LIMITED SUMMIT SERIES: How to Drive Employee Engagement and ‘Pay it Forward’ with Debra Corey

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Debra Corey

We’ve been speaking here on the podcast about Happiness at Work for a while now. And one theme that continues to pop up, episode after episode, is employee engagement. Team members who feel like they have a voice – who feel valued and recognized – are more likely to be satisfied with their work and are more likely to stay on.

Today we’re speaking with a guest who literally wrote the book on employee engagement and recognition. Four books, in fact. All best-sellers. We’ll discuss the decades of her work as an HR leader and her recommendations for employers hoping to create happier, more engaging workplaces serving the ever-changing needs of a 21st-century workforce.

Have you ever pondered the following questions?

  • How do we give people and their happiness the attention they deserve in our organizations and transformations?
  • How do we enable change for people and not push change on people?
  • How do we create the culture and environment we need for people to express themselves?

Of course, you have! That’s why you listen to our podcast. But while podcasts are a one-way street, our Forward Summits are all about interactions.

Anna Löw will present a case study on their move to a 32 hours work week, the pitfalls, and their successes.

So come and join the conversation at our upcoming summit: HAPPINESS AS THE ‘WHY’ IN AGILE TRANSFORMATION, held in Berlin, Germany, and Online from 30 November – 2 December 2022,

You’ll get to hear from our kick-ass keynote speakers Sunny Grosso; Svenja Hofert; Debra Corey; and Fransisco Mahfuz. Take part in our practice, case study, open, and global networking sessions in Berlin and online!

Go to our designated Forward Summit Website for more info and tickets.


*Please note that the transcript has been automatically generated and proofread for mistakes. But remains in spoken English, and some syntax and grammar mistakes might remain.

Elisa Tuijnder: [00:00:00] We’ve been speaking here on the podcast about happiness at work for a while now, and one thing that continues to pop up episode after episode is employee engagement. Team members who feel like they have a voice, who feel valued and recognized are more likely to be satisfied with their work and are more likely to stay on.

Today we’re speaking with a guest who literally wrote the book on employee engagement and recognition, four books in fact, all best sellers, we’ll discuss her decades of work as an HR leader, and her recommendations for employers hoping to create happier more engaging workplaces serving the ever-changing needs of a 21st [00:01:00] century workforce.

Before we dive in, you are listening to a limited series by The Happiness at Work Podcast by Management 3.0 where we are getting serious about happiness.

We are currently in the run up to our Forward Flagship Summit, which will be held from 30 November to two December live in Berlin, and from your computer screens. This year is all about happiness as to why in Agile transformations. In this limited series, we’ll be speaking to partners, conference speakers, and those with ultimate know out about happiness in Agile transformations.

We’ll be publishing regular in the run up to the summit, so make sure to subscribe so you won’t miss a beat. And do keep listening for a special promo code for our podcast [00:02:00] enthusiast. Thinking about joining our summit.

Our guest today is Debra Corey, an award-winning HR leader who after 20 years of work with global organizations like Gap Incorporated and Merlin Entertainment, began what she calls the second curve in her career. Today she runs her own company, DebCo HR Limited, with the fantastic title of Chief Pay it Forward officer.

She has also written four best selling books in her spare time, including Appreciated the Playbook for Employee Recognition. So thank you so much for joining us today, Debra. 

Debra Corey: Thank you so much for having me. 

Elisa Tuijnder: Oh, fantastic. So we’ll get into your incredible career and your title and your work in a moment.

But here on the podcast, we always start with the same question. What does happiness mean 

Debra Corey: to you? First of all, let me say I am a glass [00:03:00] half full person. However, to me, happiness isn’t necessarily all rainbows and unicorns in sunshine. I think it’s a lot deeper. As a matter of fact, I did a spinning class this morning and GM as she was starting the class, she goes, it’s gonna be really tough.

You’re gonna be in pain. You’re not gonna be able to breathe, but five minutes later, you’re gonna feel wonderful. And I think that’s what happiness is. Like it’s the ebbs and the flows. It’s sometimes it is the unicorns and other times it’s a bit of pain, but as long as it’s driven by what fundamentally and deeply makes you happy, then that’s happiness.

And for me, it’s doing what I really enjoy doing. Something to me that. Makes a difference. It has an impact. It makes me feel a bit more fulfilled. And at the same time, going back to the exercise thing, I want something that’s gonna challenge and push me and get me outside of my comfort zone. So that’s probably how I would define happiness.

Elisa Tuijnder: Fantastic. And I really admire you for going on a spin class in the, such a [00:04:00] warm day in the United Kingdom. You don’t have that many of those, but today is one 

Debra Corey: of them. . Absolutely. Yeah. You get the fan going the whole time, so yes. 

Elisa Tuijnder: So there are so many places we could start. Given your prolific career across so many different companies and roles, but for me, I have to start with your current job title.

So Chief Pay it Forward Officer, how did that title originate and what does it say about your role or your goals? 

Debra Corey: For DebCo HR. So my last company I worked for Reward Gateway. Half of my job was an HR role, so taking care of my people. But then the other half of my role was supporting their clients. So I always used to kid with my CEO and say that I should change my job title.

The Chief Pay it Forward officer. And he would laugh and then he would just say yeah, let’s just keep your title. So when I went out on my own, I thought, That’s what I want my job title to be because it really, everyone’s driven by their mission and their purpose, and my mission and purpose is [00:05:00] paying it forward either through things that I know, things that I learn, whatever. And that’s why I came up with the title. It’s a bit ambiguous though. That’s the only problem with it. At one point I was gonna change it to Chief HR, Pay it Forward Officer, becuase I get sometimes some really strange requests about paying it forward.

But it’s, it still is me and it aligns. I’ve got two company values, which are open the door to possibilities and create magic. So it all weaves quite nicely together. 

Elisa Tuijnder: Perfect. Yeah, I That’s probably problems for those people that they think it’s something else and not for you. Cause I do feel like it’s very clear what you mean with it.

So let’s take let’s take us back to the times where you were working corporate hr. You already mentioned reward gateway and we mentioned in the introduction like you were working for Gap, for example. So you must have seen a lot, learned even more so how did these experiences shape your current understanding of leadership, employee relations, and [00:06:00] workplace satisfaction?

It’s a really big question, but 

Debra Corey: It is. Yeah. And I think like everyone, I learn from when things go well and I also learn when things don’t go well. I’m one of these kinds of people. When things don’t go well, I try to look at it as a learning opportunity. And that’s really what my career has done, which is led me to where I am right now.

So it really shaped who I am now. It shaped what I believe in. Each company was so different. You only mentioned three of the companies that I worked at, I’ve been working, we say 20 years, but it’s more like 30. So I have been working for a long time and I have moved around a lot, which has been great.

So things like Gap, which was retail. I loved retail. Merlin Entertainment was roller coasters. How can you not love roller coasters? I worked in pharmaceutical for a little while. Education. So lots of different industries, which for me helps me put myself in other people’s shoes because I haven’t just been doing the same job, the same company [00:07:00] my whole career.

And it also helps me when people ask me for advice, which these days I get a lot of, with a lot of people moving careers, asking me like, what do you look for in a job? Again, learning what worked for me and what didn’t work for me, I can share my experiences. Yeah, I think it, it, everything in life leads to where you are now and where you’re gonna go in the future.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, like you’ve worked in all these different sectors, all these different roles. Can you pull out some red threats across all these sectors relating to employee satisfaction and what we’re basically always talking about here, happiness at work. Is there a red threat that you can pull out across all these sectors?

Debra Corey: Yeah. And do you know, a couple of things that I’ve seen where it works and when it doesn’t work. Like my last company that I worked at, it was a company that was highly engaged, happy environment. And I compare that to maybe I won’t say which job, but a couple companies before that where it was like night [00:08:00] and day.

You had people who you knew were doing a job, but they weren’t definite. They weren’t committed to it. They weren’t happy about what they were doing. And a couple of things that I think make the difference, first of all, the leadership team, and we all say this all the time, it has to start from above. One of my books that I wrote was on values and culture.

And it has to be an organization where you’ve got really strong values, really strong culture, and it’s led from the top. I’ve worked in companies where we’ve had amazing values. But they’re just, we say it all, people always say this, it’s just in a book. It’s on the wall, but nobody’s doing anything.

So yeah, it has to have strong values, strong culture, leadership and this new world of how we treat our people, I think those are some of the things that I’ve seen in organizations when they get it right and they have really a not just a values led company, but a people led company.

And you can reap the benefits for the business and for the people. And as an HR person, I love, love, love working in those types of companies where I don’t have to [00:09:00] fight with the rest of the leadership team for attention to be able to talk about what I wanna do from a people perspective. 

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, and that culture obviously, it permeates everywhere and it’s everything.

And without it the whole thing caves in 

Debra Corey: basically. And it does act and again, I’ve seen it go both ways. I’ve seen it when the culture is so strong. I’ve worked in companies also where we’ve gone through mergers, which is always a really interesting thing too, because you’ve got two different types of cultures and how do you blend them together?

We used to laugh at one merger and say that, One company, they had red blood running through their veins. Another had blue because they had different cultures and how do you create green or whatever is the right thing to do. 

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, not easy. not easy, but that’s where your help and expertise obviously comes in as well.

So let’s. I have a quick chat about, So it’s, you’ve been working in, or were working in corporate leadership and corporate HR for 20, 30 years, like we just said. So what was the impetus for stepping away [00:10:00] and setting up your own shop? Been very easy to go, Okay, let’s, let me let this go.

Debra Corey: Yeah. And do you know what Although I love innovation and I love change, for me, I, it was a really scary thing because I love working in a company. I love working around other people and being a part of it. But what really made me decide to do it is when I was in my last company and I had written my second book with my CEO he just set me off around the world and had me do talks anhad me do workshops and do consulting and just getting out there and paying it forward and helping people.

And I loved it. I loved it. So when it was time to leave to think about leaving that company, because I had done what I needed to do there and move move on, I thought, do I wanna go to another company or do I wanna be able to just, multiply the impact of what I can do instead of one company at a time.

I love writing books. I’ve only been writing books for the last 5 – [00:11:00] 6 years. And you said I have four books out. My fifth is coming out in October, so you can tell I love writing books. And I just thought, I just wanted to give it a go. I have to say though, during the pandemic, I almost went back to corporate.

I was very close to going back to corporate because I’m a big believer that you need to be in the fire to be able to help people. And I thought, if I’m not in the fire, how am I gonna give advice to people? So I did a lot of just free mentoring, free coaching during the pandemic, just helping everybody to help them, but also help me so that I would actually know what the fire felt like so that I could be more effective in my job.

Paying it forward. . Yeah, exactly. Yeah, absolutely. 

Elisa Tuijnder: No, fantastic. And that, that’s great to hear and I’m happy to hear that you have another book coming out. Can’t wait to read that. And you don’t hear that a lot, that people really love writing books. Most of the time. It’s I really have an idea and I wanna bring it out there.

Especially in business. [00:12:00] So it’s great to hear that’s something that you enjoy doing as 

Debra Corey: well. I was gonna say, the reason I love writing books, two reasons. First of all, every time I write a book, I learn something new. Because I spend a lot of time researching. I spend a lot of time interviewing companies and experts in the field.

So it’s a learning experience for me, and it also aligns with my pay it forward because I’m not saying that I know more than anybody else, but I spend nine months writing a book, which I know my colleagues in HR don’t have nine months to do that. I do it at strange times. Like I’ll wake up at four in the morning and write from four to nine and then things like that.

So it, it fits in with my pay it forward because it’s like my books are my gift to people. So that, if you are doing recognition for the first time and you don’t know where to begin, you don’t have to spend months and months researching it yourself or going out and talking to other companies because I do that for you.

So I, again, I do it selfishly to learn, but I also do it as a way just to be able to pay it [00:13:00] forward and help people with different topics that we deal with all the. Yeah, really 

Elisa Tuijnder: living that ethos of paying it forward. That’s fantastic. So how has your perspective changed now that you’re working with, not necessarily maybe different types of clients, because you’ve already worked with a number of sectors, but in a new way as an outsider, more than that, not necessarily sometimes as an outsider, I assume, more a fly on the wall than being in the midst of it in the fire, like you said earlier. 

Debra Corey: Yeah. It’s been mostly positive. I’ve been really pleased in that the types of companies that bring me in are the ones who really wanna drive change, because I know, I’ve worked in companies before where you bring somebody in and they wanna do things, but the company isn’t really ready to do the change.

They don’t wanna embrace it. And maybe because people know who I am and they’ve heard about me and they know that I’m all about thinking and acting differently. But it’s been really great. People have just been like, sponges, like just together we just come up with [00:14:00] these amazing ideas. So I’ve actually enjoyed it and I’ve felt more a part of a team than I thought I would because I’m the type of person if I, if I go in and I work with you, even if it’s just like an hour on the phone.

I spent time learning about your organization, knowing who you are and really trying to make it a part of you. So although I’m not part of one big team that I miss, I’m part of little teams all over the place. And I love that 

Elisa Tuijnder: yeah, you’ve part, you’ve become part of a global team of many different things and places and it’s great to hear that people really want to learn and want to make those changes.

because obviously we see that now that people very much are looking towards Workplace culture changes, especially after the pandemic. So bringing you in is obviously a right step for so 

Debra Corey: many people. Yeah. And also because I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to try to influence leadership teams to do things and it hasn’t worked.

So what’s really helpful is that I can come in and I can share insight on, Okay. Before you try this, let me tell you three [00:15:00] reasons why it didn’t work for me. I’m not saying it, it will, it won’t work for you, but I can try to help people before they make the mistakes that I do. Funnily enough, my very first book that I wrote I wrote it because I was on gardening leave, which as an American is just a strange concept of gardening leave.

And that first book was basically. All the mistakes that I had made when communicating to my employees so that nobody made those mistakes. So I do try to bring that forward with people and try to help people try to weave in and out and try to learn what’s the best way to to influence your leadership team and your managers and your people.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, that’s great. I really like learning from other people’s mistakes and blind spots and I think it’s a very, and also from our own mistakes, obviously, but yes it’s lovely to know that, someone else has tried it that you don’t have to do that again. Some 

Debra Corey: people are afraid to admit them, but me actually, I have no problem of it.

Yeah. When I think about my talks and where I get the most laughs, to be honest with you, it’s usually in my [00:16:00] mistakes. I. I’ve got a whole book full of these actually. I’ve got five books full of these . 

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. No, it’s fantastic that you’re happy to share them as well, because you know. Yeah. Like you said, some people are guard their mistakes and only share their successes.

Thank you for that. So you’re obviously in a very unique position that you’re speaking to a lot of different clients and people, and that you have this long career behind or ahead of you as well, but also already behind you. So what kind of trends or changes are you seeing among your clients in this new chapter?

Have you noticed any shifts in employee perceptions, employer needs, or general workplace experiences, especially after the upheaval turmoil of the last few years? 

Debra Corey: Absolutely. Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. I think expectations and requirements have changed. As we all know, the business is requiring and leaning on us as HR professionals to do more and to be able to influence the people, but also the business as drivers for the [00:17:00] business.

And our people are expecting more. We did a great job during the pandemic supporting people. As a matter of fact I added to my definition of an engaged employee during the pandemic. Because my definition in my second book that I wrote with Glen Elliott talks about that an engaged employee is someone who understand where the company is going, what it wants to do, that they understand how and where they fit in and they can make a difference, and that they are driven to help the business succeed and innovate.

And I added to that definition that an engaged employee genuinely believes that their company cares and supports for them. Supports them. And to me that’s absolutely critical. That’s the biggest change, is that it’s an expectation of our people, that we care and support them. And in businesses that get it, they realize that it’s not just a tick the box, but by showing care and support, actually we can get the best out of our people while they’re with us and keep them as long as [00:18:00] we can.

Jobs aren’t for life anymore, but at least while you have them, help them be the best they can.

Elisa Tuijnder: Have you ever wondered about one of the following questions? How do we give people and their happiness the attention they deserve in our organizations and transformations? How do we enable change for people and not push change on people? How do we create the culture and environment we need for people to express themselves?

Of course you have, that’s why you listen to our podcast. But while podcasts are a one way street, our summits are all about interactions. So why don’t you come join the conversation with our kick ass keynote speakers, Sunny Grosso, Svenja Hofert, Debra Corey, and Francisco Mahfuz. Take part in our practice [00:19:00] sessions, case study sessions, open sessions and global networking both in Berlin and online.

Go to That is For more info and tickets and as a podcast listener, use the code FORWARDPOD at check. That is FORWARDPOD to let us know you are a friend of the pod and receive some special Marty, the management Monster Goodies.

Yeah. Retention has definitely come to the forefront hasn’t it recently, and having employee recognition and all the things that you talk about are probably a very big part of that. Obviously we’ve heard a lot of people talk about the great resignation, et cetera. Is there anything that you wanna [00:20:00] add to that or from your perspective how the people listening to the podcast could do some things around this, like around retention?

Debra Corey: You mentioned my latest book. My latest book is on appreciation and recognition and one of the main reasons that I, I wrote this book is that there’s a gap in that our people are screaming out, saying, not just, I wanna be recognized, I wanna be appreciated, I wanna be valued, I wanna be seen.

In these days where there’s a lot of hybrid working, our employees wanna know that we notice them and we see them, and recognition and appreciation is so important. And then you talk to people and statistics on how many people genuinely feel appreciated and it’s 20, 30% of people actually feel appreciated.

So I am on a mission to change that because a lot of people, other statistics, I think 70, 80% of people said one of the main reasons they left is they didn’t feel appreciated. And I know for me, that’s a big, if I’m not [00:21:00] appreciated, I’m not gonna put in a hundred percent into my job. I’m not gonna stick around.

I think that is a quick win in any organization. It doesn’t have to cost money to do it, how much does it cost to say thank you? Funnily enough, I did a workshop with managers and I said, Okay, what are the things that you do informally to show people that you appreciate them?

And it was a hotel chain. And this one hotel manager, she said, do you know what I. I use my employee’s name, she goes, I’ve got like a hundred people in the hotel, but I take the time to learn their names and use their names and show them that I see them and value them. And I’m like, I love that. It costs nothing to do that.

So yeah, I think that’s definitely, there’s some So importance. Yeah, absolutely. Each area of employee engagement, we really need to take a step back and think about how can we drive engagement, support our people in these new ways. And I think that’s absolutely critical. We can’t keep doing it the way we did it in the past.

Elisa Tuijnder: No, [00:22:00] absolutely not. So that segways perfectly to my next question while talking about recognition and engagement. So for those who haven’t yet read your books or haven’t had the pleasure of working with you directly what common misconceptions do employers have or what kind of mistakes do some companies make in their efforts to engage with employees?

Debra Corey: It is a good segway because I think that some organizations are still doing things that we did back when I started, and that’s why it’s just so funny for me because it’s like I was doing that 20 years ago. And the world is so different. Our people are so different, we can’t keep doing it.

So the whole idea of challenging what we do, I think the other point goes back to what I talked about with values also is everything that we need to do needs to absolutely, positively align with our values and our mission. And I’ll give you a perfect example. At one of my companies I did a review of our benefit [00:23:00] programs and some people might think, what do values have to do with benefits?

But they do, because if, if your values talk about how you treat your people and how you work together, your benefits have to align. And I completely changed our benefit programs. We had to value something about, we’re all together, we’re all a family. I can’t remember exactly, it was a couple companies ago.

And yet we had benefits that were very much, this group of people got this benefit and this group of people got that benefit and I took a step back and challenged it and said, if this is who we are as a business, our benefits need to change. Just because someone who’s been here 20 years, why should they have more time off?

Than somebody who’s been here two years. If we’re all in it together, we’re all supporting each other. So throughout every aspect of the engagement journey and engagement experience, we really need to weave in our values. And then the last part is to bring it all together and make sure the pieces fit together.

It’s almost like, picture a a jigsaw [00:24:00] puzzle and you’ve got this beautiful picture that you have at the end. How are the pieces gonna work together? Or, the mistake I’ve made before is you end up and you’ve got pieces missing. Like the end corner is missing because you haven’t done something here.

Or you’ve got one piece that is too big and one piece that’s too small. So making sure that it, it all forms nicely together. Which isn’t easy, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t something you can do in a year. This is something of a more long term strategy, long term vision. 

Elisa Tuijnder: Does it evolve as well? Cause you talked about some people have to change their values or some companies have to change their values. I meant for them to align better with the benefits and with their outcomes and with their objectives. So does that, is that a living thing that should be reviewed on a regular basis? 

Debra Corey: Absolutely. I think that every aspect of the employee experience is organic and needs to change. And when it comes to values I do think that not necessarily your values need to change after all we’ve been through, [00:25:00] over the last couple of years, but I would, I challenge everyone, anytime I do talks on values to look at your behaviors.

Because the behaviors are how, how you interpret the values and how you use the values. And I’d be very surprised if you don’t either need to tweak a behavior or add or delete a behavior because we, like we work in a hybrid workplace. How is that woven into your behaviors, if you’ve got a value about working together, do you need to think about a new behavior to evolve, the new working relationships?

So absolutely it needs to be organic.

Elisa Tuijnder: For our listeners, how would you define behaviors? Are those transparent to the employees as well, or are those more inherent and or innate in the company culture or, Yeah. Are these, are those explicit? Would be my question. Yeah. And everybody uses the terminology differently.

Debra Corey: When I do workshops with people. Cause you can’t use these HR terms. So I talk about values being the tools. Think about [00:26:00] all your tools that you have in your garden shed. They’re the tools that you have to do your job. And the behaviors are almost like the instruction manual. So how are you gonna use it?

So like my husband makes fun of me because I always grab, I think it’s the howl, I’m not sure what it is. And I use it for everything just because it’s the first tool in the shed. I know what it looks like and I’ve destroyed about three of them because I use them in the wrong way. So I genuinely think that the behaviors are probably more important than the values because if you don’t use them in the right way, they’re never gonna, you’re never gonna achieve what you need. So that’s my simple way of defining it. 

Elisa Tuijnder: No, I love it. So the values are the umbrella and then the behaviors are the way we use them. And yeah, very important. And they should probably be thought through. 

Debra Corey: Yeah. And if you don’t have them, because some companies just have values. I really encourage you to spend time doing it and it’s not that hard to do. You can do workshops with your team and you just [00:27:00] explore what does the value mean and also what does it not mean?

Because sometimes understanding what it doesn’t mean can help you shape the the positive aspect of it. For example, I was doing a workshop with the team and they had a value about collaboration and they got into this big conversation about how yeah, we spend too much time in meetings letting one person talk. We don’t have open forums. So then we crafted behaviors to talk about, okay, how can we make sure that collaboration happens? 

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. And talk about the tools and et cetera. Absolutely. That’s great. So here on the podcast, we are big fans of tangible practices. Things are listeners can start implementing tomorrow.

So what advice can you offer employers and leaders out there who want to learn from your career, both phases of it and all of the thoughts and work you’ve put into employee engagement and recognition over the past quarter century? What can they. Tomorrow differently maybe not necessarily [00:28:00] even employers and leaders, but also peers.

Debra Corey: Yeah. I think if I had to pick one word, it comes from my second book, which is called The Rebel Playbook, and it’s to be a rebel, but specifically because that word sometimes has the wrong connotations. So to be a strategic rebel. And there’s three things I always talk to people about when I talk about being a rebel.

The first one is to be inquisitive. And to ask why and always question and always challenge. If you’ve been doing something forever and ever get outta your comfort zone. Be like the little kid in the back of the classroom is raising their hand every two seconds and challenge it and question it.

Even if you come back and do it again. Start by challenging it. The second one is to be brave. And I think too often we take the easy way out. We’ve always done it this way or this might take work. And what I’ve learned the hard way is that. Nine times outta 10, it’ll bite you in the butt. So sometimes it might take longer to put a recognition program [00:29:00] than you’d like it to, but if you don’t do it, are you worth dealing with 80% of your staff leaving or 80% of your people not performing at their best?

So be brave, challenge yourself to be innovative. And then finally, just remind yourself while you’re doing it, so when things get tough, and it is challenging to be a rebel and to be innovative and to, you’re gonna be hitting your head against people you know who are trying to stop you from doing it.

Just keep reminding yourself while you’re doing it, your goal is to support your people. In HR that’s what we’re all about. We’re about driving the business and supporting our people. And just have that mantra going over in your head over and over again and even to the extent of having that mantra in every program you do. So my book on recognition, I’m trying to change it so that people remind yourself that it’s all about making people feel appreciated. It’s not about getting a trophy, it’s not about getting money. At the end of the day, the mantra is, I want my people to feel appreciated. And if we’re driven by that [00:30:00] mantra, we’ll get to where we need to be.

But make sure you understand what the mantra is first. 

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, fantastic. It really resonated with me because at some point you said as well that you left Reward Gateway because you had, you did what you did there or you finalized what you always wanted to, what you always set out for yourself.

So it’s living that same ethos that once you got too comfortable, almost it was time to challenge yourself and be a rebel if I’m understanding that correctly. 

Debra Corey: Yeah, 

and I think that, my co-author Glen, really taught me the whole idea of, a job as a job at certain point.

So they brought me in to do two things, to come in and look at the global reward programs and, from a different perspective, different lens as a rebel, and also to, to write the book with. I did those two things. They have an amazing HR director. He doesn’t need me there. He can do things fine.

So I always knew that my time would end and I was fine with that. And I think that, it’s always a [00:31:00] good idea. I think Netflix talks, talks about it all the time. When is the time to leave and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s getting the most out of that person while you have them.

Elisa Tuijnder: No. And I, I do see a change, I dunno if you’ve seen this as well, that people or HR at least, is thinking more about these off boarding processes, not as a betrayal that you’re leaving me. But as as a, okay, great. You’re gonna go and get yourself some more ideas, some more experience and maybe in the future we can work together.

Debra Corey: It’s a small world and you are right. I think so often when someone turns in their resignation, all of a sudden their enemy. So like at my last company, we changed our share program so that whatever was vested when you left was yours. Whereas if you think about a lot of your programs that we have, things like shares and such, if you leave, you lose it all.

And what does that say to the person? It says to that person, [00:32:00] the eight years that you were with us, forget about everything that you did to help the company. You’re the enemy now, and I’m gonna take, I’m gonna strip those shares away from you. So I do think that we fundamentally need to think about the whole retention.

What does it mean, because it is different. Retention isn’t what it was before. And how do you treat people when they’re leaving, because a lot of ’em come back. A lot of ’em are your clients. A lot of ’em are gonna recommend, it’s a social world, they’re gonna recommend people.

So yeah, I think we do need to re revisit that again it’s an aspect of the employee experience just as much as everyone. Yeah. Good point. 

Elisa Tuijnder: Absolutely. So for those listeners who were now really interested in reading more and looking at your books and yeah, seeing your blogs or any other resources that you have available, where can they go and find those?

Debra Corey: So I’ve got a website, which is, and I would recommend going to the tab that says Free resources. [00:33:00] I try to put things out there whenever I can. So you know, there’s things on recognition, values, blogs, all that stuff, and it’s absolutely free. So yeah, definitely go to there. And there’s some blogs.

Elisa Tuijnder: As well and you can find your books, links to how to get your books as well, I’m assuming. Perfect. Yeah. Paying it forward first with the free resource. I know you 

knows how I start with the free, what can I say? Yeah, perfect. I need a t-shirt that says Pay it Forward maybe. Just so yeah. 

Fantastic. Thank you so much for coming on the show today, Debra.

I really appreciate your time and your insights and yeah, thank you so 

Debra Corey: much. Yeah, thank you for having me. 

Elisa Tuijnder: Pleasure. Thanks again.

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