How a Chef Became a Sought-After People Leader

with Sr. HR Business Partner, Shana Robinson

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Our guest today is Shana Robinson, a Senior Human Resources Business Partner with a large Fintech organization with numerous years of people operations experience under her having worked for the likes of Blue Apron, Twitter, Google, eBay, and Compass Real Estate, just to name a few! She is also an expert in bringing wellness initiatives into the corporate experience, focusing heavily on helping employees cultivate all facets of emotional and physical intelligence. Her personal mission is to empower individuals and corporations to navigate challenges and transitions through work, life, health, and wellness in an ever-changing world.

  • How food and mood are connected, moving Shana from the role of chef to people leader
  • What do you learn in a restaurant that you can bring into the corporate world? 
  • Shana's morning ritual to avoid "FLC"
  • What should you do as an HR leader when starting with a new company?
  • How to best get to know your new colleagues to build trust early on
  • How does data come into play for HR leaders?
  • How to speak the different "languages" or motivating factors of leaders
  • Why the push for "physical wellbeing" in the workplace didn't work
  • Work/life Integration over balance
  • It's time to explore new ways of working
  • Live from a place of "calm and ease" even in stressful situations


[Shana Robinson]    00:01:45    Thank you for having me. And I hope I bring high energy.  


[Tom Finn]    00:01:48    <laugh> well, you, you always do in our interactions. And for those of you that don't know, Shana, let me just take a moment to introduce you to her. She is a senior human resource business partner. She works with a large FinTech organization but has had numerous years of people operations experience. She's worked in all areas of HR for blue, uh, blue apron, Twitter, the Googles eBay, and, uh, most recently compass real estate. Just to name a couple of companies she's worked at, she's also an expert in bringing wellness initiatives into corporate experiences, and she focuses heavily on helping employees cultivate all facets of emotional and physical intelligence. Her personal mission is to empower individuals and corporations to navigate challenges and transitions through work through life health and wellness in this crazy and ever-changing world. We are so happy to have you on the show. So with that as a backdrop, how did you with all this energy and focus on wellness initiatives, how did you get into HR

 
[Shana Robinson]    00:02:51    Total accident? Um, definitely fell backward into it. I had been in, you know, mostly in administrative and operations type roles early on in my career, always thinking I was gonna go to law school. There was never a waiver in my mind. And then I took the LSAT and went to culinary school, um, which is not really why people take the LSAT. I didn't have to do that to get into culinary school. And I went to this total hippie school. It was, um, health-supportive, um, really cooking for people with compromised immunity doing gluten-free. This is 2009. So nobody knew what gluten-free was, you know, that, which is crazy. Um, I myself have celiac. So I was very interested in that, um, and traditional Chinese medicine. So it was really focusing on a holistic approach to the human body, not just about food, um, and really how food and mood are connected.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:03:38    And in, I think it was the first two weeks. One of the chef instructors was talking about how food and mood were connected. And I just, I remember feeling gobsmacked. Like you could knock me over with a feather kind of like, wait a second. You mean I was stressed out at my job, but I was also exacerbating my stress by what I was eating, even though I thought I was eating healthily. It was literally that moment that changed my life forever. Um, and so I worked as a chef for a few years, and one of the things that I realized, you know, working as a chef and working in the operations side of the house, I was always that person that people came to talk about things. And so, you know, and also just like how things worked and how things worked organizationally.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:04:20    And so my first job back into the corporate space, I went and worked for JC Penney, which we all know is its 110-year-old dinosaur company that at the time was going through a big transformation. And they were opening up a design studio in New York City. And it was a recruiter and me, and it was like, the recruiter was there to hire the talent. I was, you know, able to learn some of the talent acquisition, but the rest was up to me. And so about three weeks into my role there, they said, you're good with people. What do you think about doing HR? And I was like, okay, cool. Um, so that's how I got into HR complete. I mean, I fell completely back into it, but it was, you know, sort of like the universe definitely pushed me in the right direction because I am in absolute flow when I'm doing my work.  


[Tom Finn]    00:05:04    I, I love this. So just to recap, in case you didn't catch that lawyer, uh, thinking about law school takes the LSAT, uh, goes into culinary. School, gets an awakening on how your food and your brain are matched up, and then gets hired by JC Penney. And they say, Hey, why don't we put you in, in talent acquisition? You're gonna be great. People love you.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:05:28    Yeah. I mean, it was bizarre and my knife skills are sick to this day. <laugh> I, I think I do. I, I actually do knife skills classes, you know, internally, like at, just because it's one of those things that when you know it, you actually will cook and you'll eat healthy nourishing food. It's I, I swear like it takes, you know, the time out of that's the thing that people hate. They hate doing the dishes and they hate how long it takes in the kitchen. Well, if you have the knife skills and you have, you know, all of them, like how to prep, it cuts the time in the kitchen down significantly.  


[Tom Finn]    00:06:00    So I  


[Shana Robinson]    00:06:01    Love that's another podcast.  


[Tom Finn]    00:06:02    <laugh>, that's another podcast, but maybe it's today's podcast. I love to cook. And so I'm all in on this. Now I hate doing dishes and I always try to limit the amount of dishes that I cook with so that I don't have to do too many dishes later. You gotta do dishes along the way, right? That's part of the process, but chopping, organizing searing you name it. It is my happy place. That's where I go glass of wine, you know, if necessary, and some music on and just a very relaxing environment. That's my de-stressor cooking. So you have, you have my full attention today.  
[Shana Robinson]    00:06:37    Awesome. And I do my job much. Like somebody works in a kitchen, you know, it's like you have everything in, in its place. And, you know, just knowing how to be able to be nimble and pivot in a very small confined space. I mean, very different, you know, when you're working at a desk, but when you have all of that, it's just the skill sets I learned in culinary school. I think everybody should go to culinary school and I think everybody should work in a restaurant, but that's again another topic for another time.  


[Tom Finn]    00:07:01    So that's a no, that's a great point actually. I mean, what do you learn from the restaurant business that you can take into a corporate role in, in talent or, or in HR?  


[Shana Robinson]    00:07:11    It's a great question. I think, you know, learning how to set up your, what, you know, in a restaurant, it would be your station, right. And that's what they call the MEISON plus. So everything in its place, that's the literal translation. So you walk into your restaurant in, you know, if you're a chef, I, I did pastry. That's, another funny story. Um, you have everything at your fingertips. So when, you know, things are busy, you're getting tickets fired. You know, it's just like constant, constant, constant, constant. You're able to literally like on one foot kind of pivot and make things happen really quickly because, you know, everything is organized every, you know, where everything is. And so in this culture, especially in, in corporations where everything is like this move fast, you know, get things done quick, you know, action bias. That's what it is in a restaurant.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:07:56    And so like, how can I organize myself? How can I organize my thoughts? How do I get myself really prepared for the day? You know, looking at, you know, your calendar and making sure like, okay, I know that like when I go into this meeting or like, here are the questions that I have, this is what I need. This is how, or even, you know, things that I do in my own life to set myself up, I have, you know, a morning ritual. I have, you know, things that I do. I always ha I make, you know, lunch for myself. So I don't eat like a Savage beast in the middle of the day. You know, you open up the refrigerator and you're like, you know, just pouring the contents in your face. That's, you know, but it's like, no, I actually like thought like, this is how, and I am, I wouldn't, I'm organized, but I'm not like O C D organized. It's just, but that's what I have taken from the restaurant industry into the corporate world. And I think it has helped make me, you know, pretty successful.  


[Tom Finn]    00:08:44    Yeah. I love the way you said that you gotta have things at your fingertips. And I think we translate that in the corporate world to understanding who the other people are around you, understanding the tools, um, understanding the different divisions of a company or the leadership teams. Those are having those folks at your fingertips. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, absolutely. And translating the business. So you, you mentioned something, um, that sort of perked my ears up and I think it probably perked up a few other ears as well. You talked quickly about your morning routine. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, could you share a little bit about that? I know sometimes these can be really private, but is there something you'd be comfortable sharing that really gets you going in the morning gets you focused that other people in positions like yours would benefit from?  


[Shana Robinson]    00:09:24    Yeah, absolutely. I'm a total morning person. So, um, I wake up toddler early. I also go to bed toddler early. I prioritize sleep. Sleep is extremely, extremely important to me. Um, I, in, in, you know, my morning routine ritual, I lemon water, first thing in the morning, you know, full lemon, Al equalizes, the body helps hydrate all of those, you know, and even when I'm traveling, if I take a road trip, I will literally bring a cutting board, lemons in my knife and the citrus squeezer. But if I'm not traveling, I have other ways to manage or if I'm traveling, you know, and I can't take a knife on a plane because of obvious reasons. Um, I have other ways to deal with that. Um, I read in the morning, um, you know, it's just, even if it's 15, 20 minutes, I like to read and just, you know, I start to journal, I don't journal in a traditional journaling sense, but I have a lot of, you know, ideas that come to me.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:10:13    I would like to write a book in the future. So I'm just, you know, thinking about things and, you know, reading often, you know, sparks ideas, um, and sparks, like how can I do things differently? How can I, you know, I'm constantly learning. Um, and then I, I exercise movement to me is extremely important. That changed a lot during the pandemic. Um, prior to the pandemic, I was practicing bicker, yoga, you know, three to seven times a week, depending on, you know, schedule it's, that's a commitment in and of itself, but, you know, once the pandemic hit, you know, now I have a Peloton, I use the app. So whatever that movement looks like, and I don't, I can't be too prescriptive about the movement for other people, what you enjoy and what I enjoy may be completely different. And so I think it's, um, something like that, but just, you know, some, whether it's yoga, whether it's a bar class, whether it's, you know, a ride on the bike, I can only do that on hair washing days.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:11:00    That's another story for another time. But, um, those are things to me that are extremely important. They're self-care, and then once I'm finished working out, I make lunch that I can have for the day, if I don't have leftovers from the night before, it's very important to me to have sort of that meal plan. Yeah. Not necessarily prep, but something that I am able to just like take out of the refrigerator for lunch. And similarly, if I do have time in the morning, which I do try to make a lot of time, I will knee on plus my dinner, like I'll have everything sort of chopped. So that like, at the end of the day, when I'm tired, I, you know, it's, I have no excuse, right. It's like, okay, I have everything ready to go. I can just sort of go to town. Yeah. A glass of wine.  


[Tom Finn]    00:11:45    Yeah, of course. And that probably makes you more effective in terms of your calorie count and, your health at dinner time, as well as at lunch. Right. Cause you're not, absolutely. You're not reaching and you're not starving and tired. And you've already thought through this. I mean, that's a really wonderful tip. I feel like I'm, I'm gonna take that away as well. Having everything prepped in the morning. I mean, what I heard was drink some water, get some, get some lemon in there. Um, read a little bit think, and I think maybe that's part of it too. Think big dream, big, have some moments to yourself, get some exercise, move that body, and then focus on, on sort of planning your meals for the day. So that you're really, then you can lock into work without having any sort of open cycles or things you're thinking about that are not, um, productive to your Workday.  
[Shana Robinson]    00:12:32    Yeah. And I mean, food, you know, going back to the food and mood comment and especially like what, what we eat just, it does affect your mood. It can in, you know, affect inflammation and brain fog. And so it's, it's also about how am I showing up in my life? Am I, you know, being, am I able, am I able to think, am I able to process or am I, you know, lethargic? And am I do I feel like crap all the time, you know, FLCs feel like crap. And it's like, there's just no rhyme or reasons. So that is, to me, all of what I do is self-care right. Like self-care can be bubble bass and massages and chocolates, and those are great. But you know, for me, self-care is like little things to do to create a bigger, you know, impact in my life.  
[Tom Finn]    00:13:15    Yeah. And, you know, PSA for everybody out there take care of yourselves. Right. Yeah. But put you first, um, it's important. Uh, well switching gears from food and your culinary life to, uh, to your business world today, um, you've recently entered a new organization in the FinTech space and, uh, you're walking in and you're walking into new organization. Lots of other HR partners are doing this. Uh, what are the three things that somebody should be thinking about as they walk into an organization? And they're trying to get their feet wet. They're trying to get to know everybody. They don't wanna hurt any feelings they wanna, but they wanna make an impact. How do you do that? Walking into a company  
[Shana Robinson]    00:13:57    It's challenging, especially onboarding virtually. Um, so this is the first time I've onboarded virtually at a company. Um, so one of the things, you know, things that I keep thinking about, I used to teach yoga prior to the pandemic. And so things that I would tell my students when they would walk in as beginners, nobody's here taking your picture for the cover of yoga journal, you know, just do the best you can. If you need to sit out a posture, you sit out a posture and I'm taking the same approach in, you know, in this world, I'm asking questions, I'm being curious, I'm trying, but I'm not gonna, I'm not, I'm choosing not to be overwhelmed, right? Like I could, you could get easily overwhelmed with all of the information, the internet and like who's doing what, and it's like, I'm just being very intentional about, you know, my new, manager's also amazing.  
[Shana Robinson]    00:14:40    She set up, um, an onboarding doc. So, you know, just going through and meeting all the people, she suggests asking questions and I've been thrown into things. I've gotten questions about, you know, leaves of absence and immigration and all of these things. And those are pretty standard-ish, but at the same time, each company has their own policy. And so it's kind of like, all right, let, let me go figure this out on my own as well. But again, not putting the pressure on myself to be, you know, perfect out of gate. Perfect. Is an illusion anyway. So really just giving myself time space and grace and being intentional about what I'm doing.  


[Tom Finn]    00:15:15    Yeah. I think, I think that's a great first step, right? You're you're going in, you're observing, you're having conversations. And then the, the thing that brought a smile to my face is I'm just giving myself grace and taking my time. Right. There's no, there's no timeline here. There's no forced or rushed process that needs to occur and you don't have to conquer the world in your first four weeks, uh, at, at an organization. Right. So take time observe. Um, what do you think about getting to know other people leaders in the organization? Do you have a strategy for maybe getting to know your peers or those that are running divisions or, or, you know, other folks that you admire within the organization?  


[Shana Robinson]    00:15:53    I wouldn't say that I have a strategy necessarily, but, um, you know, setting up one on ones. Um, you know, I had one today with a woman that I'd seen in other meetings, um, in the last nine days, but, um, we've not had one on one time and we, you know, I knew that we had that. And one of the things that I appreciated about this time was, you know, I asked at the end, you know, how will we, how, how should we work together? And she said, you know, it, I just really appreciated, you know, taking this 30 minutes to get to know you and what your backstory is and sharing a little bit more about me so that we can get to know each other. And again, it was a good reminder for me, like just, you know, asking questions and getting to know people because it's building that trust, right? Like if you like establishing that foundation of trust and I, when I, you know, enter a new team, a new organization, if I'm leading a team, whatever it is, I, especially if I'm walking into an already formed organization or team, I observe, you know, like, so that way I can watch, you know, behaviors ask questions and, you know, really develop even more curiosity. So I don't know that that's a strategy, but that's how I'm approaching it.  


[Tom Finn]    00:16:58    Yeah. It's great. And just having conversations with people is so important. I think you hit the nail on the head or, or this, um, coworker of yours hit the nail on the head when she said, look, I just wanna get to know you. Yeah. And we'll, we'll build a friendship and we'll build trust. And over time we'll get to all the business stuff. Right. And that's really, that's the most effective way to do it is, is build friendships and partnerships and, um, be others focused and kind, and it all sort of falls into place after that. Right.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:17:26    Yeah, it does. And you know, it, it, again, it's challenging to, you know, do that in a way, you know, that we're not sitting next to each other. We can't just say like, Hey, do you wanna grab a drink after work? Or do you wanna go get a coffee or anything like that? And so you do have to be more intentional when you are, you know, onboarding virtually when you're talking to people, you know, or even just joining meetings, like having that small talk, we didn't, you know, it's hard to do that. And some people are like, okay, let's just get down to business. It's like, okay, hold on just a sec. Who are you? And, um, you know, I am in the people business, so, you know, relationships are important. And so I'm glad that she, you know, kind of held that mirror up and it wasn't, you know, a, a negative thing. It was just like, oh, thank you for the reminder. Okay. You know?  


[Tom Finn]    00:18:08    Yeah. It's nice when people do that makes you feel so comfortable. Right. They're yeah. They're, they're being vulnerable, which in turn makes you a little more vulnerable and all of a sudden, oh my goodness, we have a friendship brewing. Right. Right. Which is, which is the best way to go into any company. Yes. But look, I, I know we've talked about a few soft things and emotion and food and, but you're a pretty serious HR leader. I mean, you're not just fluff here. I mean, you are a, a pretty serious person. Um, so let's talk a little bit about data and the landscape and sort of how you view data as a part of the role, cuz I know you go and observe and you wanna get to know people and that's really important. That is step one, but there is some real underlying, um, structural business components that you take on. So help me understand data. And what, and how you think about this part of the business?  


[Shana Robinson]    00:18:54    Well, I think the data compliments the, um, the, the observations, right? I mean, if, if I can, you know, it's like, okay, I have these theories based on my observations, let me look at the data and is what I'm noticing coming through in the data. And there's a lot of other things that you can look at for data. Like, you know, are people abusing a pay time off policy or sick time? Um, you know, what is the tenure of people? What is the landscape? What is the makeup of this environment? Um, it's just like doing labs, if you're, you know, in the medical field, right. It's like, okay, what are the, you know, sort of what is the root cause or what are, you know, what am I looking at here? And so I was very resistant to data early on in my HR career, given that I, you know, do a little bit more on the, um, food and, you know, I have a degree in history kind of like soft skill more, but I am very grateful to the person who pushed me to do all of this data because it was like, wow, I saw actually how powerful it could be because you know, my observations and things that I'm noticing can only go so far.  
[Shana Robinson]    00:19:55    I know, you know, and especially like learning how leaders think and getting into the mind of a leader, they're always gonna think numbers and you know, what are the metrics of this? Okay. Here's what I'm observing. And here's actually what the data's showing us. So what do we wanna do about it?  


[Tom Finn]    00:20:07    Yeah. I had a, uh, a great leader that once told me, Tom, it's all about the NUS. I said, the numbs, what are we talking about? And he said, it's the numbers. Everything's about the numbers. You gotta know your numbers. And if you know your numbers and you have relationships internally, you can really accomplish anything within an organization.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:20:25    It's true. It's  


[Tom Finn]    00:20:27    True. You gotta know your NUS. Yeah.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:20:29    I, I don't know that I'm actually gonna start using that, but yes, I got know your numbers and I, you know, one of the other things, I mean, not it's data related, but you know, really correlating things back to the dollar. You know, how much is everything costing, you know, at, at a company that I worked for previously, you know, we were experiencing a lot of attrition and it was kind of like, okay, whatever, you know, like we'll just hire more people. And it's kind of like, well, not in this environment, you won't, but also do you know how much it's costing the company when we have people a trip and especially at this volume. Um, and so that was really what got the attention. So it wasn't even just the number. It was like, let's take it one step further. This is hitting your bottom line. Um, so, you know, I think it's, oh, sorry, go ahead.  


[Tom Finn]    00:21:07    If, if you want to get the attention of your CFO monetize mm-hmm <affirmative> the attrition.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:21:15    Oh yeah. Uhhuh. Yeah. I mean, I started like throwing dollar amounts out and they were like, wait, what? And I was like, oh yeah, the cost of attrition, you know, there's different, there's different metrics that people use. I've seen, you know, more often than not, it's about 40% of somebody's salary. So I said, okay, here's how many people that we've lost this year. Let's on average, say that everybody, you know, was making a hundred thousand dollars. You know, this is, you know, millions and millions of dollars, like, is that the best use of our money and our time, like, are we getting the ROI on that? Probably not. What is, I think it's also, you know, being in HR. And one of the things that I do bring to the table is I can flex to people's work styles. So it's like, okay, what language do you speak? And what's actually gonna make, you know, some people are numbs, if you will. <laugh> some people are, you know, dollars and cents. And some people are a little bit more like on the EQ, empathetic, you know, people side of things, none of which are right or wrong, you know, they're all, they all have their strengths and weaknesses, but it's really figuring out from the leader that you need to sort of influence what language are they speaking? What is going to move the needle with them?  


[Tom Finn]    00:22:19    Yeah. That, that should not be overlooked. That last statement. So, uh, the comment really is try to understand the people you work with and what is, what are their driving or motivating factors that they make decisions on, right. Yeah. Because we're all different. We're all, we're, we're all different. I'm definitely fiscally focused. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, I'm people forward, but I'm, I'm also, I want to know what the, the actual impact to the business is from a financial standpoint, I wanna know about people, but I wanna know about the money. Yeah. Right. So I'm both, I'm, I'm a little bit of both. I'm kind of a blend and some people are, and some people are one or the other.  
[Shana Robinson]    00:22:49    Yeah. I'm a blend of really people oriented process oriented and, you know, performance. And so it's like, you know, the blend of that. And so it does help, you know, when I'm working with leaders who are, you know, specifically fallen, you know, one camp like, okay, I can, I can speak your language cuz I can also bring some other stuff in there.  


[Tom Finn]    00:23:08    Yeah. I, I think that's terrific that you've got this balance and you also have a balance of sort of physical wellness and the way you think about the business holistically, you know, help, help me understand. There was a gosh 20 years ago, there was this whole push towards physical wellness in the workplace. Right. And, and we're gonna know our numbers and we're gonna get our biometric screenings. And, and all of a sudden people are gonna lose 30 pounds and they're not gonna be on diabetes medication and their blood pressure's gonna go down. It was this amazing, you know, moonshot that was supposed to happen. And it didn't happen for those of you that don't remember or weren't around to know, uh, it didn't occur. And, and really there's a lot of reasons, but help us understand from a holistic standpoint, what the miss was when everybody was looking at physical wellbeing in the workplace,  


[Shana Robinson]    00:23:56    Well, you're looking at one portion of a whole body, right? Like we are both physical and mental. And so you're missing an entire, you know, just a, a, a really crucial point, which I think, you know, a lot of people are focusing on now. And I also think that, you know, the onus being on the employees to do the work and to learn, you know, whether it's how to cook or how to meditate or how to exit, like whatever it is, there was no change from leadership in terms of how work was done. Um, and work has been done, you know, this nine to five, you know, being in an office, I think it started in, it was like Henry Ford in 1926. Well, that's pretty fricking antiquated, right? Like we're 94. I can't do the math. I have a degree in history anyway, you know, we're almost a hundred years later.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:24:46    Um, and so, you know, I understand, I think that the sentiment was, you know, I think that it was done. I don't think it was done from a place of malice. Right. Like I think the sentiment was probably pretty genuine, but I think the execution was, and still continues to be poor. I think that a lot of companies do, you know, some companies do it, uh, better than others. And I think especially in the last two and a half years, a lot of companies are catching on to that. They need to change the way that they work. I mean, like we can go way down a deep rabbit hole of, you know, in office hybrid or work from home or, you know, what is working for the employee and what is important to the employee. And so, you know, I, I just, my 2 cents, you know, again, take it for what it's worth. I think that it was just execution in terms of, we're just gonna put one more thing on the employee to lose weight and biometric screenings and doing all of these things, but we're still gonna throw all the work at you and we're not gonna change the way that we do any work. We're just gonna add one more thing to your plate and fun. We're gonna have a contest about it!


[Tom Finn]    00:25:47    We're, we're gonna stack you up against all your fellow employees and see who wins. Yeah.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:25:51    And I also don't need to know how much my coworkers weigh by the way. Like I don't, you know, it's like, okay. I mean, I understand. And I do like the cohort, you know, method. I, I like that in terms of learning. I like that in terms of, you know, there's this group motivation. And I think that if employees wanna do that on their own, you know, they form their own groups to do whatever, you know, weight loss challenge. Yeah. Yada, yada, yada, I think, you know, we are stronger together, but I think when it comes from the top, there is also this like, uh, crap I have to do this. It's just another thing I have to do.  


[Tom Finn]    00:26:23    Yeah. Shauna and I are, um, sort of going back and forth here on this topic. But the reality is there was some good work done by some, and it was a great interim step to start the conversation. It just wasn't the full step. Right. I think that's probably a fair way to say it. And, uh, and now what we're seeing is this integration of work and life, um, cuz it's not balance anymore. It really isn't, it's an integration of work and life and making sure that it works for employees and the day of the employee has arrived. My friends, uh, it has arrived. And if you miss the boat, check the numbers, uh, out in the marketplace on turnover and, and how retention is down and turnover is up and every industry is facing this right now because people are really empowered about working from home and wanting to integrate their work and their life together.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:27:16    I think that's such a great word choice integrate. I mean it is, you know, it isn't, you know, a lot of people used to talk about separation of, of work and life or work-life balance. And now I think you're, I think the word choice is spot on and I'll be using that. It's how do we integrate all of these things too, you know, live our lives because we are, we're working differently, you know, all of us, whether we like it or not, this is the way that it is so great. Good word.  


[Tom Finn]    00:27:41    Well, I think, I think we all have to look at those extracurricular activities, whether it's your, your morning routine, which is super important to you and it sets you up for a successful day or, uh, those that have kids that have to get those kids off to school or, um, you know, those that have, uh, caregiving requirements for parents, uh, that are maybe elderly in their, in their community. Um, or they're doing community work for nonprofits. That's really important to them. You know, we've all gotta figure out how to integrate our day jobs with the things that make us smile and really make us happy and, um, move us forward as, as populations and communities.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:28:20    I, I completely agree. And I think, you know, one step further and I don't think we're quite there yet. I think some employers are doing this, but also, you know, like looking at the way that we work. I mean, this was one of the things that I learned going into the restaurant industry and working in a completely different way. You know, I'd been in tech for the first 12 years of my career. And then all of a sudden I'm working in a two Michelin star restaurant with really ugly pants. But like, you know, that's, they were terrible and really sensible shoes, but, um, you know, it was such a, it was eye-opening to me because it's like, wow, there are different ways of working, even though, like, I knew that from, you know, jobs that I'd had as like a high schooler and you know, like early college, but like spending 12 years of my career in an office and in the tech space and in these hypergrowth environments, like that became, I was in such a bubble. And so, you know, I think that we've been working in that sort of bubble, especially those of us in, you know, whether it's tech or in an office or whatever, it's like, we have to explore other ways of working. We have to like, what is going to work in this new world, in this new environment, to your point about, you know, 4.4 million people leaving their jobs every month. I mean, the age of the employee is here. So what is it that is important to us in the way that we work?  


[Tom Finn]    00:29:36    Yeah. I, I think the only, the only counter-argument I'm gonna make to this is as we look at the way that people work, try not to take the products and services and measurements from a hundred years ago and say those have to stay right. And then we'll build on that. Right. That's the only thing that maybe drives me bonkers when I talk to HR people and they say, well, we've been doing it this way for 50 years, so we've gotta keep doing it that way. And I think that that's a red flag to me, right. Whenever I hear that in an organization we've been doing it this way for X amount of years, it just tells you that we're not thinking about what is, what are the unique needs of the employee today, right? Yeah. And if we were actually to do that and start with a whiteboard and put a bunch of really smart people in a room and say, what should this look like? It would not look like the benefit packages we have today. It would not look like the time off we have today. It would not look like the physical environment, right. Although that has shifted over the last year, uh, a couple of years, excuse me. Um, but it would, it would be different. And I think we have to give ourselves permission as those in HR and those that lead people. We have to give ourselves permission to say, you know, what happened a hundred years ago is probably not what I need today.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:30:49    Yeah. I mean, one of the things that I said to my team at my former job, because that was coming up a lot was, you know, I mean, should I stop using my washer and dryer and just take my clothes down to the river and like beat them with a rock because that's what they used to do. Like it, that's ridiculous. That's like, you know, that's not a growth mindset. You know, that's one of the reasons that I enjoy reading and learning from other people is like, how are you doing things? How can we be doing this better? How can we be doing it differently? Or, you know, let's challenge the status quo and, you know, throw spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks.  


[Tom Finn]    00:31:22    Yeah. We gotta create change. And it's people like you, uh, and your peers that, that, that are doing that. Um, as you think about creating change in organizations, is there one thing that you try to focus on, um, wherever you are, wherever you're working, is there something that, that is, is part of your soul that you always try to bring to an organization,?


[Shana Robinson]    00:31:43    Something that has to do with, you know, the whole being, you know, wellness, um, you know, just this morning, um, I helped a first-time manager terminate somebody the first time she had ever done that. And so, you know, working with her on that, it was like, how are you feeling? How are you doing, helping her set up her day? You know, okay, I know it's at this time, what are you doing the half hour before block that off, let's go through some breathing exercises. Let's, you know, teach people like here's some acupressure that you could do in the meeting to help you, you know, maintain a sense of calm and ease. That those two words are very important to me. That is how I live my life. I, you know, I always wanna live my life from a place of calm and ease. I don't like anxiety. I don't like rushing. I don't like all of those things. So really helping people establish that in stressful situations, you know, how can they show up as you know, I don't, this is such an overused phrase, but as their best self, you know, how can they show up and, you know, be proud of the way that they showed up and that that's it really focusing on wellbeing.  


[Tom Finn]    00:32:45    Yeah. I, I love the way you said that. And this whole conversation has really been about a holistic approach to life and work integration, right, integrating yourself into a new organization and congratulations to you. Thank you as well. Um, and, and then also I love that calm and ease. I mean, if we all took that approach to life, how much the stress would just melt away.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:33:10    Yeah. It, it, I mean, it's helpful, and don't get me wrong. I mean, there are things that show up that are stressful and, you know, it's kind of like, how long do I let myself go? Which usually isn't too long before. I'm like, okay, I am not living in integrity with what I said, I wanted, you know, like calm and ease is how I wanna approach my life. Why is this bothering me? What's triggering me and trying to figure out the like, sort of the root cause so that I can, you know, have a breakthrough and move, move through it instead of sitting and festering and being pissed off like that doesn't help anybody.  


[Tom Finn]    00:33:41    No, it really, it really doesn't. I feel like we're, um, gonna co-anchor a show for HR people that's like therapy, uh, light, you know, I think you and I, I think you and I have got this, let's do  


[Shana Robinson]    00:33:52    This, right. It's  


[Tom Finn]    00:33:53    Gonna start with food. We're gonna have, we're gonna have dietary components. We're gonna have a yoga component. We're gonna have, uh, you know, mental wellbeing components. I think we got this. Um, <laugh> done, but, but in all seriousness, I have, I've absolutely loved having this conversation with you and, and look the way that you approach the business is so thoughtful. I think everybody can take some lessons from today's conversations and if they wanted to get in touch with you, how would they go about doing that? What's the best way to find you? Is it LinkedIn or, or something else, um, that you would like folks to find you on?  


[Shana Robinson]    00:34:27    Yeah. LinkedIn is a great way to find me. Um, it's just my first and last name. Shana Robinson. Um, and yeah, that's the best way to get in touch with me.  


[Tom Finn]    00:34:40    Yeah. Well, I, I gotta tell you, this conversation has been holistic in nature, and I, I love the way that you approach the business. Um, I'm so proud when I meet people like you that are in the space that are so focused on others and also focused inward to make sure you are your best self going into any situation. It just makes our entire business, um, you know, a better place to work. And the fact that you're in HR and you're in a leadership role, you get to touch so many people and the way you show up can impact hundreds, thousands of people, um, from, from that leadership role. And so I thank you for, uh, doing it so thoughtfully and, uh, with, with calm and grace as well.  


[Shana Robinson]    00:35:21    Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate that.  

[Tom Finn]    00:00:02    Hello, and welcome to the talent empowerment podcast, where we lift up people leaders so they can lift up their organizations. I'm your host, Tom Finn, co-founder and CEO of LeggUP together. We'll learn how to drive people innovation, how to transform HR into people ops, and how to secure buy-in to disrupt the status quo. And as I like to say, it's finally time to stop smoking on airplanes and update your people strategy. Let's transform your organization and move from a culture of talent management to talent empowerment. This week's episode of the talent empowerment podcast is brought to you by LeggUPs, talent insurance, an inclusive people development platform designed to help HR leaders empower their people through one-on-one professional coaching with results like a 66% improvement in avoiding burnout, a 54% jump in leadership skills and a 73% increase in job satisfaction, LeggUP guarantees, improved employee wellbeing, productivity, and retention. In fact, they ensure it, your people stay or they pay a visit LeggUP. That's Le G G up.com to learn more. And without further ado, this is talent empowerment. Welcome to the talent empowerment podcast, where we lift up people leaders. So you can lift up your organizations. I am your host, Tom Finn. And today we have a high-energy and innovative guest. Her name is Shauna Robinson, Shauna, welcome to the show.  

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