Rebel Human Resources Podcast

Episode 22: Preventing Burnout with David Shar

December 15, 2020 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy / David Shar Season 1 Episode 22
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 22: Preventing Burnout with David Shar
Chapters
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 22: Preventing Burnout with David Shar
Dec 15, 2020 Season 1 Episode 22
Kyle Roed, The HR Guy / David Shar

Join Kyle Roed as he speaks with David Shar about preventing burnout in HR.  

How can we build work cultures filled with meaningful work and engagement, while simultaneously protecting our employees from burnout?

As a human capital consultant and as a keynote speaker, David Shar offers a refreshing philosophy on leadership, organizational culture and performance management. A lifelong learner, Shar uses his extensive education in HR Management and Industrial Organizational Psychology along with over fifteen years of management experience to teach and inspire people from all levels within an organization. Shar helps business owners and managers simultaneously create a more positive, passionate and profitable work environment.

Shar offers a refreshingly authentic approach to speaking and consulting, with a life
mission of making the working world a more positive and meaningful world for all of us. 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidshar/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5TTgNFnsfw
https://www.illuminatepmc.com/


Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work.


We'll be discussing topics that are disruptive to the world of work and talk about new and different ways to approach solving those problems.

Follow Rebel HR Podcast at:

www.rebelhumanresources.com
https://twitter.com/rebelhrguy
https://www.facebook.com/rebelhrpodcast
www.kyleroed.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-roed/

Rebel ON, HR Rebels!  

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/rebelhumanresources)

Show Notes Transcript

Join Kyle Roed as he speaks with David Shar about preventing burnout in HR.  

How can we build work cultures filled with meaningful work and engagement, while simultaneously protecting our employees from burnout?

As a human capital consultant and as a keynote speaker, David Shar offers a refreshing philosophy on leadership, organizational culture and performance management. A lifelong learner, Shar uses his extensive education in HR Management and Industrial Organizational Psychology along with over fifteen years of management experience to teach and inspire people from all levels within an organization. Shar helps business owners and managers simultaneously create a more positive, passionate and profitable work environment.

Shar offers a refreshingly authentic approach to speaking and consulting, with a life
mission of making the working world a more positive and meaningful world for all of us. 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidshar/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5TTgNFnsfw
https://www.illuminatepmc.com/


Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work.


We'll be discussing topics that are disruptive to the world of work and talk about new and different ways to approach solving those problems.

Follow Rebel HR Podcast at:

www.rebelhumanresources.com
https://twitter.com/rebelhrguy
https://www.facebook.com/rebelhrpodcast
www.kyleroed.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-roed/

Rebel ON, HR Rebels!  

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/rebelhumanresources)

Kyle Roed:

This is the rebel HR podcast. If you're a professional looking for innovative, thought provoking information in the world of human resources, this is the right podcast for you. All right, Rebel HR listeners, I'm extremely excited to introduce you to David Shar. David is the founder of illuminate PMC, and keynote speaker, consultant and trainer, specializing in helping organizations improve their leadership and culture, combat burnout and design, meaningful work. Welcome, David.

David Shar:

Thank you so much how it's great. It's great to be on here. Thank you for having me.

Kyle Roed:

I'm extremely excited to talk to a fellow big 10 alumni. Yeah, University of Maryland. So I'm a I'm an Iowa grad. So, you know, big Ten's got stereo. Again, thank you very much, David, for being here, I'm really excited to talk a little bit about one of the topics that you specialize in. And that is burnout, which is, I think, something that a lot of us in the world of HR risk have in 2020, as well as just, you know, a lot of our employees, so why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, and then we can start talking about burnout.

David Shar:

Um, my background actually starts in the world of ice cream, which is really bizarre place to start. But I had a small ice cream franchise in Baltimore City had a bunch of crew members, because it was already a pre existing store. So I brought in these these mostly teenagers, young adults, that were working for the previous owner. And as it turned out, like all of them, maybe one was not but but the vast majority of them came from some really, really rough neighborhoods, or talking like, if you've seen the wire, the HBO show, some of some of that stuff was like filmed in their back, like the alleys behind their, their homes. Um, and so they had every kind of challenge that you can imagine. And hopefully, if you grew up as privileged as I did things that you can't imagine. And I was, I was in this different world where suddenly there's people who, you know, were subject to abuse of all kinds, had parents in jail, had siblings gunned down on the street, I had one employee who was regularly stopped by the police while he walked to work because he was a young black man walking to work in a, in a predominantly white upper, to upper middle class neighborhood. And so this was, this was my formative years, I was brand new business owner, and it left such a huge impact, because whatever I was accidentally able to stumble into, um, somehow I ended up engaging these employees, somehow they wanted to be at work more than any place in the world. And so my origin really starts with them. And with this one specific occasion, where one of the young lady she must have been like, 17, at the time, came into work, she was usually so high energy and, and, and just great. But she looked really, really down and I approached her and said, What, what's going on? And when she turned to me, there were tears in her eyes. And she explained that her boyfriend had been shot multiple times and left for dead. He was I had known he was part of one of the gangs, this high school kid, you know, and they didn't know if he was gonna live. And so I tried pushing her out of the store, like, go get out of here, you know, some things are more important than ice cream. And she refused to leave, even when I told her that I would pay her for the day like I would personally work her shift and pay her for the day that she refused to leave. And I remember the exact words she said to me, she said, No, I have to be here. I can only be here. This is my happy place. And that hit me like a ton of bricks and was, you know, Mark Twain says the two most important days of your life are the day you're born in the day you find out why that was my second day. And just naturally, I started to ask the questions. Why are these inner city kids finding that work is their escape is their happy place. But so many of their peers are not feeling like that and so many of my peers who are doctors And lawyers and accountants and HR managers, why are they not finding that at their work? Why are they like getting stomachache Sunday night because they don't want to go back to work on Monday morning. So that's, that's where I started. And then and then that led me down my academic pursuits. Because Google wasn't enough. It wasn't, it wasn't giving me the answers I needed. So I started down academic pursuits. I'm got my master's in industrial organizational psychology, which is literally the psychology of work. So people unfamiliar with it, I say, it's like an HR director and a psychologist having a baby, I'd be that baby. And then, and now I'm, I'm pursuing my doctorate, specifically researching the connection between meaningful work and burnout, and where that sometimes that'll blow up in your face where meaningful work can cause burnout, and seems to cause burnout more frequently than then work that we would not call objectively meaningful.

Kyle Roed:

I think I can relate to your experience. And, you know, I tell people, especially in the context of inclusion, you know, I started from a place of ignorance, you know, very sheltered upbringing. I think there, I grew up in a town in Iowa with 5000 people, you know, inclusion was not top of mind for the, you know, 5000 people in town. And it wasn't until I really got into my professional career and got to understand what my employees were going through, just to get to work. That that kind of opened my eyes so. So I'm curious when you as you were kind of having that epiphany, what, what prompted you to focus some of your, your research and energy on on burnout.

David Shar:

Because it disturbed me even more, it had always been something with me where I, you know, I'm not generally a hippie, but, but I consider myself a work hippie, like I've, I've always felt that work should be about more than a paycheck. That work is a place where we can come together in diverse teams, and not just surface level diversity, but deep level diversity, cognitive diversity, diversity of thought, where we come together with people who have complementary skills, and through those are, we're able to have these huge impacts on the world, I always say, Show me an organization that doesn't have some sort of impact on the world that isn't providing some sort of service and I'll show you a bankrupt organization because that's kind of the the point of business is dominant back do you need a demand? Right. And so it began to disturb me even more that so many of my friends that were in these impressive, and, and perhaps subjectively meaningful professions seemed to be burning out that, um, that they started out, you know, with this fire inside them, they were gonna go, you know, fix the world. And, and at some point, at some point, the bureaucracy and all of the mess of work got in the way. And that's what really ignited ignited that that sense of discovery of me why why I needed to understand this process a little better.

Kyle Roed:

I think you need to go get your your, your copyright patent ready for the term work, hippie? That's probably my favorite. My favorite new word right now. I can't be that's good. No, I think that's really insightful. And I think we can all relate to it, especially in the field of HR, you get into the job. And you you, I think most people are in HR because they like people. Yeah. And then one of them. And then. And then when you've been in the career long enough, then you've learned not to like people anymore. That's kind of the joke, right?

Unknown:

Yeah. Yeah.

Kyle Roed:

But it's easy to lose your way. Because all mean, a lot of times all we deal with is negative stuff. Mm hmm. You know, people don't come knocking on our office just to tell us how great work is usually. Right. So, you know, in the context of, of HR I guess I would ask the question maybe a different way how, why don't we start with what would you define burnout as

David Shar:

so burnout has this classical definition, which has sort of stuck around for for since since the beginning since the 70s. Perhaps. But the the classical definition which evolved into is that burnout stands on three legs and those three legs are emotional exhaustion, which is which is perhaps where it all begins. And this is not physical exhaustion. It's just being overwhelmed emotionally at work and and with other influences from outside your life, but but burnout occurs in the work environment. So this emotional exhaustion where you become overwhelmed, and then oftentimes that will lead to physical exhaustion and even psychosomatic symptoms. And, you know, you don't just get people, employees, when they're burnout aren't just taking sick days for mental health days, they're taking sick days, because they literally are sick. Um, then the second piece of it is the cynicism piece or originally known as depersonalization, which, if you ask me is way too many syllables to really catch on. But, but the cynicism piece that we start, and the cynicism piece is really interesting, because I think it has to do with our own psychological safety, you know, we are emotionally exhausted. And we're so so we feel like our hands are sort of tied behind our back and then to protect ourselves from the realization that we are not performing up to our own standards or unable to change the world in the way we thought we would, we start distancing ourselves. Certainly, if you are an HR, you are distancing yourself from from those employees where they stop being, you know, Tom and accounting, and it starts being employee number 115794. You know, and, and we start, we start seeing the humanity and the people. And, and that's a really critical piece of this burnout. And then the final piece, which happens sort of in conjunction with those first two pieces, is the sense of reduced reduced personal accomplishment. And so, this brings up things like effort, reward imbalance, where we start with, like, when we start off, we put so much into it. And then one day, we look around, and we're like, are we getting what we want out of this, like to the same degree, and your employees are doing this all the time, because it's theirs? A, there's a real problem. When we hire people, if you're any good at selection, you probably have never, at least purposefully hired someone who you believed was gonna put in the bare minimum and stick to the job description. Ever. Right?

Kyle Roed:

You're right.

David Shar:

Typically, one employees who are going to go above and beyond, um, we talk in in IO, psychology, io psychology, we talk about OC bees, right? We talk about these organizational citizenship behaviors, this idea that somebody when they're done their work, even though it's not in their job, they see a coworker struggling, they're gonna go and help them out. Or, you know, you're in retail, and you're the closest employees in the store and and you walk a mile to the store and open it up in the middle of a blizzard. That's, that's the type of stuff we hire for. The problem is, are we in HR and leadership? Are we doing the same thing? Or are we being transactional on our side sticking to the contract with, by the way, the occasional pizza party, which, personally I think those pizza parties add insult to injury, but but, but I mean, really, pizza party, so that's like, um, you know, when I, when I take my wife out to lunch The day after I forgot our anniversary, you know, it doesn't work. But, but we often stick to the script, stick to the contract, but don't expect the same from our employees. And it's just a matter of time before that honeymoon period wears off. And the employee looks around and says hold on here. And of course, we didn't make them go above and beyond the contract, but they do it on their own because they believe in what they're doing.

Kyle Roed:

Right? That's like the that's like the true north the secret sauce, right? I'm trying to find the, I'm trying to find the candidate that checks all the boxes of the job description, which is, first of all, almost impossible, right? Because the job description says, must be good with people, but must be comfortable working alone. Like that. Those things can flick. But then yeah, then you're hoping that somebody is, you know, hyper engaged and going above and beyond every single day. The truth is, people aren't like that. Right? That's just not how people are wired. And there's a few rare exceptions. But I think the other thing is people will, people will mimic what everybody else around them is doing. So, you know, eventually they might start off for the first six months and be great, but if the, you know, if Suzy sitting next to him is just like, phoning it in bare minimum, then they're, you know, 20 years in is making twice as much money, right? Eventually a human is going to figure out, Hmm, maybe I don't have to do this.

David Shar:

Right. Right. Absolutely. And that's, I mean, we we see that all the time. And then and we know that burnout is extremely contagious. And it begs the question, is it contagious? Because we're mirroring what we see in our co workers, or is it contagious? Because it's actually baked into the culture and structure of the organization? And I would argue probably both.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah. Oh, man. I've seen that so many times throughout my career, unfortunately. But I want to I want to take a step back, because you hit on something that's just a it's a pet peeve of mine. When did HR become the party planners? I didn't you know, that, was it part of the curriculum? I event planning is the last thing I want to do. And and, you know, we're so but I think that's the, that's what a pizza party is. It's a symptom of a of a job function being delegated to be the party planners, and have no interest in doing it. So yeah, I try to delegate that at all possible.

David Shar:

Yeah. Right. And we bought, we bought on one of two sides of the aisle, either, where the legal the the unlicensed legal department, you know, and everything is just about the rules, right, and enforcing the rules and preventing litigation. Or we're the party planners, and, and we nearly it's got to be about about so much more, it's got to be about actually impacting the culture and not doing these surface level types types of things on that end of the spectrum.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I think it's, it's interesting, this kind of goes back to my earlier comment on like, trying to find the perfect candidate for a job description. You know, it's, I think there are people that are really good at being the compliance people, and you know, and kind of owning that, and of HR, which is, which is critical, there's critical aspects there. And then there are people that are really good at the rewards and recognition and culture and, you know, kind of like the, like organizational cheerleaders, right. But those two things do not go well together. And, and I've done both roles, and I have a preference for, for one versus the other. But, you know, I think that's the challenge in human resources is a lot of times you're being asked to do all of those things. Right. And then during a, during a pandemic, oh, by the way, we need you to become an epidemiologist and help us understand how to manage workplace safety.

David Shar:

You know, I speak it, I speak at Sherm chapters across the country, and one thing that I always notice is, you have the it seems like the new wave in HR is very much like, we want to improve culture, we want to impact we're here for the people, and I love it, there's always one table, you know, back in the corner, with all the people that are nodding their head, like 100% play instead of us like, understanding that it's all part of the one the same whole, like, we can do all of these things at once. We're pretty talented people.

Kyle Roed:

You're so right. You know, I've never thought about that. But I'm just reflecting, you know, back when we could have in person meetings. Yeah, there's that table. And it's like the it's like the compliance club. And they're all they're all great really established professionals. And, and, and then there's the table like the new school, like the new kids on the block, like, you know, ready to ready to change the world and be social justice warriors and HR professionals and everything in between. and, and I love both of them. I love all of them. But yeah, they're definitely, there's definitely the cliques.

David Shar:

Yeah. And this divide that that's, that seems so silly, because we really want a seat at the table. If we really want to impact the world of HR we need we need to have all of those things. Yeah, I

Kyle Roed:

think what am I, some of my favorite people, especially later in my career, as I've gotten to know them on a deeper level are lawyers. I love talking with lawyers, because they love to argue, and they think totally different than me. And, you know, so if I want to, if I want to start try to figure out, Okay, how do I roll this thing out? It's gonna make sense. What am I not thinking of? I just pitch it to, you know, an in house counsel and just say, Hey, what do you think about this? Usually, they're gonna bring up things that that prompted me to think differently. And ultimately, it's a better end product. Right? And so yeah, I'm with you there. That collaboration piece is critical.

David Shar:

Yes.

Kyle Roed:

I think we can all agree that this year has been a challenging year. But the other thing I tell people is, you know, in the world of HR in the world of just people management in general, every year is tough. There's always something whether it's COVID-19 and trying to manage working from home or hybrid schedules are an essential workforce, or it's just dealing with problem performers or compliance issues or projects that aren't going the right way. There's always something so what can we do to prevent burnout?

David Shar:

Yeah, I there's always something for your employees. You You know, if, at any given time people have been going through their own personal 2020, you know, in your office, that's just the, that's just the truth of the matter. This is really unique, because we all are sharing it at the same time experiencing it at the same time. And by the way, I want to make a point to say not in the same way, you know, I love this meme, that's that was going around in the beginning of COVID. That is that we're all in the same, we're all in the same storm. But we're in different boats, it's not that we're all in the same boat, we're not all experiencing this in the exact same way. A lot of people have been laid off, and a lot of people are working extra, you know, so right. Um, there are a lot of people that have been so alone, and are just craving, you know, that that human interaction, I have five children and 120 pound dog, I've been craving the opposite, like, out of my house, you know? just, I just want to say that, but But yeah, so I mean, the fact that burnout is always going to be around, I think it's really important. One of my favorite models of burnout. And there's a famous quote, by the statistician in box, he said, he said, All models are wrong, but some are useful. Which I've always lived in this in this world, where I have one foot in academia, and one foot in practice. And what I find is that the people in academia often will try to force down these models, and say, No, this is what's supposed to happen. And it's like, no, that's, that's how it works in the lab, buddy. That's not how it works at the office. So all models are wrong, but some are useful. And a useful model that I find is the demand control support model, when we're looking at at burnout. And that is that burnout typically occurs when we see increased demand that is matched with low levels or a decrease in a sense of control. And that's in the sense of autonomy, and also more specifically, decision authority, like not just do I get to do this the way that I want to do it, or do I get to make decisions about what is done, um, and a decrease in support. And this support could be from supervisors, it could be from coworkers, it could be emotional, it could be actually instrumental, you know, like actually helping with, with real things, you know, like, nurses sometimes don't need their coworker to be there and say, it'll be all right, Daddy, you know, sometimes they need that other times, that he's like, no, I actually need you to help me lift this patient, you know, all right. So all these types of support are important. So the good thing is when we have a model like this, where we can look at demand control support, we can understand why we burn out. But we can also as my 13 year old son would say, we can hack it, you know, once we once we know how it works, we can hack it. And, and we can and we can reverse it. So demand, I listened to your podcast, whatever the last episode at the recording of this was, um, and you You said something brilliant. You went on this, you went on this? I'm on this rant. And I mean that in a positive way. That's, that's normal.

Kyle Roed:

Yes. I'll do that

David Shar:

on this rant about, about policies that make no sense. And just stand in the way of work. Right. Right. So you read you read and you thought he should copyright work, hippie, um, but, but, uh, so I've, uh, I have a name for this, as well, I call them vestigial policies. And so I flunked out of biology. Turns out I don't, I don't do well with science and math. But before I flunked out of biology, I was I was exposed to this idea of vestigial structures, which are these through evolution, um, you know, as, as people and animals change, their their bodies change, but some things are left behind. And they sort of don't play a role anymore. And a great example of this are our wisdom teeth. So turns out where you stop diets where we needed these wisdom teeth to mash things up and whatever, and I could be getting this all wrong. I told you I flunked biology, but that that our wisdom teeth were there for the diet we needed, and our skull was shaped in a way to accommodate our teeth and that diet, but over time, our diet changed. And so our skulls literally started changing shape, but the Wisdom teeth never went away. And so wisdom teeth, which used to be key to our sustenance to our survival, are now the bane of every late teen early 20 year olds life, you know, they do nothing but cause pain and discomfort for most people. And I think that policies work in the same way. And when we find that people are getting burnt out, and this is the link, I believe, to meaningful work, objectively meaningful work, and why it leads to burnout so quickly, and by the way, I just spoke at the North Carolina Sherm, their annual conference. And it was really interesting, because I pulled the audience and ask them, why did you originally get into HR, and of course, you have this big contingency of people, they're, like, accidentally, totally normal. But so many people, the word in the middle of this word cloud that was formed, said, people, like it was incredibly bold, like, that's why people get into HR, like you said, um, and so but somewhere along the line, we lose it. And I would argue that it's because of these vestigial policies, all of the bureaucracy, the interpersonal conflict, and by the way, not just written policies, but the the policies embedded in our culture, at work, that that stand in the way of doing the work that we're there to do the work that really does impact the world, the world the work that is part of our personal mission. And I so I think, I think step one, is to look around and exactly like you were saying, so brilliantly start removing those policies, I think you were talking about bouncing pickles or something. So yeah. Right. So like, if you got it, you got it, you got to remove the policy and, and that will help alleviate the demand part of burnout. And then the control and support part is about taking control and taking autonomy and job crafting, I'm taking on responsibility for things reconnecting with your mission, and finding opportunities to connect with your co workers, your employees, your employers, in ways that you can help them and what we find with support is that when you give support, you get support. And so it's almost it's extremely difficult. In the research, there's some there's some great research that tries to separate these two ideas, like does giving support help. But what they found was every time they would, they would study people giving support, those people were getting a ton of support to because that's the way the world works. When we when we give support, we get support. And so and so that's that's the the final piece, that support piece of the demand control support model for sure.

Kyle Roed:

I would agree, you know, the, the vestigial example, I think that's a great, a great example, to, you know, great corollary to draw there. I think the other thing you said, that's really critical. And, you know, we all know that these things exist, but they're not in the handbook. It's those those like, unwritten policies or those work rules where, you know, maybe it's not in your handbook, but it's okay to wear jeans on Friday, you know, or it's not okay, to schedule a meeting at 730 you have to wait till 830 you know, those kinds of things that, you know, they're, they're limiting, and they're not documented, and they're very frustrating for people, right? But, but they're also sometimes really stupid. And talk about it talk about something that's just a pain. I love I can't take credit for this quote. But, you know, one of the quotes from one of my HR mentors, back in the day was, you know, we're equal opportunity here, and we hate everybody the same. But I think that's such a great, like, that's a that is like a real HR professional who has been ground down through decades of HR to to treat people as you know, as true like commodities and and they've just, they've seen so much junk through their career. That it's, it's I think it's kind of easy to lose your faith in humanity a little bit when you all you see is the negative side of people.

David Shar:

Yeah, I mean, it only takes helping a couple employees where you do so much for them so much for them so much for them, and they just keep self sabotaging. And then maybe turn around and sue the organization for discrimination afterwards. You know, It's, um, you just need to be burned like that a couple times before you start learning the wrong lessons. And you find this, you find this everywhere. Um, you know, nurses knowing what the what this patient needs. And because of the bureaucracy because of the hierarchy, I'm not having a voice in the organization, and the patient ends up dying on the table, you know, these are things that lead to burnout, because we're there to make a difference. And when we feel like we can't, we feel helpless. and learned helplessness is the primary precursor to depression. And burnout is very closely related to depression. Hmm,

Kyle Roed:

this is all tied together. So we're talking about finding meaning at work. Does that mean that I need to just like, you know, put, put my mission vision and values on a PowerPoint slide and send that out an email? Or, you know, how do I do that?

David Shar:

Right. So are we still are we still talking about millennials? Like I remember, everything used to be like, Millennials want, like I recently took on millennials off the off my web gonna get,

Kyle Roed:

you're gonna get a rant here, if you start talking about millennials, right? Millennials are like, in nearing their 40s with like, three kids and I gotta pick on someone new.

David Shar:

Right? Right. And by the way, in the in the IO, psychology research, um, like the base of the research, it's overwhelming that there are no generational differences, by the way. So like, like, when you look at how how much millennials or whatever, are activists today, it's like, Okay, take, take the baby boomers at the same time period, like when they were in their 20s and 30s, or 30s, and 40s. And compare them and contrast them. Turns out, turnover is similar, um, attrition is similar. Turns out that they're, that they're activists, stuff is similar, like, everything is similar, because it's not really about anything except for age and stage, rather than this generation is going to act differently forever, because of things that happened in their childhood. And also, we talked about inclusiveness, it's like, Corona is like a once in a lifetime exception, but the idea that generations will all act the same, because of shared experience, um, is making a really big assumption that people are all sharing the same experiences. And if you have a diverse network, you know, that nothing could be further from the truth. people experiencing things experience things in very different ways. Um, but what I wanted to say about talking about millennials is, um, you know, they have been asking for, you know, people were saying, All millennials, that they're looking for jobs that are that bring meaning and whatever, and there was like this whole thing, like, they're not taking jobs unless they're super meaningful about, and people would ask me, like, should I leave a job to go to a more meaningful job? My answer was, the meaning is already in the job. You know, it's not, it's not that you definitely need to find an organization that matches your values. But if you're looking for the organization, where you come in, and suddenly you just feel all fuzzy inside, like, what I mean, you're not working for Mother Teresa like this as an organization, you need to connect with the meaning that's in there. And if you're in an HRC, you need to be connecting with the, with the meaning that's in there. But you also have to help by broadcasting that a little bit. Um, my favorite thing about meaning if I could tell you a quick story, um, my wife was a couple of a bunch of years ago now actually, she was driving home late at night, from visiting the in laws. So she had my son and daughter, my two oldest, which back then were very young. So my son was about five years old sitting in the middle seat. My daughter was about three in the car seat in the way back of the minivan. And my wife is driving home, radios off total silence. Kids are presumably sleeping, or at least my daughter in the back. My son is looking out the window when they pass the herd of deer. And my son says to my wife, he says, He says, Mommy, what's the purpose of deer? And I was like, Ah, so she's not only a mother, she's a first grade teacher. So she knows all the tricks. She says, I don't know. How do you what do you think the right back.

Kyle Roed:

So it's an HR trick too.

David Shar:

Right? So so they go back and forth and the brain grace and beauty and the The world and my son said maybe to feed the foxes, you know? So he's okay By the way, but you know, they're going back and forth about the purpose of deer until they run out of ideas. And the car goes completely silent again. And at that moment, my three year old, who everyone thought was sound asleep in the back, they hear a little peep from the back, say, Mommy, what's my purpose? At three years old, my wife, her mind starts spinning a mile a minute, you know, what is her purpose? And what any parent would think she's thinking, is she gonna invent the next Facebook? Is she gonna develop the cervia? Answer, right? I mean, these grand ideas are going through her head. And before she could even utter a response. My son, five years old, he says, That's easy, Rena, that's my daughter's name. Rena. He said, That's easy. Rena, your joy. That's your purpose. You make people happy? Hmm, and of answer. And what I think is so telling about this is that we've all been there at five, and maybe at 25, where we understood what that a meaningful life was a life where we could be our authentic self and impact the world around us. And at some point, we start unlearning that and instead, we start to learn that in order to live a meaningful life, you have to end up on the cover of Time Magazine. And if you don't, this time around, well, I hope that reincarnation is a thing, you know, Better luck next time. But my son understood that it's not about that it's about being authentic and impacting the people around you. Because then from there that has a greater impact and a greater impact and a greater impact. And before you know it, you have changed the world. And so when people ask me how they find meaning at work, or how they find meaning, during COVID, when everything's been put on pause, and their plan sort of got derailed and things like that, I tell them to go back to basics. Like what is it about you? How can you impact the world around you in some positive way? You know, that's unique to you. Like, for Rena, he was done on Joy is her thing. For other people, it's humor and other people, it's integrity and other people. It's, it's honesty, you know, and, and what is it that you can do, you know, to impact the world? And I think I think that that in the organizational setting is so important to get down to what are your core values? And how can you have that impact.

Kyle Roed:

I love hearing the stories of the kids. So you've got my, you've got my wheels turning and so actually, when you're describing that story, I'm sitting here thinking about a cinematic masterpiece frozen to which I have, I have two, I have two girls four and six. And then I have a boy who he doesn't care about frozen too. But I just remember in that in the in the one of the later scenes, it's like everything's dark and you know, going through the dark part of the hero's journey and all that stuff. And and there's a song called do the next right thing. And it's all about you know, don't get overwhelmed just just take one step forward and do the next right thing and I'm like, that's really poignant. I should just I should think about that more as opposed to trying to fix every everything that's wrong with my world or my organization or my you know, or my family or whatever. Right. So yeah, well said. Now you got that now you got my me emoting here through thinking about my kids so

David Shar:

that's awesome and you're better dad than I am because I did not sit through frozen too. All I know about that movie is that to this day, my eight year old and my 10 year old daughters walk around the house go and I put my wife says it's frozen to so that's why I've never seen the movie but now I want to see it that sounds

Kyle Roed:

it's Northolt you know, calling out to you know, Princess Elsa, so don't worry about what else I guess she's a queen now so I'll have to brush up on on frozen too. That's probably outside of the scope right now. I do I would tell you if you like if you like like 80s power ballads or queen there's a really good there's a good like, guy moment and frozen too for for all of us. Really lovers of 80s music with Christoph so dies and Weezer does a good cover of it too. So, okay, we're going way off topic here. Love it. Oh, that's good. That's all good. You know, that's part of why we started this podcast is to you know, have a little bit of fun. To write I mean, every, everything is so serious in HR and especially this year. Yeah, I think it's okay to be a human.

David Shar:

Yes. More than Okay, you need to be a human. People need more of that.

Kyle Roed:

So how do I know if I have a problem with this? I mean, I think, you know, one of the things that's been really surprising to me is that my employees have been really resilient through all of this. Yeah. And I've got some people who have just blown me away with work ethic and integrity and collaboration and flexibility. And and so and I tend to always look at the bright side of everything, but how do I know if if I have a burnout problem in my company?

David Shar:

Yeah. So it's, it's really important to understand that burnout can can show itself in a lot of different ways. Um, typically, you think of burnout and turnover. But in the economy, the where we are now and where we may unfortunately be going, which is not the economy, we just came from a turnover might decrease, even if people are miserable and burnout, what we find in in you mentioned lawyers earlier in law, what we find is that smaller law firms have fairly high burnout and as well as fairly high turnover. Larger law firms have the same burnout if not more, but less turnover. So what's going on, when you speak to any recovering lawyers, um, you find that there's so much stress within so many of these firms, and, but people don't want to walk away from the paycheck and also sort of this macho atmosphere, you can't burn out, you can't leave. Um, and so you know, oftentimes these these older law firms are ultra competitive. And so what happens is people stay around and they turn to some really risky behaviors on alcohol, drugs, I'm in a marital affairs, their whole life starts falling apart in one way or or extramarital affairs rather, and their whole life starts falling apart, in one way or the other. And that's and and in the most extreme cases, you even see things like, like heavy depression and suicide even. Um, and so, burnout can show itself in a lot of different ways. But, um, I think many HR professionals to a certain extent they know it, when they see it, it's it's disengagement. It's that middle piece that they see the cynicism, you know, the people that are unplugged. It's like, suddenly, you start noticing that everybody is, is packing up their desk at 5pm sharp. I'm, or, I'm in today's day and age, maybe you can't reach them, outside of, quote, unquote, normal business hours that don't even exist anymore. It seems like, um, right, and then and then. And then a final symptom that you can find is increased increased sick days, and also increased interpersonal conflict.

Kyle Roed:

I think it's particularly challenging when you have people who are working remote or working from home to try to spot it. I know, I've had a few, a few challenges where I've had employees who, you know, are responding to emails at midnight. Yeah. But it's because they have kids, and they can't focus during the day. So they have to do all their emails and like, odd hours, and so they're probably sleeping, you know, four or five hours a night trying to, you know, balance work parent, you know, maybe being a homeschool teacher, all these crazy things that that people are dealing with right now. It's just, it's really tough for folks right now.

David Shar:

Right? And we're statistically seeing that that people are actually working longer hours now that they're at home. And then and then it's that whole concept of work life balance. I mean, that doesn't exist, you know, I've been pushing, not just me, you know, plenty people have been pushing for work life integration, you know, forever because Because really, you know, even before Corona like in the times of smartphones, there is no, there is no like balance, okay, I'm going to put up a boundary here. And this is going to be my work life. And this is going to be my home life. That was already not really existing anymore anyway, but now, especially with those increased stressors at home, and increased duties at home. It's a it's become so much more difficult. And so I think I think you have a really good point and you need to look at For trends of people who are responding, maybe at, you know, at two o'clock in the morning, and also people whose are responding less, um, and the thing, the one thing that I that I really recommend that anybody in management certainly does is that they check in with their people that they set times to call people, we don't give credit to how easy it is to accidentally bump into somebody buy their desk and say, oh, by the way, how's your mom, you know, like, those things just happen organically when we're when we're in the workplace. But in virtual teams, it doesn't happen like that. And so we set these meetings, and people don't really have the opportunity to have these tracking type things. And so so it needs to, it needs to still happen. And the only way it still happens is to actually put it on a schedule, put it on the calendar, like a 510 15 minute call, where the agenda is just making sure you're okay, and whether you need anything from me and what I can do to help and How are the kids etc.

Kyle Roed:

That's a good, that's a that's a great tip. I, I distinctly remember, just I think this was back in would have been back in May. And at that point, you know, every call I got was related to COVID-19 countermeasures and and you know, you know, people who are near panic or dealing with employee concerns, that sort of thing. So I got a call from one of my managers and just out of the blue, and I'm like, What is this? Yeah, I mean, that's my initial, my initial reaction. And I pick up the phone, and he just says, Hey, you seem like you've been really busy. How you doing? Huh? That's it.

David Shar:

Love it.

Kyle Roed:

You know, and for me, and it was like, it was a moment and I literally felt myself exhale, like I was I was tense. Yeah. On the phone just waiting for waiting for the other shoe to drop. Right? Yeah. And all he wanted to do was make sure everything was going okay. And, you know, I think I mean, for me, that was like eye opening, and, and a little bit of a call to action that, hey, I saw what that did to my psyche. Yeah, we need to make sure this happens more, right. And I need to do this more for my team and for, for the employees I'm supporting, and a great, great point, great call outs.

David Shar:

It's so powerful. And one of my clients actually put in the budget for these virtual Starbucks coffee cards. And his managers are sending these virtual coffee cards, and inviting people to have one on one coffees so that they do a zoom call and coffees on you. So you run out to your local Starbucks and pick up the coffee, but you sit in front of your in front of your computer and check in that way. Um, love it. And there's really no, there's really no agenda just to see how things are going. I

Kyle Roed:

love it. All right, well, we are nearing in on time. So I want to go through some some hard hitting questions here. The HR rebel HR flash round. All right. Question number one, what are you reading right now?

David Shar:

Oh, what am I reading? So I'm a doctorate students. So I'm reading a lot of really, really boring stuff. So mostly mostly articles. Let's see what's on my desk right now. I've got the the power of emotional appeals in promoting organizational change programs. And the other one that I have is making change permanent a model for institutionalizing change. So that's probably a really, really boring answer. But I mean, this is this is some really, really good and really pertinent stuff right now.

Kyle Roed:

Good, good. Hey, I'm all for it. I I have a very short attention span. So kudos to you for for plowing through some of that stuff. I'll look forward to you summarizing that for all of us in a way that I can actually interpret,

David Shar:

make it into a digestible LinkedIn post, I promise. All right.

Kyle Roed:

All right. Second question. Who should we be listening to?

David Shar:

Oh, definitely you call. Oh, that's, that's what you should be listening. Hey, thanks

Kyle Roed:

for the shameless self promotion. I appreciate.

David Shar:

This podcast is absolutely awesome. Um, some people that I tune into, I'm Dan pink.

Kyle Roed:

Oh, yeah,

David Shar:

everything he does, I'm all about it. Um, he was actually I read his book drive. Um, when I was just very shortly after that incident with my crew member And her boyfriend being shot and my whole world changing. And I started reverse engineering everything that I did. And I came across Dan Pink's book drive. And I was so excited and so upset at the same time because everything he said was the stuff that I was saying. Like, I suddenly felt validated and so much less original at the same time. So I love him. And I love Adam Grant. Yeah, Adam Grant is he's definitely the most famous organizational psychologists out there. He's an he's an i O. But he's he's also got some some really great, great thoughts.

Kyle Roed:

All right. Last last question here. How can our listeners connect with you?

David Shar:

Um, so they can connect with me, I'm super active on LinkedIn. And however they get their linkedin.com search my name or it's slash i n slash david Sharpe, I think also my website, illuminate PMC calm. That's p MC for performance management, consultants calm. And then I also have something that if you want to link to it, in your show notes, I could definitely provide for them, which is my my FTF burnout proof culture model. So it's a link to get that. And it's a much more involved sense of how do you actually build a burnout proof culture, which starts with selection and goes through training and development and and how do you how do you bake that into the organization so that so that you're not just talking about resilience, or talking about building something that prevents burnout from ever being a problem?

Kyle Roed:

Love it. Yeah. We'll link to all that in the show notes. So if anybody wants to get connected there, definitely recommend it. So, David, I really appreciate the time here today. great conversation. We even worked in some some Disney references and, and I appreciate it very much. So. Thank you so much, and keep up the great work.

David Shar:

Thank you. It was an absolute pleasure.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Thanks. All right. That does it for the rebel HR podcast they can guess. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter, at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebel human resources.com. Use it opinions expressed by podcast. Not necessarily

Jude Roed:

maybe