Lover of HR, recruiting and technology William Tincup of RecruitingDaily joins us in this episode to blow apart the work/life balance myth. He shares his COVID silver linings as well as how companies are helping their employees with all the related current stressors.
He makes the case for flexible work arrangements to allow your people to work when they are most productive and becoming more outcomes focused rather than being set on how the work gets done. William also chats through how his life experiences have forced him to slow down and realize that optimism is a choice.
Here’s how the conversation went… This interview has been edited and condensed.
William Tincup: There are some silver linings with COVID-19 as it has sped up things like video interviewing, candidates adopting video and it’s sped up empathy. We start off calls now with questions like, how are you doing? How’s everything going? How’s your family? How are your kids? And we end calls with wash your hands, wear a mask, stay safe. I like that. I wasn’t like that a year ago. I was very much when I get on business calls, let’s get to the business, what’s the agenda? COVID has helped me slow down and be more empathetic of people’s situation and I hope we don’t lose that post COVID.
Rhonda Taylor: That’s right, there’s a realization that we all have families and additional stresses that we’re dealing with on a regular day, we all can’t be in our happy place all the time.
William Tincup: We’ve talked for a while about bringing your whole self to work and the concept of work-life balance. I think work-life balance was a myth and COVID destroyed it. Once we come out the other side of this, I think it’s more work-life integration. Where we think about, you’re going to have bad days, you’re going to have good days, or have days where you need to take a nap or go to the museum or whatever. There’s going to be times we’re more productive or less productive and that’s okay.
Whereas before we tried to wall it off and I think COVID is blowing all that up and shown that for kind of the fraud that it was. You’re going to do work when you feel like you can be productive and for your wellbeing, you’re going to take time off and do things to make yourself not get burnout. It’s situational and so they’re not as rigid. I think that’s going to be a really interesting flexibility that comes to bear with employers and employees. It’s more flexibility and an understanding of outcomes have to be achieved but how do those outcomes need to be achieved?
There’s all kinds of flexible things that we can do. We can look at flexible work arrangements, we can look at remote work, we can look at gig workers, we can look at all these new things and say well, the outcome still gets done. I’m excited about that choice, that flexibility. I’m also excited for how companies, employees, candidates and recruiters start thinking of how that flexibility works.
Rhonda Taylor: I’ve always lived by life is work and work is life, to draw the line between the two of them is impossible. But it’s up to you as an individual to make sure that you have a work-life balance.
William Tincup: Essentially, it’s almost like you being in touch and in tune with your own body or your own mind and understanding to realize I need a break. It could be at nine o’clock in the morning, that’s what we have got to get mentally over. Before we would have this rigid idea of from 8-5 you’ve got to be productive in this time period.
But COVID has sped up the idea that productivity becomes a game of understanding yourself and understanding the way that outcomes/value need to be delivered to the firm and less discussion of how the work gets done. Because of this I think micro managers are probably the biggest victims of COVID, those are the folks that feel like they have to stand on top of you to get the work done, they will be really suffering.
Rhonda Taylor: And they’re the ones that are not having a productive workforce working with them.
William Tincup: Not employees who are happy, productive, happy, engaged and satisfied at work. People have so many stresses, we don’t know right now the full extent of the emotional toll that COVID has placed in our laps, we don’t fully understand how crippling this has been.
But I think on some level if post-COVID you have to have your people in the office so you can stand over them, you’re a bad manager. I think that’s a tell if you feel like you have to stand over somebody to do work, then then you probably don’t know how to manage people.
Rhonda Taylor: Or maybe they don’t have the right employee in the job?
William Tincup: Could be, but a good leader will take that raw clay and train, invest and mentor to get that person to a place or they’ll get them to another place in the firm or letting them go. But a good leader will then try to not micromanage, they’ll try to think about the outcomes. For example, if you’re a Demand Generation Manager and you’ve got to deliver to the firm 20,000 leads a month, that’s what you got to do. How you do that? There’s a lot of different ways, and paths to the outcome. Great managers and leaders will back off of the how, and let people get to it.
Rhonda Taylor: Right now we’re seeing a high amount of stress in the workplace. We don’t know the effect that this will have on our healthcare workers in another six months. That’s a storm waiting to happen. For the employee that’s working remote at home and their stress involved. What are you seeing companies doing for these employees? Or what are some employees doing themselves?
William Tincup: I’m seeing some really remarkable things. I’m seeing companies basically become more flexible and I’ve seen some really fascinating things with people that are doing wellness and wellbeing initiatives where they give their employees access to therapists. It’s not forced or mandatory but we all have access to it. If you want someone to talk to great, take an hour, schedule a call and just talk. It could be nothing to do with work, because again, that home stress is work stress. The two are congealed.
I’ve also seen some fascinating things on onboarding, people are doing a great job of bringing in new employees and setting them up for success. It might be sending them a stand-up desk, a laptop that’s already provisioned and lights because they’re going to be on camera etc. Employers are thinking in advance of how they would have tooled up that employee at the office and also thinking about what they can do to help and provide what they need to set them up for success in their home location.
When I talk to practitioners they’re thinking well outside of the box and it’s really employee centric work. It’s thinking about each person instead of treating everybody the same, which is historically been a problem in HR. Now they’re looking at the employee and saying what do you need to be successful? I like that because it’s looking at the individuals case and recognizing that they’re different, wanting to help them and offering all kinds of different ways to help.
It’s the first time in my career that I’ve seen it. Normally we’d have dropped employees off the deep end of the pool and said, hope you know how to swim, here’s your onboarding for six hours, here’s your notebook, great, get to work. That doesn’t work today and it hasn’t worked through COVID. COVID brought that empathy to HR and talent acquisition that says, you can’t drop them off at the deep end of the pool, morally and ethically you shouldn’t, but thankfully you can’t now.
Rhonda Taylor: When you think of COVID and particularly the hospitality field, it was mainly women that lost their jobs. Women also gave up their jobs and careers because of daycare, taking care of seniors, home-schooling etc. So there have been a lot of women step out of their careers.
William Tincup: It’s disproportionate. It affected and has affected women and lower income and people of color more so. It’s disproportionate, it isn’t equitable. It wasn’t never equitable. But COVID has also highlighted how the inequities were there and amplified it.
Rhonda Taylor: With TalentX we are all about enjoying what you do and being good at what you do and you excel with Recruiting Daily, your brand is phenomenally strong. You’re so positive in everything that you do, what keeps William going putting one step in front of the other every day?
William Tincup: I had three near death experiences over a period of 22 months and prior to that I lived very fast. It was always what’s the next thing? Taking all three of those events and pushing them together, I learned to slow down and to enjoy every moment. I’ve always really been at peace with myself but I’ve grown to become even more at peace just being myself and letting people to either deal with it or not deal with it.
I’m always learning things. My grandfather actually wove into me that you can learn something from every exchange. You can be in an elevator for 20 seconds with a person and you can learn something if you’re aware. I’m always learning and I’m always trying to adapt. But I think the thing about being positive, is it actually came from one of those near-death experiences, I almost got a tattoo on my hand and it was because I kept having this dream that optimism is a choice. You wake up every morning and you choose, you can look outside and it can be cloudy and you can choose and I choose optimism. I didn’t grow up that way, but optimism is a choice.
We hope you enjoy listening to this episode of the TalentX Podcast with William Tincup! Look forward to sharing more learning with you.