Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms

Revitalized Human Resources Identity with Deb Muller

March 20, 2024 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 4 Episode 198
Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms
Revitalized Human Resources Identity with Deb Muller
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Unlock the secrets to navigating the complexities of employee relations with Deb Muller, the trailblazing founder and CEO of HR Acuity, who joins us with her wealth of experience in marrying HR expertise and technology. Deb takes us through the maze of 'yellow light' issues, those subtle yet critical early warnings in the workplace that can spiral into crises if ignored. She enlightens us on the instrumental role managers play in identifying and mitigating these issues, and emphasizes the importance of fostering an open culture where employees feel safe to voice concerns. By leaning into these conversations, we learn how to preemptively smooth out the wrinkles before they become tears in the fabric of our organizations.

This episode isn't just about avoiding disaster; it's about redefining the very soul of HR. With Deb's insights, we uncover how trust and support are the cornerstones of a transformed HR identity, one that's aligned with the heartbeat of an organization—its people. We examine the ripple effect of positive HR interactions and how they can catapult an organization's reputation from dreaded necessity to trusted confidant. Deb also reveals how simple yet powerful tools, like ENPS surveys following HR interventions, can provide a pulse check on employee sentiment, turning feedback into a catalyst for growth and improvement.

Finally, we navigate the tightrope of transparency within HR, discussing how this trend is reshaping expectations in the modern workplace. From open discussions about salary to the ethics of confidentiality agreements, we dissect the implications of an open-door policy. HR's role as the moral compass of a company comes to the forefront, especially in the wake of misconduct, and we explore the importance of not just hearing but truly listening to employees. All this and more await in this episode of the Rebel HR Podcast, where Deb and I stir the pot on traditional HR practices and offer a fresh perspective on the challenges and victories of those committed to shaping the future of work.

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Speaker 1:

This is the Rebel HR podcast, the podcast about all things innovation in the people's space. I'm Kyle Rode. Let's start the show. Welcome back, rebel HR community. This is going to be a fun conversation. Today with us. We have Deb Muller. She is the founder and CEO of HR Acuity and we are going to be talking all about the shit that happens at work. Welcome to the podcast, deb.

Speaker 2:

Hi, kyle, thanks for having me, looking forward to this conversation.

Speaker 1:

Well, me too. I can already tell this is going to be fun, because when I asked you what you wanted to talk about, you literally said let's talk about the shit that happens at work. I'm like, okay, we can do this. This is Rebel HR, we can figure this out.

Speaker 2:

This is my community, because, like my marketing person, I think that there's a tagline, something there. She gives me like I don't know, but maybe from this community that could be it.

Speaker 1:

You know what? I think it's just startling enough, but it's not offensive enough. I think you're going to. If that's the kind of clientele you're looking for, you're probably going to get exactly what you're hoping for. I like throwing around a cursor word just as much as anybody else. So, deb, thank you so much for joining us. It's going to be a fun conversation today. Before we jump into the conversation, I'm curious to ask you, as a founder of HR Acuity, what motivated you to found your organization?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I, like you, was an HR practitioner for my career for many years and sort of didn't see myself. I was like I don't really want to be a CRO, what do I want to do? And I had done a lot of investigations and this was before we were centralizing employee relations, before there were COEs. It was sort of just the stuff that either you open a drawer and you found something that looked weird and you kind of pulled on that, or it was a Friday afternoon, you're about to go on vacation and someone comes crying in your office.

Speaker 2:

So I did a lot of investigations. I got really good at them, which then meant I did more of them. They got more complex and more crazy and I just recognized that I wanted to do something around that route, something I knew I was good at, something I knew there was sort of no nothing going on. So I actually started doing investigations as a third party and then realized there was no tech, that everything was done sort of as an ad hoc, very discreet investigation, no technology, no analytics around it, and I felt there was a big void there. So who better than to build that technology than someone has absolutely no technology background, went to school, specifically in an area that didn't require me to take science or math. And so why not? And so that's how I kind of entered this world many years ago.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Yeah, that definitely ranked true. For me it's like, why did you pick your major? Well, because it was all about people and I didn't have to take like anatomy, you know, I mean.

Speaker 2:

It is sort of ironic and it sort of it should be like a commercial for STEM, for women also, like you know why. You know what are we doing. This is so important. Now, I'm a CEO of a technology company, but you know, here we are, here we are, and the other thing about it that I think made me sort of the right person to do it was, well, I didn't know a lot about technology. I had been a receiver and a user of really bad HR technology that just was clearly not built by someone who had any idea what we did day to day and I was. You know, I was, I was determined that that would not be the case with HR acuity. I think we've helped you to that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's it's. It's really fascinating and I think it's one of those areas as well that you know I'll be curious to see where we are, you know, and even a couple years from now, five years from now, 10 years from now. You know, because there's there's so many aspects of human resources that are they're kind of going into this. You know there's a tech for everything, right. So there's this HR tech opportunities is massive. But I think so many, so many of us in HR kind of sitting back and we're like, well, we're not really sure what's going to work and what's going to work well, and if we, if we screw it up, you know, it could be really regrettable, right, and so I think a lot of us are kind of just just kind of biding our time before we really really jump into it. But yeah, having but I think so much of it is having that like actual HR expertise, the people that are building these tools right, like, like what actually works.

Speaker 2:

Really yeah.

Speaker 1:

So, speaking of what works, you focus like exclusively on employee relations, which is in many of our, in many of our HR hearts near and dear and also really freaking, annoying, and so so I, you know I and I was, before we hit record I was kind of describing it as the. You know it's, it's kind of the dark side of HR, sometimes, right, it's the, it's the stuff that is is not necessarily fun, but really really necessary and and really problematic if you don't address it right and so. So as, as you look at your focus of your organization and the work that you've done throughout the course of your career, why is employee relations where you really focused your energy and expertise?

Speaker 2:

Well, I used to say I don't know if this is still true, but I live vicariously through all the stupid things that people do. So I mean doing investigations, I don't know, but when I think about employee relations, it's just inherent in sort of the work and sort of the employee life cycle. When we think about our employees, you know, we think about the job we want them to do. So we write job descriptions, we have policies and guidelines. That's how we want them to behave when they're in the workplace. We have performance targets and performance goals and long-term planning. That's sort of where we want to aspire and what we want to achieve through them. So we put this all in place and then we bring in these humans who are diverse. They bring in different experiences, life experiences, work experience, how they work, how their brain works. It's all different and we expect that they're going to adhere to these pieces of paper that we put there exactly right, like it's like the same way that we would think a machine is going to. You know, if you put this much in, you're going to have this much throughput, whatever, and that's just not possible.

Speaker 2:

Things happen. I sometimes use the sort of analogy of a traffic light, the sort of green light is all those things I just set up and then during the course of an employee's life cycle they're going to have yellow light events where they sort of veer off, where you know, maybe they push a policy or they overachieve or they underachieve on a mark, or maybe they I don't know have to go on maternity leave or they have or something I don't know. Something happens to them, good or bad, and we have to manage those. We have to decide whether you're going to be consistent, what we're going to do, how we're going to deal with those yellow light incidents. But they tell us so much. They tell us about leader interactions, they tell us about cultural aspects, so we can pay attention to those, we can learn from those, to, you know, impact, retention, turnover, productivity, or we cannot pay attention to them and they'll keep happening.

Speaker 2:

And then you'll have those red light incidents that could be hostile work environment, a discrimination claim, where you know you have to deal with it. So in my career I felt like we were really dealing with those red light incidents. That's where I found myself sort of it sort of bubbled up. And we deal with it, but nobody ever sort of looked to say you know what's happening the rest of the time. What are sort of those predictive indicators like the ones we look at in marketing, the ones that we look at in finance? What are the HR predictive indicators that were there that maybe they wouldn't have gotten rid of all those red light issues but certainly could have helped us become more prepared for them or sort of reduce them over time? I love that.

Speaker 2:

I can't even remember what student was, but that's… that's good, this is perfect.

Speaker 1:

I love them. I'm right there with you. I'm right there with you. So, first of all, I love the fact that you do…. You know, one of the beauties of human resources is the stories that you get of the stupid things that people do. Right, and you know, maybe you changed the names to protect the innocent or guilty, or more so, to protect, like your organization, but the… yeah, there is that, but I love how you described how you think about some of these employee relations challenges or the shit that we talked about. Right, and it's the yellow light versus the red light.

Speaker 1:

And it really spoke to me because, like one of the things for me that's been really interesting is, you know, early in my career, the red lights were the tough things. Like it was really hard to go through that first sexual harassment investigation or that first like workplace violence or drug-free workplace issue or something like that, where you've got this big, clearing, bright red light in front of you and you're like you have to act. And like early in my career, I was like, oh, these suck, these are not fun, I don't like…. The reality is, the longer I've been in the field, the more I have come to appreciate these because they're pretty black and white, right. A lot of times. You know, as long as you conduct a good investigation, you can validate something bad happened and then you can take some sort of action against making sure it doesn't happen again.

Speaker 1:

Right, that's right. But it's those yellow lights that you described that the longer I've been in the field, the more I've realized these are the ripples that really impact the organization and if you don't catch them early, they become those red lights. And so, like you know, as you described, they're predictive, they're proactive versus reactive and, from my perspective, probably more important than the red light issues, because it's an opportunity to stop the red lights from happening, right. So I love the way you describe that and I think my guess is most of our listeners are probably going to agree like, yeah, that's, you know that there's a lot of truth in that. So, as we look to the yellow light, like the yellow light management, how can we be more thoughtful about spotting these, about acting on them and making sure that we are keeping them top of mind, as opposed to maybe waiting for the red lights to come?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, because they're not as obvious and they're easier to sort of, like, you know, push away or not care about. And we're seeing even more of them now. We have a very different employee makeup now, right, much more activism. Employees are, I don't want to say sensitive I think it's a wrong word but they have a better perception of different things going on. We think about microaggression and things like that in the workplace. Not that they weren't there before. We now have a label for them.

Speaker 2:

So we have to think about it beyond HR. By the time it gets to you guess what? Like it has a lot of layers. I mean, hr doesn't know, we can't be everywhere, we're not omnipresent. So a lot of what we think about is that manager and employee relationship. And how are we making our, how are we helping our managers be better able to identify these things, react to them, respond to them? So that's one thing. And how are we looking at all of that activity in the aggregate? Can we actually see what's going on, to see if there's a bigger issue, if we see that more issues are happening in one area than another, what about an area that's particularly quiet?

Speaker 2:

We have a. We have a community called the Empower Community. So if there's any ER folks on the phone, please we'll get you the information. Join it, it's free. Over 4,500 ER professionals collaborating. It's so incredible.

Speaker 2:

But one of our we have a leader conference called our employee relationships roundtable at a very large technology company talked about how they do listening tours and they go to their stores and they just start talking to people and I said, well, how do you choose where you go? And they said, well, we go where we've had some issues, but we also go to the locations where there have been no issues, and the absence of data is telling you something just as much as presence of data. So, really understanding how to collect that data, making sure your managers know what's out there, what to do with it I think that's that's one thing. The other thing that's so important about the LLI that we're talking about much more now is making sure that you know about them, and the only way you're going to know about them is through this building trust with your employees that they're going to tell you when they're happening, that they feel comfortable coming forward, not just when they're being. They think they've been harassed, something you know that red light but when something long, long, long, long happens. You know that they just doesn't doesn't make sense. They want you to know about and they need some help with. And you know it might be a question. It might be something where you direct them to a policy or you get them some coaching.

Speaker 2:

But looking at those in the aggregate, saying, are we having an issue here? Are we getting these in one geography more than another? Is it coming up more often with one demographic than another? How are we managing issues in the workplace that don't rise above to, yeah, red light but are more transactional? Are we managing attendance issues at the same level for black women as opposed to the rest of the population? What does that mean to us? Like, does it mean that we're discriminating? No, but maybe it could. Obviously, but it also could mean that maybe there's a part of our population that our policy on attendance doesn't work for them and maybe we just need to rethink that, as opposed to having high turnover in area or treating people differently. It's just data. How do we look at that data and that yellow state, just like you said, so that we can really analyze it and be thoughtful about how it impacts the organization and make changes that will really make a difference? Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

And I think what's really exciting for me about this approach and this conversation is the fact that it's about it really does start with trust, right, and it starts with awareness and it also starts, like, for all you HR professionals out there, it starts with a willingness to do something about it. Right, and going back to, kind of, the beginning of the discussion on yellow lights is they are easy to ignore. Nobody's going to know if you ignored one of them, right, they might realize they'll know if you ignored a red light right, you know, you'll get a ticket if you run a red light, but if you run a yellow light you know you're going to get a.

Speaker 1:

All right, it's fake, right, it's close enough. Right, right, and and and.

Speaker 2:

Well, the other thing it's not only ignoring them, but understanding how you're doing them. So, even the things that come to HR, you know a yellow light, someone needs an accommodation, ok, well, how are we managing that through the interactive process? Or you know someone's going on leave or they have a performance issue. How are you managing that? Because many times, how you do that and the consistency of how we do that and the documentation that you have is what you're going to use in the investigation. Right, it's going to come back. Someone says, oh, you discriminated against me because I didn't get this role. Well, you didn't get the role because you had these violations or these issues that we were looking at. Well, yeah, but that's. You only did that because I am, you know, a woman. Well, no, I can show you that we treated other people similarly, so they're actually really important. If you do have red light issues, they are important for risk. But you know, just another, it's all the employer, it's all the trust. That just comes back to that. Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 1:

And so I think the other thing that's interesting, so obviously you know HR QD. It's a, you know, focuses on, you know, leveraging technology to help support some of these things, but but so much of this comes down to, you know, the, the culture in your organization, and I consider human resources to be the kind of the culture champion right Like if, if you're not focusing on driving a positive culture, who is right Like that should be our primary job, and these, these sorts of things, are the things that can eat away at a culture so quickly, and then can any road trust, you know, significantly more quickly than you can build it right. And so so, for those of us that are are maybe dealing with some of these challenges at an organization, or seeing a lot of these yellow lights, or just just have this intuition that there's a lot going on that we aren't aware of, what are some steps that we can start to take to really build out a culture that's receptive to this type of approach and to be a little bit more proactive with employee relations?

Speaker 2:

Well, I think look, hr throughout my career has has a bit of a reputation, let's just say it right.

Speaker 2:

Not every person loves HR. I don't know if you've heard that what? Yes, I know, you know. I think it's so funny like no one goes, and in the problem with HR is it like it travels with you from job to job right To view a bad HR experience in one job and you go to another and you just assume all HR is bad. No one comes with this. Oh my God, finance with my last job is really bad, so I hate it here. Like it's just because it's personal, it's treated differently.

Speaker 2:

So to change that, I think we eat these little steps and so let's go back to the yellow. Yeah, when I have an issue, how I'm treated by HR, how they address those things, is going to make me more comfortable so that if things escalate, I'm going to trust them and I'm going to be willing to share with them, sort of. When they're really bad, things happen right. So so you really have to build that trust along the way and sort of make it easier. I mean trust right now, I think, is the biggest thing, and I think what a lot of companies do when they think about HR is they think about it through the lens of risk. You know, how do we protect the company. Don't get me wrong, that is part of our role. That is part of our role.

Speaker 2:

But if we think company first, it's just sort of negative. It's scary. If we think employee first, something bad has happened to this employee that's coming here. They're working for us. They are one of our human resources that we're bringing in to make this company successful. It's one of the places where we are investing the most money. So when something's wrong with them, we need to put our arms around them and take care of them. That doesn't mean they're always right, but we need to make it easier for them. How is this impacting you? How can we help you? Where is it impacting you? If we do that, the risk will take care of itself. We haven't forgotten about that, but the risk will take care of itself and I think that that sort of swishing, that paradigm, can be really, really helpful for companies to think about.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and I could not agree more. We are definitely aligned in this thinking. Like you know, my perspective is like if you do anything for the sole purpose of trying not to get sued, that is the wrong context to be making decisions in. Right Like, like if and you know I have the fortunate joy of getting to do international human resources. The reality is there's all these different laws all over the place. The legal is different all over the world, but at the heart of it, it's all about treating people humanely and having like, being kind, right, Like that's really all. That's what all these laws are trying to do, right. So you know. You know, as long as you are coming from, coming at it from the right context, you're significantly going to reduce risk. You're not going to eliminate it, You'll reduce it right. So I could not agree more.

Speaker 1:

I it's. It's so funny. I literally just gave a webinar called HR's Bad Reputation this week, so we are on the same page there too. And it's it is funny. It follows people from like job to job. Like one bad interaction with one HR professional in somebody's life will forever paint every HR professional with a black.

Speaker 2:

But I also the awesome, the conversal. The thing I always tell people to think about is I don't know if you're a shopper, kyle, but I'm a big Nordstrom person. So Nordstrom has this reputation, this amazing customer service, and I always tell this to HR people. You think about it and you think about the stories people tell about Nordstrom. It's not like, oh my God, I went there and I found a fabulous dress. No, when you prompt me, I don't know, but what you do hear about is, oh, oh my God. Like somebody in my family died, I had to go buy something for the funeral the next day. I needed it shortened and, and, and I needed it then picked up, you know, in three hours to go to the funeral, and this person there went. They put their arms around me, they helped me find the perfect thing. They hand walked me there, they got me there. I would be forever grateful to them. That's how we have to think when things happen to people at work that are bad, if we help them through it, that's what they're going to remember, that's what they're going to talk about and that's what's going to change the reputation, because when, then, they see a coworker, they tell they go and tell people about it, right, you always hear about these. They're telling you about how something bad happened and this company reached out and helped them. Same thing with HR. You know what? I had a similar experience and I went to HR and guess what? They helped me? They helped me. That is how you change it.

Speaker 2:

One of the features we have in our solution we call the ENPS survey. But after an investigation, you can send a survey to the individual. You can plan it, you can choose, maybe to the manager to ask them to get feedback, and people like, oh, we can never do it. I'm like, well, yeah, you can. And basically you're asking they can customize it.

Speaker 2:

But basically you're asking a few things Were you treated with dignity and respect? Was your issue handled in a timely manner? And how likely are you to recommend a peer or a colleague come to HR with a similar issue? And that's the crux of it. And so in the immediate moment, if someone says no, the HR leader can reach out and say, okay, well, before you go talk to an employment lawyer about it, let me hear why you? We didn't ask them if they liked the outcome, but we want to hear what we did wrong, what we could do better, but in the aggregate it gives HR a quantifiable way to look at what is the impact of what we're doing and that will permeate the organization going forward. And we have data that actually proves that. We did a work list Rassman and misconduct inside study which I'm showing up but I know this is a podcast so nobody else can see it, but we'll.

Speaker 1:

There is a book with a title on it that says what she just said.

Speaker 2:

It's online too, but we'd like to print things out because I still am a big believer in printed things, of putting your hands on things. But there's some really amazing data in here that you asked employees the likeliness to recommend the organization to someone else. So typical net promoter and employees who had not been exposed to any harassment and misconduct 41% of them said that they would recommend All employees. The average was 31. But if nothing happened to them, 41%. If they experienced misconduct that misconduct is not 22%. However, if they experienced misconduct, they reported the issue, it was investigated and it was resolved. It goes up to 56% of those people. So people will recommend at a higher rate when something bad happens to them and it's taken care of. Then people who just sort of like they're all green light, I guess nothing happens to them at work. It's pretty powerful.

Speaker 1:

I think that is powerful and I was surprised early in my career to actually see those sorts of things play out in real time, and I distinctly remember it's the course of my career. There's been, unfortunately, a number of sexual harassment investigations and what I have found is typically when you deal with them consistently, quickly, appropriately, and when you go back to the person that had something bad happen to them and you make sure that there's a touch point, that they're comfortable, and you ask them those questions, not in a technological format, but in face to face, the level of appreciation is immense. You figure out if you screwed up something and you can fix it. And oh, by the way, if you did, you can also apologize to that individual.

Speaker 1:

And by doing those things, I think some people will probably think well, that's risky, you're opening up yourself to a lawsuit or you're admitting. By apologizing, you're admitting that you screwed up. Well, the reality is, if you screwed up and they're really upset about it, they're going to probably sue you anyways. And you know what? If you did screw up big enough, you probably should just own up and do what you need to do to make it right. What's the harm in apologizing?

Speaker 2:

People want to be able to work. When I first developed my technology, it was solely around the investigation process and then, before we went to production, it was employee relations at investigations. But now we really think about it full circle. It is from issues through aftercare all the way. You could do an amazing investigation, but if you don't resolve the issue, if it's not remediated, if you don't take care of that aftercare, who cares? It meant one thing it has to be the full thing and we're talking a lot about aftercare now at HRQD and our community and I keep saying it's through care. It's through care. How are we that person? It's scary when something bad happens. How are we bringing the employee through that experience to make sure they know that we've got their back and we're trying to make it right?

Speaker 2:

Some really cool things people are doing with retaliation, monitoring, retaliation sort of a backwards policy. Here's the policy. Employee, you've now come forward and told me this scary thing has happened. Here's our. Don't worry, we have this wonderful policy. That is, more scary things happen to you. Come back and tell us again.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's a good point yeah.

Speaker 2:

Notice on the employee, as opposed to saying something scary happened to you. We're going to monitor, we're going to make sure in the background, we're going to look at things like performance reviews. We can't see everything, but there's different signs that we might be able to see before you can. Even that potentially could point to some retaliation whether it was something that was conscious or unconscious that we can take care of in the background, and I think those are the types of things we need to be doing that are different.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, those lovely handbooks where everybody reads every page and internalizes every single policy of that 75 page handbook before they sign, right, of course.

Speaker 2:

Of course.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we're on the same page there. But I love that approach where it's not just about aftercare, it's about the throughcare and at the end of the day, this is all part of our broader strategy of just being a great employer. That should just be everybody's bare bones. Foundational HR functional goal is to be a great employer. Right Like that's it.

Speaker 2:

And it is not hard, I mean, when we think about our employer relations community in the past years that we've been through and sort of having to navigate without playbooks, pandemics, wars, I don't know, like you know, what else has happened.

Speaker 1:

I mean, it's just the answer is yes, all of that like anything.

Speaker 2:

And so what do we do? The organization which you love, that they appreciate you. But oh, employee relations are each other. They have the answers oh, it's an employee problem, we'll give it to them. Like we know how to handle the basic. You know tense of how do you do ER during a pandem. So it's tough, it is not easy work.

Speaker 1:

not for the faint of heart, for sure, right right, and so much of it comes back to that, that the care though right, like first of all you have to care and then second of all, you have to show some level of care right. And it's that you know kind of having that approach and aftercare throughcare, dealing with issues when they come up and really you know trusting your intuition when you feel something's not right. You know, and I think one of the things I don't know, one of the challenges early in my career was I keep parking back to like early, like back in the good old days.

Speaker 2:

I haven't been doing this that long, but you know, I'm not that old when our biggest problem was quid pro quo, you know exactly Like, like I like.

Speaker 1:

is it weird to say, like you know simpler times, like hashtag me too, like I mean? But the reality is like, yeah, that it was a simpler time and comparatively, you know through what we've got the last year, but that you know, I think a lot of times our tendency when we deal with some of this stuff is to just like turn into a robot, like shut off our emotion, become a legal machine. Regurgitate the policy, regurgitate the corrective action plan, the progressive discipline policy, the retaliation policy, the harassment, like, just like try to play lawyer, even though that's not what we are right and and and I think that that approach, while it might make logical sense to you, while you're in the thick of it, it might even be necessary to compartmentalize for some of the really dark stuff. It doesn't prioritize the employee right. It prioritizes protection, not support.

Speaker 2:

We've been having this ongoing conversation about transparency and how transparent are you? And sort of it starts with even in the investigation process, how much do you share the outcome or what you're going to do with the complainant. I sort of am always on the side of people like really, and I'm like, well, I don't. They're like you have to protect you. You don't share the outcome, what you do to the subject with the complainant, because that's private. I'm like person sort of lost their right to privacy when they did that stupid thing. I'd rather care about the person that it happened to, and that's hard and I think we need to challenge ourselves. Just because we've done something this way for so long and this is the process Is it the right way? Like we're doing everything in the, in our, in our world, when we think about systemic racism? We have to take away our policy you know the way of doing things and just really investigate. I'm not saying anything in our investigation processes are systemically racist, but but just, we just need to at least examine with an open mind what's going on. And so one of the things regarding transparency, we've been talking about a sharing data, or at least I've been talking about it sharing data about employee relations issues Like how do we know, how do we build that trust? So one of the ways to do it in, in my opinion, is, if you're a large enough organization, at some intervals annually, quarterly do some type of transparency report, share that we've had this many type of issues come up. This is sort of maybe been substantiated, not substantiated. This is how people have been reporting to us and what it does is it says to the organization. It says number one, that we're counting, that we're actually looking at the numbers and that we have a process and that sort of denotes that we care it. Also, if someone looks at it, they're going to say, wow, they actually substantiated certain things. That means they actually might believe me if I come forward or there's other issues like that and we're getting there.

Speaker 2:

We've seen the movement. There are some companies that are starting to do this and I think it's just. It's just making it something they can talk about. And, from my perspective, employees the current set of demographics of employees are starting to demand transparency in so many other ways in pay and we've taken confidentiality out of agreements, arbitration clauses, transparency and how our employer invests their money. They want to know. So it's only a matter of time before they're going to start demanding this. I don't know, maybe it'll be regulated. I don't think we're that close to that now, but let's get ahead of it. How does that just build trust with our employees now? What can we share with them? And at least think about it. You don't have to open everything up, but think about what would help and what's the downside.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Absolutely, and I think it's.

Speaker 1:

You know, I think a lot of people that are maybe more risk averse are probably like I don't know about that, but the reality is every single one of these situations that happens, every dark moment that occurs at your organization, is also an opportunity to shine some light and help your team understand what the expectations are in order to work there. So you know, for you know, I guarantee you that if there's some systemic harassment going on or some leader who is harassing people, you are really responsible for making sure that everybody if after that situation, everybody understands exactly what your expectations are. Do you really think that people don't understand why they're going through this mandatory harassment training? Right Like, I guarantee you that there's a way to be transparent and protect appropriate confidentiality and make sure that everybody understands exactly why in the hell am I sitting in this room for three hours for this mandatory training?

Speaker 2:

What are you talking about? What are you covering up? What is the down like? You have to weigh the downs half of the upside and then decide what's more important for your culture. I mean, it's sort of it goes back to the culture theme.

Speaker 1:

I agree, and I think you know. Maybe the final thing I'll say on this is you know and that, for me, sums up what HR should be we should be the conscience of our organization when these things happen and ask those tough questions that challenge whether we should be overly risk averse or whether we should use this as an opportunity to help make this a stronger organization and instill trust in our employees. Right, and that's that's great right, but that's what we do, so that's what we should be doing. With that being said, we are quickly rounding the end of our time together. I am fascinated to hear your response to the Rebel HR flashroom questions. Are you ready?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm going to go. You might have the answers already, but God yep.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we, yeah, we'll see where we go. All right. Question number one where does HR need to rebel?

Speaker 2:

Oh, shocker. Be transparent, right, just push the envelope. Think about where you can just open up a little bit more to connect with your employees and build that trust.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and I think it's questioning the traditional transparency as well. Right, like that paradigm. You know, I think there's so much in that like fear in HR and it's funny. I'll tell a story, you know, maybe a little bit of a tangent, but so I was doing a live podcast at a conference and I was there to you know, just there to talk to HR professionals, anybody that wanted to talk. There were so many people who were afraid to go on a podcast at all for fear of violating some random confidentiality clause. That side note, it doesn't exist. Right, like, like, just don't say anything crazy and then say this is sponsored and trademarked by my organization, xyz. Right Like, come on and like like we can all relax. But you know that. But so many of us have that like hardwired into ourselves and it's really great.

Speaker 2:

I think that is like oh, it's confidential. I used to say when I was a practitioner, I remember getting I'm saying I'm the director of HR, I'm not a people person, I'm insensitive, and my door is always closed. True, I mean, I am, I'm not insensitive, but you deal with hard things Sometimes, you have to make tough decisions, but my door was always closed.

Speaker 1:

That is so true. Oh my gosh, I love that I might steal that. I might steal that because, literally, my door is like always closed, because I'm always in a meeting of some sort and so like people would always say why did you have a whiteboard?

Speaker 2:

I'm like because I'd have to erase it at the minute.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly Right. Yeah, I wouldn't. There's not enough erasers in the world for the whiteboard. Oh perfect, I love it, All right. Question number two who should we be listening to?

Speaker 2:

Oh well, I'm going to go to my HR answer. So if you listen to your employees, you're probably thinking of some podcasts or something like that, but make sure you're listening to your employees. That's probably the most important thing to do.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, absolutely, and I think you know I maybe just a little bit of a pitch here. You know leverage tools to listen as well. Right, don't don't just rest on the context of hey, these people are comfortable coming to me. I guarantee you there's a lot more. There's a lot more feedback and communication out there, if you'd listen the right way, so that, with the side note and a little bit of an opportunity for you to tell us how can our listeners reach out and connect with you and learn more about HR acuity.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, if you're interested in how technology can be leveraged through employee relations, or if you've never seen it before, we'd love to take you on what I call a curiosity tour. You can reach us at HR2Dcom, you can connect with me on LinkedIn and by the left. I just continue the conversation. And again, if you are an employee relations professional in power hyphen erorg, it's free, you can connect, you can post jobs. It's really a wonderful community and we'd love to have you join us.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and you know I love the community building aspect as well, because you know we're all dealing with similar problems and sometimes it can be isolating because a lot of times we're the only ones in our organization's doing it right. So there is a community out there, there are people that can help you and there are tools that can help you be more effective as it relates to your employees. So, with that being said, we'll also have all those information, or all that information, in the show notes. Pop open your podcast player, check it out.

Speaker 1:

Deb, it's been absolutely amazing to get to know you Definitely kindred spirits as it relates to this, this, this work. So thank you so much for all the work that you've done to elevate the profession and for spending your time with us here today. Thanks, kyle, thank you All. Right. That does it for the Rebel HR podcast. Big thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, twitter at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebelhumanresourcescom. The views and opinions expressed by rebel HR podcast are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the organizations that we represent. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast.

Speaker 2:

Maybe,

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