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The People MBA

You've heard it before: "HR deserves a seat at the table." It's far from reality for most organizations that see talent acquisition as a cost center and not the heartbeat of any successful company. That's why we invited Jeff Lackey, founder and CEO at JKL Advisors and podcast host of 'Growing Your Business with People' to come to give some sound advice on how Human Resources can get off the sidelines and into the game. A great discussion for newbies and grizzled veterans alike.

Intro: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HR's Most Dangerous Podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese Podcast.

Joel: Oh, yeah. What's up, everybody? It's your favorite degenerates, aka the Chad and Cheese podcast. I'm your co-host, Joel Cheesman. Joined as always... The Rice to my Montana, Chad Sowash is here. We're happy to welcome Jeff Lackey to the show. Jeff is founder and CEO of JKL Advisors and also the podcast host of Growing Your Business with People. He's also an Ohio State grad, which we got to mention on the show. Jeff, welcome to the podcast.

Jeff Lackey: Oh, yeah. Giving you the O-H-I-O, baby.

Joel: The O-H-I-O, baby.

Jeff Lackey: That's right.

Joel: Yeah. We got faces for video on this show.

Jeff Lackey: I love it.

Joel: So, we do podcasts...

Jeff Lackey: Faces, yes.

Joel: We do voice.

Jeff Lackey: Yeah, that's right.

Chad: I can't believe you came out... You came out of the freaking pipe with a San Francisco reference after they just got... Purdy just got nailed. [laughter]

Joel: Gronk and Brady was close but I decided to go Montana, Rice, 'cause based on the demographic of this podcast, I thought that was more relevant. [laughter] Yeah, middle aged White guys on a podcast.

Chad: The catch, you thought it was more of a Dwight Clark type. Gotcha. Well, Jeff, thanks for coming on show, man. So, for all of those people who don't know you, give us a little Twitter bio about you. We'll get into the whole business stuff and all that other fun stuff later but...

Joel: Who's Jeff?

Chad: Long walks on the beach? I mean do you like hiking on snow-capped mountains? What does Jeff like to do?

Jeff Lackey: So, hey, thanks for having me on your show. Bottom line is, is that I'm a pretty normal guy, I got four kids, my wife and I. We have one dog, two cats. And so, we just like to enjoy life. We do a lot of stuff. The fun thing we just got done doing this most recent period was my kids are all getting to that place, my youngest kid just turned 18. So, my oldest is 25.

Chad: Nice.

Jeff Lackey: We were always the house that everybody comes to. Everybody comes to our house. So, my wife decided, hey, all the friends come over. So, she decided we're gonna have a pajama party. So, the pajama party, we were just like... [laughter] That's right.


Jeff Lackey: We get green ones for the boys, red for the girls. The whole thing. She's got Cuddl Duds pajamas for all of them, she got through Kohl's. So, nothing risque.

Joel: Cuddl what?

Jeff Lackey: Cuddl Duds. It's really soft. They get softer as you wash them. They're amazing.


Joel: In case you need a Valentine's Day gift.

Chad: Joel's gonna go get a pair.

Jeff Lackey: Get two. Get two. Yeah.

Chad: Get two. They're small.


Jeff Lackey: So, we have all these people. We have 30 pairs of pajamas. 30 kids over here. And we get everything. We got pizza. We got stuff, all sorts of stuff. We did some barbecue. Anyhow, we also break out the 20 year old chocolate fountain. This thing is amazing. This thing is... It's top of the line 20 years ago but after 20 years, a chocolate fountain can go bad.

Chad: No wonder everybody wanted to come to your house. My God.

Joel: That escalated quickly. [laughter]

Jeff Lackey: Exactly.

Chad: Of course, they have a chocolate fountain. Who the hell would not want to come to Jeff's house?

Jeff Lackey: Exactly.

Joel: This is the most random Twitter bio ever. [laughter]

Jeff Lackey: It is.

Chad: I love it. Carry on.

Jeff Lackey: But we have this chocolate fountain. And unfortunately, the heating element may be going after 20 years. So, we're trying to keep the chocolate melting. Unfortunately, if you think about it, the chocolate fountain has an auger in the very middle that's pushing the chocolate to the top and then flowing off the sides very beautifully. But whenever that doesn't happen properly, eventually the chocolate in the middle starts to harden. And the auger which was originally pushing up chocolate, now becomes a spiral that shoots straight up into the air, spreading chocolate all over the place and then proceeds to go straight into the trash can.

Jeff Lackey: I can't even make this stuff up. So, if you wanna describe what it is to be in Jeff Lackey's family, that chocolate fountain describes it all. So anyhow. And on top of that, I had a little career places, like CVS Health and Rolls-Royce and what have you. And my team's helped hire over a million people across eight different industries in 70 different countries but honestly, the fun part of my life is where I get to do fun things with my family and my kids. So, there you go. There's your Twitter bio.

Joel: And you have a podcast. Tell us quickly about that. It's brand new.

Chad: It's brand new.

Joel: Three episodes.

Jeff Lackey: So, my podcast is Growing Your Business with People. It's a podcast that's dedicated to business leaders, CEOs who really wanna get their MBA in people, 'cause you can get an MBA in Finance, in Marketing, a lot of other things but very few places, you're getting a real MBA focused on people. And what most would tell you is that people are your only asset. They're not just your best asset or most important, they're your only asset. So, we have people that are Fortune 100 CEOs, heads of the business, subject matter experts, best-selling authors. We have people that are international superstars but also we have the former head of recruiting for the CIA. So, if all else fails, we have an interesting lineup of individuals that I get to talk to that give practical advice to these business leaders but we could never hope to be as entertaining as Chad and Cheese. We always hold you up on a pedestal of like, wow...

Joel: Say more.

Jeff Lackey: If we could just do that.


Chad: Jeff hit on it a little bit there. He's been a practitioner in talent acquisition for a long time. Dude, you've been around the block. Okay?

Jeff Lackey: I have.

Chad: Companies like Corning, Rolls-Royce and your last gig at CVS as VP of Talent Acquisition. So, that's how you can get those amazing talent types of people on the show. I wanted to bring you on the show today because you are one of the few TA leaders that actually sat at the adult table with the C-suite. And as the Chad and Cheese podcast does, we're always challenging TA leaders to get out of the fetal position and stop talking about hiring metrics and start talking about business cases and business metrics, which you are famous for doing. So, that's why you're here today. So, to be able to help our listeners knuckle down and start to understand what a business case looks like. Yeah. So, the first question, during the pandemic, HR and TA became a major player as companies started to understand that they couldn't develop new products, sell those products, retain customers or even build those customers without the people. So, why are HR and TA still at the kids' table?

Jeff Lackey: Great question. And Chad, what I'll tell you right now is that the first thing as a TA professional you need to learn is how does your business make money? Because without knowing how it makes money, you don't have a hope to be able to have a real conversation. And then the second part is understanding what is the strategy your business has to be able... Is it a growth strategy? Is it a cost-saving strategy? Is it a market capture strategy? What is the strategy that you're going after? If you understand those two things, then you can start to think about, Okay... So you need to ask yourself the question, how does this tie into the business case? And then how do I relate the metrics?

Jeff Lackey: So for example, we were big on a growth capture strategy, we were about to deliver 70 million vaccines and 50 million tests during the middle of Covid. Part of that was to say we had an opportunity to access customers that people who weren't otherwise our customers coming in our stores but if we couldn't do those things through our talent acquisition, there's no way... If we couldn't get the people to deliver the vaccines and to deliver the Covid test, we weren't gonna be able to have the ability to capture the market and service the public.

Jeff Lackey: So what do we do? We said, okay, if we are able to do it, we're gonna do things that are completely out of the box and different, because 50 million customers is a big deal and you almost can't outspend how much it needs to be to be able to do that. So we said we're gonna do things like a campaign where it's just dedicated to hiring 50,000 people in a day. We're going to go after capabilities in specific target areas that other people are struggling to get but we're gonna capture those people because we're gonna go after it in a completely different way and we're gonna unleash every single barrel that we have.

Jeff Lackey: And I'm gonna talk with the business leaders like Sharon Vitti, who's the CEO of ATI Physical Therapy now, who was the president of MinuteClinic back then. And she and I would have nearly daily conversations about where our staff levels are, how's our progress and what are the things that are standing in the way. And the last thing that you do is don't be afraid to have the conversation with the business leader directly, because that business leader has the capability to clear obstacles that you have no idea. So I work with Harry Travis, who'll actually... Also a guest on my show. Who was the SVP of operations, essentially like a COO for the PBM, $180 billion business. He and I would have weekly conversations at the least, to talk about how our staffing plan was gonna match up with what his was, because he was running $180 billion of business.

Jeff Lackey: And he wanted to get very into the weeds, because if he didn't hit his numbers from a staffing plan, he could not hit his numbers from a business delivery plan. And those things were completely tied at the hip and he understood that. So while you have to work with a lot of people, you need to be connected to that senior most business leader and be able to speak their language about the things that are important to them. And be able to have an iterative dialogue and you gotta be a little thick-skinned, because sometimes they're not always happy with the news and you have to be able to stay creative and growth minded to say, okay, things aren't working the way we planned it, 'cause they almost never work the way you planned them, what are we gonna do to learn, pivot and change quickly and agilely.

Jeff Lackey: I think Sharon called it scrappy. It always felt like we were being scrappy even though we were a Fortune 4 company, because we were willing to pivot, change based on data and information. Hopefully that gives a start to somebody who's listening on the podcast.

Chad: It almost feels like TA, in many cases, they don't go far enough, they just... They don't have a spine in many cases. They're just waiting to receive what you need as opposed to going further to see what the business needs, not just what that department but what actually the business needs. What's your advice to a TA leader to actually go further and not to be afraid? I think that's our biggest issue, because I've had so many CHROs actually say, "Chad, we're a cost center," they see themselves in that manner, so therefore they're automatically in the fetal position and cowering and not ready to ask for money when they need it. So how do you get out of that mindset?

Jeff Lackey: Oh, I love that question, that is so good. Two things. One, I'm gonna take you back to when I was an executive recruiter like 25-years-old, hiring CEOs and other people. I was completely ill-prepared for that type of work. But the first thing that I did was I actually imagined myself as a CEO, as a peer to the people that I'm working with, I did not consider myself subordinated to them. I put myself into their mental head space and I wanted to be there toe-to-toe, shoulder-to-shoulder and think like them. Now, I wasn't capable of thinking completely like them but in my mind, I imagined that I was and I got the respect and I got the people to pay attention to me and listen to me even at 25-years-old. The second thing though, you need to be able to understand what is the business case and how does it translate in the money for them.

Jeff Lackey: One of the things that I talk frequently on my podcast and I've talked frequently with the executives to say, "How important is a customer to you?" And they'll be like, "Well, they're everything," like, "No, how much does it cost you to do this piece of business?" "Oh, okay. Well, it costs me this much." "How much, if you don't have the people, is it costing you per day? How much per day is it costing you not to have the people?" And see, if the answer is zero, don't hire them, shut the rack down, you don't need that person. But if there's a cost... If that CEO or business leader says there's a cost and knows what it is, then they should be able to articulate it. And then you say, "Okay, let's take a look at what we're doing to invest in hiring against that position or those series of positions and see if that makes up for it."

Jeff Lackey: Are we doing 10% of the cost of the impact, 'cause we don't wanna erode all of the value of hiring of the new person but we do have to re-invest to be able to capture some of the value here and that's part of the investment. The other thing is that, as I talk to CHROs and business leaders, I tell them, I say, "What do you think the cost is for having a poor candidate experience?" Especially those business leaders that don't seem to care how they treat the candidate? And they go, "Well... " And they give some answer and I say, "Well, you might be surprised to find that depending on the research, between 40% and 80% of all candidates who have a poor experience thus will become a detractor, a six or less on a net promoter score are likely to abandon the brand." I had 10 million candidates coming through my pipeline every single year at CVS, I could not afford that large of an abandonment rate and neither can any TA professional.

Chad: Well, what about at Rolls-Royce though? Because you weren't a consumer products organization. I wasn't going out and buying a jet engine. So you have many companies that say, "Well, that's not how our business works." You thought that way at Rolls-Royce too. How did you work that in your mind?

Jeff Lackey: Well, the pitch is a little different. So, not being consumer products, you don't necessarily go after that but you still keep it firmly in your head that actually attracting candidates... You have to remember that building your brand with the candidates is gonna lead you to hiring better people. So the spin is different to say, okay, do you want the second best or the third best or do you want to alienate your candidates so that they go to the competitors and they talk bad or do you wanna get your first pick?

Jeff Lackey: Because even though this person isn't your first pick, I use those relationships for referrals and to be able to get to other individuals. So they might not be the first pick for that job but they might be very well the first pick for another job within Rolls-Royce. And they might very well be the influencer that you don't even see. That is the person that leads another top tier pick to be able to be hired by Rolls-Royce. So I hit that. The other thing is cost. Rolls-Royce was big into watching pennies. And I'd say, well, guess what, if you want me to spend less ad dollars, you need to treat your candidates better. That's the bottom line.

Joel: Jeff, that's just radical thinking by the way. That's just radical thinking.

Jeff Lackey: I could show cost per hire differences between the leaders with higher NPS scores versus the leaders with lower NPS scores and show them side-by-side. And it was staggering, the difference. Staggering.

Joel: You want to name a number or two or just say it's staggering?

Jeff Lackey: So staggering is pretty big but I would say in at least two that I'm thinking of off the top of my head and there were literally thousands of cases that we would have. But in two that I was thinking of, there was between a 50%-75% difference in cost per hire. Now, if you think about that being several thousands of dollars, that also... And that's on a per hire basis, that's real money that starts to add up. And whenever I was sitting and talking with the COO and CFO of Rolls-Royce in Buckingham Gate, literally 300 yards away from Buckingham Palace, at 7:30 at night, talking about hiring, one of the things we talked about was the fact that, "Hey, guys, you want to drive down cost? So do I. Treat our candidates better. And let me show you how that drives cost down."

Jeff Lackey: And they were like, "That makes a lot of sense. That's intuitive but we'd never really considered that that way." And so the COO and CFO started to encourage their leadership, first line to say, "No more missed interviews, no more last minute changes. No more treating them the wrong way. You have to be... You should be held accountable to treat them the right way." And that changed things.

Joel: I want to jump back real quick and then come back to the sort of branding experience question. I had to bite my tongue and not drop a no shit Captain Obvious when you said, "We have to know how we make money and what the vision is of the company and how you fit into that."

Chad: So alien.

Joel: Which makes me think that more than 50% of HR leaders don't know the answers to those questions, otherwise you wouldn't have said it. But I also think there's a disconnect in the C-suite level when you have CEOs all over the place saying people are our most important resource. Those conversations clearly aren't happening. And it's a two-way street. And we obviously focus on the HR side. Why aren't CEOs having those conversations with the HR leaders?

Jeff Lackey: Because they're afraid. They're afraid to have the conversation because they don't know what they're talking about because they never got an MBA in people. They could talk intelligently about marketing and operations and about everything else but when it comes to the talent acquisition or the people side of it, that is very, very fuzzy to many business leaders. They know how they like to manage and how their management routines...

Joel: But every CEO knows how they make money and they know the vision of the company. They should be able to talk about that. I understand they may not be able to talk about...

Jeff Lackey: There's a translation issue because HR's talking about...

Joel: How do we get those conversations to happen.

Jeff Lackey: You watched my podcast. That's exactly it. [chuckle] Well and here's the thing here, there's good information out there. The HR folks are just using the wrong language. They're not using the language of business, the TA folks are not using the language of business when talking to their business leaders. They're not using the language of finance and operations or marketing, et cetera. They're using their HR language, which doesn't necessarily compute because these people haven't been trained in it. So it's literally like talking a separate foreign language to somebody and that person going, "I know what you're saying. I need to understand but I have no idea what to do with what you just told me."

Joel: So someone like you would be a translator.

Jeff Lackey: A translator. That's right.

Chad: Well, I mean that in itself though, if you think about it... 'Cause cost per hire and time to fill just doesn't go far enough.

Jeff Lackey: It doesn't.

Chad: Yeah. It's almost like the starting point, believe it or not. I mean, there's a good amount of work that actually get there but you have to be able to demonstrate how that time to hire, as you'd said earlier, impacts the bottom line. So if I have sales positions open, what does that key market managers actually cost per day revenue to the bottom line? If you know that, you extrapolate it over a month, you can say, this is what it's costing because we have a shitty experience and because we can't get people hired within a 60 day timeframe. I'd like to cut that to 30 days.

Jeff Lackey: 100%.

Chad: And here's the budget I need to do that.

Jeff Lackey: One of my clients... And most of my clients now are not Fortune 5 companies, they're more mid-market companies. And so we're talking EBITDA. As you talk about that, one of the first things I ask every client is, "How many openings do you have right now?" If we're talking talent acquisition. And, "What is the cost of all of those openings to your EBITDA? How much are they costing you on a daily, weekly, monthly basis?" In one case, not mentioning any clients, that was literally between $20 and $25 million worth of EBITDA. Now, for those people who don't know what EBITDA is, we're talking in everyday conversation, profit. It's profit after interest and after taxes and after deductions and amortization and all that. But it's profit. So the question to you is, if you had $20 to $25 million worth of profit sitting on a table that you couldn't access, how much would you be willing to spend to get it?

Chad: Yeah, 'cause it's there.

Jeff Lackey: It's there. All you have to do is scrape it off the table. And the only thing that you had to do is be able to get the people into those roles, because in this case and scenario, those people were directly related to that profit. Their ability to deliver services were directly related to the ability for revenue and then ultimately profitability. But what the other thing is, I always say talk head and heart, because CEOs also often have a big heart. They have a big head, they have a big heart. And you say, What is our mission? What are we trying to do for our customers? If we have these people on there, not only how much more money are we gonna be making but also how are we gonna service our customers in a way that really matters to them?

Jeff Lackey: If you have patients, maybe if it's a physical therapy, like I had extreme sciatica, extreme. And I was diagnosed, I got physical therapy, sign off, I go straight there from the doctor's office as soon as they gave me that and I walked in and she said, she goes, "Okay, we'll see you in two weeks. We'll get your first appointment." I'm not even joking. I could have cried at that moment. I was in that bad a pain. And she just saw it on my face. So what did she do? She worked her magic and kinda worked in and the next business day, she got me in but you know what that was, that was at the expense of that physical therapist who probably was already overloaded in that moment taking just one more patient on but if they had plenty of people, they would have just said, "Oh yeah. Tomorrow, we'll get you in, we'll get you set and no problem," and that wouldn't have over-taxed that physical therapist.

Jeff Lackey: That's what you as a TA professional are doing by helping to... You've talked about cycle time and cost per hiring, all this sort of stuff. Talk about the real impact to real people. Actually talk to the people who you're recruiting in the field and who are delivering service to customers and oh, by the way, go with your CEO whenever she or he are doing that and both of you have the conversation with those people and say... I would go to stores and I'd say, "So tell me about it." During the pandemic, one of the store managers broke down in tears because he couldn't find people fast enough. You better believe I moved heaven and earth to make sure that that store was never again in that situation and I wish I could have done it for all 10,000 all the time.

Chad: But you could have easily lost that individual and then you would have had a bigger position to fill. And that's the thing, is that I think in many cases, we're not articulating back to the business units. They want those people but as you had said, as hiring managers, they're missing interviews. They're doing stupid shit that impacts the candidate experience but it also impacts their team because it stretches them too thin and then retention falls to shit and people are gone before you know it. So if you think about, let's take a look at the positions that are open right now.

Chad: Now, if you're not doing your job with regard to the process of getting those positions filled, then you're gonna over-stretch your team, you're gonna lose more people and then that's more money you're gonna be missing to the bottom line or retention because of customer service or technology and product being developed. To me though, Jeff, why is this such a huge stretch? As Joel was just saying, this seems so common sense. We're here for a reason but we only go so far. We only go up to the line of cost per hire and then we just stop.

Jeff Lackey: Because... Joel hit it on the head. He hit it on the head. There's been a transference of accountability for the hiring to TA. TA does not hire. TA, Talent Acquisition, does not hire. My purpose statement for my team was, we help our leaders higher great people. TA does not hire unless they hire for themselves. Leaders hire. Start with the leader and keep accountability where it's supposed to be with that leader. Second, own the parts that you can own to make the process better but do it with the leader. Stop going off into La la land and developing something that may or may not be useful and doing it without the input from the leader. That's ridiculous 'cause they'll never use it. They don't want it. They don't want you to do that. So here's a dirty little secret. I know you guys like the dirty little secrets here.

Chad: Always. Always.

Jeff Lackey: Do you know that between 30% to 50% of my budget was not actually given to me from HR? I had business leaders who were essentially putting money and resources and people into my recruiting organization, because all I did was tell them, "This is what I'm staffed to do. This is what I can do with what I have but this is what I could do if I had this." And they said, "That's all you need?" And I say, "Yeah, that's all I need but I couldn't get it from any place else. If you give it to me, then I will have it and then you will get what you want." And 95 or more... I still remember one of the business leaders or one of the executive directors worked for me. She actually generated over $10 million worth of new income into TA's budget in one year.


Chad: So again, working directly with the business units... And we've heard a great story from Amy Butchko, who used to be at SAIC, where she was working... And this is a true partnership. She was working with the CRO, because the CROs are like, "Why can't we get our positions filled fast enough?" She showed the CRO, she showed her the applicant tracking system, how it was old, decrepit, it just wasn't working. They went, they got the budget, they imploded the entire applicant tracking system and they moved more to a core talent platform, more of a tech stack and it was a major difference in hiring, not just for the CRO but for the entire organization.

Jeff Lackey: 100%. And the funny thing is, you as a leader will have to sharpen your wits because all of a sudden, you have investors. You have basically internal venture capital, private equity who are funding your organization and they are really gonna be looking for a return on that investment. If you don't give them a return, they're gonna cut you off and your name is gonna be dirt and you will not get it from any other business leader within that organization again. So it's a high risk move, because you're putting your reputation on the line by doing it but if you're confident and you're betting on yourself in these things and you think you can pull it off, you just gotta be ready with the metrics and the measures and the accountability to talk to it on a regular basis with those leaders who gave you the money.

Joel: You gave a great definition of EBITDA. Do the same for NPS for those that don't know.

Jeff Lackey: Sure. So Net Promoter Score, so here's the gist of it. Net Promoter Score is a zero through 10 scale typically. And one through six, zero through six, if somebody says that, that's a detractor. Anybody who gives a zero, one, two, three, four, five, six on the 10-point scale, with 10 being high, zero being low, is a detractor. Seven and eight are considered to be neutral. Those don't give you anything positive or negative, they're considered neutral. And then nine and 10 are considered to be promoters. So in the definition, Net Promoter Score, when they call about net promoters, what that means is that you take your nines and 10s, your promoters, subtract your detractors, your zero through six and that's a score that you come up with.

Jeff Lackey: People often use a 100-point scale, they translate it into it. So say that you had... Out of all your promoters, say like 70, 70 out of 100 were promoters and say 10 out of 100 were detractors and the others were neutral, so you do 70 minus 10, so your Net Promoter Score would be 60 at that point, which actually is pretty solid. My Net Promoter Score for my leaders tended to be closer to 80, which is rock star. My Net Promoter Score for candidates was between 70 and 80, with some cases being as low as 50, depending on what part of the organization but it's hard work to get that NPS to go up and you have to really understand the feedback, take it on and be able to deal with it as real time as possible.

Joel: And you broke down the dollar value in terms of cost if your score is lower. So what I heard in terms of how we get that score up, I heard branding, I heard better tech, less friction. Maybe automation plays into that. Dive into that a little bit. Maybe rank the importance of some of those. What did I miss? How do we get that score up if we think it's low or know it's low?

Jeff Lackey: Right. The first and foremost is understanding your leaders get that it's important and why. Once you have that, the rest of it starts to fall in. I'm a big tech guy. I love tech. I installed 37 different pieces of technology in CVS Health to make it a total of 38 in place. Some of it, I lived to regret, most of which I was happy with eventually because I was able to create an ecosystem that supported the candidate but that tech allowed us to be able to do things like we hired 105,000 in 2019, we hired 212,000 in 2021. You can't do that type of a jump without having a pretty amazing tech stack.

Jeff Lackey: The second thing is the brand. Brand awareness, you have to have a brand but anybody who knows about brand knows that brand starts in the inside, so it's how you treat your people, how you treat your candidates, that's where it starts and then you can really... You do the personas, the promotions and you have amazing people, like I had in my recruitment marketing team doing brilliant things to promote the things that were already being done in the inside, where people were leading with purpose and doing amazing stuff for the organization.

Jeff Lackey: And then the last part is what I call process. It's like reducing that friction. And that's just to say, how are we using the tech and the people and we're looking at it as a system perspective to say... In my case, I had a dream that said, "Hey, we can get this down to a two-hour hire." I did not get to two hours, I'll tell you. In some cases, we got it down to a day or a little bit less for a hire but the fact is, is that how do you get that friction down so that the candidate's experience is less about process and where they need to... It's only about people.

Jeff Lackey: The only part that they should be touching is where they actually have a human-to-human experience, whether it's needed. Like with a leader or maybe with an early-stage recruiter talking about the position because they don't know if they wanna join or not but you shouldn't be talking about, "Click here, push this, send this form, X, Y, Z." That should be very, very fluid. And with all the government regulations, so CEOs who are listening, I try and remind them like, your HR and TA team or DMLI, government regs and it's gonna take creativity to be able to break through and change that around but it's worth it. It's worth the effort.

Joel: I'll let you add on this. Pay transparency is a hot topic these days. You are actually talking to the leaders in this space. How do they feel about pay transparency? And for someone who isn't keen on it, how would you change their mind into embracing it?

Jeff Lackey: That's an excellent question. So a lot of leaders are not familiar with pay transparency. HR leaders are, business leaders often aren't. So I'm often educating them on what it is, where it's going and how really it's a tidal wave of legislation that they really need to get ahead of. In my own opinion, so let's start with that, I'm a big supporter of pay transparency. I am not a supporter of confusion and I think having all the different laws in every different metro area and state is... It's just the early days of any change that happens. Until you get to a place where standardization, people understand where it needs to be standardized and how, there's gonna be some level of confusion but for leaders, I tell them, Why is it important?

Jeff Lackey: Because it levels the playing field for you but it also, it opens an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself in the market by maybe going into that direction before others do. And quite frankly, most CEOs would say, "I want transparency be one of the foundations of our culture." If you want that, let's start with the one thing that's already out there that's being created for you, it's an environment that you can adopt and embrace and then you can point to it and say, "Hey, look, this is what... We did this before others did it." That's a great win. A big W for you as a leader. And it's not even hard. You're probably gonna have to do it anyhow.

Chad: Well, Jeff, we appreciate you coming on the show. We want to...


Chad: We're gonna have you back, because more of an MBA on people is something that we need...

Joel: I feel smarter.

Chad: Our leaders need and they need to hear it from somebody who has done it down in the trenches, then all the way up to the C-Suite. Jeff, if somebody wants to find out more about you, they wanna connect with you, where would you send them?

Jeff Lackey: I would tell them, go to and that's ORS, or go to my YouTube channel, it's youtube/@jkladvisors or you could just Google or go to YouTube and find "Growing Your Business with People." We have some really cool episodes and it's a great compliment to the awesome stuff that you guys are doing, Chad and Cheese, in your podcast, to take it... Say you're focused on a group of folks, I wanna focus on the CEOs who really need that translator. So I'm like the United Nations translator over here, [laughter] connecting CEOs with HR and that's my job. So I really appreciate your time on the show.

Joel: I can dig it. Jeff, thanks for being here. Chad, another one in the books, go bucks. We out.

Chad: We out.

Outro: Wow, look at you. You made it through an entire episode of The Chad and Cheese Podcast or maybe you cheated and fast-forwarded to the end. Either way, there's no doubt you wish you had that time back. Valuable time you could have used to buy a nutritious meal and Taco Bell, enjoy a pour of your favorite whiskey or just watch big booty Latinas and bug fights on TikTok. No, you hung out with these two chuckleheads instead. Now go take a shower and wash off all the guilt but save some soap because you'll be back. Like an awful trainwreck, you can't look away. And like Chad's favorite Western, you can't quit them either. We out.


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