October 15

Harry Florio, AVP HR at SECU Credit Union

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Harry Florio is the AVP of Human Resources at SECU Credit Union. His passion is to help his organization build a strong culture that allows employees to reach their potential.

Harry has been a human resources practitioner for over 20 years supporting financial services companies with strategies around talent acquisition, talent management, and talent development. Shortly after obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Mr. Florio began focusing on talent development by serving as a technical subject matter expert training employees on new operational workflow systems and then fully transitioning to corporate learning and overall organizational development focusing on soft-skill training, defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plan overviews, continuous process improvement and career coaching.

Podcast Highlights:

  • Conflict should be embraced because if done right it helps the team evolve 
  • It's HR's job to get employees to go for greatness
  • Great leaders build an emotional connection with their charges

Contact Harry:

[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:06
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone. This is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to the No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how to make you better, stronger, faster. Get ready for another episode.

Umar Hameed 0:36
Today I'm privileged to have Harry Florio here joining me today, he is one of the big enchiladas in HR at CQ welcome to the program.

Umar Hameed 0:44
Thank you, Umar, glad to be here.

Umar Hameed 0:46
The reason I'm excited to have this conversation with you is, you know, we have leaders that are visionary that know where they want to take the organization, we have people in management wanting to make this happen. We've got people on the front lines, you know, doing their best, but oftentimes everything gets dis aligned. Because there's people involved and the people that make everybody align is HR. And so this is going to be an exciting conversation.

Harry Florio 1:08
Well, thank you. I'm glad to hear you have a level of confidence in the HR practitioners to help bring it all together.

Umar Hameed 1:14
And what's kind of interesting is when I talk to organizations, the perception they have of HR, I'm not sure you've heard anything like this before. But sometimes people say they're the people that say no.

Harry Florio 1:25
Yes, we hear that all too often.

Umar Hameed 1:27
And they work for the man.

Harry Florio 1:29
Yes.

Umar Hameed 1:29
You're here for management. And the reality is quite different. What's the reality view?

Harry Florio 1:34
Yeah, the reality is, you know, it's not about picking sides, it's really about making sure that we are serving as consultants to help the organization be as successful as it can be to deliver on its social purpose through its people. Right. And often, what happens is the dynamics of human behavior, yeah, convoluted, you know, the ability to do that effectively. Right? You know, where often then it does, perceptions are created. And it seems as if Oh, you know, HR is on the side of this person versus that person. And it's not at all about that. It's really about trying to be objective, to ask, you know, kind of deep dive questions to really better uncover what the root issue what what the root issues may be, right, and then serving as a consultant to help folks work through them.

Umar Hameed 2:23
HR, just like sales, leadership, any aspect out there of groups of people have a players, people that walk on water, do amazing things. They may not be like in charge of the department, but you know who those people are, then you've got to be players that do a good job, we're glad that they're there. But sometimes they don't reach their potential. And then you've got to see players that are just you know, I got a paycheck. I'm just going doing Could you give me your definition of an A player in HR? What are the attributes and mindsets that an ideal person should have?

Harry Florio 2:53
Yeah, and a player is somebody who honestly, they're jumping out of the bed doing that rock star formation, like, gosh, I'm so psyched, ready to get to work and...

Umar Hameed 3:02
Right.

Harry Florio 3:02
...they tried to make a difference? Well, before the alarm goes off, right? You know, the C player is somebody who I often refer to as the time to make the donuts guy, the 1980s, Dunkin Donuts, you know, mascot, I guess, or whatever you want to call them, you know, where he's the guy that's kind of, you know, dragging and go, gosh, you know, Tom to make the donuts where it didn't really seem like he wanted to do it. Right. You know, so when I think about the role that we play in helping create an environment to, you know, to have those a players thrive,

Umar Hameed 3:37
Right.

Harry Florio 3:37
That's the challenge, right. And a big part of it is the balance between when you look at career planning and succession planning, you know, I often refer to it as a three legged stool where you have the employee that's driving his or her path, you know, aspirational path, you know, the manager is, you know, navigating, and helping navigate through those choppy waters, and then have the organization which is the third leg of the stool to provide the opportunity. And as I'm working with, you know, all three of those players in big part, we're first working with the organization to identify role clarity, you know, what are those roles?

Umar Hameed 4:11
So let me stop you, right?

Harry Florio 4:12
Sure.

Umar Hameed 4:13
I've worked with a lot of organizations, you can't find an organization where they don't have that issue, where either people don't fully understand their role. And sometimes they do, but most people don't know what other people do. And they have an idea of it, and part of it is they're lazy, not doing enough. And so, yeah, role clarification is huge.

Harry Florio 4:32
Yeah, it's real clarification. And the way that we define that is really, you know, asking folks you know, describe a day in the life Alright, you know, because your point, you know, often the farther removed somebody is from that role, they may think it's this when it's really something very different. You know, outside of role clarification, it's better understanding the, the skill gaps, you know, where are where do we as an organization need to better bridge the gaps to help are employees who want to continue to grow with the organization and aspire to succeed within the organization? How do we identify where those development areas are? And then what resources do we have at our fingertips, whether its internal or external, to then provide those development opportunities, you know, while giving folks an opportunity to apply what it is they're learning. So that's, that's kind of that, that that middle ground, and then the last piece is at the individual level, it's best to intervene and understanding the motivations...

Umar Hameed 5:30
Yes. what drives.

Harry Florio 5:31
...of, right, what's driving people, you know, what is it that is, you know, making them wake up in the morning saying, gosh, I can't wait to get to work. And what we're finding is that, you know, particularly with the millennial generation, and once the Gen Z starts to enter the workforce, it is that sense of social purpose. It's like, you know, what is my purpose in life when I go to my job, and it's not always about money, in some cases, it may be, you know, so for for those scenarios, where it is more purpose driven, and values based driven, that's where our organizational culture kicks into high gear, you know, so how do how does the environment that we create through our organization, organizational culture, play to the motivations of our employees?

Umar Hameed 6:12
So how would you define culture, like what is culture in an organization?

Harry Florio 6:15
Culture is, it's very much a, this inner feeling of, you know, what companies stand for, of what it's like to work within an organization of you know, what an organization stands for? You No, and a very much aligns with an organization's brand, which is very much what people are saying about you when you're not in the room.

Umar Hameed 6:38
So give me an example of one of your employees living up a fulfilling an aspect of your culture. When you heard that story. It was like, wow, this is who we are. Do you have one of those stories?

Harry Florio 6:49
I do. Actually, recently, I was speaking with a relatively new team member, he has been with us for about four months. And and I was asking him to share with me his his onboarding experience thus far, we've built out this very robust 12 month onboarding program. And as much as I believe that it is a very powerful, successful program I wanted to hear from directly from him and his on his experience. And as I was talking with him, he shared with me his level of excitement when he joined the organization, just this feeling he got when he when he was going through the interview process. And what he said to me is, you know, Harry, I feel like I found my purpose. And it cut me, right, not in a bad way. But I was like, wow, as I kind of like, you know, that, you know, like, like, Ah, you know, like, I feel like we've you know, we've been what was his purpose? Right? You know, his purpose is really the level of engagement and impact he has on on our members and, and their personal

Umar Hameed 7:45
So it's helper, right?

Harry Florio 7:46
Absolutely.

Umar Hameed 7:47
So, yeah, that's brilliant. So that must have made you proud.

Harry Florio 7:50
It does. And we often hear that, you know, we have a lot of work reading, and we've had a lot of employees who have joined our team from, you know, commercial banks. And we often hear the the big difference between the sales culture at, you know, commercial banks, and how different it is here at CQ. And it's very much more values based. And it's not about you know, the product as it is the impression we are leaving that emotional sentiment that we are leaving with the member through our actions.

Umar Hameed 8:20
Now you're talking my language, because I think ultimately, at the end of the day, it's about how we feel, and how we make our constituents, whether they're employees, managers, or customers, because words don't go far. But feelings are, you know, really, really core to who we are as human beings.

Harry Florio 8:38
Yes, they are. They are, you know, and and when I think about the role that HR practitioners play in helping organizations tap into that, you know, and this and this notion of experience, it's kind of a little bit of a buzzword right now.

Umar Hameed 8:51
Right.

Harry Florio 8:51
And when I think about it, it's how do we, as HR practitioners bring alignment between the experience of candidates, and then the journey they have to employees,

Umar Hameed 9:05
Right.

Harry Florio 9:05
and then the journey that our employees have, in many cases to members, or even if you know, in our members that aren't employees, right, how do we bring alignment and continuity to the experience that those three groupings have? Right, you know, so

Umar Hameed 9:20
And that's huge. I'm going to go to a weird example. It's, you know, parents and the kids. Kids find out pretty soon that Wait a minute, what dad's saying and what dad's doing are two different things. So it's true through you know, in a work life, too. It's like, how do we get that alignment? When people are walking their talk, and when they're not walking their talk? It's a coachable moment. And when they are walking their talk, oftentimes you need to capture that.

Harry Florio 9:48
Yeah.

Umar Hameed 9:48
Coz the story of that. That allows people to inform people what our culture is because just words on a wall, like we're gonna look after our customers is like, Okay, what does that mean? Well, Let me tell you last week at the Pasadena office, this employee had this situation, this is what they did. And this exemplifies who we are. And then people go, Oh, my God, that makes perfect sense. I know what that means now.

Harry Florio 10:11
Yeah. And, you know, in big part, it's, you're right. I mean, core values, you know, a culture vision statement, whatever it is, you know, there are words that define it. If we were to ask all of our employees, you know, what are our core values and oversight, but what what they are? If I were to then ask them, Well, what does that mean to you? Right, I'm going to get a variety of different different answers. And when I think about, you know, those coachable moments, and it's really, you know, the impact of coachable moments, you know, at those moments of truth for employees, often, the greatest impact we will have as coaches is being that courageous coach, right, there is such a thing as an accountability and you want to hold people accountable, but how can you do it in a way, you know, through being a courageous coach, where you're leaving the, you know, the dignity and respect of the person intact? All right. You know, a lot of people don't know what they don't know. And there's a way that you that we can be blunt and direct and providing those coachable opportunities, you know, while not, you know, kind of disengaging.

Umar Hameed 11:17
So how do we get our employees to understand the intent? Because if the intent is perceived that you're here to discipline me, or diminish me, they take it in a certain way. But if we have the The intent is to make this a coachable moments. So you're a valuable employee? So how do you help set that stage for intent?

Harry Florio 11:40
It's great question, I think there are two things that we can do. One is it's the emotional connection that we build with our team members

Umar Hameed 11:47
Brilliant.

Harry Florio 11:47
And I think about, you know, my team, right, and the connection that I have with each one of them, it's very different, right, yet I try to, you know, get to know them as a person as a human being, you know, and then how do those qualities traits? what's most important to them? What motivates them? How does that then overlay, you know, on to the role that they have here in the organization? Right, you know, so that's one thing, that emotional connection piece, secondly, is once that's built, and it's sustained, and, you know, through ongoing, regular interactions, you know, employees will understand that and they'll, you know, they'll play off of that emotional connection. But then I think what's equally important is during, during those coachable opportunities, it's helping folks really understand the why. Right. And I think by tapping into the emotional connection to have the person helping them understand the why behind the message, that will really hopefully squash any perception of mal intent.

Umar Hameed 12:45
Brilliant in my world or my worldview. Because right now, there's a lot of like, Simon Sinek, you have to have your why. And at a certain level, that makes a lot of sense. And at another level, it sounds kind of like bullshit. But if you look at it from this lens, that every single human being has a purpose in life. And we talked about that earlier, if that's their why the employee example you gave, I'm sure if I spoke to this person, adding value, helping people would be a huge thing for them. And if we gave them a job that allowed them to do that on a regular basis, every day would be a joyous, amazing day. And that would be the thing that gets them to wake up early. You described a player's that way. There's an ad on TV right now. It's one of the hotels, like you're a cool traveler, you go to this hotel, and the image they use is this woman is shutting off her alarm. But she's already done her workout. She's in workout clothes, and she's finished a workout. She's hitting the alarm to stop it. So that's like a Hey, I got up before the alarm. I did my workout. I'm ready for the day. And so I think if we can help our people find their purpose, it gives them their personal why, if we find the purpose for the organization, it gives us the corporate why. And then we can help people align their personal why's with the corporate why we do something pretty amazing.

Harry Florio 14:00
Yeah. And I think I would agree with you. And I think that to help facilitate that process quicker around the why it's one thing for me to articulate the why it's another thing for me to walk away from that interaction with the employee that I just articulated. The why to to have them share what they heard, and to frame it in their words. You know, so that that will help bring that level of alignment between how I define the why and how they define.

Umar Hameed 14:28
Brilliant. Before we started this conversation before we went live, we were talking about a situation from your past you were talking about this exhilarate office. And so I've done a bad job of setting this up, but why don't you share with us, in your words? What was going on and I think it'll be a brilliant conversation to have.

Harry Florio 14:48
Yeah, you know, in, in, in our role as HR practitioners, it's so important to you know, talk to our employees to hear through their own words, what their experiences like yes. And I was chatting with With a relatively new team member who had been with us for roughly six months, and you know, and it was the first time I had met him face to face, and I said, You know, I said, Hey, we're so glad that you're that you chose us. Right? You know, you're part of the team. And I'm curious to hear about your experience thus far. And as we were talking, what rose the surface a little bit was, you know, kind of the good and the bad around the team dynamics within that particular department. And I said, Wow, I said, Tell me more about that. And as we were talking through it, it was interesting, because, you know, over time, there had been some chatter, you know, about what that team dynamic may be like to hear it through the lens of a relatively new team member, although there were similarities to some of the chatter I had heard. The context was slightly different.

Umar Hameed 15:54
Right.

Harry Florio 15:54
Right. And I think that's really important, because, again, as HR practitioners, we want to try to be as objective as possible to gather as many objective data points as we can to then provide that that level of consultative guidance. You know, so for me, you know, I walked away from that discussion, thinking, wow, you know, I'm so glad that I had this conversation, and I start talking with more people within the department to get their perspective on, you know, the team dynamics to figure out what is the elephant in the room that really needs to be addressed? Right, and then that's what we tackle, and that's what we can help them work through. So they can then fix the dynamic of, did you discover what the elephant was? I can't say with certainty, all right, I gotta have a little more clarity. Um, you know, honestly, it's, it's, it's human behavior and dynamics, people perceiving things, people reading into things, you know, so and people not really talking to one another, they're assuming.

Umar Hameed 16:53
it's, it's a human need to be right. So we have this perception. And once we have that perception, and we believe it to be true, then we're looking for data to validate it. And if there's any counter data, we ignore it, or somehow rationalize it. And I think that's the beauty of humans. And sometimes you get crazy people like Steve Jobs that thinks, you know, hey, we can do this. And they only see the data that supports and they do amazing things. And then sometimes you have people that see the world a certain way, and no matter how much evidence comes up against it, they're going to stick with it. And it creates something quite ugly and awful.

Harry Florio 17:33
Yeah. And I chuckled when I was talking with this team member. And I said, Gosh, in summary, I feel like this team needs a marriage counselor.

Umar Hameed 17:42
Yeah.

Harry Florio 17:42
You need someone to come in and you know, call each other out on your crap. All right, and to try and work through it. And one of the questions I had I had asked this gentleman, I said, Do you feel that this is redeemable? Hmm. And he said, I think it's redeemable. He said, what I'm not sure about is whether all the players on the team want to try and redeem the situation. And I said, that's a very valid point. Because if that one or that desire isn't there, all of this is going to be for not.

Umar Hameed 18:12
Goes back to that old shrink joke. How many shrinks? Does it take to change a light bulb? Only one but the bulb has to want to change?

Harry Florio 18:17
Correct. Yeah.

Umar Hameed 18:18
What you're discussing here, this dynamic could go back to 4000 BC, there's going to be some Pharaoh with some Lieutenant talking about his team and his areas saying, Man, those frickin people. Why can't they just get along?

Harry Florio 18:32
Right. Right.

Umar Hameed 18:33
And I suspect another 2000 years from now, we can have cooler toys and telepathy and we'll still be discussing the same kind of human experience.

Harry Florio 18:42
Yeah, yeah. I mean, the reality is, I mean, those the human behavior will always kick in and there will always be differences, right? I mean, that we're just not meant to be similar in all regards. Right. That's kind of the beauty of human behavior.

Umar Hameed 18:56
Yes.

Harry Florio 18:57
You know, so that kind of speaks to the the the element of diversity, right, you know, so we're all different in our own way. I think the key to that is how do we best uncover the strengths at the individual person level, to then say, Okay, if we're able to identify, you know, Umar strengths, Harry strengths, you know, Johnny's strengths, Jane's strengths, right, and then the group understands what those strengths are, they can then play to those strengths. So the team is then successful and stronger.

Umar Hameed 19:27
Brilliant.

Harry Florio 19:28
Right? versus tapping into the you know, negative perceptions and all the naysayers and you know, just kind of all the nonsense that human behavior tends to bubble up.

Umar Hameed 19:37
Before we part company, can you tell me about a particular person you helping at CQ that you help them get an epiphany that allowed them to get up to the next level?

Harry Florio 19:48
Um, yeah, I want to think a little bit about somebody who's actually on on my team today, and I often joke around with her that we have this love hate, really And yesterday, when I was talking with her, what I learned is that that kind of rubbed her the wrong way. Because she's thinking, Oh my gosh, you know, Pete doesn't like me. And I said, No, no, it's not that at all right. And, you know, often I think folks talk about this love hate thing where it's, you know, at those points of contention,

Umar Hameed 20:20
Yes.

Harry Florio 20:20
Right? those points of disagreement. You know, I think as much as I know myself well enough to know that I don't necessarily enjoy confrontation. yet. What I've learned from this particular team member, what I hope she's learned from me is that through those points of disagreement and contention that

Umar Hameed 20:39
The amazing happened.

Harry Florio 20:40
Absolutely, we have been able, like that light bulb has gone off for both of us where we better understood perhaps a need at the organizational level, you know, a need at, you know, how we may need to reframe a strategy, you know, a need and how we can, you know, modify our process to be less transactional and more values based. And as a result, you know, this particular team member has really, you know, carved out her role to be solely dedicated on how we are sourcing our talent differently into the organization. You know, and that's, that's been huge for us.

Umar Hameed 21:15
And I think if you've got a team and there isn't conflict, then you have a really bad team. And by conflict, what I want for teams is to be civil, but not to be polite. And by polite. I mean, a good person wouldn't say a bad thing, or I'll hold it in, or I'll talk to Harry after the meeting. And Tom, what I really think all that stuff is cancer. But if you can have people and say, Harry, I don't agree, here's why. And we have that discussion. It makes the team stronger, and you get forward progress faster.

Harry Florio 21:46
Yeah. And and I would agree, I mean, I mean, conflict is going to happen, right? I think conflict will help to help the team continue to evolve and change, we get asked like, yeah, you know, what, what I try to keep in mind, and by no means am I perfect? And do I always do this? Well, it's not so much what we say to folks. It's not even how we go about saying it. But more importantly, it's how, what we just said to them, how it left them feeling. All right, you know, so trying to keep that in mind as we're working through those, you know, points of contention, disagreement, you know, we we don't have to see eye to eye we can agree to disagree on this. All right, you know, but what we need to come to consensus on is how we move forward. All right, you know.

Umar Hameed 22:30
So my highest wish for teams is that people have the strength to speak the truth. Because a lot of organizations, a lot of times people do not speak the truth, because, you know, I'll be seen as the nail that's higher than the others, I'm gonna get hammered, or I'll get fired, or what's the point, the complacency. The second one is, people have the courage to hear that. Because oftentimes, soon as you start hearing it, they go defensive, whereas what we need people to go is, hmm, explain to me what you're seeing, because oftentimes, it's just a perspective thing. And I think if we can do bring that into our teams, we get amazingly powerful teams that get a lot of stuff done. And it makes everybody including the shareholders happy.

Harry Florio 23:11
Yeah, I mean, absolutely. And I think the key to communication, I mean, at the end of the day, you've got receivers, and you have transmitters. All right, and how you pick up on emotional intelligence cues, while those messages are being relayed between those two parties is key. Not everybody receives messages the same way.

Umar Hameed 23:29
Yeah.

Harry Florio 23:29
Right, you know, based on their experiences, so, you know, I'll use myself, I mean, I'm open to hearing that, you know, the way that I go about doing things may, you know, may not always be the best way to do it. All right. Sometimes I don't, I don't respond well to direct feedback,

Umar Hameed 23:48
Right.

Harry Florio 23:49
Right? But I respond well to feedback, you know. So I think my point is that, as we're thinking about, you know, how to be that courageous coach, and you know, how to share feedback and work through those points of contention. It's understanding, you know, how those individuals best receive those messages, and then trying to cater your message in that way, right, you can still deliver and drive your point home, right, and be direct in it, right, without that person walking away, you know, feeling a certain way that you didn't intend them to feel. And it goes back to the start of this conversation. It's all about relationships and understanding who's on the other side, and how can you best position what you're about to say, so they get it good? communications is 100% my responsibility if I want you to get my message cannot be 50/50 correct. Correct.

Umar Hameed 24:39
Harry, thanks so much for sitting down with me.

Harry Florio 24:41
Umar, thank you. I appreciate your time.

Umar Hameed 24:47
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.


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