Topic: Leadership


Speaking Truth to HR With Laurie Reuttimann

season 3, episode 3

Welcome to The Work Place, where we talk about the cultures we work in, and how to make them better for everyone. I’m Andrew Scarcella.

This episode, we’re talking with Laurie Ruettimann—host of Punk Rock HR—about, well, a lot of things. The balance of productivity and self-care. Why meetings might be our mortal enemies. What the great remote-work experiment has done to our collective cultures. And what it could look like as we start to maybe think about possibly going back into the office at some point. Let’s not rush things.

Stick around after the interview for Tangible Takeaways, where we break down the big ideas from the interview into bite-sized morsels you can use to shape your own workplace culture.

Laurie Ruettimann is a writer, speaker, and podcaster who helps executives and HR leaders prioritize employee experience and avoid toxic work environments by teaching them how to create workplace cultures that support, empower, and engage the people that work there.

Her latest book is Betting On You: How to put yourself first and (finally) take control of your career and is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and probably your local bookstore. If those exist anymore.

Laurie was interviewed by our Executive Producer, and executive interviewer, Katie Clifford.

Tangible Takeaways:

Now it’s time for Tangible Takeaways, where we take big ideas and heat them to 1,200 degrees Celsius, forge-welding them into a workable billet, then cutting and stacking to create a 128 layer, ladder-pattern Damascus blade, which we must then grind, shape, polish, and etch before attaching a treated micarta handle, to create our custom, drop point, full-tang competition cutter Bowie knife that we’ll use as a paper weight.

1. The first is that it’s hard to give someone permission that you’re not giving yourself. If you’re an HR leader who is preaching the value of PTO to your teams while simultaneously working late hours and into the weekends, don’t be surprised when your company culture ends up reflecting what you DO rather than what you say. We must, as Laurie says, fix ourselves first, if we want to be successful at fixing our culture. A major step in changing our own behavior is to consider the compassion and grace we are willing to grant those around us, and then looking inward to grant ourselves a modicum of the same. You don’t have to hold your own hand and sing kumbaya every morning, but … could it hurt?

2. The second is that the story we’ve been telling ourselves about the values of “collaboration” can, if unchecked, lead to an overestimation of the power of meetings. A meeting of the minds can indeed lead to innovative solutions and new ways of thinking, but the overschedulization of our days comes at a cost, robbing us of time to perform “focus” work. As the pandemic has shown, most people are more than capable of delivering for our teams, even at a distance. And as risk fades and we’re able to return to our brick and mortar lives, Laurie hopes we will persevere in trusting each other to make unsupervised decisions and integrate such behaviors into our new, hybrid work routines. She even goes so far as suggesting a challenge for those of us who are severely overscheduled: to look at our calendars for tomorrow and see if there is a meeting we can cancel. Just one meeting. It may ruffle a feather or two at first, but we’ll all be much better off carving out a bit more time that we can apply where and how we judge best.

3. The third is that, in honor of the chronically overscheduled, this tangible takeaway isn’t tangible or a takeaway. It’s a moment of quiet reflection. Wherever you are in your day, take a deep breath in, hold it for a second, and release slowly. Ahhh. That’s better, isn’t it?

This episode was written and read by yours truly—with additional writing, production, and sound design by Daniel Foster Smith.

If you liked this episode, or even if you didn’t, please rate, review, and, of course, subscribe to The Work Place wherever you get your podcasts.

The Work Place is sponsored by O.C. Tanner, the global leader in engaging workplace cultures. O.C. Tanner’s Culture Cloud provides a single, modular suite of apps for influencing and improving employee experiences through recognition, career anniversaries, wellbeing, leadership, and more.

If you want your organization to become a place where people can’t wait to come to work in the morning, go to

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