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Send your resume out there, see who likes it. Start talking to people, see what they think. Just make sure not to take a job if you don’t feel really excited about it.
As you remain more conscious of your beliefs and the attitudes that control what you do, you’re really more in control of your own life and you can set your own direction.
Well, I think there needs to be a culture of… a true culture about internal mobility. There needs to be an openness to that.
Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we help HR and business leaders embrace joy in the workplace. I’m Susan White, owner of Susan Tinder White Consulting, an HR consulting practice. Joining me is my dear friend and co-host JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink and Powered by Purple Ink, a professional network that I’m a part of.
Today, we’re going to talk about finding the right job for you. First, from the individual’s perspective, we’ll get some expert advice on things we might want to consider when we’re trying to figure out what next job will make us JoyPowered®. Then we’re going to spend some time with an experienced career coach who works inside companies helping employees identify career paths in their existing organization that enables them to keep growing, learning, and hopefully help them be fulfilled. For our listeners, we hope you walk away with some tidbits that might help you personally, and if you’re an HR professional or business leader, give you some food for thought about why you might want to support your employees even more by offering internal career coaching.
An October 17, 2022 article by Lori Amato on unmudl.com reported that the average American employee changes jobs 12 times in their life and suggests that most will actually change careers between three to seven times. Lori cited a Harris survey that found 52% of American workers are considering changing jobs within the next year. Wow, JoDee. Half the people working for you might be thinking about working somewhere else.
The average tenure at one job for Americans as of January 2022, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 4.3 years. Now, it’s a little bit longer for men and a little bit shorter for women. The reasons most often cited for changing jobs are for better earning prospects and/or better work-life balances. So let’s talk to some people who can help us think about when a job change is desired. How can we optimize that move so that we’re getting into that right job for ourselves? Our first guest is Peggy Hogan, who wins the award for being our most frequently invited back guest based on the positive feedback we receive from our listeners whenever Peggy joins us. Peggy is the Vice President of Talent Services for Purple Ink. She has over 20 years of recruiting, coaching, and HR experience. She is a SHRM-SCP, was named HR Indiana SHRM Professional in 2020, and she is co-author of “The JoyPowered® Team,” and is one of the best ideators I have ever met.
Yes, I’ll second that one. Peggy, when you work with individuals who are looking for their next role, how often do people struggle with figuring out what that next step should be?
Well, I don’t have real numbers on this, but I would guess about 60% of the time. Sometimes people have specific training for career, like an accountant, a nurse, a lawyer, a teacher, and they may know that they want to stay in that field for which they’ve already trained. That said, they still might be curious about working in a different industry or company size, or maybe they’re seeking a culture change. For example, an accountant might decide they no longer want to be in public accounting, and they may seek a CFO role.
Where do you suggest people start when they’re trying to figure out what that next right job is for them?
Well, they might start exploring their strengths or even consider doing a career interest assessment. We offer one called the Strong Interest Inventory® that’s quite popular, and it can be used for anyone from entry-level to mid-career, and even someone who maybe wants to know how they want to approach their retirement. Also, I would kind of ask the people who know you for their perspective. What do they think are your strengths? And then make a list of what you love doing. When you’re given tasks, what do you do first and what do you procrastinate on? What fills your bucket and what drains you? So, what are your values, strengths, and priorities?
And so Peggy, you said maybe 60% of the people you talk to don’t know what kind of role they’re looking for. Is it okay for them to go ahead and launch a job search without knowing exactly what that is, and how do you suggest that those individuals approach the resume, the networking, or anything else that might help them find a new role?
I would say yes. I mean, this is really the time to explore. Send your resume out there, see who likes it. Start talking to people, see what they think. Just make sure not to take a job if you don’t feel really excited about it. This is like buying a house. You need to check out the city, the neighborhoods, see several houses to really gauge the market and see what fits your needs. Think like Goldilocks. See what’s out there and what really fits you. You need to know that you’re going to use your strengths on a daily basis, or you’re not really going to be happy. And then in terms of kind of their approach with the resume, I would say, again, you’re going into it as someone who’s exploring, so you should be networking, maybe with previous coworkers, friends, people who know you. But remember, with the resume, it’s very expensive real estate, so keep it focused on what you want to showcase. Don’t make it just about what you’ve already done. And remember – and this is very critical – change it slightly for each job to really speak to that job. This doesn’t have to be a lot of work, and a good career coach can kind of help you navigate that. But be open, see where the paths take you. You don’t have to have all the answers, but kind of be willing and open to letting the process take you where it takes you.
So what are some of the mistakes that you see people make when they’re trying to change jobs?
Number one mistake, in my opinion, is just taking too long thinking about a job change. Nitpicking your resume and LinkedIn profile and kind of feeling like you’re never ready to get out there. Analysis paralysis, basically. You have to network, you have to speak it out loud to others, and you have to apply for jobs for them to happen. Second mistake, I would say, is maybe being too exclusive with who you’re willing to talk to. It’s really important to do research on the company and the culture, but you don’t have to totally decide to work for a company before even having a conversation. So for example, there’s a lot of ads out there and postings that don’t actually share who the company is. I would encourage people to have that interview. There are some really great companies who don’t necessarily always say who they are when they’ve got a role.
My fear, it’s going to be the company that I’m working for and they didn’t know I was looking. That was always… The odds of that are very, very small.
The odds are very, very small. Yes, I agree.
I’d take that risk, probably.
And Peggy, what resources do you point people to when they’re searching for a new role?
Well, a career coach is a great place to start, but make sure you understand the type of coaching they do. Do you know someone who’s actually worked with them before? And do they use assessments? Because that could be very helpful in helping you to focus on the type of direction you want to take. I like to make the distinction between career coaching and being a career consultant. A coach is really going to help you work through the process, kind of get you to dig deep, and ask a lot of questions. A career consultant tells you how to get a job. They’re both important. So it really depends on what your needs are. But make sure to get someone who does know leading practices and what recruiters are looking for, or maybe someone who’s been a recruiter or still does recruiting so they know how things work today.
I would say most people probably don’t use a career coach. Is there any type of resources where just you or I could just go out there and figure out how do we look for a job?
There are tons of resources out there. You know, I hate to say Google it, but you will find a lot of great articles, thought leaders on this on LinkedIn. I know the JoyPowered® podcast has some great podcasts that I actually share with my clients on, you know, how to start a job search. There’s a great one, Susan, that you did that I always share with people on salary negotiation. So, really, lots of online resources. There’s books out there, you know, that you can do if you want to delve into your own kind of personality and strengths, too.
Great, thank you. Peggy. You know, we like to ask our guests a JoyPowered® question. So can you share a job change that you assisted someone with that brought a lot of joy to the individual who found that right job?
Yeah, I mean, I think there are so many who really gained confidence in the career coaching process. The ones that stand out to me are the ones when someone was making a pretty hard shift in their career. I had a kindergarten teacher who was wanting to switch into a new area and… and leave teaching, and she was able to really focus on her ability to kind of provide top-notch service and individualized attention and was able to shift that into a career that she really loves with a major healthcare system where she can use some of those same skills as transferable skills. So I know that that job was just exciting for her, and she didn’t necessarily see it as a possibility when we initially started working together.
Well, I can only imagine how patient she must be, having worked with kindergarteners. I’d like her to be… you know, take care of me as a patient. Very cool. Well, Peggy, thank you so much for being here today. How can our listeners reach you if they want to talk more about career coaching?
They are welcome to email me at Peggy at purpleinkllc.com.
Great, thank you. We’ll have that in our show notes. So thank you.
Awesome. Thanks for having me.
Thank you, Peggy.
Our second guest is Kurt Schoch, president of Performance Improvement Consulting. Kurt is a leadership coach and organizational development consultant focused on helping leaders and organizations create the capacity for learning and growth. His professional life has been focused on learning, growth, and development for individuals and organizations, as well as helping students grow, learn, and achieve their potential. Welcome, Kurt. So glad that you’re here.
Glad to be here.
Our first question is, why might people want to use assessments when they don’t know what they want to be when they’re… when they grow up?
Yeah, good question. And I think the answer to that is partly in your question, helping people understand what they might want to be when they grow up. I’d like to start maybe by kind of talking a little bit about why… why coaches in particular – because that’s my background – why coaches might want to use… use assessments, and maybe talk a little bit about why they don’t, why they should not, or what instances they should not use assessments. And I would say particularly not just because it’s a fun thing to do, or because it takes up some time in a in a coaching or a counseling session, or because a coach has a particular favorite assessment that they’ve been trained in and that they like, and that seems to work well. But I think the real magic of using an assessment, in any environment, particularly but as a coach or as a counselor or as a… as a facilitator or consultant, I would say the phrase that I like to use is that it’s all about evoking awareness. Evoking awareness in the client and the individual or about other people, and evoking that awareness of how that individual works, how the world works, how the world around us works and functions. And I would like to contrast evoking awareness with creating awareness. And that’s an interesting distinction, but one that the International Coaching Federation has made in its core competencies, where we used to talk about creating awareness, but what creating awareness does, what that word “create” often implies that the coach is going to be the one who is actually creating that awareness and making that awareness come to pass. And in the coaching world, we like to think about the role of the client in becoming more aware of who they are, what their gifts and talents are, how that… how they contribute to the world, to life, to their work, to their profession, and so on. And so the assessment process, as facilitated by a coach, can actually help evoke that awareness, and that is, bring that awareness out of the client so that individual sees for themselves, as you say, what… what they might like to be or what role they might like to have or how they might like to contribute in a role, a profession, industry, whatever that is. So the main function of… of the assessment process is to evoke that awareness and maybe get at that from… from a more indirect way, if you will, rather than simply asking, you know, the client, “Well, what do you think your strengths are? Where do you think you best contribute?” Assessments tend to be structured so that they ask questions of the client and the individual, and then as a result of that question process and that back and forth, the client gets a better understanding, again, of who they are and how they contribute and so on.
Nice. And Kurt, what are a couple of assessments that you think are most useful for people looking to find the right job?
There are a couple that… that I’ve used as I’ve talked to folks about transition, they’re not happy with where they are, they want to make a change of some kind and… and, again, you know, kind of where you want to be or what you want to do when you grow up. One that I think is not relatively well-known but has a lot of power to it is called the Core Values Index, or CVI, and that’s a… an assessment that was created many years ago by a guy named Lynn Taylor, and his company is based in Seattle, Washington, called Taylor Protocols. And basically what the core values index does is help people understand by various names what their core value nature is or what their contribution styles might be. And what it intends to find is what we might call that deepest unchanging nature of an individual. And again, it sort of it puts them in… in one of or two, maybe four particular areas that again, tell us a little bit about, you know, how they contribute, how they’re made up, what their deep, inner core strategies and value systems are. Quite briefly, they are… They are Builder – what we call Builder – Merchant, Banker, and Innovator. And Lynn Taylor got those names from way back in history, as society was evolving, and people were learning how to work together as… as groups and in teams and communities and so on. And what happens when one completes the… the Core Values Index is that they find out that they are primarily two of those four areas, although we’re all made up of all four in some in some measure. But again, what it does is help us understand how we like to contribute, what our kind of core nature is in an organization or a team, or life in general. It can apply to what we do as… on the job, in our community, in our church, and even in our family.
Oh, that’s great. Yeah.
And the other one that… that I like to use, and it’s a little bit more recent, it’s coming more into the forefront, is Patrick Lencioni, his latest framework and assessment and book called The Six Types of Working Genius. And it’s designed primarily, initially, I think, as a team productivity and then personality assessment tool. In fact, he labels it as 80% productivity and about 20% personality or team. But a lot of people are thinking about it more in the area of… of hiring, maybe not so much from the employer standpoint, but from the standpoint of the individual who’s looking for a job, because what it does is help people understand, across these six types of working genius or gifts… What are your two key working geniuses? What are your two key working competencies? And then what are a couple of working frustrations? And again, it helps people understand, oh, gee, that’s how… how I want to contribute from a gift or talent standpoint. And if I’m not able to do that, then that’s where some of the… some of the frustration and the burnout and the stress can occur.
You know, I’m a big fan of the Working Genius and Patrick Lencioni, as well. And so I know for sure that assessment, it doesn’t… it’s not going to tell you the career, the industry you should be in, but how it can help you ensure that you can use your gifts and talents in a particular role.
I would absolutely agree with that. And I think that’s a… that’s an important point to make is that the Core Values Index and the Six Types of Working Genius, you know, when you find out your contribution style and your core values from Core Values Index, or you find out what your… say your top two Working Geniuses are, it’s not going to say, “Okay, well, you need to go into the legal profession, or you need to be a plumber, or you need to be a teacher or a nurse or construction worker.” It really doesn’t work that way. Because in fact, with either of those, but particularly with the Working Genius, what it will tell you is how might you best contribute in your role in the particular job or profession or industry that you’re in, right? So, you know, for example, if you’re in a job that doesn’t allow you to operate within your areas of working genius, or even your competencies, we’d suggest that you might talk to the people that you work with, your employer, your supervisor, your leader, and see how you might be able to adjust what you do, or the organization can potentially adjust how they use you in that role so that you experience that… kind of that joy and energy and satisfaction that comes from using your two areas of working genius. You know, another thought and a way to approach that, particularly, of course, as a person understands their two types of working genius and… and what that really means for them, I think an individual looking for a new position then can use that knowledge to ask… ask the right questions, right? Ask the right questions in an interview to say, well, you know, my Working Genius, for example, might be… might be Wonder and Discernment, meaning I… I thrive on finding new ways to do things and asking questions like, you know, “What if?” and “How about?” and to solve a problem, and Discernment, meaning I bring to… bring to bear my instinctive judgment about… Will an idea work? Or what are some of the issues and challenges? So an individual being interviewed can… can think about and ask, “Will I be able to do those kinds of things in this position and in this job, in order that I might be more successful?” So.
That is wonderful. You know, we ask all of our guests a JoyPowered® question. And you may have just answered it. But let me ask you, what’s one small step people can do as they’re trying to figure out the right job for themselves to create more joy at work?
One small step, I think, is to understand both from, again, the assessment perspectives of both Core Values Index and Working Genius to understand who they are. I understand that, you know, sometimes what we might say with… particularly with the Core Values Index, but I think it applies to all assessments. CVI is kind of built on the premise that what I don’t know about myself controls my life, right? If I… if I’m not self-aware, if I’m not really immersed in deepened knowledge of… of my own self and how I operate, my tendencies, my contribution styles, and my gifts and talents, you know, I can really can’t understand what motivates me and what kind of work causes me to be fully engaged and how I can make my highest and best contribution. So people often ask, you know, well, what’s one of the key characteristics and key most important traits of a leader, for example, and I always say self-awareness and knowledge of who you are. And I think the same thing applies to… to a job seeker. The more you know about yourself, who you are, how you contribute, what your gifts and talents might be, I think you… you go a long way towards building your own leadership skills, if nothing else, and then as you remain more conscious of your beliefs and the attitudes that control what you do, you’re really more in control of your own life, and you can set your own direction in that career and professional search.
Well, thank you. Thank you so much, Kurt. How can our listeners reach you if they wanted to talk more about assessments?
Yeah, so I’ll give you my… my phone number. My direct phone number is 317-697-3984. Again, that’s 317-697-3984, and my email address, I’ll spell it out. It’s a little complicated, I guess all the simple ones were taken when I when I got this, but it’s simply Kurt – K-U-R-T – at, and then K-W-S-C-H-O-C-H consulting dot com. So it’s Kurt at KW Schoch Consulting dot com.
Terrific. Well, thank you so much. Thanks for joining us.
Yes. Thank you.
You’re very welcome. Thank you.
Our third guest is an individual who works inside organizations managing career programs and serves as a dedicated career coaching resource. She’s Deb Kuhn, who is Manager, Career Development and Programs at TransUnion. Deb has managed a broad array of HR and development programs and initiatives at very large companies, including JP Morgan Chase, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Time, Inc. Deb, I’m so happy you’re here. Deb and I worked together at Bank One and then JP Morgan Chase, and whenever she comes through Indianapolis, I beg her to meet me to have dinner or coffee or whatever. She, when I lost my job at the bank, when they were moving it, I reached out to Deb. Deb said, “I’m going to do your resume for you.” She said “You’re going through so much.” You probably don’t even remember this. You said, “You’re going through so much, it’s really hard to concentrate,” and you did my resume. Oh my god. It was just a beautiful gift, and you’ve just been a good friend. And then she went to move to TransUnion, and I ended up doing some consulting work with TransUnion, a variety of projects. And whenever I could get my hold… ahold of Deb, I would and she just is… I don’t know, you’re my hero when it comes to coaching people, career coaching. So thank you for doing this.
Deb, can you briefly share with our listeners the experience that you have had working inside companies, helping employees figure out their next career move, or even what they want to be when they grow up?
Yeah, I’ve had this really unique opportunity working for very large companies in that capacity. It really started at Time, Incorporated when… back in the 80s when they were in Chicago, where I’m located, and they were looking to move to different states, and so a Career Center was in place for all the employees that were not going, and I learned sort of the process from the outplacement side of things. But the process of that, my background is in social work, so it actually kind of connected for me and… and realized a possibility that I had never thought of, and I thought it was only going to be a little stint, but then I was at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and it was a piece of my job, and then it was full-time in JPMorgan Chase for 21 years. And so it was… in the US, I was the National Manager, and we had coaches and I had set us up by regions, and Susan and I worked quite a bit together and… and then I had this great opportunity at TransUnion. They… it… this kind of birthed itself almost seven years ago. So it’s one of those unique purple squirrel kind of things. Because I… you know, it’s not that… you don’t hear about it very often, but it has followed me and it really has been my life’s work.
And Deb, why do you think the leadership teams that you’ve worked with actually valued internal career coaching?
You know, I think big picture, from an organizational standpoint, it is a differentiator and companies… I mean, TransUnion uses it to recruit talent. So that’s a biggie. And I think leaders, too, are very focused on the objectives and the bottom line, where to get things done, and they don’t really think about from a career standpoint. So you know, you’ve got… you’ve got employees that want to move in an organization and managers, leaders that want to just focus on getting things done, and they collide sometimes. So I think that naturally… coaching does not come naturally, because as you know, as you know, it’s a very different way. It’s not as directive, it’s more asking questions. And I… that… I think that just is a misnomer sometimes. So that’s… that is another thing, I think, that happens with leaders. They… they want the help and support of some… of someone with that career practice expertise.
I love it.
The other thing I would say that I think from a bottom-line standpoint, that with TransUnion, when I came into play, the role was created for me in particular, they were going to go in a different direction originally. And our engagement scores went up nine points after…
…the nine months that I came. So I… there’s something that it… even from an onboarding standpoint. I mean, I literally am the National Career Coach for 14,000 employees, and they tell us in the new hire… especially in the US, but everyone’s told about me from day one, so people reach out to me. So I have the unique opportunity to work all over the globe, at all levels, and it’s like the box of chocolates. So the work that I do is one person could be the non-exempt, and the next person could be the top of the… the Vice… Senior Vice President. So it keeps me on my toes, and I don’t ever know what I’m getting, and I love it.
And Deb, do you… What are some pitfalls that business leaders and HR professionals should avoid if they are considering having or creating an internal career coaching function?
Well, I think there needs to be a culture of… a true culture about internal mobility. There needs to be an openness to that. So the words that we want to do this and your actions need to match. So I think not only messaging that career is important, but really having a culture around mobility in general. I mean, so for example, TransUnion is the highest internal mobility at that I’ve been accustomed to at 29%. So 29% of our roles globally go to an internal person, which is… is a very high number and very healthy number. And it’s really messaging that so that openness… because I think if your culture doesn’t start with an openness, or if… or if employees feel that there’s hoarding of talent or there’s not an openness… and I think one of the things about TransUnion is that because we work in a matrixed environment, you’re working with a lot of different people crossing different businesses, so they’re getting to see your skills. So if you have a culture that will be looking at those transferable skills, your “genius skills,” we call them, that’s where mobility goes up. So if you are more siloed… so I think in terms of a… an organization that’s more siloed, it’s not going to lend itself to really having this career. And then… then you do become, you know, a career coach, which is wonderful. But if you… they also want to connect the dots for how it applies in different organizations. And… and I think one of the things that has happened at TransUnion that’s very unique is because of that openness, managers say, “I really want an internal.” We have had people that worked in the help desk that moved into sales, we’ve had an attorney… to run a business. Very, very unique job changes internally that I have not seen at other organizations. And I think that’s a culture that’s looking at, well, you understand the process, you understand the products, you understand the customer, you’ve got the transferable skills. We can teach this other piece of it.
I love that. So Deb, most of our listeners probably would not say they have a culture similar to TransUnion, about… really focused on career mobility. So are there any practical tips that you could give some of our HR professionals or business leaders who are listening, and how can they support internal career progression more than maybe they are today?
Well, I think one thing is, if you… I think there’s two big things that employees are looking for. They want insights into roles and want to find better ways to connect with one another. So if as an organization, you can start providing more insights into roles, what are those roles, I mean, I think there’s… you could create a role library so a person could learn about things, and then you could start connecting the dots to your transferable skills, some of your subject matter expertise that might apply to that, you know, I think some platforms, you… there’s a lot of different platforms out there can that can help you think about that. Even Workday platform has a talent platform where you can create a little role library, and they can talk about somebody with your experience could consider these types of roles. I think if you set up some types of those things, I think that helps people because it’s not a one size fits all with career, and it’s not just a ladder approach. And we get to get people thinking about that you might want to specialize, but you might want to go across, which is the way our… a lot of our leaders go. And thinking about that, I think, is… is a great way to start having a culture that mobility can happen if they have insights into things, and then they can talk to their manager. “Hey, I’m thinking about this,” or “This is the experiences I’d like to have, you know, how could I get here?”
That’s great. What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced in helping employees determine the right next job for them?
You know, one of the things that I find is, is career is very emotional. So again, just being very reactive in career. You know, we wake up and, I mean, I use this analogy of a gas gauge. And so I have people think about, alright, think about your fuel or energy for the actual job you’re doing. Where would you put your fuel or energy? And where they plot that, then what… What would it take to put more fuel in your tank? What do you need? And when I think about how people want to operate, they’re more reactive. They don’t proactively manage this, they don’t do the inventory. They don’t do the reflection about… Who am I? What am I good at? What are… be some possibilities for me? So they don’t… they don’t do anything proactive. So they react when they emotionally are faced with something. So I think one of the challenges here is that, you know, you’ll get people on the E on the gas gauge saying, you know, “I want to do something different,” and they can’t even see through what they really like. So trying to catch them before that happens, I think that’s a challenge. I think, too, I think career coaches would say that, you know, there’s always the… the push that you’re… you’ve got a… the crystal ball. And… and I used to… I used to have actually a crystal ball at… at… at JPMorgan actually. People would say, “Deb, what should I do next?” And I’d pick up the crystal ball and I’d say, “Okay, let’s see here… You know, I think I just, I’m gonna have to ask some questions.” Because, you know, fast food. We’re in a fast food environment now, right? They… it’s like, okay, Deb, what should I do? Like, I don’t… I’m unhappy. I want this now. So I think there’s some impatience. And I think even from… I think this is a… even a generation thing. You know, the other thing that I think is a challenge is that there’s lots to learn. And… and I think sometimes we can say “I have it all figured out, Deb, now I’m ready to move to the next step.” And I think, I don’t know that that’s true. So I think those are… those are some of the challenges about when you’re working with people. And even the reality check. Sometimes people don’t want that feedback, they don’t really want you telling them, like, this is why this isn’t probably working for you. So, you know, that’s all a readiness. I mean, you can lead them to water, but you can’t make them drink. You know, I think that’s true in coaching.
So, so very true. What have you learned that you wish you had known when you started in this field?
One thing that I think is rather comforting is, you know, the coaching process really hasn’t changed radically. You know, even when you think about resume… I mean, technology has catapulted us, I never would have dreamed. I think it’s better. I mean, I think the whole idea of networking in the past and the cold call, and I remember people feeling like, “I feel like a used car salesman picking up the phone.” Whereas now I think it’s much more of culture that if you like somebody’s… you know, send them a LinkedIn, you can private message them, there’s… it’s much more relational, it feels more natural. So I… I, then that’s one thing. I actually got into the field before it was much of a thing in… in terms of organizations. So that’s something that I think, too, but you know, I think the pace and the technology I would have, you know… I mean, I would have never imagined, you know, when we were mailing resumes, and you know, that… that kind of thing. It’s like, what was that?
Waiting for someone to call you, cause you didn’t have voicemail. Sitting by the phone hoping that the employer would call. Crazy.
Technology, too. I mean, you know, it’s much more global to connect with one another. The way this… you know, the… our platforms are with technology. And I think that’s something that I, you know… I… I would have never known.
So, Deb, before we let you go, if any of our listeners are chief people officers or business leaders who are considering building a career coaching function inside the organization, could they reach out to you for advice or tips?
Absolutely, I would welcome that.
And how could they find you?
So that would be deborah dot kuhn at transunion dot com.
Terrific. And we’ll put that in the show notes.
And, Deb, what brings you joy when you are helping employees find the right role for them?
Well, it’s that light bulb moment. You know, when they’re… we’ve talked about that readiness. You know, sometimes you’re thinking, “I’m gonna have to… this poor person is going to skin their knees for a while because they’re not listening.” But joy is when you see this eye opening, and “I never thought about that,” and “This is a really good point. I see I have… there’s another way I should think about this.” That is the most joyful, and I think as a coach, and you all, I’m sure, experience this, I mean, it’s just such high appreciation. So I mean, I feel appreciated in what I do every single day, and I don’t take that for granted. Because I know that, you know, so many people will say it’s a thankless job, I don’t get appreciation. We get high appreciation in this and just making a difference. You know, you’re just… you’re touching people. Susan, even, you know, you touched me by just even saying so long ago about that. I didn’t even think that I was, you know, it was much of a service, you know, but in that, you know, I just feel like it’s… it’s rippled out and that… that brings me joy.
Wow. I can’t say it enough today of how thankful I am to you for having worked with you, and then also for joining our podcast today. Really appreciate it.
Yes. Thank you.
Thank you, Deb.
Susan, we have a listener question today, and this question came in response to our episode titled “Avoiding Workplace Investigation Pitfalls,” that was launched in August of 2022. “Along the lines of investigations, one of the challenges I’m facing is understanding how best to make sure those being investigated understand the importance of being truthful when interviewed. My organization has had to increase disciplinary consequences multiple times based less on what the employee did wrong to begin with, but because they initially lied about it, then doubled down.”
What a web we weave when first we practice to deceive. You know, I will tell you that when I do an investigation, you know, as I’m asking questions of the witnesses or the accused, I always insert – in fact, I keep it on my kind of cheat sheet of what I’m going to be asking people. I’m going to ask you to be truthful today and not omit any information because it could be critical to the outcome of this investigation or to the situation I’m looking into, whatever words I use, but I want them to understand I’m asking for honesty, because studies have shown that when you directly ask someone before you ask questions to be honest, they’re more likely to. If you wait until the end, you’ve asked all your questions, and then you say, “Now, have you been honest with me?” At that point, you know, the toothpaste is out of the tube, they… they’re gonna have a hard time opening up, so far better to ask it at the beginning. So what I would do is make sure I’m asking that at the beginning of every interview… investigative interview. And then secondly, if your legal counsel concurs, you may want to add some language about in your protocol at the beginning of interviews, please understand that if you tell me something that’s not true, it could result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination. I want your legal counsel to feel very comfortable with that, putting them on notice during the interview that lying will be dealt with. I… the reason I don’t normally do that is because I’m trying so hard in the interview not to be too militaristic or too heavy. I’m trying to open up the individual, I’m trying to make sure that I’m building trust and rapport. I am going to ask for honesty, but I’m not talking usually about consequences at the time. Now, what I would encourage you to do, because I think there should be consequences if someone tells you false information, I think you should have a policy already – or make sure if you don’t have one, institute one – about investigations that individuals are… you’re asking them not to impede investigations, you’re going to ask for honesty in that investigation, and explain that it’s critical to success. I would include it in any type of employee training or supervisory training. When I talk about, you know, we run investigations here, we expect people to… to be honest. If someone impedes an investigation, it could be there could be consequences. But I would try to keep it at that kind of higher level. I would make sure that in my organization, one of our core values that we talk about is ethics, is integrity. I think that will help you should you need to enact a type of disciplinary action for someone who doesn’t live up to your values. If you’re… if you say that ethics and integrity is one of your critical cornerstones, it makes it much easier, I think, to explain to the individual that when they have crossed that line that we can’t have you working here.
Susan, we were very recently working with a client where one of the leaders was… someone had filed a complaint against one of their leaders for harassment, and they were later doing the investigation and brought him in and asked questions around this, and he denied, denied, denied, denied that he did anything wrong, and then he walked out the door within minutes, and told the HR manager, of all people, that he had just lied about everything.
Oh my gosh.
I’m like, oh my gosh, how silly. Right?
That’s so wrong doing. He did commit it. He did lie about it. And then why would you choose the HR person? Because of course, she went back in the room and told them all, right?
I wonder if he just didn’t want to fess up to all of you or he wanted to fess up, or did he really think that she was going to keep that silent? I don’t know. Interesting. Honesty is really, really important. And I think that as investigators, we have to make people… put… put people on notice that we expect. And if we can actually prove that someone has lied to us, I think that I’d work with counsel and then I would look at what action I could take.
Yeah, well, he was definitely terminated.
I imagine. Because he did it. Yeah, that one… yeah, that’s easy. Not only did you lie, but you did it. Wow. Wow.
So it’s time for in the news. In a Wall Street Journal article by Tara Weiss dated February 20, 2023 entitled “Five New Benefits and Perks Employers Will Tailor to Your Needs,” I found a number of things very interesting. JoDee, we recently had an episode on innovative benefit offerings that we actually launched December 5 of 2022. If anyone on this podcast has not a chance to listen to that one, I certainly would. But I thought it would be good to share Tara’s top five innovative benefits that she’s seeing really growing in popularity. The first one was work abroad stents and sabbaticals. I think employees do want the opportunity, especially ones who love travel, if there’s an opportunity for a global assignment. I know I went on one and I absolutely loved it, was based in London one summer. It was just… I felt like I was a kid in college and had gone away to study abroad for a semester, but I was getting paid. It was so wonderful. And certainly we’ve done a podcast on sabbaticals. There are a lot of people, after so many years of work, who need that and want that and that might attract them to your organization to have to know there’s a professional renewal period down the road. What’s the second one, JoDee?
You know, we talk a lot… or we hear a lot of organizations supporting or offering daycare for children, but Tara talks about providing daycare for employees’ parents, where they may drop drop off their parents or parent at an employer-subsidized adult care center while you work.
Yeah, that’s wonderful. Number three, hyper-personalized benefits, similar to the old concept of cafeteria-style plans back in the 1980s, where employees could pick and choose which benefits they want. But that’s coming back, where employees are getting more opportunity to pick the benefits that really work for them. They may not need at this point in their life education reimbursed, but but they would really love maybe daycare for parent opportunities that are subsidized. So doing that and really meeting individual needs, is her number three.
And number four is an on-site counselor. You know, many organizations have an employee assistance program where you can call someone for assistance of any kind, but boy, I really like the idea of having someone on site and available.
I love it, not only for the employee, but for the HR person, because…
…they’re dealing with a lot of these issues. To be able to have somebody, a thought partner or a sounding board, someone to hear us. Yeah, so I love number four.
And then number five and final one that Tara raised was a post-parental leave to help returning parents ease back into work. And her point was, you know, you don’t want to go from night and day from being home and being up all night with baby, and then coming back into the workplace and just jumping right back in with full-time and all the stressors that are there. Instead, she writes about, can we let the returning parent come in with maybe part-time at first, maybe three days a week, and then build up to the five days a week, but some type of a post-parental leave that’s really not mandatory… mandated by law, but really tailored to the needs of that returning employee.
Yeah, I love it. My favorite is that on-site counselor, you know, with the recognition of how important mental health is in the workplace, how great it is for employees to have it at the ready. And, as you mentioned, for the HR team to have that as well.
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