UNLEASH Conversations: Connecting Talent to Opportunity
Host: Trish Steed
Today, Trish met with Madeline Laurano and Amanda Hahn at UNLEASH World in Paris to talk about connecting talent to opportunity in the workplace.
– Madeline’s session with Anika Grant, Chief People Officer at Ubisoft, on retention and internal mobility in the gaming industry
– Gen Z in the workforce and hiring strategies
– Using skills-based approach in hiring and talent management
– Assessing job candidates’ potential for growth
– HR technology, career development, and industry insights
Thank you for joining the show today! Remember to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!
Welcome to the HR Happy Hour, I am so excited to be coming to you live from UNLEASH in Paris today. And I have two special guests. My first is Madeline Laurano, who is the Founder and chief analyst at Aptitude Research. And I also have Amanda Hahn, Chief Marketing Officer for HireVue. Welcome to the show.
Madeline Laurano 0:49
So Madeline, I mean, this is not your first time at UNLEASH, I’d love to just hear your perspective of here we are in Paris yet again, you just came off stage in fact yourself, tell us maybe a little bit about the session you just did. And what you’re already finding exciting at UNLEASH.
Madeline Laurano 1:08
I love the session that I just did, because I got to do a fireside chat with Anika Grant, who’s the Chief People Officer at Ubisoft, which is a leading gaming company. So it was really exciting for me, because my kids are both gamers, as you know. And they this is the only time I’ve ever been interested in any type of work that I’ve ever done. Being able to talk about some of these, you know, gaming trends, but also, the issue that she really brought up was retention. And that shifted quite a bit for their organization in the past three years where retention really wasn’t an issue before the pandemic. And then with the pandemic and the great resignation, they started to see a lot of attrition that they haven’t seen before. So they had to rethink how they were going to approach retention. And they thought, you know, they would do these exit surveys. And then they started to do engagement surveys and realize it wasn’t about compensation.
Madeline Laurano 2:02
It wasn’t about other opportunities outside necessarily, it was an internal mobility issue. So people wanted to know what career development opportunities they had. And if they could see that path, they were more likely to stay with the company. And in gaming games can take three to five years to create. And then for a lot of individuals, they can get even their name on scrolled on kind of the game as a part of the credits. So to stay at and see that kind of completion is a big deal. So they had to really think about that internal mobility piece how to keep people happy, because ultimately people their talent wants to say as much as they want the talent to say. So they use a skills based approach, they use eight fold and talent, intelligence, to really kind of think about empowering people to understand what opportunities that they have. So they don’t have to go to their managers and ask to be moved, because managers don’t like to lose anyone on their team, they can really understand and grow their own opportunities and manage their own careers themselves.
Yeah, I was fascinated, especially not, you know, you hear of course of using Eightfold or other similar tools, right. But you don’t always hear about how that actually plays out in reality. And I thought that she did a really nice example of setting the stage of, you know, not only did the HR team have to figure out how to handle this sort of new and evolving problem, right, that it wasn’t just compensation, but then how to actually move forward and have that that process in place a plan that they were going to follow. So I did think for anybody in the audience, there were some really good takeaways, they could go back to their organizations and maybe implement some of those same steps. You mentioned with her a little bit about Gen Z, too, right? That’s a little bit of the changing workforce just now starting to join the workforce. Could you share a little bit about maybe what you found in your research as well as what she was sharing as well?
Madeline Laurano 3:59
Yeah, I think it’s interesting, because that is the gaming industry. It’s the next generation, right? And that’s the talent they’re looking for. So they have to think about, you know, the senior talent they have at their company, but also how to think about these new opportunities. And when you think about the use of AI and the role technology plays, in a lot of these industries, there’s this thought that it will replace roles. And the first thought is it’s going to replace entry level roles, and that impacts Gen Z. So we’re seeing Gen Z kind of shifting, often like what they’re studying in school and what you know, skills they want to develop themselves. But I think companies have to realize this is a tool. She said, this is a tool to empower the Creator, not replace the Creator, and their entry level jobs or roles are critical, because that’s their path forward to help them you know, really develop the skills they need for Ubisoft. And, you know, I think that it’s a really interesting place and this generation is is, unfortunately feeling a lot of the effects of okay, maybe they don’t know, you know what their next career might hold, they don’t know if you know they’re going to be replaced. But I think what she said very clearly was, they’re critical to the future of the organization.
They absolutely are. I also wonder, too, for those of us who might have been in business for quite a long time, we also need some training and some maybe thinking differently when it comes to how to work with someone who is from, you know, a Gen Z, for example, because they are having these concerns. And we’re in the middle of sort of moving to a skills focused way of hiring that we haven’t been before. So it is a little bit of an adjustment, I think, on both sides, right? They’re entering the workforce. So that’s scary. But it’s also scary for us who’ve been hiring the same way, maybe for quite a long time. So which is, which is why we have Amanda here from HireVue. So maybe, Amanda, I’d love to just hear your perspective. I mean, obviously, we’re talking about Gen Z, but just in general, how are you helping your clients with thinking about hiring differently than maybe we did 20-30 years ago as we became recruiters.
Amanda Hahn 6:11
Yeah. I mean, there’s so many conversations that we’re having right now with our customers about this, because, you know, they see a lot of what’s being talked about here at the conference, labor shortages, experience shortages, things like that. And so our customers are really, really focused on understanding what people can do as much as what they have done in the past. So it’s about capability, and especially for Gen Z. And it really talent, it’s even more important. Because, you know, you really want to understand what these students are capable of how they can grow with your organization going forward. So we we just last week sort of announced our new focus on potential as a company working with a number of our customers, not only on now external talent pools, but internal as well. So to give them that broader picture of fuller potential. Madeline was just with us last week, actually speaking with spectrum in the US, one of our customers is really, really focused on potential right now and understanding potential and putting the candidates in the driver’s seat as well.
Amanda Hahn 7:15
And I think that’s a real shift for a number of companies is how can I help candidates understand that skills and capabilities that they can bring to the table for our organization, without the barrier of, you know, the way that we talk about jobs and job descriptions and things like that, which a lot of times they don’t understand. So how can they understand their kills skills and capability and put them a bit in the driver’s seat to say, you know, this is what I bring to the table? Now, how does that fit within an organization, and really, really trying to open the aperture a lot wider for candidates in doing so. So spectrum has done that, and has had some amazing results?
That’s wonderful. I know that you all as part of your solution, do you have sort of a campus focus? Right? Could you maybe talk a little bit about that, and how that helps your customers, whenever they’re trying to help sort of build that bridge right, of putting someone in the driver’s seat being able to talk about the skills they have? Because again, we’re talking about students that have maybe never done this before. Exactly. How are they using that as your customers? And how is that helping their conversations on campus?
Amanda Hahn 8:25
Yeah, I think even years ago, when we first started in this skill space in the assessment space, Brad was the first one right out of the gate, right? Customers were very, very interested in understanding, because even if a student did an internship, a lot of times for students that’s so exploratory, so that doesn’t necessarily mean just because they did an internship in a specific area, that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what they want to do when they graduate. Maybe they learned at that internship, that’s exactly what they don’t want to do, right when they graduate. So they they’re very interested in understanding, I think, for the student as well, they’re really interested in understanding what their skills or capabilities are getting feedback as a part of the process is really, really important. We’re seeing a lot more demand for that companies, I think, in general have been really hesitant to incorporate feedback into their process, but in the student in students case and a lot of university recruiting on both sides of the pond, really in demand right now for students to get feedback as a part of the process. So that’s really important for them to understand their skills as they go through a process with with a company and again, a lot of our customers that’s the first part place that they’ll start in looking at you know, bringing more science picked hiring to the process, because it’s so important to understand what the capabilities of these kids are that are coming into the workforce now and how they can grow them again, skill sorted as labor shortage being what they are, they want to retain those students as long as they possibly can.
Absolutely. Madeline, I know she’s talking a lot about skills obviously applies across the board. You’ve just done a ton of research over the last few years everything from contingent workforce to whether it’s generation based. Could you maybe just share a little bit about what you’re doing? I know you have some exciting research you’re doing with Amanda.
Madeline Laurano 10:08
Yeah, so everything’s skills based now, right? This is kind of the future of where we’re at right now with HR technology. And I think the benefit of that is you see the individual for you know who they are. And it’s seeing the full picture of talent and understanding the full picture of your workforce. And we’re going to work on some research together, Amanda and I with higher view and aptitude about human potential. And that’s just what HireVue went through this transformation and launched this new category of human potential intelligence. And it’s exactly that it’s the spectrum example that’s using it in this way, it’s seeing the full picture of talent, understanding, you know, the benefits of kind of taking a skills based approach.
I love that. And I love the idea of human potential. Because I, again, we’ve been talking about skills for a number of years, but sometimes you don’t know how to apply that to your own business. Yeah, I like the idea of yes, you’re assessing what skills we need, you’re assessing what skills a person may have, but it’s about the potential. Amanda, can you talk about the potential piece, like, what were we missing, because I know, we’ve been like, we’ve been on the tip of the iceberg, right? There’s so much more to go.
Amanda Hahn 11:18
I mean, it really is that was the that was really the word that we pivoted on for a really, really long time. But there are a lot of technologies out there that can give you an idea of what people have done, what their experience looks like. And there’s some really sophisticated technologies that can give you sort of, you know, gap filling, right, in terms of experience, and they do a really good job of it. I think what we’re laser focused on is not just understanding what somebody has done, but what they can do, what is their potential? What is the potential that they’re bringing to the table, you know, measuring things like, you know, problem solving, and change, aptitude and general ability, you know, those kinds of things that you cannot, you’re just will never see in a resume as a part of an early screening in the process and what spectrum has done, that’s really revolutionary as they put that potential assessment all the way at the front of the process, again, putting the candidate in the driver’s seat, so that they understand their own potential, and then how that fits into real roles at spectrum. So we’re working with a number of our customers now to figure out like, why isn’t it as easy to see potential in a person as it is to see experience? And we think it should be as easy to see potential.
It should be, but I think part of it does come maybe the way we were all raised up in organizations, right? Because everything we do is rearview looking. Right. So whether it’s your experience, what have you done already? Right, which is still important, yes. But it doesn’t tell you what the person is interested in doing much to your comment about internships, right? Just because someone does an internship, they might have found out what they don’t like, exactly same way with work, right? We’ve all had those jobs, where we’re like, it was a horrible job. I didn’t want to ever do that again. But I did learn some valuable skills. Now how can I use those skills going forward, we weren’t really teaching ourselves or picking up people, again, who’ve been in the business, you know, 10, 20, 30 years, it was just thought about almost in reverse. So what I hear is revolutionary about what you’re doing the way you’re approaching it. I love the phrase human potential. I think that’s a good way.
Madeline Laurano 13:26
And there’s like, such positive connotations with that. I mean, there’s positive conversations with intelligence. That’s why we hear it so often, but with potential too, because, again, it’s not just the experience. And it’s not just, you know, what you’re reading on a resume, or like, you know, how companies are thinking about what’s on an employee profile? It’s what is that? learnability? What is the opportunities, and that resonates not just with companies to really see the value they’re gonna get, but with individuals too, I mean, I would love for someone to see my potential, not just what I’ve done.
No, you’re really should be serious. You’re you’re onto something. Because I think too, that’s where, when you think about all of the things you’ve done in your life, many of us again, across it doesn’t matter countries where you’re from, you’re sort of geared to think like, Oh, I’ve had an education become a teacher, now I have to be a teacher for the rest of my life, or I’m an accountant, I can only be an accountant, right, or whatever industry you’re in. I’ve been in healthcare, I need to stay in healthcare. It’s very difficult to dream, what you could do next, if no one’s ever sort of tapped into that, and given you permission to be excited about it, right? It’s scary. So what I love about the technology aspect of enabling this is it now sort of brings it up to where it’s like if it’s suggested to me maybe I’m a new hire. And it’s suggested to me throughout my career with a company like yes, you were in this but you have potential to be that right. And it may be lateral, it may be in a different department, it may be you know, you might be an HR and you’re gonna work in supply chain. Maybe that’s really where you need to go next right So to me, it’s, I’m excited to see what the future holds, not just for Gen Z for all of us, as we maybe open up our thinking to and stop being so siloed about the jobs that we have, right? Yeah. All right. Well, good. We have to. Well, before I let you both go, I know it’s a busy day. Thank you for spending time with me this morning. Madalyn, what are you looking forward to the rest of the we’ve got another day and a half here to unleash anything big on the horizon, or even a topic you’re interested in.
Madeline Laurano 15:29
There’s so much I’m interested in like, I definitely want to keep walking the expo floor. I love seeing all the different providers and seeing how it’s different here in Europe a little bit than what we see in our US counterparts. But I am excited for Cyril George has a session who’s kind of running HR technology for GM and I want to see him the Jason Averbrook is interviewing him and the moderator for that session. And there’s a bunch I mean, there’s so much and then I obviously want to see Kyle do his thing introducing people on I think in this room stage one.
Great. Amanda, how about you?
Amanda Hahn 16:03
Um, so I have my team over here. I would agree with Madeline that, you know, seeing the differences between all the interesting things when we come into Europe and, and some of the differences. So my team has schooled me on rugby and, and Johnny Wilkins is going to be talking this afternoon. So that’s exciting. He actually has a podcast that focuses on potential Oh, which I think is really interesting. So I’ve caught a couple of episodes. And it’s really, really great. Shout out there. I know, I’m really looking forward to him. And then I’ll give a plug for amazing customers, we’ve got a session just this afternoon actually just eat and Emirates Airlines are going to be speaking a lot about identifying potential actually, and sort of bringing the art and science of hiring together. Like how do we how do we unlock more potential for people by bringing together you know, the great art that recruiters bring to the table? And as well as, you know, a bit of the science piece to bring the rigor.
So wonderful. Yeah, I’m excited. I mean, obviously, the expo is buzzing. We have people everywhere. And for me, I’m really focused on brand. I think for this one, I was lucky enough to bring my daughter with me. She’s a journalism student. And she’s here covering some of the roundtables and boardroom sessions. And so it’s interesting, she’s learning all about brands, she’s a marketing major, and in sort of marketing and content journalism, and for her to do sort of an internship over the summer where she was looking at all of the different HR technology companies and now she’s seeing them live and in person, how it looks very different booth to booth and what’s important and, and just getting the overall perspective has been really exciting.
Madeline Laurano 17:39
She should talk to Amanda.
I will have Carleigh come talk to you. Yes, she’s in a boardroom session right now. But she can school me that. And thank you no thank you to Unleashed for allowing her to have that opportunity. I think that’s fantastic. Unleash is really good about bringing students into the market early. Right, giving them exposure and experience. I mean, she’s talking to big companies like Google and you know, AWS, so she’s got a lot going on as a college student, which I don’t know about you all. I didn’t have that opportunity when I was that age. So it’s fantastic. Yeah. So thank you unleashed and thank you both. Thank you and we’ll check in with you next time. Thank you to everyone for listening to the HR happy hour. You can be sure to catch all of our shows including Madeline’s show on the HR Happy Hour Network wherever you get your favorite podcasts.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai