So, yeah – I hit the big 4 0 here recently, and if you missed my roasting by the HR Capitalist yesterday, have a read here. And while everyone told me it would be a big deal, the only thing I really got out of it was this feeling that it’s Halftime. The first half was pretty good, had a few turnovers, definitely hit some nice shots, never got a chance to dunk (at least on a real sized hoop!), felt like I shared the rock enough, not many steals (I play it safe on D, try to stay between the basket and the ball), love my team, uniforms looked great, got a little banged up under the boards trying to rebound with the big boys, didn’t see eye-to-eye with the coach always – but hey – it’s halftime and I’m going into the locker room with a lead.
How’s that for a mid-life, basketball metaphor!
And I think in 40 years I’ve learned a ton about a lot of things, not enough about most things and a little about a few things that really matter. HR, like life, has taught me more than my fair share, so here’s some nuggets from my first 40 years:
- Don’t take chances on candidates – they rarely work out, as compared to those who do.
- No process can make up for lack of talent – but a bad process can’t make talented people look bad.
- HR does nothing. Your people in operations do something – HR needs to find ways to help those people do it easier, faster and more efficiently.
- Sometimes that means HR empties the trash, plans the parties and takes notes at big meetings – it doesn’t de-value you – it helps them.
- Don’t expect your race horses to be plow horses – you didn’t hire them to plow.
- Many times there aren’t second chances – that’s life. Buy a helmet.
- Applicant Tracking Systems – whether you paid $1000 or $1M – won’t change your life – picking up the phone and calling candidates – will change your life.
- Everyone has a price. Period. It’s your job in recruiting to find out what that price is – then weigh the ROI to your organization.
- The most polarizing issue any HR Department/Executive will face in an organization is the “Dress Code” – so don’t do it. Make operations come up with a dress code that your stakeholders can live with.
- Stop asking for a seat at the table – sit down – give an opinion – or get the hell out of the room – we have work to do.
- As an HR Pro (recruiting, T&D, ER, Diversity, etc.) your two best friends in any organization are your peer-level colleagues in marketing and IT. Any HR project worth anything to an organization will need the help of these two groups – go make friends!
- Culture always wins. Good or bad.
So, I’ve got some second half adjustments to make, the game keeps changing, but in the end, I will probably stick with what got me here – score more than the other guy – the best offense is a good defense me shooting a lot (or you have to shoot to get hot, then shoot when you’re hot) and basically keep outworking the competition.
If you Google “Tim Sackett” you’ll find our Tim, and a truck driver chaplain. Our Tim is NOT the truck driver chaplain, although how awesome would that be if he was!? He is a prolific writer in the HR and TA space who just happens to also run an Engineering and IT contract staffing agency (HRU Technical Resources) out of Michigan. He also writes every day at his own blog, the Tim Sackett Project. Weirdly, he’s known as an expert in workplace hugging, which was kind of cool years ago, but now seems painfully creepy, but we still love him and he’s fairly harmless. Tim is also on the board of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP), lifetime Michigan State Spartan fan, husband to a Hall of Fame wife, 3 sons, and his best friend Scout. He also wrote a book with SHRM called The Talent Fix, you can find it on Amazon.