, figure out how to actually drive that engagement as well as and you know, support employees in theirs of basic needs around work, it will create a much, much, much more compelling culture and also much higher level of productivity, results, business outcomes, etc. So good. 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 and up leveling their managers and increasing company wide engagement. Learn more at fifteen fivecom you know, I think I'm thinking a lot as you're talking about the kind of nature of employee choice versus systems and structures and expectations set by the company. And one of the things that we talked about culturally, and everything you just said I very much resonate with, you know, creating a culture that and an organization that has very clear values that people want to be a part of, with co workers that they love working with toward a mission that they believe in, and we want people to self select into and out of that so that we get, you know, a really, really cohesive culture. And if you take that, you know, even further, might say, well, this whole idea of hybrid work. We really want this to be all about employee choice. If you work really well at home, great, spend most of your time working at home, but there are going to be times you need to be in person to collaborate. But you love working in an office, great, we're going to have collaborative spaces for you. How much,... much you guys thinking about leaning into that mode of employee choice? Versus, you know, kind of dictating the way that things need to go. We are really trying not to be prescriptive. I think I've spent along many months now, as all my pures in hr have, thinking about this new way of working right, thinking about even the nuts and bulks of how do you impliment a hybrid model, which most companies have chosen to do, and so, as I I've washed other companies talk about this, my observation is that companies who are still being very prescriptive, even if it's in a hybrid environment. I would like apple is an example. I'd like you to come in on I forget what days they said, but Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, whatever the days were. Everybody got a lot of push back from employees because they're saying, well, you're sort of giving me some flexibility, but you're still prescribing how that's going to work in my life right, which to me is a little bit not a consistent I mean I think you're just you kind of kind of fit in both camps, right. We are. We are firmly leaves, las and Co if I straws and Co in the that one you call it internally, a lesson to be call it ls and Co because we actually have doctors brand as well. So I go to make sure we are representing our brands as well as we have some sub brands that work in different parts of our business. But I feel like such an insider now. I know right, but if I say it without giving a definition, I'm feel people won't know what I mean. So we've use it interchangeably. But one thing that we are definitely. We are definitely and they were not going to prescribe this. We're not going to overly prescribe this. We're going to we're going to create basically some guidelines of a framework that people can operate in in the two biggest components of the framework our flexibility, we think. You know, we've proven that we can work flexibly. We're very global workforce by definition. People are on calls all times of day and different parts of the world. So flexibility to manage your work in your life excellent. And Connection Right. And connection isn't always the default physical but it's about intention, right. That's the other word that I keep using. Over it's what is our intention? Right? How do you create a culture of both physical time together and time apart and time around the globe, Etcetera. So those are the kind of the two headline tenants, if you will, and then are our subheaders or things around. It's all about the work to sometimes the work requires you to be in a certain place and that's important and we don't want to minimize that. You know, we know that leaders are critical to this, and so we're going to lean in heavily to getting managers heads around this and how with the role that they play. And then we also really want to make sure we're being equitable and fair right this, and that doesn't mean it looks the same for every person, right. So that's whybe don't. We always think about it, but it's like, if we're going to allow this, that means that people can opt out. We're going to let there be a level of flexibility that we're all comfortable with, right. So those are sort of the the framework that we put in place that were about to rule out to the organization, and I think it's really, really important that we continue to say, and I say this all the time with the team that's working on this, we're going to learn as we go. We're not going to you know, this is going to evolve and most companies haven't really done that yet. Everyone's been a most doing this for a few months right in most parts of the world. So we've got to be able to to learn as we go and imagine a different way and if we see things that aren't working, we're going to stick some. But again it's again resisting the binary of this or that. It's all of the above, it's both and and that's the sort of mantra that I've been preaching for a while now. Okay, so how much of this is the responsibility of you and your team, you know, HR people, operations, in designing these guide blinds and trial and erring and coming up with the planet global policy and cultural, Universal Cultural Dynamics? And what's the responsibility of the individual manager since, as we know, they you know, you're the bulk of your experience inside of a company is going to be influenced by your direct manager. And so how do you, how do you work with your managers in implementing these things?...

How much freedom of choice did they have to kind of guide their own team as they see fit? You know how what's the breakdown of that? So it's it is to me. This is that this was one example of a bigger question. Right, I think that, as I've really thought about the work of the last year and as we this work of the future of work, is we sort of shorthand to call this in the HR right now, I think that more and more what I've come to learn is that everything depends on the managers. Right, everything depends, and I think in general corporations. I'm not speaking a specially about Leavi's underserve that like we all sort of underserve kind of what that means and that's how that's we all know intellectually that's like every place that like. We all know every survey like the direct manager is the biggest factor in engagement or attrition. We all know that. We'll say this is in decades, shocking how little we've done, given exactly, Oh, seventy percent of people say they leave a job because of the manager. Right, exactly. So what? So what hr? What we're responsible for, along with my leadership teams, so the executive leadership team for Ellison Coe, who bet my partners on this journey, have basically said, okay, here's the framework, here's the tenants, here's the guidelines, and they can't asleep, be over ruled. So No, Ma, if I mean a manager, can't just say well, my team is effective working remotely. They don't. They're not a job that needs to be there to do x, Y or Z, but I don't like that. So everyone's in four days a week. That's not we're going to say that's not possible. Like you've got to get set some guard rails right and in guard holding gardles of what you can't do right and so but you can you engage your team in agreements and discussions about we'd like all to be physically together on next day. Yes, that's a productive conversation. So one of the things that we did last year that we're pulling into this work is we did what's called a manager reset and it was in the middle of the pandemic and we understood that I could say everything. Ship Burger CEO could say everything. We have every two weeks we have an all employ call that's been going on during the pandemic. We could say all the right things, tell people to take time away, tell people to turn off their phones or their computers. We implemented these days off, as I strined, and meeting free days, as I mentioned. But at the end of the day. I'll come down to the manager. And so the manager reset the entire couple hours that we spent with them, which every manager had to go through the company, was about leading with empathy. The entire thing was about leading with empathy, and this is another, I think, step change that we, I would like us, corporate America, to bring into the future. During the pandemic, given what everybody was going through, right, and everybody had it was a it was, you know, we've all heard the analogies now. We were all on the same ocean that was really rocky and stormy, but we were all on the same boats, right, like some people had nicster boats and some people had dinghies, and that's an analogy we all want to use. And and also what I would say is sometimes it was different boats at different points in time, right, like sometimes you were kind of okay and everyone was okay, and then the next month someone that was sick with covid or your kid was like melting down because they've been on zoom school for three months at that point. And you know, we've all had it. I think we all have a shared common understanding of that period of time. or or you're in HR and the way you are completely capsizing your ship. Yes, that's the care and feeding right for my team, for sure, for sure, but I would say the headline of leading with empathy for me, that we were teaching managers last year and again, if we to pull this into today, I would. I really want to see us take forward again, all of us, not just Ellis and Co is. It's all about understanding anyone specific need at any given time. I don't think we've ever taught managers really how to be in personal relationship with somebody to the point that they know what's happening for that person. Right. I think generally, manage your training is about setting clear goals and account and there's something wrong with that. Train let that's by the way. That's good. Like you need to set cure, vision, goals, accountability, and unfortunately even that doesn't always happen or we don't train well on those key issues and tenants. But how do I know what's going on...

...with Shane having, what's going on with David? What do they need at this moment from me? And in a way that's not one size fits all. Even saying that, right now, I'm like, I'm like, AH, somebody's interested in knowing what's going on for me, somebody's tracking me exactly, and so that our program manager reset was really about that. It was about how to have that level of conversation. Now as we go into okay, we're going to start working in a different way. I think that's even more important right as important, if not more important. Again, resisting the temptation to go back to the old way of here's just thinking we have a team meeting on Tuesday morning and everyone has to be there and you have to tell me if you're like not going to be there and I need a nixt you know, I need a you note from your doctor, or what whatever kind of bureaucracy we put on this, as opposed to just saying, like, I actually know right now what's happening with every member of my team. I also know the dynamic of the team collectively, which is another level of sort of development we need to give managers and how to navigate that and how to know if things are working or not working and how are we achieving our goals? And again, this doesn't take a right way the need for accountability. It's almost a more advance, it is a more advanced manager skill set and I think grounding an empathy is really important and then the organization needs to back that up right. We need to make sure all of our programs are also empathetic. So, just to give a few examples, we have paid leave at Ellison Coe, which I know for lots of companies doesn't sound groundbreaking, but it's extremely unusual in retail to have paid leave for store employees. It's unusual and we are now advocating in Washington DC and with other companies directly, actually retailers, to say you really should go do this and here's why it makes smart sense for you as a company. We sended bereavement leave for remnantly from most companies is three days. That's insane when you think about it. WHO's lost a person they love and only gets three days off? Like it doesn't even make any sense if you actually just step back and think about it. Do Weak it weeks. I'm really yeah to we did. Are doing two weeks and then people can add top or leave or what other things that they need more time. Top, sorry, is our is our abbreviation for Pto, or time off. So there's other back in support because if people need more time, but two weeks of standard mean that's like that's the baseline. And so that's about then how do we show up as a company with empathy even as we then train the individuals to lead with empathy? So we talked a lot about this, this this practice that HR is doing called manager enablement, like how do you enable your managers to have the right mindset, skills, tools, technology and and now I love, you know, kind of starting at the highest end, not starting it. You know, let's set your goals and make agreements, but let's let's start with how to be really empathetic managers and leaders. It sounds like you did that that reset, but how do you do that ongoingly for new managers who come in and to reinforce that? And how do you how do you think about that ongoing conversation and training and enablement? I think it has to become the heart of the training. I think it's actually I think it's a really interesting concept to put together the empathy with sort of the nuts and bolts tools right, because there's just tools that people need in this is you do right for a living, and and especially a new manager. If we all think back to those days, like and whether you're promoted internally or you hit your first job as an external new hire, it's very daunting right. I think people, and my experience of working with leaders at all levels and putting very senior leaders, they want to have the answers, they want to do the right thing right and there's more and less skill at it. But so giving the tools plus saying look here, this is just about being in relationship with your team and let's understand what people are and, by the way, you're going to be a better leader to them if you understand that, and then here's specifically things you can do to understand that. I think also as we think about new capabilities. So the one that you know, one thing we haven't talked about yet is diverse, the equity and inclusion right. This is a huge focus for, I think, every organization. I certainly can speak for my own...

...organization. It's where I spend a lot of my time and even today I was talking to our chief diversity officer about how do we grow capability right. It's one thing to have the D and I team great or the experts. Extend that to HR. HR also needs to grow its capability and D and I as Ay across the board. That needs to come through every aspect of HR. But the real impact is in the broader organization and that's where the managers have an outsized impact of just understanding even how to have conversations around diversity, how to, you know, encourage their you know, either to just absorb the programs we're giving increase their own capability understand what it means to create an inclusive culture, again, on top of also having a culture that's in flux because of, you know, the changes of where we work and how we work, as we envisioned a new way and as D and eyes a part of that. Again, it all comes back to the managers and that's an area where again, I was talking to my amazing chief diversity, equitting inclusion officer, Elizabeth Morrison, today and I said I sort of see, you know, two thousand and twenty was a little bit of triage. We had some stuff in place, but we, you know, had a lot more to do, including hiring her. Two Thousand and twenty one is a lot about a chart infrastructure we're building, all the training programs, the recruiting plans, the you know, lots of nuts and bolts critically important. It's the foundation. But as we head into twenty two, it's about dispersing all this into the organization so that you actually are educating and empowering leaders across as well as employees are Lee to you know, it help us achieve all ever dy and II goals. So I just think this is a doll. I guess the headline is it all comes back to the manager, because all of that is going to come back to the manage so these jobs are actually going to get more complex potentially, but I think also more fulfilling for them. Yeah, I agree about it. You know, I think I think we do a disservice to the role of the management part of a manager's roll. Today's world, all managers also do a day to day work. It's just the way the world operates. But just the leadership piece. I think we that is key to this new way of working. So in terms of the you know, I agree, it's all about the manager and I think that HR teams are realizing that and realizing they need to to enable managers and support them in in in their growth and development on these what we might have, you know, historically called soft skills. How do you as any as HR. Have your managers feel like you've got their back, that you're actually a partner of their's, versus saying here's a bunch of stuff that you have to do and that they look to it and say, you know this, this is busy work or this is something I isn't really valuable to me. So how do you how do you engender that trust as a partner and have the managers feel like an extension and in some way of of HR? I think the disc is almost a proverbial question about hr and this. Your specific question was about the managers themselves, but I think there's lots of HR processes, etc. That organizations can feel like are just either perfunctory or have to do or, yes, not adding values. So this has been part of my goal in being an HR leader since I came into this profession, Gosh, over twenty years ago, but really an HR proper about fifteen, sixteen years ago, to really change that mindset to say look, this is like h are the people every day who wake up and think about the talent in the organization. It's not that other people don't, but that is my job every day. I wake up every day and think about this organization, the talent in this organization, our culture. How do we enable that? That's true for everyone, and to my mind, everyone inn HR, whether you're a compensation analyst or your a sceniory, our business partner, right, that's sort of your job every day, and so as we put that headset on, to me that's all about enabling the business. It's not about programming or program be it's about driving the business and achieving its business strategy right, and so...

...that also means that we get rid of things where we change things that aren't working, and so I think to HR's the evolution that profession has been on is to be even more of that, more of the business focus, less programmatic, less driving or programs that checks the box. So everything we do we say, why are we doing this right? Why are we delivering a no performance review process? Why are we doing this and should we rethink this? As an example, like last year we threw out ratings because who could write any many in two thousand and twenty? I don't Eve understand how you could do that. And I remember thinking we made that decision in the fall and I remember being in the heart of the performance review process where we actually laned in on. I want you to have a conversation to your employee to say I saw what you did last year, I see you, I see how hard you worked in two thousand and twenty back to empathy, I see you. I want you to feel seen and heard and let's talk about your career going forward and let's talk about even the opportunities you have going forward. So if there's feedback to be given, it's in that context. But it's about personal engagement and I remember saying in the middle of that process like thank God we didn't try to do ratings, because I don't even know how that would have happened in the drama and the organization that would have created would have been deeply dysfunctional given the year we'd all just collectively been through. So that's an example of like listening to like what the needs of the organization are and then creating something that, for managers, was felt real and authentic, etc. So I think it is this listening to either leaders in the organization to your specific question, or just employees in general, and saying here's what feels authentic for what we need now and again, I think the challenge hrs had is. I used to always say hrs never met a program they don't like rights like we like. We like the shiny objects, we like the this and that there's always no ideas coming out. And all that's great and there so much enthusiasm and the profession, which I love, one of the reasons I'm in this profession. But it always has to be thought about again and again and again, given the needs of the business, where right and it doesn't mean you throw everything out and start over. It just means how does this evolve? And so I think that's actually the relationships the function needs to develop with leaders and managers so that they feel that we are in partnership and to some degree service to what their needs are and not that we're just some extraneous, you know function where there's box checking. That happens, because that means we're not doing our job. I think the big Eureka moment for business and HR is understanding that what's what's actually good for the human beings is actually good for the business. Yes, I really agree. So long it's been this idea no, Tho't human needs and business needs are actually counter productive. And so we're going to almost develop an icy heart. That doesn't feel does it doesn't empathize with the human needs, because that would just be a exercise and being sad and we've got shit to do. So I will tell you that's exactly why I'm an HR. So just a little bit of my background. So I started my career in consulting, an organization Strategy Consulting, which is a critical part of human resources, but it was not. It was a consulting from it wasn't in HR at the time and I loved it. I love taking again this the business strategy of a company or a transformation and saying, okay, how to organizationally we designed for this? How do we create the change mechanisms to achieve this? And I loved it and still my first love and my last couple of clients I was this is way back, as dating myself, but late and these really s. It was at price Ward House coopers and my last couple clients were h our teams. Actually there was an h our transformation. I was doing a big technology implementation at another one and I was working with the HR organizations and I had never at that point considered being an HR person and I would see how these teams operated and I would hear companies say things like talent is our most important asset, and I rarely saw them behave in that way. Right, I rarely saw them behave in a way that actually would justify that statement, and whether that was...

...for prioritizing talent, putting talent mechanisms in place. To your point, Shain't like just thinking about treating the human being as a human being. And it became was always very, very clear to me that employe interests and company interests are almost always aligned. Occasionally they're not, and that's actually a lot of the work of HR. Right. When they're not aligned, you have to navigate through those situations, but they're mostly aligned. And the fact that so many, so few organizations, I felt like, especially as many years ago, actually saw it that way really shocked me right and that's what actually led me into Hr. And so I first more traditional h our GIG, and I am deeply grateful to the leaders who taught me sort of the nuts and bulsive plaint relations and compensation and all the other aspects of HR. WAS A gap. I spent ten years, it APP and then I spent five years at shutterflies, the theat Turo and now Levi is, and I think all those companies have in common is are very value driffing companies. Right, they always have values as a explicit way they operate, and especially in sort of the employees space, and I can tell you specifically for LS and Co, we're completely aligned. Right again, it doesn't mean that we don't have to make hard decisions that impact employees. It doesn't mean, you know, that we don't have to navigate the situations, but it is something that is part of the fabric of the business and has been, from what I can tell, for you know most of all all of our hundred sixteen year old history, right. So this is very much who we are. So it's a privilege for me to lead HR in a place that is so like this. But I also am a bit of an evangelist about how having these values and how have it driving how you think about employee value proposition is actually a differentiator and makes you know it. We it's a competitive place for talent right, especially now, my goodness, like we think about how many jobs are open and how many you know, we have a supply and demand mismatch with talent right now. If I can do something in my culture and my values that makes me stand out, especially for younger generations, whom we know care about this even more deeply, then that's huge, right. And so I think that again, as we go back to this future of work, understanding that employee interest to company interests are generally aligned and let's figure out how to leverage that and not necessarily take a different approach that creates some sort of artificial barrier between the two. So, you know, thirty, forty years ago you could smoke on planes and it's almost unimaginable now, right, it's like what you know, like here my stories of my dad like smoking pot in the bathroom on an airplane. I was on a plane one time where they were sing, I mean maybe a few times in my childhre where they were smoking and I was like there was a smoking section on an airplane. But totally totally crazy to even entertain. What do you hope in twenty or thirty years in the HR profession, in the business world, seems as antiquated is smoking on an airplane? Yeah, I mean I would I hope that like the fact that everybody shuffled into sort of cubes and sat there all day and did their own work at their own computer and then like went away like and did this every single day. Is going to feel really strange. And again, because I've spent time in tech as well as retail. Like you know, in large parts of the world this was already changed it. Let's be very honest. Right like you know, the commute in the bay area gets significantly better on Fridays right in the morning because people are working from home, and that was the case for many, many years now, like maybe more than a decade. So I just think if it's this notion of like you show up every day and you just sit there and you do your work and there's no you know, that feels ver. It will, I think, feel very antiquated. And I don't even think it's going to take that long. I think that's going to feel weird really soon. I certainly think that just notion of it's all about sort of the employer with the employer wants, et Cetera, versus like taking into account and conversation with employees. I hope that...

...also feels bills and I think it is. I think it is changing. I think, I hope think that also very antiquated. Employees are making their voices hurt, right. They're making their voices heard, not just on their own work spaces but on social issues and things like that, on things that you know in the eesg realm, and I don't think that's changing. Right. And so I also think one thing that's quickly going by the wayside is that companies can set on the sidelines and not get engaged in sort of the dialog of the day, whatever that is, right, you know, even waiting into things that make them uncomfortable, right. And so I think we're already seeing employees and as well as other stakeholders, investors and others, push us collectively in a different direction. The good news like it for me and my job, and one of the reasons I took my job was that alison comes very comfortable being very vocal about issues we care about, whether it's voting rights or, you know, quality equity across all spheres or you and gun violence prevention, things that you know, we're just quite outspoken on and that, Mitchi lines with my personal values and sort of impact I want to have in the world. So, but I think other companies are feeling that in ways that maybe they've never had to experience before and and the ones that are choosing to try to stand the sidelines, I think you're going to have a hard time. HMM. Jacy, thank you so much for an amazing con versation and really, really great to get your perspective on this. If anyone is listening and as follow questions or just wants to connect with you, what's the best way for them to find you? They can totally just find me on on Linkedin is probably the best way. Linkedin. I'm on Linkedin all the time. That's probably I'm not as good on some of the other social media like twitter. I tend to lurk and not post because it's makes me a little trepidacious, I'm not going to lie. But I'm very controlled linked in, so anyone can find me. Tracy Laney, head of Hur F Livis on Linkedin. I'll be easy to find. Sometimes I kind of question it's funny. I almost like what happened to my life. I spend so much more time on Linkedin than any other social media platform and that and I feel good about that too, but I can't keep up. But kind of fan else has this problem, like I can't. I feel like I can't keep up. It feels like it's just it's so it was just great, right. It's Vibrin, it's robust. I think it's actually a very positive social media site. But I just I think I got a notification today. It says you have nine D unread message. I was like, oh my gosh, right messages. Now I feel very behind again. I like a clean and box. So Luckily Ninety eight percent of those are just prospecting messages and you agreed. But I like to look at that brains. Didn't get my message tracing. It's possible, as sitting in there. It's possible. I will admit it might half of my linkedin response to say I'm so sorry for my delay. I'm really bad at keeping up with linkedin. So okay, thank you again and really looking forward to staying in touch and reinventing the world of work and making a more beautiful work world together. Oh my gosh, I am excited about that up that possibility and it's I feel like it's my life's work and so I love any partners and friends and this endeavor. So it was fantastic spending time with you. I really appreciate it. Thank you jacy. Yeah, what an exciting time to be in the business world. Absolutely in the best time, I think, in decades, if not ever, to be in human resources. So so that's what my little plug. Anyone is considering a career shift, you should come to hr because it'll be the best work of your life. Somebody was saying they laying out of like this is. This is truly one of the greatest callings on the planet right now, is reinventing work, of of elevating humanity because we can have such a global impact. Absolutely, Yes, I cannot agree more and I feel very, very blessed and privilege to be a part of the Group of folks who are going to figure out a new and better way. Thanks for tuning in. 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, we'd love for you to do a thoughtful with you or give a quick rating by tapping...

...the stars. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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