S03 E06: Importance of Flexibility and Autonomy in Curbing Attrition Amidst the Great Resignation Drive

In the sixth episode of this season of Culture Club, we have with us Barbie Winterbottom, CEO of the Business of HR, who discusses the importance of flexibility and autonomy in curbing attrition amidst The Great Resignation drive.

About Barbie –

Barbie Winterbottom is also an author, Culture coach, Keynote speaker and an up and coming HR influencer.

Her experience over the past 25+ years has earned her the  reputation as the Culture Whisperer’, in the business circles.

Barbie is also a DEI and company culture champion who has worked with well recognized global brands like Amazon, Starbucks Coffee, Wipro, Microsoft and Glassdoor to name a few.

She is also an alumni of Florida state university and also an official member of Forbes HR council.

Here’s a gist of what Barbie speaks about in this video:

  • The importance of asking direct questions and creating safe spaces for people to respond because it creates a layer of safety where people feel as though they can be more open and genuine with their feedback. Followed by taking actions on the insights.
  • Using third party applications and tech to garner honest and anonymous feedback from employees. Thus sending across a message that their organization values transparent feedback and works on addressing them seriously. Employees must know that it’s okay to share the good, the bad, and the ugly without any repercussions.
  • How merely having policies is not enough. People leaders need to constantly check on if they have created a safe space and a sense of belonging to actually enforce those policies effectively.
  • Training managers and people leaders to listen to their teams better and empowering them with the ability to give real time solutions instead of sending them to the HR department. Barbie believes that as long as company culture is treated as an “HR policy” it is definitely going to fail.

Catch all this and more with Shelley Smith in Episode 6 of Season 3 of CultureClub X.

Transcript –

Nicole – Hello everyone and welcome to the latest episode of CultureClub powered by CultureMonkey. I’m your host, Nicole Patrick. CultureMonkey is a complete employee engagement platform that helps people leaders measure and improve workplace culture.

This episode of this season of Culture Club we have with us Barbie Winterbottom, CEO of The Business of HR. She is an author, culture coach, keynote speaker, and an upcoming HR influencer.

Her experience over the past 25 years has earned her the reputation as the Culture Whisperer in business circles. Barbie is also a DEI and company culture champion who has worked with well recognized, global brands like Amazon, Starbucks coffee, Wipro,

Microsoft, and Glassdoor to name a few. She’s an alumni of Florida State University and is also an official member of Forbes HR Council.

Barbie, welcome again to CultureClub’s videocast on the great resignation and retention challenge, impact and way forward. Before we begin today, please tell us a little bit more about yourself and your organization.

Barbie – Yeah, thank you. What an amazing introduction. I’m like, who is she talking about? Oh, that would be me. So thank you for that. I love it. So, yes, as you mentioned, I’m the CEO and founder of The Business of HR.

So I have a long career. It makes me feel really old in the people space. And throughout my career, there were a few things that were recurring themes, one of which was that

The folks within the HR community were constantly clamoring for a seat at the table and constantly trying to have our voices heard.

And I started to recognize the gaps that existed then and exist now between the HR community and the business community. And it occurred to me when I had taken over an underperforming team and I started asking them questions about what were the EBITDA goals of the organization, what were your shareholder values, who are your top five customers, who are your top five competitors, and just business based questions.

Barbie – And no one on the HR team could answer any of those questions. And so when I launched my business, I thought back about that particular experience and it just instantaneously clicked to me to name my business The Business of HR because I have a passion for helping transform those who work in human resources to become business leaders who work in the people space because we have to understand the language of our businesses, speak that language, and connect the dots between our business goals and desired outcomes and the people who actually do the work that create those outcomes.

And it’s fundamentally a huge part of our role. And baked in there is the output of culture.

Culture, in my opinion, is the manifestation of every connection, every conversation, every email, every meeting we have, every time we talk or connect with another human

Within that work community, we are a reflection of that culture because the culture is what helps us understand our boundaries, our values, our expectations of how we treat one another and how we execute the work we do.

So that’s kind of a high level, but a broader overview of my approach and my organization.

Nicole – I love that. That’s so cool. And we’re so excited to have you here today. I can already tell we’re going to really gain a lot from your insight. Awesome. Yeah. So let’s get into it.

Some people leaders feel that organizations were caught off guard by The Great Resignation. Were the signs of this drive ignored before the pandemic struck? What could be the factors that drove this paradigm shift in employee expectations?

Barbie – Yeah, I do think that some organizations were caught off guard mainly because perhaps they weren’t paying attention. I believe there were lots of signs we’ve seen kind of a groundswell of change happening between the employer and employee relationship.

And employees are more and more self empowered to define what work looks like for them

and to not remain within an organization where they don’t feel seen, heard, valued, and understood. I think those are four primary elements of how we create belonging.

Barbie – And when you’re in an organization and you don’t feel like you belong there, you don’t feel like your contributions are valued, there are inequities and there’s no growth path. Why would you stay pre-pandemic?

Unfortunately, in many cases, employers have the upper hand. We’ll use that phrase loosely, right? Employers felt like they should be honored to work here. And if they’re not willing to fill out a 20 page application and spend 30 minutes applying for the job, then I don’t want them. Like, there’s all these misperceptions around this relationship and the way in which we treat each other.

I think Amazon while I worked there has taught me so much. But also as a consumer, Amazon has also taught me so much. And one of the things I think Amazon has done for the world, it’s really helped us understand what a seamless consumer experience looks like and employees want and deserve.

And now expect a consumer-like experience. So when we boil that down and what does that look like? Because we can use all these terms and phrases, but if we don’t really help to operationalize it, and what does it look like in an organization, then it’s just talk to here, it becomes echo chambers, and that’s not helpful for anyone.

Barbie – So when I’m coaching an HR team about how do we look at this? If you think about the phone that everybody has, right? We all have these phones probably within arm reach at any given time. What do we do on that phone? We bank, we shop. We order groceries. We talk to family. We talk to friends. We check everything.

Everything we do is managed through that phone. And yet when we onboard employees, we have them fill out literal paperwork to turn over to someone else who then sits and does data entry. Why are we doing that? Why are we not allowing employees to enter their own data in the system?

Because we feel as though, what if they get it wrong? What if they make a mistake?Well, what if they do? What if they make a mistake and they don’t pay their mortgage?

Does the mortgage company come to their house and help them write the check? No. So we have to stop infantilizing employees and creating that consumer intuitive experience from end to end, because that’s how I think we establish ourselves as a leader from an employment perspective.

Barbie – And that’s, I think, what’s been missing in the employee experience. And so employers who were caught off guard didn’t have this on their radar before. I think they do now. And if we remember early in the pandemic when organizations were furloughing and laying off and terminating employees at mass levels, that also, I think in many ways fueled the fire of employers not paying attention because they thought all these people have lost their jobs, they’re going to be hounding to come back to work.

We’re going to be in an even better position to get the great talent we want because so many people have lost their jobs. But the exact opposite happened. Right? And I think that’s where we have to pay attention in those several months, ten to twelve months when we were all at home and figuring our lives out, we recognize what we will and will not tolerate going forward.

So that’s a long answer for that question, but I do believe, yes, some people were caught off guard. If they’re not paying attention now, there’s never going to be a bigger sign for them than we’ve just experienced over the past year and a half to two years.

Nicole – It’s on them at this point, if they’re not paying attention, that makes total sense to me. I think I haven’t thought about it in that way, that the employers did think that they were going to be able to get better employees, and that just isn’t what happened.

People want employees to be empowered, just like you said, they want to be able to do things on their own, to onboard themselves on their own, to have that power for themselves. And that’s the only way that you’re going to have a great company culture with everyone feeling like they’re part of things.

If you feel like a child when you’re working at a company, you’re not going to have the same investment as you will if you’re empowered and you think we’re all in this together, we’re all doing this together.

My employers are listening to me. So I think that’s really interesting. It makes such a big difference, right. The way I look at the role of people who work in human resources or on the people team, is it’s our job to create the processes, the tools, and the infrastructure that allows our people to have that consumer-like experience and to thrive in their roles.

Barbie – We’ve got to step away from being the HR policy police and from creating rigid constructs, because what happened, what’s happened over the past hundreds of years, really, but in the past 20 or 30 years that I’ve been in the working world we’ve seen a shift.

But unfortunately, a lot of folks are really slow to change in this space. But HR has always been looked at as compliance, regulatory managers, this and that. And what is created from an employee perspective is that we’re the bad guys, right?

Barbie – You go to HR when you’re in trouble, you go to HR when you’re being fired. HR is the bad guy. And we have to remove ourselves from that space because we are not here to impose punitive, judgment and discipline. Our job is to create that thriving infrastructure and to empower our people leaders to lead. And to do that, we have to stop with this rigid policy, because if all we’re doing is creating a checklist for a manager to say, well, HR told me that, did you do this?

Okay, if you do this, then this, if you do this, then this. All that’s doing is creating the perfect scenario for that manager or that leader to say, oh, well, it’s not my decision.

Nicole – That’s HR’s policy. If you don’t like it, go to HR. We have to empower that leader to say, let’s  talk about what you’re looking for. Let’s talk about X, Y and Z and manage it through that relationship.

And if all else fails or they don’t know how to have that conversation, then we’re there to coach that leader. But let’s not be the scapegoat of rigid policy, which basically takes all ownership of leading away from that people’s leader.

So that’s another big change I think we’re seeing totally. Do you think The Great Resignation is the lynchpin that will lead companies to adopt a more employee centric model?What tips would you give to HR leaders to attain this goal?

Barbie – I think for organizations that are paying attention, yes. I’m sad to say there are organizations out there that still refuse to accept the reality in my role today, since for consulting, I work with lots of different organizations, and I still work with organizations that don’t believe that inequity or privilege exists.

And so when you think about whether this will influence that organization or not, or those organizations that haven’t adopted a new framework, I’m not sure what will happen there because we’re seeing talent leaving in mass. And if organizations aren’t aware of their employee cycle, that’s another big indicator, right?

So we always know that right after bonuses are paid, we see an uptick in resignation. People wait until that bonus cycle is paid out, then they move on. But we’re seeing it 40, 50, 60% higher than we’ve seen it in the past because they’re waiting for that financial element to be in their account. Right?

Barbie – Whatever that bonus payout is. But they’ve been planning their exit for a while. It didn’t just happen overnight. And I think for the organizations that are not paying attention, they’re seeing this happen, and they’re really having that internal struggle of do we embrace this new way of going forward, or do we dig in eventually?

I think the belief is that eventually the pendulum will swing back, as it often does, right to the other side, and they’ll be in their sweet spot again, where they have control.

I’m not so sure that’s going to happen this time. I do believe the pendulum will swing back and we’ll find a new steady state.

But will it go back to what it was pre-pandemic? No, because people won’t have it. People have learned what we’ve learned as individuals is that we can survive. And I think that’s the key that employers need to pay attention to.

All these people who were furloughed or terminated or laid off during the Pandemic. They had to survive. So what did they do? They picked up gig work, delivering groceries, delivering food, delivering whatever they needed to do.

Barbie – They found a way to pay their bills. Yes, they certainly had assistance and benefits from the government, but even outside of that, they found ways to make it work. I lost my job at the beginning of the Pandemic. My position was eliminated. The organization I worked for was hit really hard, and they had to make tough decisions.

So I didn’t have a Plan-B at that time. So what did I do? I opened my consulting firm, which was something on my radar to do three to five years from now. But that was fast forward.

Fast forwarded until two years ago. So I think we have to recognize that employees figured out a way to survive, and now they’re empowered to know they don’t have to tolerate the things they tolerate, prepondermic, and they’re not going to people who would rather have flexibility, have ownership, be able to work either from home or hybrid or what have you, then go into a situation where it’s rigid and they have no ownership or flexibility.

We’re adults. We want to feel like we have ownership over our lives and employers have to embrace that.

Nicole – Exactly. I totally agree with that. And I think it really a lot of it goes back to giving employees the feeling that they wanted to be there and that they have power and that we are important parts of this larger company. And company culture is a huge part of that.

What roles do you think lack of employee wellness initiatives, flexibility and autonomy play in employee attrition?

Barbie – How can managers combat the great resignation by addressing these we have to pay attention to mental health more so than ever before. It’s always been there, right?

People have always had their struggles, their challenges. It was never okay to talk about it, and it is more than okay to talk about it. So one thing organizations need to do is make sure that their people leaders have some training on how to have those conversations.

If an employee approaches you and says, you know, I’m just not feeling healthy or I’m feeling overwhelmed, or I feel sad, I don’t know what’s going on with me. They need to have language to address those conversations.

Barbie – I’m not saying that they need to be a therapist. They are not that unless they actually are, but that’s a small subset of total employees. But I think we have to help our leaders because we’re afraid of those conversations because we don’t want to say the wrong thing. And if we look back pre-pandemic and a lot of those conversations were considered taboo and we didn’t engage.

If somebody is that, send them to HR. We don’t need to send them to HR, be a human, reach out, have that conversation, but also pay attention to the people who aren’t speaking up, because that’s as if not more important, the folks who are speaking up at least have the awareness that they need help.

But it’s the folks who don’t that I worry about the most. So I think the first and foremost is to make sure that people leaders have training around some of these more sensitive issues and everything we’ve gone through over the past two years. And what burnout really looks like there’s a great book by Sisters Emily and Amelia Nagoski called Burnout.

Barbie – Every people leader should have this book because it really helps us to understand the emotional response and the physiological responses our bodies have to stress and to burnout and what that looks like and what it might look like in the workplace and then what we can do to address that.

So that would be one thing. The other thing, and I think this is just as important and critical from a culture perspective, is for leaders to embody the values that our Corporation says we believe. And that is so important if we have as part of our company values that we act with integrity or that we are kind in our communication or that we are creative and innovative and we’re always learning.

Barbie – And yet when we go to a people leader and we try to engage in a conversation and they shut us down or they don’t support us learning something new or they’re in direct conflict with what those values are, that’s going to erode that employee experience and your culture more than anything else that happens, because now we’re out of integrity.

And as a company, if we don’t address that, that employee is left to believe that that’s okay.

And if they don’t have to do it, I guess I’m not expected to do it either.

So then the further away we move from those core values and those core belief systems, the less and less of that culture we’re going to see manifested throughout.

And what will start to manifest is likely a very degraded version of what we believe is happening. And so to me, it’s multiple things. There’s not one size fits all. I do believe the future is going to be about individualization and critical thinking.

Looking at what that person needs and how can we accommodate it to the best of our ability? It doesn’t mean it’s going to be free for all, because we can’t make everything happen for every person. An organization isn’t your therapist, they’re not your banker, they’re not your child care provider.

Barbie – There are boundaries there. But we can do our best to create the best individual experience possible. And I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because as I’m growing my organization and I’m really focusing my marketing messages and that type of thing, I’m working with an organization and they’re like, well, what do you want your company to be and what do you want to call it? And all of these things and so much of it is all about that people experience peace is what all of this boils down to. Right?

We used the word culture, which is fine, but it’s really about how we experience that culture that matters. And everyone is going to experience that culture through their lens, through their eyes, and what happens to them throughout the day. So we have to then layer in that individualization element in as many ways as we can to bring those two things together.

Barbie – That makes total sense. And it’s a really cool way to look at it. It’s kind of like everything in our lives nowadays is geared just towards us. When you go on your phone, it’s geared just towards you. The data is aggregated to be specifically for you. And so it makes sense that now this would need to be traveling into companies and the business places to keep up with the rest of our world and the rest of our lives to not feel outdated.

And the one piece of your life that’s not really fitting into the rest of the puzzle is the workplace. So I think it makes total sense. Good. Yay. If it didn’t, I’d have bigger problems to combat attrition.

Nicole – The great resignation has forced organizations to take a hard look at their employee relationships and culture practices. What can organizations do to truly improve the employee experience and retain top talent?

Barbie – I think we have to listen. We have to listen in ways that perhaps we didn’t listen before. So first we have to ask questions. But I also think if you’ve ever done, like, listening sessions or culture walks throughout an organization, those are incredibly valuable and you get great information there.

But we also have to listen to things that people aren’t necessarily saying. And what I mean by that is paying attention to their actions, paying attention to who’s working with whom.

What does that organizational flow look like? What are the handoffs within our company?

How do we treat one another?

Those are the biggest indicators of what is and isn’t working and how we can move things forward and make the improvements we need, because I believe that surveys have their place.

Barbie – But if you’re doing an annual survey, you’re likely not going to get much lift from that, because by the time you pull the data together, you aggregate it, you audit it, you put plans in place, it’s outdated, right. It’s no longer relevant. So I am a huge advocate for doing much more frequent kind of pulse checks, whether it’s a daily response and it can be.

How are you feeling today? Are you excited to walk through the doors? Did you wake up with dread, like help give people language so that they know how to respond, but then also pay attention to what they’re doing while they’re there at work.

And that is huge. And we don’t do enough of that because I get it right. We’re running a business, and ultimately it boils down to financial elements.

Barbie – It has to. That’s the one black and white measure we can always count on to say, are we winning or losing?

So I understand that we have to do that. But just equally as important is paying that same amount of attention to our people and what’s actually happening. One of my favorite things that I used to be able to do with one organization I worked with is I was able to sit in one of the leaders’ offices, and it had a glass wall, and I could look out over the entire production floor. And I used to love to sit there and I’d sit there for my lunch breaks sometimes, or I would just go and sit while I needed to think about something.

And you can watch people’s walk paths, how they interact, who’s talking with whom. And that gives you such insight. Like, in the past 30 minutes, five people have gone over to that employee for questions. We need to find out what that person is doing. Like, what do they know? What are they doing? Why are people gravitating over there that they clearly

are doing something right and have created a safe space for people to come and ask them questions. How is that working?

Barbie – And yet the supervisor is sitting over there at their desk and no one is going over what’s going on. So paying attention in ways that we didn’t pay attention to before, I think is crucial.

Asking direct questions and creating safe spaces for people to respond is also crucial, which can be sticky. I get that. And I think that’s where organizations are bringing in folks

like me and third parties because it creates that layer of safety where people feel as though they can be more open and genuine with their feedback.

But then that’s not enough. The organization has to then action it and allow people to understand that it’s okay to be transparent. It’s okay to tell us the good, the bad, and the ugly because that’s how we know what we need to fix.

Barbie – And sometimes it’s little things. I used this example the other day with a team, but something as simple as moving a time clock to a more convenient space can be huge.

This particular situation, employees had 30 minutes for their lunch break. The time clock was installed in some back corner, so they had to leave their workstation, walk over there, clock out, and then walk all the way over to the break room. So a good eight minutes of their break was eaten up by just walking to and from the time clock.

Barbie – Well, that’s not an employee friendly experience. All we had to do is move the time clock right outside of the break room. That is a huge lift that lets people know you’re paying attention, you’re listening, and that you care enough that they have that 30 minutes of protected downtime.

So sometimes we make it out to be so much more than it has to be when it can be little changes like that that show people that you’re paying attention and you care about their wellbeing, throughout the day. That’s where tools like CultureMonkey come in, because you’re able to easily, even if you’re very busy, use tech to keep the pulse of your employees and see okay, today it seems like in this week, a lot of people have been speaking about this or in the past two months.

Barbie – I see this, and it comes up every single day. And maybe if a manager wouldn’t normally have that time to interview every single employee working under them, this makes it a lot easier for them to be able to constantly check the pulse and ultimately have a happier work experience and be able to scale your company better because people will want to stay on.

Barbie – You won’t constantly be dealing with employee retention problems. And it’s an exciting time that we can use these technologies. Now, you didn’t really have this 15-10 years ago, so it’s the right time to take advantage of it. It is. And where you can really get granular with a tool like that. And I love it because, say you have a town hall meeting today, check the pulse of your people tomorrow morning.

Were they lifted up by that town hall meeting or were they pushed down? Right? So you’re able to really hone in on very specific responses based on something that happened and really look at it.

I’m a huge fan of daily pulse checks myself because it really does give you the ability to repeatedly ask the same type of question over and over and over again and see how your responses are trending.

But also see how people are feeling in real time at the moment. And that is absolutely crucial.

Nicole – Exactly. To combat attrition, leaders need to constantly listen to their employees and take action on feedback. In large organizations, however, it becomes extremely difficult to keep track of your employees pulse, how can people leaders leverage technology to help them with the retention process?

And how do you think it can help in scaling your organization? Yeah, large organizations can have challenges with gathering information, but if we break it down, we know.

Barbie – History tells us, data tells us that people are tied to their leader. And within an organization, you can have subcultures that exist throughout different departments. It’s going to have a subculture very different from marketing as an example, versus human resources versus sales as an example.

So I think if we start looking at these kinds of micro groups and these subcultures is where we’re really going to get the meat of the data we need.

Because when you have hundreds of thousands of employees dispersed across the globe, it is impossible to gather real time feedback from every single person who works there every single day.

Barbie – People take time off, they’re on vacation, they’re all sick. So you’re never going to get 100% of every employee each and every day. But that leader can stay in touch with their people much more succinctly and genuinely if they work on building that relationship, because that person’s view of their work experience is based on that particular reader.

And we see it over and over again when someone moves internally from one team to the next and they’re like, what just happened? Because they went from a team they knew well, and now they’re in this new team and the dynamics are different, the expectations are different, the leader is different.

Maybe they’re used to having weekly or biweekly one on one with their leader, and this new leader doesn’t meet with their team except for once a quarter.

That’s a big shift. So I believe that fundamentally it’s that particular people leader staying in touch with their teams and any technology.

Like I said, full surveys are hugely important in that. But also then how do we use the data and be able to have really good analytics on that data and dive into it and not just look at the superficial pieces?

Because we tend to do that. We look at the very first thing that jumps out at us. But when you start to drill down and you start to see those subcultures in those different areas,

That’s where we really have the ability to start tweaking the employee experience based on what is happening in their lives, not our assumptions of what’s happening, but what they’re telling us is happening.

So that’s where I think technology can really help inform the way in which we create our strategy for growth. So why are people attracted to our organization?

That’s one. Then why are they staying? That’s two. Why are they leaving is three, right?

So all of those data points are incredibly important when we’re looking at scale and strategy and long term retention. I think a lot of organizations miss the connection between exit and attraction. And I always want to look at your exit and your termination data. What’s your attrition story telling us?

Because we have to understand that if we’re going to build the right attraction strategy, because we might be attracting people based on all the wrong things and telling them a story that no longer exists here, we often get stuck on tapes from five years ago, like when you started, this was your experience. And so that’s the story you continue to lean into when you’re attracting new talent. But that may not be the reality of what it is today.

So we have to make sure we’re always staying in touch with that exit and that stay interviewed data so that we can build that attraction strategy. When you look at growth, all of those data points matter. And if we’re not using data to inform those decisions, we’re really missing.

Nicole – That’s a great insight. Does lack of DEI & B efforts in an organization lead to employee attrition? As a culture specialist, what do you think HR leaders can do to retain their top talent by focusing on improving their DEI & B efforts?

Barbie – Yeah, this is a big one. And I spend a lot of my time talking about this. We often focus D & I from a culture perspective, okay. And then we focused on attraction. We want to make sure we’re attracting diverse pipelines that we’re touching HBCUs from a recruiting perspective, all of those things are absolutely phenomenal.

We need to keep doing them. But what we don’t think about is what happens after we hire that person and what is their experience. So I use this analogy and I didn’t make this up.

I heard this from someone years ago and I wish I remembered where because I would give them credit.

Barbie – So if you’re listening or watching and you came up with this, please let me know. Imagine if you are going to have an employee celebration like you had a business goal and you met the goal. And the reward for that was that you’re going to have an ice cream party for your team.

And we wanted to make sure that we have all the best ice cream and the most diverse flavors out there. So we found the best ice cream provider. They guarantee that we’re going to have a choice of twelve different flavors made with the best ingredients, top of the line, individual servings, blah, blah, blah, like everything you can imagine.

And we spend time organizing the space, making sure we market it so all the employees know to come down at 02:00 for the ice cream social.

It’s going to be in the break room. We’ve ordered this. The vendor comes in to be proactive.

Barbie – We have the vendor deliver the ice cream at 11 so that we can get everything set up by 02:00 when the party happens, great. Everybody comes down, it’s 02:00, they go to get their ice cream and it’s melted.

Do we blame the ice cream or do we stop and think wow. We didn’t have a container for that ice cream so that it could thrive. It could be in its best form. It could do what it’s meant to do.

So we have to think about that example. Right? And associate that with employees. We’re going out there creating these amazing attraction strategies and partnering with universities, partnering with GED programs.

If we’re looking to bring people in who may not have gone down the College route or whatever the situation might be, and yet we get them, we hire them. But we haven’t created a safe space for them within our organization. So it’s the only black person, it’s the only person of Asian descent. It’s the only person who has a neurodiverse learning style.

Barbie – It’s the only this, it’s the only that. So they don’t feel safe and they don’t stay because they were brought in based on one perspective. But the reality was very different. So when we think about how do we create safety, I think this is another area where our people teams have to understand that creating that psychological safety and those safe spaces, sometimes it even is physical safety.

It’s not HR’s job. It is a company initiative. Everyone in the organization needs to understand that, and we all have our differences. One of my dearest friends is also an HR consultant, Natasha Bowman. And Natasha and I have talked about this so often.

Natasha has shared with the world that she has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and she has attempted to take her life. Thankfully, she was not successful. And we were talking one day and we said, just between the two of us, look at all the things that make us unique, right?

Barbie – We’re both women. That’s one. If you think about diversity, right? We’re both women. She’s black, I’m white. I’m overweight. She’s not. She says she is, but she’s not. She has bipolar disorder. I have ADD.

I’m gay, she’s straight. Just between the two of us, we could list all of these things that are unique to us, but not any one of them define us. Right?
They’re all dimensions of who we are. We need to recognize that every employee and every person we meet has the same thing. Not any one thing defines one person. And we all have multiple dimensions and multiple aspects that make us who we are.

And we need to be able to bring that into our workplaces and feel comfortable in our workplaces being fully who we are. And it doesn’t mean that we leave with that. Like, Natasha doesn’t walk into a room and say, Hi, my name is Natasha, and I have bipolar disorder and I’m black.

Barbie – I don’t walk into a room and say, Hi, I’m Barbie, I’m over 40, I’m overweight and I’m gay. Nobody does that. But I need to feel as though I can talk about who I am, and it be a safe, welcoming environment for that. And that’s where I think we’ve got to tie these things together for our people in much more assertive ways than we have in the past.

Nicole – Totally. I love that ice cream analogy.

Barbie – Isn’t it great? I wish I knew who came up with it. If you’re out there, let us know.

Barbie – Yes, please.

Nicole – That is so great. But yeah, everyone is different. Everyone wants to feel, in a way, inclusive in their diversity. I don’t know if that’s the right way to put it, but we all have special characteristics and don’t want to have to hide that in the workplace.

We don’t want to shout it out to everyone, but if you feel accepted, you’re going to work better and you’re going to work harder and you’re going to have a better time doing it.

I think the bottom line about everything we’ve discussed today is that these are all initiatives.

These are all things that can be put in place for not only employees to feel better or be happier, but for a business to run smoother and to eventually and hopefully have more growth.

Nicole – It’s a perfect way to end this session. Awesome. Well done. Yeah. Thank you. This has been such an insightful take on the topic. I was looking through one of your mentions on a blog where you said that employers need to be prepared for a robust war for great talent, and what top talent seeks is the flexibility from an employer. And I found that really interesting, and I think it’s relatable to the ongoing drive of great resignation.

And I totally agree to your point.Retention is a problem that is omnipresent amongst the minds of people leaders across the globe. And with the rapid rate of technology adoption, people leaders can benefit immensely if they adopt tech for enhancing their company culture. And that’s where a tool like CultureMonkey steps in and saves the day.

Nicole – CultureMonkey’s employee engagement platform seamlessly enables HR leaders and line managers to listen to their employees needs, analyze their feedback, and most importantly, act on them.

So log on to www.culturemonkey.io today and see how we can help you improve your company’s culture. With that being said, thank you so much for your time, Barbie.

This has been such an enriching experience for all of us. I’m sure our viewers will agree. And before we end, please let our viewers know how they can connect or reach out to you in case they want to share their thoughts or have a quick chat. Sure.

Barbie – I would love that you can go to my website, which is businessofhr.com. You can also find me on LinkedIn. I’m pretty active there.

I do have a presence on Instagram, although I’m not super active there. But I also have a YouTube channel and I encourage everybody to check out the business of HR YouTube channel.

I have a weekly show myself where I interview people from all over the world who are leaders, whether they’re within the HR space or people leaders or business leaders and on the YouTube channel are all those episodes and people can reach me that way as well.

So there’s multiple mediums out there for sure. Great. I’m sure our viewers will definitely go and check that out. I’m going to check it out for myself.

That’s all we have for you in this episode of CultureClub, powered by CultureMonkey until next time, I’m your host, Nicole signing off.