The cavnessHR Podcast can be found at the following places or you can just type in cavnessHR on the respective app.
Google Play: https://cavnesshr.co/93164
Pocket Casts: https://cavnesshr.co/theca6a21d
Social Media links for David Below!!
David’s Book Recommendations!!!
“Backbonology: Tough Decisions at Work”
Link to purchase is below.
“Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead”
Link to purchase is below.
David’s Resources Below!!!
When the book comes out. I'm going to have some special training programs coming up when the book launches. So when that happens, hit my Web site at www.backbonology.com So I will have some special stuff when we do launch in either the end of August or in September.
Jason: Hello and welcome to the cavnessHR podcast. I am your host Jason Cavness. Today's podcast is brought to you by Audible. Get a free audiobook download and a 30 day free trial at www.audibletrial.com/cavnessHR. Our guest today is Dr.David Bugay David are you ready to be great today.
David: I am, it's a choice we make every single day isn't it?
Jason: David serves as an administrator for the Orange County Community College District. Where he has served as a Vice Chancellor for Human Resources for nine years. Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Human Resources at College of the Desert and as a Chief Business Officer of the Oakland Community College District Auburn Hills campus. Dr. Bungay will move to a professor position in January 2019 at Irvine college. In the meantime, he has been busy writing. His books include Zombie Dearest and musical comedy play and two poetry books. Naked Turtle Dances and Zami Dearest poems for young zombies. Dr. Bugay has a Ph.D. in Organization Behavior. The latest product which will hit bookstores around August and is titled "Backbonology: Tough Decisions at Work" is a practical hands-on book. David resides in Orange County, California with his family and friends especially his wonderful wife Susan. David thank you for being here today. I really appreciate it.
David: Jason thank you for having me. I certainly appreciate it. You're doing a great work for HR people. We need more stuff like this.
Jason: So Oakland University, would that be the one in Detroit?
Jason: So coincidence, I interviewed a guy who graduated with MBA there a couple days ago named Tej Yale and he's actually on FB Live now watching this. a
David: Oh, he's got to be very smart, no matter what.
Jason: I agree with that. You have a lot going on right now. What are you actually focused on right now?
David: I am focused on putting the final touches on "Backbonology: Tough Decisions at Work". This book, probably I started doing presentations on what I called backbonology a term that I made up. But you see that in Human Resources where you have people who sit there and they're afraid of making the tough decisions. So they come to a terawatt of times wanting us to make the decision for them. When you take that title of a supervisor when they tell you, you have to earn your money. It's really true. So a lot of times they come and some of the simplest things come through and you have to provide support. An example I had a Vice President come to me and he wanted me to install a video camera in a workplace so he could monitor a supervisor that worked for him who was gabbing with his employees for a couple hours. I kind of thought well maybe this is an afternoon shift thing and maybe you know maybe it's 11:00 at night. I said well why don't you just show up at night one time. He says he's well you know I don't want to interrupt the privacy of his area. I found out that the guy was still working while he was working. He was just afraid to go down and confront the supervisor and tell him to knock it off. So I said OK no video cameras no secrecy. This is not HR. Go do your job. Go down their talk to him and say OK you guys go to work and then talk to him and tell him to knock it off. But he needed to have that extra push. He's not a bad person or evil or anything else and he wasn't lazy. It was a matter of he was afraid when it comes down to being afraid. A lot of people are confronted with that. You know sitting down and having a confrontation with somebody they become ill they become sick. They put it off. They do all they can to avoid it and they depend on other people and a lot of times those people are in HR. So this book really addresses a lot of that.
Jason: Why do you think people don't like confrontation like they don't want to do that part of the job. I guess it's against their nature isn't it?
David: That is part of it. But if you go back and if you ever went to college and took a psychology course you always hear about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and a teacher always says it just like that with a deep bass voice. Even the woman do. So that being said when it comes down to Maslow he talks about issues of the lower levels. The needs that we have of really being physiological. But then we hit that level where we're up there and the third level is called social needs and we want to have that aspect of having people go through and accept us for what we are. When you do a tough conversation with somebody that person probably is not going to say thank you. They may not even like you and they may whisper about you behind your back. Nobody wants that. Because at the core of us and this sounds really maybe cheesy. We all want to be loved and so we avoid those things and everything else. I've got to tell you one of the very first experiences I had that was traumatic for me was I was a landlord of 500 condos. No matter how good the people are you always have one or two people who don't pay the rent on time.
David: I had my bookkeeper. She says OK they're three months behind, you have to deliver that notice. I did all I could to avoid delivering that. I got sick to my stomach churned for three days I couldn't sleep. Finally, I did it and I went I knocked on the door. I jumped to the side so they couldn't see me. They answered the door. But in the meantime, I've been praying and I'm not very spiritual. But at that moment I was praying that they wouldn't be home. All of a sudden they come to the door and I say OK you're three months behind. You need to pay your rent. OK. I'll be in tomorrow. Sorry about that. Anything else. Well no. You know I'm the one that got all sick. I got worked up. But they were the ones that sat down and did the wrong thing. I didn't do anything wrong. They procrastinated. They didn't do it. They knew it. Why did I take that burden upon myself to feel that I would get sick and worried about their rent. So it really came down to is I didn't own it. I stopped owning it from that point forward. Now, no matter what happens I can tell you that I think we're all like that to some extent. We're afraid we're sitting down thinking about things and we overreact to them and we don't think about it. That's kind of normal and that's why they depend on HR people.
Jason: So David how long have you been doing HR?
David: Really for over 20 years the last 15 has been an executive level or senior level. But before that, I was at a college campus in Michigan called Oakland University and Oakland Community College. I was the CEO over at the Auburn Hills campus and I handled five of the seven collective bargaining agreements that we dealt with it there as well. So that being said I've been over 20 years in Human Resources dealing with contracts and dealing with employee issues. Prior to that, I had probably my best course is when I was at Fitz-Gerald public schools as the Director of Facilities and Transportation. Now there was my first union experience and it rolled into a place where we had 16 different grievances the year before I showed up. The first year we had a heart to heart dialogue with the union and talked about when you grieve when you don't grieve. We went from 60 plus was 62 before I showed up and the first year we had six and we went down to three and then we went down to one. We stopped the grievance mill because we really kicked up the communication part of it. So I think communication is really the heart of Human Resources. I also think as the herd of conflict resolution as well. Tell people to stop beating around the bush. Stop hiding behind what the issues confront them and sometimes you're wrong. As an administrator, as a leader and you have to be able to own it. When you're wrong own it and then sit down and fix it. Sometimes it just a matter of you know what you're right. Let me take that into consideration and then you make a change. Sometimes the change is pretty significant. I have had to do that a couple of times. Because believe it or not I know I look like I'm really smart. But I don't know all the answers. Sometimes the person coming to you does.
Jason: David what are some challenges of doing HR in a college environment?
David: You know at a college and in the higher education there is a big thing called shared governance. By shared governance, the faculty has a lot of input. In California, we do everything a little bit extra here in California. So whenever you make a major decision and the state legislature passed into law 10 different specific areas where faculty that administrators are actually the board of trustees has to consult with and actually go through and talk with faculty. So in California, we've gone the extra step so we have a lot of unions in California. We have a law that actually dictates we have to actually work with them. When you sit down and once you get over all the issues of yes you have to do this.
David: If you read the literature on it really group decision making actually you end up with the higher quality decision. Now sometimes it's so slow it's like crawling through something and everything else except for the fact that when you come out the other end if you do a good job of it you'll have a better quality decision. The other part is when it's a tough decision everybody gets to own it. Now the problem is that if it's a tough one everybody owns it. So that great sense of camaraderie disappears. You're standing alone. But generally with decision making, if you get more people to buy in that's called change management. I covered that chapter in the book. Tough decisions as well. That's a that's a critical part.
Jason: Is it true that you have to deal with several different unions in college?
David: When I was in Michigan. OK, we had seven different unions. I had a union for a faculty. Union for part-time faculty. Union for the staff. Union for the police. Union for the operating engineers which are like a high-level function supervisor for maintenance and operations. There are seven of them here in California. You'll typically see three or four unions and different things. So like college of the desert, we had a full-time union for faculty and a part-time faculty union as well as the staff union. Here at South Orange, we have three of them with a full-time part-time union and then we have a staff union as well as a police officers’ union. The police officers are very interesting because you have a lot of dignity and respect that comes with the badge uniform. Then the gun though changes a little bit. Things that are dynamics change when we go from a security level to an officer level. So it's a little bit different. So it's more interesting and then sitting across the table negotiating as somebody who has a gun at their hip is kind of frightening sometimes.
Jason: David on your LinkedIn, there is a part that talks about Title V and Title IX. Can you talk about what those are?
David: Title V is really a state issue. It's a matter of following good procedure. Whenever you deal with disciplinary action you have to really go through what's called due process. Now I covered that in the book. A good friend of mine who is an attorney published a book called Frisk. But by the time you're done when you deal with disciplinary action. A lot of people are frightened of it. If they're doing something wrong as a supervisor. You need to step up and do your job and tell them. Now frankly I don't believe that people ever started a job trying to be a bad employee. I just think that whole idea is ridiculous. I think sometimes they go astray and sometimes the supervisor doesn't supervise very well. Or it could be that they don't tell them if they think they are doing something wrong.
David: Second the written reprimand third suspension suspend them for X number of times. Sometimes one day sometimes 30 sometimes three months and then termination. Now that's a good process. Because we're having good communication along which expectations are and it's kind the standard for public employees in California. Now that being said we have that title 9 is a different critter altogether. Title Nine deals with sexual harassment sexual assault. There was a letter that came about 2011 called the Dear Colleague letter. The DCL and if you work in HR in public universities or public education you are familiar with it. It's gone through all kinds of things. Whenever you have sex between two students on campus or off campus. If you have dormitories it really covers that. Then somebody makes an accusation that the sexual experience happened to me without my consent then you have to launch an investigation. It's very traumatic, very difficult. You really have to start making decisions as to who's telling the truth who's not telling the truth.
David: It gets really ugly. One time I found myself sitting in front of a Board of Trustees in closed session. Where somebody kept a detailed diary of consensual sex in their homes. Then after where she claimed it wasn't consensual. But she's making a charge and everything else. So I have good people and a board reading and it and frankly it was more than the soft porn. It was specific exactly what happened. I thought oh my gosh I have public sector elected officials reading raw sex literature here. I have to help them make their decision. Oh my gosh. So Title IX is very sticky. You had a really bad definition by a lot of it from surveys of young college males as to what is consensual what's not. If a woman is passed out, can you have sex with her? A lot of them didn't think of it as rape. They just thought of it as good sex. Like oh my gosh. The data behind it was strong. The process that it ended up creating was really poor. So frankly I think some of the changes now are much better. Title IX is really sticky.
Jason: It's crazy the things you have to do as HR isn't it, the things we have to see and hear. People just don't realize. So there is a lot of people graduating college. What advice would you have for them or anyone trying to break into HR? What advice you have for them that are trying to break into HR as a career.
David: You know the biggest thing is actually doing the work. But the other part is like the public sector negotiations it's hard to come across. Frankly, it's a good skill to have. If you're a public sector you need to have negotiations in your resume. So get in a team somehow even private sector helps quite a bit. So get on a negotiating team even if you have to volunteer. Hold your hand up say I want to do this. The other part is so much of HR involves recruitment and recruitment is a lot of fun frankly. You see people on their very best days. That's so much different when we have to discipline them seeing them on their worst days. So the recruitment part is fun. There's probably about 80 percent of the workload. But if you want to get into HR get involved in the meat of it which is part of the disciplinary process. So the two things that a lot of people want to advance in HR. You need to sit down and be involved in some of discipline issues as well as negotiations.
Jason: David, next talk about how you were successful in the past. What you learn from that success and what we can learn from this.
David: I've got a couple of success. This sounds really strange. I had an employee who was a mediocre performer and his attendance was poor. I suspended him for 30 days without pay. Now that was one of those tough decisions. You sit down you look at him. You have a guy sitting there. He had every single thing go wrong in his life. It rained in the crawl space. His house flooded the furnace went out and his family was home. He had to leave work. Well, that was really cute except for the fact that he had a crisis the month before and a crisis the month before. So every month he's missing three to four days of work. He had a problem with managing this time. I suspended him 30 days no pay. That's really tough. That's one step out the door. He came in after 30 days. He apologized for his behavior. He says I won't do it again. He actually became a decent employee. His attendance went up dramatically and frankly, over the next four years he was actually a really good quality employee and from the experience. Now that that's one of those moments you sit down and think I made the right decision. I saved this guy and I could have fired him. But I decided to try to save and give one more chance and it was good. That's a great experience to have.
David: Follow up question. Talk about a time you failed, what you learned from this and what we can learn from this.
Jason: You know I'm one of those people. Like I've gone through and I've helped and I don't recommend this. But I have a streak in me even though I can make tough decisions. I like to help people. That's at my core and that's why I'm in HR. With that being said, sometimes you can't help them. So, for instance, I've dealt with five different people that were alcoholics. I used to be certified and determining and working with them as a counselor to hold that I saved five of them all five two of them love me to this day. One of them doesn't know who I am. The other two hate me no matter what. Because sometimes you have to do really tough things. I had a mentee and this mentee I work with her nonstop I did all kinds of things to help her be successful. Frankly, she was just mean you know. Now I have not worked with her in three years. So she's gone off the rails. It's really disappointing to sit down and work with somebody. But at the end of the day, it's not about me. It's about her and she has to own that.
David: Tell us about someone who has helped you in the past and how they helped you.
David: You know I've got a bunch of people that help me. You know the very first time I heard I ended up having that failure turned into a success. I got out of high school. I enrolled at MCOM community college in Michigan. The council was busy ordering pizza while he was trying to wait on me. So he kind of left me between the cracks. I enrolled in my very first English class. It was a pre-college English class and back in my days there were an awful lot of people that were coming to college that were stoned on drugs and they were in this class. I was in a burnout class. I mean it was bad. So I was the smartest person in class. But that's not saying very much. So the teacher looked at me, how did you get in here. I say well it was the first class in the catalog. So Dr. Robbie Avery said let me create a special program. So he went through and he took a total disaster of a class turned into the best thing that ever happened to me academic wise. Special study I got to meet with him on a weekly basis put me in a speed reading program and I was cranking out over 900 words a minute with over 90 percent accuracy by the time I was done. I use that skill set every single day.
That was really good. Another one is my first serious boss named Doug Weber. I was a retail store manager and he gave him my first evaluation. I broke into a sweat. I was beading up on the forehead rolling down the back of my neck. I thought he was going to fire me. He says David I give you a list of things to do, you do everything but what I want you to do. You're doing good but I'd like you to do the things I want you to do. So the next day he gave me a two and a half page list of things he wanted done at my store. I dropped everything that I wanted to do. Did everything he wanted done. I spent really four days doing what he wanted on his list, drove me crazy. He showed up the next week and he says you did everything. Now another list. The list is only one page this time I did everything he wanted first and then he left me alone. It was really nice. He'd show up, I get a half page list from that point forward for the things he wanted done. I would do what my boss wanted first and then I could sit down and have a really good rest of the week. Now I learned that and I their practice that all the time. Whatever the boss wants I deal with it first and then go on from there.
Jason: It is amazing how many people don't get that right there. You have to take care of your boss. David tell us something about yourself that most people don't know. Your close friends and family know this. But most people that know you, don't know this about you.
David: You know where I'm shifting over I mean I'm working on the book and everything else. I had a friend of mine call me up. She is a consultant in Human Resources and she says can you help me out with this project over here. By the time it was done. I ended up doing a market basket benefit and compensation study. I didn't realize there's apparently a need for that. I just was helping her. Also, I got a second phone call. Now we got three different projects going gathering data and doing that so it's one of those things. You want to help or help you with us and everything else and also now we've got a small business on the side. I never anticipated happening. So in the world of HR, nobody wants to do these studies because they are so brutally involved in research. I'm almost sorry that I helped her at this point. Except for the fact that I kind of like it's kind of fun. We actually built a couple of Market Baskets doing surveys to all kinds of research and it helps quite a bit. So that's one of those things that happens where you'd kind of stumble across that and it's a pretty successful venture.
David: David, I understand you have a book to recommend for our listeners.
David: I do and it happens to be called “Backbonology”. It's going to be coming out this fall either August or September. Frankly, if you're in HR, this is the book that you want to buy. Read it and give it to somebody else who really has been a thorn in your side, because they don't follow through or they're afraid of making decisions. The other part if you're a leader this will give you the different aspects to how to make a tough decision. Talk to people. I dive into all kinds of detail about going through how do you deal with a personal issue. How do you deal with negotiations. How do you deal with change management. If you can sit down as an HR person and train people how to make tough decisions. All of a sudden your job becomes easier. So that's what this book is about.
David: Now the other one is there's another book. “Work Rules: Insights From Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead” by Laszlo Bock. He came out with a book and I think it's one of these books that every HR person should get. Now he dives into micro micro data. He's incredible at what he does. Now I don't know if we need to leave all that data except for the fact that he does such a good job and frankly the book really he dives into what happens. How does the hiring decision get better after you interview the same candidate 24 times. Now gathering data and that he says that after about the third one it almost becomes a waste of time because your quality only goes up percentage wise and he measured it. Oh my gosh. You expect nothing less from that. But it's a pretty incredible experience. I recommend that one as well name it.
Jason: I understand you have something for our listeners.
David: When the book comes out. I'm going to have some special training programs coming up when the book launches. So when that happens hit my Web site at www.backbonology.com So I will have some special stuff when we do launch in either the end of August or in September.
Jason: Can you provide your social media links for yourself so people can reach out to you.
David: I got two of them. There is backbonology that's one. The other one is email@example.com
Jason: To our listeners, we will have the links to the book recommendations and his social media on our show notes. You can find the show notes at www.cavnessHRblog.com David, we are coming to the end of our talk. Can you provide any last minute wisdom or advice on any subject you would like to cover?
Jason: You know the biggest thing is I think the biggest thing is that all of us if you get a college degree somewhere in there you have to go through a speech class. I've never heard of any college offering a class on listening. We've all heard the old thing is that God gave us one mouth and two years. We should listen twice as much as we talk. If we did that if we listened to people and really listened without trying to formulate a response back to them. listen to what they have to say that would resolve a lot of conflict. That's what a lot of HR is about. So my recommendation is to listen truly listen to the people. It's incredible how that solves a lot of problems.
Jason: Actually my company, cavnessHR, one of our values is listen to understand, not listen to answer. A lot of us listen to answer.
Jason: David thank you for your time.
David: All right thank you very much it has been awesome. I appreciate the invitation.