On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks to Lisa-Moné from Unit4 about the $7.8 trillion productivity problem around having disengaged employees: employees that are in the workplace currently supporting your business, but not really focused or engaged in what you’re doing.
Some Conversation Highlights:
Listening time: 25 minutes
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Lisa-Moné Lamontagne, PsyD, SHRM-CP
Dr. Lisa-Moné Lamontagne is the People Success Leader, North America for Unit4. As the People Success Leader, she is challenged with knowing the business in depth and strategically partnering on developing people solutions to achieve the organization’s goals. Dr. Lamontagne holds a Doctorate of Psychology in Organizational Management and Consulting and is a Certified Human Resources Professional (SHRM-CP).Follow
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, it’s William Tincup and you’re listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcast. Today we have Lisa Monet on from Unit4. And our topic is the $7.8 trillion productivity problem. I can’t wait to talk about this, but before we do, Lisa-Moné, would you do us a favor and introduce yourself, but also unit four?
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 00:58 Yes, would love to. Let’s get into it. So I’m Lisa-Moné Lamontagne and I lead what we call the people success function here at Unit4 for the North American region. That includes US and Canada. So on a local level, it would be considered the full employee life cycle. So after you signed your offer letter, my team then takes over. Unit4 is a cloud leader in enterprise software for people [inaudible 00:01:25]. Basically we’re in business for people. And our enterprise software supports our customers in really delivering an exceptional people experience to their organizations and customers.
William Tincup: 01:36 And it’s global and that’s one of the things [inaudible 00:01:39] to understand. Yeah, it’s a truly global organization.
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 01:42 Absolutely.
William Tincup: 01:43 All right, so $7.8 trillion productivity problem. Let’s just kind of unpack that just a little bit. So productivity in a sense, let’s just start there. What does that mean for us?
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 01:57 So really, I just want to just go back and simply state that where this comes from, this $7.8 trillion lost in productivity. It’s from Gallup State of the global workplace report that was put out for 2022. And really it’s around having disengaged employees. And these are employees that are in the workplace currently supporting your business, but not really focused or engaged in what you’re doing. So there’s a loss there in the productivity of what they are producing for the organization.
William Tincup: 02:34 And how close are we to the popular phrase today, quite quitting?
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 02:42 This is kind of going right line with quiet quitting.
William Tincup: 02:46 We’re running parallel to, first of all, that phrase kind of drives me crazy a little bit, because it’s just like, okay, so you’re working, but you’re giving your discretionary effort is not [inaudible 00:03:00].
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 02:59 And I don’t really like the phrase, I don’t like the phrase quiet quitting, because it’s implying that you’re not doing the work that [inaudible 00:03:08] you’re asked to do. And that’s completely false.
William Tincup: 03:12 I think it’s to help sell ads and magazines and stuff like that. So I think it’s sensationalized on purpose, but we’re both in alignment. If we could get rid the term, that’d be great.
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 03:24 What I do like about it, is actually that it brought attention to this. I’ve seen it kind of more talked about as opposed to all other points that have been brought up. You actually see it being talked about amongst employees, not just HR leaders or just leadership in general. So it really brings it out to the forefront of what it is we need to look into and how we need to make change.
William Tincup: 03:51 So is some of this productivity, the lack of productivity, again, people are working, they’re just not working maybe as hard or as much as we want to. So a couple things that we want to ask you about, is some of this just exhaustion from COVID and again, that’s one kind of take I want to get your take on that is, some of this generational and then this might become a new normal?
04:21 I remember when my wife, we [inaudible 00:04:24] from grad school and I was going into my MBA, she went to Sydney and she was in Australia for about four months and she came back and she was like, “I don’t know how these people to get work done.” I’m like, “Do tell.” She’s like, “They me work 35 hours a week.” I’m like, “So they actually have a life. You see this as wrong?” And we joke about it still to this day, it’s like it’s not a bad thing. That means that people are engaged, they’re going on holiday, etc. Let’s just pick those two apart. Do you see something with the data and just your observations with you and your clients? Do you just see some of this just people are tired?
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 05:10 They are. And this is really the time where you see it. I mean, we’re coming out of still in, but coming out of a pandemic, there’s economic turmoil and many other factors and just stress in general from the past few years. That it makes sense why this is happening right now, but it’s not anything new. I think it’s just every few years we just have a different term for it. But we’re now in a place where we have to consistently be striving to what employees are looking for and making ourselves competitive there.
William Tincup: 05:50 And obviously, like you said, that changes, because the employees, it’s a old, I guess a customer kind of an advertising [inaudible 00:06:02] is the moment that you understand your customers, the very moment that they change.
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 06:06 Absolutely.
William Tincup: 06:07 And so true is with employees. Okay, if you feel like you got it and it’s just then all of a sudden things change for them in their lives or as the business. What about the take in terms of anything in the four generations of the workforce and just they want to interact with work differently.
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 06:30 And I think Gen Z is maybe leading the charge with that, the most recent generation coming into the workforce and what they will and will not tolerate coming into work. The millennial generation, which has been taking charge as well too, has allowed it since they saw both views of this is working hard and hustle culture and then seeing what exactly they want. And so, this is where you come into the piece on how much effort I’m going to put in to work when I come in, and how much effort they’re putting into me, they being the company.
William Tincup: 07:13 Well, I’ll give you some hope. If you needed some hope, I’ll give you some hope. Just a little bit of hope. Not a lot, a little bit. The head of HR tech, they had a startup pitch fest, a hundred startups that went through it. They got it down to 20, they got it down to 6 and then the one that won was one called spotLIGHT, which is essentially that focuses on work, home or your life and wellness. And it’s an app that basically at the beginning of the day, you start with intentions, “What do I want the day to play out like?” In those three areas, not just work, but in my life and in wellness. And wellness can be a health or financial, it can be mental health. Any way you want to correct that. And at the end of the day you reflect and “Okay, how did the day go? How did it play out?” And that was a startup out of a hundred startups that was a startup that actually won.
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 08:14 I think that’s amazing. Even coming into Unit4 is work model now is called flex for you. And that’s what we want to incorporate. We want to incorporate making sure that there is a balance between work and life and how you work should work for you essentially. And that’s what we need to visit is what do I need to get out of this day? What do my customers need? What am I trying to gain in personal development? And kind of looking around the flex for you work life model.
William Tincup: 08:53 I love that. I use this word a lot, probably overuse it, but the word thrive, it’s finding where you thrive. And again, the flexibility I think the polarity of Airbnb and Tesla of, okay, everyone’s going to work in an office and if you don’t want to work in an office, you can’t work here. That’s a model. Good. On the other end of that is kind of Airbnb. We don’t have any offices. There’s no such thing. Okay, well that’s a model. So somewhere in the middle is this thing called hybrid. And I love the way that companies are approaching this and going, “Okay, we’ve got to make this work for everybody.” And then some of that’s culture and some of it’s the values of the company and some of it’s what they do and things like that. But I love this kind of solving for flexibility, solving the algebra around what works for you and what works for you this week might not work for you next week.
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 09:50 Exactly.
William Tincup: 09:51 There’s equal amount of people that want to actually go to an office, as there is people that want to work remotely.
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 09:57 And that’s exactly what I was going to mention, because it doesn’t always work for every single person. But the great thing right now is, especially in the US, you’re getting that option now as an employee, to look around and see what really works and employees really want to work where their values are aligned with the company values. So hopefully the company values are how they work too. So there’s that alignment.
William Tincup: 10:23 It’s funny, I was talking to a recruiter yesterday, that recruit’s just tech talent. And I asked him, I said, “What are they asking? What’s the bit?” And he goes, “First question out of their mouth, Is this remote?”
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 10:37 Yes.
William Tincup: 10:37 “Second question is, comp. Okay, what are we talking about?” And depending on the company and whether or not there’s equity and bonuses and whatnot. And the third thing is about the job. Is it remote? No. Okay, we can stop there. And he also went further. He said, “Listen, with some of these engineers that I’m recruiting, one of their first questions is not even about that stuff, is how many steps are there in the hiring process?”
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 11:04 Yes.
William Tincup: 11:05 And if it’s over four, he said, “They just bail.” They just like, “Yeah, you don’t have your house in order. I can’t work there.” It’s like wow.
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 11:14 Absolutely.
William Tincup: 11:16 So the question I have for you is around productivity, any way that you’ve seen it kind of interlaced to employee experience, engagement or retention? Is there [inaudible 00:11:33].
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 11:32 Can you rephrase the question?
William Tincup: 11:34 Yeah, I’m thinking of the connective tissue, because productivity is kind of outcome based. You have to do the thing that then creates the thing. And people have historically called this different over the years they’ve called, “Okay, are they engaged?” So then there’s engagement, it’s surveys and pulse surveys and all this type stuff. But what I saw at HR Tech last week was a lot of EX, a lot of employee experience. Like okay, we know how to manage the candidate experience, so that candidates have a better experience as they go from sourcing to offer letter. Okay, cool. But from offer letter all the way through their tenure, what can we do to make their experience more robust, more personalized, etc. And then lastly, retention’s an outcome as well. Okay, why are we doing these things or is it really about retaining our top talent?
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 12:30 Absolutely. And I think actually you touched on a big point about the employee experience. And just to go a little bit further into that, that involves a couple different things, or at least a few different things that I’ve seen. One being, evaluating the processes and the tech stack that you have available for the employees on how they do their job. Is it more tedious work than building strategy or actually getting to the meat of their work?
13:00 There’s also a piece around engagement surveys, considering engagement surveys and actually asking the employees how they’re feeling, how engaged they are, what can be improved. And then acting on it. And then also linking those business decisions that you make to the company values. Again, people are bought into the values of an organization. And so I think with these three points, that’s how you help to improve on the employee experience. Thus, then creating productivity on how they treat your customers, those who are outward facing and those who are supporting those who are outward facing.
William Tincup: 13:43 Let’s double click into those, because those are all three really, really fascinating. So let’s start with the top. How do we get better at that?
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 13:52 About the processes and the tech stack?
William Tincup: 13:55 Yes, because first of all, I did five years of my life, I studied user adoption of HR and recruiting technology. And one of the things I would tell vendors, is that even if it’s a rip and replace, which I hate that term, even if it’s that you’re changing people’s lives, there’s Jim or Jennifer or whatever, was competent and confident in that technology that they used to use, and now you’re giving them a much better product, no doubt. But that confidence and competence is lost and until it’s regained. So it’s like the tools and applications and systems and all these things, they actually impact their lives. And it could be in a positive way or a negative way. So I love that you even went there. So how do we make that better?
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 14:52 Thanks actually for framing it that way, because that is another perspective that others may not actually see. But when I look at it, I think about the established processes and technologies or legacy technologies that we use. And I think about how organizations are always in a state of change and transformation, but don’t really look at those tech stacks to see if they’ve evolved with them. So it can actually be making an employee’s work more tedious to go through certain offerings that they had. Whereas, if you change and you look at, well, how can new processes and new technologies really help to streamline that workload that employees have?
William Tincup: 15:39 How often do you think that we should, because this is something that’s been on my mind for a long time, but how often with process in particular, how often should we revisit processes?
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 15:49 When there’s a transformation, I won’t sit on every three years, it’s a good number every three to five years, good number. But when there’s a transformation and a change within an organization, you need to look at how are we working and how can we work better under this new process?
William Tincup: 16:07 I love that. So the second one was about engagement and kind of a finger on the pulse of how do you that and how does that help you with productivity?
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 16:19 So what we have at Unit4 is a solution called Unit4 talent management. And actually, one aspect within the talent management offering is that we do pull surveys, five questions every week to our employees. And they’re different questions. They’re randomized and they go under 12 different engagement categories. And this goes to employees inboxes every Monday morning and you’re able to go in and just fill this out, add comments. And it allows us to see where we are. Now, not all organizations have a weekly pulse and you can kind of evaluate to see if weekly makes sense for your organization, but at least engaging them on a more regular basis or do an engagement service on a regular basis.
17:07 But it’s helpful to see one, is your participation rate still good or still a significant amount of employees actually taking the survey for you to know what the actual pulse is of the organization. And what I’ve actually found was through our summer months, it dropped a bit in our engagement. So that, got me to thinking, “Well, are people disengaged? Are they off on vacation? [inaudible 00:17:36] let’s think about different solutions around it.” But if we didn’t do that on a regular basis, we couldn’t track that. We couldn’t see, well, there’s something for us to alert our attention to. So I think it’s important to just make sure that we are doing either engagement service or wellbeing surveys on a regular basis.
William Tincup: 17:59 You said, it actually, when you listed it initially, it’s got to lead to action. We both probably grew up in an era where there were annual employee satisfaction surveys and people would tell us things and then nothing [inaudible 00:18:19] and my hands are bloody here. So we’d do the survey, survey results would come back and we’d get busy and nothing would get done. And that just compounds the frustration.
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 18:31 And you stop taking it, because you’re like, “They’re not listening.” Well, we even went a step further within Unit4, we recently did a wellbeing survey and so we’re still socializing it to the business. But what I can share with actions is based on what we heard more of, you said, we heard, we’re taking action on adding social committees, wellbeing days, more focus on our values and more offerings. But you have to go back to the business and say it wasn’t for nothing. We heard you and we are taking the steps here to align and make sure that everyone is being heard.
William Tincup: 19:12 Well, a hundred years ago I did this survey and it was an annual satisfaction survey, but I did it for an ad agency and 150 employees. But I did surveys, but then I did focus groups and then one on one interviews. So I went kind of all the way around the firm and then I bubbled it up. So I’m in front of the entire C-suite at this point and I’m like, “Okay, I got the results.” And they’re like, “Okay, cool. Give us the top line.” Because, they’re thinking it’s pay, this, that and the other. And I’m like, “Potted plants.” And they’re like, “What?” I said, “93% of your population, they just want to bring plants to work.” And this building, for whatever reason, it wasn’t where they filmed the show about… There was a Cleveland show about Cleveland, but the landlord is a historic building. They wouldn’t allow people to have plants.
20:12 So now, I’m standing in front of a bunch of grown men and women and then explaining to them that all their people want to do is bring their [inaudible 00:20:23] plant or cactus to work. And they’re like, “Are you joking?” I’m like, “No, not joking. I got data. So we can go as deep as you want to.” And they’re like, “This is it. This is the thing?” “Yeah.” He gets out of the meeting, calls the landlord and goes, “I’ll sign a 10 year lease, but we have to have plans.” Gets the deal done, and then reports back to the employees the next week, literally, he just goes, “Bring in your plants. We’ve already hired a service to come around and water them, so they’ll come around and take care of them. You don’t even have to worry about that. Bring in whatever you want. And if you don’t have something at home, you could pick something off their list.” And it’s like [inaudible 00:21:03]
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 21:03 I love that.
William Tincup: 21:04 Engagement went through the roof and potted plants.
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 21:06 I love that.
William Tincup: 21:06 Potted plants, that was the secret, was potted plants.
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 21:13 And guess what? They wouldn’t have known it. They would’ve increased comp. Increased [inaudible 00:21:18] whatever else, changed structures of roles and that wasn’t what they were looking for.
William Tincup: 21:24 No. And so that’s, that finger on the pulse of understanding, okay, the hit and miss, you’re absolutely right, they would’ve done that. They would’ve gone, “Okay, well so and so has been in this role for so long, let’s go make sure that they don’t leave. Let’s get them up to a different position, etc.” Which is all good. But the thing that was driving the most dissatisfaction at work was something as simple as potted plants, which still to this day is funny to tell that story, because I’m like, “Potted plants.” And they thought I was crazy when I first said… I mean, they wanted to almost kick me out of the room. Like, “Listen, I’m standing on a stack of data, I can defend this any way you want to.” The last thing you brought up was the linkage to business and the business outcomes and the initiatives and things like that. So how do we effectively communicate and bring people into that to then lead to productivity?
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 22:20 When I think about this, I think about how we even do performance reviews here within Unit4, is the first question or one of the first questions that’s asked is, “How well are you living the business values?” And that’s why it’s important to then link business decisions to company values. Because, if we’re all supposed to live it, how are decisions being made? So I think one way to do this, is to be transparent, as transparent as we can of why we made certain business decisions, or even when we have new leadership or new management that comes in, that is discussed about how they live the value and what strategy we’re looking to do moving forward.
William Tincup: 23:07 Fantastic. Well, first of all, thank you for the time. This has just been fantastic. I think I could talk to you forever, but [inaudible 00:23:14]
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 23:14 It’s been great.
William Tincup: 23:15 Turns out you probably have other things to do today, so we won’t do that, but we’ll just schedule another podcast and gives us an excuse to carve up something else. Lisa-Moné, thank you so much for your time and wisdom.
Lisa-Moné Lamon…: 23:26 Thanks so much. Have a great rest of your day.
William Tincup: 23:28 Absolutely, and thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcast. Until next time.
Announcer: 23:33 You’ve been listening to the Recruiting Live podcast by RecruitingDaily. Check out the latest industry podcasts, webinars, articles, and news at Recruiting…
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.