New Year, New Strategies for HR Technology Success

Dec 6, 2021 3:00 PM4:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Are you looking for expert strategies to increase employee retention? Employers these days have an array of choices from quality candidates, but what happens after the onboarding process to engage and support current employees?

This has led to alternative methods of engagement amongst employees, like educational and training tools to effectively identify, promote, and more importantly, retain employees. When employees feel valued for their contribution, it translates across all parts of their performance.

On this virtual event, Greg Irwin hosts Jacqueline Kuhn, Executive Vice President of Strategic Services at HRchitect, to discuss the strategic advantage of implementing employee education and development programs as well as talent planning metrics. Together, they talk about how employee development programs aid in organizational success, the importance of a culture that prioritizes value for retention, and cultivating an atmosphere of transparency.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • Jacqueline Kuhn discusses how companies are expanding their candidate search for a broader spectrum of applicants
  • How organizations are changing the functions and dynamics of departments through training
  • Why your organization needs a career path for success to produce lifetime employees
  • Ways to make learning a more employee-driven experience
  • In what ways can you teach employees to have initiative about their careers?
  • The importance of culture acclimation for employee retention
  • Executive training programs to identify and promote high potential employees
  • Understanding the best approach for difficult conversations
  • Why creating a workable culture of value and transparency will always be successful
  • Jacqueline talks about current hiring issues and how organizations are battling retention
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Event Partners


HRchitect is a consulting firm that specializes solely in Human Capital Management and delivers expertise around the full lifecycle of HCM technology. They've helped thousands of organizations across the globe create strategies, select, implement and support Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, HRIS, Workforce Management and Benefits systems.

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Guest Speaker

Greg Irwin LinkedIn

Co-Founder, Co-CEO at BWG Strategy LLC

BWG Strategy is a research platform that provides market intelligence through Event Services, Business Development initiatives, and Market Research services. BWG hosts over 1,800 interactive executive strategy sessions (conference calls and in-person forums) annually that allow senior industry professionals across all sectors to debate fundamental business topics with peers, build brand awareness, gather market intelligence, network with customers/suppliers/partners, and pursue business development opportunities.

Jacqueline Kuhn

Jacqueline Kuhn, HRIP LinkedIn

Executive Vice President Strategic Services at HRchitect

Jacqueline Kuhn is the Executive Vice President of Strategic Consulting Services at HRchitect, the only consulting firm that specializes solely in human capital management (HCM) and delivers expertise around the full lifecycle of HCM technology. In her role, she oversees HRchitect’s HCM strategic consulting group, which encompasses the company’s HCM systems strategic planning and evaluation and selection process.

Jacqueline has over 25 years of experience in HR, strategic planning, systems and project management, and services delivery. She is a Certified Professional of Human Resource Information (HRIP), a sought-after speaker at industry events, and has been published in professional magazines and journals.

Event Moderator

Greg Irwin LinkedIn

Co-Founder, Co-CEO at BWG Strategy LLC

BWG Strategy is a research platform that provides market intelligence through Event Services, Business Development initiatives, and Market Research services. BWG hosts over 1,800 interactive executive strategy sessions (conference calls and in-person forums) annually that allow senior industry professionals across all sectors to debate fundamental business topics with peers, build brand awareness, gather market intelligence, network with customers/suppliers/partners, and pursue business development opportunities.

Jacqueline Kuhn

Jacqueline Kuhn, HRIP LinkedIn

Executive Vice President Strategic Services at HRchitect

Jacqueline Kuhn is the Executive Vice President of Strategic Consulting Services at HRchitect, the only consulting firm that specializes solely in human capital management (HCM) and delivers expertise around the full lifecycle of HCM technology. In her role, she oversees HRchitect’s HCM strategic consulting group, which encompasses the company’s HCM systems strategic planning and evaluation and selection process.

Jacqueline has over 25 years of experience in HR, strategic planning, systems and project management, and services delivery. She is a Certified Professional of Human Resource Information (HRIP), a sought-after speaker at industry events, and has been published in professional magazines and journals.

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Discussion Transcription

Greg Irwin 0:18

Folks, this is our discussion group on HR priorities for 2022. It'll be a good level set, kind of talk about the the number one things that various organizations are working on. We're doing, we're here partnered with HRchitect, and Jacqueline Kuhn is going to be our, our anchor in the session and hear a speaker speak of the devil, and basically getting a lot of her feedback in terms of what she's seeing from, from various companies. So without, without further ado, Hello, Jacqueline Good afternoon. Nice to speak with you.

Jacqueline Kuhn 0:55

Hi, Greg. Thanks for having me.

Greg Irwin 0:57

I like the haircut. A different we got a little change up.

Jacqueline Kuhn  1:02

A little change up. Yeah.

Greg Irwin 1:04

Great. Great, great to speak with you again. Do us a favor, let's jump right into it. Would you just give a quick moment on HRchitect, and what you do and how you advise the various various forms of advisory that you provide?

Jacqueline Kuhn 1:25

Yeah, sure. So we are a full service HCM technology consulting firm. On my side of the house, we help clients figure out what technology they need, and then match them with products in the marketplace. My other partner manages our implementation practice where we implement, and we're technically certified to implement a number of HCM products, we also do things like change management, or for any vendor, if you need project management or any other kind of like HR systems assistance, we're here to help.

Greg Irwin 2:04

Wonderful, wonderful. Well, today, we set up our session around top priorities for 2022. You know, we were really thinking broad in terms of the topics and really want to make sure we're capturing the moment and priorities of various companies. So would you help us there in terms of some of the things that you were speaking to clients about, that basically are bubbling to the top of their priorities, and a heads up for everyone joining today? These are interactive sessions. So I'm going to be asking everybody top priorities at the macro HR level, not just not just systems, but Jacqueline, maybe you can start us off here. What are some of the top priorities that you're speaking with clients about?

Jacqueline Kuhn 2:54

Sure. So right now, what we're hearing from HR leaders is succession planning, big, big efforts around making sure you've got the right replacement strategy for positions. Obviously, recruiting is top of mind, as always, with with the labor market the way it is, learning and training and having the right training programs and tools and accessibility to kind of go along with the whole retention and developing people for succession planning. And then dei initiatives for ESG scores, really making sure that they've they're thinking about Dei, in a way that's beyond just, you know, gender, and, and race, right, it's really thinking about more broadly. Um, do we have a diverse group of thinking people?

Greg Irwin 3:58

Hmm, let's, let's begin on a couple. But I'm going to use this as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in the forum. You know how I do it, the chat window is incredibly useful. So let's see how it goes. Do me a favor, everybody dropped into the chat. One, one priority organizational priority. It could be niche. It could be broad base, but let's see what you know what pops into the chat so everyone do me a favor. And please share with us one initiative that organization wide department wide, or systems that you're most focused on achieving for 2022 are Jacqueline, let's talk a little bit about dei for ESG. Mmm hmm. It's interesting because it's, it's clearly a top priority. The question is, how do you measure what are reasonable? How do you do reasonable goal setting and how do you measure you know, these these ESG initiative. Yeah, so,

Jacqueline Kuhn  5:02

um, HR is role in the the social aspect, the diversity aspect of ESG is huge. And it's having the right mix of the right balance between gender and race across the entire organization, and particularly in leadership. Where it becomes really difficult is in that planning in the hiring and, and in that succession planning and in the training. And what we are seeing, we're seeing some very bold leaders rip apart job descriptions, and take out sections that require years of experience in a similar position. What we are finding is that opens them up to people who have skills that can be trained for the position if they have a certain set of skills. So let's take a CFO, for example. Or controller, there aren't a lot of minority and minority women, particularly who have been controllers, how do you get a diverse candidate pool if they haven't had the experience, where you find people who may have been in payroll, who have been an accountant who have been in a financially adjacent role, and have those financial skills, and then give them the opportunities to move up so that they can be in those positions. And it's showing that kind of thought process showing you have those kinds of career trajectories, and then showing your progress, you know, quarter over quarter year over year, that helps raise that ESG score?

Greg Irwin 6:48

Hmm. It's interesting. Let's go a little further with it. If that's okay. Let's say you're not happy with the candidate, you have a goal for for diversity, but your candidate pool just isn't there? What can you what? There's training of, you know, developing people, but what can you do externally? To continue to broaden that pool?

Jacqueline Kuhn  7:18

Yeah, so, um, aside from really, you know, using a recruiter, what we are seeing people do is tap into women and minority social organizations. There's professional organizations or social organizations, there's universities that have alumni programs for women and minorities, and even reaching out to other countries. For top people in that, in that country, we're seeing a lot of folks reconsider, you know, getting a visa for someone from Latin America, right? Over in Africa, we have one client who is literally recruiting globally for all of their positions. They're open to remote work, they're also open to a visa to work either in the US or at their European location. Because they're casting a literal global net.

Greg Irwin 8:22

How it's in it's in the media every day. But how broad based? Are the initiatives real? Or how serious are your clients about money modifying some of their goals to make sure that this stuff happens? A putting budget to recruiters if those applicants aren't coming in, of changing location for jobs to make sure they hit their goals? Or, you know, my to compare a bank? How serious are people putting, you know, muscle behind the initiatives? The

Jacqueline Kuhn 9:03

publicly traded companies that are my clients are very serious, and they are putting money behind the muscle. Because for a publicly traded company, the ESG score has to be there to get investors. Privately owned firms are not investing as much while yes, they need to be mindful of it because it might do things like impact their credit rating, or other or other financial avenues. There, they're not as open, it's not as public as to you know what those scores are. But yeah, those publicly traded organizations we're working with, they're absolutely putting money into it. And it's not an HR budget. It is an organizational budget. It's not like HR is taking money from their budget to do this. It's an organizational priority. That is being budgeted at a much higher level. Interesting.

Greg Irwin 10:01

are, how much of a stretch are the goals that that are set? Meaning is this a layup and saying, Hey, I need to hire one? Oh, look, I hired one great, you know, check the box, you know, how much how much? How far do we have to go here in terms of hitting the goals not and I'm not going to declare not necessarily declaring overall diversity success. But in terms of hitting the ESG goals that that that are laid out?

Jacqueline Kuhn 10:32

I would say for most organizations, it is a stretch goal. And for a few organizations, it is going to be almost insurmountable. Um, I can't I won't name the name of the organization. But we have an organization that we're working with who has zero females and minorities in any position director or above?

Greg Irwin 10:59

Well, none.

Jacqueline Kuhn  11:02

For them, it's almost insurmountable. But they're on a path to do that they're on a path to make it happen. What's the catalyst? Catalyst, just a credit rating. They're a mid market organization who is looking for funding looking for venture capital funding, and they need a better score for people to invest in

Greg Irwin 11:27

them. It's really interesting, and how many employees 2500? Oh, my goodness, isn't that terrible? That's, it's

Jacqueline Kuhn  11:36

horrible. Yeah, it's horrible. Like, I'm, like, I literally am working with a team of men who are trying to bring on women and minorities.

Greg Irwin 11:48

I mean, I would think that, you know, get the first base should be fairly straightforward. How far they could get, I mean, you know, you can improve from you should be able to improve from zero?

Jacqueline Kuhn 12:00

Well, it's, it's really, it's really tough when, when your culture is so ingrained in a certain way to get somebody to want to become a part of you. Because it's not just about the job, it's about proving that I can succeed. In that culture, they already turned over one female, head of head people officer was hired. And within eight months, she left, because she just said, I, this is a bigger job than I want to take, I don't want to try to, you know, move the Titanic.

Greg Irwin 12:40

It really is a cultural change. I mean, that's a perfect example. That's a very obvious example of what you're talking about changing. It's not just a function of hiring people in specific roles, now, changing the dynamic of the organization.

Jacqueline Kuhn  12:57


Greg Irwin 12:59

What that gets us to, to learning, and, and training. So why don't we go there? What do you see in terms of some initiatives around development and learning?

Jacqueline Kuhn 13:15

Yeah, I think the most, most of the initiatives are identifying Learning Paths outside of the organization, partnering with universities partnering with third party content providers, to give people a curriculum, right, if you know, a, you know, a, I'm in the Midwest, so a lot of people are looking to come to universities like Northwestern and Notre Dame for their business leadership programs, right. You know, tapping into those kinds of programs and allowing people to take part in them, as opposed to trying to develop your own. So it really it's a lot about folks in org development and in people development, finding the right programs for for what you're looking to do, and getting your people in and investing in those programs. Now. They're not going to invest in everybody. They're investing in people who they've identified as having potential to move up in an organization, people who can make a difference. So it's also kind of tied to having good performance processes. So you know, who those people are you want to invest in. I mean, because these programs are not inexpensive, right? I mean, we're talking 10s of 1000s of dollars to put somebody through a program like that. But, you know, it's, it goes beyond just having an LMS Yeah, you've got LMS for lots of soft skills for you know, new supervisory training to get people promoted up who maybe normally wouldn't have been a supervisor and to kind of get that, that diversity within those ranks and training those people up. You can find courses like that anywhere, but it's that next level of skill and investing in those, you know, programs that are out there from the top universities that are dying to work with businesses, I mean, this it's, it's easy revenue for them, to be honest, it's much easier than trying to do a four year program, you know, get somebody in one year, one hour a day, a week. Executive Leadership Program. That's that's kind of what we're looking at here.

Greg Irwin 15:29

So I think we can all appreciate the benefits of corporate sponsor training, both versus session and, and personnel development. My question is measuring success, and also getting really value. I mean, you want to everyone wants to be at an organization that really invests in their people. But that doesn't mean that really the the plan that's developed at the company, necessarily is appreciated, you know, yields the results, the way that the learning team might might hope and plan. So sorry, the question, what have you seen in terms of effective goal setting? For learning?

Jacqueline Kuhn  16:19

Yeah, yeah. So the, the, the effective, the effective goal setting is different at the different levels. So one organization, we're working with a very large manufacturer in US, Canada, and Mexico, they have a goal to promote 20% of their shift supervisors into managers, right. So so they have a goal that they actually track and measure to promote them up into that manager role. And that's really significant for them. We have another organization, we're working with a retail organization that has 100% of store management coming up from internally in the ranks. So when they hire you, as an associate store manager, system store manager, you are being put into a management development program, and they give a timetable. And they actually have performance measures against that those are the programs that work. Because there's, there's a goal, there's a process, there's a measure, it's it's continually monitored, those are the ones that work. And we also see those are the organizations that have low attrition, you know, high performance. So so that works, what doesn't work is the we'll, we'll put you in this program, but you have to stay with us X amount of time, after you get your degree, right, this, this kind of a will develop you, but only if it's okay for us. Those programs don't work because people today are not motivated by sticks, they're motivated by carrots. And that might get you, you know, maybe it may get me to stay that extra six months. But once that time is coming, I am probably looking somewhere else, to someone who might be a little more amenable to a little more open, a little less Stick, Stick against the training, those are the things that we're seeing are not working. And people see turnover and folks that have been trained in those instances, that is particularly also when when they don't have the career, the career pathing or the succession planning tied to it. So okay, Yay, I got my development. Now, what do I do? Oh, you got to wait two years, right? No, I'm not going to do that. So you kind of have to have the processes all tied together. And then you have to have the technology to track it. You can't be tracking this stuff on spreadsheets, because then it'll slip through the cracks and it doesn't get updated. And that great person you just spent $20,000 on for the last two years is now going to work for your competitor.

Greg Irwin 19:15

Really interesting. It's not just training trainings, or, you know, training as the as, as the end in itself. It's really about an operational and imperative. It really starts with succession and career path. And then if training is needed, then it's there as the enabler. One thing I'm wondering though, is that's hard. To really put in place you need alignment up and down the organization. You need a commitment at the front end, where after it's done, you might say all right, now we've got five people graduating from this Are we really going to make these moves and try and backfill them It's a challenge my guess? Have you seen any out of the box solution? Because this isn't the stuff that vendors are talking about, but vendors talk about is let us stand up your new LMS. Or let us get you access to this, this library of, you know, programs that your that your employees can pay, basically search and discover the content that they want. Basically competing with the the third party services, are there any out of the box products that the group here could could look at consider and potentially find value in?

Jacqueline Kuhn  20:38

There is yeah, there are couples standalone solutions that I think are are doing some really cool things, better works is one of them. It's the whole the whole betterworks philosophy is on setting a set of objectives that are measured quarterly, and tying them to, to development to a goal but not necessarily to a goal. But But taking the notion of we as an organization need to achieve X, Y and Z and here's your part of it. And what do you need to be successful? And every quarter? Checking in on that and measuring the success? Amen? A part of it is what do you need to be successful? Do you need training? Do you need development? Do you need you know an assignment somewhere? Do you need help with someone from another part of the organization. So betterworks is doing some pretty cool stuff with that, believe it or not, some total, actually has some really good linkages as well in their platform, between development, career pathing and learning, they've done a pretty decent job of stringing that together and making it more employee experience friendly, so that I can be a little bit more of my own guide, and take ownership of my own learning. They've done a pretty decent job of that. And then in 2022, I got a peek at some of the things that Ceridian is doing in de force and what they're calling talent 2.0, which I think is also going to be not completely game changing, but it's really taking that look at how is this all tied together? How you know? And how can it be better driven by the employee, with the whole mindset that if the employee has isn't invested in making it happen? Management can't make it happen?

Greg Irwin 22:46

Hmm. Let me let me remind people, I'd love to hear your priorities or questions for for Jacqueline. So I'm going to put one or two of you on the spot. Otherwise, I believe me, I can ask questions all day. I love this stuff. And Jacqueline really knows what's going on. So if people are able to focus us, that makes it better, you can drop it into the chat, or Hey, Marc, I'm going to I'm going to call you out here and put you on the spot for a moment. So Marc Marc, are you on? Are you on with us? Yes. Hey, good to see you. Good to speak with you and sorry to put you on the hot seat for February's. But what's one priority one initiative that you're you're putting together for next year?

Marc 23:33

Well, exactly what Jacqueline said here just recently about some total, which is the career pathing and upskilling and rescaling so, you know, the fourth revolution industrial revolution of you know, all the machine learning and all the robots doing stuff. Well now I got to refocus all my cloud people on lifting and shifting and helping those robots get stuff done, right, because it's, they're not just replacing jobs, they're helping jobs happen. So so instead of people manually, you know, fidgeting with paper, we now have machine learning and, and artificial intelligence doing that work. Now what, so that then gets compensated into something, and then I need those people to do something with that information. So it still needs a human. It's just now that human isn't responsible for fidgeting with paper, they're now responsible for something more and more advanced, they have to do something else. And so they need cognitive skills, they need communication skills, they need, you know, new skills. And then we've got also, you know, the so that's, you know, your, your rescaling, then you've got your upskilling which is, you know, today, you know, 1.0 But you need to know 2.0 For tomorrow. So it's like, you know, you're not learning something new, but you're always having to move forward. You always you know, learn every day, and then that way, you know, you're You're you feel validated and what you're doing and rewarding people that are on an actual mission. But you can't just train for training sake, exactly what Jacqueline said, so. So our big focus for next year is upskilling, rescaling and focusing people on a path that's applicable to them. How are you measuring this? Well, so so it goes back to So step one, build a taxonomy, step two, do an assessment. Step three, create a contract with that employee, so a career development plan, some kind of, you know, the employee does their individual assessment, the manager does an employee assessment, and then you get basically that 360 view of the employee, they think they're a seven, or a 10, or a two or whatever. And then the manager thinks they're a five, an eight, a three, and you kind of align that into the picture, you you, you know, the manager supposed to is expected to have the conversation about okay, well, how do we get you how do we fill this gap, you then create a career development plan in the contract, and then they go about rescaling or upskilling. towards that, that goal, right. And so, so then they've got skin in the game, they're not just, you know, they're not just, you know, for the past three years, I've assigned my employees, hey, guys go out, find something, bring it back to me, I'll pay for it, whatever it is, nothing, nothing happens. And so you know, one out of my four employees will bring something back to me the other three, I'll check in with a monthly, monthly monthly, we get to November, and it's like, hey, we didn't use your budget. What? Why didn't we do any development for you? Oh, I couldn't really think What did you want me to do? And it's like, well, it's not my mission to upskill, you, it's your mission to be passionate about something, and want to go someplace, so. So it didn't matter that I had a $3,000 budget for them, it didn't matter that I had a check written out to them to go take whatever class you want. They wanted me to help them find it, help them decide they really wanted it, and then pay for it. And it's it's like, you know, so they're, they're really looking for a lot more than just either the check written for it, or a catalog, and we have 10,000 things in our learning management system. That, you know, they don't, they're not doing either. They're not doing any of the above. Right. And so they're really looking for more guidance, specific contractual career development. You know, if you do a it'll equal b, and then that'll equal pay raise, you know, or some kind of commitment down the road.

Greg Irwin 27:47

Comes that answered your question, yeah, Marc, and then some, Jacqueline, to be able to do that. Sometimes you need more input than just the individual manager. You need by an up and down the organization that has that buys into the career path that shows the career path, hey, if you do this, you could go this way, or hey, have you ever thought of this other path? And it really it's dynamic succession planning? I guess, how to hire How do some high performing organizations do exceptional succession planning? Well,

Jacqueline Kuhn 28:28

when I see it done exceptionally well, it's done by the position, not the person, you are not replacing a person, you're replacing a role. Because the the person the every person brings to the role, certain things to help them do the role. But you don't necessarily need everything that person has to do the role. Right? So you're not necessarily replacing Gragg you're replacing someone who's got great interview skills and can facilitate a discussion. And you might also have all these other great things about you, but that's not necessary and and it's thinking in those terms and kind of the way Marc said thinking of the skills needed to do that job. That is what you're looking for. You're not looking for another Greg or another marker and Jacqueline, you're looking for someone with those skills and those are the people that are doing it well, now, the culture around around that is hard, because you also have to look across the organization because the skills for that may not be in my organization. This manufacturing company I was talking about that are in you know, they got over 20,000 Folks, Canada, Mexico us. They've never succession plan. across country. Never. And so, and they're doing it for the first time now, because they're finally have visibility to their data. And what they're finding is that there's an inequality in, in training in the career pathing. But they never did it before, right? They just looked at the people they want to replace. So I think that's it. And, and mark is, so spot on with the employee has to take ownership of this, it's if the employees not gonna own it, it's amazing manager can't do it for them. And I think that's the, that's sort of this other piece of it is how do you assess? Like, how do you? How do you and this is a challenge that I personally struggle with, with my staff? How do you teach people how to have initiative about their career, if they've never had to do it before? If somebody was, has always been doing it for them? And now you want them to do it on their own? How do you go about making that happen? And that, to me, is a big piece of what needs to happen, or people will be left behind?

Greg Irwin 31:18

Oh, interesting. Excellent. Thank you, Jacqueline. And Marc, thank you very much. Let's, I'm going to bring in a couple others, because let's stay focused on the points that you all care about. Joli, nice to speak with you. I hope you're with us. Joli are you on the line?

Joli 31:36


Greg Irwin 31:36

I'm here. Great to speak with you again. do is do us a favor, or real quick intro and give us one initiative that you'd like us to talk about for 2022? Either something you're working on, or something you're just curious.

Joli 31:52

So my name is Joli I'm a supply chain coordinator with Something I'm interested about is trainings for employee retention. It seems like our current environment is a lot of acquisitions lately, and kind of the the work scope is getting overwhelming for a lot of people. So what are some good trainings we could put in place for to keep those to keep those goals, you know, in mind and those employee retention rates up for our future?

Greg Irwin 32:25

Training Training is a way to keep people engaged. Is that is that's the that's the thought. All right. Jacqueline, how effective is training to keep people engaged? Um, ah,

Jacqueline Kuhn  32:41

my personal point of view. And what I have seen is it's the delivery of it, and how it's delivered, not just offering it. It's having really engaging content, having that gamification in the content, right. Having opening up your entire clear course catalog to everybody, regardless of their role, right. It's, it's, it's and it's having a a culture where you've got a reward in place for taking that initiative. It's it's kind of hard with an acquisition, especially when you're when you're acquiring, because you're taking that a culture, you're taking two cultures, and now you've got either a new culture or you're trying to assimilate somebody into the, into the existing culture. And in that case, it's 100% about culture acclimation first, to retain people you've acquired 100%, because if they don't embrace your culture, they're gonna leave anyway. Right? Deck, caliber collision. I don't know if you guys know who they are. But they are the fastest growing, auto repair, they do bodywork. They acquire independent body shops and flip them into a very profitable model that they have. And they literally within 30 days, 30 to 60 days of acquisition, have the shop completely turned over to their way of doing things. What they have had to do is come up with really clear assessments, clear roles and responsibilities. They get a lot of turnover because not a lot of people are ready to make the shift. And they expect that right. It's not even measured as a bad thing. So there is turnover that's not regretted. And I think that's the other thing. And in this whole engagement is identifying regretted turnover versus not regretted turnover because when you acquire you're gonna have turnover. There are people who just don't want to be a part of the new acquisition.

Greg Irwin 35:00

Interesting. Thank you, Jacqueline. Joli, what's one initiative that you see going underway, it could be a new LMS. It could be, you know, diversity targets. It could be anything. We're talking about a broad range. So we've talked quite a bit about training anything else on the on the roadmap for next year.

Joli 35:21

I think the diversity and inclusion space is definitely growing as far as is concerned. So yeah, I'd like to know kind of what some other industry folks are doing in that space. I know what we've done, I know that we can always do more. So yeah, kind of just some, maybe some new ideas for that would be nice to know.

Greg Irwin 35:39

Wonderful. Well, I'm going to keep stirring the pot, Joli. Thank Thank you very much. Appreciate that. Let's, let's go over to Well, for me, it's, it's this way to Kirk. And Kirk, nice to speak with you. Also, again, let's confirm you're on the line with us. Yep, I'm here. Good to speak with you. Do you want to try and pick up this ball of this ball from from Joli on diversity targets? And, and at least how it's how it's thought about at?

Kirk 36:16

I think we've done we do a pretty good job in that era. And obviously, I'm a male speaking on that. But I mean, if you look at if I look at our senior leadership, right, our CEO now is a is a female, I'm at the director level, I report up to the department head in our, in our group under HR systems as a female. The head of our diversity group is a female African American, who was a former district manager that they brought into head up on the diversity side. So at least from an observation point, I'm not directly involved with it, but I can see a lot in that in that area. And over the years, I can see how that has, has grown. And it is a it has been a priority and in my opinion, on

Greg Irwin 37:03

how does it manifest? How does it show up in? I mean, is it if you're if you open a wreck, is it you know, and you define a record, you present a wreck and market a wreck? Is that? How is dei at least considered as as part of the process?

Kirk 37:21

Well, right, we have to do because we're a government contractor. So we have to develop affirmative action plans every year. So that's kind of one way how we're held accountable to that. Right, we have to develop the the availabilities for females, minorities, and such for all the different races within the different positions that we have. So that's one way that it's taking that it takes a look at you know, and again, it's going to come down to the best qualified candidate on that. But there's a lot of programs that they'll do what we do, where they'll identify high potential minorities or females. And then we have these executive training programs and such that they'll put these folks through, to set them up to be successful to take on greater responsibilities to balance out, you know, the the senior leadership, as far as an OD organization goes, in some cases, some of the senior leadership has been hired off the street, I forgot somebody mentioned it before, right, the kind of the moving people from within, which is really was the UPS way, when I started, you basically started and worked your way up, where now they've gone outside your organization. So that's another way where they brought in, folks, the new person who's heading up organizational development force was a hire from the outside, and she's a female. So that's another way that they look to kind of balance it out where they'll bring, you know, if they're recruiting at that top level piece, they'll bring in females from the minorities from the outside to fill some of the positions coming in from other other companies. So that's another way that they've kind of done it, we've kind of moved away from always being promotion from within, to kind of balance out some of those scales.

Greg Irwin 39:03

One perk appreciated, what's what's what's one priority, organizationally, it doesn't just have to be on your on your plate. But yeah, probably

Kirk 39:13

the biggest one, it kind of ties in what everybody's been talking about. But one of the big things that driving towards is and I just actually have our priorities up for next year is right is a whole redesign of our career architecture, and the job profile redesign and then tying that in with the global marketplace that workday offers right, as you know, we're on workday now. So that's been we've had a lot of meetings on that. That's a that's a huge initiative, that the that that group is looking to tie in. And we're going through the budgeting process right now. So hopefully that makes whether it makes the cut or not, we'll see. But that's one of the big initiatives that we have, that we're looking at for next year is a redesign of what we've done in the past from that and then tie it in into the global marketplace, functionality and all the machine learning and things that workday offers to help us in not only the promotion from within piece of it, but also on the outside. And then also, going back to right the candidate taking some ownership of that that's a change in the way has done things, right. My, throughout my career, it's always been, okay, you've been tapped on the shoulder. All right, we're going to send you to do A, B, and C, to get you ready for the next level. Now, all of our jobs go through the MCL process at. So even things all the way up to senior executive get posted on so you're able to see what those jobs entail. And now you have to kind of take a little bit of ownership of your career yourself. And it's not all, it's not going to be always done for you. So that's a change in the way that we're doing things as well. That's

Greg Irwin 40:46

exciting. I actually, I'm not that if things are in your, as long as the employees are truly empowered. And it's not just lip service, but you have actually have that opportunity. I think that's fantastic. I think it's the kind of place people want to work, where you can say, here's a real opportunity, I can seek it out, I can discover I could find something that's really engaging for me, and then have a real shot at either building the skills to get it and then ultimately moving into that position. Yeah, and from at

Kirk 41:18

least from what I've conceived to, it's been accepted across the organization, like I've had people who've left my organization for opportunities elsewhere. And then we just filled an internal spot on a supervisory level with a person was a specialist in the finance department. But she's there was actually an international employee who had experience in India, the UK, and with us going global with Workday and everything, it was a perfect fit. She saw the job posting through MCO interviewed for it, and she's been a great fit. Without going through that process, we would have never known about her in the finance group as we were trying to fill the position. So it's definitely been something and then working with those other groups.

Greg Irwin 42:00

Everybody is, is embracing

Kirk 42:03

it, right? So it's like you set up a time say, Okay, well, I gotta replace her now, because you're moving in, you're promoting her, she's going to your organization, and everybody agrees to a workable timeline. And it's been, it's been, I think it's been

Greg Irwin 42:16

successful so far, of the story occurred, thanks so much. You're welcome. Jacqueline, let's keep it let's stay on this. In I love it, the it just fits with the way the world's going in terms of even just work from home. And the idea of a little bit more independence a little bit more employee control, a little bit more employee leverage. I mean, Kirk gave one example. I'd love to hear if that's a trend, and what how else you're seeing, you know, the, yeah, the employees kind of gain gain a little bit more control over their, over their careers.

Jacqueline Kuhn  42:55

Um, it it ups is a pretty special place with regards to that. And the word that I want to use is transparency, UPS is willing to be transparent to their employees as to what's going on. So giving people access and allowing them to see everything is really true transparency. And I have a very dear friend who works at UPS and she has gone through the ranks. And she's also a member of the LGBTQ community. And UPS has got a great community for that as well. So yeah, the you guys really live, they really live the diversity message in everything day to day there. But it's hard it you have to be okay with people seeing what's out there. And the other piece of transparency and putting this in the employee hands is you have to have leaders who are willing to have that difficult conversation to say why you're not going to get that job or why you're not qualified. And I think that holds peep that holds some organizations back from from doing that, is they difficult with difficult conversations are not something that they have, they would rather not expose what's out there and then have a difficult conversation as to why you don't qualify. So you really have to have people comfortable and trained and given the tools to honestly assess people. If you're going to be transparent like that. If you're going to even have tools at the employees access, you have to make sure that you've got everything in those tools, right. Um, you don't want to withhold some things. And so I might have access to something but Samantha might not. So if we're talking about Yeah, I just went into the recruiting and I saw this posting and Samantha's like, I didn't see it. And I'm like, Oh yeah, you're in New Hampshire. You I can't see that. But I can see it because I'm in Chicago, right? You have to break down all those walls. And that's really hard to do. I mean, that is really hard to do. But getting back to Jolie's in, you know, engagement and keeping people, this kind of transparency is also very engaging, right? If I know what's happening everywhere in my organization, and I know that I'm going to be dealt with, honestly, regarding my abilities, that's very empowering. And that's also a very engaging culture. And people will want to stay because they know that they'll get a fair shot at something,

Greg Irwin 45:42

you know, the some of the most exciting, it's a big idea. It's a big, all encompassing idea of, you know, we're gonna, we're gonna really empower employees to develop the path in the direction at the pace they want. Now you're writing and I'm thinking about it. There's some employees who, frankly, are not very good, but they serve a role. And that's a tough conversation, do you want to risk having to have that uncomfortable conversation that says, I just don't see you moving to the manager level, or here are the things you need to do, but you really know, boy, they have a long way to go. And they might be disenchanted to the point where they leave. And now you have an MTC that's hard to fill.

Jacqueline Kuhn 46:31

Yeah, that's, that's where when you look at your talent planning, how you define what your talent planning metrics are, is really important. You know, fit for role or good fit in role or valued contributor, you know, you need to use inclusive language, so people feel good, that they're valued for their contribution. And I think that's a part of what HR needs to help people come up with within an organization is that language. And then, maybe my opportunity isn't up, but maybe I can go laterally like Kirk's example, maybe there's a lateral move, that'll give me a challenge, just because it's in a different part of the organization or in a different department, even though it might not be a move up, in essence, but it could be developmentally good for me, because I have a new experience. So you're, you know, all levels of the organization have to buy in to a culture where this happens. And it doesn't happen overnight. And you know, Kirk has workday as his tool behind it, which is a great accessible tool by by everybody. But if you don't have tools that can support this, it's not going to work. You know, if it's in an Excel spreadsheet, in my laptop, and nobody can see it, it's no one's gonna know that it's there. So that's an awful lot to think about.

Greg Irwin 48:06

Right, Jacqueline? Thank you. Let's Let's invite Abner to share a comment or question or initiative. And same thing, Abner. Let's confirm you're, you're on the line with us.

Abner 48:20

I am on the line. Yes. Good afternoon. Yes. So I work for public school district, in human resources within the DIS systems area. So I hearing kind of a lot of the conversations we're in a unique situation because obviously diversity is not a big problem because we're in a, in an environment where most teachers are female. Sometimes we struggle bringing the opposite. We're trying to bring males into the, into the environment right now the biggest challenge that we're having, I think it's probably what everybody else is seeing is it from a recruitment perspective, just being able to retain and just feel positions.

Abner 49:06


Abner 49:08

in the season that we're in mid school year, usually we're we're mostly fully staff ish. We kind of staff for every school year going around positions that are like related like bus drivers, we have a huge shortage of bus drivers. A lot of positions that usually would be easy to get because he doesn't require a lot of a lot of training, even food services, things like that, that we kind of deal with. We're just having a hard time kind of finding so that I'm going to recruitment in return of urine

Greg Irwin 49:49

on large county. Just give us a sense how many students how many positions

Abner 49:55

Yeah, so um, we have over 112,000 students were 117 school locations. So individual schools 117. Our staff is, you know, including, like temporary employees about, you know, 17 18,000. And that's all within you know, we're the largest. If you're familiar with Cobb County, we're a large district in County within Metro Atlanta and we're the largest employer within our district with a with a volume that we deal with so many

Greg Irwin 50:34

open, how many open positions are you looking to sell? You probably have a natural

Abner 50:39

suit today, we probably have three to 400 easily, das on heard of on a normal, non pandemic, non, you know, 2021. Year, we probably about this time of year, we may have, you know, in the 50s? At best, that's

Greg Irwin 51:01

incredible. Yeah. Have you tried? So what you must be scrambling? I'm sure you're working with staffing, I'm guessing you're working with staffing firms? What are you what are some of the things

Abner 51:13

so it's interesting because we we don't we because we are a large district, we're fairly popular, we pride ourselves that we do our own marketing, you know, we're very visible, all we got to do is put a sign in front of one of our 117 locations, with heavy traffic, all the parents, everyone that drives by there is going to see that we're looking for drivers that we're having a job fair tomorrow that we're so because for the most part, those summer jobs are jobs that you look for people locally, you're not gonna relocate someone to do anything, any one of those jobs, you kind of depend on, you know, word of mouth and, and just be able to be in the environment, having billboards up that, you know, people can drive by and be aware that there's something going on heavy social media activity. So I think it's more an issue with with, you know, when our demand is very high, rather than there being people out there that just don't know that we're hiring people as quickly as we're hiring people. We're turning them over oil, so

Greg Irwin 52:26

that Jacqueline, can you provide some points of reference for some of the big retention programs? Well, retain, retain, and, and recruit programs, particularly for some of those types of jobs, food service, our lean and an hourly roll?

Jacqueline Kuhn  52:45

Yeah, so I wish I had a magic bullet, I wouldn't have to work anymore. You know, we I'm in the Chicago Metro basic area. And exact same challenges are happening up here, I see people trying to recruit for those positions at flea markets and it get at the French markets in the in the summer and, you know, offering all kinds of sign on bonuses. It's, it's it's a big, big challenge, because there are just not enough people who want those jobs and or who are qualified, especially a school bus driver, right? You need that CDL it's just there's not enough people who really want those kinds of jobs. And I don't have any kind of magic bullet for for that. God. I wish I did.

Greg Irwin 53:36

You know, we've talked about those systems that are looking at past past employees and going back and finding former former professionals and I'm sure I've never must have a big database of past employees that could probably be mined to a certain extent, I'm guessing here

Jacqueline Kuhn  53:58

to a certain extent, um, you know, probably, you know, if they're aware, and so they're maybe more personal reach out. Um, you know, because sometimes it takes a nudge to recruit somebody right. Sometimes it takes a real sales job to to recruit somebody back. But yeah, he's in a he's in the industry where we're seeing a lot of issues with people trying to hire I might, my nephew, my godson is a principal at a school district. And he's living this every day. And I and I talk and I, he's tried everything that Abner has tried. But that is a big issue. You know, one of some of the things that they've been successful at is they're actually paying for people CDL to get bus drivers, right. They're training them they're paying for them and then when they get it, they're doing a sign on bonus and then a retention bonus. You Some some of some some of the school districts here anyway in the Chicago area are throwing lots of money at it. Not that they're getting all of their positions filled there probably still have a lot that are unfilled, but they're just trying to throw extra money at it.

Greg Irwin 55:17

How much of it can be solved with just increasing the hourly rate? And, you know, I can imagine that being a slippery slope. Isn't Go ahead, Abner. I

Abner 55:29

was gonna say I'm sorry to jump in. We're we trained for CDL. So something we've always done. So we tell someone if you're willing and able, and qualified will train you for six weeks, I believe as a training, we are doing a signing bonus. But I think to that point, even money's not we're seeing that money's not enough. We're doing a signing bonus that we do not a signing bonus, but a retention bonus. So if you stay within the year, mid year, you get you get a chunk of it. And at the end of the year, you get another chunk of it. And sometimes even that's not enough.

Greg Irwin 56:06

Amazing. Yeah, yeah. I'm wondering, do you are you seeing competition from other roles? Like, like Uber? Or? I mean, where do you know where these people have gone? Are they where are they really out of the workforce? We

Abner 56:23

assume that they are going somewhere we don't have good good data to like know exactly where where they're going. I mean, driving a school bus is not an easy job by any means. So anything that gets them driving in a little bit more quiet environment probably pay more money. I mean, we we have great benefits that they they're, it's part of the lore. But even that is not enough.

Greg Irwin 56:50

An interesting challenge is aren't Abner, I thank you for joining and sharing. Jacqueline, I want to thank you for spending a little bit of time with us. Let me remind people, the consulting work and the conversation that we're having here the kinds of projects that Jacqueline and her team, you know, brainstorm and ideate with with organizations put together projects, but systems and then of course implement through to delivery. So I'll encourage you if HRchitect can be helpful for you, or for one of your colleagues. I'm sure Jacqueline and her team would be eager to to have the conversation and see how they can help. Jacqueline any closing comments here for for our group before we call it a call it an hour.

Jacqueline Kuhn 57:41

Now just have a great year have a great 2022 And don't forget to set your personal goals. We in HR tend to think about everybody else. But we are only successful if we can be so I would always look I always tell my clients what do you personally want to achieve? Don't forget about yourself.

Greg Irwin 58:01

Very good. All right. Hey, Jacqueline. Thank you. And thank you all for taking time to join everyone. Have a great day.

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