Sourcing School by RecruitingDaily

The AI Advantage in Retention and Recruitment with Sandra Moran of Workforce

October 27, 2023 Brian Fink, Ryan Leary, and Shally Steckerl
Sourcing School by RecruitingDaily
The AI Advantage in Retention and Recruitment with Sandra Moran of Workforce
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered about the secret to keeping your employees happy, motivated, and loyal? Well, our VIP guest Sandra Moran, CEO of Workforce, is here to unravel the mystery! Join us as we navigate the fascinating realm of employee retention, digging into the ways AI and advanced technologies can revolutionize recruitment and amplify the overall employee experience. We delve into how businesses can harness the magic of AI to streamline the recruitment process, and the tremendous value of retaining and upskilling the existing workforce.

Listen closely as we disassemble the power of data in making decisions about employees and guiding them towards better job opportunities. Turn on, tune in, and revolutionize your employee experience.

Special mini series recorded with Oleeo at HR Tech 2023 with hosts Ryan Leary, Brian Fink, and Shally Steckerl.


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Speaker 1:

Hey everybody, welcome back to the floor here at HR Tech. We are in the content lounge that is sponsored by Olio and Recruiting Daily. I'm with my close personal friend, shaly Stekroll. We're going to have a great conversation with Sandra Moran today about well, if you will, the new wave in recruiting, that retention is the new recruiting. Sandra, welcome to the show. We're excited to have you and to talk about all things. Retention, what's going on today? What's the vibe here? Tell everybody what's going on.

Speaker 2:

Well, I'm glad to be here. Thank you so much for having me and I mean the vibe of this show is about the use of AI and advanced technologies to, you know, improve employee satisfaction, improve the recruiting experience, and I'm here to present the contribution that recruiting and focusing on recruiting, which is an important part of your overall business strategy, has to be complemented by an equal focus on how you retain the employees you have. It's much more cost effective for organizations to keep their employees, keep the skills of those employees invest in those employees so that they can continue to raise the productivity level of the employee population in general. So we got to shift. It's important to recruit. It's important to bring people in. It's equally important to retain the group that you have.

Speaker 1:

Well, from a recruiting standpoint, I think it's important that if you've got somebody who so I work in technical recruiting, if you've got a great developer or a great engineer, how do you make sure that you foster their growth and their development in the organization? I'm not trying to play defense to keep them from leaving. I'm trying to play a game of offense to continue to help them grow and stretch their professional capabilities. How do we do that?

Speaker 2:

Well, I think today's employee is really looking for a personalized experience. So where we used to do things like spread experience or what the employee values across categories of employees, or groups of employees this generation of employee expects the things that you're doing to be personalized to their actual journey. So somebody that's coming in we work for software, works a lot with desks, with front line workers and industries with a lot of hourly and ship-based workers. Their value proposition is quite different than the individual that you're talking about. That's on a technology trajectory that is much more interested in what the company's going to do for them in their own personal development. In a ship-based work you find employees of all different types, some that are on that trajectory. How is the company going to invest in continuing to sharpen my skills and give me an opportunity to grow? You also have a set of employees that cares less about that and is really very focused on things like scheduling, control, having control over their life, being able to honestly turn things off at the end of their shift and not be interrupted by their employer. So I think what you're talking about is the expectation, especially of the younger worker, where they're used to having everything that they want the way they want it, when they want it, not satisfied with broad-based programs, but a company's ability to actually meet their own personal needs.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I totally get that. I'm curious are you finding that it's also a challenge in that individuals don't really have any kind of real direction in their own career development and they're looking to the employer to provide that? I understand that they're looking for the employer to provide a personalized career path that I get. But isn't there also some responsibility on the employee's side to define what their career would look like? Because we can't necessarily just provide them personalized career path and then also provide them a personalized career?

Speaker 2:

That is so interesting that you say that I've had a number of people come to me even to be a personal mentor, and listening to them talk about how can I help you. You're going to have to help yourself in order for an organization to provide that personalized training or personal training.

Speaker 3:

The employer can provide the means, but you must have your own interests in mind.

Speaker 2:

You do, you absolutely do. I do think employers can help with that because they can be demonstrative of what paths other people have taken. They can make more information available to people.

Speaker 1:

I think if you look at something like a job description today, you had a smile on your face when you said that this is not a video podcast, but she had a smile on her face. It was kind of wicked.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's because we're describing jobs that are going to be changing at such a rapid pace that to even get to what is the essential skill of that individual that I'm going to possibly implement in a different way now that technology is enabling different ultimate jobs or positions. So you know, helping somebody get to what do I like to do? Breaking down jobs into the skills that you need, giving them insight into what is the kind of work that you're going to do as you progress. I do think employers can help with that, but I think, being in touch with what is your value proposition, how do you measure success for the company to help you? You're going to have to help yourself.

Speaker 3:

Help yourself to a certain degree. Now your organization just recently launched a third version of your annual survey without you know, giving us, giving away the store, if you will, can you provide some insight from that survey outcome that sheds light on what AI means to this retention? Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

The study is a third annual study of employee experience, and what I love about it is seeing it change over three years. So the first year we did it was 21, 22,. We just released our 23 study and what we did was talk to employers about the experience they were providing to their employees in a few key areas and how those same employees felt that the company delivered to me their experience. So it was on the topics that we're talking about. How well does your company provide you with job-based training to make you more effective? How much control do you have over your schedule? How flexible is the employer in accommodating personal circumstances? This was in 21, so people were dealing with you know post-COVID, and these are desolate workers. So while we were all in our house enjoying our work from home they were the ones making sure our electricity was on and the unprocessed? Restores. And you know, if you were an essential worker, you were back to the plan. But on almost every measure of employee experience job training, scheduling flexibility, say, pay for the work that you're performing the first year study showed this enormous gap where employers would say, hey, job training, 85 percent, man. We are really providing our employees with the training they need in order to be successful Employees. On the other hand, Not so much 32 points different on just that one. What happened when we ran the study in 22 is the gap closed. Now, across all these, we measure about seven categories. The gap closed. The gap closed entirely because employers then recognized that they were not meeting their employees' expectations.

Speaker 1:

And they acted on it. They acted on it, which is really compelling.

Speaker 2:

I don't know if they acted on it.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I was hoping that the deviation was because they acted on it. It's just the gap that got closed. The gap got closed.

Speaker 3:

When we did it this year 23. It's still 32 percent on the low end, but the high end is now also 32 percent.

Speaker 2:

Exactly. Employers realized that they were not actually delivering the training in time and in the format that employees wanted in order to make them successful. Even more profound was the difference in scheduling. So if you're a desolate worker, they want the same kind of control and flexibility that we get as a hybrid worker. They want to be able to do something and I don't think it's because employers don't want to, but the ability to take a complex process like a manufacturing line and actually give employees, say in their schedule, the ability to come out. It puts a lot of burden on the employer then to still run that line effectively. So it's harder for a large employer to meet the scheduling need of an employee that's in that kind of complex job-based. I need 125 people there to hit the line.

Speaker 3:

See, I'm going to skip forward here and I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is the perfect use of these large data models and large language models, because take something, for example, like the individualized career path, the individualized training and something as complex as timetables and schedules, if we have the data. Just using a personal anecdote, I had to recently plan a meeting between seven different time zones, one of those being India, which is on a half hour differential, and a couple of them being in essentially completely diametrically opposed time zones, and just me planning that one meeting was a gigantic headache, and that was just seven time zones. Imagine a manufacturing plant with 700 different points of data. A human being sitting down in front of a piece of paper is not really going to be able to do a good job with that, but a machine that can see the patterns and the gaps can really quickly optimize that. So I see that being one of the biggest advantages of these publicly available data models and being able to say all right, well, generally speaking, manufacturing schedules, you should do this and provide these gaps as long as you have people during these schedules. So that to me seems like a very good use of AI.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And again I'll say that it isn't the employer's lack of desire to meet these new requirements of workers. It's their ability to do it, Given some of the largest employers are still doing spreadsheet based scheduling.

Speaker 3:

That's what.

Speaker 2:

I'm not digitized the work to be done If we can't access the employees information, the rules about who can work, which are the technology exists we have to digitize in order to unlock the promise, both from an efficiency perspective, because now I can slot the compliant employee, the union requirement, I can plot the most cost effective employee. It not only meets the company's needs, but if I can give an employee control over their schedule to say I'm not going to work on Wednesdays because I'm doing something else, you've actually met both sides of the equation.

Speaker 3:

Even just offering an option. It used to be, you had to work on Wednesdays. Now it may be all right. You can swap Wednesdays for Fridays or you can come in mornings on Wednesdays. You have a choice, Exactly, and the choice is still better than maybe not unlimited flexibility, but better than no choice.

Speaker 2:

But now we're talking about solving the recruiting problem, which is a major. I mean somebody that could have control over their schedule. Maybe you know. Look at manufacturing job shortages. They don't want to work 730 to four every day, but would you take a larger pool of employees and break the work product down into different ships?

Speaker 3:

and schedule.

Speaker 2:

And maybe that would bring somebody into market that wants to work three days a week or work four days a week. Exactly, it's all possible by technology today. Huge, huge recruiting benefit because you're able to offer again a different personalized value proposition and great value to the employer once they've digitized that information in order to optimize it.

Speaker 1:

Have you and your team at Workforce have you jumped into figuring out, like Showing clients, if you will, how much money they can save by upskilling as opposed to net new recruiting? Have you showed that? And what's the delta there?

Speaker 2:

if there is a delta, it's an enormous delta and an all-in good estimate for the kind of optimization that I'm talking about, from the right use of labor to paying the employee correctly, to having the kind of overtime control that you can have when you've got optimization running across, not from us, but from analysts reports you're talking about, you know $12 and 24 cents return on investment for every dollar invested in a digital workforce management.

Speaker 1:

So training is not a cost center, it is a revenue generator.

Speaker 3:

Correct. It can be. Yeah, unless you're not doing training for simply the purposes of compliance. Yeah, and that's just a cost center.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and think about the next generation of worker or digital native. They don't go into a classroom and learn things. They're used to learning things.

Speaker 1:

It's game-a-thon, it's on their iPad, it's on there or it's point in time.

Speaker 2:

So if I know that this employee is scheduled to perform a task that they haven't performed for some time, I can deliver the training to them Right to them, dynamically, right before we're able to do things like certify an employee on a skill before they take their first step. Again, digitizing and using technology to drive a different business outcome is all possible.

Speaker 3:

Just in time.

Speaker 2:

For both recruiting. I want to get my job training on my phone. I want to get it just in time. I want to have a reminder, I want to be given a sense that my employer is going to make me successful in my work. It's a very powerful both again from the inside, and is this employer investing in my success? So I want to stay.

Speaker 1:

Sure, sure. And as we talk about wanting to stay, I want to flip to the alternative side of it. Is attrition right? Is that? We think that organizations, or there's this nomenclature that suggests that you need to have a certain amount of turnover each year? Oh, I'm getting the smirk.

Speaker 3:

I don't know about a certain amount. There's not a big number.

Speaker 1:

Right, but you should have some attrition. Is that counter positive? Is that true? Does that go against the bottom line of the organization?

Speaker 3:

I think it's. I don't know if there's a magic number I doubt that but there definitely is a logical expectation that there are going to be people who are not a fit for the job or the company, and that may be for cultural reasons and that may not be something that we want to reconcile. So that's the population that should seek other employment. But I don't see why we couldn't help them make that decision and assist them on their way out to find a better job. I've had to make the decision of letting someone go and say look, it's just not working and we don't really have another place for you. Right, there's nowhere for you to go right now, but let me help you and help them find something. So there's always going to be a little bit of that. Not everybody's perfect for the company.

Speaker 1:

Every role right.

Speaker 3:

But I don't think that it's a universal number that the ISO can standardize.

Speaker 2:

I do think, though, their data is your great equalizer. So, especially in an organization where you have individuals that are performing the same or similar role, it should be less subjective as to whether or not that employee has a fit. And I'll give you another view If we really think about not classic job description you're going to do this job but you think about the kind of skills that people need. There is a value to if you can and it's a loyal employee and you know that employee comes into work, is able to break problems down and solve them in different ways. There's a different level of skill If I am able to identify another role within that organization and I'm able to move a quality employee into another role. There is some benefit to that. Again, the learning curve of going into a new organization. How do I do this? Where do I find that? Who do I know for this?

Speaker 1:

It takes a year to get there.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, and so I think with data we can find out whether or not they're performing per standard and possibly move them out or move them into a complementary role when I took 25% of the learning. That's just coming into a new company and I've reduced that, but I've found a better fit for that employee.

Speaker 3:

Job satisfaction, production. All of that can be improved. There is a number to answer the question you asked earlier that the International Standards Organization published. That has to do with the cost of essentially attrition or replacing someone and their number is the moment that someone vacates a position, from that day on, or beginning on that day is 2X the annual salary of that employee. But that just starts on day one. What they don't have is a calculation for what happens each day after that. Thank you. So literally the vacancy for one day is two times your salary.

Speaker 2:

And it just gets more expensive? Yeah, and if you're losing a tenured employee? The amount of time that it takes for a new employee to reach that level of productivity has to be figured into that number as well.

Speaker 3:

Oh, I mean, this is just the cost of initial vacancy, not the cost of replacement.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I wonder about the knowledge gap that takes place when somebody who has been there, who has been foundational to an organization, makes a move after being there for five years, how that kind of sends ripples across the water.

Speaker 3:

It does. Yeah, Workload has to be distributed.

Speaker 2:

And I do think that to your first point about whether or not there is a level of attrition that you want to see, I will say high performing employees don't appreciate working with a person that isn't performing at their same capacity. So not only is there good value in identifying individuals that this is not a good fit for, it's not just to that person, it's also to the people that they work with.

Speaker 1:

Awesome. Well, speaking of awesome, Sandra, I think we've had a pretty awesome conversation about what you and your team at Workforce have put together. I want to thank you. Before we rush off, I do want to say we've asked you a lot of different questions about the future of retention as a recruiting mechanism. Is there anything you feel that we left out, any stone that we didn't turn over, that we should have asked you about?

Speaker 2:

I just will reiterate that, thinking about the entire employee population, not focusing on any one population like corporate workers versus and really making sure that you're thinking holistically about what does that individual value and tailoring your experience, both incoming as well as your experience for employees there, you think about that at the personal level.

Speaker 1:

Personal level. All right, I want to thank you. Thanks for joining us. It's been Shali, it's been Brian, it's been Olio, it's been Sandra. We're out of here, şuropicorg.

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