Ep:54: The 3 Most Common HR Misunderstandings in Home Care
Greg Henderson, HRO Manager at Whirks unloads on what is and isn't HR in home care and which 3 common misunderstandings agencies need to take a new look at.
Miriam Allred (00:08):
Welcome to Vision | The Care Leaders’ Podcast. I’m Miriam Allred with Home Care Pulse. My guest today is Greg Henderson, the HR Outsourcing Manager at Whirks. Greg, welcome to the show!
Greg Henderson (00:20):
Thank you so much for just inviting me. And I love the idea of getting gone, these kind of things to talk to people. So I’m super excited to get started.
Miriam Allred (00:29):
Yeah, we met a few weeks back at the HCAF conference and I could just hear the passion in your voice about HR. And we started talking about, you know, really common misunderstandings in HR, in home care. And that’s what we’re going to break down today. You know, we’re just going to dive into all things, HR, hopefully clarify some of the misunderstandings and really talk about bringing the human back to HR. So I’m going to start with a really broad question that might sound silly, but what is HR?
Greg Henderson (01:01):
HR is this just conglomeration of different things? I remember when I first started my marketing director asked me that same question and we produced a blog article that had 150 different things that HR needs to be concerned about. And I could probably put another 150 things on there before we published it. You’ve seen the meme, right? You’ve seen the teacher that says HR, the unofficial, you know, lawyers, psychologist, event planner, you know, teacher peacemaker that is HR. And it’s amazing because that’s what HR is and that’s what HR is not. So I think there’s some great things that you can take from that. And there’s some things that HR probably should never be. And I definitely want to clear that up during this call, this conversation today.
Miriam Allred (01:54):
Yeah. So let’s kind of start there. We see in a lot of home care agencies that HR is grouped into most likely another admin function. Why is it so commonly grouped, you know, what is kind of the initial misunderstanding there?
Greg Henderson (02:09):
Yeah, I think it’s just easy. I think it just makes sense, you know, when you first start and you may not even understand what’s going on and so you, you may hire somebody to maybe answer the phone and you get a little bit bigger and now that person’s job is do payroll and then you get a little bit bigger and you get a couple of different, maybe some entities or some different organizations. And now you’ve got multiple people who are answering the phone. And so you put some per some person in charge of making sure they’re trained how to answer the phone. Oh. And by the way, do payroll. And by the way, do all this people, stuff that I don’t really know who’s responsible to do it, but it has to get done. So make sure you do it right.
Greg Henderson (02:51):
And so it kind of falls into the admin function. You’ll hear everyone say, oh, I don’t need HR. I’ve got this great administrator. Well, if they’re not professionally trained or even equipped and empowered to be that person for you, you kind of missing the mark, unfortunately. And so, but again, it’s just easy. It’s just, it makes sense. Logically, I don’t, I don’t really have the budget for this extra person, so you will take care of it and it’ll be fine. And so, but that’s it, it’s not wrong. It’s just at the time it made sense. And so what I tell my clients is does it make sense to do something more now?
Miriam Allred (03:32):
Yeah. So yeah, that’s a really good point. And that’s a good segue into really what we’re going to get into, which are the common misunderstanding. So let’s, let’s talk about maybe the three to five common misunderstandings of what HR is and what HR isn’t. So we’re where do you want to start? What’s the first real big misunder you want to hit on?
Greg Henderson (03:50):
I would say the first kind of big misunderstanding of, of you talked about it in the, in the very beginning, before we hit record was HR is seen as, oh, it’s payroll or HR is seen as, oh, it’s, it’s the hiring piece. It’s my recruiter does HR. I don’t, I don’t really need HR or it’s it’s, it’s this reactionary department in your business. And I just think that it that’s a huge misunderstanding because HR, it should be the proactionary piece of your business. I, I remember talking with a client and she said it was so cool because you got me the ability to get away from the weeds. And so she, she described it this way. It was great. She’s like, I didn’t even know that I was putting the flammable material beside the heat source until I was able to get away from it and view out and go, oh no, no, no, let me pull that person away from that heat source because it’s bad for the company.
Greg Henderson (04:50):
And so that’s how people view HR as this, you know, it happens day-to-day, it kinda just happens on its own. That’s a misunderstanding of HR. HR is more of a strategic business partner aspect. That, that’s how I view it. It’s, it’s a lot more than just hiring and firing a discipline and you know, in the principal’s office and parties, right. I, I tell people all the time HR is kind of seen as you’re you go to it when you really, really good or really, really bad. And for everyone else in the middle, it doesn’t really bother you no matter to you or apply to you. And that’s just, that’s just the wrong way to look at HR.
Miriam Allred (05:27):
Yeah, correct me if I’m wrong. But I think the takeaway here is most agencies probably need to define HR. Most likely it’s undefined, it’s vague. Like you said, it’s only becomes a topic of discussion when there’s something that’s gone really right. Or really wrong, but it needs to be defined. So is that the solution here for most agencies?
Greg Henderson (05:48):
I would say there’s no magic solution. There’s no magic bullet. So you have to, I tell people all the time HR has to be tailored to your organization and it has to operationally make sense to what you’re trying to do. So if you, if you view HR as this, in this vacuum, that’s, that’s, you’re, you’re missing the point. It needs to be aligned with the operational and the business outcomes. And so HR is just your business partner to help figure out the strategic piece of people management and how do I make our people better than they were yesterday? So yeah, you can define it, but I would go one step further and actually go to the person who’s responsible for the task and ask him, Hey, what do you need help on what’s what’s your pain points? What are you missing? What would you like to know more than you don’t know? It’s the FOMO, right? It’s the fear of missing out because you don’t really know what you don’t know. And so you never asked the question, but there could be so much more if we would just go back to that administrator to the person, answered the phones and say, are you getting everything you need from me? If not, then what can I do to help you be better than you were yesterday?
Miriam Allred (06:58):
Yeah. Yeah. I’m glad that you said that because it may be one person that’s doing it at agency. It might be split between four people and so going to each of them and see, you know, where the holes are and how you can kind of streamline a process and really just organize your HR strategy is probably really, yeah. So
Greg Henderson (07:19):
That’s, that’s a great point. We teach. So second hat leaders is our, is our mentality. So it’s someone who’s again, responsible for the stuff, but doesn’t necessarily have the title or the education behind it to kind of back that up. And so what we teach them is to be a pulse taker, right. To be you know, kind of a vision amplifier. So whatever the story is for the, for the company, that person in that role should be able to amplify your vision and your story. And it also needs to be kind of a leader multiplier. So you’re, you’re again, you’re that second hat leader, but can you multiply your leadership to other areas? And then the last one is your, you gotta be a gap filler.
Miriam Allred (08:00):
Yeah. I love that. I that’s a terminology. The second hat is that you use. Okay. Yeah. I’m not familiar with that, but I love those principles and I think you’re exactly right. Those are kind of the key functions of HR in a person, you know, in their role, in what they’re actually doing on the day to day. That’s awesome. So, so let’s kinda segue. What, what would be another really big misunderstanding that we need to clarify?
Greg Henderson (08:26):
So kind of what I’ve been hearing is when I talk about HR and they find out that I’m an outsource guy, they’re like, eh, I don’t, I don’t want to do that. And I ask them a question, well, why, and more times than not, they like, well, I really liked my company and it’s personable to me. And I, you know, I started the company because I had, you know, my grandmother was sick or, you know, you you’ve heard the stories over and over again. And so they think because they outsourced the critical piece, that they lose their heart and they lose their company. And that’s a misunderstanding that no, no, no, no. I I’m want to come beside you and align with you and make your vision better, make your vision known for the whole company. And so it’s the idea that I love your heart.
Greg Henderson (09:13):
I love what you’re doing. Let me help you kind of enhance it and make it better not to change it, not to fundamentally change it. I only a lot of people will, will say HR is, you know, hiring and firing, right? We’ve talked about that. That’s something I do not want you to outsource. I don’t want me. I, I do. I am not your interview. I’m your strategic business partner to teach your people how to interview, but I’m not taking away the interview. You need to do that. You know, your people, you know, what needs you are, are just not met by the current workforce. And so once you’ve figured that out, you need to be the person at the table interviewing that person. I’m not going to become your recruiter. You, your internal person needs to do that. All I want to do is make them better, teach them some skills and some techniques to listen for the answers, to the questions that you already have, or maybe help you develop those questions.
Greg Henderson (10:14):
And so that’s a misunderstanding that, you know, once you outsource your HR, you lose your heart. I don’t want to, I don’t, I love your heart. I can get behind that. I do want to help you, you know, make it more, I guess, widespread. And so it’s the idea of if you have this great story, but does everyone in the company buy into that HR is to help you make sure everyone understands that, Hey, this is my story. If, if I work here buy into that, if I don’t buy into that, it’s actually going to be uncomfortable for me to be here.
Miriam Allred (10:49):[Inaudible] Thinking out loud, this is probably why there’s so much disconnect and confusion with HR is because is, is for this reason people put, you know, their payroll person in an HR function. They put people that aren’t HR people into HR functions. And then HR turns into things that it’s not. But what you’re saying is, you know, there are HR professionals, you know, you can outsource your HR to someone that knows what HR is and will do what HR does. And, and that’s kind of the thing here is, you know, you either need to hire someone that knows HR internally or externally, but, you know, that’s where all this like convolution comes from is there’s so many people trying to do HR that aren’t HR.
Greg Henderson (11:35):
Right. Right. And I just, and, and I’m a weird cat, right? Cause I love HR, but there’s so much more that HR is than what it is currently in the industry. And I just, I have a passionate to, to, to, to kill people, understand that, give me a chance, right? Just give her a chance and it’s going to help your business. I promise you with different things with leadership and development, with training and management, with, with all the other stuff that you don’t think belongs in HR, because maybe your director of operations is it’s taking care of it. But again, go to your director of operations and ask him, Hey, how are you training and developing? You know, what he tells you, what she tells you. We’ll tell you a lot about where you are on the future of your business. Because I T I tell people all the time, either you take care of your people and they become your future, or they become someone else’s future.
Miriam Allred (12:32):
Yeah. I want to put emphasis on most likely HR will, will take away a lot of the headaches from the owner or the leadership of the agency. A lot of where those headaches are coming from could probably be solved by HR. And so really peace of mind, you know, there’s so much going on at an agency at any given time. And so whatever you can do to, to, to lighten those headaches or lighten the load, a lot of that could be solved by HR.
Greg Henderson (13:01):
So that’s, I, I appreciate you bringing that up. That does bring up a great point. So whenever I do a kickoff call with a brand new client, I give them my four commitments. And one of my four commitments is exactly what you just said. Peace of mind. Do you have to worry about what the OSHA just put out for ETS you do, or you could hire someone else to do it for you, right? So it’s the idea of giving you peace of mind is you’ve got a thousand other things to worry about. Let me take that off your plate and give you some time back onto your schedule. And the other three, just real quick it’s the idea that I’m a reliable source for you. And so if you need something type into me, I’ll be able to help you out with that.
Greg Henderson (13:41):
And then the third kind of thing is what we kind of talk about is the, the strategic bits as business partner, right? So how do we make sure that everyone understands the vision and the mission and the goals that you are, you know, built the company for, and that you that you are super passionate about? It’s your why? Right. So HR is supposed to help you take your why and make sure everyone else understands the why. And the third one or the fourth one I should say is the architect for development, right? So you have a plan in place where you want to go, HR is supposed to help you kind of build the plan, be the architect for that, for that process.
Miriam Allred (14:21):
Yeah. Great, great, great points. Let’s let’s talk story time here. You know, I want to hear you meeting an agency that may be had HR. Wasn’t doing HR. We were split between their admin staff, you know, what that looked like, and then how you maybe came in and helped clarify these misunderstandings and what it did for them.
Greg Henderson (14:41):
So it’s been really cool. So I’ve been able to work with multiple states. So I’ve got clients in Texas and, and Georgia, and now we made it pick one up one in in, he’s got, he’s got agencies everywhere. So he may buy one in Florida. And so, you know, we’ve got just just a wide range of different people in how they view home care. You know, if you talk to Texas people, they identify differently than the people who talk to Florida. And so that was interesting. You know, when we met at the H calf, they have a different way of kind of going through some different things in the industry in general. But there’s this great agency in Texas that we became clients. And it was really great because he, he, I work really well with competent and caring leaders.
Greg Henderson (15:36):
And so you, you can kind of pick those up from the very initial kickoff call. And so we were talking about a couple of different things and he mentioned people over brand, and I thought that was really cool. And so he said, I don’t know how to make that reality. I don’t know what that means. I love the concept. I love the process. I don’t know what to do with it. Right. And so what we kind of went through is I told him the three things I, I I make every client concerned about is employees are your competitive advantage. If you believe employees are your greatest asset, then we’ve got to figure out again, try to bring human back into HR is how do we bring them to the understanding that I don’t really, I’m not so concerned about their commitment level. I’m concerned that they know my commitment level to them.
Greg Henderson (16:30):
And so it’s the idea of, once you talk to home health care, they’ve got these great mission statements. And so what I tried to get him to understand is does your mission statement in, at your patients, or does it continue to your employees? And, and so he had this great conversation, and it’s the idea of you take care of employees, time, money, and family, and they’ll work hard for you. And so we were able to put some PTO time in place, right? We’re able to put some PTO, even with the hourly employees, accrual-based you come in, you start accruing the first day you get there 90 days later, you know, you want to take a day, you’ve got eight hours, or you’ve got four day, four hours or something because you’re, part-time, you only work four or five hours. And so you’ve got that built up because you’ve been working for three months or four months.
Greg Henderson (17:23):
And it was this great concept that we took it a step further. Actually this year we took it a step further and actually made it kind of a psychological safety standout. So for every 60 days that they worked, especially the, the, the, the home care providers who are going into the house every day, we gave them a day off every 60 days. And it’s the idea that, wow, it, it normally incentivize people to work, but it also shows them that we care. It shows them that we understand that they’re going through it, that they see, you know, some horrific things during the day. And they, and I don’t want them to burn out because they’re important. I care about them. And so, because I don’t want them to burn out, I need to take care of them. And how do I take care of them?
Greg Henderson (18:05):
I take care of their time. I give them time back. And so that’s the first thing I was kind of hanging my hat on is the idea that people, if they know that you care, it helps. It really does. I can, you can see it in people’s eyes. When you tell them that they’re going to get a day off every 60 days. They’re like, for what? For working here, this is great. Right? And then they start telling their buddies who are in the same industry. Hey, my guy gives me a day off every 60 days. Wow. How cool is that? And so you invest in them and in turn, they invest in you. Yeah.
Miriam Allred (18:47):
My wheels are just turning, you’ve shared so much, and I’m trying to digest a
Speaker 3 (18:50):
Couple things that stood out to me.
Miriam Allred (18:53):
No, that’s okay. What’s really the people over brand concept. And one of my follow-up questions is, you know, how customizable is HR? You’re talking about, you know, PTO as one example, but HR has kind of its core functions and what needs to be taking place. But the cool thing about HR is that it’s customizable. Am I wrong? Yeah.
Greg Henderson (19:14):
Oh, no, you’re absolutely right. You’re spot on. It’s a hundred percent customizable. It’s one of the things that I tell the owners when we start doing their handbook is because, because I build their employee handbook for every client that I have. And I tell them, I said, whatever you have, if you pulled it off Google and changed your name, no we’re starting from scratch. It has to be tailored to your organization because you know your people. And if you don’t know your people, then that’s the first step we got to. I need to get you to understand that you got to know your people and, and th and the reason why, you know, your people is because if you put something in your handbook, if you put PTO in your handbook and you, and if you don’t know your people, maybe that’s something that they don’t care about.
Greg Henderson (19:58):
Maybe they won’t add a bump, you know, at their 90 day mark, to show you, Hey, you know, your, your living wage is not really competitive to the outside environment. So at 90 days, if you give me a bump in pay, well, that shows me that you care, you got to know your people. You’ve got to understand what inspires them and motivates them to work. Because the last thing you want to do is put something at the end of the rainbow that de-motivates them, or is irrelevant. It’s irrelevant. Right. And so now we’re just shooting ourselves in the foot and we think we’re awesome. And, and our employees are just leaving by the droves. Right. I don’t have to tell you, the turnover rate in this industry is double right. It’s doubled in everything else. But I always, I want to challenge the owners when I hear that. I’m like, well, what have you been about it? Yeah. Yeah. Because you know what, the definition of insanity, right. Doing the same thing over and over again, it’s taking a different result.
Miriam Allred (20:55):
Yeah. I, I’m just drawing on what you’re saying. And it’s stemming back to that secondhand leader concept of a pulse. You know, you can’t build a successful HR strategy if you don’t have a pulse on your people. And so that’s a really good first step here is just keeping a pulse on your people, understanding what they want and building a strategy and HR strategy that’s customized to the needs
Greg Henderson (21:18):
Of your own behalf to be, it has to be. Yeah. So I teach, so when we talk about leadership, I start with this great kind of acronym. You know, my, my military background I love acronyms, but I love acronyms because it helps us remember important details. And so I always toast. I always try to teach people, CPR, DF, right? So CPR, everybody understands that the life given mechanism. Right. And then don’t forget it’s and hopefully you’ll never forget about CPR. Don’t forget. And it’s the idea of commitment, purpose, relationships, development, and feedback. And so it starts with the commitment, but, but it doesn’t start with the commitment. Like you think it should, like, you’re, you’re looking for commitment from your employees. That’s okay. But I’m looking for commitment for my leadership team first. And then I’m looking for, how do we show our employees that we are committed to them? So once you, once you have your leadership team committed to the cause, Hey, I’m committed to be a great leader. Then you can, then we can say, we have a foundation and we can start with, and then we move into the employees and how do we build a commitment level feedback that says, Hey, I want you to know that I’m committed to you before I cared. If you’re committed to me,
Miriam Allred (22:37):
I’m thinking of Simon Sinek, the defining your why, and people following people that they believe in this concept of, you know, believing. And I think that’s so relevant with HR. And, and I love what you said about commitment from the leadership. You know, you’re not going to get committed employees and until you have a committed leadership and then that ripples, you know, that resonates with the employees and they are going to do and feel and believe what you believe if you’re doing it and committed as well. So,
Greg Henderson (23:04):
And it takes it a step further. Once you, again, kind of remove yourself from the weeds. If you see a leader who’s not committed, you can remove that person from that situation. And, you know, there’s, there’s different levels of toxicity of leaders. And one, the first level, I always try to teach people is incompetent leaders are first level of toxic. They don’t really know. They’re not really, you know, an abrasive leader. So they’re not really what you would consider toxic, but they’re toxic to the team because you put them in place before they were ready to ready.
Miriam Allred (23:40):
Hmm. Yeah. That’s a really good point, a really good point. And that happens frequently, so
Greg Henderson (23:46):
Right. Because we have to. Right. And, and, and it just happens. I understand that our, our job is to try to coach people of, once you identify that, then how do we mentor them and coach them and train them to be better. Right. So if they’re, if they’re have some type of gaps in training or, or, or, or, you know, soft skills, then we have identify that. And then we throw them through the process of, Hey, this is how you get better.
Miriam Allred (24:14):
Yeah. 100%. We’re, we’re really, yeah. Driving home. Some of these points, I don’t want to cut you short, but what are is there one or two more misunderstandings that you want to clarify?
Greg Henderson (24:28):
Probably the idea that, that we’ve been doing it for so long, we haven’t needed in the past. I keep hearing that like, oh, well, we I’m successful. I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I’ve never needed HR. Why do I need you now? HR has changed more in the last two years. And it hasn’t the last 20. And so if that’s your mindset, when you go into, when you talk about, I don’t need HR, that’s a huge misunderstanding. If you don’t have someone that’s routinely looking at all the updates, all the changes, all the directors coming out, you’re you, you’re probably setting your business up for failure instead of success.
Miriam Allred (25:14):
Yeah. I’m glad we’re hitting on this. I think complacency is one of my personal fears, but I think professional fears as well, and not getting complacent or thinking, you know, I’m doing it right. I’m successful. I’m fine. But you’re probably just right. You know, a lot of people are probably juggling HR and feel like, oh, we’re fine. We’re doing it. We’ve been doing it for 20 years, but there’s always room for improvement. There’s always room to become better.
Greg Henderson (25:40):
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. One step better.
Miriam Allred (25:43):
Yeah. 100%. Really good points, Greg. This is really awesome. I mean, I just love the acronyms and the little bits that you’re throwing in here. I’m writing notes, you know, the second hat leader, the people over brand, the CPR DF, like there’s just so much here and I’m sure so much more than we could cover, but you know, these are really probably the three biggest misunderstandings in home care, especially, you know, I love that you’re tailoring these points to the industry, even though HR goes beyond home care and is relevant all over and these principles are universal. So really just any parting thoughts on some action steps you recommend for providers to take after, you know, hearing some of these things.
Greg Henderson (26:26):
So time, money family, I go back to it, take care of the time, take care of the money and take care of their families. And how do we do that time again, give them back their time money. It could be a simple gift card. I started having a client do this. And so after training, after you know, the initial training, the 90 day training, I made them write a handwritten card and they mail it to the employee with a gift card of their favorite restaurant, you know, 15, $20 gift card to their favorite restaurant. How would think about that? Put that person in, put your shoe, put stem in, in that person’s shoes and go to the mailbox and put your, your, your, you know a letter and you open the letter into the handwritten note, and it’s got a gift card from your boss, from your boss’s boss’s boss, right.
Greg Henderson (27:21):
And says, Hey, I just wanted to know to let you know that I see you, and you’re doing an amazing job. And thank you for being part of the company. Here’s $20 for your family. This is this weekend and it’s through their favorite restaurant. And it goes again, you know, your employees, how much, how much cloud do you have? How much, how much psychological safety did you just build? How much trust did you just build off a 15 second handwritten note from the boss, take care of the time, take care of their money and take care of the family. And you got them for life.
Miriam Allred (27:57):
I love that. And, and I love the concept of, are you more concerned with their nine to five or their five to nine and the five to nine is that time money family. So focusing on, you know, what they’re doing outside of what they’re doing for you specifically, Greg, our time is short. That was so incredible. Thank you so much for all the insights you’re sharing. I’m sure we’ll hear and learn more from you as you are really kind of the HR guru here, but thank you for taking the time to join me on the show.
Greg Henderson (28:25):
This is, this was great. This was, this is a lot of fun. Thank you so much.
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