Till Layoffs Do Us Part

For some of those who struggled the most with work from home (WFH), the biggest issue was a loss of the social connections they have at work.  While introverts may have been celebrating, others missed their friends or “work spouses.”  A work spouse is a valued non-romantic friendship with a work colleague where there is a close emotional bond, frequent interaction and support, and mutual trust, honesty, loyalty, and respect.  Put another way, someone who has your back at the office.  As WFH continues to transition to into at least a partial return to office (RTO), how can these relationships be reconnected?

And this just isn’t a “nice to have” for some people.  Employee engagement studies show that having a friend at work is a critical element work satisfaction and suppressing turnover.  And having the social support of a work spouse can very important to many.

This article goes into details of the complexity of these relationships and how they have been buffeted by changes in work.  It is not management’s responsibility to help re-kindle these relationships. But, it should understand the importance of having a workplace culture that allowed these connections to thrive.  Here are some tips:

  1. Provide options for work spouses to work the same schedule.  With many companies having hybrid work schedules, providing choices can help.
  2. Likewise, where workers are being reassigned due to changes in office consolidations, considering employee preferences when making these assignments.

Each of these relationships is unique as is the re-establishing of them (or finding new ones).  And they are worth having as they provide a unique support system to a lot of people.  The developed organically and should continue that way.  I do not have any great work spouse counseling advice on bringing back an (unintentionally) severed relationship or creating a new one (though I found this helpful and humorous).  As with everything post-pandemic, do not expect it to be the same as it was before.  But, having good personal connections at work lead to more engagement and lower turnover.  These relationships can be worth pursuing and nurturing.  Management would be wise to create a culture where they can thrive.

Talent Matters Impacts Winning More Than Quality of Work-Life—At least in the NFL

This is the time of the year where the National Football League (NFL) goes into radical feedback mode.  Many (but not all) college players participate in The Combine, a physical abilities beauty contest where they also get interviewed multiple times by their prospective employers.  Their performance will likely impact the order in which they are chosen by teams, which has a big impact into their first contract, or if they are chosen at all.  At the same time, current players who are not seen as providing value relative to what they are being paid are let go.  And, in a new twist, the players’ association released a report card on each team to help unsigned (and desired) players decide who they might want to sign a contract with.  This really caught my attention.

Of course, players talk among themselves about what it is like to play on different teams.  This particular survey is of interest in terms of what was asked, or at least published, and what was not.  For instance, none of the data talks about how players feel about the head coach or general manager or if they feel they are satisfied with their contract.  However, it does touch on quality of work-life (treatment of families and travel comfort), and training and development (nutrition, training equipment and staff, weight room, strength coaching, and the locker room) issues.  I am not going to quibble with these as I assume the players’ association knows what is important to its members.

There is a HUGE difference between how different teams are rated.  However, there is no correlation between anything on the report card and the teams winning percentage last year, over the last 5 years, or over the last 10 years.  And the teams’ winning percentages are very consistent over these three time periods.

You know what did predict winning last year?  The total quarterback rating (QBR).  While the name infers that it is a rating of a single player, football is a team sport and even the best quarterback cannot succeed if he’s not surrounded by good players.  Even after accounting for QBR, the other factors were not associated with winning more games.  And QBR was not correlated with the quality of work-life areas.  These relationships were not impacted by the value of the franchise (as estimate by Forbes).

One can rightly ask whether players make their free agent choices based on the quality of work-life issues.  The turnover issue in the NFL is tricky.  Due to the league’s salary rules, it is hard to tell if a good player chooses to leave a team at the end of his contract because he wants to be somewhere else or because the current team cannot pay him at market value.  

So, if I am a team owner who wants to win games, I’m focusing more on my quarterback and his supporting cast than quality of work-life areas.  You can do both, of course.  But companies (and sports teams) succeed because of their talent.  When they focus on bringing in the best people, they will likely get a better return on their efforts than worrying about having the fanciest gym.

Adjusting Hiring Practices to AI

We have all seen and heard about how artificial intelligence (AI) is making great strides into different areas of life and work.  Most recently, these advancements have made their way into creating art, writing, and other human interactions.  Customer call centers can also be added to this list.

Contact centers have always been adopters of technology to assist agents.  A good example of this is Interactive voice response (IVR) which uses voice recognition to gather basic information before talking to someone (“In a few words, please tell me what you are calling about?”).  Machines can perform these rote tasks less expensively than people can.

What struck me was how much AI would impact the tasks of the agent.  By using voice and sentiment analysis, the system can go beyond being a data gatherer to a decision maker.  This begs the question of, “What skills will then be required of agents who work with this technology?”

When chat and e-mail technology made their way to contact centers, I did a pre-employment test validation study with a company that used those channels for customers to communicate with them in additional phone calls.  What the research showed was that personal characteristics, like empathy and conscientiousness, were good predictors (along with problem solving ability) of performance for those agents who answered calls.  However, only the problem-solving measures were predictive for those who responded to customers via chat or e-mail.  This speaks to how job performance differs based on customer requirements.

While there is a small percentage of customers who call a contact center to be listened to (OK, they are really just venting), the vast majority just want their issue resolved correctly and quickly and they don’t care if it is done by a human or a machine.  With AI, this process may require very little human interaction (think changing a hotel reservation) or a bit more (think determining if an illness requires making a doctor appointment).  Either way, the technology has a significant impact on the skills required to do the job.  In implementing AI (in call centers or otherwise), you should consider the following impacts on your talent systems:

  1. What impacts will the AI have on the skill requirements?  Some examples from the article show that the AI only leaves exception finding up to the agent.  Other implementations may include keeping most decision making staying in the hands of workers.  Agents who work with AI that provides them with suggestions will need to have better cognitive processing than before.  You will want to be sure that your selection systems evaluate the remaining skills and abilities after an AI implementation.

  2. What impacts will AI have on the pace of work?  As when manufacturing added robotics, AI makes things go faster.  The jobs where AI is likely to be implemented, like call centers, already have higher quit rates than other jobs.  Screening people for their ability to handle this higher workload will be critical.  Or, you will have to redesign the work so that people do not burnout as easily.

  3. Being transparent about how the AI system works.  The accuracy of how AI interprets human interaction will continue to improve.  One hopes that any biases based on accent and gender will be reduced. Workers who also have their performance supported or evaluated by AI should know what the system is being trained on.  This is not to game the system, but if those are behaviors that improve performance (say, customer satisfaction and average call time in a contact center), why would you not want your employees to know this?

New tools and technology frequently impact the knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics required to perform jobs.  In that sense, AI is no different than the introduction of personal computers.  Companies will be able to utilize this technology more effectively if they also update how they attract and retain talent in this new work environment.

Work Has Always Changed

It’s the time of the year where futurists make predictions (we really need more follow-up on those) and big proclamations are upon us.  Among these I’ve been reading are, “Work has changed forever!” and “Is this the end of the 9-5 workday?”

The implications of the 9-5 workday are two-fold:

  • Once the US moved from a manufacturing economy to a service one in the late 20th century, buyers began to expect 24/7 service. Obviously, that’s not conducive to a single work schedule.  While this led to some outsourcing of many service positions (and the infrastructure that supports them), it led to many different work schedules onshore as well.
  • For non-service positions, this phenomenon is more closely linked to the autonomy provided during work from home. But, even this was taking place pre-pandemic via the gig economy.  Once office workers got a taste of the value of controlling their own work schedule they have decided that they don’t want to give that up and the continuing Great Resignation has given them the leverage to keep it.

So, the 9-5 workday has been eroding for many years.  I am not going to predict where it is going, but I think the trend is that we will continue to see fewer 9-5 jobs, even as some employers are insisting on more traditional schedules due to return to work edicts.

I don’t know if the pandemic and resulting economic implications changed work as much as it changed how a lot of people feel about work.  When your employer (or the government) decides that your job is “essential,” but you don’t feel that your compensation is reflective of your essential-ness, you are going to have a more transactional approach to that relationship.  This had led to unionization in sectors which had not had them before and increases in wages and working conditions in restaurants.

For office workers (and management), the pandemic revealed some other new truths:

  • You don’t have to go to an office everyday to be productive.
  • Things that were thought to be a part of work that were not great (e.g., commuting, inflexible schedules) are bugs, not features.

The current low unemployment rates will continue to provide people the opportunity to flex their autonomy regarding how they want to work so that they feel better about it.  The current levels of this won’t last forever, but I think it is realistic to think that the rates of job switching will stay high relative to future unemployment rates in the near term.  People now understand that they do not have to put up with what they feel are not great working conditions.  This additional turnover could provide people with more options, even when unemployment rates creep up.

Change is every present.  It’s hard to predict, but easier to understand and adjust for if we seek to understand the causes.  The bigger mistake is assuming (hoping?) that things will go back to the way there were.  That just is not realistic after such an impactful event as the pandemic.  Regarding employment trends, we are much better off looking ahead, even if that doesn’t include making predictions from a crystal ball.

Thinking of RTO as Organizational Change

Since offices have been opening back up, some, but certainly not all, employers are coming up with various schemes to get people to return to the office (RTO). Per usual, companies are looking at this more so from their perspective than that of their employees. But, what they should be doing is looking at why resistance is so high before coming up with ideas. There are several reasons why some people are avoiding RTO. They include:

Loss of Autonomy

More so than anything else, work from home (WFH) has given people a level of control over their day-to-day lives that they had not previously experienced as adults. In the past we heard a lot of talk about “being your own boss” and “make decisions like you’re the CEO.” Well, this is that time. When people have been able to successfully manage their work time around the rest of their lives, that is going to be hard to give up. For these people, companies will need to find a way to allow them to make RTO choices and have flexibility over them. Hybrid environments may speak to this group, provided that employees get to choose which days to come in.

New Habits Are Hard to Break

Pre-COVID, we had developed routines for our every day. It’s these habits that make us (somewhat) resistant to organizational change and (partially) keep turnover low. People who now WFH have new habits that they don’t want to break. They have a schedule of when they make calls, return e-mails, take lunch breaks, etc. Companies would be wise to let employees coming back to the office know that they can keep many of these habits and that management won’t be dictating their schedule as much.

Life at Home is Better

Let’s speak some honest truths—not commuting, working in whichever clothes you wish, being around when the kids come home from school, spending more time with pets, saving money on gas/lunch, etc. are perks for those who WFH. By the way, the idea that people are abandoning pets they got during the pandemic is an urban legend. These are all reasons why people do not want to RTO. While come companies think that free coffee and snacks will make the work environment more enticing, it won’t. Would you commute for coffee? Companies should emphasize those things which are better, in a meaningful and not a nice-to-have way, about working from the office when encouraging workers to come back. These could include face-to-face interactions with other adults, more reliable technology, and support for administrative tasks. As with any change, employees need to know what is in it for them.

People who are used to and enjoy WFH are unlikely to respond to gimmicks. I would suggest that organizations think about RTO as an organizational change effort and not a mandate. This means looking at how encouraging people to work at the office fits into your strategy and quantifying what benefits are to be gained. Additionally, this means analyzing why employees are supportive/resistant to RTO and planning the change effort accordingly. Apply the same rigor to changing work schedules as you would implementing other enterprise wide initiatives.

While WFH happened quickly, we are past the point where people are adapting to it. For many it is now a way of life, just as going to work every day was pre-pandemic. Expecting people to change overnight is not an effective strategy. For any form of RTO to successfully take hold (e.g., without increases in turnover or decreases in engagement), with minimal negative consequences, it needs to be part of a plan.

Are We Entering the Age of the Employee?

As working age people have been getting their COVID vaccinations in the US, companies are moving from the theoretical regarding the “new” work life into putting new policies into place.  There are a few I want to point out because they may be indicators of companies moving towards policies that are messier, but more employee focused.

Regarding work from home schedules, or lack thereof, General Motors came out swinging with Work Appropriately.  As their CEO puts it, “This means that where the work permits, employees have the flexibility to work where they can have the greatest impact on achieving our goals.”  So, the policy is basically, “Be an adult.  If you would rather not commute and you get can your work done, do it at home.  If you are a social animal and feel you’re more productive at the office, we’ll see you in the morning.”  This policy places the responsibility, where it should be, on the employee to manage his/her/their performance and career as well as their work schedule.

Many companies struggle with people taking their paid time off (PTO).  Even during the pandemic when many were experiencing additional stress, PTO was not fully being used.  Sure, part of that was due to travel being restricted and there are cultural issues to be addressed if a large number of people are not using this benefit.  But, many people were working longer hours from home and taking less time off.  Organizations tend to believe that people are more productive and engaged when they take their PTO and are often frustrated when they do not.  And, typical of American culture, they responded by threatening punishments (you can only accumulate so much PTO, use it or lose it, etc.).  Now we are seeing the pendulum swing back as companies are beginning to offer incentives for taking PTO.  Full disclosure: my wife works for an organization which has always done this and it helps.  She would use less of her PTO without the incentive. And I think this is the case in organizations that have particularly competitive cultures.  Incenting people to take PTO will not by itself reduce burnout, but it can be helpful.

Lastly, I want to bring up Amazon’s declaration that “We are going to be Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work.”  Of course, this comes with the caveats that it came from an outgoing CEO and right after a bruising union fight.  However, that this additional employee focus, and not just for white-collar workers, was put on the table represents a sea change for an organization that is (proudly) customer-centric.

Now, this may just be a moment.  Senior managers, who felt the stress and disruption of the pandemic as much as their employees, may be viewing their “most valuable asset” differently now, but when the usual business pressures inevitably return, they may snap back to the status quo.  Or, employees will use these new tools to be productive and engaged enough so that they will stick.  We will soon see if we are entering the age, or the fad, of the employee.

Let Your Exit Interviews Leave the Building

One of the most intuitively appealing HR concepts is that of the exit interview.  If we only knew what was going through the mind of those who chose to leave our company, we could fix our turnover problems.  The thing is that there is more than enough research data to show that exit interviews are not useful in predicting or fixing turnover.  Yet, just the other day, I got a newsletter e-mail from a reputable management publication with suggestions on how to make my exit interviews better.

Exit interviews are not effective for several reasons, including:

  1. Low response rates. There really is not an upside for the leaving employee to participate, so why go through the stress and confrontation?  So, whatever data that you get is unlikely to be representative of the people who leave.

  2. Lack of candor.  Most people who would be willing to participate are also not very willing to burn bridges.  So their responses are going to be more about them than your organization.

  3. What do you think the leavers are going to tell you that you should not already know?  If a particular manager has higher turnover than the organization at large, it is probably because he/she/they is treating people poorly.  You do not need an exit interview to figure that out.

It is the last point that deserves a bit more attention.  The biggest problem with the concept of exit interviews is that they are reactive, trying to put the horses back in the barn, so to speak.  To keep turnover down, organizations should be addressing those things that lead to turnover before they become significant issues.  Identifying and acting upon turnover requires a commitment to gathering data and acting upon it.  Two steps you can take include:

  1. Using turnover as a performance measure when validating pre-employment tests.  You can lower churn for many entry level jobs by understanding which people are more likely to stay in the position and use that information in screening candidates.
  2. If you think you are going to get good information from people who are no longer engaged with your organization during the exit interview, why not get it from those who still are engaged and more likely to be candid? When you gather employee engagement data through short surveys over time, you can determine what the leading indicators of turnover are.  It takes commitment to view surveys as a process rather than events, but doing so can provide a high level of insight into employee turnover.

There will also be macro-economic factors that drive voluntary turnover that organizations may not be able to impact.  But, as the light at the end of the COVID tunnel becomes brighter and companies return to new-normal staffing levels, it provides a fresh opportunity to be proactive in understanding turnover.  This is a better approach than relying on failed techniques of the past.

Changing Behaviors, Not Just Attitudes

Events of 2020 accelerated companies’ interest in all things around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I).  This has brought out a lot of “experts” in the field and a multitude of unconscious bias training (UBT) programs to address the problem of discrimination in the workplace.

The idea behind UBT is that a change in an attitude (bias) will lead to a change in how people act (prejudice) so that they will show behaviors that promote DE&I. This is very different from typical development programs which focus directly on behaviors. And, while it is fair to say that our understanding of the effectiveness DE&I programs is at an early stage, there has been research done which is fairly sobering on the topic.

This report outlines what seems to be effective in the DE&I training space.  The relevant key findings are (emphasis added):

  • UBT is effective for awareness raising by using an Implicit Association Test (IAT) (followed by a debrief) or more advanced training designs such as interactive workshops.
  • UBT can be effective for reducing implicit bias, but it is unlikely to eliminate it.
  • UBT interventions are not generally designed to reduce explicit bias and those that do aim to do so have yielded mixed results.
  • Using an IAT and educating participants on unconscious bias theory is likely to increase awareness of and reduce implicit bias.
  • The evidence for UBT’s ability effectively to change behavior is limited. Most of the evidence reviewed did not use valid measures of behavior change.

I emphasized that last bullet because I believe that is where we need to focus.  If behaviors do not change then we cannot achieve DE&I.  Organizations should not spend money on DE&I programs (UBTs or otherwise) that do not show these changes.

The report hedges a bit in noting that valid measures of behavior were not used in the research studies.  Rightly, this puts the onus on organizations to define the actions that need to be changed.  For instance, use of appropriate language, giving others the opportunity to share ideas, etc.  Note that these are different from organizational goals (e.g., representation in management positions), which should be measured, which are outcomes of D&EI behaviors.

Once the behaviors are defined, then a method for evaluating them needs to be implemented.  A 360 feedback instrument is likely to be effective for interpersonal behaviors.  When well designed, these encourage raters to evaluate what they observe in others rather than giving opinions.  This provides the opportunity for those being rated to be given meaningful feedback and gives those responsible for designing UBT programs information on areas that still need more work.  How to provide this feedback is a topic for another post.

There can be objective individual measures as well.  For instance, the diversity of a person’s LinkedIn connections or hires/promotions that she/he/they was involved with.

We should always remember that any organizational change begins with people acting differently.  The important starting point in a successful DE&I initiative is understanding what are the behaviors that you want to impact.  That will be more effective in designing meaningful programs than hoping that insights from an IAT will be sufficient.

Making Work From Home Work

OK, let’s all take a deep breath and say it out loud, “Work from home is not going to be temporary.”  There, we did it.  Now let’s talk about it.

We need to acknowledge that WFM is not going to be one size fits all from an organization’s standpoint.  Some companies will look for as many people to return to the office as soon as possible as their CEOs swear that productivity and creativity can only occur face-to-face.  Others, after realizing the cost savings of reducing their office footprint, reduced stress of employees not commuting, and maintained productivity will encourage it going forward.

Eight or so months into WFM, we also need to acknowledge that it is not for everyone.  Some people (well organized introverts) thrive in the environment while others (people with a high need for affiliation) struggle in it.  And there are many who are in-between.  They would like to interact and work with others a few days a week, but appreciate those days where they can work with fewer distractions and in a safer environment.

Given these variables, how can we adapt to WFM or make it work for organizations and employees?  Let’s walk through some big steps and see where the key points are.

  1. Organization Design.  This is the time for companies to look at their WFM experiences and make policy decisions.  Some of this should be business driven (Are we productive with what we are doing now? Do COVID-19 impacts on our business support how much space we have?). There should be employee input via a survey, or some other method, that allows everyone to have his/her/their voice heard.  Don’t assume you know what everyone wants and be sure to stay away from just a couple of anecdotes.  From this info you can then develop go forward policies.  Oh, and don’t worry—not everyone is going to like the new policies.  Just like before COVID-19 when there were people who wanted to work from home but were not allowed to.
  2. Implementing Change.  Most WFM policies I’ve seen have been done on the fly—which is not a criticism.  Rather, most employees saw the impact of COVID-19 so there was not the resistance to change that we normally see when organizations choose to pivot.  However, as you transition from a reactive state to the new normal one, you’ll need to use your change management techniques, such as:

    a. Be transparent—describe to employees the data you gathered and why WFM policies are either going back to pre-COVID-19 or changing.

    b. Describe the benefits of the change from an employee’s perspective.

    c. Have resources (technical, informational, skill development, etc.) available that support the change.

    d. Measure the impact of the new policies so you can make future decisions based on data.
  3. Recruitment.  Once a WFM policy is in place, you’ll want to be able to describe it clearly when attracting new talent.  Your WFM requirements, or lack thereof, will be attractive to some and repellent to others.  And that’s OK.  Just be sure to let people know what they are in for.
  4. Selection.  Remember before when I talked about which people thrive or suffer in WFM?  This is important information to use when selecting new employees going forward.  You will want to review your job descriptions and competency models to be sure they include any changes that would come from your WFM policies.  For instance, if you are moving to a model that allows or mandates a lot of working from home, you will want to include characteristics like need for autonomy in your selection protocols.  Be sure to validate any tools you use to measure this and other skills/abilities/personal characteristics.
  5. Training and Development. Despite the occasional video conference faux pas, I think most of us were pleasantly surprised how quickly people gained skills at using this software.  Those in the learning and development area have also adapted their materials and approaches to video.  You should be providing training on how to get the most out of not only video conferencing technology, but other tools that allow people to collaborate across distances.  In a WFM environment, some people will benefit significantly from instruction on how to be productive in a home environment.  Also, continue to keep up with professional and leadership development so that people do not stagnate.  There are a lot of great online training experiences out there and without travel expenses the true cost has gone down.
  6. Performance Management.  An employee concern about WFM has been, “How will I get promoted?”  The manager’s concern is, “How will I get productivity?”  Of course, these two things go together.  WFM has exposed poorly designed performance goals and objectives.  It is likely that your business has changed post-COVID.  It is a good time to revisit your performance standards and measurements as well.  As before, develop S.M.A.R.T. goals, but now with an extra emphasis on measurable, especially if people are participating in WFM.  This helps to minimize lack of face time issues as employees can more easily demonstrate their performance. 
  7. Coaching and Feedback. WFM minimizes spontaneous interactions between employees and their managers.  This means that they both need to make additional efforts to schedule conversations to stay in touch.  This will help with the visibility employees want and the accountability managers are looking for. There should be some structure to these conversations so that they cover current performance as well as career development.
  8. Managing the Change.  Whether you think we are closer to the beginning or the end of the pandemic, we can all agree that there are going to be more changes to business and WFH before it is behind us (e.g., another wave of cases, kids going back to school or back to distance learning, etc.).  Just as you want to gather employee and other stakeholder information when forming policies, you will want keep track of how attitudes towards the policies, the pandemic, and the business shift.  Acting on these issues as necessary will help you maintain or increase employee engagement and make policy adjustments.

Our work lives have always involved managing change and COVID-19 has made this more pronounced.  It is now time to do so in a more thoughtful and forward looking way.  We can do this more effectively by recognizing that some changes, including WFH, are not temporary adjustments, but are permanent in one form or another.  HR benefits employees and organizations when it recognizes the wide-spread impact of WFH and adjusts its practices and manages the change effectively.

Are Companies Getting Cold WFH Feet?

The pendulum normally swings back when we see paradigms shift.  As many companies made the move to work from home (WFH) with the onset of COVID-19, this article (which lacks data, by the way) there may be some rumblings from some companies to bring people back to the office (safely, of course).  Is this really a WFH issue or a management issue?

It is to be expected that WFH will not be a permanent arrangement for everyone who is doing it now.  Whether due to circumstances, preference, or company culture, some people (and companies) are going to prefer to have people in offices.  But, to make WFH effective, companies have to adjust how they manage people and not just pretend that the same approaches will translate from the office to home work environments.

For instance, people experience more autonomy when working from home.  That can either be leveraged for faster decision making (with perhaps less consensus) or problem solving time can be built into weekly schedules.  Or teams can develop new approaches to problem solving that account for WFH.

Others in the article are concerned that it is more difficult to build relationships when working remotely in that there are fewer opportunities to spontaneously interact.  One company’s solution was renting a large cottage where their (small) company could get together.  Of course, there’s nothing awkward about spending “voluntary” week or two in a house with your boss.  I have a better idea.  It uses old tech, but I think it might work.  How about using that calling feature on your phone to reach out to people?

An approach mentioned, and one that one of my clients with “essential” workers has been using, is a blended one.  The HR team determined how much on site coverage was needed to address employee and management issues and the staff has alternated days in the office to cover those needs and doing WFH on the others days.  This has allowed for distancing, having some personal interactions, and a recognition that some work is done better at the office and other work can be done just as well remotely.

One executive in the article mentions the difficulty in training new employees, who would typically go through 6 weeks of classroom training and OJT.  And, if your mindset is that is the ONLY way to train employees, then remote work presents a problem.  If you are willing to innovate, then it is more of an opportunity. Just as pre-COVID not everyone wanted to work at an office, as we adjust to COVID, not everyone is going to want to WFH.  It is reasonable to assume that while many people will go back to working 40 hours a week at an office, there is going to be a substantial number that do not.  Companies should be looking for ways to adapt to that reality instead of forcing old squares into new round holes.

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