Hildy and I had such a good chat last time, we decided to come back for this Part 2.
What is Human Resources? Well, of course it’s people, but are we really treating people like - real people. What have we learnt from Covid, that can change the way we communicate with the people within our business?
In this conversation with Hildy Gottlieb from Creating The Future, I’m joined by Charlotte Souch a friend and colleague who is a HR specialist, we have a frank discussion on what’s wrong with HR, and how we can change that to improve our relationships and productivity.
Be prepared to change your thinking!
If you want to learn more about Creating The Future head to their website.
Or connect with Hildy via LinkedIn
If you'd like to reach out to Charlotte Souch you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or connect with Charlotte on LinkedIn
You'll find a full transcript of our conversation below. Enjoy!
Enjoy this short snippet from the show ...
You can listen to the full episode here ...
I mean, there's so many layers and levels of why this is important to me, the most important part of this is that what we. We'd like to think that when we are acting out in the world and being who we are, that that is mostly informed by our family, by our faith. And that we bring that into the world. The reality that I've seen is that we spent most of our time in the workplace and most of that time has rules.
And, and so we wind up doing, in fact is bringing. Those rules of how we engage with each other, from the workplace into those other realms, rather than the other way around. And for me, the biggest example of that is the person who says that family is the most important thing to me, but they spend all their time at work and never see their family.
Yeah. And so we so much of what we do is rooted in how we be when we are at work. And we have this really wonderful, full opportunity right now, when folks start to transition whether it is right now over the next six months, over the next year into a post pandemic world, what will the post pandemic workplace look like?
What have we learned? Some of the things we actually want to continue from what it was like when we were sheltering in place and staying at home and working from home. It's not just, Oh, we can do more work remotely. You know, that's, that's the easy part, but, but what are we learning about how we want to be with each other, at once this thing is over, well, I guess this is even a conversation for you and Charlotte, but cause I'm not the HR expert here, but what systems would need to be in place.
In a HR perspective to make it more inclusive, make it, you know, think about our work mates, colleagues, staff, team, whatever you, yeah, whatever relationship they are. Oh, it starts at the very, very beginning. I think that when we are, when we're rethinking, we tend to rethink a little tweak here, a little adjustment there.
We tend to adjust. The actions that we take the doing rather than the thinking that goes into that, the assumptions that we have, and in my experience, HR, we call it human resources. It's generally not particularly to be a resource to the humans in the company. It is generally to be a resource.
For the company on how to deal with the fact that, Oh, no, we have to have humans here. And
What if the entire purpose for human resources was actually to bring out the very, very best in every person, rather than to assume that at some point you're going to mess up. And so here's how we're going to try and prevent you from messing up. Here's what the process will be if you do mess up and here's the consequences and, that tends to be more of what traditional there's wonderful innovations going on in human resources.
Now. But those are the outliers. Those aren't the norm. What if the norm of human resources was to assume our whole job is to absolutely bring out the best in our employees? And what, might that look like? How might that change? Yeah, I loved it. I think thinking about the possibilities and what environment you want to create for people and why you want to do that.
So, you know, Why is that important at work? And I think exactly, as you said, you know, that's not, certainly not been my experience. Been working in HR. And I, it's funny when you talk about human resources, cause I actually really disliked strongly the words, [00:06:00] human resources. And that's another conversation maybe. I'd love to know why.
I think it's just seeing a human as a resource and something, and exactly like you said something to be corralled and something to, how can we, you know, And put some boundaries and rules and processes around this human so that we get, you know, so that we kind of corral them and make them work how we want them to work or this sort of more of that aspect to it.
So I suppose it's more, what sort of, I don't know, there's something about, yeah, it's going to take you sitting here from a slightly outside position. This is quite exciting because it's. And I was pleased to hear that, Hildy, there are some innovations happening in the HR sector, but yeah, maybe yeah, some exciting lessons to be learned and that we just need people to take this on board and it'll just take a thought leader to get this out there and, and set up a program.
[00:06:58] But, you know, I think, would it be fair to say that most. You know, business operators who, form a company and then they grow organically, a large amount to a degree and they bring on staff and, and it's. That the management of it is probably their biggest stress. I mean, I remember when I've had retail businesses and I could honestly tell you that if I put a survive without staff, I wouldn't have been a much happier person, but, and, and I think that's because I didn't have a background in, and I had no idea.
And your taught by rule book. So how do we change this? How, how can we do this? In our experience, everything changes when we change the questions that we're asking. Some of, the most innovative questions, everyone these days, because we're all working from home. Everyone is using zoom and zoom is a relatively new company.
[00:07:57] And, you know, there's certainly not an IBM or a Google. They they've been around for a relatively short amount of time. And when they were first growing. This is, this is way before the, the massive expansion due to the pandemic. This is three, four years ago or so when they were first growing, I wound up having a delightful, relationship with the CEO, Eric Yuan and Eric always started the company by saying our goal is to deliver happiness and their values were so deeply rooted in that goal of delivering happiness.
His main concern when the company was growing from 200 people to, Oh my gosh, we're going to be 2000 people in. Goodness knows how many they have right now was what will it take for the values that the, that were so successful for us in the startup to continue to rule our work. What will it take [00:09:00] if we're scaling from 200 to 2000 people, to make sure that our values are at the heart of what we do and how we be with each other.
That, that is a question that Whoa, okay. Let's play with that. Let's see what our values look like in customer relations. Let's look what our values look like in marketing. What do our values look like in especially human resources? And so it's a very different question, guiding. Rather than how can we make sure we get the most out of people?
[00:09:30] How can we make sure that they don't cheat? How can we make sure they don't steal office supplies? Those are the things that we worry about rather. How do we make sure that our values stay? They spread through it? I think, I don't know my experience wasn't necessarily, or hasn't been healthy that that's something at the forefront of it.
Leaders minds in terms of I've got in mind on so many other things, you know, the finances and the strategy and the growth and, how to, or, you know, sometimes just how to keeping stakeholders happy and that's not central. So that sort of hear that, you know, that was central in that, that just. Yeah, it's really exciting if that could become more than norm, you know, and I've been in an organizations with values discussions have been more of a tick box.
So I think I'm like, we've got to do our values and our purpose, and we've got to sit down in a room and sort of get round and, and it's kind of this mishmash of what everyone thinks, and we try and pull it together. And then they kind of get a bit filed and every now and then you might look at them or they may even go up on the wall.
But that's just a really different way. And again, it really does have to come from leadership and leadership with heart. And I think that's a real key starting point. So yeah, that's, that's really a cool example. He took about that. Yeah. And was on zoom for, for, for doing that. Actually, one of the, I'm not a podcast guest we had was Joanna Brandi.
Who's a happiness consultant. And, and so she works with teams too. Bring back happiness, which it seems so sad that we actually have to work on that. But, but at the same time, exciting that that's becoming a bigger and more accepted foundation. Oh goodness. Yes. I, you know, and in so many different examples, I mean, before the pandemic, we had examples like, the company, the outdoor company, Patagonia.
We had examples like Netflix and some of the things that you hear about those companies is that they do not have any limits on, uh, time off on vacation time. And what you would think is, Oh, people just take all the time off and they never work. Well. It winds up that with companies that give you as much time as you need.
To be the full human that makes you productive at work. The one problem that they found, and I believe this was Patagonia is that they had to put a lock on the door and not give folks the code. So they wouldn't come in over the weekends. And that's what winds up happening. I mean, it's just so funny.
We make these assumptions. People will cheat and those assumptions are not based in reality. It's like, like values and leadership and the purpose of at the heart of the company are no longer driving the company that really what's leading the company is fear and fear of each other.
And how, how ridiculous, you know, I know that I'll be honest, but I probably can't trust you. Hmm. And so it's, it's just a, such a very, very different way frequently talk it at creating the future of the organization that I'm with. We [00:13:00] frequently talk about values as a verb. That values are only good when they're put into action.
And if you're not, naming, you know, I loved how you said Charlotte, code of values may even wind up on the wall. But that's, that's about as far as it goes. And how many, how many companies do we know? Big companies that have been involved in international scandals? And their values were integrity and honesty.
Yeah. Respect. And so, so clearly you are putting those values in action. They're not really values. They're just, as you said, something you would put up in the wall in the lobby, but what does it look like if we actually live, respect for each other. What does that even mean? What does that look like in action?
Those are the kinds of questions that take it from just a word that we throw out too. What does integrity really mean? What does integrity really look like? What does it look like for the receptionist? When we walk in, what does it look like for the janitor? What does it look like for the CEO? What does integrity mean in those cases?
And when we start to look at it through the lens of, Oh, this, this is what we do and how we act our values. Those are different kinds of questions that can help lead you to different kinds of answers. I have to say, I'm quite obviously this movement of, you know, being happier at work and being human centered human resources is, something that's been happening well before.
COVID but, I hopefully it's being exacerbated at this stage. Are there. From my HR experts, for business owners, listening and going, you know what? I want to come back and do things differently. How do you change something that's already in place? That's the easy part, because the first thing is, is realizing that probably if you've got systems that aren't making you happy as the owner, they're certainly not making anybody else happy.
And so to pull people together, it is so much a matter of working with people rather than working at them or to them or for them, bringing people together and having them answer those questions. What makes you the most productive at work? When are you at your absolute best? What resources can we provide to you to make sure you are at your best people will come up with incredible, incredible answers.
If we trust them. Yeah. And of course, it, it makes you, if you're running a company like that, that's inclusive, then people are, we're going to want to work for you. You know?
[00:16:23] Yeah. And I think just jump in there. I think. That we'd let the concept of valuing people and valuing the whole person in this. These are people with whole lives. And I remember I'm actually in my, in my HR career and I actually got into HR because I wanted to make. Organizations a great place for people to come and be and thrive and be able to be themselves and sort of thing.
Yeah. A little bit along the way, but it wasn't quite what actually I did actually. Yeah. A little bit naive going into it. But I think in one of the things that's a strength for me is my [00:17:00] empathy. I think, it almost felt like a little bit of a weakness in that job and that's what it became because I kind of felt like.
There wasn't time for it. There's so many rules and processes and transactions and reactions that you have to do and people issues time or whatever it was. And, that my empathy, or getting drawn into things or feeling for the person that was across the table from me that I may have been yeah. In a disciplinary process, or certainly, you know, it was actually kind of a liability.
So I don't know when you think about that Hildy in terms of empathy and compassion for the whole person and how that plays out in organizations and no, what do you think? Like, I must feel like people are a little bit scared that that's going down this path of like, Oh, that's we can't be too, that way.
Well, you know that that's a bit risky. Isn't it horrible to be risky of being kind. I was just so heartbroken to think of, I love that you chose the word empathy, because it is heartbreaking to think that the place that we spend most of our time is intentionally devoid of empathy. I, that that just is hard if you think about it.
And one of the things that we're all noticing in, in the pandemic world in the, in the current world of, of working online and especially folks who work internationally and folks are concerned about other people and really, truly concerned. And when we would normally have staff meetings, before.
The pandemic before COVID, the watch word has always been that we got to get down to business and we've got to value people's time. And if it's 20 minutes, that might be too long and 30 minutes and no one's going to have patients for more than that. So we've got to right. Get down to business, which means there's no time for getting to know each other.
There's no time for building trust. There's no time for all of putting the things in place that make a harmonious workplace. But when the pandemic struck, the first thing people are asking is how is everybody doing? And, and your young people's, you know, my favorite thing these days is if you watch newscasters who are actually still quarantined and at home, and they're being very serious about delivering the news and then suddenly their three-year-old walks in, or their dog walks, and these are human beings and, and we, we enjoy.
Human in each other. And people are starting meetings by going around and saying, how is everyone in your family? And what's been going on and, and folks are getting to know each other in very different ways than what we are used to. And can you imagine if
every staff meeting, these are such tiny things we can do, you know, Judy, you asked, how can, how can you change something that's already in place?
Changing the questions we ask is something that some everyone can do. You do not need it. Positional authority to change the culture in a workplace. You bet changing the questions that we asked. Can we just take a couple of minutes at the staff meeting and touch base with each other? Because we'd really like to build the trust that it's going to take for this team to work forward, to move forward, who would say, Oh, no, building trust would be a waste of time.
We would much rather. Hire a team building firm for thousands of dollars to make up for the fact that we don't trust each other. We've been building just five minutes into our staff meeting to go around and ask how folks are doing. I mean, there's simple things. It's not rocket science, is it really? I think so many people think that this whole thing is really, really complicated, but it's what I really love about the newscast example.
Just to pop back to that in my head is that, you know, after I've worked in the media a lot in my career, and you know, in my early days in the media, you were. You know, you most celebrity, even if you were the receptionist, you were assembled celebrity because you worked in the media, right. That was like the secret place.
And, and we, you know, we open the doors and invite people in occasionally and they'd come in and they'd go, Oh, wow. What goes on behind the scenes? But, you know, well, I think actually, even for a newscaster, what's really cool about this. It's humanizing them. It's humanizing. The media it's, it's humanizing everybody.
And then all of us, you know, we used to look at influences and go and celebrities and go, Oh, they must live a really special life. Well, it turns out actually, they're just having as many people and then normal. You know, and same could be said for, for business leaders, for every single person, you are still a normal human being with your same emotional challenges and issues that you're going through.
And I think, yeah, so the, the word empathy and I think is going to, I hope is going to be that the new direction that so many of us have to go because that's going to be the norm. That would be an amazing place to work. Can't you capture just to see that? Yeah, I can. It's awesome. Yeah, it's shifting already.
Isn't it? That's, I mean, I've been talking, you know, being more, more my background, but as we're talking, you know, it's, and as you say, particularly with Covid, that's just put this big spotlight and for whatever reason, it has been a real positive to start seeing it. And long that continue, you know, I think that's really is yeah.
A big shift. Yeah. It's been so interesting. One of the things about the organization creating the future is that we see ourselves as an experiment. We see ourselves as a ground for experimenting. What happens when we change the questions we are so accustomed to asking and, and instill questions that bring out the best in people.
And, one of the things that we've done is, is because we were an experiment. And the only way that everyone is going to learn together is if we are open about what we're experimenting with, we have all of our board meetings and we are a nonprofit and not-for-profit all of our board meetings. And all of our strategy meetings are open for anyone to watch or anyone to actually participate in.
So you all, okay. It'd be part of one of our board meetings one day and. If you were to watch, they're all recorded and they're all at our website. And if you were to watch any of our meetings, you would see two things that are so ingrained in the culture of creating the future. That we actually, whether it's a recorded meeting or not, this is how we start.
And this is how we finish. We begin every meeting by asking pretty much two questions. The first question is, how are you? What is going on in your world? Are you okay? What are you bringing into the room? What's, you know, we talk so much about leaving our baggage at the door and the only way you can't leave your baggage at the door and your baggage is your person is, is who you are.
So if you're having a horrible day or something, horrible is going on at home, how are you supposed to leave that out? No. What happens if you bring that in and tell everybody I got no sleep last night. My daughter has been sick. I have been up all night long. I'm really sorry if I'm very quiet or if I tend to be snappy, I'm really sorry.
I just need you all to know. Well, those are the things that we absolutely don't say at the workplace. Right. We don't bring that into a sec, but, but if you did you'd know. Oh, wow. Okay. So that's why Susan has been so snippy today. It's not me. It's not, she thinks this [00:25:00] is a bad idea. It's because she's got something going.
I mean, there's just that, that little basic thing. Yeah. And then the second question that we ask is what has been exciting or meaningful to you since we last met? And we, we hear about kids, people's dogs, and we hear about someone lives on a Lake and there's ducks out their window right now. Or we hear about some really difficult things.
My mom has been sick and I've been caring for her, but it, again, it's this way of building relationship. That whole thing could take just five minutes. It could take maybe 10 minutes and, and isn't that an investment? In, in that workplace camaraderie in that trust in, in, in building, in walking the talk, of your values, that is a start and you hear those threads, it's so fun for us because suddenly about an hour into a meeting.
A strategy meeting. You'll hear, you know, I was thinking about the fact that Susan said that she's got ducks on the Lake, in her backyard. And that's got me thinking about, it's just so incredible how it sparks you. You know, we're bringing that creativity and bringing, bringing that whole person as you, you two have been talking so much about bringing that whole person into the room at the end of our meetings, what you will hear.
And again, it doesn't matter whether it's a staff meeting or whether it is a huge strategy meeting, you will hear us set 10 minutes aside, maybe more depending on the topic and ask for reflection. What is standing out to you from the meeting? What, what do you wish we had talked about that we didn't and, and all of those sort of, okay.
Coming back to learning from each other, giving each other voice. Sharing with each other. And it's so wonderful to give people the opportunity to say, you know, I really had hoped we were going to talk about X and we did not have a chance to talk about it. And I'm a little bit disappointed and the ability to go, Oh wow.
We'll make sure that next time we start with that, what we find is that so many people leave meetings. And then they grumble and then, and they say, Oh, you know, we were supposed to talk about X, but we didn't talk about it because Mary never wants to talk about it. And, you know, instead of giving time at the end of the meeting to actually share what we're feeling.
So it's these simple things that we can instill into how we be in the workplace that we're sorta kind of doing a little bit of during COVID. Because we really care and want to know how each other is doing. Yeah. I really loved that. And I was just thinking, it's just saying that Hildy that. You know, those questions that you ask upfront, you know, in meetings and, checking in with people and asking how they are with significant things that have been going on and straight away, you know, if you get to be, you know, saying how you are and.
She feel valued that she's someone who cares and you start, you know, being able to be real before you've kicked into the heart, you know, the hard stuff or the work, or, and then you straight away, you've sort of relax and you get into that zone of being able to be who you are and not spend all this energy think kind of half your brains thinking I'm exhausted.
And my dad said, and what's going on for me, but I've got to actually. Put push that aside, actually that takes a lot of energy to, keep that part of yourself almost separate or, or sort of pretend and try, and the other part of your brain into gear. So what that does is sort of integrating that whole person and you're going to be more creative and the bring more of yourself to the table.
So it's so simple, so cool. That's, that's, that's a beautiful way of putting it. Charlotte's a beautiful way of putting it. It really helps you transition. You know, we, we slide into me meetings, right? We've got this, this project we're working on. We just got off the phone. We've really lost track of time. We jammed it to the room and we sit down and we're we supposed to leave all that behind.
And, what you're really emphasizing is that this kid, right room for a transition. It gives room for, okay. That's all the stuff that I was. So, so when we ask, how are you, what's going on? That person has the opportunity to say I lost track of time and I'm so busy with this project and I'm feeling so jammed up that I can't fit one more thing in my brain and, and, and they can breathe and, Oh, wow.
Yeah, that project is really big and they might even say, Would you rather go back to your desk and finish that and we can catch you up. I mean, I love how you're [00:30:00] talking about that, Charlotte, because it really does allow for that, that human transition from before the meeting to come into the meeting, actually, while you both chatting and I'm, I'm thinking to myself, it's somewhat digressing, but cause I think so many times.
Business operators and even team, even if they've got that part, right. They forget that customers are sort of part of that team as well. And, and we've got an opportunity. And then, you know, so I have a bit of a bugbear, which, you know, those who will listen to the podcast regularly, we'll get to no doubt here, but it's like this, you know, when we're talking to our customers, we treat them like a robotic thing, you know?
So. There's no warm and friendly. There's no get to know them to really understand them first. It's just like, here it is. It's a transaction. Get it over and done with. And so I, as I'm listening to this, I'm going, Oh, could you imagine a company that had not only this environment as a team, but did it for their customers as well and made their customers feel like they were actually.
Yeah, we in, in what we do, we call it, give the customer a seat at the board table. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I just keep thinking. There's just something really exciting on the precipice of, of evolving and I'm sure there are companies that do it, but unfortunately. I had a wonderful experience this week. I wanted to make an international call with my cell phone.
And normally I use zoom. I am I'm online all the time and, and use that for making calls, but I was out and about, and I wanted to make an international call to the UK with my cell phone and it wasn't working. And so I called my cell phone carrier and I said, I just want to know, does my plan include international calls?
And he looked and he said, no, he said, you know, if it were another $15 a month, if you make a lot of international calls, it's like, yeah, I'm running errands. I happen to want to make this call. I don't want $15 a month, but he said, you know, it would be $15 a month. We could add international calls. And I said, okay, thank you.
And at the end of the call, he said, but you know, if all you're doing is making a call every once in a while, you can just use WhatsApp. Any app. And I was like, wow, you're treating me like a human. You're not trying to sell me this $15 service you're telling me you can just use WhatsApp, which of course is what I was going to do anyway.
And, I said, well, thank you. That is very kind. And he said, and ma'am, I said, yeah, he said, please remember to enjoy the rest of your day. Oh my breath away. It was so beautiful and, and it reminded me Judy [00:33:00] of years ago I was on a committee for something in my community. I don't remember what it was. It was a government committee.
And there was a gentleman. Yeah. Who had been in the military. I think he had been in an air force commander. So he was very high up in, in the, in the military. And. He, he said something that has stuck with me. It's gotta be 20 years. He said that in, under his command. Now we're so used to you walk into a government office or a special, a big company or a government office.
And you know, that they are, their job is to tell, you know, pretty much, you know, here's what I would like to do. I go into a government office. Here's what I'd like to do with my house. And I may need to get a variance on, on the law and the regulations, but I'd like to put a fence up and I just want to make sure that what I'm doing is legal and the person behind the counter pretty much their job is to tell you why you can't do what you [00:34:00] want to do.
Yeah. And where to put the law is, and here's what the rules are. And what this gentleman said was under his command. You, I needed permission to say no. And so often we are used to the person at the counter, the person that, that we encounter when we first come up to customer service, we are so used to having to ask, well, they wind up saying, well, if I'm going to do that, I'm going to have to ask my supervisor.
I don't have the authority to do this you really can't do this, but if, if we are going to do this, I really don't have the authority. I'm going to have to ask somebody else. And he completely turned that around. And he said, you only have permission to say yes. And you have to ask for permission to say no.
And I thought that was just such another brilliant way of looking at it in terms of customer service, is that your job is to say, yes. If it's actually again this I think you're right. It's this concept that you don't trust the staff to make a judgment call. And if they're a call center staff, for example, you just give them very strict guidelines.
Very early. and, because we're a non for profit. We have a board of directors. And so we were asking the board, some really basic questions. We were talking about employee evaluation. And employee policies. And, and do we want to, you know, what kinds of policies do we want to have for our employees, especially when our whole purpose is around bringing out the best in people.
And it was so remarkable. What we came to through conversation was that in every case we thought we wanted to have a policy. We would have a conversation and that the conversation would be rooted in what will bring out the best in this employee. We started to talk about employee evaluations and, you know, generally that happens every six months or every year.
And you have a standard script from HR of what that evaluation is going to entail. And what we chose to do instead was to ask, almost monthly. And to make it so that you did not have to have an event, you did not have to have an employee review because you were in such close communication with your [00:38:00] employees, that you knew what they needed, and they knew what you needed.
And, to build that trust and to when you're asking the questions that you might ask in a review to say, how are you feeling about what you're working on right now? What would excite you more? What would bring out the best in you? What talents do you have that you wish we were asking you to apply? And just those kinds of questions that you can constantly be nurturing your employees.
And bringing out the best in them, rather than that checklist that we're, we're ticking, the boxes of, you know, did you live up to our expectations? You know, one of my favorite questions is did we live up to your expectations? Wow. Yeah, that's very cool. I think, and I mentioned the, what can be unleashed from those seemingly simple questions that pets, you know, no, I've never been asked that we've got a thing [00:39:00] because we're afraid to ask because we're afraid that that person is going to leave.
If we don't have what is good for them and guess what that person is going to leave anyway. So, I mean, if, if you don't have in place, what is going to bring that person, joy is going to bring them fulfillment is going to bring out the best in them. They're looking for someplace else to go. Yeah. They're probably better off somewhere else if you really can't live in it.
Right. And so, so what we delude ourselves, and again, you know, my, my talking about the fact that that fear runs so much of what we do in, in organizations and companies. That we, we deceive ourselves was into thinking that if, sort of like when a marriage goes bad and we think if we, if we sort of.
Put our fingers in our ears and go to la-la-la the marriage won't go bad. Well, you know, it's going bad. We don't have to be afraid of it. If we just step into it and say, how are you doing? What, what would make you more productive? And if that company doesn't have it, to be honest and in that relationship and say, what can we do?
In the, you know, obviously if you want to find something else, can we help you? What can we do to prepare you so that you are the best you are while you're here? And we've seen circumstances where those questions were asked and the person was so excited that they were asked, they stayed two years beyond what they thought they were going to.
I think that's actually a really important point, all of this discussion because. So many businesses, except that it costs them a small fortune to have someone trained up and get them up to speed. They understand that their lack of productivity during the first, whatever period is, is below. And if they leave me and I put all this vested effort in them, I've trained them and all the rest of it.
[00:40:58] That's when I think back to it. That's when I, when I've managed bigger teams and stuff's probably the underlying fear. That you as a leader or business owner has, but you're right. If you just have the conversation and make them feel more included in the whole process that yeah. Or they are going to leave anyway, and there's not much you can do about it.
So, yeah, I was thinking too about engagement surveys while we were just talking about then, and actually almost, you know, those questions that you can ask if you're talking about helding and how they almost you know, the organizations that I've the government agency. So I worked with for many years and we'd do.
Like annual engagement surveys and so much money was spent on it and time. And effort trying to get everybody to answer these questions how engaged they were, you know, and actually more recently, I know there's a lot more technology available and it's more about, in the moment and pulse-surveys, but you know, that went on for many years and it was about being all this data, showing how disengaged people were and which all over it.
But, you know, took ages just to pick it apart and look at which teams were the most disengaged, often HR to be called and to have this conversation with these people staring at me very grumpy and trying to sort out their problems and are just thinking about how really it's just what you're talking about.
It's just completely flipping that and going, we, what, you know, what would excite you? What do we, what do we want to create in this organization for how people want to feel and, you know, how much you want to trust them. And those what's possible questions and, move from there when we spend so much time, mired in all these kind of problems.
So that's yeah, I was just thinking about that. Oh, and you're you are reminding me, we did a. A demonstration [00:43:00] project with, one of the States here in the United States, we were working with their department of education and they were the superintendent of education. The gentlemen who headed the education department, whole state was quite forward thinking and he understood that they had a problem internally with the culture inside the department.
They wanted to do something to, to address the climate and the culture within the department, which was a wonderful sentiment. And they wanted to include that in their annual plan. So it wasn't just a little thing. They really want that to, to embed a culture that brought out the best in people, into their, their way of being.
And he had wanted to start with a survey and that's why I'm smiling as, as, as you're chatting. And he said, well, you know, we could just ask. What, what problems are you having with the culture? And, and he said, does that sound like a good start? I'm trying very hard not to say that. And I don't, I can't guarantee that maybe I didn't say, but I said, well, you know, if I were to ask you right now, what are the problems with the culture within the organization right now?
What would you say? And he listed some things. I said, do you think they're going to say anything different than that? And he said, well, no, I said, so if we could name what the problems are right now, why are we asking them? Is this lip service to make them feel included? And what we started to craft instead was listening sessions.
And, he actually started to call it coffee with the chief and he would open his doors. And the first question that they would ask, and they did this in some surveys, also understanding, and this is, this is, is so key when you were talking about surveys, understanding that some people do best with surveys.
And some people do best with one on one conversations. And some people do best in group conversations. And so they gave them again, being human. How do you interact? They gave them all of these different options for answering. And what they asked was what would a great culture look like here? What would a culture look like that was bringing out the best in you?
And then what do you think would need to be in place for that to happen? And people were engaged. People were excited and, and they wound up doing these listening sessions. They took two months. To give people the time off of work to do it. So, so set your, your, your general work aside, and we're going to have these conversations.
They really dedicated themselves to spending the time in a very human way, in a very relationship way. Well, a very Charlotte engaged way to ask her questions. Okay. you know, what, what could, what could this workplace look like if you were as engaged as possible, if you were feeling like you really wanted to come to work.
And it's just a very different, a very different way of doing things. And we don't have to be afraid of what people are going to say, because if you think people are gonna say, things are really bad than they probably are really bad, so don't be afraid that people are gonna say it. Let's get to it. Yeah.