The Journey from IO Psychologist to HR Leader: Mastering the Business of People

Featuring: JP Elliott: HR and Talent Executive & Host of the Future of HR Podcast

In this episode I welcome JP Elliot, HR and Talent Executive & Host of the Future of HR Podcast.

About JP:

JP Elliott is a Ph.D’d IO psychologist and forward-thinking global human resources executive with extensive experience implementing human capital initiatives that drive business results, improve organizational performance, and elevate company culture.  He is a trusted business partner to C-level and senior management teams who can translate business needs into people strategies aligned with the enterprise priorities and P&L targets.

Over his career, JP has been fortunate to work across a broad spectrum of industries and organizations, many under going significant business and culture transformations. These experiences have shaped him into a versatile, pragmatic, and global leader who builds strong teams that deliver results.


“I think we’re always looking for shortcuts, but there isn’t a shortcut.  Most people aren’t overnight successes, they’re actually twenty year overnight successes. And when you start to hear their journeys and get to know them, you’re like, wow, they’ve had setbacks.  They’ve had these things happen, but they stayed focused on delivering results, understanding the business, building great relationships, and finding a way to differentiate themselves along the way.”

– JP Elliott



JP’s podcast is one of my absolute favorite shows.  With a constant roster of big time guests, including famous psychologists such as Jeffery Pfeffer and John Boudreau, seasoned HR leaders, and experts on careers and leadership JP’s show has served as a source of inspiration and career development for me.  So I am really excited to have him as a guest on my show to talk about his own career and share all that he has learned from his travels as a PhD IO psychologist, HR leader, and podcast host.

I learned so much good stuff from our conversation and I am excited to provide my listeners access to practical, actionable insights about:

  • Starting and growing a podcast
  • Finding your own personalized path to career success through self-development, hard work, and being true to yourself
  • What it takes to be a good HR leader
  • Navigating the sometimes competing priorities of thinking and acting like a business person while staying true to psychology and humanistic values.
  • Using HR leaders’ views on assessments to field a successful assessment program
  • How to drive impact from the C suite and how to ensure the business notices and appreciates it
  • How to be smart about the adoption of HR technology

JP’s message of optimism, self-empowerment, the importance of business acumen, and practicality in the game of HR is valuable for anyone, but is especially relevant for IO psychologists with aspirations to navigate their way into HR leadership.

So listen and share liberally!


Full Transcript:


JP Elliot Interview  

Charles: Hello, and welcome to today to today’s show. I’m your host, doctor Charles Handler,  and I have with me today a really special guest somebody who is a fellow podcaster and has  done an amazing job I think with his podcast. And we’ll hear a little bit about that, but I’d like to  welcome to the show JT Elliott. How are you doing? JT?  

JP: Hey, Charles doing well. Thank you for helping me on.  

Charles: Yeah. No doubt. And I I can’t wait for you to share a little bit of information with our  listeners about podcasting. We’ve geeked out about that a little bit, you know, on our own. It’s a  true art form.  

I feel like and and a real good way to express oneself, but also really help other people learn  selfishly, I do it so I can learn myself, but also so that I can goof off with with some great guests,  you know. And I’m starting out. I’m doing a little tweaks to my format and  

JP: one of  

Charles: the things I’d really like to do is just have you share a little a little nugget about  yourself, something that people may not know, something that kind of personalizes you outside  of the context of all the professional stuff we’re talking about?  

JP: Sure. Yeah. Well, you know, I think one of the questions you’re talking about with, what  makes you interesting or what are you doing outside of the grind? And honestly, I would love to  say I’m very fascinating, I’m climbing mountains, and doing lots of charity work but really it’s  family first. So when I’m not working, it’s really trying to spend time with my thirteen year old  son, my ten year old daughter, and I’ve my amazing wife and our Toy Golden Doodle.  So that’s my first focus. But I am a big learner and lifelong learner, and so I’m always reading  books always trying to inspire me new. And just recently, I completed a master class in  generative AI. I took on Maven. And it was really fun because you guys actually use no code  tools and try to understand how that works.  

So that’s a little bit about me. I’m always just trying to figure out, like, hey, what’s next? You  know, what else can I learn? And podcasting is almost an extension of that to your point. It just,  like, tinkering, heck, we live in twenty two thousand twenty four.  

You can build a podcast and people in, like, Australia can listen to the podcast or in you know,  who knows where, which is just blows my mind. So that was part of it.  

Charles: Yeah. Definitely. I agree completely. You know, I started doing this in, like, twenty  nineteen. And there weren’t a lot of tools available for people that just kinda home home brew it,  you know.  

And I I struggle a little with the tech. But nowadays, it’s it’s definitely, you know, much much 

easier, which is really cool. And I feel like I’ve I wish I had more time to read. I swear to God, I  love to read, but it’s it seems like I’m constantly moving and I have a ten year old kid and a  couple dogs and, you know, just like you. That’s my focus.  

How could it be anything else, really? And so I just don’t have as much time, but then I can listen  to a podcast and listen to a great guest like Jeffrey Feffer, be able to hear him talk about his own  book and summarize the book. So there’s a lot of shortcut ways, you know, a lot of cliff notes, if  you will, but it is true. I go to the beach and kickback and and open a book, and that’s always  really nice. Right?  

So Yeah. And you know what I’m trying to do?  

JP: Because I think we all scroll may not admit it, but if you go to your Apple, if you have an  Apple phone, look at your screen time and actually see you’ve been scrolling. And it says  scrolling LinkedIn even though we all love LinkedIn or Twitter or x or whatever. I try to replace  that with a book. So every time I start to scroll, and I’m just kinda seeing there for a moment,  we’re watching a show that I’m not really into. He was like, I just pick up a book that I’ve gotten.  Go back to that on my phone. And so my family is like, oh, what are you doing? I’m like, I’m  actually reading a lot. So I’m trying to do that more and more because I think it’s more healthier  for you. Right?  

Charles: Yeah. Definitely. So and my dirty little secret too is I hadn’t listened to a lot of podcasts  until recently, kinda for the same reason as I’ve I’ve I can’t process other things I’m doing, but I  recently got these meta ray ban glasses that actually have you can stream from your phone to  them, you can also take pictures and video from them and they have generative AI built in. So  you can say, okay, meta. How do I get to Smith Street or, you know, what’s a good restaurant  right here?  

And it’ll tell you in your glasses. It’s incredible. So now when I’m walking the dogs, I’m just  listening to podcasts or listening to audible or something like that. So I’ve I’ve  

JP: made a little bit  

Charles: of shift. Yeah. It’s incredible. You know, I’m into the wearable tech for a big time. I’ve  ordered all the devices that are coming out so I can try them and maybe even do some video  logging about them.  

So so we’re leading in with podcast. Your podcast is the future of HR. It’s a fantastic podcast. I’ve  learned a lot from it. And I just know, how did you come up with the idea?  Tell the audience a little about it. And I think I wanna give everybody in my audience an  assignment. And that assignment is to go listen to at least one episode of of JP’s podcast because  it’s outstanding. Tell us a little bit about how you got started with that and  

JP: Well, I appreciate that, Charles. It means a lot. And because I think when you put a podcast  together, just like you’re doing, you never know who’s gonna listen. Is it gonna hit the mark? Is it  gonna be valuable?  

But the idea came up in two thousand twenty two. I was a little late to the podcast game, maybe  like you or my wife was a little was getting into it as we started listening to podcasts. And I’ve 

always wanted to get back. And so as I listen to these podcasts, I started listening to more H and  R HR podcast, and I said, well, they’re pretty good, but it doesn’t gosh. It doesn’t feel like it’s  really, like, hitting the mark as it could.  

And I really wanted to be able to get back. I’ve had so many great coaches and mentors And so  the idea was I have an amazing network. I’ve had a great career. I’ve been very, very fortunate.  Like, well, how do I bring these folks on?  

And, like, what if I could listen to some of the biggest experts like Dave Ulrik, Mark Efron, and,  like, have a one on one conversation when I was twenty five years old, it would have been game  changing. And so that was it. And I decided, oh, hey, I’m gonna do a podcast. I bought a  microphone on on Amazon. It arrives.  

My wife’s like, what? Why did you buy a microphone? And I said, well, I’m gonna start a  podcast. I’m just like, you don’t even know anything about podcasting. I said, I don’t know any  about podcasting, but I’m going to learn And that’s what I bought this microphone.  And from there, I just went on the journey of figuring out how to get it going. And, you know,  now, I think we had over a hundred thousand downloads in two thousand twenty three, and we  continue to have a really wrong following and then just get great guests. And so I’m really, really  fortunate that it’s hit the mark, but more and more grateful ring really for all the guests have  come on. Wanna share their story and their passion and and really supported the podcast.  

Charles: Yeah. I can imagine that. You’ve had some pretty big name guests on there, which I  think is is super impressive and you know, it’s it’s good when people that you’ve heard of in red  or or, you know, their books or seen or in my case as a or sick person, you’ve had good folks on.  And you actually get personalized if they’re accessible and you can actually, you know, talk to  them and and learn from them. It’s almost like a one on one thing.  

And you you had a definitely the episode I listened to about sponsorship, I cannot remember the  name of your guest, but I was  

JP: like, Carrie Perino.  

Charles: Yeah. Yeah. That’s so good. And and I got to thinking, you know, I’ve worked for  myself for twenty three years. I’ve never had a mentor or a sponsor.  

I really haven’t. Kinda like, man, I’ve really missed out on something. Maybe I should go get a  job where I can have one and have a sponsor. I guess I’m my own mentor and sponsor, school of  hard knocks, I guess. So with all those great conversations, this is this is what I wanna know.  If you if you could kind of combine those all in a blender or whatever and say, what have you  learned professional wisdom wise if you had to kind of maybe that’s hard. Put it all into one  thing. What’s your take on these great people and what they’ve what they’ve taught you.  

JP: I think there’s, yeah, there’s a few things. And this it’s a tough question. I do get asked this  question a lot. I would say, number one, from a career standpoint, it’s make your own path.  Right?  

There is no such thing as one size fits all career. And when you talk to all these different leaders,  You’re gonna hear that some started internationally. They started outside of HR. They changed  jobs a lot. They didn’t change jobs. 

There isn’t one real path to success. And so you’ve really got to embrace where you’re at and  make the best of your opportunities. And every one of the CHROs or thought leaders, frankly,  who’ve been on the podcast. I think it’s taken those opportunities and built something a path on  their own, which is which is unbelievable. The second thing I would say, gosh, beyond that every  time you do a podcast, you you learn that there’s so much more you don’t know.  About a topic. Right? Yeah. Because we’re always learning, and there’s just so much to learn  about each of these different areas. But I think the second piece would be you know, when you  think about why are people successful in these rules and a lot of this is about delivering results.  Right? It’s a focus on hard work, delivering results, the basics, to be honest, building good  relationships, understanding the business. You know, I think we’re always looking for shortcuts,  to be honest. I mean, who wouldn’t want a shortcut? You know, but there isn’t a shortcut.  Most people aren’t overnight successes. They’re actually twenty year overnight successes. And so  when you start to hear the journeys and get to know them, you’re like, wow, they’ve had setbacks.  They’ve had these things happen, but they stayed focused on delivering results. Building great  relationships.  

And then finding the path that’s different from them and differentiating themselves along that  way. And I think that’s what stuck out from me. I mean, There’s a lot of content we learn each  time, but from a people perspective, that’s what’s really kind of I think resonated.  

Charles: That’s great. So be yourself. I’ve been told that by many therapists and other people for  yourself. You know, and I I love that take, you know, and I think it’s it’s super true that I’ve  listened to. I’m super into music, so I watched pretty much any documentary about how famous  bands or musicians made it to where they are.  

You know, I mean, they are structured within kinda one vertical or whatever music and  entertainment, but you you never know. I wanna find out how they got that first big break, how  hard did they work to get there, you know? And it’s it’s I I don’t know. I can’t stop watching  those. I watch as many of them as I can.  

So let’s transition into kind of the the the unique wisdom about your job and and your career that  you bring to the table that I’d like to share So tell us a little bit about kinda your career journey.  Give us a good summary of kinda where you where you’ve been and and maybe where you’re  looking to go.  

JP: Yeah. You know, so I’ve I’ve been very fortunate my background. This is why I think maybe  we we kinda connected. I’m an I o psychologist. Spent, you know, kind of first half of my career,  first five years in internal, external external consulting and doing human capital in large scale  change, transformation, talent type work.  

Then decide to go back internal and Lenovo, kind of really kind of rose up into a VP of talent  role there. And so it held different VP of talent roles at Dick’s Sporting Goods, the Brinks  company. Also been on it really fortunate that I had a mentor and boss who believed me and  asked me to move into an HR partner role. And so I was actually the head SVP of HR for the  Brink’s company about three and a half years. And in that role, we had about seven thousand  employees and about eight hundred million dollars of revenue.  

So, you know, and then most recently, I was the chief people officer for Williams Morrison. So 

private equity backed company. And and so what’s interesting about my career, I think I have  been very much maybe more willing than others to take on what I would call higher risk  situations. Right? Where the stakes are higher?  

High stakes situation where you’re trying to turn around a business pushing yourself at your  comfort zone. So I’ve done that throughout my career. And, yeah, I think it’s made me a better  leader, but ultimately my passion and where I love this talent. You know, I love the idea of really  linking the business strategy back to a talent strategy that drives growth and value. And that’s  kind of where I I always get from that lens is always that talent perspective.  When I was a generalist, it’s hard for me to take the talent kind of hat off. So that’s my career in a  nutshell, and hopefully that helps a little bit.  

Charles: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think, you know, one interesting thing is with an I o psychology  background, I’ve found and seen amongst, you know, folks that I know. There’s kind of a ceiling  in an organization if you’re just being an I o psychologist, you know. We’ve learned so much  about people and rigor and, you know, the main thing I feel like I was programmed to do is be  skeptical about everything.  

Right? To really look at everything through a lens where you wanna get fooled. Sometimes, you  can over index on that, become kind of a, you know, a pit bull on it. I I work hard on that. But I  think those business skills, not to not to say that I people don’t have that, but the ability to  function in a in a way that feel like is is able to talk the language of business and step outside of  some of the things that we’ve learned is really, really important.  

And I think in my career, that’s one of the ways I feel like or I’d like to feel like I’ve differentiated  myself is when I get into a consultative situation, I’m really good at partnering with the business  and looking at things through their lens and and not trying to force my own agenda. Right? It’s  not a lab where you have complete control over stuff. Like, you gotta let some stuff go. And I  think that’s really important.  

But, you know, to to move past that, I mean, what a little bit micro focus more on your transition  from what kind of IO roles were you doing more early on? And how did you step from that into  the things you were just talking about that are bigger, you know?  

JP: Yeah. I mean, we gotta go back and, you know, I’ve been on a podcast, Brando and Joe’s  podcast fast. I don’t know if you know those guys. They’re awesome and they’re two I o  psychologists and and grad school who put the podcast together. And just maybe think about,  you know, kind of the audience But, you know, I started five years at Taco Bell, which was  Young Brands in the development department.  

Yep. Really great play great place to learn because it’s great HR. So I think when you’re a big  company, wanna go kind of a bigger company first if you can. Good good experience. I have  great bosses and mentors there.  

I didn’t really believe I’ve won track consulting, so I went into consulting and IBM consulting  services. And so there was large scale transformational change. You know, it was org design, less  stakeholder management, project management. I think I learned how to do project management  there, which is critical. And then I moved back into a smaller boutique, a capital firm called  Sipsen Consulting, which most of the partners now have moved over to a different firm. 

Really small, but I went there because I was gonna learn from some of the best, and the  mentorship was amazing. I never did more around leadership development, talent management  strategy, strategic workforce planning or design, yeah, top teaming leadership sessions, etcetera.  That really honed my business experience, I think, and my business acumen and being more  comfortable working with executives. And then I’ll be able to go apply that in Lenovo and a  talent and leadership development role, you know, and then the scale and scope was there. But,  you know, the consulting was already in your background.  

So how do you diagnose? How do you assess you  

Charles: know,  

JP: how do you understand? How do you build a plan and solution and implement it? And so,  yeah, I think, again, there’s no there’s no perfect career path. But going external, having some of  that consulting experience can be really valuable because she sort of learned, like, how  consultants think been going internal because if you stay a consultant too long, you’ll never go  internal. Because you won’t be ready for the bureaucracy and all that.  

Right? So you kinda have to have a balance it’s it’s very hard to go kinda back and forth, but it’s a  great experience both ways. And so that’s kinda where I cut my teeth, you know. And I would say  from an I o site perspective, I think there’s some that are much more, you know, quantitative and  

statistics based, you know, versus qualitative and maybe more, I’d say, It’s more art and science.  Yeah.  

I’m a little more the creative space. More, you know, I believe in the science piece. I’m, you  know, I love I love quantitative. Or bring data into it. The my and more of my skills that we’re  running at AI excel is more being innovative and building out new solutions that the organization  hadn’t seen before.  

Or bringing in the latest things that are happening across our field, whether it’s organization  network analysis, etcetera. I’m trying to bring that into the fold and, like, how do we use New  Tech or, you know, process. Now it’s AI. Of course, everything’s AI. But how do you bring that  in and do it in the right way?  

Charles: Yeah. Very cool. So you’ve had really like, one foot in each world in some sense.  Right? And and so let’s I’d like to help listeners who haven’t had be myself as well as much, you  know, interaction with chief people officers, folks that have, you know, are really in charge  running the show to some extent So what, you know, what’s that like from from your perspective  of, you know, someone who is coming from the outside or as a consultant or someone who is  maybe earlier in their career interacting with the chief people officer, not that it’s, like, turns you  into, you know, some kind of unapproachable person.  

I’m certainly no. You’re not like that. But in general, what’s the lens you should be thinking  about? Right? Because context is everything, and it’s so important to put yourself in other  people’s shoes and and and think about the situation from their perspective going in, at least that’s  how I like to do it.  

So so how would you prep someone or prime someone for that kind of interaction, I guess,  situations matter. So there’s probably a lot of different ones that dictate that. So you 

JP: know, it’s interesting. I think it’s the good place to start is, like, talking about the role of a  cheap people ops or and really what they’re really trying to deliver because I think you’re right.  Having empathy for what that senior executive position really entails is important to being, I  think, more effective as a partner with them. The first, I think that every great HR leader and  chief people officer believes that HR exists to ensure the organization has the talent and  capabilities to win. So, you know, we’re focused on winning in the marketplace.  And then I’d say they’re business people first. They just happen to be executives. That deliver  value through human capital or people strategy and tactics. You know, you’re not I think a lot of  times, you know, I’ll I’ll be interviewed, someone might interview me, and we’ll hey, what  questions do you have? And it’s very rare.  

I’ve heard other cheap people options who said this. It’s very rare if someone asks a question  about the doses. Right? They’ll ask questions around culture, soft things, and I’ve even had  people say, well, what’s what’s onboarding like here? And I’m like, who cares?  Like, why are you asking me that? Is the worst question I’ve ever been asked? You know, like,  yeah. That’s, like, gonna help you figure out the job. Like, you just don’t know what to ask an HR  person.  

But that just shows you how they think about it. The reality is really great HR people are really  good business people. And especially when you get up into a fortune five hundred, you know, a  fortune hundred company, These are incredible incredible executives who just happen to do HR.  So that’s the first piece. Second, great HR leaders are really the social architect at the top team.  They understand how to bring that team together. They’re working with the CEO, the CFO, and  the rest of that leadership team. To make sure things are working well that there’s a clear line  business strategy that team’s high performing. It is not an easy task at that level.  

Charles: No.  

JP: But all good HR leaders also are gonna say, hey, whatever the organization’s list of priorities  is, like, and how we win, that becomes their list. So some people would say, well, what’s an HR  strategy? Your HR strategy is your business strategy just translated to the people piece. So if  you’re it’s a beach of business strategies to grow a certain market by five percent, that’s what  HR’s business plan should be is just that’s the same goal. It’s just now a level down of, like, okay,  what roles do we need?  

What kind of capabilities do we have to have to get to that five percent. Right? So it’s much more  a business focused kind of role if they’re gonna be doing something, if they’re a great chief  people officer. The other thing to think through is, like, well, how do they grow up? Most chief  people officers is changing will come from a couple of different areas in the function, but they’re  gonna have, like, a t shaped career.  

So they’re gonna have depth and competition and rewards. They’re gonna have depth as a  journalist. They’re gonna depth as a talent person. And then at some point, they rose up and they  started to become a journalist. And can I go across the team?  

And so great CHROs have at least one depth or discipline, but they’re great in. And they’ve  learned to be journalists across the board and the others. And so that’s why it takes a while to  become a Chief People Officer. You have to have that depth. Because you gotta lead that team. 

They have to respect you. You have to understand how things work. You don’t have to  understand everything about benefits, but hopefully you’ve been through at least one or two  cycles of benefit implementations and know the questions to ask. Right? And so that’s really  critical.  

Chief People officers also they don’t just manage their own team and then the executive team.  They work a lot of the Board of Directors. Especially in a public company. So a lot of their time  is managing the board of directors, executive compensation, succession planning. So, you know,  when you actually look at their studies, Seachros are not spending as much time with their team  as possible.  

They’re spending much more their time with their peers, you know, maybe the board. Sometimes  even externally depending on what’s going on. And frankly, more and more CHROs are being  asked to leave the organization’s response to social issues. Right? Or political issues or whatever  issues, they’re really always typically social issues, but it’s very challenging.  So what how do we need to respond? Should we respond? So my point of all of this, I mean, you  know, CHOs, especially since the pandemic, have been asked to take on more and more and do  more and more with sometimes less and less. So it’s a really, really difficult job. So they’ve got a  short tension span.  

You know, if you’re gonna reach out to them your original question, how do you work with  them? Is that don’t sell, but actually help them solve their business problems. Right? So, yeah, I  think the the wrong approach is kinda hopefully, thinking that they have hours and hours of  spending who they don’t. Right?  

They’re gonna make decisions pretty quickly because they’re they’re toggling so many different  things in a day. And so they’re they’re kind of the king and queen of multitasking. So as you’re  coming in there trying to solve their problems, you know, It’s more about making sure they’re  aware of what you could do. How could you possibly help them when that need arrives? And I  always use this analogy of a divorce lawyer.  

Yeah. You can be the world’s best divorce lawyer. I’m not calling you. I love my wife. I have no  need for a divorce lawyer.  

Okay? And I think it’s kind of the same way when you’re selling to, you know, or doing a  consultant. You can’t call them if they have got this solution and keep banging down the door.  Doesn’t make any sense. It’s more like, hey, look, we’ve got this.  

This is what we’re great at. If you ever need us, let’s talk. That’s the way to approach it, you  know, and be just data driven and financially oriented. You know? And so coming to do a CHRO  and saying, let’s do training for training sake.  

Probably is gonna fail. Right? And if it’s not tied to a business leader, Just a few perspectives I  have on how you might do this.  

Charles: That’s really good. Really good. Yeah. I mean, it’s a little bit of a junior version of that,  but I’ve consulted this some giant companies, a lot of giant companies that typically I’m at  enterprise level. But I always study before I go into even the first conversation if there’s some  from somebody.  

I’ve spent time studying the company. I look at, like, what are their initiatives? Where are they in  the market? You know, how are they treating their people? And then one of the things that I have 

always done is, you know, there’s lingo.  

Right? Oh, we have our, you know, our top top hat program. I’m just making something up and  it’s maybe it’s an anachronism or something. And you can read about that on the company  website or whatever. I usually refer to that.  

You know, I make references to the specific things that company’s doing when I’m talking to  them. I I always feel like that helps me feel a little more connected and they’re like, oh, this this  guy gets us. And it’s not just BS. I mean, I am actually interpreting that. So so one of the things I  think is interesting, and I can’t remember which podcast episode it was or yours of listening to.  One of the guests, I believe, were talking about how HR is a little different because a lot of times  the outcomes from people and having good people aren’t directly measurable. Right? If you if  you change your supply chain to shave five percent off of, you know, your problems with  efficiency or what have you, Those are measurable. You know, the bean counters can pretty  much put those into some perspective. Not to say that people things aren’t, but I think there’s  some there’s some distance sometimes.  

Right? So how would you how would you say that is that accurate? And, you know, what what  can someone do in HR to be able to quantitatively prove value.  

JP: Yeah. I think I mean, it’s it’s accurate, but I think I put a caveat on it. Right? So it’s harder to  measure the impact of people or human capital initiatives, but we should always be trying to do  that. Oh, so my of course.  

Right? You know, and my advice is twofold because, you know, sometimes it’s not a to b  relationship and maybe it is a little more further downstream. But you really have when you’re  doing any kind of initiative, you gotta be thinking it for from this perspective. One, is this gonna  help us drive revenue? Two, severe improved productivity or efficiency.  

Right? And if it’s not doing one of those three things, should you even work on it? Right? Even if  you if you and you should just get the executive team to believe, hey, I think we’re gonna invest  in this training, this high potential program, etcetera. Do we think it’s gonna do one of these three  things?  

I don’t need the exact numbers, but everyone says, yeah. I I think this makes sense. Okay. So  that’s important. Second, getting just success defined upfront.  

And say, look, these are the three metrics we think we can measure. Here’s how we think we can  do it. And aligning upfront is important. What happens a lot of times in HR is We worked on the  initiative and now we’re trying to basically justify our existence by trying to find the data. So  that’s a big mistake.  

And then third, Charles, I’ll just say this. Like, that I’ve been asked to do trainings that have  nothing to do with the business that aren’t going to move the needle. And I’ll just say the leaders  look, hey, I know you love grit. You wrote the book. It’s a great book.  

You must now do great training for leaders. Hey, we’ll do it, but I just want to tell you it’s not  going to change the revenue. It’s not going to improve productivity. And maybe they’ll take some  things home, maybe they’ll be a little better leader, but like I can’t quantify it. And I’m not gonna  spend my time quantifying it because I’ve got bigger things to fry.  

And as long as they understand that, that it’s all good. Right? But every organization is different  in how they think about that investment. And that’s what makes it challenging for HR because 

some organizations are like, hey, we don’t care. We believe in training.  

We believe in investment. We believe in all these different things. Go go go. Other organizations  are saying, please give me your ROI head up front, you know, on before you can do this, I wanna  make sure it’s really gonna deliver or you don’t even get passcode to collect two hundred dollars.  

Charles: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and and in my world of selection too, you know, you can quantify  things if you do some some validation work and, you know, I’ve done that successfully. And  that’s really good, but it’s sometimes hard to get the data, you know. I think that’s that’s one of the  things that I’ve been frustrated with over the years is, you know, we don’t we don’t have that or  we don’t have the time to give you that.  

So I’m like, oh, help me help you. You know, I I can’t I can’t prove myself.  

JP: Selection is great. So that selection is great because you can’t do select. There’s so many like,  there’s so many places that you can actually measure it. So it’s great when you can. You should a  hundred percent lean into that.  

Charles: Yeah. Yeah. We’ll talk about assessments here in a second eye, which are, you know, a  big piece of that. So one thing that I’ve I’ve picked up on it wasn’t you weren’t saying it because I  don’t think you would you would believe this or buy into it, but you often hear so much the  knock of well, HR is just never innovative. You know, you mentioned earlier you’ve done  innovative things.  

Oh, you know, HR is kind of the administrative we’ll put them in the dungeon or whatever. I  think that’s changing a lot as we start to use the word people. And as things, you know, I think  the pandemic did a lot of it, but it’s still part of a trend. What’s happening is we got to treat  people like people. You know, you’re not you’re not cogs in a machine, you’re not robots, that’s  the golden rule.  

I mean, that’s the right way to do things. And so I feel like we are evolving. I mean, you’re closer  to that than me, but You know, what what do you say when someone says, well, HR is not  innovative. They’re just procedural. Nothing ever changes.  

They’re not doing anything to make a difference. I don’t think you believe that, but you can you  can tell me and tell me how you’ve proved that wrong personally in your career, you know.  

JP: Yeah. You know, I think a lot of times people think that HR, you know, has the final say in  everything we do. And the reality is we are still support function. And we’ve come a long way.  We definitely have more of a seat at the table.  

We have more impact. We’ve got amazing, amazing HR leaders across the field. But I think the  pandemic we have had a lot more gravitas and credibility. But at the end of the day, we still have  to report to our business leaders and CEOs who will give us the final approval on some of this or  not. So if someone says to me HR is not being innovative and not delivering enough, I don’t  think it’s always HR’s fault because my guess most HR people want to be innovative.  I’d look to the leaders and say, hey, why aren’t you then giving us the funding to do this? Why are  you helping us support this? Why aren’t you bringing us into that meeting earlier? You know,  why aren’t we in the first meeting when you’re talking about this problem? Not when you’ve  already made the decision. 

Now you want me to go execute. And so I think you’ve got to kind of move upstream a little bit  because what I have found is almost every HR leader wants to do innovative cool work and that’s  going to have impact. And, you know, news is not a proxy for better, but we won’t have that  impact. But we can’t be we can’t be sometimes slow down by the business that doesn’t want us to.  The other thing is it’s better than who’s saying this.  

Right? Not everyone’s gonna see the impact of HR, and that’s that’s okay because we are behind  the scene. A little bit invisible. And so for some employees and team members, they’re like, well,  we, you know, we don’t know what you do. We don’t see it.  

And hopefully, the organization is making that more and more visible. But understandably that  you’re not going to always understand that we’re running succession plans or development  programs or assessments. Right? You don’t always see the the cool work that HR is doing. They  just expect that, oh, you’re just getting a paycheck and it smiles and files and all that.  And so that’s a little bit of a naive view. But it’s an understandable view if we’re not really out  there front and center and helping drive it.  

Charles: Yeah. And maybe people have had to deal with administrative procedural jump they  don’t like that comes out of HR in their career. Right? So the the police or whatever And that that  administrative part is not going away. I mean, that’s that’s definitely a piece of it, but it’s not the  strategic part.  

And and I would also say you know, what popped into my head when you were talking is, you  know, we have the technology. Right? I think that was from, like, the six million dollar man  show. We can rebuild them. We have the technology.  

But HR technology is a huge shot in the arm. I mean, it is across every function. Right? But I  think back personalize this a little bit. It’s not really I think early in my career, my first internship  at Sprint Sprint corporation.  

It’s like the only time I’ve been internal in a giant company. Well, part of my job first of all was to  take test things off the fax machine, put a little plastic scoring overlay, score it, put it in a  spreadsheet and email it, which was that was amazing. You can email this to people. And so that  was not a good use of what I think is a really good brain. But also, I remember at that time being  really interested in three hundred and sixty degree feedback and and wanting to get involved in  that.  

And the door was kinda like I’d read some research about it. It made so much sense and And  there was no technology to do it. It was so unwieldy at a big company to really do an effective  three sixty that it just wasn’t accessible to us. So, I mean, those are kinda smaller examples, but  but now we have technology to do so much more than a three sixty. I mean, the the the type of  stuff you can get with semantics, feedback, looking at people’s email traffic and stuff in a in a in  a way that has integrity, of course, We just have technology now that I think can help us so much  and help our employees, just the wellness program stuff where you can give people access to,  you know, the opportunity to track what they’re doing and improve their lives personally even  outside of work.  

You know? 

JP: Yeah. No. I think the, you know, the technology has come a long way. It’s still, though, I  think, we should have to be really clear about what the purpose is. You know, so what business  problem are we solving as we we all lay this in because now, I mean, gosh, an AI.  I mean, there’s an AI tool for everything, you know. And so the problem is, you start to have just  fragmentation of your HR tech stack.  

Charles: Yep.  

JP: And everyone’s got a new tool. And what it’s doing is actually adding a lot of today the  employee experience versus saying, okay. Wait. What actually adds value? And so I think I do  think the future will actually be the best companies will be stripping away.  Tech in some ways and figuring out where it makes the most sense versus just adding on. Or  there’ll be more consolidation probably and it’ll be, you know, but who knows? We go  consolidate, and then we obviously have to defragment and take it apart again because if he  doesn’t actually solve the problems and you kind of the cycle continues of HR tech. I don’t know.  But I I think it’s an amazing time we’re living in, and there’s just a plethora of data, and we have  an opportunity to make just more impact we’d ever have.  

From an HR people and and really on people’s experience at work. So I’m excited about that.  Yeah.  

Charles: And you’re right about the, you know, from a hiring standpoint, you know, I look at  hiring workflows and tech stacks and everything all the time. And it’s never put together all at  once. Right? So you’re you’re constantly like, oh, we gotta change the ATS to do this, and then  we gotta change the candidate experience thing. And they’re never in sync.  So I completely get what you’re talking about. I think that we have moved a little bit more to a  platformization where you can subscribe to one master platform that has a lot of modules, but  even even then adopting those and moving things in and out. It’s not easy at all, but I have a  romance with tech and and I haven’t had as much applied experience, so that’s a really good  viewpoint. And so let’s, like, kinda transition into the last little bit, and I think something that I  value your insights on a lot, and love to hear your experience around assessments. Because that’s  that’s pretty much what I’ve spent most of my career in.  

And one of the things is I like to I’d like to think that most people who’ve had your experience  and are in those positions, see the value in assessments and would like to utilize them. But I don’t  know if that’s always true. So let us tell us a little bit about your experience over the years with  assessments.  

JP: Yeah. I think you’re right. I mean, having the background I have in the exposure and seeing  the impact assessments can have, Assessment assessments play a very important role in selection  development. No doubt. Right?  

So it’s a really important role. Yeah. And I’ve implemented them in almost every role that I’ve  ever been in. In some form or fashion. So I think, you know, I think it we get it right though,  Charles, the way to get this right, I think you’ve got to be really thoughtful gonna be science  based, and you’ve got to leverage the assessments to gather data to make better decisions.  Right? And I think you typically need to have a really experienced internal talent leader or very 

reputable assessment partner who can guide you there. And I say that because there’s a lot of  bright shiny objects There’s a lot of flashing presentations and vendors. There’s a lot people do  assessments for assessments sake. You know, take action on the assessments god forbid, they’re  actually unethical or, you know, have adverse impact or discrimination kind of things, especially  in a selection front.  

Yep. But you’ve gotta be careful that way. And more importantly, especially for developmental  assessments or even for a selection into a higher it’s a credibility issue for the HR function if the  assessments aren’t being used properly. You know? So whether you’re doing a three sixty, you’re  doing a Hogan, you’re doing a, you know, critical intelligence or thinking inventory like a  Watson laser or a ravens.  

How do you leverage that data? Right? How do you make sure it’s being done the right way?  That’s I think that’s part of the art of it. It’s like the science is one piece, and then the art is how  do you make it all come together.  

So but every big and big on assessments everyone’s got their favorites a little bit, you know, and  I’m I’m excited to see where that continues to go because I think it’s going to continue to be a  very there’s more innovation coming.  

Charles: Yeah. And you’re right. I mean, there’s again, it’s a checkerboard. I would like to think  that, you know, the leader who is saying, this is a good thing for us is is really able to make an  impact with it. And sometimes it’s like I said, it’s kinda tack on or there’s just not a lot of prework  done to understand, like, who a good vendor even is.  

Again, that that’s been a big piece of my career. It’s it’s kind of a river guide to folks that don’t  have an internal IO and say, we need one, but we don’t exactly know what what one to look at. A  lot of times, I’ll get a list oh, we’ve been looking at these companies, and I’ll look at the list and  go, none of these companies are maybe they’re good companies, but you’re you’re putting a  square peg in a round hole, you know. So it’s good to have expertise. And I’ve seen more and  more IO psychologists in big corporations now.  

I mean, I start looking at household names and seeing people in my travels, like, oh, they have an  IO psychologist now, you know. And did a session at at Saiaf because I’m I’m also a big a giant  fan of Big Tech. So I got I O psychologists from Big Tech companies on a panel to talk about  what it’s like and Some of these places have fifty I o psycho. I think Amazon has a hundred.  Right?  

So so these these are companies that are doing things right and they have a lot I o psycho. Right?  And they all have selection programs. So I think that part is is really good. From from your lens  though, I mean, what Have you seen something go horribly wrong with assessments?  Like, seen a a problem that you could coach people to avoid? Or maybe it’s the opposite.  Something that’s been highly successful in what was done correctly in that situation. You choose,  whatever you wanna talk about.  

JP: I don’t know if I’m a I’ve seen an girl that’s, like, horribly wrong, I think, hopefully, because  we made some good decisions up a lot. I didn’t mean how you’re wrong. No. I know. No.  Well, I think there’s there’s plenty of examples, you know, and I do think, you know, that there’s a  real a real concern risk of making sure that, especially in the selection front, going forward that 

these tools that have AI built in rooms, you know, and are really actually doing what they think it  should be doing. And and testing that out, I think there’s enough of risk there on on that front.  Because I don’t really know if every vendor understands everything that’s happening under the  hood and how they’re sort of vetting out candidates. But So I think watch that space. I think  something will pop on that.  

There’ll be something bad that happens there. Somewhere will get sued.  

Charles: Yeah.  

JP: But, you know, from when you do a right assessment Right? You know, especially for  development. I mean, I think the idea is it’s a life cycle. So, you know, whether you’re doing  selection from a sorry. Whether you’re doing assessments from a selection standpoint, hopefully,  that is data that you can leverage on the onboarding and then further down that that road and that  that person’s development.  

It happens more of the executive director you know, kinda level, but maybe there’s some kind of  insight there because you really don’t have the time and energy. So I’ve seen that really work  really well where you understand and we made a great selection higher. This is who you are. This  is how you need to think about your onboarding. People understand that.  

That’s the organization to really embrace that and do that well. I think that’s always off when you  see that, it’s also great with using assessments for that development process. And people are  feeling like, hey, I’ve gotten to know myself better. I’m you know, this is a pivotal moment to be  in this development program, but three sixty, the HUG and all that help me understand how I  could be a better leader. That’s when the assessment’s really going.  


Charles: Yeah.  

JP: And you have bigger impact because those individuals, those leaders love impacting the  organization.  

Charles: Yeah. And you know one thing and I I think that it this just goes with selection and  development is if you’re not using assessment as a support tool. I mean, if you’re over relying on  it, just say the assessment said this, and we’re just gonna automatically do this. That’s bad. And in  in development, right, the assessment is just one piece of a of a picture where you have a a  somewhat a coach or you have performance management program, there’s there’s support things  around you, and all the assessment does is give you and your counterparts that are working with  you, your partners, signal that you can all hopefully agree on or if you disagree, you can talk  over why you disagree.  

But it’s a conversation starter and a way to to kind of have some believable objective metrics.  And that’s the same thing in the hiring program as well, but feel like in hiring, unfortunately, you  don’t get a lot of feedback on any assessments you take. You get the job and you figure I did  pretty well or you don’t get the job and you figure you did crappy on it. You know? That that’s  basically it.  



JP: That’s true. That’s true. Yeah. And I think, you know, from a selection standpoint and your  audience would know this, I personally have this number, I don’t know, it’s not really rooted in  actual science, but I would say it’s a ten to fifteen percent of a hiring decision. Especially at an  executive level.  

I’m gonna look at the Hogan, you know, or rather assessments and kinda that’s going to help me.  Now there’s more in-depth reports you can do to do more depth leadership assessment, executive  assessment, and maybe you get that a little bit more waiting. Right? But in that mind, it’s more of  a kick out. Right?  

It’s almost like, hey, there’s a certain score you gotta get like, an hour of hiring for us to make  sure it would move you forward to have the interview. But you you can’t over rotate. Like, if  someone actually has been to an assessment, that could predict who’s going to be successful.  

Like, ninety percent of the time, we’d all be using it and we’d all be out of jobs. And the reality is  it just doesn’t work that way.  

Charles: So It’s  

JP: just kinda you have to use some judgment with assessments.  

Charles: Oh, yeah. I host a giant red flag, and I tell my clients, if you if you have any vendor  that tells you they’re ninety percent accurate oh, even more, like, we’re heroes if we’re twenty  percent accurate, to be honest. I mean, if you think about predicting the variance in a human’s  performance and and even the best person might might have an off day, the context they may  leave the job because for reasons not related to their performance. I mean, there’s there’s so many  

variables trying to figure out a snowflake complex people with a piece of paper or an online  survey. That’s just not tenable.  


It’s, again, it’s a support tool, it’s some extra signal. If you do a good job collecting evidence  across a process, then it’s a piece of evidence to help you build that big picture, you know. And I  think that that’s a philosophy that I think you’ve you’ve gotta embrace as you use these tools like  you said, not not over. Not over rotating on them for sure. Well, awesome.  And I’m always glad to I haven’t really interacted a lot with folks that are, you know, running  people operations and and HR like that. I I typically come in more like a VP level. So I’m I’m  glad to have heard what you said today because I’m sure I’ll have those opportunities, you know.  And I and I wanna make sure that I do my very best. And just as a mindset though, I would say  to any of our listeners, the mindset of practical being in a practical business results oriented  mindset when you go into an organization to work with them.  

Feeling their pain, helping them achieve their victories. That’s what it’s all about. I I always say  my job as a consultant is to make my boss look good. To to make to their bosses. Right?  The person that hires me, they need to look good at their bosses for real reasons, and that’s my  objective. You know?  

JP: Well said, Charles. Well said,  

Charles: Cool. Well, cool. We were up on time here. I wanna thank you so much. It’s been a  really good conversation. 

Very different perspective than I often have on here. And that’s, again, as we talked about earlier,  part of the goal, right, expose yourself to a lot of different viewpoints and and and types of  experience because it all weaves together. You know?  

JP: Well, thanks for what we’re doing, Charles, and it’s a great podcast and super helpful for the  industry and HR leaders.  

Charles: Yeah. And I would just say again, your assignment as my listeners pick an episode of  Future of HR and listen to this this this great guy be able to really pull some wisdom out of his  guess. I don’t know. I I I look at as a serious developmental experience for me. So  

JP: Thanks, Charles. This is a blast. So much fun to be on the podcast.