Rebel Human Resources Podcast

Episode 49: Gen Z Insights with Melanie Wertzberger

June 22, 2021 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 1 Episode 49
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 49: Gen Z Insights with Melanie Wertzberger
Show Notes Transcript

Join Kyle and Molly as they speak with Melanie Wertzberger.  Melanie is the founder of Shaka, an online platform that helps companies keep their employees engaged. She has done extensive research on how to attract, manage and engage Gen Z talent.

joinshaka.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/melanie-wertzberger-866297111/
https://twitter.com/MWertzberger

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Melanie Wertzberger:

Think a company that can fulfill some of those creative wants and needs of entrepreneurship and give some of that experience while still providing the stability of the job will really attract some young talent.

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, our listeners extremely excited for our guest today. Melanie works Berger. She is the founder at shaaka culture application. She is founded the organization to help companies build strong teams. Her focus is company culture. And she is a real life Gen Z are welcome to the show. Melanie. Thank you. I'm excited to be here. Joining us as well is Molly Burgess. Welcome back to the show. Molly spent a few weeks but we are so happy to have you here.

Molly Burdess:

And I'm so happy to be here. We're having fun.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, after a tumultuous, what sounds like a tumultuous last few weeks. So that's how HR is though, right? Yep. Sounds good. Well, Melanie, we're extremely excited for you to join us again, and really excited to start the conversation today. Why don't we just start with what prompted you to found shaaka culture application?

Melanie Wertzberger:

Yeah, absolutely. So I was working in a company that was experiencing high growth, they were a late stage startup had raised awesome amounts of funding. But alongside that awesome growth becomes really a lot of struggles with company culture, and hiring and growing the right talent and sense of community at your company. So I was actually working as a financial analyst. And from my view, I was like, Whoa, we're gonna hire 200 people this year, I watched it happen. And I started to see these different downfalls that were occurring, because our culture just didn't scale. Well, alongside of our growth. There was really huge gaps between the different departments, they were very siloed people were having a hard time meeting people or finding the right experts on different topics at the company. It just lacked a sense of community. And I was a social being. And I felt like it was hard to meet people and get to know people at the organization. So one day, I thought, what if there was a platform that could just automatically pair me with people outside of my department with different 10 years of me or different expertise than me and just Schedule A 20 minute get to know you meeting with them. And if this could happen as frequently as the employee would like, it would really help people feel like they belong. So that is what spurred Shaka and we went and built it and tested it. And we got the feedback of we want more features, we want more tools. So we also built pieces that would help companies run wellness and health and philanthropic challenges, where different teams could help build camaraderie at their organization. And then we built an employee resource group tool we like to call shocker communities where employee interest groups, or maybe it's a diversity and inclusion group or working parents group could pop up and really support people and share resources to individuals with those same interests or backgrounds. So that's kind of how we began and we are still a new company. We're only about just over a year old now. So still learning and growing as we go. I have to ask How old are you? I'm 24 years old? Yes.

Kyle Roed:

Well, you're not supposed to ask that question. Come on your HR. Interview like you get. No, that's okay. Yes, I am. As you know,

Melanie Wertzberger:

as Kyle said, a real life Gen Z or so of Gen Z starts at 1996 goes to 2015. And Yep, I'm right on the border there in 1996.

Molly Burdess:

I just think it's amazing. I mean, starting your own organization at your age, I have to imagine it's a little bit scary, a little challenging.

Melanie Wertzberger:

It can be intimidating at times. But I think that I'm very open minded about receiving feedback about seeking advice. And people are very perceptive to helping the young person or the newbie in the entrepreneurship space. It's something that drew me to entrepreneurship, there's room for everyone to win, and people really lift each other up. So it's been a great experience so far.

Molly Burdess:

That's amazing. Isn't that a trade of Gen Z, wanting to do your own thing, make your own money, be your own boss

Melanie Wertzberger:

and actually, so Yeah, they're very entrepreneurial, independent generation. And in some of my research, what I found is that companies can best satisfy that need to be kind of entrepreneurial by giving those Gen Z employees space to like share their ideas, making their role kind of unique, allowing them to be a leader of different areas of the company, maybe it is a community or committee, allowing them to step up and feel like they have ownership of something will kind of satisfy that maybe thirst for entrepreneurship or creativity. Where does money factor into that? Yeah, so actually, Gen Z is very financially driven to be independent, like, research has shown that they're actually willing to sacrifice some short term wants and needs to be financially independent. They're very conscious about student debt, although more of them are going to college, the highest educated generation yet. They are financially conscious young beings. So I think a company that can fulfill some of those creative wants a means of entrepreneurship and give some of that experience while still providing the stability of a job will really attract some young talent.

Molly Burdess:

So tactically speaking, I mean, I'm thinking like bonus structure commission, is that something that would entice someone of your generation? Or would that be a little terrifying?

Melanie Wertzberger:

Yes, absolutely. But alongside of, like, bonuses or commissions, they can't be unclear something that our generation really craves is like, clear guidelines of how to get from point A to point B, or how to achieve that bonus or that commission. So it can't come and terms of like, at the end of the year, you'll have one annual review with your manager, and they're going to decide whether you get your bonus or not. It needs to be laid out. If you complete a, b, and c, and you're scored along the way of your performance on it, we're constantly updating you on how well you're doing tracking towards those bonuses, then yes, that is a great way to motivate people.

Kyle Roed:

So let's step back a little bit because I'm curious to dive into a little bit of some of the findings, you've done a number of different research studies, specific to Gen Z surveyed over 1000 Gen Z or so as you were conducting some of your research. What were some of the things that stood out to you or surprised you?

Melanie Wertzberger:

So as you mentioned, I did a lot of research on this topic, I wanted to become an expert on the next generation and speaking positively towards how companies can best attract talent of our age. And so I surveyed tons of them all across the US ages 18 to 24, because I wanted these to be the people that are right now coming into the workforce. And one of the things that really surprised me or stood out to me is what Molly touched down around, how interested are they in knowing people in other departments or having different, like responsibilities outside of their own role. And one thing that really stood out to me was 77% of my respondents said that they would like to step up into a leadership role outside of their own job, maybe that is the service committee or lead the women in the workplace group. They want to have other areas where they can make an impact on their company. And 77% was like, very significant to me. Another thing that stood out to me was the top priority on what do you want when looking for a company was work life balance? And as I mentioned, people who speak negatively about incoming generations might be like, Oh, yeah, they're lazy, like, work life balance, of course, they want that. But that's not the case with Gen Z. When I dug a little further into that response, and why they all care about work life balances, they are very much so a generation that works to live and doesn't live to work. And they want to have a full well rounded life. And it's still over 60% of them expected that they would work 40 plus hours per week, about 40 fell in the range of 30 to 40 hours, which seems a little low to me. 40%, saying 30 to 40 hours per week is what they expect to work in their career. But they're a very efficient generation. So what they can accomplish in 30 to 40 hours per week, someone at the higher end of the age group of the workforce right now. They're not getting as much done in 30 to 40 hours. Because if you think about it, Gen Z was born with an iPhone in their hand, almost the first iPhone came out in 2007. So, resources have been at their fingertips for as long as they've known. They know where to go get answers. They know how to automate things they know how to very efficiently crank out work. So despite them wanting to work a little less, I do believe they're actually going to be a more productive generation.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, it's interesting. Yeah, I'm curious on your perspective on this. So you know, I mean, I grew up in the self esteem generation. And if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. And I'm kind of in the camp, that that's all kind of BS, and that sometimes you do just have to roll up your sleeve and do some things you don't want to do. And that work life balance to me was certainly something younger. In my career, that was an aspiration. But once I got three kids, a mortgage married, it became less important. And it became more about being a provider, ensuring that we had the stability that we wanted as a family. So did your research out before you finish that question. What generation I exactly? We were talking about this. So I guess I'm a geriatric millennial. That's I just, I just read that. So I'm like, I'm a tweener between Gen X and millennial. So now they're just calling me old. An old millennial, basically. So whatever. Okay, thanks, Molly. Appreciate. You're welcome. I think I'm still young millennials. Oh, yeah. You're young to me, Molly. young at heart. Alright, Melody. Now Molly's done. Give me crap. Did your research find any differences between, you know, kind of the life stage that people are at, regardless of the generation that they're in? Did you have any insights in that context.

Melanie Wertzberger:

Um, besides the fact that people are starting families a little later and getting to those stages of their life a little later, as the younger generations come, I didn't too much focus on maybe what your living situation or life situation looks at, like at the moment. But one thing you mentioned there was that you had this idea put in your mind that it won't feel like you're working if you love what you're doing. And that has actually kind of been a harmful idea or perspective for this younger generation, because they're very independent generation. They seek and thrive on uniqueness. They want to know themselves so well, like they crave this feeling of knowing who they are, and being an individual. So that idea of like, your job, if you get the right perfect one, it won't feel like work, it's going to leave them constantly searching, when maybe the age, Gen Z will realize kind of what you said of at some point, you just have to roll up your sleeves, and you're not going to like every single day of your job. Overall, yes, you should like what you're doing. But the day to day isn't always pretty. But because they are such like an individual driven generation, they're searching for that perfect role that might not be out there. So as HR professionals, that would be an interesting thing to navigate is kind of how to level set. The generation on this job is great, and it has x, y, and z that are your priorities and what you wanted. I don't know that you're going to find anything that meets all of your checkboxes out there in the world.

Molly Burdess:

Molly, I handle that. Well, I was just thinking, because what I am finding is the things that are important to the older generations. And they're the ones that are typically running these businesses, right? That's the benefit, the 401k, the health insurance, all of this stuff. What I'm finding is a lot of the younger generations that I'm hiring, don't give a crap about it. Am I the only one that likes to be fat? And I can totally relate to that, like so how can we engage these people on a different level? How do we set ourselves apart on another competitive advantage aside from benefits, because it's just not important to them at this time. So it's kind of where I'm at. in my organization, actually,

Melanie Wertzberger:

you bring up something interesting around, I mean, Jen's ears are just turning 25. So perhaps if I dug a little further, we'd find but they're all still on their parents into being moved out of the house. Like they still can be on their parent's insurance. So they're like I don't give a fuck about your insurance package. And then additionally, there are so many new applications and budget planning tools that we're using. On our own to invest and to plan financially that perhaps the 401k options aren't even as attractive unless you're someone with really a finance background like me, we're realizing, matching is important and awesome. But to them, they're like, Oh, I invest in Robin Hood, I got my investment.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, really cool, got my Dogecoin to the moon, to retire, so pretty at 30, with my judge.

Molly Burdess:

Along those lines, I'm actually like, a lot of the people, I was just talking to my management team about this this last week, within the past, probably a year and a half. A good portion of the people we've hired are doing their individual own investing, like in the stock market, and they're trying to make a career out of it. And that's just so foreign to me. But so far, it's worked for some of these people,

Melanie Wertzberger:

right? Because there's been some really positive stock market. And this will be interesting, in the negative years of the down years, if they out on that, but you're right, it is like their side hustle, or they're sometimes not even even job because the markets are closed, they're doing it like Apple Computer alongside their work. But yeah, that that is a good point. They think they have it figured out already with these cons and markets that we've seen.

Molly Burdess:

I've learned a lot from them just by kind of hearing some of what they're doing. So I've taken some good out of it. Kyle, how do you recruit and retain Gen Z?

Kyle Roed:

You know, I think, for my organization, we have the luxury of we have a wide variety of jobs in a wide variety of geographies. And so, you know, we are also an interesting organization where there is a lot of flexibility in your job to do a lot more small organization. So when you do something really great, you make a really big impact. And so you know, there's that we also have the benefit of making products that recycle and create alternative fuels and alternative meats and like it's, you know, like meme stocks, but in an industrial company. So I'm pretty fortunate from that standpoint. You know, one of the things though, that's really that's been interesting for me and it my perspective, I grew up without the internet. And then I got the internet around High School. And that for me was like eye opening, because I now I didn't have to go to an authority figure. To access information, I could find information myself, I could Google things because Google actually started in college for me. But this generation, it's like that on steroids, because they've never had to go to an authority figure to find information. And in fact, if they want to find contrary information from a substantiated source, they probably can. So the bigger challenge is trying to find out what's actually validated information. And so my hypothesis here is that that has completely shifted the power dynamics in our organization, because it previous generations, previous workplaces, you relied on your boss, to tell you how to do your job, and you relied on specific processes and work that was documented through the organization as opposed to having access to the Internet, and being able to access whatever information you want. So, Melanie, what is your perspective on kind of that access of information? And the fact that your leader may be wrong?

Melanie Wertzberger:

Yeah, absolutely. That is a hard thing to navigate. If you come across information that contradicts what you're given, but to what you just said, it would be completely what I expected to and when you ask me, What is something that surprised me? In my research? This is actually one of the things I found. So I specifically did research around when assigned a new project. Do you prefer to have clear expectations, procedures, guidelines steps outlined for you? Or would you prefer to figure it out on your own but have people available to answer your questions, and only 17% chose the figure it out on your own. So 83% of people are still asking for those clear guidelines. And it might be a reaction to what you pointed out. When you leave us free rein there's so much information out there, that we end up coming back and completely missing the mark of what you're expecting. And it leads to a really negative manager employee relationship. Because to you as a manager, you think you have all the information in the world and you've got this far off. And to me as an employee, I'm like, I dug through tons of tons of articles research, different examples. I thought I found what was right and it was totally off. So don't neglect to give clear expectations and guidelines because has a very vast amounts of data that does exist in the world for us

Molly Burdess:

to shift from millennials, because I think, you know, Millennials want to be empowered and to be able to come to their own conclusions. So I'm even seeing that as you know, as a leader in my organization, it is a shift. I completely agree. But will both of you said, you know, one thing kind of about growing up within the technology as well, you hear a lot of people say, Oh, these young kids, they're not going to know how to communicate, they're not going to know how to have an interaction face to face. But I think what I'm hearing you say is a lot of the Gen Z is a phrase connection. And I think that's what your software is, is built around. Is that correct?

Melanie Wertzberger:

Exactly. So Gen Z specifically, has always relied on technology to make their connections for them. As I mentioned, the iPhone came out in 2007. Facebook came out in 2008. I had my facebook profile when I was 1011 years old. So I know what it's like to just click a button and connect with someone, and so does all of the Jen's ears that are younger than me. So Shaka kind of does that it automatically is making these pairings for you. But then from there, once that meeting is scheduled for you, it is in person or right now, it's via video calls, that you're meeting with these people and talking them face to face. And my research did show that that these younger employees really value FaceTime all and not face time out, but like face to face time, even though they're depending on technology to connect them. So it's going to be important to for companies to be able to create spaces like that. And I think one thing that will really see in the next year or two is all of these companies are going work from home forever, or hybrid forever. There's going to be options to be in and out of the workplace. And very few I want to say like 5% of my respondents preferred to work from home all the time. That's very odd. That's not what people would expect. For Gen Z, you think we'd want to live behind our computer we don't, we do not want to be at home full time. The majority did say they'd like hybrid flexible options, but you're onboarding all these Gen Z years. And if your employees that are tenured or at home or your employees that are experts on topics that they want to learn about or at home, that's going to be a huge challenge. So I hope Shaco can help them solve by being able to create those relationships no matter where employees are located.

Molly Burdess:

reflective question you brought up Facebook, I'm told that Facebook is the new geriatric millennial Is that correct?

Melanie Wertzberger:

I would probably say that is true. I would guess tik tok is now the big one for Gen Z. And Facebook is like my grandma has a Facebook. Okay, we're on all of them. We'll find us there. We're just not very present on them. All right, just kidding. Anybody? Go ahead, God,

Kyle Roed:

I can't the TIC Tock thing. I just I mean, I get like my wife loves it. She sends me this funny stuff. And that's but like, I don't know me dance. And I don't think anybody wants that in this world.

Molly Burdess:

I think there's a lot of organizations that are actually trying to recruit via Tic Tac.

Melanie Wertzberger:

Really? Yeah. Yeah. I haven't seen a ton of that yet. That's interesting. I mean, like I mentioned, are all of the people our age are on there. And that's the key generation you need to hire for those entry level roles right now. So good place to go find them.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah. Get your dance moved Snapchat filters. Yeah, yes. See me like come to this career fair. Yeah, I did do the CPM logo in the fashion of YMCA, but then I posted it on Facebook. For the last career fair. I did. So before COVID. But you know, this platform? I guess I'm a little bit games there.

Melanie Wertzberger:

Yes, I want to send it back to you guys on on the topic. I just brought up with onboarding employees with these changes, how has it been the past year trying to onboard people and make them feel like they belong on the team, when maybe the working world isn't totally normal?

Kyle Roed:

We've had to do it in person. You know, we've done like, as far as, you know, organization, we're already geographically spread. So there's quite a bit of remote work anyways, regardless of whether you're sitting in an office or not, you know, so our orientation and onboarding programs already relatively structured in that regard that but it's aligned around like you need to do this by this date. You need to do this by this date. But you know, my biggest fear with the whole work from home trend is that if you don't have some face to face connection, or you don't have intentional collaborative opportunities, you're going to hurt your culture, long term because People want feels connected. And so my thesis on the future of the workplace is that there will be more flexibility, there will be more technological integration, a little bit less business travel. But they'll still be face to face interaction. And especially from my standpoint for somebody coming, like, right out of college, or somebody shifting careers and going into a new career they've never been at or coming into a new company that they aren't familiar with, that we're social beings, some of that has to be done in a social manner. And it can't all be done over zoom. I'm sorry. No, I'm not a believer. You agree? Yeah.

Molly Burdess:

No, I agree. I completely agree. And we're, we're actually face to face as well. But I will say, you know, we used to do a lot of the things like we would bring lunch in for the team or do a happy hour and, you know, try to onboard them and integrate them to the team in that way. And, you know, we haven't done that in the past, gosh, year, and it has made a big difference. Like you can tell that it's just, you know, they're not as involved and bought in and engaged as I think they would be if we were able to do some of that team building stuff. I think that's a big piece that a lot of organizations mess.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I have a really, really well thought out double blind scientific study that I've done personally, that people generally like it when you spend money on food, and have beers together. So that's validated through Kyle Roed. Calm, so it must be true. You haven't

Melanie Wertzberger:

participated in any of the research yourself? Oh, no,

Kyle Roed:

yeah, no. I'm the primary person in the study. But yeah, it's, for me, it's just now I think there are some exceptional organizations that have been intentional about designing some of these interactions. But there's so much that happens accidentally. And there's so much learning and education and connection and training that occurs through these accidental interactions. So if you don't allow for that space, and everything is all business following an agenda on a zoom call, you're just gonna lose something. And that just sucks. That just sucks, right? Nobody wants to die. I don't think many people want to do that for their entire career.

Melanie Wertzberger:

No, I agree. And I have one thing that I would propose for companies, whether they're in person or like you said, where you're kind of geographically distributed as something that Gen Z really reported strongly on in my research is actually 95% of them said that they would like to have a mentor within their company. So if your company doesn't already have a mentorship program, to set one up, because it's a way to maybe give them someone that does dedicate some face to face time to getting to know them, and also bridges some of those gaps in between maybe information sharing that's struggling during remote work. But even for a company that's geographically spread, if you can find just one person in the nearby city that can be their mentor, and go meet with them in person for coffee. I mean, that's a great solution. And it's something that these young employees are really asking for.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. I know. I mean, me personally, being a elder millennial, or whatever Molly wants to call me. I wouldn't be where I am today. Without Yeah, geriatric. Yeah, I wouldn't be where I am today, without some wonderful mentors. And, you know, some people that kind of helped me along the way and learn from their mistakes before I made my own mistake. And I think that a lot of people want to be mentors as well, and give back and that's also an opportunity for those employees to get engaged and continue to build that culture. So does your organization support that type of structure? Is that one of the one of the things that your company does? Melanie,

Melanie Wertzberger:

that's what we're building. Now, another tool where people can kind of be paired with a mentor, were really designing the product and working with our customers to get their feedback on? What would be the best way to match employees? Do you want to match in place because you know, their personality? Or do you want the system to kind of ask them a series of questions and then suggest mentors? And should the mentors pick the mentees? Or should the mentees pick the mentors? Those are all things I'm navigating right now. So our goal is to have that out in beta by the end of q3 of this year. So it's a continuous development and and something that's a great outcome of doing research is like, Oh, well, now I can build the tool because everyone seems to want to mentor

Molly Burdess:

you know, I saw this on your website, but I got asked, How did you come to the name of your organization? shakha.

Melanie Wertzberger:

Yeah, absolutely. So because this is a podcast and you can't see me, the Shaka is the hand symbol of if you make a fist and you stick your thumb out and your pinky out. you'll sometimes see surfers do it. That is the shock that it is actually a Hawaiian symbol and a Hawaiian word. And in Hawaii, they would wave that symbol out their car window at their neighbor passing and it really means like Welcome to our community. It's the sense of everyone being their neighbor or feeling like a family. And it's the feeling that I wanted to create within the companies that are using Shaka is just that everyone's welcome here. And additionally being a hand symbol like this, I think that it will be great for marketing purposes people can send me their pictures of doing their hand symbol, but it's also been associated with surfers skydivers, and, and just that, sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to really grow and be adventurous and, and that's what we encourage at our company. So it just fit us all around.

Kyle Roed:

I had no idea that was called a shocker. For me, it's like the hang 10 bro, you know?

Melanie Wertzberger:

Right. And some school that I talked to are like, awesome name, and other people are like, no one's gonna do that. They're gonna think they're gonna think you're a hippie company. And I'm like, wow, wow, I like it.

Kyle Roed:

Well, this hip replacement millennial here is feeling definitely feeling that way. I didn't know that. But hey, it's cool. geriatric really makes it sound like you can't like this, you know, this vegetative state millennial, or whatever, you know, whatever you want to call it.

Melanie Wertzberger:

For the listeners, I'm looking at Kyle, he appears very young and healthy. Over dating himself.

Kyle Roed:

After 2020, I have a lot more gray hair. But other than that, I feel young, I still feel young. That's awesome. And that's one of the things that I've been in organizations that had a formal mentor program. And I'll be honest, it was like, awful, because you got paired with whoever randomly was available. And I got paired with some people, let me tell you, they did not want to be a mentor, nor did we have any connection point whatsoever, nor did they really give good advice. So yeah, having a tool to help with that, I think would be very helpful. And then I've, you know, my most my favorite mentors are ones that I felt a connection with, and then reached out, you know, intentionally in order to foster that relationship, and that, you know, those relationships continue to this day. So is it specific as your vision that it's specific in Terminal to an organization, or that there may be networks outside of an organization.

Melanie Wertzberger:

So currently, right now our system is built so that everything is internally driven to our organization, it's something that I've kind of gone back and forth with, I know that there is value to be had, by opening companies and employees to people outside of their organization. But at the same time, some of our value proposition at chakra is that we reduce turnover, we make your employees more sticky at your company. And there's this little bad outcome that could occur if we start bridging between organizations as of it could actually increase turnover if they look across the bridges and see something better. So we just have to find the right way to navigate that and make sure that we're presenting it to our customers of Do you want this to be open on your organization, but currently, it is all internal.

Molly Burdess:

I see that a lot where the grass is always greener on the other side, right? Where do you find your generation on that fence?

Melanie Wertzberger:

You know, they are probably not going to be the most tenured employees, they'll probably move careers a lot. And it might be because of that grass is always greener on the other side. It might be because of the shortened attention spans that these younger generations have, like, our attention span is along as long as a tick tock video isn't anymore, right? That's about how long you can keep me at your company. So the good thing is like tools like chocolate might be a low cost way to invest in onboarding and getting people acclimated and maybe lower some of those costs that it takes to bring people on. But I think that companies can work to keep employees longer by keeping their jobs interesting and building careers, sit down and build career paths with employees and revisit them. Do they want to jump between departments make that an option for them, because it will satisfy some of those cravings for the grass is always greener on the other side. And in my experience, what I've seen with companies is it's at least worth it to keep them keep a good employee inside of your organization. Let them try new things at your company. And that makes the employee happier to instead of going and jumping ship to try marketing at a different company when I just came from sales at this company, you know?

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, it's interesting. I think you touched on Something that I know I personally struggle with Molly be curious on your perspective here. But there's a little bit of a tidal wave going on here where individuals are driven to be individuals. I mean, people don't stay at jobs for 20 years, or rarely does that happen. But a lot of the jobs and a lot of the workplace structures are in place intentionally hoping that people are more long tenured in roles. And organizations that don't have roles that are relatively quick time to competency, flexible and allow for some flexibility internally amongst roles. We'll eventually really struggle with this. And it's an area that, you know, I know a lot of organizations are struggling with, you know, mine included that we want to allow for some of that flexibility. But it also does take six months for somebody to get fully competent and enroll at time. So, you know, the question in my mind is, do we either shorten that time to competency and make jobs easier to get up to speed? thereby sacrificing some of the quality output potentially? Or do we just hope that we find that purple squirrel candidate that just wants to stick around for 20 years, and just know that we're going to be disappointed more times than not?

Melanie Wertzberger:

Right, and I feel like the ladder is is not the solution, the way the world is going? Right? I think the question is, how can you make roles more malleable? And like you said, Is there any way that it can be more of a ramp up like you're becoming more and more competent and more and more productive, rather than like, we're going to put you through a six month management training program, and then you'll, you'll be ready for your job. And then they're going to leave six months later, when you just invested all this time in training them making? How can we add more value or have them bring more value up front so that it's a fair given take is going to be something that people in HR, and companies managers are going to have to come up with a solution for?

Molly Burdess:

You got to figure it out? Yeah, I don't, I don't have all the answers. Oh, Molly. Yeah, Molly, do you have all the answers? No, we talked about this all the time in our organization, and we just came off about a week retreat about this same topic, like, Okay, how can we keep these people for longer because you're right, like, it takes them, you know, four to six months to get like truly into it, but they're ready to give up after three months. So how can we keep them engaged? A little bit longer? How can we do things differently? I mean, we brainstorm things to 369 month bonuses to Okay, maybe we do a trip, you know, we give away and experience after this certain point. I don't have the answer. But I know it's something that was talked a lot about.

Melanie Wertzberger:

Right? I like your idea of having like a map and a plan, like we said guidelines of how to get to that bonus, or how to get to these different rewards or incentives. But at the same time, yeah, just incorporating things that keep them in ties. And as we mentioned earlier, like after two months, someone that's 20 years old, can feel like they are an expert investor in Bitcoin. So how come they can't figure out sales at your company, like, they know more about Bitcoin than I could ever? I could ever even begin to say, and I studied finance. And that's what my backgrounds in. And it's just because they really dove into it and found a way to learn. So how can we bring the way they learn into some of these roles so they can get up to speed faster?

Molly Burdess:

Absolutely. You know, another thing that we've been working on, I've been kind of working on real hard as getting rid of the old like, well, to climb a ladder, you have to be here for x days, you got to whenever and shifting more towards what we call experience map. So if you want to, you know, start as a sales associate and work your way up into a sales leader, it's not time based. It's hey, you've got to go out and have a coaching conversation with one of your peers, give your peers maybe hard feedback, what did you learn from it? Was it successful, that type of thing? Or do you with a customer complaint in a successful way? So we've been kind of playing around with that idea as well and has gotten some good feedback. We'll see where that goes. Something I'm excited about. What's really cool. That sounds very interesting. Yeah, fun.

Kyle Roed:

All right. Well, what a wonderful conversation. And thank you so much, Melanie, for sharing some of your insights. And it sounds like your new organization just sounds cool. So I'm excited to continue to follow and see what innovations you continue to drive

Molly Burdess:

to you for all that you have accomplished thus far. I mean, at your young age, I'm really excited as well to see what you can accomplish in the next 20 years.

Kyle Roed:

Thank you. We didn't talk about it your case state Wildcat too, so you gotta be you gotta be pretty scary. All right, sounds good. We're gonna shift gears, we're gonna go into the rebel HR flash round. So you ready, Melanie? I think so. All right, coming at you. Here we go. Question number one, what is your favorite people book? Okay, so

Melanie Wertzberger:

this is on the edge of people and entrepreneurship but it's got to be Delivering Happiness by the founder of Zappos. Tony sighs I believe I'd say his name. He unfortunately passed away tragically this past year. But Zappos became very well known for their culture, and just these odd, quirky things that they did to recruit employees. One of my favorite stories from the book is like, after the interview, they will before the interview, they have the employees Park really far away at a shop and then have them shuttled over to the office. And they do their whole day interview. And then at the end of the day, Tony would go out to the shuttle driver and ask them, How did that employee treat you as a shuttle driver that would determine the final kind of call on whether that person could work at the company and it's just full of interesting stories like that. So Delivering Happiness.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, love it, they also do the or they used to do at least a $50, you can give 50 bucks to anybody, at least up to one per month, if anybody is doing really well for you. It's kind of that's cool recognition program. Anyway. Alright, question number two, Who should we be listening to? Okay, so

Melanie Wertzberger:

my very big interest I'm not only is organizational psychology interesting, like, I'm grant and stuff. But I've started to listen to more happiness, psychology, and psychologists studying like, what makes a person feel good, and I've actually lasting happiness. So Laurie Santos, would be someone that I recommend listening to she has a podcast, I'm blanking on the name. But she also has a course on Coursera, called the science of wellbeing at Yale. And it quickly became the most popular course in the history of Yale. And they offered it for free over the pandemic on coursera.com. Not sure if it's still free, but I know her podcast is free. And she talks about different habits or trends that people can try to do or invest in to actually impact their psychological happiness for the long term. I've been listening to it and incorporating some of it into how we build Chaka, so one of the things is actually that talking to strangers, will make you happier than sitting in silence on a bus or even talking to someone you are familiar with. So talking to strangers is something that you can kind of see in our connections feature and some of our other tools. So yeah, look out for Laura Santos. Super cool. I like talking to strangers. It depends how they receive it. But actually, what's really cool about the research is like most times, you actually impacted their happiness too. And like their happiness scores in those studies go up higher than yours even did. So then you can felt like I did something good today, like by talking to them, instead of feeling scared about walking up to them. You're like, I'm gonna help them psychologically.

Molly Burdess:

People think I'm nuts, but my retirement dream would be to like, have a podcast at an airport and just meet everybody and learn about their lives. Think of how much you could, you would learn about people aren't gonna be so fun.

Melanie Wertzberger:

airports are where ideas are born. I swear, you watch people and you're like, Huh, what is their life? Like? It's so different than mine.

Molly Burdess:

Yeah, if only the drinks are a little cheaper, it'd be probably one of the best places. All right, last question here. How can our listeners connect with you? Yes, so

Melanie Wertzberger:

you can find me at Melanie at join chocolate calm you can find Shaka unjoined chocolate.com. I am also if you've been interested in some of the Gen Z topics that I have been talking about connect with me Melanie words burger on LinkedIn, I'm actually writing an E book that kind of is summarizing all of the research that I've done. So my goal is to have that out closer to the end of the year, here so if you want to continue to learn about this research, you can find it on my LinkedIn page. But yeah, please check out Sokka at doing chakra calm.

Kyle Roed:

Awesome. Well, Shaka Melanie, and thanks for joining us over the last few minutes been absolutely wonderful getting to know you and learning a little bit more about your research and I can't wait to continue to see what changes you make in the world.

Melanie Wertzberger:

Oh my god, goodness, thank you for having me. I was listening to the show and I was sitting there like, I wonder if I could ever talk on a podcast. And I was like, well I could I talk about and I was like, Well, I can talk about Gen Z forever. And I can talk about company culture forever. So I was actually listener like you guys out there and then reached out to Kyle and I'm really excited that you guys considered having me on the show. So thank you.

Kyle Roed:

So we will get back up. So this is your first podcast ever. This is my first podcast ever. Yes. Yeah, you killed it. went a little bit harder.

Melanie Wertzberger:

You would have ruined it for me. I would never do another again. No. I definitely will keep seeking opportunities. So thank you. Well

Kyle Roed:

done. Melanie. You've got a bright future ahead. Yeah, it's great to have you here. All right. That does it for the rebel HR podcast. Yes. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter, at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebel human resources.com. Using opinions expressed by revelation, our podcast was the opposite did not necessarily policy or position during this podcast maybe