Jeff Schwartz
VP of Insights and Impact 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. His leadership roles have included global and U.S. marketing, eminence, and brand, leading the organization, change, and talent practices, and growing the firm’s global delivery capabilities in India. Schwartz also has been a leading innovator and was the founding editor and a principal author of Deloitte’s global human capital trends report since 2011 and the co-founder of Catalyst Tel Aviv, the firm’s first global innovation tech hub. It was in Tel Aviv in 2016 that Schwartz first met the founders of Gloat while researching one of the first future of work start-up landscape surveys.

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On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup and Jeff from Gloat talk about changing the game, more specifically, to change the game, you need to make game-changing moves.

Gloat is on a mission to rethink the modern workforce, to bring startup agility to the world’s biggest enterprises and to put employees in the best position to achieve anything.

Tune in for the full conversation.

Listening time: 28 minutes

Some Conversation Highlights:

It’s much more important to see it in motion than to see it at any particular point– to be game-changing. That’s why we’re seeing this shift from HR tech, which is largely database driven, which is an incredibly important foundation and how it differs from workforce tech, at least how we’re describing it, which looks at what we call workforce agility, the intersection of what individuals do in your organization, their work, their jobs, their roles, their learning, their coaching, their development.

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It’s their careers and their work lives in motion, not looked at through a static or a periodic measurement way and that’s the shift that we’re looking at. This is really interesting because the question I might ask, whether you’re an HR leader or a CFO or a CIO or a business unit leader is, what investments are you making today in disruptive technologies and approaches that will help you do some of the things that you like to do, like democratize opportunity in the organization, like put mobility on steroids, like find ways of finding what we call near matches, not just perfect matches so we can develop employees and align their interests with the work that we need to do?

Most of the people who buy talent marketplaces today didn’t start by looking for a talent marketplace. The market, it’s a new container, I guess that’s the point that I’m making, William. One of the questions to ask is, are you looking for new containers? Are you looking for new approaches or are you putting all of your eggs in the historical baskets that you’ve looked at over the last decade or two?

 

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Music: (00:00)
This is RecruitingDaily’s Recruiting Live podcast, where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. Each week, we take one overcomplicated topic and break it down so that your three year old can understand it. Make sense? 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 Tincup:
Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you are listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcast. Today, Jeff on from Gloat and our topic today is To Change The Game, You Need To Make Game Changing Moves, which mirrors a lot of what I say to entrepreneurs about being different. If you actually want to be different, because a lot of them come to me and say, “Oh, we want to be different. We’re really different.” I’m like, “Okay, cool.” Then you actually have to be different in order to be perceived as different. So I can’t wait to get Jeff’s take on this. Jeff, would you do us in the audience a favor, introduce yourself and quote.

Jeff Schwartz:
Absolutely, William. It’s great to be back with you on the show. Jeff Schwartz, I’m the vice president of insights and impact at Gloat. We think of ourselves as a leading pioneer in the talent marketplace space. We’ve been in this space for six, seven years now and I’ve had just an amazing opportunity to work with some of the biggest talent and business innovators in the world. I also teach at Columbia Business School courses on future of work and was very fortunate to publish a book on the topic called Work Disrupted that came out last year and delighted to be with you. I love this topic that in order to change the game, you need to make game changing moves and look forward to discussing that with you and your listeners in the next few minutes.

William Tincup:
So game changing moves, let’s just start with, okay, what is that perceived as from the buyer, from the practitioner? What does that really look like to them?

Jeff Schwartz:
Well, this is the fundamental challenge. It’s actually the paradox in this whole discussion. If I can just put it in economic terms for a second and then we’ll explore a little bit more, there’s a view in economics, actually Robert Solo won his Nobel prize in economics for this and I’d summarize it this way. That what really creates value in organizations and business is technological disruption, not optimization and cost cutting. What’s interesting about that, and it reminds me of two quotes we’ve already talked about, this idea to change the game, you need to make game changing moves. As you know, I think we’ve talked about it in some of our previous conversations. One of my favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein, who said, “To explore a new world, you can’t use an old map.”

Jeff Schwartz:
You can’t use old maps to explore a new world. Another version of this comes from a wonderful author, Rishad Tobaccowala, who wrote a book also about a year or two ago called Restoring the Soul Of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data. Rishad has one of the coolest expressions I’ve ever heard, which is the future does not fit in the containers of the past. The future does not fit in the containers of the past. I think this really gets to the heart of what we’re trying to explore here, which is when we face new business opportunities and challenges, do we go into the toolkit and figure out how we can use the current systems and the current tools and the current processes to respond or how open are we to taking a new approach and a new way of doing it?

Jeff Schwartz:
I’ll make one other point and I’ll take a quick breath, William. If this was a dozen years ago and you were talking about eCommerce and you were trying to sell eCommerce or omnichannel software to store managers, I think you get to the problem that we have today, which is in the talent marketplace arena, and not just talent marketplaces but workforce agility and the related platforms that we’re focusing on in Gloat, the only companies that have talent marketplace vice presidents are companies that have implemented Gloat or a solution like ours. Actually I think almost all the ones I’ve ever met actually have been implementing Gloat and then they have a VP of digital talent or a VP of digital talent transformation.

Jeff Schwartz:
How do you actually find these opportunities if you are organized in a legacy and a traditional mode? I think that’s the challenge that we have because the opportunities in front of us probably require new approaches, not just doing the same old thing or not necessarily investing in what we were doing before. Optimization, doing what we’ve historically done well even better is not a game changer. In order to change the game, you need to do something new in a talent marketplace and a career marketplace and an org agility platform, as we describe it that allow you to use AI to actually create data-like skills, like a skills catalog or a job architecture are some of the new things that we’re exploring. I’ll take a breath, William and let’s get into the conversation.

William Tincup:
Sure. It mirrors years ago when workforce planning first came to market as software, at least. A lot of it failed because it didn’t have a person that was really a true workforce planning person that, that was their job but where it did work, where it was magical is where they had teams of finance operations and HR all collaborate around workforce planning because they had just different viewpoints, different vistas. They cared about different things but they could see in the software, different things and it was a collaboration tool and it was seen as a collaboration tool, but almost every time I saw it implemented singularly in HR, for HR for their organization, it didn’t fare as well as where I saw that the teams came together.

William Tincup:
Sometimes it was out of finance and operations. It brought in sales and other groups but the idea is it became a collaboration tool. Where it was implemented as a collaboration tool, they had to think of it differently. They had to think of workforce planning. Oh, sounds like HR. Let’s put it over with the HR team. Those didn’t go well. Where they thought of it as collaboration software in my experience, at least, those went well. We’re tinkering around the same thing with, you mentioned mobility. If we look at mobility, I mean, historically we’ve been horrible at just internal mobility. We’re not even mobility specifically but just, it’s just internal mobility. We’ve been horrible.

William Tincup:
I mean, it was probably a decade ago. It was hard to pick a firm and go, yeah, they’re great at that. It was that bad. So if we’re that bad at something like adding software to it, not going to get that much better at it if just reapply the same old mindset to the old problem. With what you see both in marketplace, we’ll talk about marketplace first or mobility first because I want to get your take on that but I also want to talk about hybrid and remote because we’ve been given this gift of okay, work can be done differently.

Jeff Schwartz:
Yeah.

William Tincup:
So, let’s return to office.

Jeff Schwartz:
Yeah. Let’s return to the office. We’re grappling with pretty fundamental question right now when we talk about game changing moves and it’s also something that in many ways, it’s cutting against the grain. This is not a criticism. It’s really an observation. We have some pretty, and this is where Rishad Tobaccowala’s notion, I think is very powerful that the future does not fit in the containers of the past. Our views of labor supply chains, our views of jobs and job descriptions that have been written from the top down in a highly structured and prescriptive way, our view that careers are relatively linear, that you come in as a finance level one and you move up to a finance level 12, and that’s a 20 or 25-year career. These are the containers of the past.

Jeff Schwartz:
So we’re all on the same page, these containers of the past worked really well 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago when jobs and careers were relatively, I would describe them as static, not dynamic, where you could prescribe what the work was, where the notion that you joined an organization and you worked up a dozen levels within a function, whether it’s finance or operations or sales or legal or HR or marketing but that is not the nature of either careers or lives, as I think we’ve explored in your show. If you’re born in this century, meaning you’re a generation Z worker, you can expect to live to be 100, you’re going to live to the year 2100, which is pretty amazing and you might work for 60 years but you may have 12, 14 different careers during that time.

Jeff Schwartz:
So the idea that you make one or two career pivots in your life, which I think is the historical view, the legacy view just doesn’t apply anymore. As we have talked about, we need these new mental models of what these dynamic, multi-chapter, multi-directional careers and work experiences look like. I think the challenge for us, if I look at it through a technology lens for a second, I think the challenge for us if I look at it through the lens of HR technology, is that almost all HR technology is based on some database and some fairly linear view of what careers look like and what the moments that matter look like within an employee life cycle. I think the shift that we’re seeing, and this is the way I might describe it is, and I think we may have talked about this is we’re seeing a shift from HR tech to what I might call, we might call workforce tech or work tech.

Jeff Schwartz:
Workforce tech is really focusing on the intersection of the work, the jobs, the projects, the learning that employees do and how that is constantly changing in its development. It is not a question of score keeping of transaction measurement. It’s not a compliance or an optimization question. Workforce tech today, and this is where we are in talent marketplaces and talent mobility. It’s a flow problem, right? It’s, as one of my colleagues describe it, it’s a time series problem. It’s much more important to see it in motion than to see it at any particular point. That’s why we’re seeing this shift from HR tech, which is largely database driven, which is an incredibly important foundation and how it differs from workforce tech, at least how we’re describing it, which looks at what we call workforce agility, the intersection of what individuals do in your organization, their work, their jobs, their roles, their learning, their coaching, their development.

Jeff Schwartz:
It’s their careers and their work lives in motion, not looked at through a static or a periodic measurement way and that’s the shift that we’re looking at. This is really interesting because the question I might ask, whether you’re an HR leader or a CFO or a CIO or a business unit leader is, what investments are you making today in disruptive technologies and approaches that will help you do some of the things that you like to do, like democratize opportunity in the organization, like put mobility on steroids, like find ways of finding what we call near matches, not just perfect matches so we can develop employees and align their interests with the work that we need to do? Most of the people who buy talent marketplaces today didn’t start by looking for a talent marketplace. The market, it’s a new container, I guess that’s the point that I’m making, William. One of the questions to ask is, are you looking for new containers? Are you looking for new approaches or are you putting all of your eggs in the historical baskets that you’ve looked at over the last decade or two?

William Tincup:
I believe it’s Billy [Beane 00:13:03] has that wonderful quote around innovation. If we weren’t already doing it this way, how would we do it? Right? In essence, that’s what we’re challenging in the previous quotes as well. We’re challenging the mindset. I want to get your take on, as you bifurcate HR tech and work tech, something I’ve seen historically in performance management software is that performance management software, at least as currently constructed is really for the company at the end of the day. It’s to understand, document and to get yield, to figure out, okay, how do I separate my A players and all of that other stack rank and this other stuff?

William Tincup:
It’s not really for the individual, the employee. There ought be some tangential benefits for those folks but really, it’s a management tool for the company. Why I bring that up is I want to see if work tech, are we building work tech for a new container, as we think of it with work tech, are we building it based on what the employee needs as opposed to what the company needs? Do you see that yourself?

Jeff Schwartz:
Yeah. Well, it’s a wonderful question. I love questions by the way. I teach at Columbia Business School and one of the things I’m constantly saying to the MBA students is, “Oh God, I love that question.” So I really love this question. Let me, just to clarify, I’m thinking of it in terms, I’m trying to compare HR tech and workforce and work tech. I see workforce tech really as the intersection of work and what employees are looking for, what that flow is. I’m totally with you. I think I might look at it in a, I might expand the answer this way. I think one of the challenges of legacy performance management, and I think this applies to one of the distinctions between HR tech and workforce tech is that a lot of performance management historically has been built on two assumptions.

Jeff Schwartz:
One, it’s backward looking. It’s focused on what you did last year and how you compared to the other people on our team who had similar jobs and similar job descriptions. So, it was backward looking and it assumed that the container was the job and it compared you to people with the same job. I think where performance management is going, and this is something we saw over the last decade, we and others, when I say we, when I was at Deloitte, we did some really interesting work on performance management. I think it was on the cover of Harvard Business Review in 2015 or something like that. What we looked at was, how do we make performance management forward looking and not backward looking? How do we focus, not only on comparing what William and Jeff did last year but what can I do to, in a continual way coach William and Jeff so that their performance and their capabilities will improve to their benefit and to the benefit of the company?

William Tincup:
Well, that helps everyone. That helps the employee, that helps the company, the manager. Everyone wins when you look forward like that.

Jeff Schwartz:
Everyone wins when you look forward and everyone wins when you recognize that it’s not just an individual’s performance in a historical role, in a historical box but what can I do to build on the strengths that an individual employee or worker has so that she or he or they can do things that are of interest to them and allow them to grow so they can apply their development and their insights and values to what we’re trying to do. That’s the connection. I love this question because the connection between, what did we see with performance management, how did we go from a backward looking view based on a narrow view of a job to a forward looking view based on not just seeing an employee that’s part of a predictable labor supply chain?

Jeff Schwartz:
Increasingly, I really don’t like the idea of labor supply chains and talent supply chains because in an interesting way, they dehumanize the worker and one of the themes, obviously of 2022, that I think we’re all sharing is human centered management, human centered leadership, human centered HR. I don’t know how you can have a human centered view of talent if your view is that talent is a supply chain and it equates people with widgets. When we look at the talent marketplace idea effectively, we’re emphasizing the forward looking view, what do you want to do? We’re also emphasizing, here’s the work that we need to do in our organization, and talent marketplace is a supply and demand intersection as we’ve talked about and so, how can I explore with thousands of people that work for my organization? Here’s the work that we need people to do and here are your skills, but what are your interests and how do we match them together? If we can match through a marketplace versus-

William Tincup:
And continuously match them, so as they change and we change, it’s fluid, I’m assuming.

Jeff Schwartz:
It’s dynamic.

William Tincup:
Yeah, dynamic.

Jeff Schwartz:
It’s dynamic and it represents the changing business requirements and it also represents, and this is something I think we’ve touched on. We’re not simply trying to match the skills of our workers to the work that we need to do because a skills space organization probably needs to also take into account the interests and the aspirations of the employees as well.

William Tincup:
That’s right.

Jeff Schwartz:
When I talked about skills, I say, look, think about the skills that people have, the interest they have and how can we help them grow and acquire skills and experiences, so they can be more valuable to themselves and to the organization and to the business.

William Tincup:
As we think of different containers, which I love this way of thinking, this model of thinking, if we think of different containers, are we thinking about a different mindset or is it different people or is it a combination of both?

Jeff Schwartz:
As I think you know from some of our discussions, I think the mindset shift question is really front and center here. We’ve talked for the last few minutes about HR tech to workforce tech, we’ve talked about database compliance view to a marketplace and an AI driven view from a static view of jobs to a view of jobs, including not just jobs, view of… Sorry, jobs, not just including roles but also including projects and gigs and really being put in motion. I think this is what we’re seeing now that is hopefully so interesting, which is how we frame the question is one of the most powerful things we get to do as HR and talent and recruiting and business and finance and tech leaders. Are we looking at workforce agility? Are we looking at how we can connect the work that we need to do with the people we have, both their skills and their aspirations, how we can help them grow.

Jeff Schwartz:
One of the things, let me just provide a tiny bit of context. In the last year at Gloat, we have rapidly evolved our platform to look at the talent marketplace, the career marketplace, something that we call opportunity hub, which I’m happy to talk about. How do we bring external opportunities into the internal talent marketplace? Then all the questions around what we call org agility, which are talent decision making and talent intelligence and how do we use the marketplace data and the AI data to make just a different kind of decision than we’ve made historically. So we can go into any of those or any combination, William but I wanted to just give a sense as to how this framing is changing in 2022 and 2023.

William Tincup:
Like a lot of things in life, one has to recognize that they need to make a change with anything. We can talk about addiction or weight or whatever it is, one has to… So an HR leader and when you interact with folks, prospects and customers that close, they’ve either recognized that they have to look at the old models and a new way of thinking of new containers or they haven’t. It’s almost kind of a litmus test, right? At some level, they either recognize, okay, we can just keep doing the same thing but squeeze out a little bit more efficiency or we need to actually radically change things. On one level, I want get you to talk about flexibility versus efficiency and the mindset of which CHROs and VPs of talent, et cetera.

William Tincup:
Those that really care about mobility, again, how do they look themselves in the mirrors and say, I have to change. I have to think of this differently. I probably need a technology partner or otherwise. I need to actually think of this differently because if I keep trying to solve the same problem the same way, I won’t really solve it. I’ll incrementally make it better but I won’t really solve the problem. Do you see it on twofold? Do you see those folks recognizing that they have to change the relationship between flexibility and efficiency?

Jeff Schwartz:
Yeah. Let me start with flexibility and efficiency. We might think of it as efficiency or optimization and flexibility and innovation but I’m totally with you on the premise of the question. The starting point, I think for many of us, especially in 2022 and 2023 is to really deepen and open ourselves to understanding what are the talent and workforce challenges of the decade that’s going to end in 2030. As you mentioned earlier, and I’ll put one statistic there. We did a report at Gloat late in 2021. I got to get the dates right. The end of last year on getting behind the data on the great resignation and there was one statistic.

Jeff Schwartz:
There are many statistics that we uncovered in the report that just blew me away but one was that, I think it was 70% or 73% of workers who would describe themselves as highly skilled. Not they are highly skilled but if you think of yourself as highly skilled, the more highly skilled you think you are, seven out of 10 people who are highly skilled perceive that they have more opportunities for growth and development outside their company than inside their company. Just think about that. The most highly skilled people in your organization who are probably the people you most want to keep, the more highly skilled you are, the more likely you are to think that you’re better enough looking outside than inside.

William Tincup:
Irony there is, if they don’t think that they’re highly skilled, you probably don’t want them.

Jeff Schwartz:
Well, you might go there.

William Tincup:
Sorry. That was a [inaudible 00:24:52] moment for me. Sorry.

Jeff Schwartz:
Yeah. Well, no. For the entire workforce without asking whether you’re highly skilled, it’s about 50%. It’s about one out of two people looking at that. This is a front and center problem. Then I think the question for HR and business leaders is, how are we going to approach this problem? Can we approach this using the containers of the past? Can we approach this by having better HR reporting? Can we approach this by improving our learning management system or do we need a marketplace and a flow system that allows our business leaders and managers in a dynamic real time way to list not only jobs, but projects that need to be done and allows our employees to have, I’ll describe it as a LinkedIn experience within your company every day and not only to see what is available, but to see what are the different career paths, what are the different learning opportunities?

Jeff Schwartz:
As we’ve expanded in the opportunity hub, how can I access external coaching? How can I access wellness through Thrive? How can I access different online learning, not just online learning that’s been traditionally in my company but all sorts of external learning so that I can grow into the opportunities in my organization? I come down on the side of, of course we need to be efficient and optimized but the game changing moves are on the flexibility innovation side. So what I would ask is, what are the new hard questions that we’re looking at like mobility, like skill development, like aligning the values of our work and our workforces, like being able to integrate flexible hybrid and remote models into the way that we work so we can do that through changing jobs and changing gigs and looking at the role of projects and what technologies and strategies can we put in place around talent marketplaces, around career markets that actually put that at the center?

William Tincup:
I love this. I drifted for a second thinking about houses and how we think about homes and either tear down, build up, remodel, sell and buy a new home, et cetera. I think a lot of HR leaders, when they listen to this and they think of these containers, they’re probably going to be thinking about other ways of thinking of not just mobility as we focus on a little bit but also everything in talent acquisition, everything in our placement. These aren’t just in a singular container. These are all the containers and how do we think about all of them? Jeff, I always love talking to you and I just thank you for carving out time for us and the audience.

Jeff Schwartz:
I do as well, William and I’m going to end where we started. This has become one of my phrases for the spring of 2022, which is as we started on this discussion today. If you want to change the game, you need to make game changing moves. We really look forward to hearing what the game changing moves are and how we’re focusing on that flexibility and innovation. It’s been a great conversation with you today.

William Tincup:
Absolutely. Thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcast. Until next time.

The RecruitingDaily Podcast

Authors
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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