This week’s guest on Let’s Fix Work is Joe Hirsch, TEDx speaker and best-selling author of ‘The Feedback Fix’ and managing director of Semaca Partners, a boutique communications firm. Joe is also an award-winning educational leader in using applied behavioral science to create more positive and better-performing workplaces.

In this episode, Laurie asks Joe about his philosophy behind creating positive change and his methods of optimizing how you give and receive feedback. He also explains the correct mindset to approach feedback as a manager, do you want to force a change or provoke an insight? Laurie and Joe discuss bypassing resistance to change and how traditional performance management falls short when compared to treating people as agents of change.

Laurie quizzes Joe about when it is appropriate and how to tell someone that their feedback is unwanted, and both then discuss some anecdotes about times they received feedback that was difficult to digest. Joe and Laurie then explore how to avoid recreating family dynamics in a professional environment and why it is important to deputize and delegate feedback as a manager.

Laurie and Joe unpack some of the preconceptions about gender roles pertaining to feedback, Joe covers the importance of collaboration and towards the end of the episode, gives his conclusions about the collaborative nature of feedback and a gem of a quote. “Letting go isn’t about what you give up, it’s about what you give.” We’ll be using that one in the future.

Twitter: @joemhirsch


Book: “The Feedback Fix: Dump the Past, Embrace the Future, and Lead the Way to Change”


TEDx Video: “The Joy of Getting Feedback”


How do you know it’s the end of the year? Everybody asks for predictions.

This week, I was honored to appear on Changing The Game with HR, Presented by SAP. The host is Bonnie D. Graham, who happens to live down the road from me, and the panelists included Art Mazur and Dr. Patti Fletcher.

I was asked to share my 2019 predictions for HR, which are mostly predictions scraped together from other smart thinkers. But here’s what I believe:

User personalization continued to be a hot consumer trend in 2018, and the desire for customization has arrived within the confines of HR. At all levels, the employee experience demands a customized user experience in the workplace. In a tight labor market, recruiters and HR leaders have been pushed to put the employee’s experience at the center of their policies and processes to attract and retain highly productive and talented workers. The benefit of personalization is that our workforce doesn’t need to search for resources and information, thus allowing more time for increased productivity, efficiency and collaboration.

Compensation is on the minds of many executives and HR leaders. Companies benefited from tax breaks in 2018 and awarded bonuses throughout their organizations; however, for most US workers, wages have barely risen in decades. As we move from a traditional labor force to a distributed workforce rooted in the principles of the gig economy, companies will have to wrestle with critical questions about the importance of financial margins versus the importance of economic wellbeing for FTEs, consultants, and contractors alike.

Wellbeing is a trendy buzzword that isn’t going away in 2019. Rather than focusing on punitive programs meant to guilt people into losing weight, progressive HR departments are getting ahead of the curve and designing creative benefit programs to enhance the quality of life. From nap rooms to pawternity benefits, employers want happier and healthier employees. Do these wellbeing perks work? Only data will tell us.

HR is gonna learn something new. Traditionally, HR departments focused on the organization’s development needs. Training and learning are absolutely on fire, but, in 2019, training and development will be on the minds of HR professionals who haven’t paid attention to their growth. Whereas it was once essential to build individual learning plans for our workforce, we’ll be doing it for ourselves in 2019.

In 2019, we’ll see more business people join the ranks of HR and lead more and more HR organizations. HR was once considered a place to send your low-performing leaders before banishing them entirely; however, now it’s regarded as a stepping stone to additional executive opportunities. How can you lead without knowing the intricacies of your people-related agenda?

What are your predictions? What do you see for HR in 2019? Leave a comment below, and feel free to have a listen to this week’s show!


For episode two of this season, we welcome Nando Rodriguez and German Marin from Brooklyn New York to the show. Nando Rodriguez is a former recruiter and blogger who now works as a coach, influencer and an advocate. German is a LinkedIn headshot and online dating photographer. Both live their lives openly on social media as entrepreneurs and influencers.

To start the interview Laurie asks Nando and German about their early careers, how they got into their current jobs and what it is like living in the public eye through social media. Nando discusses his time as a blogger and what it is like using social media for dating and business, he and German also talk about how they initially met and how their careers have intertwined with their personal lives.

Next, we delve into how Nando and German support and lift each other up in their daily lives. Nando illustrates that knowing someone’s signals and boundaries often come with time, but it is important not to rely on each other for everything. German talks a bit about resisting the urge to control and knowing when to stop and listen. Laurie and the guys then talk about the issues people face when trying to talk about relationships in public and the stigma that often accompanies it.

Laurie then probes into the finer points of Nando and German’s social media profiles. She asks how they decide what to post, what not to post and how you can balance presentation with authenticity. German explains how to overcome the fear of being on camera and how to use the venerability you feel to create a genuine post.

In the final segment of this episode, Laurie asks what Nando and German have planned for 2019 and what they each expect from the other, to assist them in accomplishing their goals. The guys talk about some of their own experiences where their work was broken and how they fixed it, which leads into a discussion about the psychology of inferiority and how being an immigrant can play into that. Nando tells some stories about German’s adjustment process and his self-perception. Before we say goodbye Nando and German talk a little about their dog and her booming social media career.

Episode Links:

Nando Rodriguez 

German Marin

Leona the Lion

Immigrants Make Shit Happen


I only hang out with badass women who ask tough questions about the status quo.

Earlier this week, I talked to Katie Augsburger. Based in Portland, she is a hands-on HR professional with demonstrated success in leadership and employee development, organizational design, change management, strategic planning, compensation and creating performance management programs. Katie is an effective communicator and manager, with a passion for employee engagement and creating a learning environment.

She’s been on my podcast!

Katie wants to increase her keynote speaking opportunities in 2019 but hates the limited mindset that’s found on the conference circuit.

– Why is public speaking so competitive?
– Why is event planning so hard to deconstruct?
– Why is public speaking such a blood sport?

Katie asks great questions because she has an abundance mindset. The term “abundance mindset” was coined by Steven Covey. It’s a concept where a person believes there are enough resources and successes to share with others. A rising tide lifts all boats. Let’s come together and share opportunities, not fight amongst one another.

Unfortunately, public speaking is based on the scarcity mindset.

The scarcity mindset is the belief that there will never be enough — money, food, emotions, sex, or keynote speaking opportunities — and as a result, your actions and thought are aggressive because you fear the lack of future opportunities.

So, there’s tension for speakers like Katie who embrace abundance but want to hustle in a system built on scarcity. How do you operate according to your values but, also, compete and succeed?

Well, I’ve been thinking about Katie’s particular challenges all week. If you believe in abundance, you have to model it. She’ll need to pass on speaking gigs and refer others like crazy and hope that karma pays off.

Additionally, Katie should seek out event organizers who pay all speakers — not just keynoters — and spread the wealth among all workers who contribute to the show’s success.

Finally, if the system is broken, you need a new system. Katie could create her platform and give a voice to others. Test a new model for delivering big ideas where the attendee experience exceeds a traditional conference because it’s a new and different approach to sharing ideas.

In short, Katie has her work cut out for her. I know she’ll figure it out.

In the meantime, I have a recommendation if you’re an event planner or conference organizer: Katie is your woman if you want a badass speaker who has an extensive background in HR and applies systems-thinking to the status quo topic of diversity & inclusion.

What I love about Katie — and women like her — is she can compete with the best of the best while being supportive of her colleagues and peers. What event planner doesn’t want someone like that at their conference?


My buddy Josh Bersin lights the world on fire with his research and insights about the world of work.

Last week, he gave us the 15 coolest perks to hit the office in 2019.

Pawternity sounds cool. Who wouldn’t want a 23-and-me for your dog? Spa services and nap rooms sound trendy and interesting, too. But an employer that pays you fairly and gives you meaningful time off — the kind of space where you’re allowed to untether yourself from mobile devices — doesn’t need to give you free beer and fertility coaching. You could do all of it for yourself.

Do Perks Matter in a Tight Job Market?

People keep telling me that creative perks matter in a tight job market, and I’m not sure they’re wrong. Historically, most jobs suck. Recruiters sell you on a disingenuous employer brand that never fails to disappoint. So, if you have to work, you might as well pick a job that gives you some fun perks on the side.

But I’m not sure we’ve tested the benefits and limitations of perks properly. Why not allow for more self-determination in the benefits selection process? Why not give employees a real option to choose their perks?

Some companies allow employees to choose their benefits from an a la carte menu, but the offerings are pre-determined, tax-friendly to the employer, and based on favorable relationships with vendors. I’m not saying those choices are wrong; however, we live in a world where many professional workers can’t afford a $500 emergency in their lives, and it would be great to offer a stipend and allow your employees the option to choose between an additional retirement contribution, an extra student loan payment, or free beer.

They might not choose what I would want, but it would be a nice experiment to test whether creative perks are a bigger draw to talented workers than ongoing financial security.

Can HR Fix Perks?

Sabbaticals and spa rooms are smashing — and I would die for a massage right about now — but those items are activities, not benefits or even perks.

If HR wants to fix work — and I think they do — they can start by being teachers and advisors. We can create a self-sufficient workforce that makes good decisions about money, savings and retirement. And our primary mode of teaching is through the implementation of policies and programs that prioritize physical, emotional and financial health.

We can make a difference by helping employees choose a lasting financial legacy instead of misapplying those funds to build a nap room.

Again, pawternity tests sound fantastic, but we’re collectively shortchanging an improved version of our future if we don’t grab the $99 bucks that’s being given to the dog DNA vendor for this “benefit” and apply it to a financial program that enhances our lives.

Because if we’re not working to create a better future for ourselves and our families, I don’t know why we’re working at all.


Let’s Fix Work is back for Season 2.

The first episode has Laurie interviewing a returning audience favorite, Áine Cain. Áine is a reporter in the retail section at Business Insider. She covers Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Lowe’s.

We begin the episode catching up with Áine about her recent trip to Iceland, involving hotdogs, highlands and the famous Blue Lagoon. Laurie asks Áine about the impact of the trends toward online shopping and the current retail situation some have termed the ‘retailpocalypse’. Áine unpacks why some stores are moving towards what they call ‘omnichannel outlets’, in an attempt to become more flexible and pivot to customer’s needs.

The next segment starts with a discussion about Amazon’s recent pay debacle and their ‘gig economy’, which leads to some exploration of working conditions at larger companies. Laurie poses the question “is there still room in the market for boutique outlets?” and casts a skeptical eye over the theory that employee happiness directly impacts profitability. Laurie and Áine then discuss to what extent moral judgments play in customer’s shopping choices and what on the whole creates brand loyalty.

Áine is in a new role at Business Insider since her last appearance on the podcast, and she gives us some insight into what it was like for her to transition into retail reporting. Laurie comments on how statistically atypical Áine’s current career is for her generation. She commutes to work and has a job with a desk. Many GenXers are leaving those jobs, but Áine enjoys her organization’s culture.

Then to finish up, Laurie and Áine talk a little about Black Friday’s dwindling influence over holiday shopping—and whether or not self-checkout is actually faster than someone doing it for you—before saying goodbye for this week.


Áine Caine on Business Insider

Áine Caine on LinkedIn

Áine Caine on Twitter

‘We sped like crazy’: Amazon delivery drivers say they feel pressure to drive dangerously, urinate in bottles, and sprint on the job


About five years ago, I was asked to a super-secret lunch to answer one question:

“What do you think of an idea called WorkHuman?”

I was like, whoa, tell me more.

My friends at Globoforce wanted to launch a movement to bring more humanity to the workplace. America was feeling its sea legs from the Great Recession. People were rejoining the workforce. Topics like big data and AI were emerging in HR-friendly circles, but few people were discussing diversity, inclusion, and employee emotions.

What did I think of a community, a conference, and a movement called “WorkHuman” to help HR professionals and business leaders create high-performing organizations that also care about individual workers?

I remember saying, “Your idea is big and bold. If you do it right, the market will copy you.”

I have to laugh because — not that it matters — Globoforce got it right. It turns out, people want to work human. Here we are in late 2018 with sub-4% unemployment and almost every significant employer out there is talking about “being human” or “working human” or “bringing humanity back to the workplace.”

You can’t work in HR without working human.

WorkHuman turns five in 2019.

The first WorkHuman was a leap of faith, but every single event after has doubled in size. I love it when the market recognizes a good idea. More importantly, it’s rewarding to see a change in behavior within the human resources industry. Whereas HR professionals once tried to align themselves with a 1995 University of Michigan model where they are business consultants first and human beings second, now it’s clear you must attend to individual and social needs first to move the business forward.

I’m still helping out in the background with WorkHuman because I’m 100% down with putting humanity at the core of workplace issues. I’m a paid consultant to the conference, but I’ll be doing a live webcast on Tuesday, December 4th at 1 PM ET with my buddy Jason Lauritsen.

It’s free, and I hope you can attend. Jason and I will tell stories about work and bring you real-world answers to help make your workplace more productive, more engaging, and, ultimately, more human.

Isn’t that what HR is all about?

PS – Want to attend WorkHuman 2019 but need a discount code? Here’s mine: WH19INFLRU

I am nearing the end of “light duty,” no thanks to my gallbladder surgery. What an exhausting journey, but I’m feeling much better.

What is light duty?

Light or modified duty means your employer has put you in a less physically demanding job until you are healed from a medical condition. It can also mean that your employer might alter your current position to meet the restrictions imposed by your doctor or medical team.

Sometimes you’re on light duty because of an injury at work. Other times, it’s because of a temporary medical condition such as surgery or pregnancy. You might also be on light duty because of chronic disease.

I’m grateful for the time off. My clients have been accommodating, my husband has been doing extra chores, and nobody questions me when I ask for help lifting heavy items.

When I tried to push myself and go back to the gym, my surgeon said, “There’s never going to be another time in your life when someone tells you not to exercise. Do you want a hernia? Get your steps in, of course, but don’t push it. Want to do something? Finish your book.”

Snap. Other people aren’t so lucky.

My first HR job was an internship at a candy factory, and my colleagues thought light duty was a scam. People were trying to get out of doing their jobs. Back in 1995, final decisions on light duty were made by the holy triumvirate of the HR Director, plant manager, and union representatives. I don’t remember a ton of sympathy for employees, and most requests — even pregnancy — were viewed with a hermeneutic of suspicion.

It’s not much better now.

Since light duty requests now intersect with FMLA and ADA, many organizations have experts — nurses or third-party medical providers — who review light duty requests and make those decisions. But women are still forced to work physically demanding jobs, and there was a recent article about the high number of women who miscarry in America because they’re forced to choose between being pregnant and work.

What am I doing to fix work for people on light duty?

Well, I have a podcast called “Let’s Fix Work,” and it’s mostly a bunch of privileged people talking about how to fix the professional workforce. Yes, I’m self-aware.

Some of the episodes are pragmatic and helpful, but I’d like to focus more on fixing work for people who need light duty — in the restaurant, retail, healthcare, and transportation industries. Our workforce is sore, suffers from lower back pain, and miscarries at a higher rate. But there aren’t a lot of good answers for it, either.

So far, I’ve learned the answer to fixing work and addressing wellbeing is to swap out the commoditized workforce and replaces them with robots, kiosks, and self-checkout lanes. Then, we send those workers off to a community college to be retrained. But retrained for what? What jobs exist in the future? How do they get paid while they’re retrained? Nobody has good answers to those questions.

Season 2 of Let’s Fix Work kicks off next week.

My light duty ends on Wednesday, which means the next season of Let’s Fix Work is underway. We’ve got Áine Cain on December 3rd. She’s a returning guest and a retail reporter for Business Insider. We’re talking about the real world of work at Costco, Amazon, Target, Home Depot, Lowes and Walmart. I’m excited to have her back and hope you find the conversation interesting.

More importantly, I’m working hard to create a season of Let’s Fix Work that is helpful, interesting, and a little different from your average business podcast. Hope you hear things on my show that you wouldn’t learn anywhere else. And I appreciate your support as I emerge from the shadow of light duty.

I’m feeling better, and I hope it shows in the quality of my work.


Last week, I did a series of posts on where you can donate over the holidays and on Giving Tuesday.

The places were:

Hustle Chicago 2019
• The GoFundMe for Ita Olsen — her house burnt down in the California wildfires
• Safe Haven for Cats

I’d also like to offer a few more ideas.

1. Kalamazoo Animal Rescue. I still have two cats from this lovely organization that survived the Great Recession in Michigan by the sheer force and creativity of its volunteers. When I first began volunteering there, I was appalled by what people would do to animals. But then I learned what people would do for animals, and it restored my faith in our community.

2. Independent Animal Rescue. That’s where I found Roxy, at a Petco, while running an errand. She’s the smoochiest love of my life. And IAR is a wonderful organization that fosters some of the sweetest cats and dogs. Worth a donation.

3. InterAct of Wake County. I tried to volunteer here but had a panic attack during volunteer training. It turns out, I’m sensitive to domestic violence topics. I’ve come to support them through money and donations to the thrift store.

4. Planned Parenthood. There is no gender equality at work without reproductive freedom. You can’t trust women to run a company if you can’t trust women with their bodies.

5. New Moms. This is a Chicago charity that’s near and dear to my heart. The best way to be pro-life is to fund life-altering institutions. New Moms is one of those organizations.

I’d love to hear where you are donating on #GivingTuesday. Got a recommendation? Leave it in the comments below.


Black Friday

Hey, everybody. Happy Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday rolled into one weird weekend for solopreneurs like me who sell services on the internet.

I’m working feverishly on my book, but it’s too soon to sell you anything other than a manuscript. But I do have two deals you might want to buy.

I’m running an online course for risk-taking in 2019. I took a risk on myself while working in a corporate job, and it paid off. Is there one thing you want to accomplish in 2019 but seems daunting? Want to get promoted? Go back to school? Start a small business? Become a public speaker? Let’s work on it together. Click the link, and you’ll get 25% off my class — that’s $360 if you can’t do the math.

Total Amount: $360.00

Wonder where your life is headed? Struggling on the job? Hate your boss? Need a pep talk and a plan but don’t have time for my online class? I’m not your life coach or therapist, but let’s fix work by brainstorming. Click on the link below and book me for an hour. I usually charge $160, but you’ll get a deal at $79. Buy one session or six. Buy a session for a friend as a holiday gift. Whatever you need, let me know. You can email me at with questions before you buy.

Total Amount: $79.00

These offers are good until Monday at 11:59 PM ET. Would love to help you kick ass and take names in 2019.


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