EP 71: Self-Care for HR Professionals with Julie Develin

Self-Care for HR Professionals

Do you make the time for self-care? If you’re a busy HR professional, chances are your self-care game could use some improvement. Julie Develin is a Global Talent Management Leader, HR Speaker and Professor, and Podcast Host, and in this episode she shares how to up your self-care as an HR professional so you can continue to take care of those around you.

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode

  • How to bridge the gap between the C-Suite and employees. (7:10)
  • Taking care of yourself first as an HR professional. (14:30)
  • The importance of doing things that light you up. (15:55)

Actionable Takeaway for HR Professionals

  • Prioritize yourself and know that it’s ok to not be ok every day. (22:55)

Actionable Takeaway for Executives

  • Take what is being said at face value. (21:30)

Ideas Worth Sharing

“We’re living in a period of perpetual uncertainty and that doesn’t do well for people’s mental health.” - Julie Develin Click To Tweet

Resources In Today’s Episode

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Click Here for Audio Transcript

Traci Scherck: Welcome to tell an optimization my name is Tracy sherck and we are talking about HR self care I don’t know if any of you need that right now and I don’t think that it’s just for HR either.

Traci Scherck: and with me today is Julie Devlin and Julie is coming to us from UK G, and I have to say Julie and I met at the Wisconsin SHRM conference chatting i’m just about I didn’t know what you were chatting about Julie, what were you chatting about.

Julie Develin: Oh, I don’t know probably.

Julie Develin: HR right.

Traci Scherck: Oh psychological safety.

Traci Scherck: I think that’s what oh yeah no.

Julie Develin: yeah psychological safety psychological contract and the employee experience, I believe that was the the presentation it’s one of the topics that is near and dear to my heart.

Julie Develin: Which i’m sure everybody is near and dear to their heart right the psychological contract and the employee experience that’s that’s the HR nerd in me Tracy.

Traci Scherck: I love it I love it I love it.

Traci Scherck: You know so um as we talk about HR self care, today I love the fact that you both start over with we’re both exhausted right now.

Traci Scherck: yeah hold on let’s just start reporting, because this is going to be a really great conversation, but before we get there Julie, what do you do, that has you exhausted and how do you like, not be exhausted let’s just start there.

Julie Develin: Oh don’t ask me how to not be exhausted now we’re.

Julie Develin: gonna get into that but gosh what do I do oh man um well Tracy First let me say how how happy I am to be here with you today it’s awesome to have a conversation with you and.

Julie Develin: I am a senior partner in the human capital management advisory group for you kg that’s a lot of words that basically.

Julie Develin: I I do a lot of speaking I do a lot of writing I do a lot of consulting with HR professionals around the globe.

Julie Develin: On trending topics on things that it takes more taking them more from a tactical state to a strategic state, I think that.

Julie Develin: When we talk about HR today, you know there’s always been the conversation that the profession as a profession, we need to get to be into a more strategic role.

Julie Develin: However, I think that there’s now what we’ve learned is there’s kind of be a balance between the two I don’t think it’s ever going to be just one extreme or another, I think that it’s it’s got to definitely be somewhere in the middle.

Julie Develin: So I help I help organizations get from from that tactical to strategic but also, you know how do we manage the tactical as strategic and yeah I also host a podcast.

Traci Scherck: But I love your, by the way.

Traci Scherck: You know.

Traci Scherck: One of the things you know that that tactical to strategic.

Traci Scherck: um you know we call that talent optimization and in the world that I live in, and you know with our clients and it’s, how do we optimize that talent, to really ensure that they’re in the right seat on the right bus that they’re.

Traci Scherck: fulfilled and what they’re doing so that they can meet those business outcomes, but you know, during that process, how do we take care of ourselves.

Julie Develin: yeah no that’s that’s absolutely an amazing question and I think that it’s one that we as HR professionals and people managers business professionals gosh everybody in business.

Julie Develin: I don’t know that we always think about it as much as we should, and you know I think about.

Julie Develin: My time as a practitioner, so my background is as a practitioner, I spent over 17 years as an HR executive and I think about when I when I left.

Julie Develin: That the to my time as an HR practitioner, and I remember distinctly one day waking up and feeling like I had a weight lifted off of me and I couldn’t figure out why.

Julie Develin: So I spent much of that day trying to figure out, you know why do I feel so incredibly relaxed and light and just.

Julie Develin: Just better and what I determined and what would I would came to light for me was that I was carrying a lot of weight that I didn’t realize, I was carrying in terms of burdens in terms of.

Julie Develin: Making sure that everyone was being taken care of in terms of making sure the company was Okay, making sure that we were following all the employment laws and all of that so.

Julie Develin: I think that if I had to you know, looking back obviously hindsight is 2020 but one of the things that I talk a lot to HR professionals about today is hey really take a check on yourself, make sure that you are doing Okay, and that you are asking for what you need to get your job done.

Julie Develin: So.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely, and that is a myriad of different things from technology tools to the support staff that you need to you know.

Traci Scherck: hey I understand that we’re working remotely right now, but is there a way that maybe I could work in a co working space, because I cannot work in my house right like there’s a number of different things.

Traci Scherck: But yeah that that looks like.

Julie Develin: yeah and you mentioned support you know I like I said I meet with a lot of HR professionals and I met with somebody a few few days ago, and she was telling me that they had over 800 employees and I said Oh, how many HR people do you have.

Julie Develin: One it’s her 800 employees and my mind was blown but i’m no longer surprised when I hear things like that.

Julie Develin: Because i’ve heard it more than once, and I, you know you just think about how much we take on in our profession and how much the pandemic and everything that surrounds the pandemic has really amplified our profession and also amplified our.

Julie Develin: Our responsibilities are our burdens, if you will, right, I mean it’s just.

Julie Develin: it’s it’s been it’s been cumbersome, so what I would I would recommend is everybody started to take a step back and take a deep breath and and really check to see how you’re doing but really answer that question honestly.

Traci Scherck: yeah absolutely and that checked in is you know, for you, yourself, but then it’s also.

Traci Scherck: You have to communicate that back and so often when i’m chatting with individuals or or coaching HR folks what I hear them say is here’s what I need and i’m like great it’s you know that’s step one let’s identify what that is now, what are you going to do about it.

Traci Scherck: Right and it’s well I don’t know well, what do you mean.

Traci Scherck: let’s let’s get to that next step, so that you can get specifically what you need, because otherwise here’s the deal we cannot give from an empty cup right and if our Cup is empty we can’t give anything to anyone else because it’s it it’s just not possible.

Julie Develin: Right yeah yeah and you know so often, I will be talking to HR HR folks and they’ll tell me what what it is that they wish that they had and then i’ll follow up and say okay well who did you ask you know, did you ask somebody for this stuff and and Well, no, I can’t do that well okay.

Julie Develin: You know people aren’t mind readers, so I would say that one of the things that I wish I would have done a little bit better is asked for what I needed not, not just in terms of.

Julie Develin: Technology and resources and whatnot but also in terms of you know, an outlet to talk.

Julie Develin: You know, making sure that we’re giving our HR professionals and our employees, an opportunity to really get get the mental health.

Julie Develin: Care that that they need, and I, you know, during this time of disruption there’s been so many new sort of resources that have come to play and I think that when we think of.

Julie Develin: You know everyone’s when you when you recommend to someone Oh, you should go talk to someone oh I don’t have time to do that Well now, you can do it virtually and you there’s always been that option but it’s been amplified now.

Julie Develin: it’s it’s almost too easy to be able to seek to seek mental health so and there shouldn’t be a stigma surrounding it, too, I think that’s the other conversation we should have.

Traci Scherck: yeah absolutely absolutely and I don’t remember what podcast number, it was, but I mean in one of them.

Traci Scherck: It was the one with me Kiersten so if you’re listening to this and you want to go back and find that episode, but we actually talked about mental health there.

Traci Scherck: And how I walked into my executive directors office and she’s like you need to go to EAP and i’m like i’m not going to EAP EAP is not for me and she’s like i’m seriously got.

Traci Scherck: And I can’t tell you how incredibly helpful that was in just that thought if we an HR sit there with that thought guess what no one else is going to go either, and we have to leave that so.

Traci Scherck: You know, and it is deconstructing what those beliefs have been.

Julie Develin: yeah I agree, I think that oftentimes when when an employee is referred to an EAP they think that they’ve done something wrong or they think that.

Julie Develin: it’s some sort of punishment for behavior whereas I think we as a profession need to do a better job in explaining know this is what an emp does, and this is what it can do for you.

Julie Develin: And I think there’s also a thought of Oh well, I can go speak to whoever at the EAP because they’re going to reveal everything to the company as well.

Julie Develin: Right and.

Julie Develin: We also have we also have to convey the you know, obviously there’s hipaa laws, but.

Julie Develin: that’s not something that’s going to happen it’s not something that’s going, you know there’s not going to be any kind of breach of confidentiality with with an EP but.

Julie Develin: I believe I truly believe it’s up to you know the company it’s up to us to convey that message, because.

Julie Develin: If we don’t then no one else is going to and what happens is that employees chat amongst themselves and there could be rumors there could be yell you shouldn’t go to the ap because of you know, but.

Julie Develin: yeah I mean it when we talk about where we are right now in the world and just with the uncertainty that still is still there, because I think what we’ve realized is that we’re living in a period of perpetual uncertainty.

Julie Develin: And that doesn’t do great.

Julie Develin: For people’s mental health.

Julie Develin: We as humans, you know, we want to get we want things to be neat and clean and get from point A to Point B in a straight line but truly that generally doesn’t ever happen, but right now it’s really not happening.

Julie Develin: Right so.

Traci Scherck: yeah and I think some of it’s about how can I use this right like when we can change the thought patterns that I started going pretty negatively with.

Traci Scherck: How can I use this what exactly is this being put in front of us for right now, today, because there’s a reason for it and, if I can figure that out it’s going to give me that spark to move into another layer right.

Traci Scherck: um you know, and the other side of it, I just want to go back a second to what we were talking about.

Traci Scherck: about asking for what you need how you ask is incredibly important, I mean it is as important as asking itself right.

Traci Scherck: yeah and you know, one of those key things that we see when we’re working with HR folks inside of organizations.

Traci Scherck: Is that they’re not asking for things in a way that individuals feel is meaningful, especially the the C suite and their CEO and their directors, etc.

Traci Scherck: And you know that really goes back to what is that business strategy that you have and what are those business results with organizations trying to get.

Traci Scherck: If you couch what you need into how that will give you your business results you’re going to go a whole lot further than just saying.

Traci Scherck: hey we each need an extra five days off okay like you know guess what i’m going to start looking at that and adding up dollar signs now if you can put that in.

Traci Scherck: The business outcomes of the organization xyz and here’s some things that we can do that actually is going to allow us to get there.

Traci Scherck: That the Roi the return on investment of this is going to allow us to do that and that is incredibly important, and as HR folks.

Traci Scherck: we’ve not always been really savvy at being able to do that are really understanding what does our CEO and C suite need and being curious about that, to ask the question where we can bridge that gap together.

Julie Develin: yeah absolutely yeah I think you’re spot on when you say what does the C suite need.

Julie Develin: What I always tell folks when when i’m having conversations about if they need something, how do they ask you know ask me how do I add, I don’t know how to ask.

Julie Develin: I always say find out what’s important to the C suite find out what’s most important to the C suite and then.

Julie Develin: frame your conversation around that somehow so let’s just take a low hanging fruit and say it’s money.

Julie Develin: Right so hey we need new applicant tracking software okay well why do we need new you know well, you just need it because you want it well, no, we needed it because we’re losing xyz dollars, not being able to track, you know all the candidates we’re.

Julie Develin: we’re getting in but actually having that data to share with executives to share with decision makers and say you know, this is what we need, and here, is why we need it is very, very powerful and it’s going to make your argument a lot stronger.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely and here’s the thing if you’re working with another organization on something that you feel you need don’t feel like you have to bear this burden and bright yourself, because what I hear in my head is I hear five of my clients going.

Traci Scherck: That just sounds heavy Tracy that’s just going to put me in overwhelm well stop at EAP be let’s just talk about what that is so that we can be open to this to have that conversation right because.

Traci Scherck: it’s what does two steps forward get you we want you to take a step back to move that forward as well, and that is being creative an open like you talked about optimism.

Traci Scherck: You know, to to what are those possibilities and we have to be able to look at what those possibilities are, because if we just continue to look at the doldrums of how hard it is to hire or this or that guess what.

Julie Develin: yeah yeah yeah yeah absolutely have to look at the possibilities and you know this time has been extraordinarily challenging but it’s also presented us with some.

Julie Develin: opportunities to really shape the future of work, and I know that sounds really cliche.

Julie Develin: But it’s true never at any point in time, I don’t I mean, at least from what I can remember, have we had we as a profession, have we had such an opportunity to make an impact on the lives of so many people.

Julie Develin: And I say that, from a perspective of hoping that impact is positive because I do think there are ways that we could also make a negative impact, not that we’re trying to do that, but it’s really to me Tracy it’s about intentionality.

Julie Develin: it’s about making decisions and.

Julie Develin: making decisions for the company, but also for yourself in an intentional way and really knowing the meaning behind the choices that you’re making.

Julie Develin: I think, is really, really important so but, but I think you know we go back to the mental health conversation, which is what the umbrella here is over this whole conversation.

Julie Develin: You know, when we talk about mental health, we as HR, we have to remember that we are employees to we are human too, and you know they say you know, on airplanes what do they always say put on your mask before for helping others put on their mask right.

Julie Develin: And I think that that adage is is really true, I mean I know again that’s really cliche but it’s it is, we have to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves, so that we can bring our whole selves to work and take care of take care of other people as well.

Traci Scherck: yeah absolutely and some of this is looking at that and saying.

Traci Scherck: You know the team that we work with is incredibly important, and how do we create that cohesion between our team because.

Traci Scherck: Yes, there’s the pressures at work, but there’s Also, why do we love for right like what do we love about it, and when we can sit back and look at that and say all right.

Traci Scherck: What if we stopped doing because of the pandemic and how can we infuse some of that fun back in right like we were I was talking with a client yesterday.

Traci Scherck: About I said well have you ever created winter packs and she’s what are you talking about i’m like so what we’re in Wisconsin we get more snow than you do Julie.

Julie Develin: You know.

Traci Scherck: But, but I said, you know, have you thought about just buying a couple you know.

Traci Scherck: Things of cross country skis and snowshoes in different things and creating little winter packs that your staff can check out and go do something that they’ve never done before.

Traci Scherck: Just because it’s there and now all the sudden you’re starting to build some of that cohesion again like what are some of those things that you can build those fun projects and that impact the culture and light you up in a way that allows that to happen it’s not crazy expensive.

Julie Develin: No absolutely yeah I mean.

Julie Develin: Sometimes we have to, we have to really tap into our youth right I you know when you when you told that story, where do I go with it i’ll tell you where I go and it’s not about business, so I I do I do crossfit and which is the obviously exercise and.

Julie Develin: The other day I was at the gym and we usually do a typical warm up you know stretching and that kind of thing and that day our coach said we’re going to do something different.

Julie Develin: And long story short, what we did was we played like a game of tag almost Okay, let me tell you something the all of us.

Julie Develin: All adults, we were we turned into children, it was so much fun it made my life my night better right it i’m still thinking about it today right in this conversation it’s something that i’m going back to.

Julie Develin: So I think that having that having fun and and bringing some sort of joy to the to the work day like just like what you said you know, providing you know cross country skis or.

Julie Develin: providing opportunities for folks to get together and have you know some hot chocolate, or something I mean that’s also helpful when it comes to mental health, just providing those opportunities, where we can say okay it doesn’t all have to be serious, all the time, would you agree.

Traci Scherck: I do percent because guess what if you’re serious all the time you’re not being creative and you’re not allowing that other side to really come out in place.

Julie Develin: Exactly exactly exactly so yeah, so I think that I think that you know step one is making sure that we, as a profession, are taking care of ourselves.

Julie Develin: And, whatever that looks like for you to you know there’s not there’s not.

Julie Develin: A blueprint in terms of how do we take care of our mental health yeah there are the traditional things that that we do we go to therapy and you know we journal, and we, you know.

Julie Develin: step away from work when we need to but.

Julie Develin: I think the real question that I would, I would say is or the real thing I would say to everyone is to find what works for you.

Julie Develin: Because what works for you may not work for someone else and that’s Okay, you know, maybe something totally different maybe some sort of strenuous activity works for you.

Julie Develin: Whereas for someone else it’s just taking a nap right, I mean it’s.

Julie Develin: Right yeah.

Traci Scherck: And it’s giving yourself that permission to do that, and you know and the HR managers that I coach you know it’s one of those things that we bring up all the time is.

Traci Scherck: You know what is it that you want to do, going back to the beginning of our conversation what you want to ask for.

Traci Scherck: And then the question is well why aren’t you and you know so often i’ll say, have you given yourself permission to actually have this and they kind of look at me like I have six heads and I laugh and go no seriously.

Traci Scherck: You haven’t given yourself permission to do that and guess what we are trained our whole entire life’s that someone else has to give us permission to get on the bus.

Traci Scherck: To go to that thing to do whatever right that have you given yourself permission to do it, and I will say all right take out a piece of paper, I know this sounds like second grade just do it.

Traci Scherck: On a piece of paper I Tracy shirt give myself permission to whatever it is sign it and date it now can you go ask for that thing I know it’s simple and it sounds silly but has such a profound impact.

Julie Develin: yeah yeah and I think sometimes too we’re not even sure what it is that we need until we start to sit down and think about it and.

Julie Develin: Or we get into a situation where something just sort of POPs in our head like an Aha kind of moment oh man, I would really be helpful if I had this or if I go how to cut over if I went and had a conversation with this person or or something like that so yeah.

Julie Develin: yeah so you know you may be thinking to Oh well, I you know I think I have everything I need i’m not really I.

Julie Develin: Think right but really you know, in your day to day, think about what can make your day to day better what can make your mentality better what can make you more optimistic, and you know it’s not all always rainbows and butterflies here but.

Traci Scherck: at all.

Julie Develin: And that’s certainly not not what we’re conveying, but I think that you know if we just take small steps to make to make improvements that’s going to pay off dividends in the future.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely and it’s just that question what don’t I know they’re going to make this a you know, a better work environment what don’t I know that allow us to hit our business outcomes what don’t I know that’s going to allow me to show up.

Traci Scherck: Every single day right.

Julie Develin: Absolutely yeah and I think it’s also about having conversations with others to.

Julie Develin: We gain perspective from hearing others views, not that we always agree with them, especially at work.

Julie Develin: yeah but you know I always talk about it, I always talk about the importance of listening and the importance of listening intentionally.

Julie Develin: It for HR but also for HR folks to help train people managers to do that as well, because you know when we talk about HR HR self care, yes, obviously that’s that’s the focus of today’s conversation, but this also filters down to all employees as.


Julie Develin: yeah and and we need to make sure that we are seeing the employee is the whole person, and not just the worker that’s what this new generation of employees expects and, in some ways I think they did they demand that.

Julie Develin: And you know with the way the the market is in terms of how many jobs are available and whatnot if we’re not providing.

Julie Develin: folks a positive mental health experience they’re going to go somewhere where they can find that so.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely absolutely so as we start to close out our conversation today i’m curious what’s one key takeaway that you have for our CEOs and our C suite that’s listening in.

Julie Develin: Oh gosh.

Julie Develin: Just one just one key takeaway.

Traci Scherck: Whatever you want to throw out there right, I think I think sometimes I think sometimes the C suite CEOs etc.

Julie Develin: They don’t put as much credence into the things that they’re hearing as maybe maybe they should sometimes I think that folks are quick to dismiss what people are saying and feeling.

Julie Develin: And I think that, at this juncture, we have to take what’s being said at face value, and not just understand it and listen to it, but also take action once we hear those things so.

Julie Develin: If you’re hearing that if you’re hearing the same message from different sections of employees, if you’re hearing a similar message if you’re hearing Oh, you know communication at this organizations terrible if you’re hearing you know all that, I think that.

Julie Develin: You can listen, you can listen to that.

Julie Develin: And and take in the information, but it can’t live in a vacuum, you have to actually take action once you hear it, especially to if you ask for feedback from employees, because.

Julie Develin: I think one of the one of the main things that happens is upper level folks asked for employee feedback and then they do nothing with it.

Julie Develin: And that’s the kiss of death, because what will happen is you’re going to ask for feedback, the next time and no one’s going to give it to you because they’re going to think it’s pointless right.

Traci Scherck: Exactly exactly and what’s one key takeaway for the HR professional that’s listening in today.

Julie Develin: Take care of yourself.

Julie Develin: prioritize.

Julie Develin: prioritize yourself, I think one key takeaway is for you to know that it’s okay to not be okay every day.

Julie Develin: yeah now when that becomes cumbersome and when it comes to a point where it’s affecting your your overall life, etc.

Julie Develin: You know I think I think that you know it’s up to us to be self aware enough to take action.

Julie Develin: To take steps to make things better because we can’t do it all we’ve been asked to do it all, but we can’t do it all, and when we try to I think that’s when we get into a place where it becomes unhealthy mentally.

Julie Develin: And you know have conversations with your co workers your peers hey are you feeling this way to or you know, am I am I crazy you’re feeling this way, no, the answer is no you’re never crazy for feeling that way ever.

Traci Scherck: Right.

Julie Develin: But you know I don’t ever make any excuses, if you feel like you need help, I think that.

Julie Develin: Today, in the workplace, we have to remember that there’s less of a stigma towards mental health than there ever has been.

Julie Develin: And if we look in the media, even we see you know celebrities talking about it athletes talking about it now, so I think it’s important for us to to make sure that we’re fostering a culture at our organizations, where it’s okay to talk about things like that.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely, and one thing I want to throw out there is I 100% agree with that and we always have choice as to what thought we.

Traci Scherck: And I think that so often that that gets missed, you know is we always have choice into you know.

Traci Scherck: Am I going to think that the situation is that we’re seeing the world or am I going to think that oh my gosh What opportunity is being put in front of me.

Traci Scherck: You know just those two different thoughts about the same circumstance.

Traci Scherck: Create very different feelings one feeling is overwhelming depress the other feeling is optimism right like what action, am I going to take out of those two feelings that came from those two different thoughts.

Traci Scherck: Very different actions to get very different results, so what I want to make sure of is.

Traci Scherck: Any thought you have you’re absolutely okay to think we always have choice in what that thought is, and if the thoughts starts happening over and over and over again, there may need to be someone else that needs to be that thought partner with you.

Traci Scherck: In order to help you walk through that there’s my little coaching hat, but just.

Julie Develin: I like it i’m going to take that advice and run with it.

Julie Develin: Okay, I just took some free coaching Thank you.

Traci Scherck: If you are interested in our in our coaching programs we do start new coaching programs for HR managers each month it’s no more than 12 people and they run for six months, so you know that’s something where you’re like Oh, my goodness, I want more of that we do have that.

Julie Develin: So I wish I would have taken advantage of something like that, when I was a practitioner.

Julie Develin: Honestly yeah yeah.

Traci Scherck: For sure and i’ll even tell you what we can even talk about how do I ask for what I need here because.

Traci Scherck: there’s a really easy way to do that that should be the next podcast maybe that will be.

Traci Scherck: So with That being said, Julie anything else you want to share with our audience before we say goodbye today.

Julie Develin: um I guess you know if the audience is interested to check out my podcast as well the people purpose podcast.

Traci Scherck: it’s amazing.

Julie Develin: Thank you, anywhere, you get your podcasts myself, along with my colleague chaz fields we co host that and.

Julie Develin: yeah I mean, I would say just check out UK G, you could you calm ultimate software kronos we merged in the middle of the pandemic and we became UK G, which is ultimate kronos group so.

Julie Develin: yeah and if anybody’s looking for an HR speaker I am available.

Traci Scherck: awesome so i’m going to steal from your podcast here for a second.

Traci Scherck: Okay, where did you find your purpose in today’s conversation I found my purpose, I found my purpose and feeling amazing that i’m able to have conversations like this with people like you.

Julie Develin: To bring to the masses and to really help HR professionals move forward.

Julie Develin: You know, one of the things that I love about my job is I love many things, but one of the things that I really love is that.

Julie Develin: I have the opportunity to help make HR professionals lives easier, based upon everything that I hear from other HR professionals and also my own personal experience.

Julie Develin: So I think that it’s important for me to convey the message that we do matter in HR just as much as our employees matter and we have to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves so that’s definitely a definitely a big purpose today.

Traci Scherck: awesome well Thank you so much for joining us and we hope that you have a fantastic rest of your day.