Subscribe on Apple Podcasts 

Ep 382: HR’s Impact On Talent Brand

Ep 382 Recruiting Future0

With everything that is going on in the market, it is more important than ever to understand the factors that make people feel positive enough to want to advocate for their employer or feel negative enough to want to leave their job.

My guest this week is Marcus Buckingham, Head of Research, People and Performance at The ADP Research Institute. Marcus is well known in the industry for doing pioneering research work. He has just realised a report with a new model that measures the impact and performance of HR through the lens of employee experience. The results are fascinating and illustrate just how much influence the performance of HR can have on a company’s talent brand.

In the interview, we discuss:

• The current state of the market and the reassessment of work

• The HR XPerience Score

• Measuring the effectiveness of HR through employee experience

• Can HR drive positive employee behaviours?

• What are the levers to create a great experience?

• How HR experience drives talent brand

• How HR can drive attrition

• Characteristics of a high scoring HR function

• Results that run counter to current megatrends

• The importance to humans of being seen at work

• What does the future look like

Listen to this podcast in Apple Podcasts.

Interview transcript:

Avature (0s):
Support for this podcast comes from Avature, the AI-powered total talent platform trusted by 110 of the Fortune 500. From initial candidate engagement through onboarding talent, mobility and performance management, Avature enables organizations to meet their unique needs while delighting and engaging all stakeholders. Just listen to what Niilesh Bhoite, Director of Recruitment at L’Oreal has to say.

“The solutions that we’ve created are so specific to L’Oreal that it just feels like a team sitting outside of L’Oreal and working for us. If you sign up with Avature, it’s for sure signing up with the company with whom you will be really able to design solutions the way you want, and also embark on a journey with where innovation is at the core.”

Visit and discover why global leaders like L’Oreal choose Avature to power their recruiting and talent management strategies.

Matt Alder (1m 15s):
Hi, everyone, this is Matt Alder. Welcome to Episode 382 of the Recruiting Future Podcast. With everything that’s going on in the market at the moment, it’s more important than ever to understand the factors that make people feel positive enough to want to either advocate for their employer or feel negative enough to want to leave their job. My guest this week is Marcus Buckingham, Head of Research, People and Performance at The ADP Research Institute. Marcus is well-known in the industry for doing pioneering research work. He just released a report with a new model that measures the impact and performance of HR through the lens of employee experience.

Matt Alder (2m 0s):
The results are fascinating and illustrate just how much influence the performance of HR can have on a company’s talent brand. Hi, Marcus, and welcome to the podcast.

Marcus Buckingham (2m 13s):
Hey, Matt, how are you?

Matt Alder (2m 14s):
I’m very good. Thank you. And it’s an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. For people who may not have come across your work, could you just introduce yourself and tell everyone what you do?

Marcus Buckingham (2m 24s):
Yeah. I’m a researcher by training by disposition, a psychometrician technically, which means I spend my career figuring out ways to measure things at work that are really important, but that you can’t count. So how do you measure talent? How do you measure strengths, engagement, resilience, all sorts of things? First 17 years of the Gallup organization, where obviously I made StrengthFinder with Don Clifton, who was my mentor there, and then built my own business for quite a few years in the HR tech space, actually in the team lead and team member engagement and coaching space. And then now joined the ADP Research Institute.

Marcus Buckingham (3m 6s):
So I co-head the ADP Research Institute, which is a commitment on the part of ADP to have an independent institute focused on measuring both the broader labor market, which is obviously a fascinating subject right now with so much change happening in the world of work. And then my focus is all on people and performance, so anything and everything to do globally around how people are striving and thriving at work. So that’s my focus right at the moment.

Matt Alder (3m 38s):
We’re gonna talk in a second about a really interesting piece of work that you’ve just released. Before we do that, I just wanna kind of go back to your comment about the labor market. Obviously, I hesitate to use the word unprecedented yet again, but we’re going through quite a unique time at the moment when it comes to all things talent, just give us a quick perspective of what you’re seeing and what you think some, what you think is going on.

Marcus Buckingham (4m 4s):
Yeah, well, my co-head of the Institute is an economist called Nela Richardson, and Nela and I have lots of deep dives into this about what’s going on. And a lot of people are calling this the great resignation. Certainly over here in the US, we have 10 million job openings and 8 million unemployed. So we’ve got a really odd mismatch in terms of opportunities that are there, but also people that seemingly are quitting at unprecedented, to use your time, levels. Her point of view actually is that this isn’t a great resignation that we’ve just had about 18 months of people not leaving. We had quit rates as they’re called. Quit rates in the labor market plummeted precipitously in the last 18 months.

Marcus Buckingham (4m 46s):
So you’ve recently just got a big storing up of normal quitting that didn’t happen. So it isn’t really a great resignation. It’s just a storing up of unresolved quittingness, which is normal, just a normal part of the labor market, but, and we can see that despite the caution around placing too much emphasis on great resignation, we are seeing a reassessment of what it is to work. We are seeing clearly an awful lot of people, whether or not they’re quitting, an awful lot of people do seem to be saying to themselves what is work for in my life and whether it’s coming back to the office or not, whether it’s joining this organization versus that organization.

Marcus Buckingham (5m 33s):
A lot of people, particularly in the hospitality business, are wondering why I’ve been devoting so much time and energy to work that perhaps isn’t remunerative, doesn’t give me the benefits that I expect and I don’t like. So it is actually I think a very important time for organizations to start thinking about much more intentionally thinking about what do we do to deserve the people that we know our businesses need. That’s where we are right now.

Matt Alder (6m 1s):
Absolutely. And I think a big part of that is obviously a focus on employee experience in all things, all things around about it. And I know that is very much the focus of the research report that you’ve just published. Tell us about this piece of work. What is it, how did it come about and how did you put it together?

Marcus Buckingham (6m 19s):
Well, the Chief Human Resources Officer for ADP came to us about 18 months ago and said, I would like, perhaps as all good CHR should, he was like, I wanna see whether we’re doing a good job. We’re going to this pandemic. We don’t really have rules around this yet. I just wanna know whether HR is serving our people in the way that it should. And when you sort of take that inquiry and dive into it, you realize there is no, we don’t have in HR a way to measure the effectiveness of HR. There’s no standard or agreed-upon thermometer to measure it. My grandfather was an HR. My dad was an HR. They did really important and interesting things during their careers, but weirdly, you know, I’m 25 years into my career and there wasn’t a thermometer to measure this.

Marcus Buckingham (7m 5s):
So we were like, well, let’s go build it. Let’s go build a reliable way to measure people’s experience of HR to see whether or not A, we can. And if we can, what does it drive? Does it drive anything real and practical? We don’t wanna be examining our own navels in the world of HR, just looking at it for the sake of looking at it. We wanna look at it in a way that helps us understand what employees then go do. Do they quit more if they have a bad experience with HR, for example? Do they stay longer if they have a good experience with HR? So, what is the role of HR in creating positive employee behaviors? That’s a question at the moment HR cannot answer because it doesn’t have a way to measure the sentiment of the employee experience of HR.

Marcus Buckingham (7m 49s):
And if we can identify a way to do that, and if we can see what it drives, then, of course, we can go the other way around and we can see what drives it, what leavers, what are the most powerful leavers that HR has in order to create a really positive and powerful HR experience for people? So that was kind of the intent of the research. Let’s build a thermometer. So we did focus groups. We did interviews. We then went out to 25,000 or so people or 25 different countries, a little over a thousand people per country, a stratified random sample of the workers in those countries and started off with 70 or so items derived from these interviews and focus groups, which is the way in which you build these sort of psychometric instruments.

Marcus Buckingham (8m 37s):
You do qualitative research first. You pull a wording and actual language from those instruments, sorry, from those interviews and focus groups. You put together a set of, in our case, it was just under 70 items, 70 questions, and then you go field it in the real world. We fielded it as I mentioned to 25 different countries, and you basically start, Matt, throwing out all the questions that don’t work. Even if you love the questions, if they don’t actually have any explanatory power, or if their explanatory power seems to be redundant with other questions, you just start throwing out the ones that don’t add any value to your model, throw them out, throw them out, throw them out, throw them out.

Marcus Buckingham (9m 17s):
And we ended up with 15, 15 questions, which really quite precisely capture the employee’s experience of the HR function. And once we had that, then we could start, as I mentioned to investigate, well, what does that drive? And then what drives it?

Matt Alder (9m 33s):
The model that you’ve built on the back of that data and those findings.

Marcus Buckingham (9m 37s):
Yeah. So when you called all of the items that weren’t really working, even if you loved them, you end up with 15 and those 15 questions measure five distinct experiences that are clearly independent of your experience of your team leader, your manager, your regular work, as it were, and are discretely focused on your experience of HR. And the five experiences are hierarchical. It’s sort of like a Maslow model, although Maslow’s model was just theoretical. It didn’t have any data underpinning it. This is actually a statistical hierarchy where you sort of have to hit the things at the bottom before you can start judging the things at the top.

Marcus Buckingham (10m 19s):
And right at the bottom is three questions that measure, do I get what I need from HR? Do I just basically get what I need when I need it from HR? Once you hit that, the next level is safety. Do I feel like I can share anything with HR and it’s kept in confidences? Do I feel like I have psychological safety and security with my HR function? The next level above that is know me and value me. Does HR seem to understand my unique situation as an employee, my unique situation as a person? Does HR help me feel quickly like I belong, but also does it get me? Does it understand me? If you hit that, the next level of experience is growth.

Marcus Buckingham (11m 2s):
Just does HR play an important part in helping me grow and develop? I obviously have a manager who can help me with some of that. The work itself I could learn on the job, but is HR helping me think about growing my career and my success. And then if you hit that one, you’ve hit four. The fifth one is almost like an outcome level at the top, Matt, which is deep trust. Do I completely trust that HR cares about me as an individual? Do I completely trust myself and trust myself to HR, to my people who are supposedly there to help me as a human, hence the name human resources? And so you’ve got these five experiences, three separate questions measuring each of those experiences.

Marcus Buckingham (11m 45s):
We asked the questions on a scale of one to five, five strongly agree. So what you’ve got basically is this set of experiences, anybody answering these 15 questions we can put you into, basically one of three categories. If you’re answering positively to all the questions, we put you in a category called Value Promoting where you see HR is value promoting. If you’re sort of threes and fours, you’re in a category called Performing where you see HR is performing, it’s doing fine. And then if you’re answering negatively to those items, then you’re in a category called Value Detracting, where you actually see that your experience of HR actually drains value from your experience as an employee in the organization.

Marcus Buckingham (12m 33s):
And that’s kind of the output of this thermometer that anybody who’s employed by any size of company, you can ask those 15 items and you can see inside of your organization. How many people think that HR is value promoting versus valued detracting? And that’s kind of the purpose of all of this, Matt, initially, was that give the entire HR function a reliable and valid and objective way of assessing the experience that HR is creating in the minds and hearts of the employees.

Matt Alder (13m 10s):
It’s really fascinating stuff in terms of how it’s broken down, how you measure it, and the information that it provides for the HR function in terms of how they can change or do better, or keep doing the same thing if they’re doing well. How does it relate to real-world actions and behaviors? If someone’s got kind of a high school, what are we sort of seeing from their employees?

Marcus Buckingham (13m 34s):
The first thing we looked at once we built this metric, the first thing we looked at as well, what does it relate to? So what we now know is that if you are value promoting, there’s three things, there may be more, but there are certainly three things that it strongly relates to. In terms of your behavior as an employee. The first is we asked people, do you advocate the company as a place to work to friends and family? And if you are value promoting, if your experience of HR puts you in the value promoting category, then you are far more likely to be advocating the company as a place to work to friends and family.

Marcus Buckingham (14m 19s):
The report itself, which anyone can find on the website, can give you all of the data and the stats behind this. But basically, it says the experience of HR is very strongly related to your willingness to charge about in your community and say this company is a great place to work. So for the first time, we’re in a position here for every HR professional, to be able to point to something, to show HR drives talent brand. HR drives talent brand. If you’re not doing HR right, you will be absolutely depleting your ability to find and keep good people, which right now, of course, is just everything. So if any HR practitioner that wants data to be able to sit at the table with the CEO, with the Chief Marketing Officer, with the CFO, and have the confidence to go wait a minute, compared to any other function around this table, the way in which that we invest in and execute HR drives our ability to attract good people, which right now is everything.

Marcus Buckingham (15m 14s):
We have got to talk about what we’re doing in the HR world to ensure that we’ve got a really positive talent brand. And so that’s the first thing there, and by the way, because we had data on engagement, which we know varies team leader by team, by team, by team, by team, by team, we can actually say, well, how overlapping is your experience of HR with your experience of your team and your team leader? Maybe these things are just redundant with each other. It turns out that they’re related, but there’s a 51 percent overlap actually, but that leaves 49 percent of your experience of HR and your ability to advocate the company to friends and family is experienced simply through HR, independent of whatever.

Marcus Buckingham (16m 1s):
You may love your team. You may love your team leader, but if you have a value-depleting experience with HR, you will be charging around your community saying, “Look, I love my boss, but don’t come work here.” And this for the first time is what CEOs have a line of sight to. Are we through the HR function, building value, promoting people who will then go out and advocate the company? So that was the first big finding. And, of course, the corollary to that, we asked people how you’re actively interviewing for other jobs? If you’re value promoting, if you see HR value promoting, you’re much less likely to be actively looking for new employment. And then because we could feel this inside of ADP because he’s like a 60,000 person Petri dish, we could actually see what the people three months after they took this particular thermometer, did they stay or did they leave?

Marcus Buckingham (16m 48s):
And we can see unquestionably if you see HR as value depleting, you are much more likely not just to say that you’re gonna leave, but that you then actually do. Now, this is just one use case inside of ADP, but it’s a pretty bloody big Petri dish. And we will continue to study this, but it sure seems as though your experience of HR not only drives your talent brand, but it also drives actually behaviorally. Does it drive people to walk out the door? And it does.

Matt Alder (17m 19s):
It’s an incredible finding to be able to really nail that down and prove it if you like, but it’s also not completely surprising. And I think it’s great to be able to, as you say, to able to have the data and the evidence to back that up. One of the other interesting things for me in the report is you also identify the sort of characteristics of HR functions that have high scores and what sort of moves they need the most. Can you talk us through those?

Marcus Buckingham (17m 49s):
Yeah, well, I mean, by the way, you’re right. You know, intuitively this all goes well, we’ve all been, for those of us that have been in the world of work, you go, gosh, yeah. I mean, I do love my team leader, but I’m working for a company where the entire HR function, whether it’s the simplest things like, you know, what’s my status or what’s my withholding gonna be for taxes or all the way to one of my health benefits. So I just got promoted, what new things I’ve got to change in my world? If all of that is handled really, really, really badly, then so it doesn’t matter how good your team leader is, your experience of the company leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. So you’re right, Matt. Like intuitively you go, yeah, it’s just we’ve never had the data to go.

Marcus Buckingham (18m 34s):
It’s very discreet and distinct the effect of HR independent of anything else. It has a big role to play. So having that data is a wonderful benchmark to sort of start with, but any company that wants to build its talent brand, which is just, you know, everybody, in terms of your question what was super intriguing like once you have that data, you can start going, well, what drives it? What drives people to see HR as value promoting and thereby increasing the company’s talent brand? And the two things that, three or four, but the two big things that really leap out, Matt, was super counter-intuitive and fly completely in the face of the mega-trends that are going on right now in the world of HR. The first is we ask people, do you have a single point of contact in HR?

Marcus Buckingham (19m 17s):
Do you have multiple points of contact in HR? Do you have no points of contact in HR? And it’s all sort of mediated through some of the technological processes. If you said you had a single point of contact, you are far more likely to be value promoting, far more likely. So, single point of contact seems to be and will continue to be for the next 10 years, whether you’re a big company or a small, how do we make people feel like there is somebody and maybe somebody plus a piece of tech, but some, to use an Americanism, some sorts of quarterback who knows me?

Marcus Buckingham (19m 57s):
Yes, the moment I asked that person a question, they may send me off to some center of excellence. Like, I’ve got an insurance question or I’ve got a promotion question or I’ve got a tax withholding question. I’ve got a benefits question. Yeah, we’re okay being handed off. It’s just we do need to have somebody who sees us as a whole human, somebody who needs to know us as a whole person because we are a whole person. It’s a bit like particularly over here in the US and healthcare, where if we’re not quite careful, we’re not seen as a whole patient. We’re seen as the gallbladder in Room 206 and we’re not– We don’t really feel that there’s a person in the hospital who’s seeing us as a whole person.

Marcus Buckingham (20m 37s):
Same is true in companies today. We’ve had big trends in HR going to siloed parallel centers of excellence. So if I have an insurance question, I get shuffled off over here. If I’ve got a benefits administration question, I’ve shuffled up over here, but there’s nobody in the middle of it all. There’s no one going, I know you, Marcus. So single point of contact. And, of course, I’m not suggesting that we go back 20 years to HR generalists and that’s not gonna happen. But that does mean that we ought to be thinking really coherently about everybody who comes to work in our organization is a whole human and sees themselves as a whole human.

Marcus Buckingham (21m 18s):
And they don’t like it when they get split up into a bunch of different aspects, simply because that’s the most cost-effective way to organize HR. Well, sorry, maybe that worked two years ago, that doesn’t work anymore. But you need to be able to offer a human way of coming to work and feeling what it feels like to work as a human. You can’t split me up into different aspects just because your financial model makes sense that way, but you can, it’s just you’re gonna deplete your talent brand. So it’s a huge call to arms for every CHR in the world to go the way that we’ve been going and the way that we’ve been structuring ourselves doesn’t work for humans. It might work for an accountant. It doesn’t work for humans.

Marcus Buckingham (21m 59s):
So that’s the first big one. And then if you like, I mean, the second big one, which is sort of a corollary to this is we asked everything we could possibly ask about in terms of why you might’ve called HR in the last year. Everything from employee relations issues to good things like I have just been promoted to did you have a formal onboarding? Did you not? Did you have some sort of performance management that’s formal, did you not? Like all sorts of things, trying to figure out of all the different things that you experienced with HR, which are the most important in terms of driving value, promoting feelings about HR and in the end, when you slice it, dice it and this was annoying for me because I kind of like finding the one big leaver or something, but there was no big leaver.

Marcus Buckingham (22m 53s):
The only thing that we found is the more frequent the interactions you had with HR, the more likely you are to see HR’s value promoting. So in a world where the big trends in HR is to disintermediate HR, to put technology purely as the interface for the employee and have them self-serve pretty much, as much as we can possibly get them to self-serve so that they don’t have to have any interactions with HR. That’s the world we’re living in at the moment. This research would say that is a huge underutilization of HR function done really well. Each interaction point with HR is an opportunity for that particular person to feel one of those five experiences I mentioned earlier.

Marcus Buckingham (23m 40s):
Each interaction is a chance to make me feel safe or heard or valued or help to grow and develop. Every one of those things is what I’m searching for when I come to work and HR done well can give me those feelings. And when I have those feelings, I will charge about my community and advocate this organization as a place to work. So in a sense, every interaction point doesn’t just have to be seen as a cost center or as a friction center to be reduced. And that really is what HR has been dealing with these last few years, reduce friction, reduce costs, reduce friction, reduce cost, which is fine.

Marcus Buckingham (24m 21s):
That’s fine. We should reduce friction, but seeing through a different lens, each interaction with HR is actually an opportunity to create value for that particular human to make me feel one of those five experiences. Gosh, if we thought about it with that lens, as well as the reduce friction and cost, we might be doing some things really, really differently in the world of HR. At the moment, we aren’t. We are simply trying to disintermediate HR and that’s a waste. It’s a miss.

Matt Alder (24m 54s):
You’ve been out talking about your findings and about this piece of work, sort of various audiences over the last couple of weeks, what reaction have you got from the HR professionals that you’ve been talking to?

Marcus Buckingham (25m 5s):
I think two different kinds of reactions. The first, it sort of mirrors yours a little bit. The first is like, you know, I always thought that in a way that’s different than the finance department or the marketing department or the real estate department of my organization, I always thought HR was different. I always knew that we had some sort of contribution to make to the humans that work here that was meaningful and powerful. So in a sense, the first reaction has been well, thanks, good. Now we’ve got some data that actually says unequivocally because you’ve been around the HR space, Matt, a long time.

Marcus Buckingham (25m 45s):
You know, that the function, in general, can sometimes be quite insecure as a function. And we sit around the EXCOMM table and we sort of wonder if we have a right to be there. And when the CEO turns to us and says, you know, give me some data on how we’re doing with our people. I don’t know. Maybe we bring out our first-year voluntary turnover numbers, or maybe we bring out our time to fill numbers for new jobs. So maybe we’ll bring out once a year employee survey or something. We haven’t ever really had anything which shows we as a function drive something massively important to this organization’s ability to thrive today and grow tomorrow, namely talent brand.

Marcus Buckingham (26m 28s):
HR drives talent brand. No one’s had that data. So to have it now is like, yay. And we’re gonna continue to try to figure out ways, Matt, just offer this at the moment to across the entire world of HR. Because if I think we feel if HR functions have this moment to available to them, they’ll start making better decisions about what to do that’s right for humans. So that’s the first sort of reaction, I suppose. Yeah, sort of always suspected that, but, thank goodness, now we’ve got some way to prove it.

Marcus Buckingham (27m 8s):
The second is, oh, gosh, now that we can see that every interaction point is potentially a source of value or potentially a source of decreased value. What are these touchpoints? What should we do to structure HR so that we maximize each human being’s desire to feel, seen, heard, and known through the HR function? But at the moment we’ve been on a headlong rush to completely disintermediate the function. And some of that’s good because it does reduce friction, but what have we been missing? What we’ve been missing, all this stuff about, well, what does a human being want when they call up HR? What did they really want? How many moments are like that?

Marcus Buckingham (27m 49s):
When this person calls up during the course of a year, have we really focused attention on each of those moments to make sure that we are making that person feel one or more of those five experiences that I mentioned earlier? And so that reaction is more like, oh, man, we’ve underutilized, in a sense, we sort of strip-mined our entire function and it’s time to stop strip mining it. And so it’s kind of in a little bit of a wake-up call around, a bit like banks, a bit like financial services institutions have one. They decided that ATM, so as we call them over here cashpoint, you know, is gonna replace bank tellers.

Marcus Buckingham (28m 32s):
And then they realized that no, no, no customers they’re quite happy with getting that perfect cash delivered to them through a wall, but they still wanna talk to someone about money because money is fraud. So they want a personal banker to talk to them about their mortgage or talk to them about their loan because people feel anxious about anything to do with money. And so there’s probably more personal bankers today in retail banks than there ever was bank tellers 15 years ago. And that’s because these banks are trying to figure out ways to make a particular customer feel cared for. I think HR is right at that point that find the banks were 15 years ago, as we’re all now trying to figure out how do we use technology wisely, but let’s not use it to replace or imagine it could ever replace an individual human’s feeling of being seen and heard by another human.

Matt Alder (29m 23s):
Sort of brings me nicely onto my final question, which is what’s gonna happen next? If we’re having this conversation in a couple of years’ time, what would we be talking about? What do you think the future looks like?

Marcus Buckingham (29m 35s):
Oh, gosh, well, I tell you what, if I knew the exact answer to that, Matt, then you and I wouldn’t be on this podcast. We’d be going to create the perfect future. So anything I’m gonna say here is obviously conjecture. I do think, by the way, just so a little sidebar, you know, if you and I had something to go do tomorrow, it would be like, let’s go start an HR transformation company. Let’s go do that because helping companies think through the things that I was just talking about is gonna be a fascinating yet next five years for the HR function. How do we create these five experiences? How do we do it intentionally using tech sensibly and using people where tech can’t really be as human as we want it to be?

Marcus Buckingham (30m 18s):
How would we do that? Like, that’s a really interesting question. The bigger thing I think that we’re gonna see, and this is very much an I think, I don’t, you know, I don’t have data that proves this, but certainly over here, like we just had the CEO of Starwood Hotels today say we need the government to pay people to come back to work for my company because we can’t find enough people to fill the positions. And that he’s just one example of many CEOs saying the same thing. We can’t find enough people. And so now what research like this shows is, and I’m gonna say it bluntly, I don’t quite mean it this way, but it’s like, hey, organizations, you don’t deserve these people.

Marcus Buckingham (31m 2s):
You don’t deserve them. You’ve built loveless workplaces. You’ve built inhuman workplaces. And to some, in some places, the HR function has been utterly complicit in building workplaces, but don’t see the individual human as the moral starting point of it all. They see the human as a mechanism for getting a bunch of stuff done. They designed boring jobs that are not well paid. And then they wonder why people don’t wanna rush back into them. Well, you’ve designed a whole bunch of boring inhuman jobs. Just to take one case in point, we have a lot just like you do with the NHS in the UK. You’ve got a lot of PTSD, a lot of stress, a lot of burnout in doctors and nurses, and a lot of effort being put into trying to, you know, support them and clap for them.

Marcus Buckingham (31m 47s):
But all of that is a bit rubbish really when you look at the reporting structures inside of hospitals, where you’ve got nurse supervisor to nurse ratios of one to 30, one to 40, one to 60, one nurse supervisor to 60 nurses. And then you wonder why those 60 nurses get burned out when there’s no possible way that poor supervisor can know each person, how they’re feeling, what they’re going through, what they felt yesterday, what they’re worried about tomorrow. You can’t do that when it’s one to 60 and yet humans, real humans need to feel seen in life. Certainly, they need to be seen at work.

Marcus Buckingham (32m 27s):
We know that from data. We actually know that the fastest way to drive your retention numbers up is to have frequent light touch attention between the team leader and a team member frequently because humans need that. We need to have attention. We’ve got structures in place in companies where the jobs were designed boringly by people who assumed that the job was hateful. So they designed sort of boring loveless work and then built structures that might make sense financially, but don’t make sense for humans. One to 60. How about call centers? One to 70 in call centers. Well, I’m sorry, what we’re gonna be talking about in three years’ time, Matt, is how this time created a wake-up call for companies. If you design jobs that are deeply disrespectful to the humans in the jobs, they won’t come work for you and you won’t deserve them.

Marcus Buckingham (33m 14s):
And so whether or not they make the structures you’ve built make financial sense is irrelevant if you can’t find enough people to fill the chairs, which right now you can’t. So it’s not gonna be business as usual. It’s gonna be a big sea change in what does a company need to show people to prove that it deserves them? And I think that’s an open question right now.

Matt Alder (33m 39s):
It certainly is and I really couldn’t agree with you more on that. I think it’s a– Yeah, it’s gonna be a very interesting next few years, certainly. As a sort of last final point, you mentioned earlier where people could find the report. Could you tell us again where people can go to download the report and where they can go to find out more about you?

Marcus Buckingham (33m 58s):
Yeah. I mean, the ADP Research Institute is this independently funded institute whose purpose is objective, unbiased research. We will always think that it’s like, it’s very hard today to know where to go to find out what’s true in a way that’s unbiased. So the institute is set up to serve the HR function, to serve leaders in the world of work with hopefully, useful, relevant, valid data about the world of work. is where you can go. If you want the 15-minute executive summary of this particular piece of research, you can find it there. If you want the 45 minutes, 60-page technical report, you can find it there too.

Marcus Buckingham (34m 43s):
Also, if you go to Marcus Buckingham on Instagram, I tend to, that’s where I put my stuff out mostly sort of through Instagram because it’s easier. We do actually do like once a month, we’ll do for HR practitioners. We’ll do a deep, deep dive into some of these data and what it means. Not that we haven’t covered some cool stuff on this podcast, Matt, but once a month, we’ll invite people. So if you wanna stay connected to us, go to, and there’s a place where you can just stay connected and get to know about both upcoming webinars that we’re doing or upcoming research that we’re doing all in the service of an HR function that we hope simply has access to really good, reliable data about all of these wonderful changes that are going on in the world of work.

Matt Alder (35m 34s):
Marcus, thank you very much for talking to me.

Marcus Buckingham (35m 36s):
My pleasure, Matt.

Matt Alder (35m 37s):
My thanks to Marcus Buckingham. You can subscribe to this podcast in Apple podcast, on Spotify, or via your podcasting app of choice. Please also follow the show on Instagram. You can find us by searching for Recruiting Future. You can search all the past episodes at On that site, you can also subscribe to the mailing list to get the inside track about everything that’s coming up on the show. Thanks very much for listening. I’ll be back next time and I hope you’ll join me.

Related Posts

Recent Podcasts

Round Up May 2024
June 6, 2024
Ep 619: TA On The Brink Of Revolution
June 3, 2024
Ep 618: Breaking The Rainbow Ceiling
May 29, 2024

Podcast Categories

instagram default popup image round
Follow Me
502k 100k 3 month ago
We are using cookies to give you the best experience. You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in privacy settings.
AcceptPrivacy Settings


  • Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies. We use cookies to provide you with a great experience and to help our website run effectively.

Please refer to our privacy policy for more details: