Storytelling about Gloat with Brian Hershey

Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 78. This week we have storytelling about Gloat with Brian Hershey. During this episode, Brian and I talk about how practitioners make the business case or the use case for purchasing Gloat.

Brian is an expert in all things talent mobility and talent management. His passion to facilitate career mobility, mentorship, and employee engagement through their internal talent marketplace platform really comes through during the podcast.

Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.

Thanks, William

Show length: 28 minutes


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William 0:26
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is William Tincup, and you’re listening to the Use Case Podcast. Today we have Brian Hershey on from Gloat. And we’re gonna be talking about his firm and the use case or business case for Gloat. So Brian, do us a favor and introduce both yourself and introduce Gloat.

Brian 0:45
Absolutely, thank you, William, thanks so much for having me on. I’m the head of enterprise strategy at Gloat. I’ve been with Gloat for a little over a year now. So it’s been a part of the company’s pretty, pretty exciting growth. The past year as as the talent marketplace has become a topic of interest, you know, across kind of, you know, the enterprise scene.

A little bit about Gloat for those who don’t know us, we’re sort of the pioneering vendor behind what we call the internal talent marketplace, we built the world’s first enterprise talent marketplaces. A few years back with enterprise design partners, Unilever and Schneider Electric, we built this kind of new approach to talent and, and to work and careers, kind of from the bottom up, where we were, you know, looking at how do we kind of bring people outside of boxes, you know. When we, when we think about, you know, large companies, we think about managing people in sort of predefined roles with, you know, predefined sets of skills, and a predefined remit to only do work in a certain place in the business.

And we thought that this kind of centuries-old paradigm for managing talent was holding enterprises back in a really big way, but also holding people back and kind of limiting people’s potential. So we realized that if you if we wanted to make large companies just as agile and innovative and dynamic to work at as small startups, we could do that. But in order to do that, we needed a way to sort of bring employees outside of these boxes that we put them in once and for all.

And so that’s kind of really what Gloat is all about is, you know, allowing us to kind of look beneath the layer of job titles and job descriptions, to the you know, the layer of skills and capacity and employee aspirations, and bring the two together. So that, you know, work can get done in a really agile way. And companies in the form of projects and gigs, also full-time roles, mentorships, volunteering and other forms of work and development opportunities.

And we’re now live in dozens of you know, some of the largest employers in the world, we count Unilever, Schneider, Walmart, Nestle, PepsiCo, Standard Charter Bank, and many others that we can speak about as customers, and continue to see adoption of this new platform.

William 3:11
So internal talent marketplace. You know, if someone doesn’t know what that is, you, you riff through a number of things. And I want to make sure that we kind of unpack it so that people kind of can, can place it in their minds.

Because this, it has hints of internal mobility of historic – kind of the way we historically have looked at internal mobility, but also the way you’ve talked about it, it’s like, you know, people that want to do gigs, or people that are looking for mentors.

There’s another way, there’s a, there’s a newer way of doing that. So let’s go inside the marketplace for a second and give us a couple of examples of how people use, you know, we don’t have to get into the clients or your customers. It’s just more of a visualization like, okay, let’s say you have an employee, that’s an office manager here. He wants to then go and do this bit, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Brian 4:08
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, let’s I love that let’s bring it to life a bit. So maybe we can start with an employee. And I think that is really where we do start from a product perspective or a little bit different from other kinds of HR tech if that’s kind of the bucket we want to put ourselves in. And that we’re really focused on kind of this consumer-grade approach to the employee experience, we’re really focused on treating the employee as the consumer, you know, almost of their workplace.

So if you are, you know, William, and you’re, you know, showing up to your first day at work where your employer has launched a talent marketplace, you know, what happens next, essentially, you’ll go and you will create a profile. And this profile is a little bit different from other profiles and that what we’re really doing is helping the employee but also the organization bring data from a lot different places into one place in a highly automated fashion. So what that looks like is, when you show up to your profile for the first time, your name, your title, your location, all that kind of basic information about you, as an employee at your organization will already be there and will, you know, pull that into the system via integration with existing HR systems.

The next thing we’ll ask you to do is simply upload a resume a PDF, or import your LinkedIn profile. And from there, we’re going to automatically parse out your past essentially, roles you’ve held previously, languages you speak, you know, volunteering experiences you’ve had, so on and so forth. And we’ll bring that into kind of one comprehensive resume will also allow you to pull in, you know, skills you might have in a learning system, if your company is using an LXB. So really, you know, enabling you to kind of pull in this kind of book about yourself, kind of who you are, your history, and sort of your present view as an individual. The next thing that we’re doing is we want to understand, you know, what is your forward-looking view? Where do you want to go in your career, where do you want to develop? What are the kind of specific experiences that you’re looking to gain as an individual, and we’ll take you through a quick flow in the platform where you can, you know, tell us that information, then you arrive at the main screen of the talent marketplace.

And this is where, you know, you’ll come every time you know, sign into the talent marketplace. And what it is, is a one-stop-shop of career and development opportunities that are specifically tailored to your skills and your capabilities. But more importantly, your interests and your aspirations. So if you are an accountant, and you’re really interested in a career in strategic finance, and you’ve told us that in the platform, and we have an understanding of your past experiences and your skills, we’re going to be able to deliver you opportunities from across the organization that you know, hopefully are relevant and interesting to you, you will look at these opportunities, give them a thumbs up, give them a thumbs down, we learn as we go, you know, in terms of what you’re looking for, and then ultimately, you know, help you find that next opportunity and potentially even find your next full-time home in the business. So, full-time internal mobility is a piece of this.

And then it’s also you know, projects, networking, volunteering, and other types of opportunities that will bring to you. So that’s the, that’s the employee side of the experience, if you will, and there’s a lot of other great functionality in the platform that allows employees to explore their career paths, connect with with other employees in different ways and kind of gain, gain a bunch of other experiences. And then there’s the manager side of the platform. And this is really, really interesting for organizations, especially these large organizations that tend to be pretty siloed. And bureaucratic. This is now a way for you to broadcast and say, Hey, you know, I need, you know, more hands on deck, you know, to launch, you know, a new product, for example.

And we can use the example of Unilever, who are, you know, actually a great example here who did this with an ice cream brand. So they were looking to launch a new ice cream brand, they posted that project to the marketplace, they needed, you know, marketer, they needed someone who, you know, knew ice cream, and they were able to actually draw on talent from around the business globally. So they brought someone from LatAm, someone from Europe, someone from Asia, onto a single product team that in a sprint of a couple of weeks, was able to bring this new product to life and get it to market. And they sort of shattered their, their time to market records in the process.

So for HR, it’s really a way to align talent, to the needs of the business kind of faster than ever before, and kind of utilize all those untapped and kind of trapped skills that are, you know, all over the organization, sort of the unused inventory, if you will, and do really incredible things with it.

William 8:55
So one of the things, you’ve said, a couple things that I want to unpack that I love, you’ve got the intersection of skills and experience. You’ve talked about interests and aspirations. Do you all right now or is it on the on the roadmap to discover potentiality?

Brian 9:20
That’s, that’s absolutely, you know, a huge part of what we’re focused on. And this is actually something we realized from the beginning. And we knew it was something that was going to make us different from a lot of the recruiting technologies out there where you’re sort of dealing with a different problem where, you know, if someone sends their resume to your company, and they want a job, it’s probably you know, a good chance that they definitely want to work at your company.

And you know, they’re there they sort of have that buy-in, but for somebody you’ve already hired, you know, now we’re actually talking about almost like hiring them a second time or a third time. How do you actually find what is interesting to them or kind of, you know, a successful plan that, you know, they could fall into, or you know what that next leap is for them. And so it really is about, you know, we want to understand, obviously, the skills and capabilities someone has today. But what we’re really trying to understand if you kind of really dig into our data and our algorithms, and how we think about matching is really kind of who this person can be.

Because that’s, that’s what lets us, you know, serve these opportunities in a way where you know, that that accountant, you know, probably doesn’t want to just do more accounting projects and accounting, you know, full-time roles, they have dreams and aspirations, and they have potential. And that’s what we really want to lock in on because those are the opportunities that they’re going to raise their hand for. And, and, and that’s what creates that, you know, amazing engagement we see in this kind of talent marketplace.

William 10:46
I love that. I love that. So right now, this is focused on the internal as you, as you said, at the beginning, internal talent marketplace. That in my mind, and again, for the listeners, in my mind, that kind of puts contractors and freelancers and gig workers and candidates on the outside of this, do you see a world in the future where those folks are also a part of this in some way?

Brian 11:15
Absolutely and we have some really, really exciting things happening already. And that in that domain, but what I can share, you know, from a sort of philosophical perspective, you know, how we think about the broader kind of talent ecosystem? You know, we always believe that an internal sort of first strategy was was really strategically advantageous, you know, for a number of reasons, we felt that, you know, the first thing before you figure out, you know, for what job, do I need to go out and hire someone externally? You know, or donate to someone internally? Or do I need a contractor?

Right, you first need to, you first need to start with the work, and you first need your inventory, if you know what skills and capacity you have, right? And so so we really believe that, you know, kind of starting from this internal mindset of, okay, there’s, there’s demand for work in the business, either we’re able to meet that demand internally, or, you know, perhaps we’re not. And if you’re, you’re truly not able to, you know, meet that demand, is it a capacity issue? Or is it truly that, you know, you’re lacking capacity, and potentially, the skills in the organization to get that work done.

And then that, you know, allows you to be so much more intelligent about, you know, where you actually need to rely on, you know, third-party contractors, where you actually need to rely on external recruiting. And we’ve seen in a lot of our customers, that’s been really a key benefit is actually with implementing the internal talent marketplace, they’ve been able to reduce their contractor spend.

William 12:42
Well, because it’s, it’s found, right, it’s there, they’re just down to earth it in a way or and then be able to render, you had mentioned development. And I want to kind of get back to that, if you understand the kind of potential ability but also those interests and aspirations, then you can put people on a content path or career path or learning path training path, you can call it a lot of different things.

How deep does that? Is that through partnerships? Or is that? Is that something you do in, you know, inside code in terms of putting them on this path?

Brian 13:16
Absolutely. So we do integrate with, with different systems like, like the learning system? For sure, that piece, specifically. But yeah, I think, you know, our approach, if I had to sum it up, you know, we want to give employees a map, you know, to make sense of, you know, all the different ways that they can sort of, you know, travel, you know, inside the organization, when we actually spoke to customers. And we actually did a really interesting survey on this where we actually asked employees, you know, why you know why they would be likely to leave an organization, and it was mostly because they didn’t see opportunity.

They didn’t see kind of that next opportunity for growth, and they wanted to try something new. That’s the top two reasons. Yeah. And so we really wanted to, you know, foremost, create visibility for employees, if you are an accountant again, today, but you want to be the next CFO of the company, that that might be, you know, a couple steps down the road for you. But we want to at least build you a couple of paths in realistic paths that can help you get there.

So you always have visibility, no matter where you want to travel in the organization, especially if that is not just straight up, you know, kind of the management hierarchy, right, but something that’s more kind of leveraging your underlying skills and interests. And so that’s the, that’s the approach we’ve taken with our career pathing tool. And then the second piece of that is we didn’t want to just be, you know, a vendor that said, okay, you know, here’s a map to your next role, kind of have fun. hope it works out for you. And we wanted to make it really actionable for employees, because we found that, you know, if we’re not actually making these maps actionable, they’re not worth a whole lot to employees.

So we try to understand, you know, if you’re aspiring to a certain role, we’re going to Are you how to get there, but we’re gonna also show you, you know, these are sort of the, you know, a couple of skills that you might be missing to get into this role. And then we’ll let you take action on that by, you know, again, consuming the relevant learning content will also connect you with mentors inside of your organization who may have already gone down that path. So someone who is in your role has moved into this role you’re now aspiring to and someone you can talk to network into that, you know, division or team and begin that conversation.

And then, of course, when the full-time roles, you know, in those areas of the business do arise, we’re going to bring those to your attention so that you have visibility on them. And you can, you know, put your hat in the ring, so to speak. So always about kind of driving that actionability for employees.

William 15:45
Well, for those that are listening at home, this is a very clever, and stealth retention play. So we’re calling it the internal talent marketplace. And, and as we should, because it does all those things, but if done well, this is, this is also how you keep great employees.

Brian 16:06
That’s, that’s really, really the name of the game. And, and, you know, we find that, you know, giving employees opportunities, you know, the full-time roles is one thing, but, you know, employees today, especially, you know, kind of millennials, you know, which, you know, I am a, I’m a proud millennial myself, you know, we want those, you know, next steps and those promotions, you know, faster than ever before, right?

So the projects are also really, you know, a great way, you know, almost like a career micro-step, right, it’s a way to take on something new, gain a new skill, you know, prove yourself on a new capacity and get ownership, you know, network with other stakeholders across the business and, and that really is what can help you lead to your next role and gain those skills you need to move forward in your career.

So, yeah, we see that you know, the benefit on retention has been significant, and our companies that, you know, have been measuring that now for multiple years. And ever, we’re really proud of that.

William 17:06
So, so three questions left. One is, and this is totally subjective, of course, but I want to hear your take on it. It’s, from your perspective, what are the questions that practitioners should be asking you, you know, in the bioprocess? Like, what should you if you can wave a wand or whatever? What should they be asking you in terms of buying Gloat?

Brian 17:34
It’s a really, really great question. You know, I think, what we, what we do we do here, you know, great questions from our buyers, you know, this is a big change, right? I mean, we’re fundamentally changing the way that an enterprise, you know, thinks about work, how work gets done, but also how they, you know, empower their people to really kind of be the entrepreneurs of their careers, right. And so I think what’s really important for, you know, HR teams to understand is that, you know, this is an organizational change. And it’s something that when you think about, you know, partnering with a vendor, this isn’t just, you know, a piece of technology that you, you know, you’re going to pop in, and a couple of your recruiters are going to engage with you, this is something that’s, that’s, you know, going to touch every stakeholder, really, you know, employee manager, HR leadership, you know, in your organization.

And so when thinking about, you know, a tool to do that, you really want to make sure that, you know, all of those experiences on the platform, are engaging and, you know, build for purpose, I think is really critical. What else? I think, you know, another thing we hear is about organizational readiness, you know, is this something that organization is ready for, you know, we haven’t yet built out our competency frameworks are our, you know, we’re still doing work on our job architecture, you know, this is something we hear a lot.

And, you know, the advice, you know, we tend to give, and actually, really, what has brought us, you know, to building this technology is that we found that things are changing so quickly today, you know, every organization is out there trying to rescale and upskill and, you know, reduce time to hire and, and, and increase employee retention, that’s all about, you know, trying to align talent to the business to the needs of the business faster than ever before. And it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s tough to keep up. And things are changing so fast that by the time, you know, we go to try to manually map out, sort of, you know, what skills should belong to what, what roles and you know, what roles should feed into, you know, other roles and so on.

You know, a little bit of that is needed, of course, for, you know, our job levels and payroll and so on. But when it comes to managing work and careers, you know, we really do need a more agile approach, and that’s where the technology comes in, you know, our self-evolving ontology. That’s kind of the data engine that powers the internal talent marketplace is something that, you know, enters your organization, and it adapts and grows with your organization, you know, as people engage with it. So really important to, you know, understand that technology, and understand that, you know, it’s something that you know, grows with your organization, and actually eliminates the need for a lot of, you know, there’s manual work that companies go through. So.

William 20:23
I like that. For the audience at home, I’d add two more things. One is visibility, transparency, insight into the actual company skills gap. Whereas we’re not talking about it in an academic sense. This is like, what’s really the gap that we have right now, which very few people know. And so this, this is a mechanism in which to have some insight into that.

Second thing is, it’s, if not, now, it will be a tool to inform succession. So if we’re not great at succession planning, which tag no one’s great at succession planning, then this would be yet another way to then get there and get there in a really legitimate way by based on skills. Based on competencies. Based on potential and aspirations and all the things we’ve talked about.

Second, second to last question is an unintended use of Gloat that you’ve come to find that you found out through your, you know, talking to customers, or through talking to some of your sales or marketing folks. It’s somebody that used Gloat in a way that we’re like, huh? Well, we didn’t make it for that. But yeah, that makes sense. All right, now we’re gonna tell all of our other customers to use it like that. What’s, tell us a story there.

Brian 21:50
I love that question. And in many ways, that question is an embodiment of Gloat, really, of our journey as a company, we, you know, we built this talent marketplace, and very early on, I think, we realized we were onto something special for exactly that reason, we just, we just keep, we just, we still keep learning new use cases, from our customers, you know, a couple examples in terms of the type of opportunity that, you know, could come to life on an internal talent marketplace, when we realized that we were going to, you know, build these marketplaces inside of companies, you know, we immediately knew that it was going to open up a lot more than just a full-time role, right, because we could now talk about projects, we could talk about, you know, networking, you know, all these other opportunity types that you can’t, can’t really exist for different reasons in sort of the external recruiting market.

But once we, you know, brought this to customers, we found, you know, a lot of our customers are bringing volunteering opportunities. So this really became a place where, you know, people are coming around these kind of communities of practice and interest, you know, helping to break down silos and network, yet again, mentorship was was another use case that was, you know, born really, from our customers. Where, you know, people were connecting on the platform, and we realized, wow, you know, we can build really meaningful connections between people, again, not just based on the classic “Oh, you’re, you know, senior product developer, I’m a junior product together developer, we should, you know, get coffee and have this formal relationship,” but more matching people based on skills. Based on skills and their interests.

And that might actually mean we’re matching an expert in a skill who might be fairly Junior in the company, with someone more senior in the company who maybe wants to learn about that skill, sort of the reverse mentorship, you know, it wasn’t, it was another really, you know, cool use case, we saw happening quite a bit on the platform. And there are others. You know, we’ve developed a lot of our features and functionality, you know, around different use cases like that.

Our mobile app, which is, you know, going to be supporting frontline workers who don’t have access to a computer at all, we want to make sure that they’re a part of this marketplace as well. And I’m struggling for more examples.

William 24:08
No. You listed off like 19, I love it. And then also boosts to the company’s agility and flexibility with customers. You’re learning as you’re doing this, which is, we’re all learning.

Brian 24:22
Yeah, we have a really, really strong culture of, you know, customer-led product innovation. And then the other cool thing is that we actually drink our own Kool-Aid. So Gloat actually runs on Gloat where we’re posting our own projects.

We’re, you know, actually, we had our first ever case of internal mobility on Gloat within Gloat just a few weeks ago, where someone from, I believe was our customer service team, did a project with our marketing team, and you know, spent some time working with our marketing team. A full-time role opened up and we said, you know, let’s, let’s complete the cycle here and we had our first full-time role move on Gloat within Gloat? So yeah yeah.

William 25:02
That’s genius. I, first of all, I that’s one of the questions that investors always ask is are you using, are you using your own software? Last thing is, you know, during demos when people first see Gloat, you know, because software is such a visual experience, right? When they first kind of go through the bid, they see things, what’s, what have you found is that aha moment that that moment where people are like, ooh, I want that. What is it? What is that thing? What is that?

Brian 25:36
I think it’s, it’s two, it’s two things. Because, you know, we have to talk about the employee side of the experience and the manager side experience. For employees, and we’re putting ourselves in the shoes of you know, who our most important ideas are, right? Our employees, I think it’s really, you know, this one-stop-shop kind of environment where you’ve built your profile, you know, you’ve told the platform a little bit about, you know, what you’re aspiring to, but now you’re achieving value, right, you’re looking at kind of a myriad of opportunities, projects, full-time roles, volunteering, mentorships, that, that are, you know, relevant and tailored to you and attach to those is usually really fun descriptions, you know, from the, from the hiring managers, who are almost kind of marketing these opportunities to employees, we also have the, you know, option for them to record little videos, kind of pitching the project.

And so you’re just kind of met with this, you know, wall of opportunity cards, that’s just, you know, full of, you know, color and opportunity, and we’re actually also communicating, you know, to the employee, why we’ve matched them these opportunities. So, you know, hey, we, you know, we thought this project would be interesting to you, because you told us you want to develop this specific skill, or because you told us you’re interested in this specific career path. And I think, you know, that’s, that’s a moment where, when we’re, when we’re demoing the product employees, or our HR teams are putting themselves in the, in the, in the shoes of their employees, and, you know, totally get that connection. So that’s, that’s the employee side, I think, is really exciting.

And then for the manager side, I think it’s really the visibility. You know, before we even actually talk about matching people to opportunities, sometimes the organizations that work with you know, they just don’t have the visibility in one place to an employee’s past present forward-looking views you know, feedback from their managers in Gloat, you know, that you can post an opportunity and instantly, you know, you’re being surfaced, you know, from our AI, number of candidates, and you get all of their information right there, it’s really easy to take them through the process with an incredibly rich amount of data. So I think you know, that that for managers, you know, when you see the kind of visibility you can get on your own people I think is really powerful.

William 27:45
I love it. Brother, we blew through 30 minutes and we didn’t even scratch the surface. So thank you so much for your time, Brian, I absolutely appreciate, I know how busy you are. And thanks for everyone for listening to the Use Case Podcast.

Brian 28:01
Thank you, William.


The Use Case Podcast

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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