Rebel Human Resources Podcast

Episode 45: HR as Lubricant, not Friction with Michael Solomon and Rishon Blumberg

May 25, 2021 Kyle Roed / Rishon Blumberg and Michael Solomon Season 1 Episode 45
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 45: HR as Lubricant, not Friction with Michael Solomon and Rishon Blumberg
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Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 45: HR as Lubricant, not Friction with Michael Solomon and Rishon Blumberg
May 25, 2021 Season 1 Episode 45
Kyle Roed / Rishon Blumberg and Michael Solomon

Rishon Blumberg and Michael Solomon are our guests this week- they founded 10x Management, the first of it’s kind tech talent agency, and are thought leaders on the Talent Economy and the Future of Work. They’ve been featured everywhere from The New Yorker and CNN to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and most recently published their first book, Game Changer: How To Be 10x in the Talent Economy (HarperCollins Leadership).

Rishon is, first and foremost, an entrepreneur. It’s what he studied — graduating from the Wharton School of Business with a degree in entrepreneurial management in 1994.
It’s what he’s lived and it’s what he loves. For more than 20 years, he’s harnessed that spirit to create and lead successful organizations based in tech, entertainment, and the nonprofit sphere
— finding new solutions to long-standing and emerging challenges.

Michael Solomon is ​an established ​entrepreneur with a strong desire to help people, a sharp eye for business, and a desire to make a difference. The four organizations he’s helped found — for­-profit and nonprofit alike — share a common goal of improving people’s lives. He has a passion for personal and professional growth and views optimizing himself and all that he works on as a personal mission.

https://www.harpercollinsleadership.com/game-changer/
https://www.10xmanagement.com/
https://twitter.com/10xmgmt
https://www.linkedin.com/company/10x-management
Lifestyle Calculator:  https://10xascend.com/calculator/

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

Subscribe today on your favorite podcast player!  

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/

We love to hear from our listeners!  Send us questions or comments at kyleroed@gmail.com

Rebel On, HR Rebels!

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

Show Notes Transcript

Rishon Blumberg and Michael Solomon are our guests this week- they founded 10x Management, the first of it’s kind tech talent agency, and are thought leaders on the Talent Economy and the Future of Work. They’ve been featured everywhere from The New Yorker and CNN to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and most recently published their first book, Game Changer: How To Be 10x in the Talent Economy (HarperCollins Leadership).

Rishon is, first and foremost, an entrepreneur. It’s what he studied — graduating from the Wharton School of Business with a degree in entrepreneurial management in 1994.
It’s what he’s lived and it’s what he loves. For more than 20 years, he’s harnessed that spirit to create and lead successful organizations based in tech, entertainment, and the nonprofit sphere
— finding new solutions to long-standing and emerging challenges.

Michael Solomon is ​an established ​entrepreneur with a strong desire to help people, a sharp eye for business, and a desire to make a difference. The four organizations he’s helped found — for­-profit and nonprofit alike — share a common goal of improving people’s lives. He has a passion for personal and professional growth and views optimizing himself and all that he works on as a personal mission.

https://www.harpercollinsleadership.com/game-changer/
https://www.10xmanagement.com/
https://twitter.com/10xmgmt
https://www.linkedin.com/company/10x-management
Lifestyle Calculator:  https://10xascend.com/calculator/

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

Subscribe today on your favorite podcast player!  

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/

We love to hear from our listeners!  Send us questions or comments at kyleroed@gmail.com

Rebel On, HR Rebels!

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

Rishon Blumberg:

The similarity with all of the successes is the agility and the flexibility that HR shows. So the more rigid an organization is, the less likely they are to really frame things around an individual, the less successful they are.

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. Alright, Rebel HR listeners. I'm extremely excited for our guests today. So I am outnumbered and I'm thrilled to have a couple of wonderful guests joining us today we have rashaan Blumberg, and Michael Solomon. They founded 10x management. It's the first of its kind tech talent agency. They are thought leaders on the talent economy and the future of work. They've been featured everywhere from the New Yorker, and CNN to Last Week Tonight with john oliver, and most recently published their first book game changer. How to be 10x in the talent, economy. Welcome to the show.

Rishon Blumberg:

Thank you for having us.

Kyle Roed:

Well, I'm extremely excited. And I can honestly say I've never been on Last Week Tonight with john oliver, but a huge fan. So you know, you've got that one up on me.

Rishon Blumberg:

I mean, look, technically, we were on Last Week Tonight. But in reality, he just used a snippet of an interview I did in a segment of his, and then left, my left is still image on my face on the screen for like a minute and a half. Thankfully, he didn't like he didn't make fun of me or lambaste me or lambaste anything I was saying, but it was, it was a pretty special moment.

Kyle Roed:

I think that counts, I'll give that one to you. That's more than many of us could say,

Rishon Blumberg:

he doesn't really have guests. So I guess that's about as close as one to getting on. That's it. I did meet him a couple months after that happened. And I went up to talk to him. And he sort of explained that he had used me yada, yada, and he was he was very gracious. And he said, I'm so happy that I didn't make fun of you. Because normally when people come up and say I was on your show, they're really annoyed with me. But then then I tried to be the comedian and made some sort of really off color joke, which and I was in a room with other people. And it was like, the saloon doors swung open and closed and the record skipped and it's just dead silence. And that's when I realized I gotta let leave the comedy up to the comedians.

Kyle Roed:

You know, I get accused of dad jokes all the time. And I think it's a badge of honor. So you know, Dad jokes, HR, jokes.

Michael Solomon:

jokes, and today, we will I'm notoriously horrible at them. I mean, I feel like somebody should just walk around without walk behind. They're just terrible.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I got the little sound effect that didn't and Ching, you know, that's just queued up, queued up on my phone. My kids love it. They think I'm so funny, as far as I know. Well, thank you, again, so much for being so gracious with your time a couple of extremely busy guys and have done so much. So I think for the benefit of our listeners, I'd like to learn a little bit more about 10 acts, and how you approach what you do. So why don't we start off there just give us kind of an understanding of 10 acts and how it started and and what the mission is. All right, I'll

Rishon Blumberg:

feel this one. It's for Shawn speaking here. So we kind of got to 10x in a very roundabout way we had been working and still work in entertainment representing musicians, artists, sort of a variety of different entities around the entertainment world. And for years had been hiring tech talent, freelance tech talent to build web properties and apps, and just kept bumping up against a lot of the same problems and inefficiencies. And at the time, we didn't really think anything of it other than the fact that we sort of noted that there was these issues. But then around 2010, people started referring to tech talent as rock stars. And I think there was a little bit of a lightbulb moment that went off. And we thought like, is it possible that the skill set that we've acquired in working with entertainment talent could translate to other verticals? And ultimately, through a little bit of testing, we realized it does work very well in that vertical and so what we did is we essentially ported over the concept of talent representation from sports, entertainment and entertainment. Much like a company like CAA or William Morris endeavor, is an agent for you know, very, very successful artists, athletes and entertainers. We do the same thing, but our talent is senior freelance tech talent, and the concept was super simple. Like, how do we help companies? HR, we actually thought HR would be our main customer. How do we help companies rapidly access sophisticated pre vetted talent? That was a problem we were having in the marketplace, we didn't know how to find those people. And then on the talent side, how do we free them up to focus on what they do best, as opposed to having to deal with negotiating a deal, invoicing, staying on contracts that stint you know, sort of dealing with all the rigmarole of running a business, finding engagements, ending engagements, things like that. And so that's really the premise of the company is very, very senior level, pre vetted talent that can quickly onboard with companies of all shapes and sizes. And we take all of the business elements off of the town's plate, so they can focus on the development and problem solving, which is what they do best.

Kyle Roed:

Sounds great.

Rishon Blumberg:

It has been great. Although we quickly realized that HR was not a customer for us. And and I think, you know, I'm sure we'll talk about this a bunch more in this conversation. But that was a big surprise to us and a big eye opener.

Kyle Roed:

Hmm. What What, what did you find the disconnect was between HR and your service?

Rishon Blumberg:

Well, I think that what we and I don't think neither of us profess to be HR professionals or experts. So this is anecdotal from the outside looking in, what we realized fairly quickly is that HR is really focused on w two full time hires a and b, really on focused on the human resource element as it relates to their existing personnel, not so much in solving existential problems that some elements of that personnel might have, ie, if you've got, you know, a tech department and you have a CTO, HR probably is not going to be part of the solution and finding, you know, a senior Python developer to quickly work on a project for the next three months. But like, that's probably not something that they're usually tasked with. And, as it turns out, we've been doing this for 10 years now, I don't think we have ever spoken to HR. On the front end of engagement. There are occasions where some element of HR will come in maybe, as we're finishing a contract or some sort of onboarding from the procurement standpoint, but they're just not part of that solution process, which is surprising.

Michael Solomon:

And I think that, you know, just to add some color, I think that's also relating to existing vendor contracts, what, what large enterprise companies really lack in the HR department, which I think is going to and it certainly has to change is agility that smaller companies have, and that is needed to work in the current environment, you know, it's just job tenure gets shorter and shorter, there's more and more uses for freelancers. And if you don't have the ability, when one of your tech leaders says I found this person on my own, they're fantastic, I need them. If your HR department isn't equipped to say, Alright, let's figure out how to get them on board right away. You're, you're losing ground as a company. And that's not where that's not the role HR should be playing HR should be, should be lubricant, not friction.

Kyle Roed:

Who I like that lubricate, not not friction, that it's, it's really fascinating that that's, that's the perspective, you know, from, from, from your experience, I think, just drawing from personal experience, the especially when you get into the technical field, and those technical roles, a lot of times hrs, kind of flying blind, you know, they don't necessarily know what good looks like, like, Python, C sharp, you know, programmers of any kind, like, I, I didn't even know what that meant, until I actually had to hire one of those positions as a W two employee. But ultimately, that all falls on the shoulders of kind of the operators and the the operational leaders, at least in my experience, because they we assume that they are the subject matter experts. And but I would say the other observation that I have seen specifically in my past has also been that we have hired individuals who we have assumed have the skill sets that are reflected on the resume. But when they actually get into a project environment or an environment where there's an output that's required, that may not be the case. So I want to circle back to you mentioned that the term pre vetted candidates. So as you look at it at individuals, what processes Do you go through to truly vet them to the point that you're comfortable representative.

Michael Solomon:

So we have a multi step process. And one of the nice things about the nature of our business model is even though these are freelancers, average tenure of our freelancers is probably five years at this point. So it's not like we're constantly cycling through. But our process includes a very interview with one of us with one of the founders of the company, where we're very focused on EQ and problem solving, and is this person, somebody who will challenge their their customer during an engagement if they think a mistake is being made, because the biggest thing that we hear from unhappy people who who've worked with other tech providers is that the person just did what they were told and never sort of acted as a partner understood the why or said, I think this might be a mistake, or there's a better way to do this. So we're, we're really digging in on those kinds of skills and qualities we're doing, of course, we're doing extensive reference checking. And then we go through a technical that, where we use one of our existing talent or existing clients, and that when I say clients in this context, I mean, the tech talent that we represent, to who has domain expertise, to vet, our newest, or newest client that we're bringing on. And the reason that we do it that way is the person who we already represent wants to make sure that someone is is going to be up to speed and up to snuff when they come on and represent our name because it impacts their ability to get work. So it's, it's it's a really excellent sort of continuous cycle. And that's why, you know, I think a lot of companies don't have HR doing their tech vetting. They have that detect team during the tech vetting. And I think that makes that makes good sense.

Rishon Blumberg:

There's, there's one other thing to mention there, like most of the people that we represent, and have represented over the years came to us through a trusted source. So first and foremost, we'd love to get references and recommendations to people from either our existing clients, clients we've worked with before, or customers that we've worked with, because right off the bat, we know that somebody whom we trust has said, Oh, this person is really great. And then of course, we do all those other things as well. The one thing you forgot Michael's cyberstalking, where we really pour through like all the socials and what they what their social footprint looks like to see if there any red flags. You know, we're not necessarily going to comment on their dad jokes, whether they're good or bad. But we want to get a sense of you know, is is this person a level headed? what I would call normal person? Or do they have some extreme viewpoints that perhaps are, you know, perhaps red flags, they're not necessarily red flags?

Kyle Roed:

Well, that's a whole nother podcast on cyber stalking. Let me tell you, we could go a long, long time on that on that topic. But it almost prevented me from getting the job I'm in today, if you want to know the truth, and the only reason that they they let it slide that I am a Wedding Singer and covered in tattoos is the fact that the lawyer told him that they couldn't consider that in the hiring decision.

Michael Solomon:

Oh, that's awesome. Love it. Yeah, you

Kyle Roed:

know, and it's i i'm just i'm Bolivia's, I got Facebook pictures up or whatever. And,

Michael Solomon:

look, I still try and remind my kids that at some point, there's going to be an employer sniffing around and you better hope your your digital trail is not terrible.

Kyle Roed:

So I actually I actually lost the opportunity to, to get into a class in college that I really wanted to do. Because the professor saw me in a this point, it would have been my space, I guess, I saw my space picture of me with a beer in my hand. But at the time, I was over 21 years old, I was a non traditional student. So he banned me from this class because I had a bad social media footprint. And I yeah, I argued my point didn't matter. He didn't care. But yeah, I learned my lesson the

Michael Solomon:

hard way out. It looks like it's all worked out just fine at the end, at the end, as it usually does.

Kyle Roed:

It's probably for the best I still have a you know, a vendetta against that individual until the day I die. But other than that, I'm fine. I'm perfectly over it. It's not as

Rishon Blumberg:

well, you should as well.

Kyle Roed:

Well, this is fascinating. And I, I just I've got I asked because I'm just a huge musical geek. So dealing with rock stars and musicians and entertainers and sports stars. Is it the same level of diva with tech stars?

Michael Solomon:

It is not exactly in my experience. It's almost the opposite. We've run into a few moments of a few people along the way who were tech stars. Who had had egos, but for the most part, it's actually the opposite. And I'll illustrate that in the following way. On the management side, on the on the brick wall management, our entertainment company side, we would have, you know, however many applicants came in who wanted to be represented by us, they are singing their praises overinflating, every, every metric and their skills and their abilities. On the tech side, it's the absolute opposite. I interviewed a gentleman yesterday to come on as a potential client. And I asked him, compared to other people he had worked with how his speed was. And he said, I think it's generally pretty good. I haven't run into a lot of people that are faster than I am. And I sort of probed a little bit more, because I thought there was a little more under it. And this gentleman happened to be from India. And he did say, Have you heard of this coding competition? And, and long story short, to just cut to the chase, he had won multiple National Indian speed coding competitions, and plays top 50 in a global speed coding competition. And, and wasn't saying I'm very fast he was, you know, there. Well,

Rishon Blumberg:

in fairness, that means there are 50 people who are faster than him. In the world. So that's,

Michael Solomon:

yeah, yeah. Well, and that's, and that's my point is, is these are people who, who look who, who revere those who are better and look up at them with a lot of respect, and are not constantly leveling themselves up and in entertainment. And I think that it's a little bit more subjective than then technology. That it's, you know, that you'll find a million artists who, you know, have, you know, don't have to fans, but think they're as good as Led Zeppelin, Jimi, whoever, you know,

Kyle Roed:

well, they just need their big break.

Michael Solomon:

Yeah, exactly. And they just need the manager to give them the big break, right, to give them for the record deal. And they don't they Yeah, so that was a long answer. But

Rishon Blumberg:

but in fairness, there are digital divas, and we are very, very much against the concept of technologists who just are sort of snobby and looked down on other people and think that if they're not listened to, then the person not listening to them is there's something wrong with them. So on the entertainment side, we're trying to sort of build up that rock star, you know, you're you're a rock star. On the tech side, we're trying to instill in people more human like humanity, like treat other people that way, the golden rule, treat other people the way you want to be treated, communicate to people over communicate to people don't withhold. So there is there definitely are divas out there. We don't put up with it. So anytime we've we've had that happen in our or any of the clients that we represent, we've stopped working with them. But I think that there is a fundamental, by the way, I think there's a lot of similarities between the two, between rockstars and tech talent. And almost everybody we represent is also a musician, which I think is super interesting. So there is something there. But I think the real difference is that tech is a very self contained, something you do kind of by yourself, or maybe you you you coat co code with somebody, people don't really see what you're doing. Whereas with music, obviously, it's you know, everybody sees it, you're living out loud, and it's constant. And always. So I think that the two entities develop sort of a different type of ego, super ego kind of Proposition.

Kyle Roed:

Sure. Sure. That's fascinating. It's, it's, that I've just, I just think it's a fascinating topic. And, you know, I do reflect on a lot of our we have a lot of technical talent, primarily in kind of on the engineering side of the world. But there are a lot of musicians there as well, I think, you know, if you look at the research on, you know, musicians having better math skills for me, so I'm a I'm a guitarist, for me, it's all about patterns. And you know, that's it. That's how the guitar works. You just follow a pattern up and down the fretboard. And I've got to believe it's probably pretty, pretty similar as it relates to programming. it's

Michael Solomon:

astounding what percentage of our tech talent clients are also musicians. It's way north of 50%. I don't have the number, but I guess it's north of 75%. Yeah, interesting.

Kyle Roed:

That's fascinating. All right. So I want to I want to shift gears a little bit. So this show obviously, we're primarily HR practitioners really coming from it a lot of times from the employers point of view. So as you are representing clients, and as you're looking at these companies that are retaining some of these wonderful, talented people that you're representing, how are you? What kind of common things are you seeing how are these companies retaining some of that talent are really becoming a destination for some of the the top talent you represent?

Rishon Blumberg:

Well, Michael, to this a little bit earlier, but I think rigidity is, is, you know, the biggest impediment for that the companies that we've worked with that have been successful both onboarding, the freelancers we work with and successfully managing them through a project. And also effectively bringing on we have a sister company called 10x ascend, where we help w two tech talent, negotiate their compensation packages. And I think the similarity with all of the successes is the agility and the flexibility that HR shows. So the more rigid an organization is, the less likely they are to, you know, cater to an individual cater may be the wrong word but, but really frame things around an individual, the less successful they are in tech in particular, but I do think that this is in our book, is really we use tech as a backdrop, but it really, it's really applicable for any high performer in any industry, the world is changing so much, where the efficiency allows companies to do more with less, maybe not allows it forces company companies to do more with less. So whomever you hire has to essentially be a top performer. And any top performer that you want to attract, you have to talk to them as an individual, you can't just think of them as a cog in the machine. We actually created something and we think it's a little bit of an innovation called the lifestyle calculator. And it's a 24 question, that's a 24 point scale, where people weigh against each other different values that they have in an overall compensation package. So for example, salary, equity, paid time off title, office, you know, additional learning, professional learning, you know, a whole host of different things. And there were 100 points that they have to spread through all these things. And it really forces them to, to identify what's most important to them, no to lifestyle calculator, fill outs are the same. And we end up knowing more just from that, then I think most HR and hiring managers do when they're done with an interview process. And they make an offer to somebody that offer typically contemplates you know, salary and maybe a couple of other things that they talk about. But we would say an innovation would be for HR teams to use this lifestyle calculator. To get a basic sense, from a professional standpoint, what is important to a specific candidate, and cater and offer around that, as opposed to just sort of, here's what we offer people who are typically applying for this position, and you know, sort of take it or leave it kind of stuff, they can really customize and make them a more bespoke offer. And I think that is the area where we've seen greater success when companies are able to make something that is more bespoke to the individual. That's how they're more successful in onboarding somebody.

Michael Solomon:

And that doesn't, the thing that I want to add to that is, it doesn't mean you have to make a bigger offer, actually, often it means you can make a smaller offer. Because just sort of using an example, if we go back a year and a half, letting somebody work from home on Fridays, was worth a lot of money to them. And they would have you know, if they were comparing two offers, and we sit, we sit on the other side of the table all the time where they're doing that. And it's like, well, this one's being really flexible, about about this element. And this is really important to me. And even though it's a little bit less money, I kind of want this, and we see it all the time. And it's just about asking the questions. So you can make an offer, you know, for somebody who for whom personal or professional development is a huge element, being able to just be forward and and even tell them about what our company does, as it relates to that, as part of making the offer because you know, it's important to them is huge. And unfortunately, largely what we see especially at the large companies is yes, the negotiation will end up with a different deal for from candidate to candidate, but they almost all start the same way and get presented the same way. As though everybody was a cookie cutter person. We live in a moment where we have personalized medicine, Netflix offers the next show you should watch based on your preferences. Spotify can recommend stuff Pandora can recommend stuff. There's everything is customized to your wants in your knees. And here's this one element of life. That is where you're going to spend your most waking hours and all of this energy and time and literally trading your actual existence on this planet your limited life for compensation, and it's treated as though oh you're you're at this level engineer, well, then you get this and and i know companies can't customize everything for everybody. But I assure you they can. They can present things in a different way, when it especially when it's important hire

Kyle Roed:

to help them. Yeah, there's so many different ways I could go with this. But my past I started fortune 500 300,000 plus employees, I truly was I was an HR, but I was still a cog in a machine to the point that they actually had a, a schematic for how I should organize my office. So that if I were to walk out one day randomly, in a fit of rage, the next HR person could find the exact binder and the documentation that they needed to find in the binder on the shelf with the whatever. Like, it was crazy to me, and it was stifling. I mean, it really was it was, it wasn't very comfortable. Versus my company now where it's, you know, the handbook is this, you know, it's a few pages of the legal ease that you have to have. But the the employment relationship is much more individual. But it's, it's interesting that, you know, we started the conversation talking about HR and not really being as involved as you would have assumed they would be, which I think is a is a travesty, and call to action, if you're an HR and you don't start to dig into technology in these terms in the skills that are in demand, you're going to be left behind in the next 10 years, because everybody's going to need to have these tech skills in the near future. But it's also beat into our heads that you have to treat everybody the same. Otherwise, you're at risk of discriminatory action, you know, and it's it's very much a, you know, an HR school, it's very much a compliance mindset, as opposed to, you know, creating a bespoke position for somebody or giving somebody a specific incentive that they actually want. But I can't tell you how many times I assume that an incentive is going to work in one way, and it incentivizes the wrong behavior. Right.

Michael Solomon:

Yeah, we see that also. Yeah,

Kyle Roed:

yeah, absolutely, absolutely. So. So not every not every company is going to be able to be as flexible in every aspect of the of the role. Have you seen larger companies that have been able to take, you know, maybe, maybe small steps in the right directions that have made a big impact?

Michael Solomon:

Sadly, the times that we've seen that has always been an innovation or lab group at a large company, that's sort of the the SEAL team, if you will, that's often their own world, that it has special privileges, reach out to HR and say, I found this person, I want them, you have to figure out how to make it happen. That's when HR sort of has, and by the way, in quite a few instances, that deal died also, like HR couldn't figure out how to make it work. They could they, you know, the vendor approval process, whatever it was. And the other thing that we also find occasionally with enterprise companies, with regard to this is that same scenario where somebody is needed for three or six month project, it's one practitioner, and the MSA that they put in front of us, takes six to nine months to negotiate. And requires requires like insane levels of insurance. And it's not geared, we're not a giant company. It's just not geared. It's geared for McKinsey, like it's perfect for McKinsey, or for ascent Accenture. But it's not geared for a relatively smaller shop that can't spend that time and much, much more importantly, do you think that that urgent need that that labs group needs done now is still going to be sitting there in nine months when this contract gets worked out, if it gets worked out. And it's, it's to the point that we are now able to say at a certain point in the process to these companies, like we love working, we want to work with you, we'd be we'd be very interested in being in business with you. But we've been to this rodeo, and if you can't come up with a smaller, faster, lighter and MSA for this engagement or just, you know, use our form, which covers most of the things. It's not going to get done and everybody's gonna waste a lot of time. I mean, we just went through this with a major health insurance company where six months in the thing fell apart six months for an urgent need, like done.

Kyle Roed:

Six, six, slow months.

Michael Solomon:

Great. I have a great story about this, which is CEO of a of a technology company that's advisory, I'm going to very intentionally not use use the names here was engaged by an enterprise company to come in and teach them about how to be more agile.

Kyle Roed:

And where this is going,

Michael Solomon:

the contract that they gave him was so I mean, it included getting paid in 120 days. I mean, it was so far, in a way, the opposite of what he needed a turnaround. He said, if this is where you're starting, you're too far gone for me to help. And, and by the way, that deal did not consummate. So, we see this all the time, and it's not I understand how these, how these policies got to be there, how these contracts get to be their look are over time you run into problems that are legal problems, and then you add things to your contract to do them. But at a certain point, a company has to evaluate, is the edge case, the unusual situation that caused us to put this this clause in the contract? What are we protecting ourselves so much, that we're actually hurting ourselves? We've lost our ability to do business, because we've been so so protection airy? if that's a word,

Kyle Roed:

I don't think that's I'll give it to you. It sounds good. But I think it's exactly the same as I look at an internal recruiting workflow as well, you know, it's, it's basically the same idea, right, you're trying to get somebody to come work for you as an employee, you're promising them something in return for them working for you, basically, just a contract of employee employment. And a lot of times, the fastest company wins. You know, for candidates looking for a job, and they've got, they've got to interview processes, and one of them's gonna give them an offer in a week, and one of them is going to give them an offer, and even three or four weeks, the one that gave me an offer a week, you know, a week into the process, they got him,

Rishon Blumberg:

right, it says something about the culture of a company, right? It is basically that process is an advertisement for what it's going to be like to work at that company. So if your process is pardon, my French crappy, the person who's applying for that job is going to get the impression that working at that company may be crappy as well. Culture matters, it matters almost more than anything else at this point.

Michael Solomon:

And let's, while we're on this topic, let's talk about exploding offers. I understand that an HR department can't have an offer sit out there endlessly, they have to move on to other candidates, I get it. But when companies present an employee or a candidate with 48 hours to make a decision about their next job, and do it in a way that's not, you know, if you had to do that, because there's some urgent need, there's a way to explain that, and, and convey that in humanistic terms, rather than an answer in 48 hours, like it just doesn't, that's just not, that's just not a good look. And like what what message are you sending?

Kyle Roed:

That's that, that's that hiring manager that's like, if they don't, if they don't know, 100%, that they're going to work here for the rest of their life in 48 hours? I don't want them. Yeah, I've heard that before. I'm like, I don't think we have that clout with this candidate. As much as we'd like to think we know how great it is to work here. I don't think they know that an ultimatum doesn't work, or

Michael Solomon:

even the best companies in the world. You know, like, if we talk about Google, which has like the great culture and you know, or was considered to have the best culture or, you know, all of these places like it doesn't matter, you still need a minute to discuss it with your family, to contemplate with your mentor, your advisor, like it's just not, it's it's so I get so upset about this. And by the way, when we're when we're on the other side of the table, we often help the person explain back to the HR team, that you appreciate that there's a deadline and speed matters. But that this is a very important and big decision about how you spend your waking time and and you just need another minute to contemplate it. And you're expecting another offer. And you're going to wait for that offer. And usually companies are reasonable when you do that. But the the starting point is intimidation. Yeah. Just that's not a good message to send to a potential employee.

Kyle Roed:

I've also heard that feedback. Yeah, that if they're considering other offers, well, they must not care enough or, or there's, you know, there's a there's a times if somebody does submit a counter proposal that there's a lot of negativity associated with that. So do you see that and how do you work through kind of that? That natural point of conflict as you're representing a candidate?

Rishon Blumberg:

Well, I think I think from the the company's perspective, they want that impression to be out there, because that helps in the negotiation. This feeling like Oh, if I push back, I don't know. Maybe they won't like it. Maybe they won't want to hire me. Or if I tell them I'm interviewing somewhere else, they're going to view that, you know, they're not going to view that favorably. You know, You got to deal with it, he got if you're not, if you're a company, I can understand why they would not, that would not be a preference. But if you're a company looking for somebody to come work for you for whatever that 10 years gonna be, but you don't have the decency to understand that they're human. Again, for us, it's all about people centric processes, and HR, it should be all about human resources, the human part of it is often forgotten. And the resources part of it is often emphasized. I think there's a fundamental point, there's a fundamental disconnect there. So a lot of what we do with the people that we work with is explaining to them that there's nothing wrong, there should be nothing wrong with negotiating, by the way, most people don't negotiate, which was one of the things we learned pretty early on, which is shocking. And I'm sure that part of the reason that they don't is they're afraid that if they say something, the company is going to rescind it. But, you know, I do think that the power dynamic is shifting a little bit where people have more options in tech, it's it's definitely a seller's market. So that's sort of why we focus in that vertical as it comes to the compensation negotiation we do. Because the reality is, you know, if you're really skilled, you can get a job anywhere, so companies need to get in line with that. And we've seen zero pushback for negotiating, we've seen almost no pushback for, you know, the fact that you're interviewing somewhere else. I think they just understand at this point, there's there too many options for that kind of talent. And so they have to make accommodations for it. And I think that that is going to slowly seep into other verticals, with other capabilities. Again, as companies need to have more 10 extras working with them, because every employee you have has to be really, really great because there aren't as many of them, companies will have to naturally get more bespoke and focus more on the human side. And less on the resources side.

Kyle Roed:

I thought it was really I thought you made a really critical point, I thought it was really interesting how you articulated the term seller's market, because I've always viewed recruiting and talent selection and sourcing, very similar to real estate. It's there's an inventory, there's a supply and demand, and the price you pay the whatever kind of ancillary things you cover, it's really dictated by market forces as much as as the candidate in the in the role that you're trying to fill and how bad you need to fill the role. Right. So it's, it, there really is a supply and demand curve that HR needs to be aware of. And I think one of the biggest missteps that HR can take is not making their teams aware of those dynamics, so that they're prepared and understand, you know, the the forces at play here, and the the leverage or lack of leverage that an employer may have as it relates to the employee employer relationship?

Rishon Blumberg:

Yes, I, you know, we, I think the answer to that comment is yes, we completely agree with you, 1,000%. And part of the reason, part of the reason that I think the lifestyle calculator could be so valuable to companies is, you don't necessarily, as Michael pointed out earlier, you don't necessarily have to make a better offer. You just need to make a better presentation, you need to make somebody understand that you do see who they are. And you do care about what they need. And you care so much that you created this thing so that you can get a better understanding about that, by and large. People want to just be treated well and valued. Yes, the money is important. Yes, it's competitive. Yes, it's a seller's market. But what ultimately makes the difference is that culture is that feeling that that this entity is going to care about what I want and need, and my professional well being. And you can get away with a lot more if you actually do care. You know, it doesn't necessarily cost more if you care. And I think that a lot of companies see that as a weakness, like Oh, if I, you know, it's not really being touchy feely, but if I'm more touchy feely, they'll think that I'm weak, and they can take advantage of me. And I think our viewpoint is just the opposite. People truly care about those things. And you can get away with more if you if you're, if you're caring, get away with makes it sound bad, you're able to see an economy if you are actually caring because that has its own economic value.

Michael Solomon:

And I would just add, it sounds like we've been very negative about HR. And it's this is not about the people this is about the process. We've run into amazing individuals in that field. And I just I think this is about companies rethinking how they approach this. And that will come from individuals who see the need and the opportunity for change. And we also as as Rashad said, we are not we've never worked in an HR department. And we don't know, some of the compliance things that are being hammered to them about as you as you mentioned earlier, about treating everybody the same and doing doing things. And I certainly nothing that we're suggesting has any discriminatory element to it. So I want to be very clear about that. But giving giving a candidate an offer that's unique to them, that that honors, their, their desires and their goals. It's pretty important. And and if if the HR representative asks one question, which is what is your compensation requirements, they now know almost nothing about that person. Yes, they've interviewed them, and they got a sense of them. But as far as making an offer, they really don't know what they need to know.

Kyle Roed:

Now, it's a point, it's a point well made, and you're not hurting my feelings at all, guys, don't worry about it. But I do think there is, you know, there is an element of HR, and I call it like, the personnel. Like, that's almost kind of a bad word in the HR circles. Now, we hate the term personnel, but like that personnel management, where it is, it's just purely focused on, you know, kind of bureaucratic processes, and, you know, I've got x open positions, I just need to fill the positions. And it's, it's a lot less about how do you, how do you help? How do you how do you lead a business through change? How are you, you know, how are you making sure that we're actually doing workforce planning and being strategic about our human human capital initiatives. And I've always said, you know, my perspective on HR is that, you know, we've got to be a partner for the business, we're enabler. For a lot of different things, obviously, people are the business, if, if none of us are here, the business isn't here. So we better get really good at making sure that we're advising appropriately. And if we ever do anything purely from the stance of, we're afraid we're gonna get sued, then you're doing something wrong. And I think a lot of us, especially, I mean, my background, my past, and these large companies, a lot of us do fall into that trap, where we can't make much change. And unfortunately, there are a lot of organizations with that, the layer of bureaucracy, where an HR person may personally have a desire to be nimble, and fast and flexible. And they just can't, they just don't have them, you know, the mechanism to do that within their role. So,

Michael Solomon:

I mean, that's part of the reason we wrote the book is we hope that that would find its way to some of the people who have the ability to make the decisions, whether that's CEOs or, you know, ca c, hrs, like whatever the whatever the right title is, I mean, a lot of what we were trying to do was, say, the world's changing, you need these top top top performers. And you have to think about how those top performers want to be treated. And one of the ironies which which we get into in, in the book is, the top performers are actually in a lot of ways and a lot of attributes, very much like the generations that are coming up behind them. Or there might even be part of those generations, where their personal mission and their personal values matter and need to be part of the workplace. These are no longer people who just want a job and a paycheck, they want to have, they want to have meaning in their life, they want to have management that's going to give them feedback and help them grow. They want to have opportunities for growth, they want to know I mean, I don't know if you've ever seen the millennial workplace video on YouTube. But I encourage anybody to have a look at it, it's pretty funny because one of the one of this gets has to do with like the constant need for promotions. And it is funny to make fun of that, that cohort in that regard. But people do want to know, what is their ability to advance and how can they grow. And these are things that are just they're new, they didn't exist before in the ways that they do now. And we need to adapt. Like as, as a field, we need to adapt, and we need to adapt quickly.

Rishon Blumberg:

We don't, we don't totally cover this in the book. But just the simple concept of referring to employees, as talent can have a paradigm shift within a company. Because talent is a totally different thing than just an employee. Right? LeBron James has 30 teams that he can play on. And they're not all making the same offer to him, that you know, they have to value him in a certain way in order to make that work. And when you think of your employees as talent and not just as an employee, it starts to change your perception of who they are and the value that they provide to the company. And that's really at the heart of what we're talking about is the people who provide real value to your company. You need to deal with those people differently. And in today's market, and certainly in the marketplace in the future, everybody who works at a company is going to be providing great value to that company or needs to. So they're really talent. So HR leaders, don't call them employees call them talent.

Kyle Roed:

I love that simple, simple shift, but a context shift, right? So, love it. All right, well, we are rounding right out to the end of our time together. And it's been a wonderful conversation we could share, we could probably keep talking for hours on end. But I do want to want to shift gears, we're gonna do a consolidated flash round. So, Rashad, I'm gonna start with you. I'm gonna ask you one question. Michael asked you the next question, and then I'll, I'll lob it to both of you.

Rishon Blumberg:

Do we win something when we get the question, right.

Kyle Roed:

You win praise and respect. All right. All right. rashaan question for you. What are you reading right now?

Rishon Blumberg:

I am reading a book called my year abroad. It's fiction. I do I sort of alternate between fiction and nonfiction. The next book I'm going to read nonfiction is called destiny and power the American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, written by Jon Meacham. So I sort of vacillate between biographies or books about famous people and fiction.

Kyle Roed:

All right. All right. Love it. All right, Michael. Question number two, Who should we be listening to?

Michael Solomon:

Who should we be listening to? I think that each of us needs a mentor or advisor. And that could be the form of a therapist or rabbi, a mentor, a formal advisor, but that is who somebody who knows you, who has a vested interest in seeing you succeed. And who can give you the hard feedback that other people won't. And that's who you need to have in your life readily available to give you that feedback.

Kyle Roed:

All right, perfect. Michael, you got the hard one. So

Rishon Blumberg:

I would just like to say in case my wife is listening, I have to listen to my wife.

Kyle Roed:

sage advice? All right, last question. I'll pitch it to both of you. How can our listeners connect with you.

Rishon Blumberg:

So we have, we've sort of consolidated a bunch of things on our book website called game changer, the book.com. So our contact information is on there a variety of ways you can contact us. And we also have a nifty little quiz, where you can see how far down the tech spectrum you are as an individual. Or you could take it on behalf of your company and see how tax ready they are as well. Game Changer, the book calm.

Kyle Roed:

And we'll have all that information in the show notes so that our listeners can connect and I strongly encourage them to, to check out check out the website. As I was preparing for this, this interview. There's just a ton of great information out there. And I think some some good challenges for us in HR to think about how we do our work, so that it can also help our organization succeed. So thank you both so much for the time again, it's been a wonderful conversation. Kyle,

Rishon Blumberg:

thank you.

Kyle Roed:

All right, that does it for the rebel HR podcast. guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter, at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebel human resources.com. The views and opinions expressed by podcast listen the opposite opposition during this podcast

Jude Roed:

maybe