Amy Leschke-Kahle
VP Performance Acceleration The Marcus Buckingham Company, An ADP Company Follow Follow

On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup talks to Amy from ADP about what’s right, what’s wrong and the world of performance management.

Some Conversation Highlights:

I want to measure performance, so I can see into kind of the talent landscape if you will, of the organization. But I don’t measure to move. I measure to measure, I measure to get awareness.

And so just even that fundamental principle of performance management, thinking that it’s going to help people do more better work. It doesn’t at all. So if you ask that fundamental question, “Well, why actually do we want to measure employee performance?”

Usually it’s three things: to inform some sort of compliance regulatory thing, sometimes to inform downstream compensation decisions, which may or may not be a reasonable approach to performance management seeing as how we can’t really differentiate most people’s performance in a way that really impacts those downstream areas.

RippleMatch Recruiting at HBCUS
Tune in for the full conversation.

Listening time: 35 minutes


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Announcer: 00:00 This is RecruitingDaily’s recruiting live podcast, where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. Each week, we take one overcomplicated topic and break it down so that your three year old can understand it. Make sense? Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup.

William Tincup: 00:34 Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup, and you’re listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Today, we have Amy on. She’s a returning guest from ADP, and we’re going to talk about what’s right, what’s wrong and the world of performance management.

So I can’t wait to talk with Amy about it, because she’s an expert in the field and she can tell us where the bodies are buried. So this is going to be fun, you all. Amy, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and ADP?

Amy Leschke: 01:03 Absolutely. Amy Leschke-Kahle. I’m the vice president of performance acceleration at the Marcus Buckingham Company, which is an ADP company. I think you all know ADP. We are leaders in the HCM world. Lots of folks knows for payroll, but we do so, so much more than that, including helping folks kind of take the next leap into how do we measure performance in the world of work.

William Tincup: 01:26 So let’s start with kind of the what’s wrong in performance management. We’ll just start with the negative, and then we’ll move to the positive and how we can fix it because I’ve always looked at performance management as basically a tool for management.

It’s not necessarily something that helps the individual. It’s always been, at least as I’ve seen it rolled out, I’ve seen it as a tool of basically documentation. Maybe the employee gets something out of it of value, but really we’re just kind of documenting where people are.

So in case we have to lay people off, now we have some documentation. So of course that’s a very jaded perspective of performance where management. You’ve lived in this world though. You know this far better than I do. Where do we get performance management wrong, historically and currently?

Amy Leschke: 02:28 I think everywhere and all over the place, like all encompassing getting it wrong. And I don’t mean to offend practitioners who’ve been doing “traditional performance” management for a long time. But in fact, I just did this today, William, I asked a group of practitioners, HR leaders, HR executives. And I said, “Why do you do performance management?”

And I got pretty much what you said. It was documentation and to help people perform better. And in fact, it really does neither of those things well. And sometimes people will say, “Oh, we need data. We need quantitative data around people getting their work done and goals and informing compensation.” And none of that happens well.

It’s just kind of, it’s a mess, honestly. So I think to start with the question of what’s wrong with performance management? I think all of it. I mean, honestly like today, like all of it.

William Tincup: 03:26 Yeah. Just tear down and start over.

Amy Leschke: 03:29 Do over. We need a do-over. And that’s what I spend a lot of my time doing, is helping organizations literally do a do-over. And it starts with that fundamental question, which seems like a weird question, but why do we actually want to measure performance or manage performance if you will, in the first place?

William Tincup: 03:46 Right.

Amy Leschke: 03:46 And so if you just start with that question and go, “Well, in the now world of work and kind of in the next practice world of work, why do we actually want to measure performance?” It doesn’t help people do more better work. What’s measured gets measured. It’s not, what’s measured, gets done. Huge myth at work.

So if I’m going to take my temperature, if I feel like I have a fever and I take my temperature, taking my temperature does not help my temperature go down. It’s really important because it gives me awareness, which is great. We need that.

But I go take Tylenol or cold compress to help impact my fever. Want my fever to go down? Same thing’s true with performance. I want to measure performance, so I can see into kind of the talent landscape if you will, of the organization. But I don’t measure to move. I measure to measure, I measure to get awareness.

And so just even that fundamental principle of performance management, thinking that it’s going to help people do more better work. It doesn’t at all. So if you ask that fundamental question, “Well, why actually do we want to measure employee performance?”

Usually it’s three things: to inform some sort of compliance regulatory thing, sometimes to inform downstream compensation decisions, which may or may not be a reasonable approach seeing as how we can’t really differentiate most people’s performance in a way that really impacts those downstream areas.

William Tincup: 05:06 Everybody’s a three.

Amy Leschke: 05:08 Yeah. Oh yeah. Everybody’s a three, and God forbid like you’re not, I can’t give you a five.

William Tincup: 05:14 No?

Amy Leschke: 05:15 No. We never give fives and I’m not going to give you a four because you got a four last year and it’s not your turn, even though you’re really a four, but HR’s going to make me give you a three. We have that whole conundrum.

And then sometimes we want to inform downstream talent decisions, succession planning, et cetera, et cetera. And today’s world, today’s approach to traditional performance management, it’s not even management. That’s an awful word as well, but even measurement, it doesn’t do any of those things. Well, it does them horribly and in a way that makes people feel really bad.

In fact, it’s counterproductive to what we’re probably trying to do in some regards, which is help people do more better work.

William Tincup: 05:51 So I agree on every point. So we got that out of the way really quickly because we needed to get there so that the audience understands what happens next with performance.

So the word performance, isn’t a bad word. It’s the modifier of measurement management accelerator that usually is historically loaded with garbage. So what do we call, if we keep performance, which we can change that if we want to. But if we keep performance, then what should the modifier word be?

Amy Leschke: 06:29 The most acceptable word that I have found is measurement with the realization that we are looking at a subjective, for most employees, some sort of subjective indicator of how someone is performing.

So, I just said a minute ago, what’s measured gets measured. And in the world of knowledge and information workers, whether you’re exempt or non-exempt, we have very, very few countables to go on. And so historically, traditionally, and most organizations are still doing this, we’ve manufactured accountable.

William Tincup: 07:07 Right.

Amy Leschke: 07:07 Whether it be goals or smart goals or stretch goals or job responsibilities or a competency model or all of those things, we manufacture those things to a large degree so that we can assign some sort of a number, so that we can give people a number that we can then use to pay them and promote them and do all of those things.

And they’re not true countables. They’re not objective. What we need to do is what we are doing, what our clients do anyway, is we do need to gather data, but also understand that to a large degree, it’s subjective data. Which is okay, as long as we call it what it is. We don’t need to pretend that it’s something that it’s not.

William Tincup: 07:51 And it’s not feeding these other areas like comp and succession, et cetera. Because then again, we’re using the data incorrectly. If we use it just as measurement to them understand like, “Hey, this is a feel.” Like, okay. This is okay. Now you have some awareness. Which everyone needs.

Like we, the individuals, employees need to be self-aware. Managers need to be aware, like leaders need to be aware. Like awareness isn’t a bad thing. But if it’s awareness and it starts feeding other parts of HR, then we’re not thinking of it as awareness. We’re thinking it as facts.

Amy Leschke: 08:26 Well, and it might actually feed those downstream talent decisions. There’s also another, there’s so many myths that there are around this, because we have… Gosh, I don’t know how to say this in a way that isn’t totally offensive, but we’ve kind of bought into that notion that telling people a grade helps them do more better.

So there’s just all kinds of things that are broken in the system. So if we’re going to use data to inform downstream talent decisions like merit, like potential talent planning, I think that’s actually okay. We just need to think about how we use that data.

And I’ll give you a great example of that merit increases. Classic example, right? So today, typically what organizations do is somebody gets a performance rating. We’ll talk about telling someone what the performance rating is perhaps in a minute, but we get this performance rating. We get a number.

We use it to, let’s say you get a 2.8 on your performance rating. We average all this stuff together that is not reliable and valid in the first place. And we only do it once a year, so who knows what happened in the first 10 months of the year, but we’re just looking at your last two months and we’re going to pay you for the next year, based on the last two months of work, because who can remember any of that?

But let’s just pretend for a minute. Let’s just say three, we’ll make it easy. You get a three. You get a meets expectations, which by the way your manager tells you, your team leader tells you, “No, it’s great. Really. It’s okay. A three is good.”

And of course we all know it’s a C. You can tell me all day long, it’s not a C, but it’s a C. You can name it. You can put words. We all know it’s a C. So you tell me I’m a C and then typically a 3% merit budget. So I get a 2.8% merit increase. The person sitting next to me has, let’s just make it up. They get a 2.9% merit increase. I don’t care about a 10th of a percentage point difference in a merit increase until I know the person sitting next to me, who I think I did way more, better work than they did, or I worked just as hard as they did now they got more than I did, even though it’s a little teeny infinitesimal amount that no one really cares about, until I know the person sitting next to me got more than I did.

All based on this piece of data that is manufactured, almost manipulated almost, quite frankly, to be able to create some sort of a number.

So it’s not that we don’t want to use that data to inform the downstream talent process, to inform downstream compensation. We do want a piece of data to do that, but we need to go into that process knowing, first of all, we can’t differentiate to that degree of granularity. We just can’t.

And when we think about the world of work today, again, I just had this conversation today with some people. I said, “Who thinks that human performance fits under a normal curve?” When you talk, just think about normal team leaders. If you go ask a team leader, manager at any level of the organization, like, “Do you have a great team?”

“Oh yeah, my team’s great.” Nobody says, “My team is okay.” Or, “My team really stinks.” Most people don’t say that. Yeah. I have a great team. It’s those other teams that aren’t so good.

Must be somebody else because my team is great. So now, if we just kind of took a step back and sat for a minute and said, “What if we went into this whole thing about work thinking and believing that most of our employees fit in that top right hand box.” Because after all, isn’t that what we really want?

William Tincup: 11:42 Yeah.

Amy Leschke: 11:42 I mean, that’s really what we want.

William Tincup: 11:44 That’s why we hired them.

Amy Leschke: 11:44 That’s why we hired them. So let’s go put them in there unless there’s a reason not to. And let’s not try to over differentiate performance, because we really can’t. Particularly in the world of knowledge, work in the world of un-countables. And oh, by the way, then let’s not also pretend to have these little minute granular differentiations in merit increases that only create counterproductive impact.

So it’s like we have this whole downstream mess of stuff, which is why I think when we think about performance and performance measurement, we need to simplify performance measurement. We need to come belly up to the bar and go, “This is a subjective thing.” We can talk about what those subjective, critical few things are.

But we also may want to think what we actually do with that data once we have it and the impact that it has. We don’t measure, particularly performance, to get more of it. We measure to inform downstream talent decisions.

William Tincup: 12:42 So now let’s talk about how people think about performance going forward and either they’re going to rip and replace and they’re going to say, “Okay, we need a complete mindset shift from leadership to management, to managers, to employees. Like we’ve just got to redefine performance because the way that we’ve done it, whether or not we’ve done it for years or through different processes or different leaders or through technology, whatever. It’s the approach.” We’ve already, you’ve already elegantly talked about the brokenness.

Okay, how do we fix it now? So now let’s move the conversation over to, “Okay. We recognize historically what’s wrong. Currently, how we still get it wrong. Now let’s try and help the audience.”

Okay. Okay. It’s not all dark and gray out there and it’s not raining and there’s not okay… Got it. Here’s how to fix it.

Amy Leschke: 13:50 Yeah. Let’s do-over.` Let’s start with the realization, the reality that measurement, measuring performance and getting more of it are two different things.

So two different things. We get more of it by frequent attention, by doing things other than measuring it. So if we talk about the measurement, which is what we’re talking about today. And you ask yourself, what are the critical few things we need to know? Not what are the 100 things that we kind of sort of might want to know sometimes? Or what’s the magical model that everybody needs to be adhered to, in order to be a great performer. There is no such thing.

William Tincup: 14:29 Hey, real quick, Amy. You touched on something that triggered, should the way that we think about performance be personalized? And you might have been going here. Be personalized to the organization or to the talent, if you will?

Amy Leschke: 14:48 No. No. Weirdly, right? It’s almost like the complexity is, we’ve overcomplicated and over-engineered so many things, including how we measure.

William Tincup: 14:57 Okay. I got it. So there’s no need to make it another layer of personalization because there’s already a bunch of stuff in the system that we need to get out of the system and to begin with. Got it. Okay.

Amy Leschke: 15:08 Well, and it’s not almost like, not really. So if you think about, if you were to ask any leader with direct reports and you say, “Do you know who your best people are?”

They say, “Of course we do.” And you say why? I literally did this two hours ago. And I said like, “How do you know?” And the response is almost always the same. First of all, it’s kind of a blank stare. Like, “What do you mean? How do I know? I just know.”

William Tincup: 15:32 Yeah. I just know.

Amy Leschke: 15:35 And of course you do. Of course you know. And when you say why, and they think a minute, it’s like, “Well, they get their work done.”

Like, “Yep. Exactly. Anything else?”

“Well, they’re reasonable to work with. They’re like, I can work with them.”

“Awesome. What else?”

William Tincup: 15:51 Yeah. It’s all kind of biases are coming out. That’s what’s interesting about that. There’s all kind of… What we have in recruiting on a hiring bias, but there’s.. Now, you’re scratching around all the performance biases that’s come out.

Amy Leschke: 16:05 Well. And that’s why it’s subjective. If we go into this going, “Look, manager, team leader,” we say team leader in our world, “your part of your job is to weigh in, to share your subjective experiences with your team members with us as an organization, to help us inform these downstream talent decisions.” So we fully, we’re not pretending it’s something that it’s not.

And we know the critical few things that help us understand someone’s performance, at least through the eyes of a team leader, which is as good as we’re going to get by the way, because that team leader should know someone’s performance best.

It boils down to the two things I just said, which is quality and productivity. Can somebody get high quality work done? It means, yes, it includes goals. Yes. It includes job responsibilities, whatever those might happen to be for the current day, because they change day by day. Same thing with goals.

Could be cycle work, could be non-cycle work. Great, there’s quality productivity. And we can, I’m going to say measure that. We can capture the team leader’s subjective experience with one question. And then the other thing is, well we call it teaminess because we didn’t know what else to call it, all that softer kind of stuff.

And we can capture that with one question, the team leader’s subjective experience with the team member. So essentially we also ask in our world for talent, flaky kind of questions. But two questions: can somebody get high quality work done, and are they reasonable to work with? End of story, that’s it.

We don’t need to ask rate against complicated models or job descriptions that are so out of date or goals that were relevant six months ago. We don’t need to ask all of those things because there’s two chunks of work, two questions, if you will. Two items that we can have team leaders respond to that capture as much as we’re probably ever going to be able to capture quite frankly.

So making it more complicated and more granular is actually counterproductive to seeing into the broader picture of how people are doing at work.

William Tincup: 18:03 So the expectation is, when we tear this down and rebuild it, what should be the expectations in this New World Order for leaders, if we want to bifurcate the C-suite from managers to employees, what should the expectations be for those groups of people?

Amy Leschke: 18:22 Well, the expectation for anyone who is a leader of people, again we call it a team leader, it’s not a hierarchical designation. The expectation should be that, that leader reasonably frequently shares their experiences, their subjective experiences and intentions of their team members performance with the organization. We do that with six items, four times a year. Easy peasy.

There’s no conversation. There’s no written stuff in there. There’s no self review, no 360, none of that. It’s just, “Hey, team leader, how are you experiencing your team members’ performance?” And we do that again with six items. Great. Now we’ve got reliable data. Because of the way in our world that we construct the items we get at least as reliable as we can.

You’re never going to unbiased, by the way. Like that’s kind of a myth thing, right? We all come with biases. Can we be more aware? Sure. But they’re not going to go away. We shouldn’t pretend that they are.

So if I ask a team leader to respond to six items, four times a year, it takes me maximum, probably two to three minutes per employee. Awesome. We’re getting more frequent data. We’re getting more reliable data because we’re actually asking the team member openly, “Hey, what’s your subjective experience with this person? Great.”

It’s not the be all end all, but it’s as good as we’re going to get with most people. It’s actually, come to find out, pretty darn good data. Like when you go kind of do some digging and fact checking and sense checking, it’s actually pretty good data.

Team leaders are pretty good at it, which is amazing. And so we can take that whole, what we do today, the traditional approach of writing reviews and telling people how bad they are and giving them a “feedback” and telling them where the gaps are smushed in between a couple of pieces of nice information, “Ooh, yay. You’re great. But here’s all the things you do wrong and oh, by the way, you’re great. And here’s your 2.7% merit increase.”

Like that can all go away. We still can give merit increases. We still can measure, subjectively measure performance. But we can do that in a way that doesn’t pretend to be something that it’s not. That isn’t intended to increase performance, it’s simply intended to give the organization, HR practitioners in particular, visibility into the performance landscape, if you will, of the organization.

And if you do that with the intent of, kind of the assumption, I guess if you will, that most of our folks should be in that top right hand corner. And everybody, we’ve got amazing employees. They’re super smart grownups. Let’s go into it with that attitude as opposed to saying, “Oh, we need to go differentiate all these little, like little, teeny, tiny granular layer, whatever you want to call them, little striations of performance in the organization.”

But no, we just want to… I mean, if we want to get really radical, you could say, “We just want to do pass/fail. Like pass/fail.”

William Tincup: 21:13 Right, right. So a tangential, maybe of a bit of a non sequitur. A worry of mine recently is the spectrum of how we look at work currently if, everyone’s got to be in the office. So this absolutism of everyone’s got to be in the office, or we’re going to be remote forever. On the other side of the spectrum is, “Okay, then we won’t even have offices. Just everyone’s remote forever.”

And in the middle, the great majority is going to be some form of hybrid and every company’s going to kind of figure that out on their own. Well, the worry that I’ve started to develop, and it might not be a worry and this is why I want to get your take on is, are we going to create different citizens or different levels or different types of employees?

For example, those that go into the office versus those that never go to the office. We’ll we see more inequity over time, and I’m thinking specifically through performance, through the lens of performance, are we going to see more inequities that kind of show up based on the model of work that we’re creating?

Amy Leschke: 22:28 Three months ago I would’ve said, “I think I’m worried about that.” But actually I’m not nearly as worried about it as I was.

William Tincup: 22:36 Okay. Tell me about this.

Amy Leschke: 22:37 The ADP Research Institute recently published a study called People At Work 2022. And you can get it on And one of the really interesting pieces of data in there was talking about people who work remote and people who work onsite and there was five or six questions. And I don’t want to quote them because I will get them wrong. I don’t have them sitting in front of me.

But there were things like, “I feel recognized at work.” And career kind of like, “I feel paid attention to about my career, et cetera.” And what was fascinating about that data was the folks who were remote responded more favorably than the folks who weren’t remote.

William Tincup: 23:16 Oh.

Amy Leschke: 23:17 And there wasn’t a… Right? That’s what I said. I think, “Gee, that’s really curious. I wonder why?” And I have a hypothesis. I have no idea if this is true or not. But I think we know, and we’ve talked about this before, but we know from our data and our client experience, as well as data from the ADP Research Institute, how critical really frequent attention is at work. Most important people paying attention to me. Big lover for performance and engagement. Probably the most powerful one, at least that we found.

So we know that. My hypothesis is that when we’re in the office together, when we’re onsite together, whether, whatever onsite means for your organization and that type of work, we often say, “Oh, I talk to my people all the time. Oh, every day. I see my people every day. I talk to them a whole bunch. I talk to them every day. Like I pay attention to them.”

But that attention in that kind of environment is often very drive by-y. Right? It’s very, “Oh, how you doing?”

“Fine.” Yeah, you talked to me?

What happens or what we see happening, particularly in organizations again, that are much more intentional about it, is that when you’re remote and your team leader is remote, when you’re offsite and you’re not sitting next to each other, the communication, the connection, what we would call a check-in is much more intentional and much more focused around the critical few things that we’re on the other side now of moving the needle on performance, not measuring it, but moving it. It’s a much more intentional interaction.

And if that intentional interaction is focused on, “Hey, how can I help you? What are your priorities this week? How are you feeling?” It’s got to be super frequent. Whereas in the office, or onsite, it’s often much more casual, less intentional.

And I don’t know this for sure, but my hypothesis is, is that the intentionality of that offsite connection is the game changer. It’s the difference-maker. So if we can have that same intentionality onsite, offsite, remote, hybrid, it doesn’t matter. I think, and we’ve kind of seen hints of this in our own data, talking with clients and looking at client data.

I think that’s the differentiator. I think that’s the game changer to how do we get more of it? So I’m not nearly as, I’m going to say concerned about it as I was before, if organizations make intentional attention. Creating a culture of high attention, a priority.

William Tincup: 25:41 Yeah. And it’s a constant or never off calibration. And then again, I like the way that you’ve positioned intentionality. It’s like, “Okay, if we do this intentionally, with all of the different types of employees, then we have a great chance of this actually working out. If we don’t or, if we’re not intentional, then it might end up in a place where we’re not happy.”

I wanted to ask two questions. One is about talent management professionals and kind of their gripe with performance kind of historically, or even kind of what you see, right? Are they advocates for this kind new way of thinking about performance? Or, are they kind of still stuck in 2019?

Amy Leschke: 26:32 So in terms of general approach, 100% advocate. I’ve never met anyone who has not been excited, and just by the notion of, “Oh, you mean we don’t have to do that, all that everybody hates me now?”

William Tincup: 26:47 It’s like this great release.

Amy Leschke: 26:48 Oh, finally. Finally. But here’s where it gets stuck. Right? Because it’s a great question. Like why isn’t everybody changing? Why isn’t everybody doing this? And there’s a couple of reasons. One is that we’ve made incredibly large investments in technology, in processes that do it the old way.

It’s hard. And I totally get it because I was exactly in that spot. It’s so hard to walk away from that. And so there’s that piece just kind of our own connection and going, “Oh, how do I say this? Like, what do I say? Like, whoops, I’ve spent a couple million bucks on this thing for the last couple years, and it’s not… We shouldn’t do that anymore.”

So there’s that part of it, which is totally understandable. Takes a lot of courage to step away from that. The other thing is oftentimes I see executives who go, “Yeah, but no.” Like, “No, we’ve done it this way forever.”

So it takes courage from both the practitioner perspective and usually some members or some combination of folks on an executive team to go, “Oh, you know what?” And it’s not to say that we’ve done it wrong because we didn’t know any better. Like it’s not anyone’s fault.

But what we can say is, “You know what? We’re smarter now. Like we’re so much smarter than we were even a couple of years ago. There’s some compelling data. There’s all of our expertise and experience that tells us that what we have historically done in the world of measuring and moving performance, isn’t really working all that well.”

Like there’s something missing. Here’s at least something that we could go very easily. I’m going to say experiment with. We know from our world and our experience that it really doesn’t require experimentation, but I get where organizations are coming from.Like this is different.

So go run an experiment. Don’t do traditional performance management with a group of your organization. Go ask six, really simple light touch questions four times a year and see what kind of data you get. Do some modeling, do some experimenting. How bad could it be? Because it’s certainly not going to be any worse than what’s happening right now.

William Tincup: 28:48 You nailed the second question. I was going to ask about technology and process. So I think, and you gave people great advice on being bold, because it is hard. Again, it’s not just the investment, it’s the political capital that we don’t talk a lot about. Like you went to bat for this vendor and then you’ve rolled it out. The implementation was painful and torturous. Now you’ve trained everybody and you put, as an HR leader, you’ve put a ton of political capital behind this decision. To then go back and again, years later, that doesn’t even matter, decades later. And go and to unpack that, and go, “Yeah, wrong.”

Different, better way to do it. I mean if there was a magic pill to give to HR leaders and that not just in performance, but in a lot of areas in HR, that would be the pill I’d create for them. So that they could actually just have that boldness of going, “You know what? We get things wrong all the time.” Like that’s a part of it.

This experimentation should be a part of the job. Like that’s actually what we should be doing, is experimenting, so.

Amy Leschke: 29:56 Yeah. And we’ve built, in our world we’ve built a piece of technology to help support and sustain what we’ve talked about, and what we’ve been talking about in terms of how do we help people get more performance. How do we measure engagement? How do we more reliably measure performance?

And which is great. I mean, I think we’ve done a absolutely beautiful job at changing the world of how we do those things for our clients. That being said, it depends on the, like if you can get your employees, it’s like if you can do this, if you can help people pay more attention to each other, you can measure performance in a way, always so happy of course, to talk more specifically about what we do and how we do it, but kind of like just figure it out.

Like find a way. Read articles, Google the work that we do. Like it’s literally not rocket science. We have overcomplicated and over-engineered it. “We”, the Royal “we” kind of HR practitioner world, if you will.

So I think you said the words be bold, William, and that’s exactly it. You’re not going to make it worse because it’s really bad. I mean, it’s really bad. Go try something.

William Tincup: 31:10 I think the overcomplicated part, you’ve said that a couple of times and I think you spot on in terms of, I think some of the reasons we’ve overcomplicated it is to justify headcount and to justify software spend.

Like some of it, some, not all, but some of it was overcomplicated because you can’t charge $30 per user per month if it’s easy.

Amy Leschke: 31:39 Yeah. And I also think that, this is just my story. So this might not be everybody’s experience, but my experience as a practitioner, making those kinds of buying decisions was, they’ve got to know what they’re doing, These are the experts.

William Tincup: 31:54 100%.

Amy Leschke: 31:56 No names here of vendors, right? They’ve got to be right. Like cascaded goals have to work. Competency models have to be a thing. We’re just, I’m just doing it wrong. I don’t know. Somebody helped me do this right because I must be doing it wrong because we’re not getting the impact and everybody’s complaining about it. And everybody feels bad. Like everybody.

And the fundamental kind of core root cause thing wrong with that is that, at least in my case, I don’t think I was doing it wrong. I was fundamentally doing wrong things.

William Tincup: 32:30 That’s right. That’s right. You know, I’ve always seen it in my lifetime. I’ve always seen it done right once. And it was a Bombardier. 80,000 person company and what they did that was so special, and I think that’s why it worked, is they bought the software and modeled everything for 18 months before they rolled it out to the employees.

So they’ve worked on their competency model, they mapped everything and did all the intentionality and then did all the communication and training, so that everyone knew why this was important for them, for each person.

And so they baked in intentionality, but these were all change management people. And it’s rare. I mean, again, only one time in my entire life have I actually seen it work and one time. And I’ve seen a bunch of roll-outs so it’s not a good number.

I can’t wait for our next discussion. Thank you so much for carving out time for us, Amy.

Amy Leschke: 33:35 Thanks, William. As always, it’s such a pleasure to kind of break the mold a little bit and really challenge some of those things that we’ve always done. And it’s okay to ask questions. It’s okay to be bold. It’s okay to question what we’ve done, because we are smarter now.

It’s not saying that we’ve been doing the wrong things for 20 years, even though we kind of, we have. But we are smarter now. And that the only error I think right now in the world of HR that we can be making, the biggest mistake that we can be making is that we don’t learn. That we don’t put those smarts to work.

We have an unbelievable opportunity with a pandemic. Like people are paying attention to HR. They’re looking at us. Like we have the answers. And so now is the time for us to be bold and let’s do some different things that actually are not only serving our employees, but serving the organization and serving our communities.

Like let’s remove this unbelievable emotional burden that we have put into our ecosystems of work by asking people to measure things that aren’t really measurable, and come up with all kinds of complex things and over-engineered models and frameworks.

Let’s just make things simple and easy so that our employees can go out and do great work.

William Tincup: 34:53 And live a better life, be more engaged. All of those things. Like I think the way that you’ve broadened out the definition of performance is, is it’s not just about there’s a performance of work. That’s great, but there’s a human being there that’s also kind of important.

We did myth busting today, which was really fun. So thank you for that. And thanks for the audience for listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Until next time.

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The RecruitingDaily Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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