Jeff Schwartz
VP of Insights and Impact Gloat

Jeff Schwartz is the Vice President of Insights and Impact at Gloat. Prior to joining Gloat, Schwartz was a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP for 20 years, most recently as the U.S. Leader for the future of work and as a senior partner in the firm’s Global Human Capital executive since 2003.

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On this episode of The RecruitingDaily Podcast, William speaks with Jeff Schwartz about talent marketplaces in 2022 regarding the Great Reassessment, DEI and the challenges ahead.

Jeff is vice president of insights and impact at Gloat and an expert in talent acquisition and market acuities. Tune in and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Listening Time: 30 minutes

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Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup

William:

Ladies and gentlemen, this William Tincup, and you are listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Today, we have Jeff on from Gloat, and we’re going to be talking about talent marketplaces in 2022.

William:

And subparagraph, if you will, or some of the things, the tentacles that we’re going to explore are going to be the Great Reassessment, DEI, and the challenges ahead. So without any further ado, Jeff, would you do us a favor and both introduce yourself and Gloat?

Jeff:

Great. William, thank you so much. Jeff Schwartz here. I joined Gloat a few months ago as the vice president of insights and impact. It’s an unusual title. If you find other VPs with that title, please let me know. Before that I spent 20 years as one of the leaders of the Human Capital Practice at Deloitte, was one of the founders of our Future of Work Practice. And Gloat is the leading provider of internal talent marketplaces and ecosystem software. We’ve been focusing on this for the last four or five years. We’re working with talent innovators all over the world, implemented with the largest global companies and as many as 100 to 120 countries. And I think obviously, William, the timeliness of talking about marketplaces and talent marketplaces, and as we close 2021 and prepare for 2022, I really can’t think of a more urgent and timely topic, so very excited to get into it with you today.

William:

Yeah. And for folks, we’re in Q4. So 2022 sounds like a long way away. We’re going to blink. Here’s some holidays and some things in the middle of that. Yeah, we’re going to blink and it’s going to be 2022.

Jeff:

It is here.

William:

It feels like 2021 every day was a week. And then 2022, every day was like an hour, like time just kind of flipped on us. But for those, when we say talent marketplaces, I want to make sure that everyone listening has kind of a basic understanding of what that means. So let’s give them kind of the four walls of what you’re thinking and what Gloat defines as like a talent marketplace.

Jeff:

Absolutely. So we define the talent marketplace by looking at a couple of key concepts. And I’ll explain what the moving parts are. We think probably among the biggest challenges for businesses, business leaders, HR talent recruiting leaders, and employees is the role of opportunity inside the organization. I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anybody listening to this podcast, that it is an unfortunate fact. And I think it is an unfortunate fact that most employees that we interview anywhere in the world and business leaders tell us that it is easier and less stressful to find a new opportunity or a new gig outside their current organization versus inside their organization. Put it another way, it’s easier to find a job on LinkedIn or an external platform than it is to find a new project or a new opportunity or job inside your organization.

Jeff:

And there are something like 3 billion people around the world working for companies that are employed in some way. And what we’re trying to do at Gloat is help businesses and HR and talent teams to create as much internal opportunity as possible. We do that by creating what we call an internal talent marketplace. It is literally a digital marketplace where employees can find jobs, projects, gigs, learning opportunities, mentoring opportunities, networking opportunities that are real opportunities, real jobs, real gigs, real learning that is relevant to the organization that they’re in.

Jeff:

And if you’re a business leader, it allows you to post in this internal marketplace, what are the different kinds of people and skills that you need to get work done? So there’s a supply side, the employees telling us what they want to do and explore. There’s a demand side, the business leaders telling us what work and projects they’re trying to do. And as in any market, one of the fascinating things about markets is that when we put suppliers and demand together, we produce incredible information. And that’s really what we’re looking at in a talent marketplace, supply, demand, and information.

William:

Love it. And now that we’re all kind of equally educated as to what that is, let’s start off with one of the tentacles of the conversation is the Great Reassessment. I’m so glad that you didn’t use the Great Resignation as one of the tentacles. So let’s talk about the Reassessment, as you see it and as you think about it.

Jeff:

Yeah. Look, there’s no question, William, that the Great Resignation in the middle and towards the end of 2021, it’s one of the great memes of our times, but there was a piece written last may by Heather Long who’s a journalist in the Washington Post who cast the Great Resignation as the Great Reassessment. Now what’s interesting is she wrote that article in May, because in April we had seen what to that point was the highest number of voluntary quits, that’s people leaving their job without another job that we’d ever seen. I think the number was 4 million in April. The day we’re recording this in October, yesterday was the highest number that we’ve ever seen in a month. The August numbers were 4.3 million. So in the US, this is US data, but I think it’s relevant globally based on discussions that I’ve had with people all over the world, 4.3 million people left their jobs in August without knowing what their next job is going to be.

Jeff:

Voluntary attrition is at an all time high. At the same time, there’s 10.4 million job postings. We can debate whether they’re real job postings or not, but it tells us something about the supply and demand. And what Heather Long challenged us to think about in May, which I think is absolutely critical right now, which is if our employees and our workers are telling us that they are reassessing who they work for, the kind of job that they have, how it fits in with their lives, how it fits in with their values. We know sometimes people are voluntarily leaving because they don’t like the hybrid strategy that their companies are putting in place. Our employees are reassessing what they want, and if our employees are reassessing what they want, there’s that famous leadership quote, “There go my people, so I need to follow them because I’m their leader.”

Jeff:

If we are leading the people practices and the business practices for the workforce, we need to be thinking about what are we doing proactively to change the employee experience. And I think that’s the phrase that’s used, but at Gloat, and I’ll make this point and I’ll take a breath, William, at Gloat, our perspective is that what people are really interested in are the opportunities that they have, the kind of work that they have, the people that they work with. So we think the big opportunity right now is to focus on the Great Reassessment. How can talent marketplaces create more opportunity, both for your employees and for your business leaders right now?

William:

What I find fascinating about this, Jeff, and every time I talk to you, I learn something new. So I appreciate that alone, but it’s like, we’ve had this problem in the past with high potentials, high performers, the top talent, that little small group of people over here that we treat special, but this is bled over into all of corporate and then not just corporate, but even in the high volume in the hourly space that people are reassessing, like whether or not they’re going to work at McDonald’s or Walmart or not. And reassessing that, I think COVID, for better and worse, it forced us into this, “What do I want to be when I grow up? How do I want to work?” And that’s hybrid workplace, hybrid workforce, things that matter.

William:

It’s forced conversations for recruiters in HR that maybe they weren’t comfortable having in terms of, “Hey, what are you doing with social justice? What are you doing with any of the things? Me too, love is love, black lives matter, et cetera.” Like, “These are the things I care about. Do you care about them? If not, okay. I’ll just go to the next place.” And that again, with high potentials and the high performers and top talent, they’ve always and will always have options, but it seems to me that it’s just bled over into everyone, all talent, at all the strata and in all the industries. What do you see and what does Gloat see?

Jeff:

Well, you’ve put a lot on the table, William, so thank you for that. We see a few things happening. Let me try to just summarize it by hitting three points. If I lose track, please help me keep track, William. The first is there’s no question that during this Great Experiment of COVID, I very much view it as a shift in a disruption, not just an acceleration. I think we’ve moved to a different point in terms of where we are relative to work, workforces, and workplaces, but we all had incredibly intensive experiences during COVID, as you’ve highlighted in your question.

Jeff:

We saw that how we’re treated and how we treat our employees is something that we have a lot more influence over than we thought, right? And we saw the criticality of wellbeing from the employee perspective and from the community perspective and the business leader perspective, and we’ve all heard, and I know that you’ve talked about, the number of wellbeing discussions, not just wellbeing from a health perspective, but also from a mental health perspective, from a financial perspective as well, has become a much richer part of the discussion. Employees are concerned with wellbeing and we’re concerned with their wellbeing. And we’re trying to take that to the next level.

William:

Yeah, like mental health isn’t taboo as much as it once was. It’s more a part of a normal conversation you would have with HR or recruiting.

Jeff:

Physical health, mental health, and financial health and wellbeing. All of them are part of the discussion people are looking for what they consider to be a fair deal in terms of how they’re treated by their employees. I think the other is, it’s very interesting that you use the word high potential, because one of the things that I think we saw at Gloat, and I think all of us hopefully saw a version of was what we learned about potential in the last year and a half, two years. And one of the things that we learned was that the potential of our employees, whether they were quote, unquote “high potential” or “average potential” or any employee that we have, but the potential of our employees was much greater than we imagined. And let me be very specific, right? In most companies, we think you are what we recruited you to do.

Jeff:

We think you are what we recruited you to do, and what is on your resume since you joined us, that’s who you are, Jeff. That’s who you are, William. We recruited you to be a podcast producer, and that’s who you are. Right?

William:

Right.

Jeff:

And since you’ve come, you’ve done 110 podcasts on these topics, so we have an idea of who you are. That’s not who you are. That’s one small piece of who any of us are, right? Right. And we all have both a much broader set of skills and interests and capabilities to acquire new skills. And one of the things that we saw in the last year and a half was that the potential of our workforce in many ways was more valuable than what we actually thought they could already do. Right? And I’m going to give two examples, hopefully they will resonate. When we said to the automotive industry in the spring of 2020, you guys and you women are really good at making complicated machines.

Jeff:

And the machine that you typically make in the automotive industry is an automobile. It’s a complicated machine with 2000 parts. We’d like you to take some of your potential and your capability and make this other machine, which is called a ventilator. Ventilator’s got about 700 parts. And as far as I can tell William, there are relatively few parts that overlap between the machinery of an automobile and the machinery of a ventilator. But what we said to the automotive industry is, you know how to design complicated machines, you know how to fabricate the parts, you know how to put together the supply chain and the logistics, you know how to distribute the product. Can you take those fundamental capabilities of designing, manufacturing, and distributing machinery and apply it to a new problem? In this case, the problem was ventilators. We said, I’ll take one that I think is very personal for all of us.

Jeff:

We don’t have to talk about what we think about it. When we said to the pharmaceutical industry. And in March and February of 2020, when the heads of the vaccine programs got calls from their CEO saying, “Can you put together a vaccine for the coronavirus?”

William:

Go!

Jeff:

Well, exactly. I mean, you laugh, but you would’ve been pretty nervous. Imagine that you’re the head of the vaccine program. And then she picks up the phone and she calls the head of HR and says, “William, send me up 500 mRNA coronavirus respiratory vaccine specialists and manufacturing and logistics experts in our company.” There’s nobody there!

William:

No, no.

Jeff:

We don’t have those specific skills. What do we have? We have highly capable people who have related capabilities and experiences and skills and have the interests and ambition to work on these projects. These are the dynamics of the marketplace. So I think what we saw, and I’ll summarize it this way, we saw from all sorts of employees and workers, that the concern for their broader wellbeing, we talked about it, physical, mental, financial, and then also this incredible perspective on potential, right? And I think what we’re looking at as we go into 2022, is how do we continue this focus on wellbeing? And how do we really unlock the potential of our workforce by using marketplaces? And of course, given how fast business is changing, right? What an incredible opportunity to say, it’s not a question of finding a needle in a haystack, right? Which is the way some people think about what we’re doing in recruiting and internal marketplaces. We’re trying to match people’s interests and their experiences and what we’re really looking for, and I was joking about this the other day with one of my colleagues.

Jeff:

It’s not about finding a needle in a haystack, because what if the needle wants to be a safety pin and you have to bear with me for a second, right? Because what if you have somebody who says, “I don’t want to do this particular work forever. I want to shift lanes and do something else.” And how can we say to them, “William or Jeff, if that’s what you want to do, here’s a project, or here’s some training that you can do, or here’s a mentor so that you can stretch and develop and grow into a real need in our company that will fulfill your ambition and build out your potential.” You got me wound up. So hopefully that-

William:

No, no.

Jeff:

Hopefully that starts to answer the question.

William:

Oh yeah, no, no, no. And with your experience with Deloitte, were some companies already doing this? Were some companies already down the path of developing the talent in this way of looking at tangential and transferable skills in this type of way, or did it blindside all of us at the same time?

Jeff:

Well, I don’t think it blindsided all of us at the same time.

William:

Right.

Jeff:

Sort of two very quick observations there. So I’m sure many of your listeners, people listening to this are familiar with the William Gibson quote that, “The future is already here. It’s just unevenly distributed.” So, it’s already there, but I’ve proposed Schwartz’s corollary. I’m being tongue in cheek here. And I think this is what we saw in the last year and a half, which is that the future comes at us in accelerated bursts. And the last year and a half was an accelerated burst, right? So yes, where there are some people who were looking at the dynamics of talent marketplaces and broader workforce ecosystems, and thinking about both the ambition and the skills and the interests and the capabilities of their workforce and how to match those near matches in order to help people grow… Yeah, there obviously were, right?

Jeff:

But I think over the last year and a half, we’ve really uncovered the tremendous value of marketplace dynamics driven by AI to help us deal with these problems at scale. And I’ll add one quick observation here. When we at Gloat look at the companies that we’ve been working with, who are the leading talent innovators in the world, when we look at what they were doing in the spring of 2020, right? We had major companies all over the globe who were doing pilots of the Gloat solution in March and April, every one of them went to enterprise scale in months in the spring and summer of 2020. Because what they all recognized was that they needed to redeploy their people at a pace that they never had before, or as one of our clients pointed out, when COVID hit, half of our employees were overworked and half of them were underworked. So how could we move the work to the people and the people to the work as quickly as possible? A talent marketplace, like the Gloat platform is designed to do exactly that.

William:

So let’s pivot to DEI and give folks, because we went through the Reassessment. And obviously let’s talk about DEI in the context of the marketplaces in 2022 and then we’ll kind of move into kind of what you think some of the challenges, both the foreseen and maybe even some of the unforeseen things that are right around the corner for us in 2022. So what are you seeing right now from the Gloat perspective in the marketplaces as it relates to DEI?

Jeff:

So this is a fantastic topic to talk about, and I’m really glad that we’re spending time on it today. A few points just to frame this part of the discussion. One, I don’t think I’m saying anything that everybody has not experienced together, is that DEI has moved to a different position on our corporate and our personal and our social agendas in the last couple of years. And the surveys on this are very interesting. They all basically say the same thing, which is 79, 80% of CEOs say that their goal is to take the lead in DEI at their company. And when we see surveys of employees, they say the same thing. Literally almost the same number. It’s like 8 out of 10 say that DEI is very important.

William:

Right.

Jeff:

So it’s not about is this important? It’s about what do we do about it? And what’s really interesting to us at Gloat, and I think hopefully what might be of interest to people who are listening to our conversation today, William, is part of the challenge, of course, is bringing diverse talent into our organizations. And some people have called that the diversity part of the equation. Inclusion is when we bring people to our organization, are we giving them the opportunity to participate and to grow in our organization so that they can have meaningful careers and advance for them in meaningful ways?

Jeff:

It’s this part of the equation, which is once we bring in diverse talent, underrepresented minorities, women, people across the ability spectrum, how can we democratize access to career opportunity? How can we do that in a way that your opportunities and your jobs and the projects that you get to participate in and the learning that you get to embark on, are not simply a function of the people that you know in your group, they’re not a function of people identifying you by your race or your gender or your sexual preference or your ability, but they literally are done in such a way that you have visibility and access to a broader set of opportunities.

Jeff:

And that’s really what the talent marketplace adds to this equation. And let me just give a few quotes. I won’t say who they’re from, but these are all quotes from Gloat clients talking about this question over the last few months. One of our clients said, “Diversity doesn’t really matter unless you find a way to include people in the opportunities that are available.” One of our clients said, “As a hiring or a project manager, you can look at candidates who you never thought of. It opens up your mind to a completely new set of talent.” And one of our clients said, “The talent marketplace is helping us to accelerate and unlock a cultural revolution in our organization.”

Jeff:

So we’re trying to really bring the broadest set of opportunity we can to organizations. And I guess one of the things I just want to make one other point as we’re sort of broaching this important topic, the results that we’ve seen from companies that have implemented internal talent marketplaces, and we don’t have data on all the different aspects, but we have data that shows around 60% of… Let me put it this way. When we look at who is participating in new projects and new jobs, right? We’ve seen a 60% increase in the number of women participating in different jobs and new projects than they had before.

Jeff:

Because when we use a talent marketplace, we don’t identify people by gender. We don’t identify people by their cultural attributes, we identify them by their skills, their capabilities, and their interests, right? We identify them by their ability to fill these gaps so that they’re ready to take on the next role. And we also are looking at, if this is your ambition, if this is what you want to do, how can we connect you with a project or with a mentor or with a network so you can begin exploring and growing in that area right now?

Jeff:

So again, if you hear some excitement in my voice, it’s because I’m excited.

William:

Oh, yeah. Well, it’s interesting-

Jeff:

We think there’s a game changer, but let me also say, this is part of the approach and the solution. This is not the whole solution.

William:

Right. Of course.

Jeff:

But it is an active element of what we can do in looking at the DEI challenge that we’re looking at in our organizations.

William:

It mirrors, I had a conversation yesterday with folks at McKinsey & Company and LeanIn, and they just did their 2021 study of women in the workforce, and really, really great report, great findings. And you would love it. And it’s like on the front end, we’re doing a better job of attracting diverse talent. But inside the organization, especially where Gloat helps people, is in terms of promotions and other opportunities and things like that, we’re falling short.

William:

And that’s collective. All of us are falling short. The attraction side, we’re doing a better job. We’re not there yet, but we’re doing a better job, but internally we’re really falling short. And I’d tell the audience go read that report because it is eye opening.

William:

Okay. We only have like three or four minutes left. Challenges ahead. What are some of the folks when they look at 2022 and they think to themselves, “Okay, we’re looking at reassessment. Our folks are obviously thinking about work in different ways. We’re thinking about DEI, and the folks that are of diverse backgrounds, they’re thinking about work in different ways.” What do you see as just some of the natural challenges that we’re going to have to overcome?

Jeff:

So I think 2022 is going to be a very interesting year and a very important year. Probably important is probably more relevant than interesting. It may be a year, not that we return to normal, I like the way BCG put it. They talked about the new reality, which is in 2022, we can actually focus less on COVID and more on everything else, right? So it’s not that we’re going to get back to what we did it before, but we can focus on things with a significant amount of energy in addition to focusing on physical health and mental health, as we had through COVID.

Jeff:

It’s a time for really important reflection in decision. I think the challenge that I would put to business and talent leaders thinking about these questions, and I think the observation from the McKinsey research that we may be doing better at bringing women and diverse people into our organizations, but we’re not doing as well creating opportunities and helping them have really great careers in our organizations. Frames the question, is 2022 going to be the year that we continue to react to these problems? Is 2022 going to the year that we are planning the future, or is 2022 the year that we not only lean in, but we accelerate moving into the future, right?

Jeff:

And the question that I would suggest your listeners and I ask myself and our clients all the time Gloat and anybody I talk to is, if it were December of 2022 or January of 2023, and you were talking to your CEO or your board of directors, right? What is the one thing or two things you want to be able to say, “This is what we accomplished in 2022 and boy, girl, am I happy that we did it. Because if we didn’t do it, our competitors and [inaudible 00:28:37] would’ve eaten our lunch.” Right? Put yourself in that position.

William:

Which gets back to what gets-

Jeff:

Write the headlines for your success at the end of 2022, right?

William:

Right. Which gets back to what gets measured, gets done.

Jeff:

I’ll use this phrase from an Elvis Presley song, and I’m aging myself a little bit here. I think something like, the line is, “A little less talk and a little more action.”

Jeff:

I think in 2022, I think in order to proactively lead and respond to the Great Reassessment, in order to make the progress on DEI, in order to really realize the potential of our workforce in this incredibly dynamic business environment, implementing a talent marketplace, a career marketplace, internally connecting it with your external sources, using data in a much more proactive way, but bringing marketplace dynamics and AI to the center of what we’re doing here is something that I hope more and more companies are going to be doing in 2022, not just talking about it in 2022.

William:

Drops mic, walks off stage as always. Jeff, thank you so much for carving out time for us. I absolutely appreciate your wisdom and your knowledge.

Jeff:

Thank you, William. It’s been fun.

William:

It’s been fun. Thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast, until next time.

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William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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