Today’s and Tomorrow’s HR Challenges Shaping How We Work With Martin Ouellet and Max Trudel of Evolia
On today’s episode of The Recruiting Daily Podcast, we discuss the HR challenges of today and tomorrow with Martin Ouellet and Max Trudel from Evolia. The conversation revolves around the difficulties that hourly workers and industries such as manufacturing and healthcare face in scheduling employees.
In response, Evolia provides workforce management solutions to make employee scheduling, time and attendance, and other HR tasks more accessible to hourly workers. The company aims to create a better work environment and promote transparency in the hiring process, especially in neglected sectors of the economy.
The pair discuss the difficulties that hourly workers face in accessing HR tools. Ouellet recognised the need for improved employee scheduling while managing his girlfriend’s yoga studio. The experience inspired him to launch Voila in 2016. Trudel, with a background in technology consulting, recognised that many industries were left behind in their use of technology, particularly scheduling. Not a bad pair, don’t you think?
The company provides solutions for employee scheduling, time, and other HR tasks to make them more accessible to hourly workers. They aim to promote transparency in hiring and create a better work environment in neglected economic sectors.
Listening Time: 27 minutes
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Martin Ouellet and Max Trudel
(Formerly Voilà!) Meet Evolia: 1st shift based scheduling software and workforce management platform. #PlanWorkTogether 📲
Founded by the team behind Taleo Software, Evolia is an all-in-one employee scheduling and workforce management platform for managers and workers for web/ mobile.
No matter the complexity or size of your industry, Evolia caters to any industry that struggles with managing ever changing schedules and finding last-minute replacements.
Today’s and Tomorrow’s HR Challenges Shaping How We Work With Martin Ouellet and Max Trudel of Voilà!
William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup and you are listening to Recruiting Daily Podcasts. Today we have Martin and Maxon from Voila, and our topic today is today and Tomorrow’s HR Challenges shaping How we Work. Um, so we’re gonna be talking all about the challenges and, uh, I can’t wait to kinda get into this. So why don’t we do introductions?
So, Martin, why don’t you go first and then Matt, you go second and one of you just tell us a little bit about Voila. [00:01:00]
Martin Oullet: Right. Okay. I’ll start. And, uh, Martin, I’m the founder and, uh, CEO of, uh, voila Technologies. Um, little bit of background. I was the, the founder of tole. Uh, probably a company that you heard of, of, of course.
Yeah. A few years ago with pretty much success into, uh, talent recruiting. Uh, we became, uh, a worldwide leader in talent management when public on, then Azda in 2 0 5 were acquired by, we were acquired by Oracle in 2012. And then after that, I left and, um, started to do other things. Uh, among, among that was, uh, Opening, uh, yoga studios in the regions here, and, uh, in addition with, uh, financing and investing and, uh, In the studios.
I told my girlfriend I would ask that I will take care of the schedules, employee schedules. So, uh, I, uh, it wasn’t long enough to see that it was a nightmare [00:02:00] managing schedules of the employees with, uh, today’s early workers. And I’ve de decided to invest in, uh, creating this new, uh, technology new, uh, company called Voila to fix this problem.
Uh, back in 2016, so the company was founded in 2016, and, uh, so we focused on, you know, fixing this issue, these issues today with, uh, workforce management, uh, early workers, and, uh, employee scheduling, time and attendance and so on.
William Tincup: Wow, that is fantastic. And I gotta ask you some, was it, what was the name before Tole?
Was it Recruit Soft?
Martin Oullet: Yes, it was a recruit
William Tincup: staff. Okay. All right. I still have some gear, some shirts and pins and stuff from the Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
Martin Oullet: yeah. Well, I, I guess we probably met some sometimes. Oh, yeah. HR tech show or something like that.
William Tincup: Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. It was a, it was a small world back then. Oh, yeah.
Smaller. Uh, well, max, tell us a little bit about yourself.[00:03:00]
Max. You’re on mute.
Max Trudel: Yeah. I come from, uh, technology and consulting, and I, I’ve always been the tech guy in, uh, I’ll say not so tech savvy, uh, businesses, right? So it, it, it was kind of a natural fit when, uh, when we discussed with Maida the possibility to launch something for, uh, the hourly workers and industries that are. A little bit left behind By technology, I mean, we, we have so many licenses, so many softwares for everything right in, uh, in the environment.
We, we ourselves evolve, uh, evolve in, and then we look at manufacturing. We look at healthcare, we look at all those industries, which are, uh, Actually the, the, the, the biggest chunk of the economy, honestly. And, and it’s foundation. And they have to do everything by end and, and, and even in terms of scheduling.
I mean, we’re not the first ones out there to do scheduling, but it [00:04:00] was still about putting people in boxes with the set time to work. So, so we, we couldn’t, uh, not take the opportunity to try to make things better to try to. Uh, to, uh, inject this, this mentality that we see in, in our businesses into all of those industries.
So that, that, that was kind of the spark of why we, we said, you, you know what? Let’s go, let’s, let’s build it and, and try to make something good with it. Let’s fix that.
Martin Oullet: You would be surprised how neglected this part of industry was. When I was with DeLeo, we were focusing on professional workers, right?
These, these guys making know nine to five, uh, paid, uh, paid by week professional workers. And this, the early workers industry was really neglected by us, by sap, by Oracle people. Nobody wanted
William Tincup: to take. It’s hard. It’s, it’s hard. It’s hard. Turns out high volume or hourly. Uh, sometimes we use those as [00:05:00] synonyms.
Uh, y’all are doing much more than just the, the, uh, the pre-hire or the town acquisition piece. You go further into the process. Um, but it’s hard cuz there’s, there’s turnover, you know, there. Mm-hmm. And so each of those industries has its own kind of unique challenges. But I love, I love what y’all doing and I love the market, the hourly or high volume market as well, because it is completely underserved.
Martin Oullet: It’s hardly, it’s high volume, but it’s also very complex. Yep. I mean, when you, when you jump to scheduling, employee scheduling with today’s friends, I mean the, the workers are not engaged that much anymore with their, uh, with their employers. Oh, really? Um, they, they, they just change their availability all the time.
They don’t show up. Oh yeah. Last minute replacement. And you still want to put a schedule in place that will fix, that will meet your business needs. It’s, it’s a nightmare. It’s, it’s,
William Tincup: I grew up, uh, and uh, my first job was at Walmart a [00:06:00] hundred years ago. So, so I, it was, it not much. The irony of that is we all have kind of a origins, you know, whether or not it’s food service or manufacturing or, or retail, whatever.
But like, not much has changed. That’s the crazy part, is like, I still see, I still, when I go to different retailers, I’ll still seal people using paper. To schedule things. I’m like, I mean, again, we did that in the eighties. Like, come on, we’ve all, we’re all, we should be better than that. But let’s, and the
Martin Oullet: problem, uh, William today is, is amplified.
Yes. Yes. Imagine since the, since the, there was not that much people waiting in line to be hired at Walmart anymore. That’s right. So, so the power is shifting to the workers, so they do whatever they want. So it’s even harder for the managers to schedules. They’re employees, so they need the technology. If they don’t take the digital transformation, uh, to they, they won’t stay competitive.
William Tincup: They Oh, no, no. If you’re not hitting them [00:07:00] from a candidate employee’s perspective, if you’re not hitting them on their phone, you’re, you’re just do a and like I, someone was telling me a story, uh, I can’t say the retailer, but it’s here in the States and they’re saying what we’re having a problem with is, is ghosting in the sense of candidates will apply to multiple jobs except multiple jobs, then go to the first job and if they don’t like it, they won’t come back.
I’m like, what? It threw me off. Like I was like, so you’re man, that’s
Martin Oullet: crazy. And if you’re,
Max Trudel: I, I mean, at, at one point companies used a thing that workers were interchangeable. That’s right. Now it’s the opposites. Right. Workers believe that employers are interchangeable. Hundred percent. So there, there’s been a shift there.
Yeah. And, and you were talking about Walmart, I mean, The one thing they did great was stop calling workers. Workers and call them partners. Associates. That’s how you need to see them. You [00:08:00] need to collaborate with them. They’re not resources that you can just fit in an Excel sheet anymore. They are partners who are gonna help you.
Solve whatever challenge and, and scheduling that, that’s where it all
William Tincup: starts. It’s an interesting way of looking at commoditization. Right? So back then, the employers looked at, at, uh, at candidates as commodities. They come, they go, they get outta college, they come and, and it’s just like a faucet. There’s just an endless faucet.
And now it’s really interesting and y’all are seeing it where, where you’re at as well. It’s now the. The candidates are looking at companies that way. Yeah. There’s, there’s enough jobs. Like I, you know, if I don’t get that one, I don’t like that one. It’s, you know, whatever. Like, it’s just like there’s, they think of the jobs as far, it’s fascinating.
Mm-hmm. But again, getting back to Martin, your your point about the complexity. Now you’re do now you’re doing what? The complexity of that stuff going on. Plus just the volume, the sheer volume of hiring and, and promoting and, and, and managing all of these things, these moving parts. So [00:09:00] let’s, let’s jump into some of the challenges that y’all see.
So what, what do you see, um, and Martin, I’ll start with you. What do you see as some of the, the challenges shaping, you know, how we work today in, in, well the, then we’ll deal with some of the solutions, but what are some of the top challenges you see from your customers?
Martin Oullet: I see that, that there is a shortage of Raleigh workers.
Uh, and it has started already before the pandemic, but the pandemic has exacerbated it. I mean, workers, they realize they, they could have a nice living by working less. Uh, maybe it’s an illusion because they were paid by government, but you know, they, they, they had two years to get used to a life where they don’t really need to work 40 hours a week.
Uh, to, to, to have a work, a nice, uh, work-life balance. So, so what that means is that, uh, there is, uh, there is a shortage, uh, of hourly workers or, but the, but there is more, I would say there is more workers that wants to work less number of hours per week. [00:10:00] Even the retired people wants to get back to, to the market, to the job market.
But just do a few, a few shifts a week. So that that’s, uh, that really puts a lot of pressure on the managers to manage everything, you know, you know, more, more people that want to work less. So more shifts, more shifts to, to manage. You see the disengagement of the workers who’ve just talked about. So I think, uh, the power shiftings for the workers from the enterprise workers, and that’s gonna be the future of work.
And I think it’s there to stay, uh, for a long time because they. People got used to it during, during the pandemic and Right. Oh, many, many also just retired earlier than expected. Uh, so that, that has created a, a lot of shortage. So that’s a reality that enterprise will have to, to, uh, couple with for the next, uh, for the next few years I think.
William Tincup: gonna dig into that. Max, max, what other, um, what other challenges do you see that, [00:11:00] that HR is facing?
Max Trudel: Well, the second challenge I would see is actually, uh, keeping your, your people engaged and, and retaining your staff. I mean, like you’ve said, uh, they accumulate different gigs. They go for the one that fits them the best and Right.
And maybe they’ll, they’ll leave you. Thinking that they’ll, they’ll return if they ever miss it. Uh, so I think keeping your, your people engaged and, and sharing that, that vision, especially in, in, uh, hourly work where, well, of course it, it’s more repetitive. I mean, it’s not, uh, as we are right here building something for the future, whatever, with a, a large end goal, it’s, it’s making customers happy every day.
It’s making sure that the product goes out. And that they’re proud of it. So you, you really need to, uh, work with them to know what they’re in for and, and to give them, to give them that, that incentive, which is often to more flexibility, more, uh, uh, more, uh, uh, clap in the [00:12:00] back or, or whatever. And. We’ll give you the tools to, to do that at some point, but you need to, to flip that mentality.
William Tincup: So let’s do, first of all, both these are wonderful and we’re gonna discover some more as we, as we go along this. Let’s deal with shortage first. And, uh, and, and how do, how do we overcome shortage or how the advice, and again, y’all have clients, so the advice that you give clients in terms of their thinking about shortage, uh, supply and demand and thinking about it differently, and then solving that problem.
Martin, won’t we start with you first? So, we’ll, we’ll tackle shortage first, and, uh, and, and it will, and then we’ll get into the retention second.
Martin Oullet: Yeah, I would be tempted to say it’ll be creative on the recruitment front and, uh, you know, utilize all the social media that, uh, is at your disposal. But let’s focus first on optimizing your own workforce.
I, we have clients that have, uh, you know, a bunch of, uh, business unit or bunch of, [00:13:00] uh, different restaurants, uh, facility and. And workers at restaurant A even don’t know if there is a OpenShift at restaurant B. So let’s just optimize the workforce deployment internally within a business first. So let’s have set of tools and technology to, to support that, optimize the workforce at the organization level and, uh, and also let’s, let’s try to determine and identify who’s within the business.
Could do other things in the company because there is a short labor shortage. So your workers that, you know, uh, transferable skills. We, we focus a lot on, on the professional level when with transferable skills, what we not pay attention that much on with the early workers, but that’s the reality. Many times you have workers inside your company that could do something else, other takes other shift to, to.
To, to [00:14:00] fix the problems you have. So I would say, Start first with look at what you have in terms of your staff, optimize your, your staff and your workers to, to address this labor shortage well before, you know, going outside with
William Tincup: recruitment. So, so one of the things I wanna ask you there, Martin, is, is, is kind of understanding skills and potentiality.
So, um, and, and inventorying that and keeping that inventory fresh. How do you, how do you suggest that people, cause I love the idea. Again, you’re working in a manufacturing environment and you have this employee that does this and you know several other employees that do something different. How do, how does one, how does one understand both what they can do, but also even, you know, what their potentiality or what if they were trained in a certain way that what else they could do?
Martin Oullet: Well if you keep track, you, you said inventory is key, right? Okay, so your technologies should be able to keep track of. You know, they’re, [00:15:00] they’re, it’s on their resume. When they come in, you know, what type of training did they, did they do in the past? Let’s try to structure that in the technology. Uh, instead of just taking notes of it or having that on a piece of paper, let, let’s, let’s be able to plug in the numbers and have that structures and the technology.
So once you open a shift, Eventually in the company with those specific skills, then the people that has those matching skills will be notified that there is an opening for them. There is a possibility of, of do other things than their standard position. So you, you really need to keep track and structure the, uh, the credentials and the, the skills, um, the skills, information, skills, data that, that’s critical.
If you don’t do that, you won’t be able to succeed. That, that’s, that’s what we did with tele in the past. We were. We were structuring the resume, if you remember right, right. We didn’t need to anymore paper, resume, or OCR and scanning of [00:16:00] keywords. That was old school type of thing. So we, we had built questionnaires with the scoring system to match the right candidate with the right job.
So why don’t you do that internally with the skills of your employee?
William Tincup: Love it. Max, uh, anything to add on the, on the, uh, the shortage part?
Max Trudel: Uh, I may, uh, get back to the shortage and bring you to, to engagement at the same time. Yeah, I think it’s about switching your mentality from do I have enough employees to, how many hours should I get filled?
And, and once you start looking at. Individual shift without trying to bring them all to a 40 hour total and set that that old block to someone cuz that that’s not the reality anymore. Let’s look at every piece of the puzzle that you add and then sit at the table with your employees and let’s do that puzzle together.
And you’ll see that people will sometimes take more shifts than you were expecting them. Not just the [00:17:00] one or the bundle that you were trying to squeeze into their schedule. And, and that’s what will get, get them, uh, engaged and, and will retain them on the same, uh, at the same time. Because at that point they, they may take an extra shift because, I don’t know, they have to pay an extra bill this month and they, they’ll start taking those extra shift, not because.
You impose it on them, but because they’re working for themselves, they have an end goal. They want to achieve something. And, and we, we’ve seen this in, in a lot of different industries. Uh, we’ve seen, uh, self-scheduling in, in healthcare a place that was so rigid before in, in their scheduling processes.
And I need. It’s been asked by employees, it’s been asked by, by, uh, managers and companies. And the unions are still there, but they’re, they just wanna make sure that the, the rules of the games are respected. And that’s kind of what technology and technology isn’t for. We’re not increasing automatically employee engagement or, or, uh, employers, uh, [00:18:00] vision.
We’re, we’re just setting the rules. We’re just setting the playing field and, and telling them well, Play hand in hand. You’re, you’re on the same team. Let, let’s do this instead of trying to, uh, negotiate one with the other. A and people stay in, people work more, but more, uh, In a smarter way, in a, in a more collaborative way.
And, and that’s what we see for, for both the, the shortage and the engagement that that’s really the solution for, for our clients.
William Tincup: I love it. Martin, do you, what’s the, kinda the desires and needs of the hourly workers today? Like what do you when they come into a job? Is it because I, I love what Max said, cuz it’s kinda like, um, approaching your employees like gig workers on some level mm-hmm.
Are stealing some of the best aspects of gig work. Um, you know, and, and applying that to what, what used to be kind of a real rigid environment. So I love that. So what are you seeing from candidates and even, even employers in terms of [00:19:00] addressing candidates and employees desired desires and needs? Like what do they need from progressive employers?
Martin Oullet: I think they need visibility and flexibility, right? They, they flexibility in terms of their work schedule. They want to be partnered, partnering with, uh, the employers in building the right schedule that they like. That will also suit the needs of. They’re employers. They want, they want to, they wanna receive us, seen as partner, they wanna be empowered, and also they want visibility on the process.
So, so the nice, one of the nice thing that we’ve built is say right from the start with, built our application to be mobile first. So all the design was done mobile first at voa, and we were focusing on the worker’s application mobile app. So we wanted, we wanted to make sure that all, you know, all the.
Features and functionality were available to the workers for them to, to be at the [00:20:00] center of the process of the workforce management process. Be, you know, picking up their shift, building their schedules, sh seeing their time sheet and, and, uh, what, what is the business rule that has been applied to, for if they have a premium or, or overtime calculation.
So they want to have this availability, this visibility, and control over the process. I think that’s, uh, mainly what they, what they want to have, they want, they want to know.
William Tincup: Right. And, uh, compensation, and this is dated, uh, but, but the idea that someone would leave for. 20 cents or 50 cents more an hour and move jobs.
Uh, years ago it was, we, we talked a lot about it. I don’t know how much of that is true, uh, today or not. What do y’all see in terms of, of total compensation or, or just comp in particular? Max, why don’t you tackle it first? Yeah. It’s,
Max Trudel: I think it’s more about. Opportunity and potential. Of course, you, you can leave for a few more dollars [00:21:00] and I mean, the economy, uh, pushes us towards that.
But, but there is always gonna be someone paying you more than even the next gig that you’ll accept. So at one point it’s knowing that you’ll be able to make ends meet. Uh, it’s knowing that you, you’ll have visibility. An opportunity. So if I know there’s gonna be one more shift, if I know that I can have stability, but at the same time that one time that I can’t come into work, I’ll be able to request a replacement, swap a shift.
Mm-hmm. Uh, get, get an extra few hours to, uh, to close the month. Uh, that’s what people are in for the, the, the base rate that’s on your paycheck, you know, you’ll. Get some overtime, you know, it will change, you know, you may accumulate different jobs. So it’s not that much about this amount on your contract.
It’s more about what, what’s my potential out there and how am I gonna be empowered to realize that potential?
William Tincup: And Marna wanted to get your take and didn’t ask a follow up question on that. So do you see anything different in [00:22:00] compensation?
Martin Oullet: Well, it’s, it was true a few, few months, maybe a year ago that.
Worker was changing to just improve for few, few, few bucks, right? A few bucks, but few cents. But, uh, I read a survey recently in our very interesting article. I can, uh, remember which one it was. But, uh, things that thi things might be changing right now because, um, the workers realize that the, they haven’t, you know, they are changing, but they haven’t improved that a lot.
You know, it’s always greener in the, uh, the garden of the right. How
William Tincup: do you say that? Uh, grass is green. The grass is greener on the other side. Yeah, on
Martin Oullet: the other side. They, they started, it seems that they’re starting to realize that, that the fact and, uh, some 40% of the workers that did a small changes changed for a few, few, few sensors.
Something they just, uh, for, um, the, um, uh, their, um, [00:23:00]
William Tincup: Uh, yeah. They get, they get into the new job and it’s not near as, as
Martin Oullet: exactly they would like to come back and they regret, they regret. Yeah. 40% regret having changed job recently, so, so the, that’s good news because it might change, you know.
William Tincup: What about, what do y’all see in a mix of inter interject, uh, what do y’all see about commute in terms of like, here I see in the states things that, you know, we don’t have great mass transit, why they live in Dallas.
Uh, we don’t have great mass transit here. Um, but there are certain cities in the US that do have really wonderful, uh, mass transit. But it’s kind of interesting if something’s. Uh, too far from their house or maybe not on mass transit, or they can’t, you know, somehow the travel is, there’s, there’s a problem with the travel.
What do y’all see, you know, from your employee, uh, from your clients as it relates to both candidates and employees as it relates to commute? Uh, because they got, these are all, most of these jobs, not all are jobs that they have [00:24:00] to be at a place. So that place is, you know, important to some, maybe not as important to others, but what do you, what do y’all see as a, as it relates to commute?
And Max, you go ahead.
Max Trudel: I’ll see that we don’t have that much visibility up front on, on commute times. Uh, we know that the, the average American commutes an average of 10 miles to go to work. Right? Uh, but then again, I think it brings us back to flexibility. What we see our counselors structured mostly. Is by, uh, geographic area.
So a worker will often have the possibility if you have multiple locations. Of course, if you’re single facility, you don’t have that, that flexibility. But otherwise they, they’ll give workers access to different job location. And you see that people usually take a few shifts here and there. So they, I don’t think they’re that afraid of, of commuting.
Uh, when it’s commuting in the direction I say that that’s, uh, suiting them, uh, that, that’s kind of my interpret [00:25:00] interpretation of it. And we see a lot of people will say, well, I, I’m available for overtime application A and B, but don’t get me to see, uh, on the, on the Friday night, please. Right. Don’t want to go there.
Increase the flexibility of the app multiplication and, and it does play along, uh, uh, in the. The number of shifts that you can, you can have assigned. Right. I would
Martin Oullet: say for early workers there, there’s so much job available that they would pick, pick a job, close the warehouse, and that’s it. Okay. Right, right.
I see that with my, uh, yoga studios now and, uh, three different location and they’re not afraid to tell me, you know, I’m gonna work at AB, but not at c. So take it or leave it. Oh,
William Tincup: interesting. Okay. Oh, yeah. So, so, oh, that’s interesting. That’s fascinating. Especially if it’s centralized, like in, in, in a, in a region and you’ve applied to a job and they got accepted and then they, they wanna put you at a place that’s too far from your [00:26:00] house or just inconvenient, whatever, whatever way that is.
Max Trudel: Um, but, but it’s to the employer’s advantage. I mean, before that you probably didn’t have the visibility on your network. I mean, you were assigned to a place. And you wouldn’t know if the employee would be interested in working somewhere else. Now you can give them the, the opportunity and maybe instead of leaving you, well, they’ll just start taking more chefs at the, the other location and, and they’ll stay with your company.
William Tincup: Well, you guys, this has been wonderful. First of all, I love what you are doing as a company, but also tackling some of these challenges. This has just been wonderful. Thanks for coming on the show.
Max Trudel: Thanks a lot for the invitation
William Tincup: and, and Martin, we’re gonna have to get together at one point and share stories, so, uh, so we’ll get together and do that.
But y’all, thanks again and thanks for everyone listening to the show.
Martin Oullet: Thanks, William. [00:27:00]
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.