As the pandemic wanes and employees across the US begin to return to the office, there is a lot of talk about the business lessons learned from the pandemic. Mike Coffey and Terri Swain explore an issue that existed well before the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed in North America. This issue is the topic of countless business books, scholarly articles, and conference presentations.

To put it succinctly, MOST MANAGERS SUCK. That’s not exactly a news flash but Terri says that something began to change early in the pandemic—employees were increasingly less willing to tolerate crappy managers.

In this thirty-minute episode, Mike and Terri talk about a noticeable uptick in employee relations complaints early in the pandemic and discuss why that may be.

 

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Terri Swain

Terri Swain is the founder and managing partner of The HR Consultant, a Fort Worth based, human resources consulting firm specializing in Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and employee relations. The company was founded in 1998 and has a nationwide diverse client base.

Prior to her consulting role, she had Fortune 200 human resource leadership experience in the areas of employee relations, human resource planning, and training and development.  Terri began her career in human resources via government compliance as an investigator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In her role as a compliance expert, she has written many Affirmative Action plans and streamlined the AAP process; assisted companies through Department of Labor audits; served as an expert witness in EEO cases; and conducted third-party discrimination, harassment and employee relations investigations.

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Transcript

Terri Swain: I do believe people can change. And I do believe that when a manager has been allowed to behave that way, that there is some responsibility on the organization’s part because they didn’t do values driven interviewing or have those conversations.

And I do believe in trying. I think that if it’s your first complaint and you’re a new manager, I think that the organization should intervene and try and get you some training.

[intro music]

Mike Coffey: Good Morning, HR.

I’m Mike Coffey, and this is the podcast where I talk to business leaders about bringing people together to create value for shareholders, customers, and the community.

Please follow Good Morning, HR on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find us on Facebook, or at goodmorninghr.com.

As the pandemic wanes and employees across the U.S. begin to return to the office, there’s a lot of talk about the business lessons learned from the pandemic. We’ll explore many of those lessons in the coming weeks, but today we’ll explore an issue that existed well before the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed in North America.

This issue is the topic of countless business books, scholarly articles, and conference presentations. It is the source of millions of internet posts and is so universal that it made Scott Adams Dilbert comic strips ubiquitous cubicles decorations.

To put it succinctly, most managers suck. That’s not exactly a newsflash, but my guest today says that something began to change early in the pandemic. Employees were increasingly less willing to tolerate crappy managers.

My guest is Terri Swain. Terri started her career as an EEOC investigator and later ran HR functions for major corporations before entering the consulting world over two decades ago. Her firm, The HR Consultant, focuses on EEO compliance, affirmative action planning, and employee relations issues for companies of all sizes across the U.S. Good morning, Terri, and thanks for visiting with me.

Terri Swain: Good morning, Mike. Happy to be here.

Mike Coffey: So we were talking and you mentioned that you noticed an uptick in employee relations issues early in the pandemic. Tell me about that.

Terri Swain: Yeah, so super interesting. In my business I do third party kind of investigation. So companies call me in when the CEO is in trouble or somebody in HR or they feel they can’t be objective or they know it’s going to litigation and they want a third set of eyes to look at something.

So I probably do about one of those a year. Oh, one of those a month, sorry, not a year. One a month. And when the pandemic, about May, so we’re two months into pandemic, I started getting a deluge of calls and I was doing an investigation every week, from May to December, every single week. I finished one up and a phone call would come. And so it was very interesting. It was kind of interesting to see what those issues were and what they ended up being.

Mike Coffey: Were these like Title VII type? Protected class complaints, or what? What kind of issues were they?

Terri Swain: Yeah. So they were kind of, I want to say cloaked or disguised as complaint issues like, I think this is happening to me because I’m over the age of 40. I think this is happening to me because I’m female. I think this is happening to me because I’m African-American.

A lot of race, gender kind of, that’s how the complaint came to the organization. And that’s why I got called, right? We think this is pattern and practice race case, or this is failure to promote a female or whatever the case may be. So that’s what kind of it looked like on the surface. But then…

Mike Coffey: But then…

Terri Swain: But then as I started investigating, so there’s a very clear way that you investigate when you’re looking at, is this based on my race or gender? And that’s comparative analysis.

So you’re really saying like, who was treated the same way or the different way? And what’s the pattern? Who did this person terminate? Who did they promote?

And I started to understand that the majority of these cases were not race discrimination. They weren’t gender discrimination. They were really poor leadership and management that I think the pandemic amplified, right? Because I think that if you’re in a good economy, like we were before March, if somebody didn’t like their manager or company, what did they do? They left and found another job. Well, when we shut down for-

Mike Coffey: They changed jobs.

Terri Swain: Right. Change jobs and change managers, that’s what we say in HR, right?

In this economy where you didn’t know, we did not know what was going to happen. We didn’t know there were going to be PPP loans. We didn’t know you’re going to get an extra $600 on unemployment. We didn’t know if businesses were going to go under. I mean, there was a lot of uncertainty, so people had to stay where they were. And they stayed kind of in that agitated state and it amplified.

I mean, it really amplified poor leadership, I believe, because it was case after case after case started sounding the same. I mean, it presented itself as race discrimination, gender discrimination, but when you started digging you’d find, oh, that manager treats everybody that way. And it’s not discrimination, it’s bad leadership.

And in many cases it existed for a long time, but people had had enough and they were scared that they were going to lose their job. They couldn’t leave and find another job. So it’s like, okay, if it’s going to be me or you, yeah, I think it’s going to be you now, right?

Mike Coffey: Yeah. Well, and that’s interesting, right? And I think most HR folks who do much investigative work have seen that over the years too a lot of your cases that present as a Title VII type claim or something, really boil down to the managers and a-hole and it’s just the general environment.

And yeah, you may be in a protected class and it’s probably reasonable given some lived experiences to assume that bad treatment is caused by someone else’s biases, but sometimes it’s just the manager has a bias against all of humanity or against good business practices.

Terri Swain: Right. Exactly. Exactly. And that’s not to say that there isn’t race discrimination, there isn’t gender discrimination, but it was very interesting to me during the pandemic that it just was one after another. And they were different organizations, they were different people, and they all sounded alike.

And what was really interesting to me is I started seeing a pattern where you’d talk to all the employees of this manager and 11 out of 12 of them would say the same thing. There might be one outlier that really loved that person, and their peers would be like, yeah, we know that guy’s a problem. But above them, you talk to their managers and they would act like this person walked on water and they were shocked. They were hearing it for the first time.

And oftentimes even the person, because I always gather the information and then I confront the person and say, okay, this is what I heard, I want you to respond to it. Tell me. And in some cases they were shocked. I am shocked to hear this about my employees.

There was such a disconnect somewhere. It was very odd to me. And then it just became more apparent and more apparent and more apparent, this is a leadership issue. It’s a failure of leadership. It’s a leadership issue.

Mike Coffey: What were the behaviors you were seeing most often that were problematic?

Terri Swain: Okay, well, I hate to go back to the word, but kind of that asshole factor. Like making you be there when you really didn’t need to be there. I’m not helping you with staffing, not helping you succeed, making you travel, not communicating.

I mean, not communicating is a big one. And unrealistic expectations or meeting expectations and then you change them on me. Not providing development when you said you’re going to provide development. Kind of all those things that the opposite of a good leader is.

Mike Coffey: And if a leader wasn’t good at doing that outside of a crisis, it was probably really magnified. Their deficiencies and how they communicate and how they respond to their own stress, how they project that onto their employees, those kinds of things, probably is [crosstalk]-

Terri Swain: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, because then you had that whole thing about now we have protocols. Are we going to work from home, not work from home? Who gets paid, who doesn’t get paid?

So there was a whole level of complexity added to leaders. So if they weren’t kind of in that good leadership space and now you threw all this other stuff on top of them, it was a little too much for them, it was too much for the people, and it was a good year to pay off your vehicle if you had a loan on your vehicle and you’re a consultant.

Mike Coffey: Yeah. That’s-. What I think is interesting, and I’ve seen it plenty of times, is that disconnect you mentioned between senior management and middle management and you can have a middle manager who looks like an all-star according to the metrics and senior management thinks, hey, this guy is doing great.

And then you look at the situation on the ground and that person’s relationship with rank and file and you just see it’s a hot mess. And I think that boils down a lot of times to measuring the wrong things. You get what you measure and you incentivize certain kinds of behavior.

And sometimes if your short-term focus is hitting these numbers this quarter, then maybe you’re not going to hit those more important long-term metrics like employee retention and engagement and having employees give you that discretionary effort that goes above and beyond just the basics of showing up to work every day.

Terri Swain: Right. Because then you’re running roughshod over your people to get your numbers. That’s why you can look so good because down here you’re creating all this havoc to make them panic to get what they need, and yeah, long-term viability.

So yeah, so people should be measuring different things. I mean, retention, exit interviews. Interestingly before the pandemic, we had a couple of companies that were hiring a third party, us, to do exit interviews because they were losing a lot of their tech help. And so they felt like an outsider could give them that constructive feedback.

People usually on their way out the door will say, oh, this was great place to work because they moved on, right? They don’t want to burn a bridge. But interestingly, on some of those tech firms, people were leaving because they wanted to work from home, which probably all worked itself out in the pandemic. But yeah.

Mike Coffey: Yeah. Last summer in the middle of all of this, I did a big project for a large nonprofit that had some pretty significant leadership issues and ultimately ended up firing their CEO. But we did exit interviews from employees who had left in the months preceding our intervention, but then I went back and did stay interviews too.

And I just sat down with every employee in the organization and asked, basically, why are you still here? And that was enlightening because I could identify people who really cared about the mission of the organization and really believed in it and were just carrying a tremendous burden because of the lack of recognition and support that they were getting from leadership.

And I think that’s what ultimately drew that organization’s board to take action was the fact that you’ve already got 60% annual turnover this year. You’re going to have 100% and you’re going to lose these last few remaining really dedicated people if you don’t take some action.

Terri Swain: Yeah. I did one investigation where I asked every single person that I interviewed, the people that were still employed there, if they were looking for another job and every single person said yes.

But it was an industry where in the pandemic, retail and a lot of people were closed, maybe closed forever. Didn’t know when they were going to open. There weren’t a lot of opportunities out there either. But yeah, I mean, there’re just so many things I just think that came to light in a time of crisis.

And then it’s really interesting, so I’d say May to December, one a week, and then December it kind of like it lulled. I think everybody got in a place, companies understood. They had work from home people. Everybody kind of conquered down into the pandemic, right?

And then when people needed to be returning to work, I’m going to say about April, May, of this year, bam, uptick again. Because now we’re like, okay, yeah, come back to work. And now we’ve got ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act issues, and people with gender related issues, with moms that have stayed home with kids, and daycares that maybe opened or not opened, or they didn’t feel safe with opening.

And now we’ve got those same leadership issues happening again because we asked you all to be home and do this for us, but now we’re like, oh, no, just kidding. Come on back. And we’re seeing an uptick again. And again, it’s those same things. And I love to hear people say, we can’t have all these people working from home, it’s so unproductive.

But you ask, well, how do you measure productivity? And how do you know that? And they don’t. They really just want people at work so that they can keep an eye, right? So it’s just interesting. So it’s happening again.

Mike Coffey: Yeah. In March of last year, spring break, and I was with my family in Bentonville, Arkansas, visiting Crystal Bridges. And just that week watching the shutdown kind of roll across the country and I called my IT guy and said, hey, you know all that money we spent on that disaster recovery plan where we’d all go remote? Will that work? And he said, yeah, it should. And it did for us.

We communicated to our clients what we were doing and I think for a lot of them we became kind of the how to guide and they were calling and asking a lot of questions. One of the questions I kept hearing from certain clients was, well, how will we know our people are productive? Or how will we measure our people? Or they’re not going to get any work done.

And my answer was always, well, that’s a bigger problem. If your management has to manage people by looking over their shoulder all day, you’ve already got an issue and you’re probably not going to be any less productive with them at home.

If you don’t have measurements of how you measure productivity, if employees don’t have clear goals about what they have to get done, and they don’t feel like they’ve got the resources to do those things in the office, then why do you think it’s going to be any different, negative or positively, when they go remote?

And I think the managers who I’ve seen succeed in our client base over the last year and a half, have been the ones who were great managers before because they had high accountability and their employees trusted them.

And the ones who’ve struggled, and the organizations that have struggled, have largely been the kinds of organizations where it’s very top-down management and it’s not about helping that employee be the best employee that they can be. It’s about just hitting these black and white numbers or just that kind of rote behavior that just looks at people as cogs in a machine.

Terri Swain: Right. Absolutely.

Mike Coffey: So what have you seen as far as interventions that might’ve been successful other than just firing the manager who’s turning out to be a problem?

Terri Swain: Well, some of the things that I think, and some of these companies I’ve worked with this is, I’m thinking about my one client that had a lot of these issues, they were keeping metrics on complaints, but the metric was, this person complained of sexual harassment, no, this wasn’t sexual harassment, so that case closed. They internally were measuring, how many complaints did we have and how many did we-

Mike Coffey: Wins and losses, right?

Terri Swain: Right. Right. Instead of saying, why does Houston district manager have 50 complaints and Arkansas district manager has zero? The fact that there’s a lot of complaints or maybe the fact that there’s no complaints, are people afraid to come forward?

We started looking at those metrics a little bit differently, so I think that’s one thing is like what are even you measuring? And doing some of the exit interviews.

In this one case I talked to people who were fired, which usually when you’re doing an exit it’s, oh, no, no, no. Let’s not talk to people who were fired. Yeah, let’s talk to people who were terminated by some of these individuals so that we can get some honest feedback.

And I think then, focus groups. I mean, you have to kind of know your organization and what it’s capable of doing. Is it survey work? Is it focus group work? I think those kinds of things.

And then just thinking about, I mean, we all know this in HR, typically the person who gets promoted into management, especially supervisory management and that kind of gets bumped up, is the person that is so good at widget making, accounting, whatever the case may be, and not looking how-

Mike Coffey: Right. When I was in healthcare, we would always use the example of a great nurse who we made a nurse manager, and there’s no correlation between those two sets of skills.

Terri Swain: They’re not, but we rarely do that. So really thinking about what are the competencies that you need? Use these bad examples to say, hey, yeah, this person can hit all their numbers, but their turnover rate is X.

So looking at turnover, looking at employee surveys, looking at all those things so that we can evaluate this person on things that really match our values. Because in a lot of those organizations, it’s interesting because the value statement is right on the wall. And you’re interviewing somebody right underneath the value statement and you’re like, yeah, this doesn’t sound like those value statements, right? So because-

Mike Coffey: In our job descriptions at Imperative, the first, or I guess it’s the second paragraph, goes through that the person has to be able to live to our values while at work and it lists all three values right upfront in the JD.

And in our hiring process, our interview process, is more about value alignment. We’ve already tested their basic cognitive ability and their behavior set as far as your DISC profile or your predictive index kind of profile.

And so we know we can probably teach them to do the job, but the real question is I’m not going to change their core behavior, who they are, and how they see the world. They can modify that for a while, but it’s going to be hard for them if it’s just not the right fit.

And so we spend most of our time talking about values and talking about what it does look like and what it doesn’t look like in our organization, but also doing behavioral event interviewing around the kind of values we’re looking for from our employees.

Terri Swain: And then you have to have the courage when you miss it. When you think that you hired that person and then they end up to be your stellar sales person, or they end up bringing, I don’t know, hitting all the numbers and taking the revenue to certain place, but don’t have this to say, it’s not worth it to me. That there’s this other downstream cost and it’s not worth it to me. And I think that’s where the disconnect is.

We are so willing, well, not we, not you and me, but senior management is so willing oftentimes to turn their heads towards someone that’s the rainmaker, towards somebody that provided something within your organization, and not having the courage to say, yeah, you’re all this, but your turnover was 60% last year. There’s a cost to that too, right?

Mike Coffey: Right. Your behavior isn’t getting us what we need long-term out of the investment we’re making in you as a manager.

Terri Swain: Exactly. And I think that’s where the disconnect happens. And it’s all good when things are good, but I think COVID showed us, or the whole pandemic, is that it’s going to amplify any kind of vulnerability you have in your organization, whether it’s financial, HR, whatever. I think it amplified things and you became aware of what’s going on.

[commercial break music]

Mike Coffey: And let’s take a quick break.

Good Morning, HR is brought to you by Imperative. Premium background checks with faster friendly service. For more information about our commitment to quality and excellent customer service, visit us at imperativeinfo.com.

If you’re an HRCI or SHRM certified professional, this episode of Good Morning, HR, has been pre-approved for one half hour of recertification credit. To obtain the recertification information, visit goodmorninghr.com/credit. Select episode two, how the pandemic exposed bad managers with Terri Swain, and then enter the code word, Terri. That code word is Terri, T-E-R-R-I. And now back to the conversation with Terri Swain.

Mike Coffey: So in your experiences over the past year when senior management said, hey, we’ve completed our investigation and here’s what we found. And the issue is this manager’s, or this individual’s, lack of success as a manager of people, as a motivator and engager of employees.

What’s the response been from senior management as you’ve talked to them?

Terri Swain: Okay. So it’s so interesting because in my work, I usually am the messenger and I sit on a lot of calls, but what they do with it is up to, usually arguing between the attorney, the HR person and the operations.

So a lot of times I don’t even know what happens. I can only tell you from being on those phone calls, that there’s a lot of resistance. And a lot of the resistance comes from the things that we measure. So we look at that person and their last performance review was, exceeds expectation. And their last bonus was $50,000. And their last raise was 10%. So on paper, they look like a superstar.

So if we, let’s say, we terminate them, or we demote them, do we have the backup [inaudible] right there? So those are all the conversations that take place.

That’s why I say sometimes it takes courage to say, we weren’t doing this right, and we weren’t measuring this right, and this is what we’re going to do. But honestly, I don’t know what those people do. When I see the complaints stop coming, and stop coming to me, I’m thinking something got fixed, right? But I think about-

Mike Coffey: Either something got fixed or they got tired of getting paid to be diagnosed and not being willing to… It’s like paying for the gym membership every year.

Terri Swain: Exactly. Exactly. So I don’t know. Consulting is a great thing. When you’re in an organization, it really bothers you when your people don’t listen to you, but in consulting they pay you the same, whether they take your advice or not.

My dad had a great saying, if you don’t take my good advice, you never could take my great advice, you never going to get my great advice, it’s kind of the same thing. Take my good advice here, but if you don’t take it, you’re never going to get this great thing.

But a lot of times too in my reports, I don’t give recommendations. Because if they don’t do them, then that’s really bad in litigation and it’s too bad that those are the things that we’re weighing sometimes. Like is this person going to sue us versus doing the right thing? Right? So usually those talks are verbal and I say what I think they should do. And then whether they do them or not remains to be seen.

Mike Coffey: What kind of interventions do you think tend to be successful? Well, let’s say, if a manager is just a bad manager and he’s already maybe burned some bridges with employees and he’s causing people just to wake up in the morning and think, ah damn, I don’t want to go to work today.

Do you think it’s possible to rehabilitate a manager like that? Or do you think that some people just don’t belong in management and we have to just let them be the stellar sales person or the great executer and keep them away from roles where they’re responsible for other people?

Terri Swain: That’s a great question. I do believe people can change. And I do believe that when a manager has been allowed to behave that way, that there is some responsibility on the organization’s part because they didn’t do values driven interviewing or have those conversations. And I do believe in trying. I think that if it’s your first complaint and you’re a new manager, I think that the organization should intervene and try and get you some training.

If you’ve been in that job for 30 years and everybody knows that’s where you are, and sometimes you even hear that when you’re investigating. Like, oh Joe, oh God, everybody knows. Or Sue, everybody knows that’s the way she is. She’s curmudgeonly, she’s been that way forever. That’s kind of a different story to me. I think that person probably isn’t and won’t change and the organization’s enabled it.

And I think though, if you catch somebody early in their career, I think all of us as we’re becoming managers or supervisors, kind of going up the chain, we don’t know how to behave. We don’t know that we can be ourselves. We look to other people, we model behavior we see in the organization.

So you have to wonder, is that modeled behavior? Is that your own behavior? Can this person, can this employee be saved or not? And so I think that’s kind of case-by-case basis you’ve got to look at that.

Mike Coffey: In my first HR role in my early twenties, I was in an HR office that was full of young people and young professionals and not so professionals. And there was a lot of, for lack of a better term, just shenanigans going on. Things that today we’d never, and this was 30 years ago, but the things that we’d never put up with in the workplace today. It’d be called sexual harassment or something like that.

But in this particular case, the whole office environment was like that. It was more like a fraternity sorority house than it was an HR office. And it was all cool until it wasn’t. And I got called out and ended up meeting with the brand new VP of HR about a sexual harassment complaint. And my eyes were this big. I couldn’t believe it, because that was just the culture.

And I mean, Terri, you’ve known me for over 20 years, and anybody who’s ever seen me speak at an HR conference knows that that borderline between appropriate and inappropriate is very blurred and gray with me sometimes. And so it’s no shocker. But I went too far and I learned.

And to her credit, my VP of HR who really became my mentor throughout my HR career, saw that I was a young knucklehead with a modicum of potential and was real frank with me that this isn’t going to happen here and you’re responsible for your behavior. And so just because you say the environment is like that, it may well be, and we’re going to change that too, but you’re responsible for how you behave.

And that really stuck with me over all my years and trying to help my own employees and folks who I’ve coached or worked with as clients, help them be successful, realizing that sometimes it’s just not knowing and not realizing the impact you’re having with certain behaviors. And I think if we’re really lucky, we’re able to modify that.

And then I certainly worked with plenty of managers who were both young and old and were so committed to being who they were, the way they were, that there was no rehabbing them. And the best thing you could do is move them out of the organization and help them go be toxic someplace else, preferably at a competitor.

Terri Swain: Right. Right.

Mike Coffey: Well, any last thoughts, Terri? Well, I’ll just ask you, what do you think now that everybody is coming back to work and the Delta variant is out there and people are getting nervous about, I shouldn’t say coming back to work, we were all working all along, coming back to the physical offices, what do you think the workplace is going to look like in the next six months?

Terri Swain: Well, I think most, from talking to my clients, I think everyone’s going to adopt a hybrid kind of model where some are working from home, some in the office. Some people will probably always stay at home. Some people will probably always stay in the office.

I think that everybody is kind of putting together protocols for, hey, if the cases get this way, here’s defcon 2, we’re going to go to everybody at home or whatever the case may be. So I think that we’ve had time to think about it, so I think the best organizations have thoughtful approaches.

I see us having a lot of ADA claims, Americans with Disabilities Act claims, because I think we’re going to get into this whole, should I be vaccinated? Should I not be vaccinated? What is my condition? I can’t be around people. And I think we’re going to see a lot of those kinds of things. I think good organizations are going to think about is this a person… Because that’s the first thing people say, oh, this person’s playing the system. They just want to be at home so they can play with their kids and dogs or whatever the case may be.

Or are we going to take a thoughtful approach to really looking at it and seeing what is best for our business and our employees and what’s going to help us grow and go forward? How about you? What do you see happening?

Mike Coffey: Well, and that is… Oh, I think you’re right. I think there’s going to be certain kinds of industries where people can work remote. My analysts who do background checks all day or the behavior style that I look for is basically pretty introverted, very low sociability, low dominance. I’m looking for people that work at a really steady pace and are really driven to complete the work every day.

And those folks, in my experience over the last year and a half, those folks love working remote. I mean, in our office we have big open office area, and even when we were all in the office together, they were Skyping with each other back and forth rather than asking questions verbally. Picking up the phone or even walking over to other people’s desks. They would Skype all day.

So we were three weeks into the pandemic and I was really concerned and checking in on everybody, and they’re all like, oh no, this is great. This is just like being at the office except I don’t have to put on shoes and I don’t have to drive to the office every day. And we’re staying remote. Our productivity by all of our measures is higher than it was a pre-pandemic.

I mean, a lot of my employees have an hour, hour and a half of their day back just from avoiding the commute. So I think you’re going to see that. But I do think there are certain environments where high sociability is rewarded and is a benefit. And I think you’re going to see those folks either have a hybrid model or be back full-time.

But in looking at what we’ve seen with the Delta variant so far, and the CDC came out with some new suggestions yesterday, I think there may be a little yo-yo back and forth to figure out how different employers are going to respond to it.

We had one of our hires that we’ve made since going remote, he washed out after about three weeks and just said, I’ve never worked remote before and the isolation is much more than I expected and I need to be in an office with other people. And I said, God bless you, man, I get it. And I’m the same way.

If they closed every restaurant in Fort Worth and I couldn’t go have coffee or do something every day during the pandemic, I would have been climbing the walls. When all the coffee shops were closed, the Starbucks at Kroger was still open. So I would go get a Starbucks at Kroger and walk the isles. I need people. So I understood what-

Yeah. And so I got it. So I think they’re going to be people who just can’t do the remote thing and I think employers are going to have to start really customizing their brand as to how they recruit employees around those kinds of issues.

Because some are going to demand it, some are going to want the flexibility of hybrid, and some are just going to want to be around people in the office. So I think we’re going to have to figure that out.

But that is all the time we have for this morning. Thanks for joining us, Terri. I really appreciate it.

Terri Swain: Any time, Mike.

Mike Coffey: And thank you for listening.

You can find previous episodes, show notes, and contact info for our guests at goodmorninghr.com, or on our Facebook or Instagram feeds. And don’t forget to follow us wherever you get your podcasts.

Rob Upchurch is our technical producer and Imperative’s marketing coordinator. Katy Bautista keeps the trains running on time. And I’m Mike Coffey. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if I can be of service to you professionally or personally. I’ll see you next week, and until then, keep your chin up and think big thoughts.