On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks to Jojo from Würk about supporting staff as work-life balance shifts.
Some Conversation Highlights:
Listening time: 26 minutes
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William Tincup (00:00):
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This is Recruiting Daily’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 (01:04):
Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you are listening to the Recruiting Daily podcast. Today we have Jojo on from Work and our topic is supporting staff as work life balance shifts. This is going to be fun and fast. Can’t wait to get into it. Jojo, would you do us a favor and introduce yourself and the company Work?
Yeah, so my name’s Jojo. I’m the VP of People and Corporate Strategy or Short Strategy at Work. Really excited to be here. Thank you William, for having me on. So Work, really our origin story started that cannabis companies six to 10 years ago really was paying people in cash or carried the cash to the bank. So we provided a technology and a platform and services around that, payroll, hr, all things, and sort of supported with them with taxes and stuff and really just supporting this industry in a way that they did not have that support six to 10 years ago. So very exciting, very wild industry, but really kind of just helping to be the stewards of growing the industry into the next level.
William Tincup (02:12):
Well for me it’s because I had a California medical marijuana license 100 years ago and I’ve always been kind of decriminalization of marijuana is just like, it’s almost an IQ test on some levels and I’m glad that the industry has grown. More importantly with companies like yourselves, I’m glad that they’re come out of the shadows in a sense of now that you have enterprise software firms that are specializing and focusing on them as the real industry that they are, as the billions of dollars are being spent. So it’s as real of an industry as anything else. So I’m glad that Work is actually providing that service because that service is provided to other corporations and other industries and it just shows that the industry is actually growing up and I think it’s great. So which, yeah, go ahead.
Which, no, which is what is needed. I think you made a really good point that cannabis industry is its own business. Brings money and revenue throughout the nation. I think not only us, but a lot of people like you said, are coming out. But specifically with us, what’s really nice is we are able to help these organizations that grow so quick and are providing so much support and jobs in this climate to these individuals that may not have the same type of job or the benefits that they would’ve had six to 10 years ago if no one had done anything.
William Tincup (03:45):
Just want to make that last point.
William Tincup (03:47):
No, and again, what’s great about that is these businesses have employees and those employees haven’t had the same benefits as a Taco Bell or a Verizon or something else. And it’s just because people haven’t been focused on it. So let’s jump into the topic of supporting staff as work life balance shifts. So what’s your take on work life? Let’s just start with some of the basics. What do you do conceptually, especially as a people officer, what do you think of when you think of work life balance?
So one of the things that I’ve learned very early on in my career, and I’ve had a very unique career I think in different than versus other people leaders, but really building, rebuilding organizations. One thing I learned is as people leader of the traditional senses is we’re committed to the company. We want to make sure the company’s protected, we want to make sure the company is doing well as a business and focusing on business strategy. But one thing that I really wanted to understand that as a company, if we’re taking care of our people and our people are getting the foundational items that they need, just live their lives, they’re going to come and be more efficient. One of those things that have always been a big belief for me specifically, and we can talk about all the beliefs and why we have different sort of office types right now and a hybrid in office, but really a big belief of mine has always been performance is my number one thing for my employees and my own people organization or being a people leader and working with executive teams.
And what that means is I care about work life balance in the sense of giving them the benefit to be flexible to work anywhere. And I did this before COVID because I’ve worked with remote companies and a lot of companies I’ve worked with is also a rebuild, sort of redefining who they are and stuff. And so work life balance is very passionate to me in the sense because I really just want to focus on making sure you are performing and you’re developing to the best versions of yourself.
So a lot of the times when I have teams and I have employees, I’m focus on the time you need to take your kids to a school or to a play, you need to start later on because you just have a wild morning. So it’s not only about the vacation taking or taking time for sick, it’s about how does your schedule mesh with what the business need and what you need personally. And then how do we find that perfect balance. So a lot of the times I focus my programs and policies around the idea of performances, number one. After that I just want to be flexible to your individual life.
William Tincup (06:28):
It’s interesting because you, but even pre COVID you kind of got to an outcome based with performance. It’s like okay, I don’t really need to know how you get the work done unless you want to talk about it, it’s this needs to be done in this timeframe, et cetera. And then whether or not someone does it at 2:00 AM or 3:00 PM doesn’t really matter. Now when they don’t hit the performance or they don’t hit the outcomes, there’s probably an intervention. “Okay, we said we were going to do it by this, it didn’t get done. Okay, let’s talk about that.” How do you deconstruct to find out what was the driver of why we didn’t reach the outcome?
Yeah, I think one of the biggest things that I try to do when I come into any new organization, and this is a lot of my expertise in the HR field, is focused on the foundational HR operations and total rewards. So when we talk about work life balance as a policy, when we talk about what the culture structurally needs to stand up, what the company needs to stand up, payroll, compensation, leave of absence policies on the other side, employee life cycle processes, communication processes, all the stuff that HR operations goes into. One of those things is when we talk about feedback. But what I really like to make sure we separate is work life balance and making sure someone has the flexibility to be able to be successful in their job and also be successful in their life because yeah it is of a different topic of performance measures and making sure our managers know how to have constructive positive feedback and developmental feedback and they’re all aligned.
So manager development training is really important, especially frontline. But also too, I think it needs to be seen as an employee, as a reward that we’re doing this flexibility and this understanding that your life is as important as your life at your job. But going backwards to on just work life balance and giving the employees what they need to be successful is, there’s a lot of research that’s been found that companies that focus on that and that get an empathetic understanding and build that into the foundational core of their people organization is finding benefit of employees either working a little bit more because they have this flexible schedule and they want to get it done and they want to stay at that company. I mean you’ll see remote workplaces are getting a lot of positive. Glassdoor actually just finished a research that showed the top 10 all tech, which is interesting in itself.
And those industries like retail that can’t, they just don’t have the business mean to do so. But I guess where I’m going with that is I think for me, I do things a little differently in the sense that I need to build a home, I need to build a home where my employees feel safe and focus on the foundational items and then what are the cultural values we build around those foundational items? And then how do they affect performance and feedback as we just talked about. And that’s more when I start to design the house, if that makes sense. And we can go through that analogy.
William Tincup (09:38):
No, it absolutely, absolutely makes sense. I wanted to ask you a question, pre COVID or even COVID and or because of COVID, do you see more of an integration than a balance? And I’ll preface the question like this, I’m squarely Gen X. So we thought of, and probably still think of work life balance is somehow balancing the amount of hours in a given week that we dedicate to one and the other through COVID. I think Gen X really kind of came to kind of a crossroads of there is no balance in the sense of that historical way that we thought of it. It was more of like, hey, it’s integrated and it’s more integrated than we probably even wanted it to be like, okay, cats on Zoom calls and all that stuff. But actually I think, and I won’t speak to for my entire generation, but I think that we’re now more comfortable with being integrated, people being in our lives, talking about mental health and things like that than we were before. I don’t know, have you seen or do you see some of the same things?
Yeah, I do. I think it really is even a little bit before COVID that companies are starting to adopt this CEOs executive even, I mean UC, VCs and investors, really trying to ask more questions around culture. How do you take care of your employees? How do we think about these things? And it’s not only work life balance that has really changed a more positive dynamic towards that focus. Diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging is a big topic. Compensation and pay transparency is a big topic. And so I think with work life balance, where that becomes very easy for companies is I think it’s an easy switch and it’s an easier way to understand why you’re switching into more of an integrated, into more balance on the life side than the work side.
William Tincup (11:44):
William Tincup (11:47):
Definitely. And you said earlier it’s wanting success on both sides. As a people leader, you want them to be successful with the outcomes of performance at work, but you also wanted to have a successful life.
Right. And what’s important about that is, again, going back into the foundation, let’s just talk about a few foundational things, payroll and HRS technology. Technology’s a big, big passion of mine. But no matter how many engagement programs I do or programs around talent and finding the best talent and stuff like that, if I have issues with my payroll and they have issues pay and they can’t pay their bills and now they’re stressed it becomes this dynamic of well the life isn’t balanced or in that same, if we don’t put the policies of what the business can do. Again, there’s industry where it’s very hard to do fully remote or flexible scheduling, but in industries like tech, if we put those foundational values of work life balance and curate our policies and processes that not only keep us compliant from a company’s protective standpoint, but also improve employee lives, they get less stress, they have less things to think about and then they become happier. And they want to work they want [inaudible 00:12:59] business strategy.
William Tincup (12:59):
It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy if we help them with all the things that are life oriented, that shows up in performance.
That’s right, that’s right. And that’s a lot of the times when we think about when Google started in their philosophy and all the big things is they give people all this food, all this compensation, all this sort of time. And they were the big ones that had these very, wow, my life is better. Which you talk to a few of the Amazon employees, they may not say that, but they create this environment where you don’t worry about a thing but work. And I’m not saying that that’s the right answer, I’m just saying that focusing on creating a place that makes them feel like they have a safe place to stand in the house that makes them feel like they don’t need to worry about these foundational core items of why you come to a job, pay, compensation, transparency that stuff as if you had that foundational core. You can build this beautiful house as an employee experience. And that’s why you get these wonderful experts in employee engagement, DEIB, talent management, learning development that really make that interior design to make this house an award winning best in class house.
William Tincup (14:12):
So as a title of the show, Supporting Staff as Work Life Balance Shifts, what have you seen in the shifts? Because I think we’ve touched on some of it. I want to make sure.
Yeah, sorry about that.
William Tincup (14:24):
No, no, no, no, no, no. You and I are going to be able to talk for four hours. So let’s go back to what have you seen shifting? What are the expectations that have changed from either of the employees or the employers?
Well, I think an expectation from the employee is they want that flexible schedule, like I said, and I’ll send some articles your way that I just got notified this morning just serendipitously. And so you can attach that to the podcast that people can read. But employees are asking and they’re not even asking for fully remote. Because there’s a lot of people that research shows would love the hybrid model. They want to go and they want to meet people. What they’re asking for is an understanding that this schedule that was traditional just doesn’t work anymore. And I think that from an employee perspective, it’s super positive for them. I think it’s super wonderful. I think you’ve heard my philosophy around it. I think it’ll focus more on performance and get us much more in a place of fairness. Where I think there become clashes is when employees of industries that just can’t do that compare themselves. And you see a lot of turnover there.
And I think as well, we’re seeing a lot of, from an employee base of anxiety in my opinion, because there’s layoffs and stuff and they’re like, “Okay, well I’ll sacrifice [inaudible 00:15:48] because I want a job.” And a lot of people aren’t as worried from what I’m seeing in articles and research as they have been in layoffs in the past. But I think what’s the shifting perspective is employees are really holding strong on this belief of, I need this, I need flexible scheduling. And you’ll see that a lot in the newest generations that are coming into the workforce, which they’re really great. I mean, I have a few new generations, they’re very great about saying, nope, this is what I need. I’m not going to do anything else until I get need.
William Tincup (16:18):
I love it.
William Tincup (16:20):
Jojo, I’m jealous, quite frankly. I wish I would’ve been born 30 years later. I love this. I love Gen Zs so much because they’re just not willing, which is, I think Millennials started this too. Yes. But Gen Z is just not willing to put up with it. They’re like “No.”
And I think Millennials too. I will tell you, I have a lot of friends being in the Millennial generation that go, “I’ve learned things”, but it’s also like, “Man, why did we not do this back in the day?” But it was a different world. It was a different world. And what COVID did as negative as COVID is, and as things that have happened and stuff like that, it really put companies and forced the message to them. So while I think that a lot of companies are doing a lot of great work, I think it is hard for them to fully changed the mindset. But unfortunately, unless they want high turnover and stuff, they had to, they have to start at least thinking about it. So I think it’s definitely shifting positively for employees. I think that for companies it’s more being forced shift.
William Tincup (17:29):
100%. Now I think some of that is Boomer and Gen X related that that’s a comfort zone. I need to see you in order to think that you’re working, which again, was kind of a failed bit and has been a failed bit from the fifties. So I’m not sure this hearkening back to 2019, I laugh every time I read an article about this, Oh, we’re going to return to the office. I’m like, Yeah, the office wasn’t that great in 2019. What are we in rush to run back to? But you mentioned something earlier, and I want to get back to it as in terms of corporate culture, culture in general. I’ve always looked at culture and probably incorrectly, but I’ve looked at culture as the box, or at least that’s how people have marketed culture in terms of their employment brand is the headquarters. And so without that, are we somehow kind of redefining what culture is now within our own companies?
Can you ask that again? I’m sorry.
William Tincup (18:40):
No, no, no.
I want to make sure I understand too.
William Tincup (18:41):
Yeah. Okay. So pre COVID, if you were to ask me, William, what’s the corporate culture of Company X? I would say, well it’s everything that happens at the office. It’s the catered lunches, whatever it is, ball games, going out for drinks, it’s the camaraderie, it’s all that stuff. I would define culture pre COVID as the box, the place. And with COVID, I’ve had a reconciliation of maybe culture is as simple as how you treat people.
That’s right. And again, I’m going to have a different perspective. I’m much more operational, technical sort of a background as a people leader. And I think that what you said is great. It is operationally and how you think about it. It’s more of how you take care of people and what do you provide to them and how, again, going back to the house, how is this house protecting and keeping them and making them feel like they belong. And a lot of that stuff and a lot of strategic programming goes into that. But this is a foundation you have to think about. So I think culture comes from how you build the internal organization and the company and what you think about and how you take care of your people. Because again, like I said, people leader’s number one priority should be the company. But by thinking about how your employee experience is built around this idea of taking care of your employees, then that will help you operationally, strategically build a great culture.
Now again, there’s culture experts much better than I, again, engagement and culture is not my background expertise. But what I do think that is very common is we are shifting from this culture of what are our values? WE are a family, things like that to being like, okay, well that’s all great, that’s wonderful to say. It’s wonderful to be strategic, but how are we taking care of people? Can you quantify it? Can you put the programs? Can you show that analytically, data is such a passion of mine in building those insights, of tell me as an investor or tell me as a CEO how my employees feel taken care of.
William Tincup (21:08):
What I love about that is you’ve talked about culture and the way that you can change culture, which I think is actually really fascinating because I think again, pre COVID, I think people would’ve thought that culture was maybe harder to change. But you’re looking at it operationally, you’re looking at and saying, Hey, first of all, budget, focus priorities, programs, like we can change things and make our culture better, which I admire and I believe in as well. I wanted to ask a flexibility equals question because we’ve mentioned flexibility in a couple different ways and context so far. But is work life, does some of it come down to as simple as just radical flexibility or just being flexible with employees?
I think it has to do with what kind of organization you’re building. And a lot of that answer comes from the business strategy, which comes from executives. One thing that I always do is, and I’ve worked with so many different types of CEOs and executive teams and everyone sort has their own varying opinions on what they’re comfortable with. And I think when, let’s go back to when I said I think from the pandemic, things are being forced, these beliefs are being forced onto companies. And I think in a positive way, I think it needs to be talked about or thought about. But I think if you don’t have that buy-in, they’re going to push back even if you put something in place.
William Tincup (22:48):
In this four day work week that I’ve been thinking about, if you don’t have the executive buy in, even if you put it in place, they’re going to push back in some other way or they’re going to overwhelm their employees and then you’re not taking care of them as well. So I think it’s really important, again, from people you are thinking about the company that you have an understanding of where is the flexibility line from the company and executive standpoint to what an actual employer needs. It’s awesome that we can just be fully radical, but being fully radical means this is how you answer questions. This is how you don’t ask about vacation. No matter how much time they’re taking this is, these group of people are going to start at 12:00 PM and end at eight these group of people are starting at eight because that’s how they just work best.
And so you have those conversations. And I will tell you, our CEOs, Scott Kenyon is really progressive and thinks a lot about this and taking care of his employees. And this was one of our first conversations is where is that line? How radical do we want to be? How do we build that? And Scott’s done a fantastic job in comparison to a lot of the CEOs that I’ve met in being that very big advocate because the CEO being your advocate as a people leader and really not maybe agreeing with everything, but understanding it and being able to defend it is huge, because that’s when employees feel comfortable.
William Tincup (24:19):
Well it’s interesting on the topic of four day work week and a lot of these programs, not just that, but even like our DEI strategy or social injustice strategy, et cetera, you’ve got to get buy-in on both sides. You’ve got to get buy in from everyone in the C-suite and board and et cetera. But you also got to get the equal amount of buy-in from employees so that you’ve got the right strategy in place. Both, again, you mentioned that line, that line. I think that’s a really wonderful way of thinking of it is like, okay, there’s a line and sometimes the line moves cool, but getting both parties to agree where the line is.
Yeah. And I think this all evolves. I think I always also say that to build the scalable and for internal people organization, you have to know that at some point this is going to evolve, These flexibility lines are going to be talked about, and I think policies will change. So things that we just have to do we’ll need to do. States are very different. I once managed an organization that had employees in Alabama and had employees in California. And that they have very different perspectives of body and state. And so it evolves and you need to build evolve. And I think that’s another thing to mention in all of this work life balance, how the pandemic has shifted and stuff is you really have to, in my opinion, utilize the technologies that you have and making sure employees utilize that, I’m big on that.
You have to really build out very clear processes that are adaptable and think about not where you’re at today, but where you want to be or where you need to be. Because a lot of the times I have worked with hyper growth that needs to go to 800. But a lot of the times, like I said before, as I rebuild, and a lot of times it is where they need to be right now. Because it is not going to be like they’re growing crazy. And so I think it’s really great that the pandemic has shifted work life balance, but it’s needs to be really clear that no matter what you do, you have to understand that at some point you’re going to have to rethink about this. You’re going to have to evolve. One last thing I want to mention just on cultural work life balance is the importance of inputting and involving DEIB initiatives and DEIB thought. I personally, I love my husband. I’m in the LGBTQIA2S plus community as I’m married.
William Tincup (26:48):
We’re going to come up with a new acronym.
Yeah, I know.
William Tincup (26:52):
It’s okay, it’s coming. It’s make sense, it’s going to be rebranded, it’ll be easy.
I love my community. But I think what’s really important when we talk about how the pandemic has shifted work life balance in its culture aspect is it’s so important to ingrain those sort of-
William Tincup (27:09):
Comments and philosophies and theories within anything that you do. And it’s such a foundational item in my opinion. But little tidbit, keep going. Sorry about that, Will.
William Tincup (27:18):
No, I think the line that you mentioned is for everyone that’s listening to the podcast, is draw that in pencil, don’t draw that line, first of all, don’t carve it in concrete or marble. Don’t even draw that in pen. Draw it in pencil and know that it’s going to change. And that’s okay. Before we leave, I have to ask you a People Operations question.
William Tincup (27:43):
And off topic, but it’s just something now that I have to talk. I have to ask you.
Let’s do it.
William Tincup (27:51):
Is it ever done?
No. No. And I think another thing-
William Tincup (27:57):
Simple answer. No, William.
No, no, William, no. I’m very passionate about the functional area of people operations and total rewards. And it’s a newer area in all honesty. And I think it’s so essential. And when we talk about people operations, I always see it as compliance, analytics, technology, process and strategy. And then total rewards has leave of absence, compensation benefits and perks and stuff. But those are very foundational things that traditionally people using people organizations, through no fault to their own have not thought about until recently because now we’re going into remote workforces, we are looking at global remote. How do we pay those people? How do we ask these questions?
And I think pre pandemic, just like work life balance and DEIB and all these things that were talked about but not necessarily had the focus that they needed to have. I think that is another area of HR that’s really evolving in itself as an industry and professionals. And you see a lot of people jumping into that because the pandemic was very hard on HR professionals. I think it shifted their mindsets a lot and their work life balance didn’t really feel positive during that time.
William Tincup (29:15):
No, it wasn’t. It wasn’t.
And in that role, that functional area is very backend. It’s very like how do we build this foundational items? And so a lot of people are shifting into that, but tangent, no, it’s not.
I think it always evolves and that’s why having a leader to be your sort of spine as a people organization, I think is so critical. And I love that there’s a huge movement that companies are really focusing on seeing the importance of technology, of process, of having this communication. And while it’s technical, it may not be the funnest and most exciting things of the HR world. I just am so passionate about making sure that compensation transparency is big, benefits package is amazing. Leave of absence is taken care of on the total reward side, but also on the HR operations side. We’re making analytical data driven decisions. We have the right technology that’s supporting our employees and making their lives better. We have communication processes down all that stuff. So yeah, it’s not, but I’m very passionate about this.
William Tincup (30:14):
I love it. Drops mic, walks off stage.
William Tincup (30:18):
Thank you so much. This has been wonderful.
Awesome. No, William, thank you and have a wonderful Thursday.
William Tincup (30:25):
Absolutely. Thanks for everyone listening to Recruiting Daily Podcasts. Until next time.
You’ve been listening to the Recruiting Live podcast by Recruiting Daily. Check out the latest industry podcasts, webinars, articles, and news at recruitingdaily.com.
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.