Liz Hall, CPO at SplashWelcome back to the RecruitingDaily podcast.  Today, I’ve asked Elizabeth (Liz) Hall, Chief People Officer at Splash, to give us her thoughts on recruiting talent in a virtual environment.  Obviously, this topic has been at the forefront of TA during the pandemic era, and we don’t see it leaving center stage anytime soon.

Prior to joining Splash, Liz was VP of People Operations at Cadre where she built the People function from scratch. Previously, she was VP of People at Trello, and before that, she led People Operations at Fog Creek Software for over a decade.  Splash is known as the easiest platform created exclusively to market live and virtual events and has been heavily used for recruiting events during COVID.

The big questions today: How do we keep the human element when recruiting talent in a virtual environment? What small things can you do during the recruiting process to help even rejected candidates feel appreciated? Why transparency is key in DEI efforts.

Of course there’s more, but you have to listen to find out.

Listening Time: 38 minutes

Excel Powertools Shally Steckerl

 

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Thanks for tuning in to this episode of The RecruitingDaily Podcast with William Tincup. Of course, comments are always welcome. Be sure to subscribe through your favorite platform.

 

William:  00:33
Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you’re listening to RecruitingDaily podcast. Today, we have Liz Hall from Splash. Today we’re talking about recruiting talent virtual environment. And I can’t wait to get into this. So Liz, would you do us a favor, the audience a favor and introduce both yourself and Splash?

Liz:  00:53
Of course. Thank you for having me.

William:  00:55
Sure.

Liz:  00:55
I’m really excited to be here. I am the chief people officer at Splash overseeing the people team. And the people team is responsible for all recruiting, learning and development, employee engagement, tool rewards, diversity, equity, inclusion, performance management, culture, and HR. And we believe that the employee experience is everything. And so we really try to lead with empathy, act intentionally, and be equitable and inclusive in everything we do. And for those who might not already be aware, Splash is the world’s easiest event marketing solution for virtual in-person and hybrid events. And it’s interesting, it is really popular with event and field marketing teams, but that includes recruiting as well. And so Splash itself, the product has really been active and part of recruiting events, whether it’s a large event or actually internally on my team, they consider each onsite interview and event in itself.

William:  02:03
Oh, that’s cool. And so you use your own product, which is wonderful. And again, what I love about that is your team’s using it and they can talk to it when they’re talking to candidates, they can talk about the products that they’re using to then carry on the interview, et cetera.

Liz:  02:21
It’s really out of the gate. So each candidate receives a unique URL and that takes them to a website that is all about their personalized interview and that is using our product. So it gives them… It’s personalized for them, their names, obviously in it. It goes over days, times. It goes over who they’re meeting, so they can do that research ahead of time. And then it includes also videos about the company to really help them prepare. And so that’s actually using Splash to do that where pre-pandemic we really weren’t doing that. We were doing a version, but not as in-depth. And so we’re really trying to keep that human element and showing our culture right out of the gate to differentiate ourselves.

William:  03:12
Do you have clients that ask… Or do your team getting all the way down into the hiring manager and talking a little bit about the position or are you using videos about, there’s the CEO and the vision and culture, those types of videos? Well, all are important by the way, but just-

Liz:  03:31
Right.

William:  03:31
I was wondering how nuanced it gets.

Liz:  03:34
Yeah. So the one, we include a video on just champion a new era of event marketing. But we also include actually videos to past interviews that I personally have done. So there’s recently-

William:  03:49
Oh, cool.

Liz:  03:49
… one where I talk about the importance of fostering fairness and inclusion in recruiting, so they can kind of get that sense that we take it seriously. There’s links to podcasts. And our CEO has done, [Benhim 00:04:05], one of our co-founders has done some really fun videos that he shares on LinkedIn, and they get a sense kind of the energy and culture that way.

William:  04:14
I like that.

Liz:  04:14
So we really try and set them up for success. And actually, I didn’t even know my team was doing this and it’s the dream to have a team that does the good work without you even knowing-

William:  04:26
[crosstalk 00:04:26] 100%.

Liz:  04:27
… but they actually send each candidate interview tricks and tips.

William:  04:32
I love that.

Liz:  04:34
Yeah. [crosstalk 00:04:35].

William:  04:35
Well then, here’s how to hack our interviews.

Liz:  04:36
Yeah.

William:  04:38
Yeah. Questions we’ve asked in the past, things you might want to consider, questions you might want to ask us. I love that. That’s fantastic.

Liz:  04:47
Yeah. And you know what else they do, which again, I just learned is before any interview process where there’s a step of a presentation, they send a thank you note before the presentation, acknowledging the hard work and time they put into it. And that’s before they hear the outcome.

William:  05:08
Right.

Liz:  05:09
And it’s almost like sending them a note of good luck. And the team actually let me know that from a rejected candidate afterwards wrote an email to my team saying that good luck email a day before the presentation I got teary-eyed, now that what’s up? That’s like the [inaudible 00:05:28] quote.

William:  05:29
Best compliment you can ever receive from somebody in the recruiting process is that they didn’t get the gig-

Liz:  05:35
Right.

William:  05:36
… but they love the process.

Liz:  05:37
That’s the goal, right? That’s the dream.

William:  05:40
That is the gold standard. Glad that they did it all without you.

Liz:  05:45
Yeah. I know. I know. I have a very good team.

William:  05:48
That is amazing. Well, first of all, kudos, because that’s just great that you’re using your own product. Your team’s innovating, doing really… And setting people up for success is so important, especially as you care about fairness and inclusion and diversity, it’s letting everybody have a fair shot at the gig. I love that. That’s just really, really well done. Well done, for sure.

Liz:  06:14
Oh, thank you. And actually, specifically the diversity, equity and inclusion, we focus… I mean, obviously we’re thinking about it through everything, but we’re really focused with recruiting right now.

Liz:  06:26
And so we actually came up with strategic anchors on how we recruit under the vision of DE and I, which are intentional efforts, data, not feelings, and progress over perfection. And we’re committing ourselves to really give that transparency to the team quarter over quarter on how we’re doing.

William:  06:46
That’s nice.

Liz:  06:47
Yeah. And at least everyone in the company knows how we’re making decisions, the thought process there.

William:  06:54
Well, I think what’s important about that is, first of all, you mentioned the word transparency. It’s also communicating. And if you say quarterly, you’re going to have some failures along the way.

Liz:  07:04
Correct. Yeah.

William:  07:05
[crosstalk 00:07:05] some misses like, “Hey, we’re going to go and you really leverage whatever network. Pick something and really, really try this.” And you know what? It doesn’t work.

Liz:  07:16
Yeah. That’s where the progress over perfection comes in. Because I definitely know we have some folks who would love to see certain advancements in tomorrow. Right?

William:  07:26
Right. Right.

Liz:  07:27
It’s a long process.

William:  07:29
Well, if we do it right. I mean, first of all, I say this often, but we’re 100 years late, however, we’re here now. And again, it’s a marathon. And it might not even be a race at all, it’s just a journey and there might not be a destination. It’s just, we’re on this continuous journey. We’re continuing to learn about other things that we didn’t even know-

Liz:  07:54
Right.

William:  07:54
… about.

Liz:  07:55
There’s no end state. We’re always trying to get better.

William:  07:58
Yeah, I think so. And I think that again, employees are going to tell us, I like the way that you’ve set this up with your team and also with the company of like, “Hey, we’re going to be transparent.” When something goes well, we just kind of really, really… We’re going to celebrate that. And you know what? Something fails, we try our program or we do an event and it doesn’t work. Well, you know what? We’re going to learn from that too. And I think some companies try to hide the failure part, the experimental part of this, which really all of recruiting is experimental, but you’re going to fail. It’s inevitable. You’re going to- [crosstalk 00:08:37].

Liz:  08:37
Yeah. We realized that actually early on, because we-

William:  08:39
Smart.

Liz:  08:40
Yeah. Well, we realized that the team was just seeing final kind of results in a way and not understanding the journey and process that the recruiting team had gone on. So that’s when we were like, “Oh, okay, we need to open this up. Let people know, Hey, the team looked at or contacted or tried to source over 8,000 profiles.” And from there, it filtered down to whatever and going through the tunnel.

William:  09:08
I’ve seen people just make subtle differences to the slate and just say, “Okay, we hand when the recruiter hands over a slate of candidates to the hiring manager.” That slate of five or six or whatever the bid is, it’s got to have… Half of it’s got to be diverse. Or the hiring manager can’t accept it. They’ve gone that far to say, “You can pass it over.” They can’t accept it.

Liz:  09:34
Yeah. There’s all these-

William:  09:34
Things like that.

Liz:  09:36
Yeah. There’s all these different metrics that…And I’m kind of looking at the entire pipeline process, percentages. It’s just a conversation and an alignment, especially at the leadership.

William:  09:49
Off topic, but still within the bounds. Are you thinking, because I programmed a DNI event about a month ago or so. And I talked to a lot of DNI leaders and it was interesting when I talked to them because I thought that everything was going to be about attraction, like how to find this? How to find that? Sourcing, sourcing, sourcing, sourcing, sourcing. But what I found was, yeah, attraction is important, clearly. Stated and covered. But what was keeping them up at night was retention. The conversations tend to go, “Yes, William. You’re on the right road with the track.” I said, “Yes. We need to find a way to source disabled veterans.” as an example. However, we have some disabled veterans on the team. How do we keep them? What do we do?

Liz:  10:38
So we’ve been thinking about that a lot and I’ll even take a step back and say, it’s really, what do we do for our entire employee base. Because our efforts for retention, it’s for everybody. And so with our switch to… We’re really leaning in to staying distributed and remote. We actually closed a lot of our physical offices around the world-

William:  11:05
Oh, cool.

Liz:  11:05
… and are only keeping New York and for totally voluntary attendance. They can choose to go in. We’re not going to force it.

William:  11:15
Right. Solely flexible. Let the employee decide where they thrive, where they flourish, et cetera. If they want to go to an office, fantastic. If they don’t, great. They don’t have to.

Liz:  11:28
And so what that has done is really have us evaluate and adjust everything, benefits and perks, culture, learning, and development. And it also lets us cast a huge wide net. And that in itself has truly helped with broadening the talent pool. But in terms of retention, 2020 was a mess and horrible. And so with that, we released a new company value, and that company value is take care and actions speak louder than words. And so under the umbrella of take care, we released something called mental escape day, so me days, and every employee gets to me days a month and that’s on top of all of our paid time off policies.

William:  12:26
Oh, that’s genius.

Liz:  12:28
Yeah. And what’s really fascinating is, our paid time off is unlimited to begin with, but they weren’t taking vacation.

William:  12:38
Of course, yeah.

Liz:  12:38
They just weren’t.

William:  12:39
I know.

Liz:  12:40
But they take their me days and erased-

William:  12:42
As you should.

Liz:  12:44
Yeah. So the reframing of it as their mental health and ford femme has all of our employees actually taking it, which is really-

William:  12:55
I hate the pandemic got us to this place where we’re now talking about mental health at work. However-

Liz:  13:02
Well, mostly we actually… Oh, totally. We actually threw a bunch of internal events, pre COVID on mental health. So we actually, I think we’re really proactive with it. We had a lot of employees wanting to take that initiative, which is great. Some were employee led, some were people team led. We really actually were probably good ahead of the game with that. And then it just became clear how much we had to lean into that in a digital, or I’m sorry, virtual world.

William:  13:37
I mean, again, if, the unlimited PTO is a wonderful strategy up until the point where people don’t take their days off.

Liz:  13:45
Correct. Yeah. Correct.

William:  13:45
And sometimes when you have that fixed, kind of an older model of, okay, you get three weeks or four weeks or whatever the bid is, people would take their time or they’d kind of use it or lose it. But I’m glad that the me days just sound fantastic. Let me… Go ahead.

Liz:  14:02
No. I was going to say, some of the other retention items was we completely changed our compensation philosophy. So our employees, if someone was in New York and moved to Kansas, we actually did not reduce salaries at all. Every single employee in the United States is benchmarked against the Northeast. So that’s going to keep a lot of great employees and people looking for rules.

William:  14:28
Oh, 100%. 100%. I wrote an article for Indeed about this, which was relatively controversial because the Indeed is kind of location based. It was more or less, should we get rid of location-based pay and just pay people for the job where they choose to live? Whatever. But anyway, I love that you already taken that to another level- [crosstalk 00:14:54].

Liz:  14:53
Yeah. Well the side effect of that, or maybe the unintentional effect is your performance management bar moves up, because if you are paying someone in Kansas in New York city salary, your performance management coaching expectations are going to be of that role, in that title. And sometimes, managers, it’s comfortable to keep someone, even if they’re not the right person. And so it helps retain the people you want to retain. And it actually helps performance management in a way that not everyone’s expecting that outcome.

William:  15:34
Well, it also gets back to kind of one of the things that drives you is fairness, right? So you can eliminate some pay inequities based on location. So Sally and Jim do the same job. Sally lives in Dallas, Jim lives in New York. Jim gets paid more. And now you’ve got this pay inequity that-

Liz:  15:52
Exactly. Right.

William:  15:53
… you’ve eliminated, basically. Sally and Jim get paid the same because they do the same job, period.

Liz:  16:00
That’s exactly right.

William:  16:01
I love that. And again, that’s very innovative. Let me ask you about this recruiting talent in a virtual environment. So you’ve taken us through to 19 different things that people can… They’re probably already savagely taking notes from this, but is there anything else that you or your team has kind of experimented with that you kind of like, it’s not fully done yet, but we’re tinkering and trying and nibbling around the edges of some innovative things?

Liz:  16:33
Yeah. Well, hopefully it’s innovative. I’m not 100% sure how innovative, but we are soliciting more feedback than pre pandemic from candidates-

William:  16:45
Oh, I like this.

Liz:  16:45
… about their experience. And I just have to admit, we weren’t doing it that much before and now it’s standard. And so we are constantly actually tweaking the virtual interview process. We offer breaks throughout the interviews, right? I mean, onsite, in person, you’re going to ask for a bathroom break, you’re going to maybe want to snack or water. We make sure that happens and we actually never leave the candidate alone in a Zoom. So that way, they’re never feeling lost. And then within Splash, you can brand you the Zoom. So you can make it feel like you can show your culture, the branding, you can have them feel more personalized in a way. So that’s pretty good too.

William:  17:44
Let’s play a couple of these things. So feedback, I love that. Are we getting feedback from the candidate, from the kind of… what they think of the recruiter or the hiring manager, the process, maybe even technology if they have to interact with different technology? What are some of the branches of feedback that you’re looking at?

Liz:  18:05
Yeah. So it’s going to be different depending on department, but what I’ve noticed is let’s say on the engineering front, there may be feedback along the way, even about particular questions, and maybe there was confusion or, hey, someone didn’t take the time to learn about X, Y, and Z. And so that’s really great because we already do interview or training to make sure they know how to interview in a virtual setting. But we can turn back to them and be like, “Hey, listen, you have to over communicate in a virtual setting. You have to maybe ask more questions and not make assumptions.” I mean, these are good tips for any interview, but you kind of have to go above and beyond. We also have been providing way more information about the actual recruiters themselves. So they’ve been trying to make it way more personal. So they give more upfront knowledge about them.

William:  19:15
Here’s me on LinkedIn, here’s me on Instagram. If you want to, and you can, we’re not going to make this… We’re not going to hide. Again, there’s an air of transparency to this. Here’s the team of people that will be in your interview. Here’s the recruiter, here’s the hiring manager, here’s the team, here’s sampling of some of those types of questions they love to ask candidates.

Liz:  19:35
Yeah. Well, here’s an interesting switch is post pandemic in this virtual world. Our recruiters are even offering their own personal cell numbers for texting. And it’s been a long time since I’ve been down in the weeds and actually interviewing. But that was not happening-

William:  19:58
Not us.

Liz:  19:58
… when recruiting. And so-

William:  20:01
It’s taboo almost, because you’re breaking something visual and visitable line, you’re crossing over into some personal space.

Liz:  20:09
That’s exactly right. And now I’m hearing from the recruiters on my team, “Oh, I just texted with so-and-so. They plan to sign tonight, but they have a wedding to go do or their dog is going to the vet.” And I’m like, “How do you know all of this?” They’re like, “Oh, they’re my best friend now.” And that type of connection that the team is doing is definitely newer in this virtual world. And I think the feedback that they’ve been getting from the candidates from that is what keeps them going, this idea of like, hey, I never felt like the ball was dropped.

William:  20:50
Well, I also think that candidates drive some of this too. It’s like, they want to know, you know what I mean? Some of this is also them responding to candidate demand in some ways like, “Hey, what’s your cell?” I’ve had candidates that it was just like, “Hey, what’s your cell?”

Liz:  21:05
Interesting.

William:  21:05
“Are you on Instagram?” It’s like, “Yeah.” Well, I’m not going to lie. First of all, you’ll find it because-

Liz:  21:12
You’ll find it no matter what.

William:  21:16
… Google. What do you do with questions for candidates? So questions that like, I know you probably on the front end, your standardized questions that you’re asking candidates, so everybody kind of gets the same experience, et cetera. But how do you foster candidates asking questions of your team?

Liz:  21:33
Foster candidates, to of my recruiters or once they get past that?

William:  21:39
Well, I guess let’s start with recruiters and then… Because you want it to be a two-way street because you’re both trying to find fit candidates, you’re just trying to find fit. Sometimes I’ve found that candidates are a little timid and they ask me the questions. So it’s like, you almost have to like, “Okay, I know you have questions. Okay. Go ahead and hit me with everything you got.” What do you all do either in the technology or outside of that and through process? Where do you-

Liz:  22:07
I think it’s more processed for us. And I’m sure if one of my recruiting managers listens to this like, “You didn’t say X, Y, and Z.” But I do think it’s more processed because from the very first outreach, they are very personable and very welcoming. And so hopefully by the time they reach an actual conversation, the candidates more at ease. We also try and show the culture as much upfront. So hopefully they have more questions in general. So even though we close most of our physical offices, we’re keeping the New York one, like I said, the team actually went and filmed a video of them giving a tour. And so it’s a link we give them as well before even talking to us. And then that way they get a sense of kind of behind closed doors, who we are, even if they’re going to be not a New York employee who ops to go in, even if they are in Idaho, they get a sense of, “Oh, okay. That’s interesting.”

Liz:  23:25
The conference rooms were named after core values and there’s a huge stage and there’s like a Bohemian vibe or they get a sense and maybe hopefully that makes them feel more comfortable as well. And then honestly, we just have a really great team. I’m sure, you know of course, the market right now is insane. Haven’t seen anything like this in over a decade. Candidates get to the offer stage and they have four other offers in hand. Compensation is no longer crapping out at 75th percentile, it’s going to 90th. And so-

William:  24:04
And speed. You got to get there fast.

Liz:  24:06
Yes. Oh my gosh, you got yesterday. Right? And so the thing that will set you apart is the keeping being human and personable and empathy throughout the interview process, that really helps differentiate us. Folks really like the health and wellness benefits and perks we put into place and the data, right? Is there for us. So the first [inaudible 00:24:36] for 2021, we hired 42 people with a 93% offer acceptance rate. And that’s currently in this market, something that the team is really proud of because people have a lot of options these days.

William:  24:51
Oh yeah. Well, talented people. Again, you’re back into a candidate driven market and talented people are just, they’re going to… That’s why it’s so important to be personable, create a great experience for them at all steps, but also be as fast as they are because you’re going to have everything right. And again, they have four offers or three offers or whatever, and you love them. And then you get your offer over there and they’ve already accepted another job. And you did everything right. You just forget that 24 hours or 48 hours is too slow.

Liz:  25:26
Yes, definitely. Are you seeing that as well?

William:  25:29
Oh, yeah. Oh, no. That’s that’s going to happen, but that’s a really, really good rate. I mean, that’s something to hang your hat on. I think what I love about what you’ve set up and your team is set up in general is an employer brand that attracts and repels. It does both sides of the, “Hey, here’s who we are. And here’s what we’re going to… we’re going to eat. We’re going to use our own technology. We’re going to walk you through. We’re going to create a great experience.” And again, this might not be for you. And that’s okay. That’s-

Liz:  26:00
Oh, yes. Interviewing both ways. Right? We try and give them as much information up front. So it can be someone who knows exactly what they’re opting in for and get them excited. But you’re right. Yeah. Repelled. I’ve never thought of it that way, but that’s very true.

William:  26:19
Well, that’s the best employer brands do it. And they do it, sometimes even subconsciously. They just put all of themselves right out in front for better or worse. Here’s what where we are. Like you mentioned, we have a Bohemian vibe. Right? That just that phrase alone. Right? That’s going to attract some people and that’s going to repel some people, and that’s okay.

William:  26:43
The world’s big enough for all of us. That’s okay. If that’s going to be the thing that maybe take somebody out of the process, then you know what? That’s okay. They can go and thrive somewhere else or maybe down the road, we can keep in touch with them and bring them back into the process. You are a very innovative, super innovative people officer.

Liz:  27:10
Thank you. I really appreciate that.

William:  27:13
You just are. I mean, you’re playing some of this down. Like, oh, they all shocks me. And I get that and I liked that because I think people that they go the opposite direction, I tend to not like that. But what advice would you give to your peers that maybe aren’t as experimental or maybe aren’t as innovative? What do you suggest to them?

Liz:  27:41
Well, an interesting outcome of really looking internal first of your employees, your current employees and what you might want to do to help retention. The unexpected effect is that goes right into recruiting. So all the benefits, perks that we need vamped, that again, my recruiting team can speak to that. One thing that we’re doing, hopefully this is innovative as well. But one of the things that we launched was kind of acknowledgement of our culture will have to change. And there are elements of our culture that we want to take with us and some that won’t fit 2021 onward. And so we launched a series of, it’s actually, this is a multi-core project because this needs to come from everyone culture is not top-down. So we launched workshops to create a culture book and their conversations. And these conversations, this phase has been complete.

Liz:  29:00
The conversations were about vision and mission, our core values, which are how we behave, what we believe in, our celebrations, traditions, rewards, including inclusion is a chapter, how we communicate, how we meet and gather, growing at Splash and the employee journey. And this allowed anyone who works for us to have a say in what our culture should be to be successful. And we’re going to go through our first draft, I’ll present that to the whole company, get feedback because culture is norms and behaviors of everyone. And then we will go through another iteration. And then the goal is to post it on our careers page, because that will be-

William:  29:53
Right. We surely are.

Liz:  29:54
… ultimate inside book and give folks really, even down to the details information, right? Like, should you turn your video on in Zoom? How do we celebrate anniversaries? What does inclusion mean at Splash? What’s the rate of promotions? How do you get promoted? How do we live our values? That one’s really fascinating because through that, we realized not one of our core values can stand alone. They don’t work, right? We need people who behave elements of them all in order for it to actually work.

William:  30:37
Well, first of all, going through this process, what I love about it is there’s an element of kind of a stop, start, continue, or you’re basically looking back and looking down and saying, “Okay. Well, we’ve been granted this wonderful opportunity to learn something about ourselves and about how work work for us, work for Splash should be done and should be carried out.”, which I love that. I also love the publishing because now there’s an air of transparency, which goes back to fairness and some of the other things that you care about. And now, because it’s transparent now everyone can be held accountable. And I love that.

Liz:  31:16
That is the part that really kind of is there when it wasn’t maybe always our thing in terms of the culture and how do we pay. Because you can have an employee handbook. This is like a culture handbook-

William:  31:31
Yeah, that’s different.

Liz:  31:32
… and it’s different.

William:  31:33
Yeah. Compliance is one thing. We take all the compliance stuff, which is all important.

Liz:  31:38
Yeah, of course.

William:  31:38
I mean, I definitely don’t want to downplay that because it is important to have the different policies and make sure people understand kind of the guide rails of what they can and can’t, should, shouldn’t do. That stuff’s important. I think sometimes people make fun of compliance. It’s like, “No. It’s there for a reason.”

Liz:  31:57
No. Having been in the startup world when HR was a toxic word, compliance is great.

William:  32:07
Yeah. Compliance, again, it gives everyone insight into the rules and then that way everyone knows what they can and can’t, should and shouldn’t do. But separating that and some of the policies and procedures and some kind of the brass tacks from, culturally here’s who we are and what we’re trying to achieve together. I love that. I used to do this bit-

Liz:  32:34
Thank you.

William:  32:34
… 100 years ago, where about every six months or so would I would ping everyone and I would ask them. I say, “Okay, we’re setting up an office on Mars. Give me an example of an employee. You can anonymize it. I don’t care. But really, what did they do to embody our culture? What was the thing that they did that really struck you?” And that’s what we want to emulate.

Liz:  33:03
Well, that’s sometimes a really good exercise to evaluate core values because sometimes a company’s core values are aspirational and sometimes they’re kind of- [crosstalk 00:33:14].

William:  33:13
Been there, done it.

Liz:  33:15
Yeah. Sometimes they’re like, permission to play, right? No jerks should be not a core value, that should just be a force.

William:  33:25
Stated and covered or implied. You know what’s funny about aspirational-

Liz:  33:27
And then if a core value… Yeah, aspirational.s Sometimes, we assume positive intent and then you go around the room and you’re like, “Do we? Do we?” And it’s like, so we need to scrap that, change our behavior and then hopefully we can add it back. But yeah, a lot of times they don’t actually behave like that.

William:  33:46
Right. Of course. I think. And then again, you mentioned it earlier, it’s everyone. This is not top down, it’s not bottom up. It’s literally everyone-

Liz:  33:54
Literally.

William:  33:54
… has to build the values. You hire to it, you promote to it, you fire to it. If you have to, you train to it. Everything, it becomes this test for everything you do in HR. And if done well.

Liz:  34:07
And it’s ever evolving. So when we publish it, finally, I can’t wait-

William:  34:12
You put a version number on it?

Liz:  34:15
Yeah. Seriously, like the date, because I don’t want anyone thinking we’re never going to change. I mean-

William:  34:23
[crosstalk 00:34:23].

Liz:  34:24
Yeah. In 2019, I mean, we were a completely different company, pre pandemic, right? None of this would have made sense. And now it’s who we are and who knows what the future looks like.

William:  34:38
I think it’s a good exercise for CPOs to go through, once again, every 18 months or so just to kind of go through this and go, are we still this? Are we still what we say we are? Which is again, it’s okay. I’ve even talked to folks about aspirational values and said, “Listen. If it’s communicated, it’s one thing.” Like I say, integrity. And let’s say you’ve been through some bumps and you’ve maybe made some hiccups there. If you put integrity as an aspirational value like, “Hey, you know what? We actually want to be held to a higher standard. We’ve had some problems here.” So we’re going to put integrity as one of our values, but we’re going to communicate to everyone that we’re not quite there yet. And the integrity is not a great example, but-

Liz:  35:27
No, it can be. Honestly, it can be.

William:  35:29
You know what I mean? If it’s aspirational, it’s just got to be well communicated. That’s all. You almost have to over communicate that it’s aspirational.

Liz:  35:38
The other cool thing about these conversations for culture book is your employees are oftentimes way smarter than you and think of things that you’re not thinking of.

William:  35:47
100%. Are you kidding me?

Liz:  35:50
Yeah. When we got to the section of employee journey and growing at Splash, and obviously, we want to have people have great careers here, but we also want to remove the taboo of talking about moving on. And one of the people attending said something that I never would have thought of in terms of framing, which is, “It’s not what Splash has done wrong to have this person move on. It’s what has Splash done right to give the skills and training for them to move on.”

William:  36:25
They’re alumni. We should look at them like Harvard thinks of their MBAs.

Liz:  36:29

Yeah.
William:  36:29
They’re alumni.

Liz:  36:30
I thought that reframing was amazing.

William:  36:33
Smart.

Liz:  36:33
And I personally didn’t even think of it. I was like, “Wow. That’s great. We’re going to use that.”

William:  36:37
Well, and what’s great about that, again, you give people the freedom to give you those insights. Right? And then you actually, you put it into progress and then all of a sudden they’re like, “Well, I have more ideas.” “Well, come on, bring it.” Listen. I know that… First of all, thank you for carving out time. I know you got a lot of stuff going on. I can’t wait to see your culture book.

Liz:  36:59
Thank you.

William:  37:00
So if you can remember, ping me when it goes live-

Liz:  37:03
I will.

William:  37:05
… because I think it’s a fantastic idea. And I think everyone should do this. I’m not sure everyone will, but I think they just love the process you’re going through. And I appreciate all the tips and wisdom that you’ve given people today.

Liz:  37:18
Yeah, absolutely. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. Thanks for inviting me.

William:  37:22
Absolutely. Vice versa. And thanks for everyone for 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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