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Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we talk about embracing joy in the workplace. I’m Susan White, owner of Susan Tinder White Consulting, an HR practice. With me is my co-host and dear friend JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink, a large HR consulting firm.
Our topic today is JoyPowered® organizations. This topic is the title of the fourth book in the JoyPowered® series. The first book was “JoyPowered®,” written by JoDee. The second book was “The JoyPowered® Family,” which was co-written by JoDee and Denise McGonigal. And the third, “The JoyPowered® Team,” was a collaboration of some of the members of the Purple Ink team: Erin, Denise, Peggy, Laura, Liz, JoDee, and myself. For this fourth book, JoDee has reached out to two of her HR colleagues and friends and longtime HR Indiana volunteers, Jeremy York and Megan Nail.
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So, JoDee, why did you choose Jeremy and Megan in particular to write this book?
Well, Susan, as you know, I asked you first and you turned me down. [laughs]
[laughs] I – you know what, I love you and I love the JoyPowered® concept. I just hate writing. Just, you know, I just hate it. It’s painful for me.
So, it is interesting, right? Like, I wanted to…I wanted to have at least one HR expert. Right? So I – of course, Susan was the first person I thought of, but then that does beg the question, you can be an HR expert and not have any interest in writing or not be a good writer or not be able to articulate yourself well. So Jeremy and Megan were truly the first two people that I thought of, and when I reached out to them, they immediately said yes. [laughs]
Ah, that’s great. And I know that it’s a good book, so you picked the right two people, I think. What is the difference, JoDee, between your first book and JoyPowered® organizations?
So I’ve already had had a few questions around that, so I wanted to explain that a little bit, that the first one really was for anyone, although JoyPowered® organizations can be, as well, too. It doesn’t have to be the owner of a company or a founder of a company that applies to either one. But the first one was certainly more personal, about, How can you thrive and how can you create your own workspace? Right? You didn’t have to create an entire organization, but how can you create your own workspace, even if you worked out by yourself, right? Or were a team of two or three or 10 people. But JoyPowered® organizations is really thinking about how you can empower not just yourself, but others around you to create a JoyPowered® organization. Again, it doesn’t have to be the owner or the founder or the C-suite, but it’s about thinking bigger than yourself, as well, too. How can I empower my organization or my department or my bigger team in the work environment?
Tell us more about the book.
Well, we cover nine topics. When Jeremy and Megan and I first got together we really brainstormed about, What does it take to create a JoyPowered® organization and what do we need to include? What will be the key areas that our readers will be most interested in? So those chapters are around both organizational and people strategy; diversity, equity, and inclusion; people-focused operations; teams; recruiting; total rewards; talent development; and communication.
Wow, I love all those topics. I can’t wait to go deeper on them. Which chapters did you write and why?
I wrote the chapters on teams, recruiting, and communication. And it was funny, when I mentioned that we got together and brainstormed on chapters, and we…Jeremy and Megan and I, of course, have, you know, very different backgrounds. We’ve been in HR for a long time, but have had different experiences along the way. And somewhat unintentionally, really, our areas of expertise – although we all have experience in all nine of them – our areas of expertise kind of fell into place and we each had a very natural three chapters that made most sense for us to write. So teams, recruiting, and communication were just three that that really hit me, as…I said, “those are the three I want.” Jeremy wrote organizational strategy; people strategy; and diversity, equity, and inclusion. And then Megan wrote people-focused operations, total rewards, and talent development.
Wonderful. Let’s introduce your co-authors, JoDee. Jeremy is the lead consultant and president of InvigorateHR, a human resources consulting firm located in Indianapolis. Jeremy has over 20 years of experience in human resource strategy and business operations, advising all levels of management on critical business issues. He’s passionate about human resources and is an important HR thought leader. Jeremy holds a master’s degree in organizational management, serves as SHRM Membership Advisory Council Representative for its North Central Region, and is an adjunct faculty member in the organizational leadership program for Purdue University. Our second guest is Megan Nail. As Vice President, Total Rewards Practice at FirstPerson Advisors, now a subsidiary of NFP, she advises clients on how to meet their organizational goals through total rewards and compensation strategy. With over 12 years experience as a volunteer leader at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Megan has invested in building and strengthening Indiana’s HR community and is currently the state director for HR Indiana SHRM. Megan has her SHRM-SCP and CCP (Certified Compensation Professional). Thank you both for being here today.
Jeremy, why is people strategy so important to an organization’s success?
I think people strategy is the component that a lot of folks forget when we’re looking at how to run our businesses and our organizations. Most leaders will look and say, “Okay, we’ve got our operations strategy, we’ve got our finance strategy, we’ve got our marketing or sales strategy all put together,” and we focus on those components, but we forget about people strategy. And so when I’m counseling leaders and I’m talking with them a little bit about how we align people to get the work done, I say, “Hey, the people are the ones who are doing the work, so if we don’t have a strategy behind our people, we can’t get the operational strategy completed, we can’t get the finance strategy completed or the marketing or sales strategy.” And that’s usually when the light bulb goes off and people are like, “Oh, yeah, okay, right. Right. Right, I get it.” So we need to make sure that we’ve got our people aligned with our practices within the organization so that we can support those initiatives and those goals. Otherwise, we can’t get the work done.
Oh, man, that makes excellent sense.
Jeremy, can I just say “amen”?
It’s one of those things that we…we just forget, right? We’re so engrossed in doing all the things that we need to do to ensure that this is a success that we forget it’s the people who make it all work. The people make the world go round, if you will. And so we have to ensure that we’ve got the right people in the right places with the right policies, the right performance measures, the right pace, all of those things that we’re looking at, to ensure that we’re doing what we can totally do to guarantee success, successful completion of those initiatives.
Speaking of initiatives, Jeremy, I know you’ve done a lot of work with organizations around DEI. Does DEI really have an impact on organization’s bottom line, and if so, how?
Absolutely. So Susan, for those folks that are out there listening and you’re like, “DEI, what’s DEI?”, well, that’s diversity, equity, and inclusion and it’s something we’ve been talking about for years and years, right? And people have thought that diversity…or they…at least they assimilate it to gender and ethnicity, if you will, from that standpoint. And it’s really much more than that, because diversity encompasses all the similarities and the differences of everyone in the workplace, right? So when we know we have diverse people in the workplace, they’re bringing diverse ideas, diverse perspectives, we can be more creative, we can be more innovative. We’ve learned this and we’ve known this from the early stages in life. So you guys, help me complete this old adage, right? Two heads are better than…
One. And there’s a reason for that, because we all have different experiences. So when we have people in our organizations that are diverse, and we’re also being very inclusive of those people, saying, “We want your perspectives, we want your experiences to help shape our cultures and our ideation and the things that we do,” that helps us be better. And what I mean be better is…is that there was a study done by Diversity, Inc. and they – the study showed that organizations who had strong values on DEI or DEI initiatives outperformed, on average, other companies by about 25%. So when we’re talking to the decision makers, we can say we can have 25% more productivity, 25% more profit, 25% more engagement with our people just by ensuring that we have some type of proactive DEI initiative within the organization.
Wow, when you see those numbers, I mean, it’s hard to argue with, right? It just makes sense to do it.
Absolutely. Especially when you can see that you’re going to have that 25%. That’s remarkable when you think about an increase overall. Right?
Absolutely. I’ve heard – and I’m sure you have as well – some leaders who really don’t put people at the forefront of their strategy or the organization’s. Why do you think some leaders view people as dispensable?
I think because in the past, it’s historic, right, that we have had a lot of people out there looking for jobs. They’ve been out there, and we’ve just been taught that way. And the way that we view management, management of people, that they are, you know, we can…we can replace them fairly easily. But we now know, because we live in a world where there’s a talent shortage, a shortage of workers for all types of jobs, a shortage of skilled workers, a shortage of educated workers, a shortage of just workers with basic skills – right? – we have a hard time being able to fill those roles, that it’s made us really have a paradigm shift in the way that we look at employees. Right? And so now we have to understand that at one point in time, in the past, the employer had the upper hand. Well, guess what? Not anymore. The employee has the upper hand, because they can go to any job they want, they can find other jobs, they can do that, because there is such a need out there. And so employers have had to kind of change the way they look at, you know, treating employees, managing employees, compensating employees, all of those pieces. But number one, they’ve had to look at the type of culture and environment that they create, to be able to draw those folks in. And so that has really caused them to say, What should we be doing different? How do we can create an environment where we can get the top people to come here to work and stay?
That’s wonderful. Megan, I’d love to pull you into this conversation. How do you view total rewards as a part of the overall employee experience?
Yeah, I think that’s a great question. And Jeremy really just touched on that. It is a really important part when we’re not only recruiting our employees, but also when we’re engaging them. And I think to have a successful total rewards strategy, you really have to understand what each employee or groups of your employees truly value, because what’s most important to me within a total rewards package may be different than Jeremy and JoDee. So really thinking about how can we put together a package that is equitable and fair, but also reflects what the employees really want, and then communicate it in a way that they understand the value. A lot of things have changed recently on what employees are valuing within their total rewards package. We see a big increase in flexibility, remote work, definitely compensation rates are changing very rapidly. So it’s something that we really need to stay on top of as business leaders and HR professionals and make sure that we’re continually vetting what our package is and how our employees are seeing it.
Yeah, that makes good sense. So I know increased flexibility and people working remotely are some of the things that are really salient right now. Are there any other key trends in compensation that our listeners would be interested in knowing?
Yeah, there are a lot of trends that are going on in compensation right now. I would say one of the areas is, first, base pay is definitely increasing, so we’ve seen rapid increases, especially at the entry level, for compensation. But then with that, really, for all levels throughout the organization, we are seeing a big increase in incentive pay. So bonuses, even for hourly workers, bonuses at all levels, and paying those out really frequently, even on a monthly or quarterly basis, to really reward and drive specific performance. The other piece, I think, why we’re seeing a lot of increase in incentive pay is as a retention tool. So even at the executive levels, looking for deferred compensation that we can use as a way to retain our key executives and just our employees, because we know the job market is so competitive right now. And I would say the last major trend that I’ve seen recently is really a focus on pay equity. So I know Jeremy talked about diversity, equity, and inclusion as an important area, and pay really plays an important part in that, as well. So looking at pay equity and how we’re really examining that to ensure that we have equity and good solid practices going forward so that that can stay in alignment. To be fair and transparent to our employees is a big trend right now.
That’s wonderful. I have to tell you, my husband was at one of the major home improvement stores last night, which honestly, he goes almost every night. It’s one of his favorite things to do. I’m not sure he always buys things, but he goes up and down the aisles looking at everything in the home improvement store. Anyway, he said, “It was the strangest thing. I was standing there and I saw a manager walking with one of the employees down the aisle and he says, ‘Hey, good news. We’re giving bonuses to everybody next week. You’ll see it in your paycheck. $150.’ And the guy says, ‘Well, what did we do?’ He said, ‘No, no, we just want our employees to know we’re valuing them.'” So then my husband takes his little cart up to the front, he says there must have been 50 customers in one line and there was – the cash registers, only one was open. But when he got up there, he said, “My gosh, I’m surprised you don’t open more windows.” He said, “Oh, we can’t hire enough people. And when we hire them, we can’t keep them.” So I think your trend of giving bonuses…pouring money, anything we can do to attract and retain talent is – it’s spot on.
I – Susan, I thought you were gonna say they were all in the corner cheering that they were getting a bonus.
Exactly. They’re celebrating the bonuses. No, I don’t think anybody else – no other employees were there. That’s funny. So Megan, how are employers being innovative in the benefits they’re offering to employees?
Yeah, I think we’ve seen a couple of different trends that have happened in the past year. There’s definitely more of a focus on mental health, which I think is long overdue and something that’s been trending for a while, but this joint experience that we’ve all had with the pandemic has really brought mental health more to the forefront. So we see a lot of employers really looking at what they’re offering and making sure that things like teletherapy, telebehavioral services, really good programs that are accessible to employees no matter where they’re at, are available to them. So that would be my first trend. My second trend is really caregiver support. So whether it’s aging parents that employees are faced with taking care of or children, just really looking at what that overall caregiving support is, whether it’s parental leave, daycare, support, dependent care accounts, lactation support for new moms, really taking a fresh look at how we’re supporting our caregivers while they’re employed and trying to really make flexibility a part of that so that they can continue to be employed and keep their skills in the workforce.
I love those trends. Yeah, I hope they continue.
You know, Megan, I think that was so interesting that you brought up mental health, because that is something that we’ve talked about and been talking about for so long, and I just saw some recent stats that came out about mental health related things that showed… I think it was, like, 46% of all workers are burnt out at work.
And have experienced… I think it was, like, something like 60 something odd percent, where they had experienced some type of mental health issue all last summer, from everything. So I love that you brought that up and talked about the importance of that.
Yeah. And I really – I see mental health, it’s really a continuum. So we… obviously there are many individuals who are struggling with a true mental health disorder. But then even beyond that, we have a continuum of resiliency, and how can we increase the resiliency of our employees, that not only as they’re dealing with things in their personal lives, in the world around us, but also their resiliency to deal with changes in the workplace as we introduce new technologies, new operations, new processes. It’s not only the right thing to do for your people, but it also can help our productivity at work, as well.
Well, and we’re speaking of trends – are there any trends that you’re hearing or seeing, Megan, in employee development and performance management?
Yes, absolutely. We are living in a fast paced world. I think all – probably none of us would look back 18 months ago and could imagine what we’ve experienced. So I think that same trend of, our world is changing so quickly, our organizations are changing quickly. In employee development and performance management, we also have to change quickly with that. So thinking about how many of us used to – or maybe still are – setting annual goals, annual performance evaluations. Those are often outdated by the time you get around to it. You look back and your goals have changed or it’s hard to remember what you did a year ago or what development goals should be for a whole year from now. So I think a big trend in that is taking things in smaller timeframes and really providing more flexible and continuous feedback and really having a more ongoing dialogue instead of standalone conversations or events around development and performance management.
I cannot wait to read more of what both of you talk about in your book. Do you mind taking a moment and maybe sharing – What was the journey like for you to write this book? Was this your first book? What was it like? Was it difficult? What was your experience?
Well, Susan, I will tell you it was certainly interesting. Let’s just put it that way. I’ve written a lot of you know, papers and white papers, you know, blogs and things of that nature, but I’d never written a book before. And so it was certainly interesting, because when you write a book you’re writing about, you know, as we were writing about JoyPowered® organizations from our perspective and our experience and what we’ve known for being experts in the HR field. So being able to take that out of my head and put that on paper, sometimes it was a little bit of a challenge, while other times it was relatively pretty easy, but I always approach it from a people first perspective, and so I just had to keep that in mind as writing it. But it was certainly an enjoyable experience overall.
Oh, I’m so pleased. And how about you, Megan?
Yeah, this was also my first experience. I really enjoyed the opportunity to be able to expand on these topics in more depth than what you can in a blog or social media posts, so I enjoyed the comprehensive nature of it. And, of course, I enjoyed collaborating with Jeremy and JoDee and really bringing our content together. Because at the end of the day, thinking about JoyPowered® organizations, the different pieces of our organization have to work together to truly make a JoyPowered® and a positive culture. So I love that we were able to bring our different perspectives and our voices together to really try to integrate that into a holistic view.
That’s terrific. Well, Jeremy, Megan, and even JoDee, how can our listeners reach out to you if they have additional questions? And where can they get the book?
If our readers have any additional questions, they can certainly reach out to me at Jeremy at invigoratehr.com or you can find me on LinkedIn. You can also find us on Instagram, and also Twitter. And so we try to have a pretty decent social presence. And of course, Facebook, right? Even though I think Facebook says that, you know – and I’m quoting this, and maybe I shouldn’t say this on the podcast, but they say Facebook’s for old people. [laughs]
Well, I use Facebook all the time, so I must be part of that group these days. At least that’s what the kids tell me. From that standpoint. So that’s it.
Terrific. How about you Megan? How can folks reach you?
My email is M Nail – N-A-I-L – at firstpersonadvisors.com. I’m very active on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, so please connect with me there. And would love to hear from you and talk about any of these topics around total rewards, benefits, compensation, and all the different areas in JoyPowered® organization. So I look forward to hopefully hearing from many of you.
And I’ll just mention, if you’re looking for folks and want to have the spelling of their names, we’ll have the contact information in our show notes, but if you’re listening today, and you’re just too anxious to go look at those show notes. It’s Jeremy York – Y-O-R-K – and it’s Megan Nail – N-A-I-L. And then to you, JoDee.
So, you can reach out to me via The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast that you’re listening to. And same as Jeremy and Megan, you can reach me on LinkedIn, and my name is J-O-D-E-E Curtis or at my email J-O-D-E-E at Purple Ink – with a K – L-L-C dot com. And you can find our book – you can reach out to any of the three of us to get a copy of the book or you can find it on getjoypowered.com/shop. It will also be available on Amazon.
Excellent. Thank you all so much. I am really excited about your book and I’m sure our listeners will be as well.
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Susan, we have a listener question today that I thought was very interesting. They said, “How do you handle profanity in the workplace? Especially, how do you address profanity during a staff meeting?”
It can make people very uncomfortable. I know I’ve been in many meetings where profanity surfaced. I think that if you’re the meeting leader, I’m hoping you’re not the one using the profanity, although I’ve been in meetings where that has occurred, as well. So I’m going to go on the assumption that you’re the meeting leader, and somebody else in the meeting brings it up. I do think it’s important that you make some kind of a comment, like, “Okay, let’s – we want to make sure we keep our language profanity free.” I think it’s important, especially if your core values, or your mission, vision, values, anything talks about a respectful workplace, because when you start to use profanity, I think you start to get people uncomfortable and kind of erode that culture of respect for one another. So I think you do need to say something, and if the person persists, might be a good time to call an audible, have a break, get a chance to talk that individual. Maybe they’re having a bad day, something’s happened, but they don’t…maybe being in that meeting is not the right place for them to be when they’re emotionally not in the right place. So if it is that it’s the person who’s leading the meeting uses it and it bothers you, I think it’s important that you talk to them privately afterwards and share why…why it makes you uncomfortable. JoDee, what do you think?
You know, this question actually has made me rethink – I many times will suggest… I actually teach a class on effective meeting skills, and I talk a lot about setting ground rules at the beginning of the meeting. Never until I heard this question have I actually thought about making that a part of the groundwork. And of course, it’s much easier to deal with, as are all ground rules, if you establish them upfront. Then you don’t have to wait until someone says it and call them out on it. Not that you shouldn’t. I – as a matter of fact, I love your term “call an audible” on them. But if you establish that in the ground rules upfront, so much more comfortable for everyone.
Yes, I recently was teaching a class and I was sharing the fact that I really, if I’m facilitating a formal meeting, I always have ground rules. And in the class, they said, “Hey, please share those with us.” And I did and they were like, “Yeah, we just like having a baseline.” I always go into the meeting with my ground rules, and then I say, “I invite you to take a look at this list. Is this something we could all sign up for? Are there any of them you want to take off? Are there any you want to add? Because we as a group need to agree to these ground rules before we get started.” Usually, very few times has anybody ever added to, but I have had a couple times, and very rarely does anyone ever ask we take something off. But I love that. Thank you for that suggestion. All right, so it’s time for in the news. During the first 12 months of the pandemic, many employees did not take time off. I’m hearing that a lot from my clients, that they’re… “How are we going to get our employees to use up vacation time, because it’s use it or lose it here? What are we going to do?” They cited reasons like travel bans, increased pressures to work, or possible exposure to the virus. So employees saw a surge in rollover requests and an overall lack of time off. So now that we’re halfway through 2021, have you taken time off, or have you made plans to do so? While it’s important to give your team members time off, it’s helpful to go one step further and encourage them to use it. JoDee, why don’t you tell us about an article?
Yeah, there was an article that came out in December 2020 from Be Applied, and they listed seven reasons to encourage employees to take time off. One, I think is pretty obvious to most of us, is that it improves both our physical and mental health. We need to have that separation time away from work.
The second reason, increased retention. Employees are going to stay at a company where they are valued and encouraged to get that needed rest.
Number three is increased productivity. Sometimes that one’s hard to…to think, How, if I take time off, will that increase my productivity? But it’s like Stephen Covey’s step of sharpening the saw, right? Sometimes when we take time to sharpen the saw, we can cut the wood faster so we can be more productive if we’re more energetic when we’re there.
Every time I’d walk in on my kids after school, and I’d say “Why are you not doing homework?”, they would say, “I’m sharpening the saw, Mom, I’m sharpening the saw.”
A lot of sharpening going on here. I didn’t see a lot of wood cutting, but we saw sharpening. Number four, boosted teamwork. Giving people time off work can really help the esprit de corps.
Number five, better work life balance. Right? Whether you take an afternoon off, or you take a week off at a time, we need to have that separation from work.
And number six, a happier workplace. A more JoyPowered® workplace.
Yeah. And number seven is saving money. Now, that one might seem like a disconnect, too. But think if your company has a policy for paying people out for unused PTO – then everybody loses, right? Because you don’t get these other benefits and you’re paying out cash, especially if you pay them for time off they did not take. Additionally, by not utilizing their days off, they risk all of the things that we just said. Right? They risk a loss of mental health, risk retention, productivity, teamwork, and all of that along with it. So essentially, you’re actually saving money by spending less on hiring and training new employees. So encourage people to take that time off.
It makes sense. Well, it’s time for us to take off. We’re at the end of another episode.
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