The Future of Work: How AI is Changing Skills, Jobs and Careers
Guest: Siobhan Savage, CEO and Co-Founder of Reejig
This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, we were joined by Siobhan Savage to talk about how AI is changing skills, jobs, and careers at Reejig.
– Skills based approach to talent mobility in changing work environments
– Best practices for adopting more powerful AI technologies
– How HR leaders can the ideas around ‘talent intelligence’ solutions to their managers
This was a really interesting show, thanks to Siobhan for joining us! Learn more about Reejig here and remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour wherever you get your podcasts.
Welcome back to the HR Happy Hour Show. We have a great show for you today. Trish, good to see you. I’m so excited for today’s show. We are talking talent, technology. I think some AI is gonna get into the mix somehow along the way, but kind of the stuff we love talking about on HR Happy Hour Show. So I’m excited for today.
I am too, this is going to be a good one. It’s actually someone that I met recently in person. And I will just say this, hang on, because you’re in for a very dynamic conversation. So it’ll be good.
Well, let’s get started. Let’s welcome from the other side of the world, we are happy to welcome Siobhan Savage to the show, as the CEO and Co-founder of Reejig. Siobhan is an innovative and entrepreneurial leader with a track record in designing and managing complex workforce strategies for large private and public organizations. Siobhan, welcome to the show. How are you today?
Siobhan Savage 1:21
Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, really great and excited for this conversation today.
We are as well managing time zones and schedules and calendars. It’s like 3am, somewhere where I don’t know.
Siobhan Savage 1:35
I’m forever jetlag. It’s okay, don’t worry.
It’s winter, for some of us summer for others. So it’s fantastic to have you, I’d love to walk into the show and sort of say, hey, why don’t you tell us a little bit more i That was the briefest of bios, which for me who has to read bios and mercifully like I was glad it was so short. But I’d love to get a little bit more behind you, Siobhan. And a little bit more behind the story of like, what sort of took you along the way to where you’re at now and some of the incredible things you guys were doing at region?
Siobhan Savage 2:05
Yeah, so my background was I was responsible for talent acquisition, talent, mobility and Workforce Strategy for a really, really large engineering firm around the world. And I originally started my career in recruitment worked my way up to end up looking after pretty much the whole but broad spectrum of finding and moving and mobilizing talents. Now at the time were 60,000 people workforce. And I would be on one side of my business hiring so aggressively that we couldn’t do it quick enough. But on the other side of my business, I was constantly letting folks go because we didn’t have meaningful work for them. And for me, it was the most like quite heartbreaking moment for me to be doing that, where, you know, we had these opportunities that existed, but we weren’t able to mobilize folks to them. And it really felt like such a waste of potential for me. And we know that people don’t complete profiles, we had no visibility of our workforce, no matter how much we tried to drive them into success factors, no one would ever complete a profile. So I had this problem where I needed to move people from one side of my business to another. And I didn’t know who anyone was, I had no idea of their skills, their potential, their passion, their preferences. So in order for me to mobilize people to meaningful work, I needed that information. So I was on my second parental leave at the time, and I could not stop obsessing. You know, for me, we had tested some theories of like, hold on a second, we already know this information about all of our people. They’re just, it’s lost in all these different places within our ecosystem already.
Siobhan Savage 3:38
So my whole concept was like, let’s not get folks to complete profiles, let’s actually find everything we know about them already. We already have had these incredible touch points with these employees, find everything we knew about them, and bring that information to life so that when we have to make these really important decisions, we do it in a way that we’re not wasting our potential. So three months, months into Indy being in the world, and Rudy was also born into the world. And that really started my genuine obsession of like, how do we help create a world zero waste to potential? So for us, that’s a mission that we are super passionate about. And when we talk about zero waste of potential, we’re talking about creating meaningful careers for people. So no matter what your background, right, like, look at me, I’m a perfect example, who would ever put me in a role as a CEO of a technology company, but yet I come from this Workforce Strategy background, you know, zero wasted potential in business and then zero wasted potential and society that really drives everything that we’re doing at rejig and how do we work with our customers and our community? So that’s kind of the in a nutshell backstory of, of where we came from. And we’re really fortunate that you know, over the last three years, you know, not only have we grown originally I mean, I’m Irish right? So I’m actually everyone thinks I’m Australian, I’m not I’m Irish doesn’t have an accent. You know, we’ve grown and started working with global customers all over the world. And it’s just such an exciting time right now, for us as leaders to really change how we do things when it comes to our people. So, yeah, that’s the, that’s the context in how I got here.
Thank you for sharing the story. It’s so interesting. And, you know, as you’re, as you’re so passionate about telling that story, I’m sitting here nodding because having been a practitioner, I know Steve was a practitioner for a time, like, that is a real problem in organizations still to this day, right? That we’re only looking at a job. And we’re not really focused on that, that career path necessarily, or the skills that make up how that person can move around in an organization which benefits both the person and and the company. So I’d love to hear your perspective, because I know a lot of listeners are still kind of using that same traditional jobs approach, which we struggle with, what are some of the maybe early feedback when you started the company? And then today, what are what are clients seeing or experiencing differently through this different revolutionary approach, as opposed to the traditional more of a jobs approach to talent, mobility.
Siobhan Savage 6:18
So everyone has been obsessed with all things skills based right skills has been involved for the last couple of years. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s becoming a must have. And it’s really interesting that when you think about this problem, everyone’s solution is let’s create a skills based world where we know everyone’s skills. In theory, that sounds like a great idea. But actually, in practice, you know, skills is one part of this puzzle, like understanding what a person can do and the skills that they have. And that validation of mastery level is incredibly important. But actually, what you need to do is be able to understand your jobs. And what are the skills that are collected within a job and skills are one part of the job, you know, in our traditional models, whether you’re in retail, professional services, in banking, financial services, it doesn’t matter. The way that we have structured our jobs is based on a job and a job holder, which is based on a full time fixed way of thinking, right, and that we know is not scalable, you know, the way that the world has been evolving, and is we’re going through a warp speed of change right now that we will never see again, at this pace, in terms of our workforces, and what makes up a workforce DNA, and really being able to, you know, give an understanding to what is actually in our work. Rather than defining this as a job. Because you can have in in the future, you know, your DNA should be made up of fixed workers, who can be agile, who can move around, think of you know, that the opportunity talent marketplace concept, and also the flex model, and the flex model can consider contractors, consultants, chat GPT as a as an alternative worker. And if you start to think about, you know, really defining your workforce, in order for that to happen, you need to be able to break down your work, you need to be able to take your job descriptions, and actually figure out like, Okay, how do we unbundle this job description, and turn it into a cluster of skills of what’s required.
Siobhan Savage 8:21
And then a fill in action, which is tasks, you know, the ability for you to be able to look and list all of the tasks that are required all the requirements, so you cannot be a nurse without specific, you know, education and qualifications and validation that you actually are able to do that you can’t design a bridge without having, you know, a specific engineering degree to qualify you to do that. So it really is about how do you as an organization, not only look at your people and their backpack and cluster of skills, but then how do you unbundle work in a way that you if you needed to, could give one part of this job, to a person in your business in the talent marketplace, that you could give one part to a contractor, or that you could bring in touch up tea, and actually create another sort of alternative workforce within your business. Now, none of this is possible unless you can understand and break down your jobs. Right? So we’ve really obsessed with, you know, and the where we come from, from a reading perspective is we care so much about solving this problem. So when we’re thinking about this, we are just trying to solve the problem, where like, how do we put folks to meaningful work, whether that’s sometime part time, full time, forever time? How do we do that in order to do that you need to understand the people skills, and then this unbundling of your work, which we have called our work ontology. So in our product, we talk about skills ontology and work ontology. And in order for a customer to solve this true problem, you need to have both because Job architectures as we all know, has been a thing that like you cannot do any of this without a job architecture, but the time you bring in a consultant to build your job architecture, it’s already out of date, the hierarchy of the job the jobs themselves Looks like it’s a pretty expensive process for a team to go through. So how do you keep that job architecture and hierarchy of your work up to date or work ontology?
Yeah, Siobhan, that’s the tricky part, right? Because as you said, we’ve been talking in this industry about skills, obsessing over skills for a couple of years now, certainly, lots of providers, both the traditional kinds of learning providers and skills development technologies are all playing in this space, as well as some of the other companies as well. But breaking down the jobs part, I think that’s been the missing part. Right. I first started talking about this on this show cherish a couple of years ago, right with our friend, Ravin. And he had some great ideas around sort of work beyond jobs work without jobs, and all of that, but and the first couple of kind of attempts I saw at helping organizations make that leap where they were just not really there yet, right? Because this is super complicated, not just from a technological perspective, but also from a mindset shift, right? Because I can think about all the many years I spent by working on HR systems that were so completely architected around those jobs, or sometimes we just, sometimes they were called positions, right? Doesn’t really matter. Right. But that that defined everything right in hierarchies and succession plans and proving hiring right practices as well. And sort of just making that leap of okay, we’re going to try to think about the work we do in the organization a little bit differently. But that to me, and maybe Shawn, you can agree or disagree with me, it is now just ask the question this way, is that the thing when you work with clients like that’s the thing that proves to be the trickiest because it sounds to me like it would be really tricky to say, let’s stop thinking so rigidly about positions and jobs, which we’ve thought about for 40 or 50, odd years, maybe in some organizations.
Siobhan Savage 11:49
And it’s like a really funny thing that’s popping into my head when you’re asking that question like to be completely frank in our customers and in the future customers that we talk to. And I speak to a lot of folks, and I’m very privileged that I get to hang out with those people. They don’t even have, most of them don’t even have a job architecture. And in their own company, one job can be called 12 different things and written in a completely different way. But it’s the same job. And we’re talking about five big global sexy companies that are doing the best things in the world, right. So like, if we bring it right back to where we’re at, in terms of our industry, that’s where we’re at, you know, there is very few organizations who are able to truly look at all of their their jobs, and actually be able to classify them inside that recruitment is recruiting the same thing that the internal talent management team are planning succession on. So this is where bringing everyone around the campfire, to solve this problem in the people team is so critically important because you can’t have the recruiters writing one thing, you can’t have succession planning succession in on one thing, you can’t have promotions happen on another thing, there has to be a beautiful ribbon that goes between the whole thing so that when we make decisions on who we hire, and who we move and skill.
Trisha and I have spent a lot of time 100% In the last year or so. Right? Every single compensation decision I was ever, ever a part of. Right. It had to do with what is this job worth in the marketplace in our local area right now? It was completely job driven. Every bit of compensation was dropped, driven.
Siobhan Savage 13:27
Absolutely. Yeah. And I, and I think as well, like so if we think about like, we’ve got to start with the foundational principles of let’s clean up and everyone be on the same page. That’s kind of where we’ve started. It’s like, let’s do that, so that you’re all making good and fair decisions, right? Like that’s number one. Priority number two priority then is, how do we then mobilize, you know, people around this work? And how do we start to understand and how to break down and robins work is incredible, because I’ve always been very similar on the same will come from a different point of view, but very similar, like trying to solve the same problem. And when you solve this problem, like when you think about as a practitioner of bringing in technology, if you do not understand your people, and you do not understand the job or the work, the matching algorithm is not like a silver bullet, like people think AI is just this thing that’s just like going to overnight, make everything amazing. Ai needs information, it needs information in order to match people to work. And if they don’t understand work, you know, most of the job advert is 40% marketing stuff. So imagine what you’re training your models on. When you think of like the tops and tails of a job ad like look at anyone’s job ad it’s like this much of actual information about the job and it’s never about skills. It’s like we require you to do these things. You know, so like, and I’m, this is like where we started, like okay, phase one, get everyone on the same page, create the beautiful ribbon, get everyone making good and fair decisions. Make good matches, that’s number one. Phase two, is that okay? Now you’re ready to move up a gear So let’s start thinking about how you start thinking about your workforce. And all of our workforces should be. And if not, we need to think about this. It’s fixed and flex and agile, as a mindset for how you design your workforce strategy. And this is to protect organizations and individuals and give people access to meaningful career so you can move them around. And in order to do that, you need to be able to like break down and unbundle and be able to divide workout into little blocks to give to folks, whether they’re inside your company or outside. So that’s kind of like where we’re going to know. Is that phase with the workout ontology?
I think you mentioned, you know, earlier, it’s really a lot about, you have to understand not just the job and the skills and all of the just even the the politics within an organization and how things work and how things are understood and who gets to make decisions. Right. But you did touch on AI and how that’s kind of changing the game already. And, you know, I was thinking back, it’s, it’s really only been talked about in terms of HR technology for the last maybe 7-8-9 years, not, it’s not an incredibly long amount of time. So I’d love to hear just sort of some stories or some guidelines maybe or best practices that you’ve been seeing and recommending to your clients or hearing the way that they’re applying AI technologies, so that maybe leaders that aren’t that far along could be kind of learning from that.
Siobhan Savage 16:27
I mean, a tricky thing for like the practitioner at the moment is everyone claims they’ve got AI. So it’s hard to I understand what’s the difference between each vendor and what they’re selling. You know, there’s, there’s a difference between genuine AI and learning models versus semantic search and keyword matching, which is a lot of what everyone else does. And the more that it becomes hot and this space becomes, you know, talked about that everyone is claiming that they’ve, they’ve got that. So, I mean, it’s probably very tricky for folks right now to cut through on what’s the difference, you know, in terms of have actually been able to decipher, like, what’s going to bring me an actual solution, I think to the listener, like, there’s a couple of things I would be really mindful of is, you know, how do you understand skills, you know, if you’re not extracting skills and context out of someone’s LinkedIn, CVS, and you’re just guessing skills, like anyone could do that, you know, like, that’s pretty simple stuff, especially when you roll in, you know, the new large language models like chat TBT, it can infer skills, but the whole puzzle is like, how do I collect skills from someone’s whole career, not just what the job title is, because as job start to change, the skills will change. And if you’re just making a recommendation based on people like Jane have skills like this, it doesn’t tell you who the person is, it just tells you the title of the job they sat in. The second thing I would say is, how do you break down work? How do you understand what my jobs actually mean? Like, how is your model’s training to learn who we are, because every company is different, you know, and if and this is why the work ontology is so important, because you know, what typically happens in systems, like systems of record, whether it’s your hrs, ATS, or whether it’s in some of the talent marketplace technologies, it’s expecting the user to upload the job information. And if all your users have a different interpretation of that job, you’re going to have a pretty messy algorithm. You know, like, if there’s no clarity on like, actually what the job is. And then the final thing that I would probably caution is, you know, the laws are changed. You know, remember when check, and G and GDPR came in, across the world, and even though it was a European thing, and had this massive blanket effect globally, the laws have changed, you know, they are going to continuously change around the use of AI, especially in HR decision making. And, you know, for me, like when we first started I, one of my obsessions, in line with our mission was to get our AI independently audited because if a human makes a decision and discriminate if a robot makes a decision and discriminates, it’s breaking the law, it doesn’t matter if it’s a robot or human, right. So if you are an HR person, and you’re bringing in technology, and you can’t validate the decision making process and you discriminate, you are breaking the law, whether you give that to an AI system, or you did it as a human, the law is the law. And this is where I think you probably had a slower adoption rate of AI and HR, because of the severity of the decision making that actually could happen. So you know, there was so many incredible HR leaders out there who wanted to bring in AI, but they have to be friends with the privacy and risk team to work through. How do we bring this in as decision making support for our company? And how do we make sure that it will not cause any harm to the individual. So I think these become the core. Like if I was breaking it down back in my old rule, this is what I would go after to make sure that like the technology I was thinking about bringing in really covered off that grind as well.
Yeah, I think That’s a great recommendation Siobhan, I mean, I’m seeing this more and more, I’m in the process of going through like 50 million. That’s an exaggeration. It’s only about 4 million submissions. Here, you know, so as you’d expect, there’s a lot of AI, there’s a lot of something, something something GPT going on. Yeah. And it’s in the HR space. But at the same time, right, I’ve been following this pretty closely. There are a number of organizations, really big ones, financial services, some tech companies as well, that are outright like, just talk a little bit broader context than just HR tech is saying, Hey, we’re not comfortable with our employees using these tools. Right now, we don’t really know what they’re doing. We don’t know what they’re saying, We don’t know if they’re wrong or right, we don’t know where our data is going, etcetera, etcetera. So I’d also throw in there another caveat for anybody in HR or in talent or recruiting is, you know, entertaining at some current supplier or new supplier who might be dangling GPT light capabilities out there be really, really careful, right? Because not all of them are created equal. Not all of them are approaching this with a lot of the rigor and the security, safety, ethical considerations in mind that your mind described that, that they’re doing it reject this, in some ways. It’s kind of like the Wild West, right? Right now, because it’s the available models, no one really knows what they’re doing, or even the motivations behind some of the companies that are that are creating these these models and these tools. So I don’t know, that’s just maybe a little.
Siobhan Savage 21:35
And you’re completely right. Yeah, you’re completely right. I think these things have great power for good, but also kind of on unchecked, this can be something that we need to be really careful. Like, I was saying to one of my customers, chief people officer, a really large company, I said, I’m not negative chatty beauty, I think it’s incredible. I think it’s gonna change, change everything. But there’s a bot, you know, if you feed, let’s call it chat GBT or one of the large language models, someone’s data and they have not consented for that data to go into that large language model. As part of GDPR, you need to be able to unwind and unravel. If when someone says remove me from your system, I do not want to be part of your algorithm. Because you don’t own the large language model, you cannot pull that data out therefore you cannot be compliant with GDPR. So for us as a reject perspective, we are absolutely experimenting on all things large language models, but we are not touching people data. So we are very, like cautious around, you know, we are not doing that we’ll think about other ways of doing it. And also think like when it comes down to it. The customers don’t actually like the GBT and all that is old buzzword like, ethically, I became sexy and a buzzword that everyone puts on their SEO night, right? So the customer wants you to solve their problem. Like, you need to talk about what is the problem the customer has? And how do I solve that. And we just happen to use AI to do that. You know what I mean? Like, I think we’re going too far down the road of like buzzwords right now. So we’ve been really working closely with our customers to just talk about, like, you’ve got this problem, here’s how we solve it. And here’s how we prove we’ve solved it. Right? Like, that’s simple, you know what to do. And that probably sounds super basic, but like, you know, like, we could bring all of this AI stuff in, and it just causes even more confusion. And and as an X buyer, myself, I would find that quite stressful. You know, how to navigate that and know what’s right and what’s wrong.
Well, I’m glad you said that Siobhan, because I think that that’s the difference, right? I mean, there are certainly technologies, right, that are not designed by practitioners that are very successful and very safe and everything. But I think that there is a difference when you’re talking about someone like you who has had these problems herself, and face these challenges. And these obstacles with the employees are with candidates, and then had to think about all of the repercussions down the road. And so I do think that that’s very special, because you’re thinking about it as if you still had that practitioner hat on. And that’s really what’s scary, right? If you’re in the practitioner seat, and you’re thinking like, Okay, I’m responsible now for buying something to help solve this problem A, B, or C that I have, you don’t want to you don’t want to make the wrong choice and lose your job, right? Or, or hurt the company or an individual in some way. And I’m glad you mentioned that being able to unwind some of these ways that you can put your people’s data out into space and not be able to get that back. Right. So that these are huge, huge issues. And but I love that you’re also sort of encouraging and giving examples of how you don’t get swept up into not doing anything, right, because the worst thing you can do is just be paralyzed. And think like, oh my gosh, I don’t want to get involved. It’s too much to learn or to know. It’s it’s very much with the right partner. I think you’re able to navigate this in a very safe way in a way way that you can then work with your fellow C suite members maybe, and make everyone understand that you’re doing in a very thoughtful, meaningful way to protect both the employees and the company. Right? I mean, do you? Do you hear these kinds of questions, though, as you’re talking to even potential clients? Is this coming up? Are they fearful of this? What are they saying?
Siobhan Savage 25:20
There’s a, there’s a really interesting, I mean, what I will say is every CEO in the world is talking about this right now, how do I optimize my workforce using AI? And how do I do this safely. So it hasn’t made its way to your desk yet, as an HR practitioner, it’s in the post, because they’re looking at the productivity, right. And we’re at our lowest productivity in terms of labor and workforce productivity. Since you know, for such a long time, we’ve gotten the other side of the coin, you’ve then got this massive evolution. And this is like, the time that we are living in right now in technology is genuinely one of the most exciting things that will happen in our lifetimes, just the evolution of this. And what’s going to happen is there’s going to be a director from board and from CEO, down into our people, teams. Okay, how do I make my workforce more productive? And how do I unlock capability and capacity within my business to move people around? That then becomes okay, how do I know who my people are? And how do I do that, which then leads to technology. So if you are not sort of into this space, thinking about this space research in this space, I would highly recommend it because you want to be able to have a meaningful conversation. When this comes to you. At least you’ve got some form of perspective, when I first started the business. And the other thing I just don’t add as well, like, there’s three founders and rejigged. I’m a workforce practitioner, she’s got a PhD in machine learning. So she’s like, excellent in, in the data space. And then we’ve got Mike, who’s software, cyber expertise. So we’ve got this beautiful three legged stool of perspective on how we think about the problem. And when I first started us, you would be talking to me about all of this stuff that I had no idea what she was talking about. And I was like, okay, okay, hold up a second, like, explain this to me in my language. So I’ve actually been able to know, translate and be the translator between what is the technical side of things versus how do I talk to my customer, and explain that in a way that they understand it, because I had to go through that journey myself. You know, and I think a lot of customers and a lot of prospective customers that we talk to, they get so excited about this space, everyone is talking about this space right now. But what will happen is status quo, because they will then fall down a little rabbit hole of they bring it to the risk and privacy team, and the whole thing starts to slow down. So my recommendation would be if you were thinking about doing this, you, you know, choose a partner who’s going to open the lid on the whole thing, and bring your privacy and security team in from the get go, you know, hey, we’re thinking about doing this? How would you like us to proceed to make sure that you’re kept in the hallway, because what will happen is, if you don’t, you will get a firm block, you know what I mean? Because at the end of the day, their job is to protect the company, and to make sure that the decision making support they bring in is good and fair, right. So, you know, bringing them as part of it, because you’ll also learn it’s the most incredible space to learn about as well, from an HR perspective, right? You know, just what’s been happening, like, it’s never I’ve never seen anything like it in my career. So yeah, so I would definitely recommend that.
Siobhan, I watch you sort of like, build a little bit on a couple of things you said, have said one of the things one of them is about simplification and sort of solving customer problems and getting at, for lack of a better word use cases, right, that these types of technologies can really help organizations manage? And then and then then the second part of what my comments last question is, is how these, this a tool like this, like a workforce intelligence platform, if you will, kind of sits or works along with the things that we’re more familiar with that have been around for a long time, right? So every organization, probably listening to this, they’ve got an ATS probably have an LMS. They certainly have a poor HR system, right? Obviously, payroll and all that maybe they’ve got some other talent stuff going on. Maybe a nine Box tool they use or even a career planning tool if they’re really farther down the line, but I want you to help us find it and help the listener really sort of get where the tools that rejig has developed how they sit and how they play with all these other things right because part of this problem we know this right? Both of you guys right from being HR leaders in the past part of this is I’ve got to go unify believe strongly in this right srimant Everybody’s talking about this, everybody’s buying in, still have to go up to the line to some budget committee or CFO or even a CEO and say we need this and here’s why. Help me Help me make that case and help me explain how this this this works for lack of a better way to describe it if that’s fair.
Siobhan Savage 29:55
Yeah. And I think like I’ll answer your last part first because then it’ll help me explain Yeah, my car text. So, you know, when this first started, everyone was talking about, you know, employee engagement, meaningful careers, and that was the driver. And probably right or wrong, I don’t know how you describe it, we decided that yes, that was important. But I’m a resource manager by trade. My job was to help the business, make sure we hit the right people with the right skills at the right time. So we really focused on how do we not just put it in the hands of the employee so they can drive their career, actually, how do I make sure I mobilize my people to work? And we really looked at that from that perspective. So from a business case perspective, like if you were putting up a business case right now for I want to give my employees Career Pathways I don’t think it’s going to cut through in this environment, like as mean is that probably signs like we care about our employees may love them. But the ROI for a sign off right now from the CFO has to be truly cutting through to overall business, right? So anyone who’s thinking about this, yes, you want to call like meaningful careers and link them to retention. But actually, what your CFO and CEO wants to know is how is this going to help me unlock productivity? How is this going to help me move my folks to work? How is this going to help me correct agility when one part of my business isn’t working to plan and I gotta pivot, right? Like really focusing on that as a core fundamental, and then all the good things around what it does for your people, and how that impacts engagement. So that’s definitely been a big shift that we’ve seen in the market, especially in the US now it’s become very productivity lead, it’s become, you know, how do we make sure that, you know, we are managing sort of mobility, not just for the good times, but also the bad times too. And when when you think about that, and how you solve for that would be, in order to do that, I need to have 100% visibility of my workforce, I need to know what they have done what they could do in the context of me as a company, which needs technology, I then want to be able to mobilize people to opportunity. So I need to be able to understand all my work, and then figure out who could be matched to that opportunity. So you can, you can actually prove really strong ROI by an increase in productivity.
Siobhan Savage 32:12
You know, if you were to increase utilization and productivity in your business by 1%, on average, that’s an extra $4,000 per employee per year. You know, when you think about, like, unlocked doors for company, that productivity gain, you know, these are the things that like, will really help with like use case. And then when you think about, you’ve got all of the people data, you’ve got your work done and the ability to bring them together, it then becomes I can use this to find people to move people to skill people to pivot people, you know, like, it’s the same data that you use for recruitment, as you do for succession planning, as you do for when you’re actually retraining folks. So that information becomes really critical. And the way that we would describe how rejig plays within your technology ecosystem to solve that problem is, you know, we’re not competing with your existing technology, I don’t want to build an applicant tracking system, I don’t want to build an HR system, right? What I want to be able to do is help give my customers information about their people in their work, and that intelligence layer to help them make good and fair decisions. And then I want to send the information in and out of the system. So whether it’s I find a person to hire, I’ll send it back to the ATS, whether it’s I’ve mobilized someone, I send it back. Now we have two engagement layers in our product. So some of our customers have spent millions of dollars implementing a workday or implementing success factors. And they don’t want to bring a talent marketplace profile and another app into their ecosystem, because they’ve just driven millions of dollars into change management to get everyone into workday. So when we first started, we first started with nudges. So instead of actually sending into another app, we would say, Hey, Jay, here’s what’s possible in your career today at Company X, we would nudge through teams or slack or email or phone, and then direct them back to workday to complete the last mile of the process. So not in any way working outside the existing system. We also do because there is customers that say, you know what the future for us is self service. We don’t want to get involved in mobility, we actually want the manager and the person and the employee to do this themselves. So we want to create a true talent marketplace concept where there’s no interaction there. We have then also a beautiful product where we give to the employee to be able to navigate that and the leader, so that you’ve got the HR person, the leader and the employee, all looking at the same data, but from the perspective that they care about it. We know whether it’s to navigate their career, whether it’s HR helping orchestrate and whether it’s the employee thinking about what do I do next in this company, that’s how we play but it all sits in the ecosystem. So we don’t want to take or hijack that workflow. We actually want to play nicely, you know, and embed within the engagement layer of where the person is most productive. So that could be intent. teams that could be in Slack that could be in Workday, we kind of work around that play to make sure that, you know, we want people to engage and get the most out of the technology investment, too.
I like that there’s that choice, right? Because I think that would be a struggle, if you’re not sure you think I can’t take this to my, my CEO or my CFO? Because I know that, you know, because there are technologies that really, truly only work standalone. And they, you know, need to do that. So I love that there’s that choice. Can you one question I have, and just all of this is, can you elaborate a little bit on, I know that you can get the skills from the existing information in all these various systems, is they’re also a component that as I’m an employee, I’m gaining new skills, or I have skills that are not part of my, my work, but that could very much be helpful within an organization. Can I go in and add those as well?
Siobhan Savage 35:54
Yeah, absolutely. So the first phase of what reject does is it’ll go and it’ll find all the data we know your CV, your applications, all the interactions, you’ve had that say at work failed the moves you’ve had, all the learning that you’ve done, what you do, and your publicly available profiles, like your LinkedIn, we pull all of that and correct like a little pathway of skills, like imagine the journey of from the second you leave school tonight, we pull that information. And then what we do is we serve that up to the individual employee, or could be a candidate in this respect. And we say, Hey, this is what we think you have. And then they go in and they add the one amazing thing about human beings. And I don’t know, I’ve no psychologic, like no proof and research to back this up. But humans will not complete profiles, they will not give you information, even when they’re being made redundant. They do not give you information, very low percentage. But if you give an employee a profile and say, Hey, Jane, this is what we think you have, or she loves to change it. Like there’s like an interaction where they love to correct. So there’s this like, we go for curation.
Like staring at the blank page versus staring at like, a couple of paragraphs can maybe fix up? Right? That makes perfect sense, right? And I think, honestly drawn to you’re talking about a lot of people say this, I mean, maybe you could tell me, I’m wrong of this. But you’ve got to be a little bit, no sophisticated, maybe right to start to really start thinking about work and breaking down work this way. And thinking about people’s skills this way. I know it’s maybe some larger organizations maybe right, like, once I’ve been around for a little while. And what I’m getting at is maybe organizations that are on their 19th different system, right over the last, you know, 14 years to try to approach some of these things. I do think in organizations in general, there’s a lot of technology fatigue that sets in, right. And you know, because there’s good data, the Stacy Harris survey has great data on this every year about, you know, how many HR systems you know, writ large that the typical organization has in place at any one time, and it’s 10s 12, maybe in a big organization. Right. So I think there is like, again, a little bit of that Shavon you’re getting out nobody wants to do a profile. I think most employees, I would guess that most organizations are not super thrilled by everyone new system being introduced for x y. Yeah. The other system, I’ve got to figure out right, that’s thanks, right.
Yeah, it’s much it well, in anything, it’s much easier to react to something than to start from scratch. So yeah, I was glad that you shared that. Because I think that that’s very important, too. I think your employees want to know that. They are being sort of seen and heard, even if it’s through, you know, presenting something to them, where it’s like, oh, wow, they will I forgot I had I forgot I knew how to do that. I haven’t done that in a while. Or maybe I want to do that now. You know, I think it can spark other things. I think, too. The reason I asked it that way was I just thinking like, through my career, there were always these people who did things in their private life. Maybe they were volunteers for some organization, or they helped out in church in some way or whatever. They had other business like skills they were using in other places, and they never thought to bring that into the workplace. Because it wasn’t an I’m going to do air quotes. It wasn’t their job. Right? Yeah. So maybe they had writing skills, they love to write in journal or whatever at home, and then they would never do that at work. Well, I think too, it’s what you’re talking about is a good way to have them. Think about what they know, in a way that they haven’t, because they’ve got this new context with which to look at themselves. And they are not limited by a job description. Like they were like we were in the past.
Siobhan Savage 39:34
And I mean, just to add to that, as well, like one of the examples that we seen was because we were pulling information from ATS hrs and the learning management system, this one individual that we were the this is an employee that we’re working on one of our customers, you know, this person was, you know, street crosser, you know, when your kids walk across the road, like you know, to help them across the river this lady had been doing this job for many Any years like her whole career has been, I’ve been doing this. And randomly, we had seen that her skill profile had started to change in the AI where we could see that she started learning, like entry level data courses. And that was like, for us like it was like, hold on a second. And when that happens in our models, I imagine you are like looking at a New York underground or subway station, right like and all the paths and the Journeys you can take, imagine that this lady will call her Jane for toxic, but if she’s on her path, she’s doing this lollipop lady job, suddenly, she starts to think about going into the data space, that takes this complete pivot onto a new path on the left. So imagine our AI model starting to look at, oh, hold on a sec, and someone like Jane can do stuff like this, Whoa, let’s go. And it starts diverting her in this other direction of like, you know, imagining what’s possible within the company, because she started doing these new skills. So like, the power of this is not just, hey, we want to match make you to opportunity, the power of this is like, hey, not only do we know what you could do, but actually we know what you could possibly do in the future. And let me bring you there. Let me show you what’s possible. And, you know, it’s kind of like opening up the imagination of the individual to say, you know, people like you could do stuff like me, if I had this technology, whenever I was in my career, I would never have stayed in HR. As long as I did, I would have been out and done my own something or other like, I would have just, someone gives me the nudge to like, you know, you could do this, like this is where it becomes really, really powerful. So I think the one thing I would say is the reason we designed the technology, the way that we did was because for years and years and years, I would constantly be hassling people and managers, you will not get your promotion if you do not complete your profile in our system, because I need to know who you are. And we were like, bribe them with pieces, we would make it mandatory, we would try we tried everything, like I mean everything. And we like our product at the time was like we sold people for a living we were professional services engineering company, right? The product was the person CV. So you can imagine me running around everyone going complete your profile, complete your profile, no one would do it.
Did the project system though, like the assignment system where you were assigning these people out? Did that whatever system that was that that have like profiles and skills and things like that? That didn’t either. It was a spreadsheet.
Services? Yeah, it’s the exact same
Siobhan Savage 42:32
It was like, and this is the thing that just blew my mind. And like bringing it back to my original like, why I started reaching. I’m like, literally sitting feeding a baby. In my head. I’ve solved this problem. Like, I’m like, I know how to do this. I know how to do this. Why is no one doing it like this? What’s wrong with me? What’s like, Why is no one looking at this, everyone keeps setting up talent marketplaces and telling people to complete profiles and for their jobs in, that’s not going to get high level of engagement. I know that because I’ve tried that for my whole career. So we went about it in such a different way that people were like, oh, but that’s not like democra democratizing careers. And it’s like, yeah, but we’re going to solve the hard part first, like, I’m going to solve the really hard part, because creating an employee profile to play with is easy. You know, like, that part’s the easy part. It’s actually the behind the scenes part, and the nudging, and the ability to break down the skills and the work. That’s the really tricky part of this technology. So yeah, like, I mean, again, lived experience, right? Like, we wouldn’t have done this, if I hadn’t had the heartache of many, many years, like manually filling in people’s profiles.
I’ve done this podcast for a long time. And we’ve had a lot of CEOs and a lot of founders on over the years. And it’s, it’s almost, I would say, 80% of them, right? Because we’re in the HR in the workforce space, you know, almost exclusively and almost everyone is come on and say the reason I created my company XYZ is because when I found at some other company, we weren’t able to do this, right? When I couldn’t do it, or doing, you know, getting doing global benefits was too hard. Right? So I had to create a global benefits company or, you know, testing the skills of developers before I hired them. That was too hard, right? So I had to create this platform that allows me to do it. So you’re coming out a little bit differently. Shavon, you’ve, you’re like, I’ve solved this problem already. Now, I want to help everybody else solve this problem. And we need some better technology in order to scale that up. Right? They started. Exactly, exactly. I give them all your spreadsheets from you know, nine years ago, right? We can’t share those, you know,
Siobhan Savage 44:27
Well, and you know, the other thing, sorry.
I was just gonna say earlier, you talked about how, you know, focusing on things like employee engagement or whatever, when really it’s focusing on some of these issues we’ve been talking about, but the outcome is if you do those things, if you help that worker, take that different path, right, make that hard left that they didn’t think about, it results in them feeling all the things you want cared for. Included, engaged, right so it’s I love that what you’re doing it’s it helps create the opportunity for that that outcome and not focusing that on the the problem, right?
Siobhan Savage 45:04
Yeah, I completely agree. I mean, if you look at our mission, like our mission is to create a world with zero waste to potential in people in business and society, you know, zero waste in people’s zero waste in business, zero waste in society. What we are doing is win win win for everyone. Like the way that we’re thinking about solving this problem. Like it’s not because rejig wants to be a unicorn, I want to solve this problem so bad and I care so much about solving this problem. Because that when we solve this problem, the recurring impact that we will have for the greater good in my industry, for people for society as a whole. It’s just like, why not? Like, why would you not do this? Right? Like, it’s just win win win for everybody. So I think like, when we start talking to folks, from a customer perspective, people get so genuinely excited about the concept of zero waste and people in business. You know, we’ve got customers that write it in as part of their HR strategy, how do we create our own Zero Waste concept? You know, when you think about high shareholder and board level, net zero and energy trackability is a thing. How come? We are not tracking people waste the way that we’re hiring and firing so aggressively as companies and as a as an industry?
We’re gonna do another show on that I’m raged by some of the stuff we’ve seen, especially in the tech industry, right? I’m sure you are too Siobhan, over the last six or eight months of these wholesale callings of 10s of 1000s of individuals from organizations like in in fell sweeps, while meanwhile, they’re hiring like crazy in other parts of the business, right? is literally sort of the conversation you started this this podcast off was driven very similar one, right? And it drives me insane to when I see it, right. Because those are not just, you know, fingers, right? You You guys are HR leaders, right? Your word, right? Those are real people with real families and real lives and the impact of wasted potential both from you know, not the people not getting the opportunity to work to their highest potential or their best potential or their greatest accomplishments. And or the what happens to them when we, through various reasons that look, sometimes organizations struggle and times get tough, I get that I’m not. I’m not a Pollyanna. But the impact that has on people has on children. It’s significant, shouldn’t be understated and shouldn’t be taken lightly. So I think these are really, really important things not, you know, for bigger picture things. Siobhan, like you’ve talked about, right, the impact this can have on organizations, on communities on societies. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it’s very, very significant.
Siobhan Savage 47:33
Yeah, this is a movement, like, seriously, the thing that I keep saying everyone is like, this is our moment, right? from an HR perspective, like, let’s not waste it. Right. Like we’ve got this moment right now, where everyone talks about getting a seat at the table, right? Like, like, more like, seriously, this is your moment. That’s, that’s not wasted, right? Like, I think that becomes the, you know, and think about it as a business leader, people business society, because that’s what’s going to get signed off at the shareholder and the board level, which means it’ll get signed off at CEO level. And if you translate like that, that like, and I can help with, right, if people ever need to reach out, they can, like, I’m happy to jam I love this topic. I’m, you know, it’s kind of my life’s work, right?
Yeah, that’s a great way kind of, I think, to wrap Siobhan it’s like 4am, I think where you are, I don’t know what time it is or what year it is.
Siobhan Savage 48:21
20 kids in the background screaming, speaking
But we want folks to learn more about both what Reejig is doing, maybe connect with Siobhan, just give us real quick where we want to send folks to sort of dive into this a little bit more and maybe connect with yourself as well.
Siobhan Savage 48:40
Yeah, so you can find out information on rediff.com. Or you can follow me on LinkedIn. So I’m pretty active on LinkedIn, I do a lot of kind of chatting back and forth with folks. So feel free to reach out to me Siobhan Savage on LinkedIn, or Reejig.com. This was awesome. Super fun.
Can I also add that the Reejig site is really great. For anyone listening, go check out the resources tab. Right? There are articles, you have web webinars, you have other videos available. So again, a lot of these topics you’ve just had just mere moments to touch on today. People can go and really dig in and learn much more about this and how this can actually benefit their organization.
Siobhan Savage 49:22
That’s do something like I think for me, this is a movement, right? Like, this is like, we got to do this. So like, I need help. I need help to scale this mindset, everywhere. So if you want to help and jump in and help, you know, we’re going to be building a much bigger thing. When we took the Salesforce investment, we did set up an Impact Fund. So you can find that on my website as well, that there’s an Impact Fund that for every technology that we like for every person’s technology to employ, we actually donate it to folks who need it most that they get to use our technology. So again, bringing it back to zero waste in society. Yeah, you know, like everything we’re doing is really true. by that zero wasted potential mindset. So, thank you so much for having me.
Thank you. It’s been a great fun we can do a little bit longer than I thought I apologize for that. But it’s been worthwhile. You did a fantastic job of sharing the rejig story, your story and why it’s so important as well. So we encourage everybody to check out reejig.com We’ll put that link in the show notes connected to Siobhan as well. Trish great, great stuff. Good to see you as well. This has been super show for the HR Happy Hour 14th anniversary, wasn’t it like the other day?
Happy 14th anniversary Steve Boese, so Steve started the show in 2009. And almost immediately started bringing HR professionals and business leaders together on what was that a one hour long, kind of live people could call on the show. I didn’t draw you.
Nine years old. I did that all that?
Yeah, I joined 10 years ago. So I just had my my decade with Steve which has been amazing. But yeah, kudos to you, Steve for the vision and happy 14th anniversary.
Same to you. And thank you, everyone for listening. I appreciate that. Thank you, Siobhan. And all right. That’s it for the extra happy hour show. Catch all the show archives at HRHappyHour.net or wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks to our guest Siobhan Savage. Thank you, Trish. My name is Steve Boese. We will see you next time. Bye for now.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai