In this HRchat episode, we'll talk about ways to switch your company's focus to attract candidates in the right places and with better online strategies. We'll also consider findings that suggest that, while salaries remain a key consideration during a time of high inflation and soaring prices, employee wellness remains front and center for many HR leaders.
Our guest this time is Geoff Webb, VP Solutions, Product, and Marketing Strategy at isolved, an employee experience leader, providing intuitive, people-first HCM technology.
Geoff is on a mission to help customers define a more human approach to HCM and HR tech. He does this by working closely with isolved's tech, marketing and go-to-market teams. With over 25 years of experience in the technology industry, Geoff is regularly cited in industry and business publications on a number of information technology trends as well as executive leadership strategies
isolved serves 145,000 employers so lots of data points are available to your team. Listen to get Geoff's take on findings from a recent isolved survey of HR leaders.
We do our best to ensure editorial objectivity. The views and ideas shared by our guests and sponsors are entirely independent of The HR Gazette, HRchat Podcast, and Iceni Media Inc.
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Welcome to the HR chat podcast, bringing the best of the HR talent and leadership communities to you for more episodes and the latest articles covering what's new in the world of work, visit HR gazette.com subscribe and follow us on social media.Speaker 2:
Welcome to another episode of the HR chat show. I'm your host today, bill Banham and in this HR chat, we're gonna talk about ways to shift your company's focus to attract candidates in the right places with better online strategies. We're also gonna consider findings that suggest that while salaries remain a key consideration during a time of high inflation and soaring prices, employee wellness remains fronted center for many HR leaders. My awesome guest today is Jeff Webb, VP solutions, product and marketing strategy over its I solved and employee experience leader, providing intuitive people. First ATCM technologies. Jeff is a on a mission to help customers define a more human approach to HCM and HR tech. He does this by working closely with ISO's tech marketing and go to market teams with over 25 years of experience in the tech industry. Jeff is regularly cited in industry and business publications on the number of information technology trends as well as a executive leadership strategies, but he's never been on the HR chat show before. So, uh, now that loop is closed. Jeff, welcome to the show today,Speaker 3:
Bill. Thank you so much for having me. I'm really looking forward to it.Speaker 2:
Me too. Me too. So let's start by getting your macro view a bit of an overview of, of what's happening at the moment in HR and talent. If you don't mind and specifically Jeff, maybe you could talk a bit about what the role of technology is, is, is doing in, in playing, uh, in the workforce. So building the workforce of the future and what are some of the big trends that you are seeing in HR technology at the moment?Speaker 3:
Yeah, absolutely built. So there is an awful lot going on right now. Clearly, you know, the last couple of years have upended an awful lot of what we assumed were norms around the workplace, around how people interacted with their employers, um, with each other and, and what they were looking for in, in their job. And as a result, um, businesses are having to really redefine the way they think about engaging with their employees and what their employees are looking for and how and where their employees are, are housed and they, how they interact with them. And those changes of course, therefore cascade into, um, additional work, additional changes, additional pressures and challenges on HR departments who are already having to deal with this incredible upheaval that's just occurred. So, um, at the moment it's a, it's a time of both incredible change and challenge. And then also I think redefinition and yes, to your point, um, technology is clearly playing a part in how HR departments, HCM professionals, and businesses themselves think about the way that they work with their employees. You think about the, the shift to hybrid work, uh, hybrid work models, hybrid workplaces, where people are working from home or maybe working partly from home and the technology implications of that. But the human implications of that, um, are just as significant. So it's been a, um, an incredible amount of change. And, and so one of the things that's really bubbled out of all of that upheaval is a very specific, highly energized and renewed focus on the experience. How do we as a business, how do we as HR professionals and HR teams, um, understand better what the employee experience is and how do we deliver a better employee experience? Because if we don't the implications for that organization for that business become, uh, pretty done, I have to be perfectly honest.Speaker 2:
Okay. Thank you very much. That that was a pretty big couple of questions there to get going, Jeff. So, uh, I'll try and go a bit easier on you later on, but I don't guarantee that<laugh>, you, you did speak a bit there about some of the key challenges that organizations are facing, but I'd like to delve into that a bit more with you. Now, if you don't mind specifically around some of those challenges being faced to engage employees more fully in online and in person environments, many, many employees are now going back to the office. Um, this doesn't look like another full start. This doesn't look like the, the pandemic will continue. It does look like we're now at endemic stages. Thank goodness. Um, so, so maybe, maybe it's part of that answer as well. Jeff, if you could, you could talk about a few of the, the payroll challenges that companies are, are facingSpeaker 3:
The, as the organizations sort of re reorient themselves around the new sort of workplace, the new models around some employees coming back into the office, some working remote, you know, what happened over the past couple of years was, um, a lot of organizations became much more distribu, just simply the nature that everyone's working from home. You have a couple of things going on. You have employees who are able to work for a different set of organizations that may not be geographically, um, located where they are and the same thing that employers could now hire people, you know, in a more remote model because many of their teams are already working remote. So they were already geared up for that. So you've got, um, you've got a much more distributed workforce in many, many cases. And so what you're thinking now is how do we keep those folks connected and engaged as we start to return back into some of the workforce coming back into the, uh, into the office. And when you look at studies that have been done, there is a lot of press to kind of remain in this hybrid mode that introduces a whole bunch of challenges, right? It introduces challenges around management style, it challenges around information. How do we understand how to engage with people? How do we make sure that people feel connected? And also the mechanics of, um, simply running the business HR process themselves, the HR teams become, um, really the sort of ground zero for, for a lot of those changes that are occurring. They're also being required to do a lot more, uh, to be able to deal with a lot more complexity in high, how they manage people in, in supporting their business in the tax implications, in the compliance implications, in the sort of the, the legal implications. And that's really also stressing them E everything from to your point, very basic process like payroll all the way through to career planning and succession management and so on. And, um, what we see as a response is a desire by those HR organizations to do a couple of things. One is to get more information so we can make better decisions. And the other is to automate a lot of process. A lot of the manual processes were simply knocking a scale into this new level of complexity. So having your HR team just hammering away on spreadsheets and, you know, notepads and things day in, day out, isn't gonna work anymore this with the sort of scale that we're seeing in the number of different things they have to deal with. And so automation becomes really a big part of that, which is where technology starts to step in. And what technology does for them is it UN shackles them from a lot of the day to day manual tasks that can become extreme, not only time consuming, but difficult to get, right. Getting, getting payroll wrong is very, very painful for everybody involved. And it's surprising when you look at the studies that it's an awful lot of organizations still say, you know, we, we regularly have to go fix payroll runs. We made mistakes because people were working part-time people were, you know, weren't working the same hours that we would expect them to. There was people on different shifts, so people working in different departments, um, so automation starts to clear up those problems and reduce the workload and reduce the error rate, and then allows your HR team to start to do what they're really good at, which is actually to focus on human aspects of this, not the process aspects, and to really focus on advising and steering your business, um, towards, you know, a better employee experience, uh, you know, a better ability to find and, and bring onboard the right people, better ability to retain and develop the right people, all the things that HR should be focusing on now, um, and not focusing on just the mechanics of operating a business.Speaker 2:
He can't be a few stats. And today my goodness, me with lot of stats to, to analyze, uh, for your listeners. So I solved serves around a hundred forty four hundred forty 5,000 employers. So there's lots of data points that are available to you and your team, Jeff. And, um, I, I'll now like to take a little bit of time with you to, to get your team and analysis of some, some findings from recent, I solve survey of around 500 HR leaders. Um, so point by point, I'm gonna take you through some of the key findings and ask you some questions about those. OK. Firstly, 49% of companies are being negatively impacted by the great resignation and 56% say that retaining talent was more difficult over the last year. Not a massive surprise. The great resignation has made things very complicated, but what are the day to day effects Jeff, of losing one's top people and struggling to replace them in a timely manner?Speaker 3:
Yeah, it, so, um, it's absolutely brutal. So I think the, the thing is you, you know, some of the other things we saw as we started to do these surveys around, um, employers and employee experience, we, we run multiple surveys every year as we watch sort of both sides of the perspective of an HR leader and an, uh, and the employee perspective, a huge percentage of employees are also thinking maybe it's time to move. So you see, you know, about half of companies looking at, uh, looking back over the last couple of years and going, we've lost a lot of really good people. The concerning trend is that almost half of the employees that we've surveyed are also saying, they're still thinking about whether they should be looking for another job or not right now they're still. So the great resignation is sort of becoming an ongoing process that that organizations are dealing with. And, um, you know, it's a, it's a, it's both a great resignation and sort of a great relocation that people are also moving jobs, which means that you now have your HR teams, um, struggling to do two things. One is to, to understand how to better people and two, to be incredibly, um, you know, overworked and over stressed around bringing new people in and ramping them up and understanding what the implications of that are. And if you think of any business, any business of it, doesn't matter what size you are. Um, if you are facing the potential of losing, you know, 30, 40% of your workforce over the year, maybe as much as half of the workforce that is potentially a devastating blow to your capacity simply to operate as you want to operate. Um, it is a, you know, a huge drag on your productivity. It is a huge drag it's incredible cost. Of course, there's actually, you know, significant cost to both losing people and then having to replace and, and, uh, retrain them as they come on board. Um, and that's just, you know, an immense competitive disadvantage. The, the interesting thing though, is, you know, like in all things in life for those businesses that were already set up well to, to do a good job of retaining and developing the people for those that have actually been less impact by the great resignation you now start to see actually that becomes an incredible competitive advantage. Cause they retain that sort, the, the knowledge of the individuals, they retain the processes that can actually scale and grow. So, yes, it's very, very painful for businesses who face, um, losing really good people. And a lot of businesses are facing that and have faced that. Uh, but for those that can get it right for those that can, can tune the way they interact with their employees. And for those that are better understanding what drives retention than they're actually in a good position, there actually is a very positive here, um, for them to continue to grow and recover faster, right? So they can get at, they can really accelerate ahead and away from, from competitors. And it becomes a lot less painful for them to do that. You know, you need better, you you've gotta have some good information about what really matters to your employees. You've gotta be out tools in place to support them. You've gotta have the process and the mindset in place to engage with them and develop the, that good employee experience. But if you can get it, it's, uh, you know, that can be a really good thing for you.Speaker 2:
Now, another one of the findings from, from the, from the survey was as follows 56% of HR leaders, don't think there's anyone to blame for the great resignation. And instead it's a sign of an evolving job market. Uh, I would agree, um, you know, uh, look at the rise of the gig economy, for example, um, oh no, hang on. I'm, I'm giving the answer away here. Uh, because my next question for you is<laugh> Evolving, evolving how Jeff, and as part of that, maybe you can share how is the growth of hybrid and working change the ways that companies attract and engage their talent.Speaker 3:
Yeah, it is, there is a, it's a evolution bordering on, on, on revolution. I think, you know, I, I, you look back to a history and I would say that I don't think there has been a, a point in time since potentially the industrial in which the nature of the way people thought about and did jobs and, you know, engaged with employers has changed us dramatically as it has over the past couple of years, it's been a complete reevaluation and it's, it's a combination of, yeah, there's technology has arrived at the sort of the capacity to support that change already. Um, and then the, the sort of the pandemic forced us to go through a whole series of changes. And as a result, the sort of ex and you know, that combined with this sort of moving wave of changing expectations, some of which is driven by just simple demographic changes in the, in the workforce, all of those sort of, you know, arrived together, uh, reinforcing each other and forcing this change to occur. So I think, yes, you can't pin the, sort of the great resignation on any particular, uh, no, one's particularly to blame no thing, individual things particularly to blame. And I think even, you know, the great just referring to it and thinking of it in terms of the great resignation itself, don't think really does it justice. It's not just about people going through a one time change and I'm gonna change my job. And then we're gonna sort of somehow settle back into how things work. I don't think that's what we're seeing anymore. I think we're seeing a, you know, um, sort of a great redefinition of, of what the workplace needs to look like. And yes, gig economy, absolutely people are much more able now to, um, go apply those skills and capabilities, whatever they may be in multiple places because of the, the combination of technology and the, the unshackling from a geographic perspective of, um, where you work and who work for, because businesses now set up to have much more distributed workforces. And I think the businesses themselves are now saying, well, you know, there's this incredible talent out there that, that are now set up to be available, to plug right into the, uh, our organization, into our workforce, into our infrastructure. And so as a result, we can go out and reach people that perhaps potentially would not have been available to us in the past, because we're already set up, um, from supporting our existing workforce. So you have the ability for businesses to go find really, really great employees and bring them in because they're set up to do so. And you have the employee with a work workforce sort of out there looking for, um, great opportunities that, you know, may not just be around the corner or just a, you know, 45 minute commute away. That said, of course, what it means then is, you know, now everybody's competing for the best talent in, um, in sort almost a global sense. And that means that again, the, the pressure that areas increases the, the need to bring people on board and to nurture them and to look after them and to retain them, to develop them, is that much greater, but if you can, you have a much richer field of talent to draw from when you're a business, if you set up to do so,Speaker 2:
Your, your survey also found that overworked employees and burnout is the main threat to, to culture. And 75% of respondents said that E ex employee experience has become a broader company culture initiative, uh, with the top reason being that they are, they're concerned about employee wellness, um, 83% say that E ex is a top priority this year with the number one reason being to reduce employee stress, because it's important to them. Talk to us a bit about this now. And, um, perhaps also as part of your answer, you can share your thoughts on how our eyes have been opened over the last couple of years to, to being more, uh, communicative with, with employees, for, for respecting where people are coming from, understanding perhaps that people are going through their own, their own stress is their own anxieties.Speaker 3:
Yeah, absolutely. You know, one of the things I will say, um, I love about I sold, you know, this company where<laugh>, we, we are very, very, you know, we're an H we're an HCM company, right? We're we, we live and breathe the technology and the services around this. And for us, uh, our culture is very, very much one focus on enabling the individual to, to, to sort of be their best, but also to support them, um, and to ensure that we try to reduce the, the impact and stresses and strains of things like, you know, the risk of burnout and so on. And it's that model is a really, really powerful and effective one. Um, yes, burnout is, is an incredible threat to organization. You know, we talk a lot about, we look at the results of surveys. People leave because they're offered more money. People leave. Cause you know, they, they see another job opportunity. The reality is are often, those are often the reasons that are given and they certainly are drivers of behavior, but, but it is the process of burnout. It is the stresses and strains of managing all the things we've been through over the last couple of years. And the changes that have, that have occurred in the workplace and the work environment that loosen the bonds between an employer and employees such that they become more receptive to an outside offer. Uh, they become more receptive to somebody else coming in and saying, well, I'll just, I'll give you more money, just come work for me. Um, and it's that, you know, that, that loosening of the bonds that, that people should be very focused on right now, which is how do I reduce the stress and strains? How do I reduce the risk of burnout? That is the downside. I think of the, kind of the remoteness, um, of the workplace as we've moved into hybrid is it becomes much harder to engage on human level with your teams. It requires a very deliberate Def definite effort. And also it requires that the, you know, HR team is working with the rest of the business to understand that that burnout is a problem. And to reduce the, the risk of it, by giving them the information, they need to make good decisions around what actually matters their employees and what things are actually working and not working, making changes to the number of hours, expect people to be online, making changes to the way that manage, interact with their making changes to the benefits and the support that employees, um, receive. Those things are critical. And it, you know, one thing we do see as a trend with all of the companies we work with is this, this sort of moving to think about the whole employee and wellness in a sort of every aspect of that employee, both sort of financial wellness, of course, but also just sort of mental wellness and just the sort of the whole sense of, of embracing them as a whole person, because, um, that's who you, you know, that's, who's gonna deliver value to you as a business. So you have to look after them and you have to build a culture top down that, that focuses on fact and accepts the fact that you must have a, um, a mindset that nurtures and develops and looks after your employees, not simply sees them as some kind of strange fungible asset where you can swap people in and out cause you know what you can't.Speaker 2:
So I understand that employee referrals reported well reported by the 500 respondents to be the most valuable recruiting tool makes sense. People trust other people, right? Uh, how can, how can companies then better market their employer brand in ways that include getting more online presence from, from employee advocates, from their partners and of course from existing clients.Speaker 3:
Yeah, absolutely. It is a, it is a huge area for opportunity. It's interesting. What we see sort of emerging is a, you know, sort of a partner in this is the sort of traditional HR organization, very focused on the sort of the, you know, have been traditionally very focused on the mechanics of, of management of people. And now becoming much more of a, sort of a strategic function thinking about how do we manage through the process of, uh, finding, bringing onboard the right people and building the right culture. And then the marketing organization, people like myself and, um, helping HR build and tell the story around what a great place this is to work and using all of the traditional channels. And so sometimes nontraditional channels that, uh, that marketing is used to reach its audiences in the past. It just happens that the audience now is a somewhat different audience. It isn't an audience of prospective customers for what you sell. It's an audience of prospective employees you wish to bring. And the thing to think about in, in this aspect is exactly the same way you would think about any sort of marketing campaign, because that's ultimately what this has to be is, you know, you, you need, first of all, a very clear and consistent story to tell let's talk about the culture. Let's talk about what a great is to work and understand what that like. And then you repeat and consistently through number, different channels. And so don't a single, you know, one time let's run a quick advertising campaign and tell, well, this is a great place to work that won't do it for you. It has to be about, you know, consistency and focus around continuing to tell that story, identifying the, um, the stories of people that, you know, I came into the, the organization as, uh, you know, working on the front day and now I'm, you know, director managing, uh, this part of the business over here. I came in and I had this set of challenges and it helped me overcome that. And now I'm able to be successful doing this, find those stories inside your business, find those people that are comfortable telling it, and have the marketing department support you in the process of structuring and telling that story through social media, through your own website, uh, through third party channels, you know, and advocate for your own employees to advocate for you through their third party, sort of, you know, employee, um, rating sites, have them reach out to their social networks and just say, you know, this is a great place to work. If you're looking for job, come tellers, you know, we, we are looking for good people. If you're a good person, you want this, come do that and work with your partners to do the same thing. And, you know, just be, sort of be very deliberate and focused around telling the story of themselves as a business. And most companies don't do that very, they they'll typically about stuff we do for our customers, things we sell, we build, um, they don't, they're not comfortable there isn't muscle memory that yet have on building and telling the story around what a great place this is to work. But if you're putting all that effort into building a great place to work, tell it because that accrues over time, you get, you gain that reputation in people's minds. That's actually a really good place to work out here. They look at, they really look after people, people there love to work and they will find you, they walk into youSpeaker 2:
In, let's be, let's be kind, shall we in 90 seconds or less<laugh> maybe to, to summarize<laugh> to summarize some of the things that we have spoken about today and, you know, based on the 145,000 employers that I sold serves. So beyond just the survey, what would you say are some of the key characteristics of successful HR departments as they build for the future?Speaker 3:
Yeah. Start off. So yeah, you know, I see really, I would say three key characteristics from HR department there that has been successful so far in weathering the storm and is, is doing well coming outta this and really building something for the future. And I think the first of those is they they're very agile. I mean, they, they've, they're able to turn very quickly and respond quickly to changes in pressures from the business and changes in the market and changes in expectations they have to be right. So agility in your HR is, is huge, um, and is often delivered by, you know, automating the, the manual and helping them really focus on the stuff. I think the second is if you're gonna be agile and make fast decisions, you've gotta make good decisions. So I would say data driven, kinda, you know, information biased, um, you know, focused on the, the data is really, really is really important. So data driven is huge. Um, I's and, uh, the wisdom derives the for, and then I think the third is obvious. I think the third has been, you know, they're just, they're very focused on employee experience. They're employee experience center, and they're highly agile. They're very data driven. They're focused on employee experience and they're becoming, uh, they're moving away from being tactical and operational and becoming much more strategic and shaping transformation in the business. That's that the future for the HR organization.Speaker 2:
Perfect. Thank you. And just finally, for this interview for today, Jeff, how can our listeners connect with you? And so you're a cool guy in the digital world. I bet there's loads of ways, you know, so for example, old fashioned email, LinkedIn, I bet you're all over Twitter and Instagram probably even TikTok. I, I bet you've got a big following and also how can they learn more about all the cool things happening over at I solved.Speaker 3:
Yeah, I'm not really sure. I would recommend them towards my, to be honest. Um, I would say that, uh, definitely I, you know, obviously LinkedIn and, and the other folks that ID are very visible and you would expect, obviously our website, you know, ISOL, hcm.com. There's a lot of information there about the technology and the services that help businesses make this transformation. So, you know, that's a great place to start, come and learn, uh, about the things we're doing for that odd businesses that we, uh, we help make that transformation that just talked about actually.Speaker 2:
Perfect. Well, that just leads of me to say for today, Jeff, I've had a great time chatting with you. Uh, you had lots of interesting things to share that survey, uh, provided lots of, uh, helpful information. So I would encourage our listeners to check it out and there will be of course, links in the show notes. Um, but just for today, Jeff, thank you very much for being a guest on this episode of the HR chat show.Speaker 3:
Thank you bill. I really enjoyed itSpeaker 2:
And listeners as always until next time, happy working.Speaker 1:
Thanks for listening to this episode of the HR chat podcast. There are hundreds of conversations with business experts available for free on the Ari is at website, apple, Spotify, and all the main platforms and remember to like subscribe and follow us on social media.