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Episode 21: How people teams can do more with less

In this episode, Jordan and Jason discuss another challenge people teams are facing today: being charged to do more with less resources. They explore areas where HR teams can improve efficiency and consolidate their people stack. Jordan ends with a charge for executives to have a clear vision for their employee experience.

Word of the day

  • Sashay - said @ 2:10 ✅


  • 0:00 Intro
  • 3:49 HR teams are being charged to do more with less
  • 5:11 In order to do more with the same, we must maximize efficiency
  • 7:31 The rise of SaaS companies has led to innovation, but has also led to siloed solutions
  • 8:52 Startups typically do one thing very well, but that leads to an overloaded tech stack
  • 10:03 Consolidation is top of mind for people teams
  • 12:06 Bridging the gap between solutions not only is good for the business, but provides a better employee experience
  • 16:16 The proliferation and consolidation of streaming services
  • 19:05 How do you justify a benefit that only 2% of the company is using?
  • 22:31 There are too many tools, but still a need for more sufficient ones
  • 25:26 The source of the decline of sentiment metrics
  • 32:58 An encouragement to executives, from executives


Jordan (00:05):

How many hours and years of our lives do we spend on work? For nearly all of us, we spend 30 plus years and one third of our days in our vocation, more time perhaps, than we spend at rest or at play. But this isn't a problem. Why? Because work is good. Work needs to be integrated deeply into our lives and must be in line with our most important goals and values. And if it is, we have a far more complete and fulfilling life experience. Welcome to the How People Work podcast, where we explore the intersection of how humans think and act and how they apply themselves to their work. When you understand both of these things, you'll be equipped to be insightful, compassionate, and compelling leaders. Welcome back to How People Work. This is your co-host. I said I would say it, Jordan Peace and your real host, Jason Murray. Ladies and gentlemen.

Jason (01:00):

Host/Co-host. Not real. Well, I am real.

Jordan (01:03):

But it's like it's founder. And do you remember we met, I don't remember who it was now. There was some small company we met that we were thinking about either bringing them on as a client or partnering with them in some way. And we met a guy who was the co-founder and he introduced us to the CEO who referred to himself as founder. Right. But he wouldn't let his co-founder call himself founder. It was founder and co-founder as if that were a lesser thing. Oh yeah. Which like, the math doesn't work there.

Jason (01:34):

No. At all.

Jordan (01:36):

It really doesn't. You either have a founder or you have co-founders. Just for the record.

Jason (01:40):

Yeah. Do you remember back when we were like five employees? I do. And we were talking to an investor and they were like, where's your CEO?

Jordan (01:50):

Oh. And we were like, yeah, what - Jordan? Does somebody wanna -?

Jason (01:57):

Five of us?

Jordan (01:57):

Yeah. Right.

Jason (01:58):

So I mean -

Jordan (01:59):

It was kind of funny. We just forgot to elect a CEO in the beginning. Yeah. We were just like, yeah, we're just doing this thing.

Jason (02:04):

Didn't feel like you needed one at that point.

Jordan (02:05):

Yeah. It really didn't. It really didn't. Yeah. Anyway, we are sashaying our way into the next episode. I got it. Yeah. There's no way I was going to work it in later because it has nothing to do with what we're talking about.

Jason (02:17):

I mean, it's kind of perfect though.

Jordan (02:18):

And as we go, so we talked last time. We are digging in deep, deep into a survey that we have done. We talked about last time about creating a positive and satisfying employee experience and how that was the number one struggle when we ask over 500 participants in our survey of HR professionals, what is your greatest challenge in your job? And the number one most frequent response was creating a positive and satisfying employee experience. So Jason, where do you want to take us from here in our data and our analysis of that data today?

Jason (02:57):

Yeah, I think it'd be interesting to hit on the next one in there. And I mean, we'll unpack these things and hopefully the format of the podcast allows for our audience to maybe humor us to go a little bit deeper on some of these topics.

Jordan (03:13):

Well, it's not a radio show. They can't call in and stop us.

Jason (03:17):

It’s true. That would be kinda fun though.

Jordan (03:17):

Just kind of talk about what we want.

Jason (03:19):

If they called in real angry and they're dammit, stop talking about -

Jordan (03:21):

Like, they’ll listen or not listen. That's how they'll vote.

Jason (03:25):

Stop talking about human flourishing and all that crap. Just like get to the point.

Jordan (03:32):

Hey, Joe Rogan has three and four hour episodes. That's true. So I don't think we need to feel rushed to get to the point.

Jason (03:36):

I mean, that's really just my ideal job, honestly. Really. It's sit around and talk to interesting people.

Jordan (03:44):

Smoke cigars and talk to interesting people for half a day.

Jason (03:46):

That sounds pretty cool to me.

Jordan (03:47):

It does. We're just jealous.

Jason (03:49):

We are. Very much so. One of things that came out of the research was around tools and budget to support employee wellbeing. So what are some of the needs that HR professionals have? And just as a reminder to everyone, this was a convergence of both a survey that we did with these questions that we asked, as well as about two dozen different interviews that we conducted with Chief People Officers primarily, and a couple other folks that are HR consultants to kind of arrive at the insights that we gleaned from this. And one of the things that really stood out to me, especially in the market that we're in right now, that HR teams are being charged with is there's a saying that's doing more with less. And really I think the mantra that we've heard is the charge is doing more with the same -

Jordan (04:45):

In terms of resources?

Jason (04:46):

Resources and budget. So I think there is sort of a perpetual felt need that most HR teams feel, which is that was always one of the jokes that I told when I was in sales was like, I never came across an HR person that felt that they were under-resourced. And you always get a good joke.

Jordan (05:02):

Or over-resourced, yes. Right. Sorry. That's okay. You're rusty on the joke point.

Jason (05:07):

I am rusty on the joke.

Jordan (05:08):

You're Head of Innovation now you, it's okay.

Jason (05:11):

And so yeah, the charge now seemingly is that the same budget exists. Most companies don't seem to be cutting budgets significantly around people programs, but doing more with the same. One of the problems though is how do they maximize efficiency? And so one anecdote in particular, I think helps illustrate this. So there's a Chief People Officer that I spoke with who's the CPO of a major software company actually in the HR space. They have about 700 employees. And she was describing to me that when she stepped into that role, they had over 42 pieces of software that were in their people stack, as they call it.

Jordan (06:00):

I, I'll be honest, when I scanned this quote that you're looking at right now, I thought that was your hyperbole. No, I thought you were just saying like, ah, 42, something insane. She said that.

Jason (06:11):

She said that.

Jordan (06:12):

Over 42. Yes. Software solution. Yes. For 700 people.

Jason (06:18):

I mean, the reason I find it believable is think about the software stack even that we have right at Fringe and we're -

Jordan (06:25):

But this is just their people stack. This is just -

Jason (06:28):

Well, I think it's any piece of software that the HR team has to manage that touches something related to the employee experience. So it could be a whole bunch of different things. Yeah. Cause you got HRIS, payroll, rewards and recognition, benefits, ben admin, right? Et cetera, et cetera. Right. So yeah. I mean, sales tools -

Jordan (06:49):

Then all these point solutions for these ad hoc things.

Jason (06:53):

And so I'd say that that's probably on the high end of the spectrum. I don't think you're going to come across a ton of companies that are like, Hey, we had 42 pieces of software in there. They were themselves a software company. And so there's kind of a predisposition towards that.

Jordan (07:09):

And to some degree IT demo, it demonstrates probably something very positive. I'm not sure it had a positive impact to have that many pieces of software. It probably didn't because that's kind of chaos for the employee to navigate all of that. But it probably demonstrates a desire that, hey, we're trying to help. We're trying to solve problems. Yeah. We're really trying to push things forward in our employees.

Jason (07:31):

I think that's true. And I think they're one of those companies that we would say, they get it. They get it. They have that philosophy. They're trying to deliver on a really positive and good employee experience. And I think largely they are. And one of the things that I think is interesting that's happened that in some ways is maybe inevitable is let's look at the last 20 years. Well, one of the things that's happened in the last 20 years is the great proliferation of SaaS software, cloud-based software that rewind 20 years ago. Well, we're still talking dial up internet, right? So the world's changed a lot in the last 20 years in terms of the tools available to us. And so what happened was innovators and entrepreneurs out there started saying, Hey, well now this technology enables the creation of these tools that can make certain things easier. And so what you have is these siloed solutions that started popping up to meet these needs and the employee experience that were identified or needs that maybe existed from sort of archaic systems that existed previously. How did you sign up for your benefits before pen and paper? Guess how do you sign up for it now? It's all digital.

Jordan (08:46):

And now you got your Anthem insurance, and now I can build a piece of software that tell you where the nearest in-network doctor is.

Jason (08:52):

Exactly. And so all these entrepreneurs, all these great solutions that do one thing or maybe a couple things, but they probably do one thing really well. And then they started trying to expand into some of these other things. And so when you look at these charts of market maps, it's really crazy because you know, go from 10 years ago, hey, they were just a handful of HR technology platforms, mainly they did payroll, and then some were starting to do HRIS and things like that. And now you look at it and it's like there's literally thousands upon thousands of different HR technology solutions that do all sorts of things. And so what's happening is HR professionals are faced with this challenge of how the hell do we combine all of these things in any kind of way that's efficient? I can't even imagine managing 42 different solutions. What is the employee experience like? I mean, how do you even keep track of who's logging into what and how do they connect with one?

Jordan (09:56):

How do you have time to meet with all of the CSMs at all the different software companies once a quarter? How do you even do that and do the rest of your job?

Jason (10:03):

So I, I'll say that insight, which may not seem like much in insight because it seems obvious, but it was a sentiment that was consistently expressed across all the interviews in particular that we did, was we've got to consolidate these solutions to deliver on people programs. And so we can't have all these siloed, single point solutions that do only one thing. We really need something more comprehensive that's going to help deliver that employee experience more efficiently. And I think there's probably two sides to that that are interesting. I mean, one is the business need. So if you're spreading your dollars, paying for 42 different programs, there's probably a lot of waste there. And so in an environment where companies are looking to save dollars or at least go further, do more with the same dollars, you're going to say, Hey, what can we cut? Or where are we getting the most bang for our buck?


And similarly, you look at the employee experience side of that and say, how could 42 different solutions possibly deliver a consistent and optimal employee experience? So they probably can’t, it's too fragmented and disjointed and you got to log into a bunch of different things. And I probably forgot about 30 at least, of the different solutions that are there that I might be using. Totally. And so I think what's interesting now, and this is something that I felt maybe intuitively that was validated, especially in the interviews that we're doing, is what you maybe call the Pareto principle, which is that 80/20 rule. And so in this case, it's largely 20% of the features within a lot of these software solutions we're delivering 80% of the value. So then you think about maybe a performance management tool. There's a bunch of them out there, these performance management tools that developed ways for companies to do employee reviews and so forth.


But a lot of them have said, well, hey, we're going to start doing employee engagement and surveys and all these other things. But when you look at how HR teams are using them, a lot of times they're only using a minimal piece of the tool and that's delivering 80% of the value that they're getting out of it in terms of meeting some kind of business need. And so I think that presents us with an opportunity, and that's some of what we're talking about and thinking about at Fringe is how do we help maybe bridge some of those gaps? How do we help do some of that consolidation around all of these different software tools to help HR teams become more efficient, and not just for the sake of the business, but to deliver on this mission to support employees. And so I think that's where it actually ties back up into creating a positive employee experience. It's like, why does it matter that there's better tools that are consolidated together to do all these things more efficiently? Well, it's good for the business, saves some money, right? But it's also good for the employee because you can deliver a better, more comprehensive employee experience in that way.

Jordan (13:13):

I think it's difficult for employees, especially a new employee, just trying to get to know the people and get to know the manager and the culture and what's expected of me. And then there's a million pieces of software they need to learn just to engage in the employee experience. The very internal and insular part of their job is just participating in this culture here, which has very little to do with the actual, most likely their actual role of going out to sell or going out to support customers or going out to market or whatever the job is. So it's just a huge distraction and a huge kind of limiter of productivity if your employees are just looking around to find the right piece of software to do one tiny task, ask for time off or whatever the case may be.

Jason (14:09):

Yeah, an example just that's on a more personal level that I found interesting. So I'll ask you this. How many streaming services do you have currently?

Jordan (14:22):

Do you mean the ones that I pay for or the ones that I borrow from friends and family?

Jason (14:26):

Let's just go with the ones you pay for, because that in itself -

Jordan (14:29):

Should I admit that on a public podcast. I didn't admit Netflix, anything, just asked a question. Let's see, Netflix, I've got Disney+ of course, because I've got five kids. We've got Paramount Plus right now. Oh, you have that? Yeah. Yeah. Because there's some show we're trying to watch. Oh, I mean, that's what it always is. It's like the one show, right? It's how they get you. And that's how they get you. I don't have Hulu.

Jason (14:53):

Sound like our parents saying things like that too. That's how they get you.

Jordan (14:57):

Seriously. We talk about all these generations, I'm pretty sure, we’re just boomers in our late thirties. I don't like 5, 5, 6 as far as TV. And then of course there's Spotify and the music-related things, audio books.

Jason (15:17):

I wonder -

Jordan (15:19):

7? 8?

Jason (15:19):

Yeah. Yeah, I’d say probably about the same. Yeah, because Netflix was the first one just ever, right? Yeah. Cloud streaming, right? It was their vision. Yes. Then you had Hulu, and then you had all these other ones start popping up and it's like, good Lord, when is this going to end?

Jordan (15:34):

Yeah, Netflix got me recently. Yeah. They're like, they're onto me. They're like, you're not a part of the household that pays for -

Jason (15:41):

Oh that's a thing. They started cracking down on that.

Jordan (15:43):

Oh, they cracked. Yeah, they cracked. And I'm down. It's not good, man. Yeah. Ironically, my brother's password -

Jason (15:51):

They're trying to make money, man.

Jordan (15:52):

His password is get your own account. And ironically, now, I have to get my own.

Jason (15:58):

I mean some engineer at Netflix has got to be laughing their ass off -

Jordan (16:03):

Just like this guy. They're like his brother told his people. So anyway, so I'm down from seven to six now. Thanks Netflix.

Jason (16:13):

Yeah, that's perfect.

Jordan (16:14):


Jason (16:16):

So it makes me think about, I mean, that's kind of like a trend, I suppose, in technology to some degree. You kind of get this proliferation, but I bet you start to get this consolidation, right? So we're still in this expansion phase where it's going out now. Now. Cause everyone's trying to figure out how to monetize it, but it's not working for everyone. No. And they're not all going to make money long enough for it to be a sustainable platform.

Jordan (16:40):

And how many have you signed up for? Just watch one game. How many times have you signed up for Fubo? Like how many email addresses have you used SlingTV, for SlingTV to watch that one game and then canceled it immediately after the game ended? Eh a few there. Yeah. We were in desperate consolidation with streaming services.

Jason (17:03):

I’m going to say it now, prediction. It's going to happen.

Jordan (17:05):

It's going to happen. But more so on the topic that we're on, we need consolidation in the HR space for these poor HR people that do nothing but RFPs all day long to try to find a solution that does one single thing. And then they have to meet with CSM after CSM, quarter after quarter to talk about how the software is being used and the new features and blah, blah, blah. It's got to be exhausting.

Jason (17:30):

Yeah. I mean, the thing that's interesting though is, I mean, I think there's CFOs who are savvy and we like to rag on CFOs.

Jordan (17:39):

Oh, very much so. Yeah.

Jason (17:39):

A lot. Because they often aren't thinking about the human impact of many of their decisions.

Jordan (17:44):

They're cheap, I think is what you're trying to say.

Jason (17:46):

You said it. I said it. I'll say it.

Jordan (17:49):

That’s their job.

Jason (17:50):

Yeah. I mean,

Jordan (17:53):

To an extent,

Jason (17:54):

They're making decisions that -

Jordan (17:56):

Their job really is to make the best use of the dollars that are available. It's pragmatic. It's really a stewardship thing, but often it's right, you default to the lowest common denominator, which is let's just spend less.

Jason (18:08):

Yeah. But I think what's interesting with that is some of these costs don't appear on a P&L or a balance sheet. So when you think about what's the cost of managing all these different programs? Well, that's not something that shows up on a line item on the P&L, right? Yeah. It's just people's time. It's maybe less obvious to a finance team that these things are actually happening even. And so I think strategic HR professionals, and one of the things that was true with the interviews that we did is the folks that came from the operating side of the business prior to going to HR were by far the most astute when it came to understanding, Hey, we have to really look at these things from a pragmatic viewpoint. We're trying to deliver the optimal employee experience, the best employee experience we can, but we have to be really thoughtful about it because the further we can stretch those dollars, the better off we're going to be.

Jordan (19:05):

And for the most part, I'd say a lot of of our age people who work with people, they're people people. They actually care about people. I, well, I won't make that cynical comment that just came to mind, but they, they're people people, they start out that way and some stay that way for their career. And so they look at that 2% of people in the organization that use the student loan repayment benefit that you pay $6 per employee per month for. And they're like, we got to keep it. We got to keep it because that 2%, that it means the world to them. And that's some of why we've been successful with Fringe is coming in going, Hey, we have that and we have about 160 different other things.

Jason (19:46):

Well, the people are going to

Jordan (19:46):

But that thing that you're worried about taking away, you're not taking it away. It's okay. Yeah, they're going to get that too, along with all the other things that we offer. And that's really why we've been successful as a company because we've been able to consolidate, consolidate and aggregate these things into one place when it comes to the employee experience of Fringe Benefits.

Jason (20:07):

One, something that I heard a few times when I was working on the sales side of Fringe and having conversations with people who were considering buying it that I always found a little surprising was there'd sometimes be this sentiment of, we're going to cater to the needs of the most fringe employees. So the people who have the most unique needs that you might imagine, we're going to try and deliver something really great for them.

Jordan (20:37):

And you think the motivation there is coming from a place of true empathy? Or do you think that's coming from a place of I'm trying to get a win and have a good story to tell?

Jason (20:44):

Well, I can be really cynical. So yeah, I tend to think that it's maybe ignorance at times or virtue signaling.

Jordan (20:54):

Okay. Okay. Fair, fair. Yeah.

Jason (20:56):

Or just a lack of thinking through the just business implications or -

Jordan (21:06):

Maybe a squeaky, squeaky wheel mentality.

Jason (21:08):

Yeah. And it doesn't mean that those services are invaluable, but a good example would be companies bring up things like adoption assistance, and you and I, we have people close to us that have adopted children.

Jordan (21:23):

We’re big proponents of adoption. We're huge pro adoption people.

Jason (21:25):

Pro adoption people, definitely. But the number of people inside your company that are going to need an adoption assistance program 2% at most. Yeah. I mean, that's probably high. Yeah. I mean it's minimal. Yeah, minimal. But if you're a large organization that's costing literally tens of thousands of dollars per family.

Jordan (21:47):

Super expensive.

Jason (21:48):

And so one of the things that I think is challenging is you look at it and say, well, would those dollars be deployed more impactfully elsewhere? And that's a hard question to answer. Right.

Jordan (22:01):

Or just more efficiently too. Yeah. Could you not solve that problem outside of a software solution? Correct. Could you not just identify the people that are looking for help with that and just directly help them with that through some other means, some sort of application program or something like that where they could say, Hey, I really need assistance in this way and here's why versus well, let's pay a per employee per month fee for something that less than 2% of people are going to use.

Jason (22:31):

So something that I thought was interesting that came up in this is so despite the fact that many HR professionals feel that there are too many tools, so that was apparent in the research. Obviously, they also said in the survey that there's a need for more tools and budget to support employee wellbeing. So those two things kind of seem at odds. Right? Fascinating. And so I think what it implies is that -

Jordan (22:57):

So they must not feel like they're getting the wellbeing that they're seeking. Well, because there are a ton of pieces of software attempting to help wellbeing, right? So it's not like they don't exist, but clearly the felt need is still there.

Jason (23:14):

So I think that's exactly one of the insights that I would have here, is that the current tools available are insufficient to meet the needs of the job at hand. Interesting. So if they're trying to deliver on this employee experience, it seems apparent that those tools at their disposal aren't sufficient to meet the needs. And potentially the investment in those programs is also insufficient. So maybe there's an investment taking place, but is it a meaningful enough investment? And so when I think about the tools, one of the things that comes to mind would be maybe even rewards and recognition type programs. So rewards and recognition programs have been around for probably 15 years. You talk to most companies and say, Hey, do you think you should have a rewards and recognition program? Everyone's probably going to say, oh yeah, we should totally have one. Don't got to have it. But if you look at all of the trends around employee wellbeing, employee engagement, employee loyalty, literally every single one of those metrics has declined over the last 20 years. And so we'd have to ask ourselves, well, are the current solutions for rewards and recognition working as promised? And I think we'd have to say probably not. Right? So the tools as they were created are maybe turning out to be insufficient to actually meet the demands of what the HR role is today.

Jordan (24:43):

What do you think is behind that? I feel like that'd be a good way to talk through the last few minutes of our episode. What do you think is behind the fact that, as we talked about in the last episode, we do agree that there is a merit-based reward system that is useful for human beings to kind of self-actualize, to produce dignity in their lives, and a feeling of kind of self-worth and so forth. So we're not anti rewards and recognition, and yet you've got that in place. You've got a lot of things in place for the last 15 years, yet all of these sentiment metrics, as you mentioned, are just declining and declining. So what's broken?

Jason (25:26):

I think part of it is a lack of vision -

Jordan (25:31):

On the part of -

Jason (25:33):

The company. Companies mean when you think about company executives, so I mean, this isn't a knock on you or us necessarily, but just say it. We're not HR professionals. We're not like, that's true. We didn't come up in the profession in a sense that -

Jordan (25:53):

We’re more HR fan boys. I feel like that's kind of what we are.

Jason (25:56):

Yeah, I think that's fair. And so we have a point of view on the human experience and what we think the employee experience should be, but it's not rooted in years or decades of experience. It's just what we believe about things. And so I think you have a lot of executives that are responsible for making budget decisions and how these investments are made that simply don't have experience on the people side of the business. That's true. And they lack vision as a result. And then I think you have HR professionals that similarly maybe don't have that experience or don't have that vision. What they have is what they were told a company needs. So what's very common in the industry is benchmarking, we like to say, is just keeping up with the Joneses. And so there's not a lot of companies that I think are out there asking themselves, what is the best employee experience we can design for the people that work at this company?


They're just looking around saying, Hey, are our benefits better than that company over there or that company over there? And what happens then is because they're not aiming for some kind of particular vision, they're saying, oh, everyone seems to have this rewards and recognition platform. I guess we ought to have it too. And so they're just kind of throwing stuff against the wall, see what sticks, and sometimes it sticks, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes they don't get the results they want and they don't really know why. And I think it's really because they don't know what they're aiming for when it comes to that optimal employee experience.

Jordan (27:35):

Think that's really well put. I think it is vision. I think it's thinking for oneself. I think it's some of the things we talk about with anthropology and understanding the meta-narrative of the human race and where we came from and where we're going and what people need and human flourishing and some of these things, they're just totally pushed aside for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses for the sake of is really the best argument that we can make as HR professionals to our executive leadership. Well, they're doing it. That's a child's argument. Well, my buddy got ice cream. Can I have ice cream?

Jason (28:11):

Well, and they knock on executives though, is they believe that story of like, oh, well, if we're going to compete with this company over here, we got to do what they're doing. We just got to do what they're doing a little bit better, right?

Jordan (28:20):

Well, yeah. Sometimes it's literally just parity. The goal is parity, and that's frustrating. Are we not trying to improve? I mean, we're sitting here as entrepreneurs that are obsessed with improving things and making things better and innovating it. I get that there's a kind of personality difference there, but it is maddening to think that we're just going to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result for how many decades are we planning to do this?

Jason (28:49):

Yeah. I think what's interesting though, and this is something that I think you and I have talked about a bunch on this podcast, the idea of human flourishing. And I think at the root of the notion of human flourishing is that there are core human needs that are, let's just say universal, right? Everyone needs these things to live a satisfying and fulfilling and whole life that feels purposeful. And so when I was interviewing these HR professionals and people leaders, really, yeah, I think it's probably selling 'em short to call 'em HR professionals. I mean, they're people running the people strategy at their organizations. I mean, these are great people.

Jordan (29:30):

That's a good point. Yeah. I think you're right though to call out that these aren't just HR professionals. These are the people that are the people people. They're thinking about the employee experience. They're thinking about what it's like to work at this company and what culture they're going to maintain. And I think we've beat this dead horse a few times, but it's frustrating to think that they're not, that they are under resourced and they're not getting what they need to produce the type of experience that people need. One last one thing, if you will, from insight from the data and from your interviews, what is, just to set up the next episode and so forth, what is one thing that you want to talk about in terms of just one of the interviews that you had that you were taken with that really you felt empathy for this person that really just felt like, man, they are, they're the classic HR person struggling, underresourced, not able to break through the mold and give their people what they want. Was there one interview that jumped out at you that you learned a lot from, even though you came in with a pretty well formed perspective?

Jason (30:42):

I think it was maybe more one or two that I was surprised at. Maybe how far behind the mean company, the average company, is. Huh. So I think we live in a space where we're probably in the top quartile.

Jordan (31:06):

Yeah, we're living on the margins.

Jason (31:07):

The way we're thinking about employee experience. And that's not to pat ourselves on the back.

Jordan (31:11):

It's true, most likely as well. And so still on the margins, still waiting for the mainstream to catch up.

Jason (31:17):

That was kind of the other thing too, is a lot of the people leaders I'm used to interacting with, the communities that we're a part of as we've been building Fringe, are largely companies that are in that environment of, they have some vision for the people experience. And so you start to just see the world through that lens. And as I stepped out of it, we really intentionally went and talked to leaders at different kinds of organizations. Some from those progressive ones, but also some from more traditional organizations. And I think what part of the reason we arrived at this inside of companies get it or they don't, is there's great people leaders working at some of these average companies. And the average company is not a place that has vision yet for what that positive employee experience looks like. And so I think the challenge is they lack that vision. It's a hard place for an HR person to work. The opportunity is that's the job, right? Yeah. That's the opportunity, is to be the person that cast that vision, maybe plant that seed, obviously, you know, have a career to consider. You don't want to beat your head against the wall for too long, but maybe a little bit


In order to help. Somebody said it and it stuck with me as the HR person is the culture vigilante. And I was like, yeah, that's good. But kind of their point was they're the sort of only line of defense between the executives making bad decisions and what the people actually need.

Jordan (32:58):

That's so sad that there needs to be a line of defense. There shouldn't need to be a line of defense. Parting shot here. And I don't mean it as a shot, as an encouragement and inspiration. Hopefully to executives that are listening, you might only get one chance at this. You might only get one chance to lead an organization. Do you really think that the bottom line and selling this company for the most money you possibly could get for it? That's the meaning. That's the purpose of your life. Do you really believe that? You've got an opportunity to lead? I don't know. I get to lead about what, 55 people right now? Some people get to lead 55,000 and up from there and all sorts of in between. It's an opportunity to impact people in a way, an outsized impact that most people never get an opportunity. Never get an opportunity to create an environment, to create a culture, to create a place where people can thrive. That people will remember that their tell children and their grandchildren about how great it was to work at this organization because we believe in this. And our mission was that. And our values were these, right?


You're shaping families. Yeah. You're shaping the future. You're shaping the country, maybe multiple countries depending on what organization you lead. Get your head out of your butt and understand that this whole thing is about people. And yeah, it's about money too. We need to make money. Of course. We need to make money so we can pay these people. We need to make money because that's our job. And we got investors to report to. I got investors to report to too. But I just wanted to take a second to just speak to those executives and say, this might be your one shot of doing something great in life. And if the only thing you can say at the end of your life is that, well, the investors were expecting a hundred million out dollar outcome and I got them 150. Yeah, nobody's going to celebrate that at your funeral.

Jason (34:49):


Jordan (34:49):

Not a single person is going to give a damn about that extra 50 million. Yeah. This thing's about people.

Jason (34:56):

Wake up. Maybe the one thing I'd add onto that is to people who are people leaders and managers not within HR, that can be advocates with HR team. Because I think if you have a team and you have people that you supervise, you have a voice in this as well. And you can advocate alongside of the HR team for the importance of what they're doing and kind of be a voice. And oftentimes, executive teams listen to the business people more than they listen to the HR people, unfortunately. But it's a place that I think

Jordan (35:29):

True, true.

Jason (35:29):

People who are listening that have that kind of responsibility in their organization can help carry that mantle alongside of HR professionals.

Jordan (35:36):

Of HR professionals. All right. Well, we've all right. We did it. We got our message out there today vehemently. Thank you all so much for listening. Jason, give us the word of the day and then we're out. Word of the day. Assuage. Assuage. Great. I'm all over that one. Thank you so much for listening to How People Work. Thank you for allowing us to emote today with you and for you. And again, if you're listening and there's something you would love us to cover, reach out to us on. Probably LinkedIn is probably the best way to do that. And let us know just what you'd love to hear about, or if there's a special guest you'd love for us to bring on the episode. We do plan to do that in the near future. Have a good one.

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