Show Notes: Episode 62 – What Leaders and Improvisational Comedians Have in Common
August 26, 2019
Joy in the Random Acts
September 5, 2019

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JoDee 0:11
Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we talk about embracing humanity in the workspace. I’m JoDee Curtis, and with me is my co-host Susan White, a national HR consultant. I’m the owner of Purple Ink, an HR consulting firm, and author of “JoyPowered®” and “The JoyPowered® Family.” Susan and I recently released our newest book, “The JoyPowered® Team,” with five other authors.

In today’s episode, we are talking about what leaders and improvisational comedians have in common. Who knew, right?

Susan 0:47
Right! Sounds like a joke, but I don’t think it is.

JoDee 0:49
I’m, like, so excited about this episode today, because I think it’s gonna be a lot of learning for all of us, but I did do a little research on this, and in an article in Inc. Magazine in March 2018, titled “The Unlikely Skill That Can Make Anyone a Better Leader,” Leigh Buchanan shares that Dan Klein, a Stanford professor who divides his time between the university’s business school and drama department – which is fascinating to me in and of itself – he teaches leaders to infuse creativity and trust in their companies by wielding the tools of improv comedy. He’s shown that techniques that troupes like Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade use to get laughs can also help workforces build on ideas, reimagine failure, and deepen bonds. Now, I personally, Susan, I’ve never heard of or even thought about this particular concept, so I’m super intrigued to learn more, which is why we invited an expert to join us. If you can imagine, I know an expert on this topic.

Susan 2:05
JoDee, you know an expert on every topic.

JoDee 2:08
Well, I can, I, we can certainly do our homework can’t we?

Susan 2:11
Yes.

JoDee 2:11
So Beth St. Clair loves helping employees activate their creativity at work. As a trained improvisational performer, Beth brings the principles of improv into her work as an executive coach, leadership consultant, and sought after keynote speaker. Beth brings nearly two decades of experience in coaching, leadership development, and team effectiveness to help her clients succeed. She is the founder of ActUp and focuses her work on individuals and teams who went to use improvisational principles to increase their results at work. Many of us, I think, never would have even thought that we needed to use improvisational principles to increase our results at work. But if you know that, Beth is your gal, and we’ll all find out more about that in today’s episode.

Susan 3:07
That’s great. You know, I once hired a trainer who had worked, actually gone through Second City in Chicago. And honestly, first of all, I thought she was a riot, but second of all, she brought such joy and humor into the classroom that I know it made the trainings better, so I’m excited too. I think if we could all bring some joy and humor into our workplaces, think how that might help us lighten the mood and our creativity?

JoDee 3:31
Absolutely. Absolutely.

Susan 3:34
As you know, ratings and reviews on Apple Podcasts can help people find our show, so we’re setting a goal to have 25 ratings and reviews by the end of August 2019. We’d really appreciate it if you go out there and let us know what you think of the podcast. And to add a little more JoyPower to this goal, we’re going to send one lucky reviewer a free copy of our new book, “The JoyPowered® Team.” So if you write a review, make sure you listen to our episode on September 9th to find out if you’ve won. Remember, to be eligible to win the book, you have to review us on Apple Podcasts by August 31. We’re excited to see your feedback.

JoDee 4:11
All right, so Beth, again, we are so excited to have you here with us today. And what is the value you see in improvisational comedy for yourself?

Beth 4:21
Yes, so I think for me what I’ve learned – many things, but one thing in particular is embracing this belief that I am creative. That’s kind of number one, and number two would be understanding the value in involving more than just me in the creative process. So when I first started taking improvisational comedy, I was a consultant. I was working long hours, and a friend of mine mentioned this as something to stress relief, bring a little joy into my life. And I got addicted, mainly because before I started taking the classes I think I had this mindset of “I gotta go it alone.” Like, I’ve made it to a certain point within this organization, now it’s up to me, I’ve got to put all the burden on my shoulders, I’ve got to, I have to make all the decisions and solve all the problems. By the way, I had a lot of wonderful, talented people around me that I wasn’t leveraging. So improv uses this idea called an ensemble, which is a group of people who trust each other, feel like they can be vulnerable with each other, and quite frankly, the bottom line is they have each other’s backs. And we literally say that to each other. “I have your back, I have your back.” So that, that sort of aha for me around, oh, wow, what we’re creating together as a team here on stage is so much more creative than anything I was doing on my own or anything I could do on my own. So that naturally kind of started bleeding into my work life and how I was showing up at work. So I was now having this perspective of co-creating with my team and really leveraging them in new ways, and inspiring more creativity.

JoDee 6:08
Yeah. You know, what I especially love about that, Beth, is it, it – almost a listener or even Susan might be thinking now that you were a consultant on your own, that you felt this pressure, but Beth worked for a global consulting firm with thousands of employees.

Susan 6:27
Doing what kind of consulting?

Beth 6:29
Yeah, so at that point, it was strategy consulting, working with leaders essentially to help them develop their strategy and where they’re heading, performance management. And then once I – towards the tail end of my tenure there, of course, convinced a partner that we should try and pilot some of these improv principles at work, and that, that was kind of the start for me into this area and bringing improv principles into the workplace.

Susan 6:53
And had you gone through formal improv training yourself?

Beth 6:55
So, it’s funny, I want to say what is, what is that? I actually would say it is time on stage, and the answer to that is yes. I think I became addicted. In DC, you can actually find improv most nights of the week, so it was either performing, I had started a troupe and started performing, and/or just going to support shows during the week, but I do want to mention for your listeners, okay, so I’m 42 now. I was probably mid 30s when I found – early 30s when I found improv, never had done theater, did not focus on that growing up, was not a performance sort of artist or view myself in that way, and very much a planner. So if the thought of improv scares you, I totally relate.

Susan 7:41
It does.

Beth 7:42
Yes, I lean into the fear, because I find wherever we have fear, it’s helpful to step into that to kind of continue our growth. So I still get the jitters before a performance, like an improv show. And it’s good though.

JoDee 7:57
Yeah.

Susan 7:57
What always amazes me about improv is that I watch people, and, like, you have no idea what’s coming next. I just cannot imagine a planner getting comfortable with it. The person says, and so then I went to the barber shop. Wait a minute, you’ve got to think about where do you take that?

Beth 8:12
Yeah, well, and I think what I’ve learned to do is not think so much about it. And I think this is true as, as leaders, if you think about a lot of the clients I work with, they have the wisdom, the knowledge in their bones, it’s a matter of kind of getting it out, tapping into that, and speaking that. I noticed the more I overthink on stage, which has happened to me, the more I miss something, so I’m guilty of calling someone the wrong name because I wasn’t listening, and then we’ve got to work sort of, you know, extra hard to justify why I called that person the wrong name. But if I’m truly present and listening, then it’s easier to kind of have the rapport and go back and forth.

Susan 8:55
I can see that application to the workplace. That is very clearly, right? If we’d stayed In the moment and we weren’t overthinking, think how much more we would catch.

JoDee 9:03
Right.

Beth 9:04
Yeah, and let me just, for level setting, because I before I did improv, I wasn’t that familiar with it. But for people who haven’t been exposed to it, it’s an art form where scenes are created, to your point, Susan, in the moment, or spontaneously, so you can practice with your troupe, but the content of the actual performance is going to change every time. And so for mainstream, thinking about things like Whose Line is it Anyway, or Second City, those are kind of known in this realm. That’s what we’re talking about when we’re talking about improv comedy.

Susan 9:33
Thank you. That’s very helpful.

Beth 9:34
Yeah.

JoDee 9:35
Susan, by the way, I know you think I never get nervous, which I don’t a lot.

Susan 9:40
I know. It’s amazing.

JoDee 9:41
But the thought of doing improv, it terrifies me as well.

Susan 9:44
Well, that makes me feel a little better.

Beth 9:46
Well, JoDee is gonna be doing that here soon, because we’re gonna be collaborating. free.

JoDee 9:51
I was afriad you were going to say that. I just want to be on the record for saying I’m terrified of the thought of this.

Beth 9:57
It’s a great starting point. I think you’re gonna have a good time.

Susan 10:01
So, Beth, what skills do you think leaders are going to need in the future, and how can improvisational comedy help?

Beth 10:08
Sure. So, I mean, a few come to my mind in thinking about the clients that I work with, which would be leaders at all different levels. One is adaptability, you know, we can have the best plan in the world, and as we know, things are constantly shifting. I think in our economy, we see that all the time, especially with customers who are armed with all this great information and might even know a little bit more than we do for selling a certain product. So adaptability comes in, how can I pivot quickly and smartly as a leader to be able to change directions, which, actually, to me, comes down to not being attached to whatever the plan was that I had before if it’s no longer relevant. So you know, if you think about on stage, if someone throws out an offer, well, I might have an idea in my mind where the scene is going, but if I’m attached to that, I’m not going to truly be in the moment, as I mentioned a minute ago, and I’m going to miss things, so that, that premise of we’re in this together really comes into play, that I add a piece of it and you add a piece of it, and we might need to adapt based on new things that come in. And so we’ll get into more of that, but that’s one thing that comes up. Another one is this idea of sharing control. So leave it to my planner self, but when I first started taking improv classes, and I was – we were ready to do a show, and here we go, I was always the first person to step out onto the stage and make an offer, because I thought somehow if I could start this scene and kind of dictate where it’s heading, I could then determine the outcome. I love that you’re laughing, because it sounds ridiculous, and it is ridiculous.

JoDee 11:46
No, I get it!

Beth 11:47
Yes.

JoDee 11:47
Yeah.

Beth 11:48
Because we know if other people are involved, then that’s not gonna happen. Like I said, we gotta adapt. So this idea of, and what I’ve learned over time is being better at sharing control. So sometimes I need to take control, obviously, if no one’s out on stage, I need to jump in and trust that I’m going to have something to save. And if I feel like I don’t right that second, it will come, but also being a really good scene supporter. So you know, if a scene is unfolding, okay, maybe I let a couple beats go by and then ask myself, what does the scene need now, and can I be helpful in building on it? And then I’m playing a more supportive role. And depending on your personality, as a leader, one might be easier, one might be harder, but thinking about the context of where we work, and what’s happening, what the topics are, and the personalities and strengths of the people we work with. We, we always need to be going back and forth, taking control and letting others take control.

JoDee 12:41
Right, I love that. You know, I do some training around meeting skills, and that’s one of the things, I can see how this can connect to that. One of the things I always share with people is sometimes there’s people in my meeting skills class that will say, well, I don’t really, I don’t lead many meetings. And I said, I didn’t say this was leading a meeting skills. This is about being a better meeting attendee, as well, too, and how can we be better participants in the meeting? So I love your concept about how can we just be better supporters, right? Sometimes where we want to be in control, and sometimes we think, well, I’m not in charge of this, so I’m not gonna say anything, right? But yeah, we can learn to be better supporters in that work, as well, too.

Beth 13:32
Yeah, that’s a great example. It’s almost like subconsciously, we’ll default to just maybe sitting quietly if someone else is running, quote, unquote, the meeting, right? But everybody in the room, the wisdom’s always in the room, with the people in the room, so giving ourselves permission to speak up and take control here and there during the meeting is I hope, I think, what we would want.

JoDee 13:56
Yeah, I love that. So can you share one improvisational comedy skill with us and how it can be applied?

Beth 14:05
Yeah, sure. So one of my favorite improv skills is “yes, and,” which is – it’s a mindset, but it’s also kind of a language. So let me explain that. The mindset is, hey, I believe we’re in this together, and if we’re in this together, we’re going to create something better. The actual language of “yes, and,” is if I’m on stage and someone throws out an offer, like, “Hey, we’re going – I’m so excited we’re going on a cruise together to celebrate our anniversary.” I then accept that offer and I add a piece of information to it so we can move the creative process forward. So in that situation, it could be “yes, and I thought we could try out jet skiing, because that’s something you mentioned you want to do,” or “yes, and I invited this couple that I know you don’t really love, but I really think we could change things on this cruise.” I mean, you name it. There’s a million different directions you can take that, but the importance is accepting it. And so to your point about the meeting and kind of leading and, and following, so improvisers avoid blocking, which is saying, “no, we’re not on this cruise together.” Because obviously, if we do that, we lose the audience and we can’t create anything meaningful. So we do what’s called accepting, which is the “yes, and,” but it’s not enough to simply say yes, because let’s say, on a cruise together, anniversary, all of that, and I simply say, “Yes.” What happens to that scene?

Susan 15:33
Silence.

Beth 15:34
Silence and, and/or it may put the pressure on my scene partner to come up with the next thing. So we all need to be making offers and responding to offers through that use of “yes, and.” So if you think about, I think a practical application for this for people who are listening are like, well, how does this connect to the workplace? I think about it in terms of brainstorming, like, for example, in the design thinking world there’s ideation that happens, even if you’re at a company, you’re not using that, but you’re having kind of a brainstorming session. If you have a topic you can “yes, and” solutions for and literally stand in a circle, “Yes, and then I think we should have this feature.” “Yes, and I think we should add this.” “Well, what if we did this?” So you go around in a circle, suspend all judgment, everybody’s in an accepting mode. And what I hear a lot with this topic at work is, well, we need to evaluate, right? We can’t just accept everything in the world. And I agree, but I would say that we subconsciously tend to block more than we accept.

JoDee 16:38
Yeah.

Beth 16:38
And so to be aware of that, but also just to separate the creativity process and brainstorming process from evaluation, because a lot of times, those collapse together, because people are smart and want to point out the five reasons why that idea won’t work quickly, right? But I think if we can separate those, hey, we’re going to do this yesterday and brainstorming today, tomorrow we’ll evaluate, you can keep both processes pure.

JoDee 17:02
Right.

Beth 17:02
And I saw this a lot when I was in consulting, I was probably guilty of it, which is, “yeah, that’s a great idea, but,” and it doesn’t even –

Susan 17:09
I hate that but.

Beth 17:10
Yes, yes. But we don’t even have a chance to see where it’s gonna go, because it might turn into something.

JoDee 17:16
Right. Right.

Beth 17:17
Yeah.

JoDee 17:17
I love that, very powerful, too. Yes, and.

Susan 17:21
Yes.

Beth 17:22
Yes, and.

JoDee 17:25
I think that is, you know, so common, “Yes, but it’s too expensive.” “Yes, but we tried that before.” “Yes, but….” It’s so easy to go down that path, even as, you know, our listeners are business leaders and HR professionals, but many times I think HR professionals get sort of a rap of being the the ones who say no, like, “well, we can’t do that because…” “We can’t do that, because….” So that’s a great message for us as well, too, to think about being the “yes, and.”

Beth 17:56
Yeah, and it’s not always obvious. Maybe we can’t do as an – say I’m an HR professional, maybe I can’t have this person promoted because they’re not ready. But I can still find a way, if I use “yes, and,” find an offer to, to accept.

JoDee 18:11
Yeah.

Beth 18:12
Meaning if I “yes, and,” the desire of that person to get promoted, then we can maybe co-create a plan that gets that person ready, that’s full of the knowledge they need and how they’re going to get it and the experiences. So we forget that it’s more than one dimensional, looking at it from multiple perspectives, because there’s likely offers in there we might be missing that we can, we can “yes, and.”

Susan 18:35
I keep, I keep picturing the manager who says, “I’ve got to fire this person. I’m going to fire him today.” And I can say, “Yes, and he’s not performing where you need him to, and let’s figure out how we’re going to go after fixing that, you know, that performance in a way that is fair to him and good for us.”

JoDee 18:49
See, you look at you, Susan, you’re already good.

Susan 18:51
I love that “yes, and!”

Beth 18:53
You’re improvising!

Susan 18:54
And it actually makes the manager or whoever it is you’re speaking with validated that, yes, there is something good there. It’s not the way you’ve laid it out, but there’s probably, there’s an, you know, there’s a problem there, a need there that we can try to solve for.

Beth 19:05
Oh, can I just, I love that you said that, because there is that underlying impact when you use, like, “yes, and,” and I would challenge us all to maybe try it for a day, is that the person who receives it feels affirmed. Right? They feel seen, and there is this sense of, like, joy that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Susan 19:25
Wow, I think we’ve solved a – world hunger!

Beth 19:26
Did we solve a world problem here?

Susan 19:28
Yeah, I think we did. I think we did.

Beth 19:30
Well, I would agree, because I love it so much.

Susan 19:34
That’s great. Now, I, JoDee and I are eating this up, but I can imagine that there’s some leaders that might be listening that could be intimidated by the idea of bringing in improv and wondering like, where it’s going to go and how that will impact us? What do you say, because I know you do this as part of your consulting practice, you take improv into businesses. How do you counteract maybe some of the wariness or fear?

Beth 19:55
Yeah, so I tell – in the workshops that I hold, I tell people at the onset that I’m not there to turn people into improv comedians, that’s definitely not the goal. We’re using this as a learning platform to develop leadership skills. Now, having said that, I use improv techniques, so things that my troupe would use in terms of our rehearsals I would use in my session. So for some, that might be intimidating, but I will say my experience has shown most people enjoy it, they want to jump in because it’s engaging. I mean, I, I personally believe the more our learning techniques engage people, have the learning stick, make it memorable, that the more effective they are. So I’ve actually seen people really embrace and adopt – now, there have been a couple people, you know, that maybe weren’t quite as ready, and that’s fine. I don’t, I don’t push them, I think you’re still you’re going to get that, what the – from the learning what you need to, it’s also up to me to create that space. So starting, not throwing people on stage like, hey, our first activity, like, just to create a safe space for the people in the room, especially if they don’t know each other well, there’s a bit of trust, we can make mistakes and it’s okay, and then kind of build on that. But like I said before, I’m probably not that atypical from a lot of people who – I do this and, gosh, I’m in business and came into it late, was never a performer. So it’s also fun to push people a little bit into something new, because they might even discover, wow, this is really, number one, fun, and number two, valuable, right? So it’s a little bit of, like, both sides, like, creating that trust so people can try things out, also pushing them a little bit. Because what I found is, just another quick note, is that a lot of people believe they aren’t creative. And I believed that for a long time about myself, that was reserved for artists, and I’m looking around, there’s, like, this beautiful art on the wall, like, that’s someone who’s creative. No, no, we’re all creative. We just forget that. Because when we grow up, we start using more of the left side of our brain and we don’t cultivate that as much. It’s just, like, that muscle’s a little bit atrophied. It doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Susan 22:09
Got it.

JoDee 22:10
I’ve talked about this on our podcast before, that I’ve said I was an accounting major in college, so not only did I not think of myself as creative, but I, I sort of further compounded that by being an accounting major, and then starting my career as an accountant, where you think of creative accountants as going to prison.

Beth 22:31
So it was not a good thing.

JoDee 22:33
Not a good thing. Like, I didn’t even think I should try to be creative, much less think of myself as creative. So.

Beth 22:40
And did something shift with you on that?

JoDee 22:42
Yes. So I will, and I don’t think it had to happen this way, but for me personally, it was when I moved into an HR role and then literally within my first week, I planned a team building activity, that one of the partners came into my office whom I had worked with for nine years, and said, you are so creative. And it was just such a powerful moment for me that I can tell you exactly when that happened and where I was sitting when that comment was made to me.

Beth 23:16
Wow. I wish we all had someone like that.

JoDee 23:19
Right.

Beth 23:20
In our lives telling us that. In lieu of having that powerful, like, that person tell you that?

JoDee 23:25
Yeah.

Beth 23:26
We’ve got to find a way to tell ourselves or remind ourselves.

JoDee 23:29
Right. Yeah. Right. Some people might think I’ve gone a bit too far the other way.

Susan 23:34
Well, so, so Beth, could you give us an example of an exercise that you might put business people through to help give them that safe space and/or push them to that little uncomfortableness that might unlock their creativity?

Beth 23:47
Yeah, just a simple warm up. I would do a sound circle. So usually, my groups are maybe 10 to 20, depending on the focus, and it’s intimate enough where we can form a circle. And one person would do a sound and a gesture, so let me see if I can give an example since people aren’t in the room. So imagine there’s, like, alien, like, little alien antennas I’m doing on my head, and I might do “me, me, me, me.” Then it’s the job of everyone else in the circle to mimic as closely as they can that gesture and that sound, so everyone in the room would do that in the circle, and then the next person would pick a new thing, and they would do a new sound and a new gesture, and everyone would do that. With idea being that as simple as this exercise sounds, it can be very confronting for people, and it brings up a lot of great learning points around our feeling of our fear of failure and not looking, like, super smart, what’s the perfect answer, and I know this because I’m a recovering perfectionist, but I gotta get it right. I gotta get the perfect response. It’s got to be, maybe, better than anyone else’s. So the idea is kind of get over that, get over ourselves a little bit, but also feel support, because I’ve had people say, “I don’t know,” and they kind of put their hands in the air in the activity, and everyone in the circle does exactly the same. “I don’t know.” So it doesn’t matter. It’s a lesson of it doesn’t matter what you do, do something, anything, make that offer and then you’re going to see how supported you are. Which is back to that concept of ensemble. Having a team that really has your back.

JoDee 23:47
Right.

Beth 23:47
Yeah.

JoDee 23:48
Right.

Beth 23:48
That’s a simple one, but I like that one.

Susan 23:57
That’s a great one. I like it a lot. I’m here trying to figure out what I’m going to do, yeah, if I did that exercise!

Beth 24:28
You’re already thinking about your gesture! Yeah, there you go.

Susan 24:33
I need to be a recovering perfectionist.

Beth 25:14
You were…you’re normal.

Susan 25:38
Okay, thank you.

JoDee 25:40
So Beth, if our listeners are interested in learning more about this or having training on on some of these topics, how can they reach out to you?

Beth 25:48
I have a website that I’ll point your listeners to. My company’s ActUp Consulting, so it’s W-W-W dot A-C-T consulting dot com, and you’ll find kind of all the packages that I offer. There’s a way that you can get in contact with me there, and just drop in and say hi.

JoDee 26:07
Awesome. And we’ll have a link to Beth’s website in our show notes as well, so viewers can easily find that.

Susan 26:15
Beth, we’ve got your back.

Beth 26:16
Yeah, I love it. I’ve got your back, too, thank you so much for having me!

Susan 26:20
It was so fun.

JoDee 26:21
Thank you. So fun.

Susan 26:22
I learned a lot.

JoDee 26:23
Thank you. Me too.

Susan 26:28
The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast is sponsored by our new book, “The JoyPowered® Team.” JoDee and I wrote this book with five of our colleagues and we can’t wait for you to read it. “The JoyPowered® Team” challenges you to choose joy for yourself and your teammates. Learn how to build inclusive teams, navigate workplace challenges, revitalize teams who falter, and thrive as teams evolve. Joy starts with you, whatever your role, industry, or area of expertise. Learn more about our new book and how to buy it at www.getjoypowered.com/books. That’s W-W-W dot G-E-T J-O-Y-P-O-W-E-R-E-D dot com slash B-O-O-K-S.

So JoDee, our listener question this week is from Natasha in Maryland. She asked, “Is it really that important for our company to have an employee handbook?”

JoDee 27:30
Well, Natasha, I have a few different thoughts on this one. I do recommend that you have one if you have more than, say, 10 to 15 employees. Not that it’s – not that you shouldn’t or couldn’t have one for less than that, but I know even in my own company at Purple Ink, it’s what we do is help employers with handbooks, and yet I didn’t put one together until we had probably at least eight people, but it can be critical in managing a diverse workforce, promoting fairness and consistency across situations. I mean, I personally just got to a point where I felt, you know, we need to have some clarity. People were asking questions about different policies and about time off, and I needed to make them clear and fair to everyone. By the same token, I do think it’s better to not have one than to have one and not follow it. That can create more problems for EEOC claims, legal cases, etc., but also just in developing trust for your employees. So be careful on what you include in it. For an example, one I’ve seen many, many times with companies or our clients is that they include in there that they have an annual performance review, and then they don’t consistently do annual performance reviews, so I say, just leave that policy out. Of course, my real answer is, you should do performance reviews or be having performance conversations. But don’t include things that you’re, that you’re not following. It can become a legal complication and create a lack of trust for your employees. And as a third note, developing handbooks proves complicated for many companies, especially now today with, you know, what we used to think about if you’re a global company, there’s complications. If you’re multi state, there are more and more changes between states than ever before, and even, now, we have different cities and counties that are creating their own employment law rules. So we recommend creating a general handbook based on the federal requirements and then having state supplements or even international supplements for different policies or, or cities or whatever the case might be. And then one more thought on this, might be more than you wanted to know Natasha, but handbooks are also an important form of documentation that the IRS or the Department of Labor might request, almost always will request during an audit, and that could expose many small employers to potential risk. Again, either way, it could create a risk if you don’t have one, but it could also create a risk if you have one, and you’re not doing what it says.

Susan 30:27
And the only thing I would add, JoDee, is that I think it’s important that you have some type of a regular discipline to go back and audit your own employee handbook, because sometimes, you know, your practices do change, and everybody knows they’ve changed, but you just haven’t documented it. So you know, me, I would do it annually, and maybe just make that a work assignment of somebody in HR, just to go back and make sure there’s nothing that’s changed or anything we want to refresh. Right?

JoDee 30:49
Right. Yeah. Because saying you have one and then it’s 13 years old can also get you into trouble as well.

In our in the news section today, there was a January 2019 article by HRdive.com, and they discussed the top 10 trends for HR in 2019. The number two trend, which I thought was really interesting, was thinking of artificial intelligence as a partner and not a threat. The article states that the overall temperature of conversations has completely changed. In 2017, many people thought that robots were going to steal our jobs. Now, we are starting to embrace this kind of technology. I know even I’m seeing in more and more fast food restaurants, right, who, who have replaced some jobs, but you know, we walk in the door and order online while you’re physically standing there in the restaurant. I was in Europe recently and I saw even more of that over there than I have here.

Susan 31:54
And I have to believe that because of the competitive landscape, we can’t get enough people to do all the jobs that need to be done, we need to look at AI as our partner. What can we automate and what do we need to keep having human beings do?

JoDee 32:05
Absolutely. And certainly technology has transformed recruitment in particular. “We’re looking at ways we can use artificial intelligence or machine learning to automate the talent acquisition experience so we can dive deeply into the one-on-one relationships.” That, that was a quote from the author. CareerBuilder has used machine learning to add a touch of personalization as well, and that was quoted by their CEO, Irina Novoselsky. Novoselsky also said, “It really is early in that curve of HR users having to become technologists. That really shifts the conversation they’re having and what they’re looking for.” Another note, the co-founder of Triplebyte said while these developments may speed up what can be slow, painstaking work, he pointed out that the technology may make the process more efficient, but it doesn’t address everything, right? “It doesn’t help with bias, and in fact, it can exacerbate it.” So, you know, if the technology is set up to select particular schools or particular experiences that people have, have had, you might get a trend to where you’re hiring all of your people from the same school. For example, Larry Nash, who’s the Director of Recruiting at E&Y, said that’s perhaps why some practitioners endorse a more steady, careful approach to new technologies. “It takes time to figure it out, so I think as recruiters and HR professionals, we have to really embrace this change, go with it, try things, fail at times, figure it out, but be comfortable with it.” So I think what they’re saying, or at least, in my opinion, is there’s a place for artificial intelligence, there’s a place for technology, but it’s not gonna do everything for us, right? We’re still need to build relationships, we still… certainly on the recruiting side, we need to be having conversations as well. But we can use artificial intelligence to help us screen for candidates at the same time.

Thank you for listening today. Please tune in next time. If you have missed any of our podcasts, you can catch all episodes for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts by searching on the word “JoyPowered.” If you like our podcast, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any upcoming episodes. And we’d love for you to rate and review us on Apple Podcasts. It helps people find our show. If you have questions on any HR topic, you can leave us a voicemail at 317-688-1613 or email us at joypowered@gmail.com. We are also on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter @JoyPowered. We welcome listener questions and comments.

Emily Miller
Emily Miller
Emily works behind the scenes at JoyPowered, helping to edit and publish the books, producing the podcast, and running the website and social media.

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