Workforce Logiq – The State of Digitization with Geoff Dubiski
We talk pretty broadly about the journey behind digital transformation, especially how COVID has kind of sped things up for us.
Geoff also breaks down some specifics that they’ve learned both with their firm and with their clients.
Listening time: 24 minutes
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Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you’re listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Today, we have Geoff on from Workforce Logiq and we’re gonna be talking about the state of digitalization. And we’re gonna be talking pretty broadly, but he’s also going to get kind of into some specifics and some specific learns that they’re having both with their firm and with their clients. So before we jump into it, Geoff, would you introduce both yourself and Workforce Logiq?
Sure, William, great to talk to you again. It’s been a while. So I’m Geoff Dubiski. I’m actually Workforce Logiqs chief solutions officer. I’ve actually been joking my family, I’ve been doing this since the 1900s 1990. Seen so much go on, in these 30 years of talent, and it’s just a fantastic place to be. And so my role here actually is is is neat stuff, honestly, first, I work with our account teams, the sales teams and our client base to really think about what the next generation of services can be should be and how to get there.
Second, I work with our client leadership to really develop a total talent mindset, which, similar to transformation at times can be hard and elusive, looking holistically it really an entire workforce, how it impacts the delivery of goods and services to the market. And lastly, I get to work with analysts and influencers like yourself to really understand not only where we fit, but what how we’re trying to shape the next evolution of this industry.
Workforce Logiq is a technology and analytics-enabled company that provides talent solutions across a client’s extended workforce. So everything from you know, contingent workforce, MSP and BMS programs, very hot topic, independent contractor compliance, direct sourcing, an emergence of such as of late, and even recruitment process outsourcing a really great footprint, you know, 65 countries globally significant spend under management, we just enjoy what we do.
Love it, you know, I said workforce IQ. And it’s because I always think of y’all as really smart every time I have conversations with. So I actually the logic part, I should probably emphasize that a little bit more because it is where workforce LogIQ.
So when we talk about digitalization, in your talk to practitioners, what are one of the top couple questions that they’re asking you right now? Like what’s I want to say? What’s keeping them up at night? Which is, which is a, you know, an easy and easy question. But when it relates to this type of transformation, what are you hearing from practitioners?
Well, it’s a couple of things, actually. And we think about digital transformation. It’s a journey, right? I mean, we’ve had digital happening for a long time in different ways, the acceleration of the past five years, or even a little bit more has been tremendous. But I think of it in just a couple of ways. is a digital transformation or some type of digital initiative being done to us via some methodology? Or is it being done around us, not creating a new environment for us, and that’s kind of a neat way for people to think differently around the lens by which they’re, they’re looking at that’s kind of number one.
Number two, is a lot of times because of the hype in the media, there’s this desire to go into the Big Bang, what is the flashiest thing I can do to show that it works. And oftentimes, it is the underbelly of the mundane. Quite honestly, that is the biggest effort to drive high adoption. And to kind of get into that component of people feeling like that was really a good experience without them having to experience significant change.
And then I think Lastly, is trying to, gosh, compete or adapt with what we all refer to often as the Amazon effect. I mean, Amazon has made this seamless and wonderful experience where it guides me it navigates me, it suggests to me It reminds me and it becomes almost your alter ego in some ways. And yet, many firms and most other initiatives aren’t even close to that yet. And I think those are the things that tend to be daunting or counterintuitive to how they want to tackle digital initiatives.
So let’s start there. First of all, those are fantastic. We’re gonna peel each of those onions. If someone hasn’t started, a practitioner has inserted, HR, TA, if they haven’t started down this path yet. Again, with no judgment. It just they haven’t than the normal path? What where do you suggest when you work with them and you consult with them? What do you suggest they start?
Sure, a lot of them lab organizations think very much around just automation of manual processes. Again, great place to start the underbelly of the mundane. That’s just where it is. Have to caution of course, that it isn’t just add speed to a bad process, right? So you step back, you need to think a little bit about how do I need to lean this out or make it better before I create speed, scale and capacity, that’s kind of part A.
Part B is where are things that really are going to create capacity for your teams to then do more, when I think about where key initiatives have already done incredibly well. And accelerated would be things like case management, right? Even the smallest of firms have some type of might even be an email form, right that they send to a help desk. But ultimately, case management and how now we have these very deployable bots, these chatbots, even, that create a seamless experience sort of in that tier zero, tier one, to help you complete everyday tasks, at your own pace, and at your own timetable.
Second, and that really is where we now have these strong sort of portals around benefit administration, and even our taxes and payroll, again, those self-service aspects, but really, where I think that changes and going back to done to us versus done around us, is are we pushing things on people to force adoption? Where are we pulling them into an ecosystem that allows them to do things that are more easily accessible to them more intuitive to them, and actually guide them.
And the last piece, I think, which, of course, with your background in mind, talent acquisition and sourcing, lots of activity out there to harvest large amounts of data, whether it’s looking at who and how to source, or how to target or how to screen and create more of that what I like to call human at the center, I think we need to look at again, how do we create that that mundane activity that is so important, and then allowing sources and recruiters to create opportunities to talk to people to peel back a resume to their true story, and not just insert tech between us?
I love that. Let’s go back to process for a second. Because this is a this is important on a lot of levels. This as they’re going down this path, right? They’re thinking about this digit, what is digital, what is digital and how to kind of cross the chasm, if you will, he is this is a good time for them to re-evaluate all of their processes.
Very much, let’s let’s face it, no one would ever want the COVID pandemic to happen, or happen in the future or whatever that might be. Right. It has, however, forced us to think differently about absolutely everything. So the thoughts around how we can’t hire remotely. And now we are.
I’m a perfect example of that I started with Workforce Logiq seven months ago, I interviewed offer accepted onboarded began work and have been working without physically meeting a single co-worker. That’s, that’s a very interesting thing for someone that in changing jobs only about four or five times in my life, have always been flown around to interview and met a lot of people, not to mention the onboarding component.
So now’s a great time to continue to lean into what are we doing differently? And why? And now pick and choose what is optimal? Thinking about our company’s DNA, our culture, our engagement, and what do we keep digital, and what has that created as an opportunity for us to stretch and lean into being a very different organization, an attractor of different types of talent, how we use that talent. And so those processes today have been stress tested.
And now we also have broken down a few key change management issue that we often could not get around. But we’re forced to is breaking down silos. So digital efforts or initiatives are not an IT thing. They are it enabled, and we need the IT department like never before. But what about the user experience? What about the people on the other end of the receipt of what happens in the digital experience, we now are really cross collaborating across the organization. And again, those are probably the two most significant shifts we’ve seen to challenge our typical thinking.
I love that. HR and TA is driven, you know, to think about ROI and the business case. And to think about cost-benefit analysis. How do you frame that up? You know, analytics, metrics, ROI, how do you frame that up with digital initiatives?
It’s a great question and everyone’s going to have a different business case and they’re going to have different value drivers inside that business. The knee jerk reaction to most organizations through digital efforts is labor arbitrage. How many people can i displace, and, of course, that’s a big part of the hype that’s slowly been retracting about how many people are going to be displaced through digital efforts.
But, of course, again, that’s the first place to look at. But if you’re not talking initially about how to lean and improve the process, then again, all we get is great speed over terrible rails. So that’s kind of part A. Part B is really what are the other key aspects that we want to increase beyond just a monetary ROI? And how do we define monetary cost savings is one thing. But what about user experience? What about time to fill time to onboard time to get a new hire out of the J curve and fully productive? Those are things that we can measure today.
And we can also then take a look at what does that speed doing to us in other aspects? Are we getting our customer NPS up? Because we’re fully staffed and staffed with the right people? Are we getting sales opportunities through the door faster, not only because of the customer navigation in the digital divide, so to speak, and how we’re pulling them in, but what about how our employees are interacting with those individuals through all of that all of those have either a monetization direct dollar up in the top line, or they have direct issues inside of the SGA line. So fundamentally, now, I love this, we have HR and TA talking the business language, we’re talking about top line, we’re talking about SGA. We’re talking about EBITDA, we’re talking about customer NPS, which is a value driver in the business. And it’s just an exciting place to be.
So from your vantage point is there are certain industries that are going faster at this digital transformation than others like are, you know, the typical maturity curve, right? is there certain ones as you’re looking across certain industries that kind of get it and want to get there faster than others?
Absolutely. And we’ve seen it obviously even mentioned the Amazon effect, we know that consumer goods and services sales, obviously that has been the digital front runner, for sure. We’ve seen some great adaptation out of the brick and mortar and into digital efforts to transcend where and how to meet customers. I think that there are certain areas that are absolutely ripe for better digital efforts, healthcare for one, when we think about how data is harvested, and I’ll tie it directly to the employee experience.
Now, whether you’re a gigger, contingent inside of healthcare or you’re a direct employee of a healthcare provider, think about Internet of Things. And how a home could have a series of passive and active beacons that are harvested regularly to either alert, let’s say, a chatbot desk to send out a call and maybe even reroute a CNA that doesn’t have a visit coming to you, William until Thursday, gives you a call, how are you doing? Here’s some things that we’re seeing.
And again, it’s a little big brother ish, but it’s it’s from a healthcare perspective, ideal. And now I’m rerouting to get you the care that you need today. And now going back to the ROI discussion, and my averting an emergency room visit. And now all of a sudden, that employee has more critical time to talk with you about your health rather than filling out forms and trying to rebuild what your last day 72 hours or week has looked like because of that digital home. That’s there. But again, I think that we’ve got a lot of legislative and regulatory areas to overcome. But I think that’s going to be on the precipice of enormous change. I also think that transcending digital efforts, manufacturing, when you think about you know, people often think bots and very much how robots handle and work on an assembly line.
And that’s what some people look at. It’s also the digital efforts of RPA bots inside the system. We’re seeing a tremendous resurgence in how organizations are thinking differently about what they’re calling lights out or dark manufacturing, where a limited supply of individuals that monitor bots, trained bots, QA bots, can actually go from concept to 3d printing to packaging and inventory distribution, all without the lights on tremendous disruption and embracing of new ways of manufacturing and distribution. So I think those two are really on the precipice of tectonic change. And I think unfortunately, the areas that we tend to see laggards those are the ones that are also most desiring when we look at government type contracting, government type employment, those things would really benefit tremendously. Here, but I think are often the latent adopters.
So this is this will be an interesting question for you. How do we as a practitioner? How do they know that they’re doing? You know, how do they know that they’re doing digital transformation? Well, like, how do they know on their own curve? Right? You know, everyone likes to know where they’re at, and even comparatively, etc, but they want to know, in my head, my behind is my own pace, like, how do they? How do y’all coach them? Or how do you advise them? In terms of where they are?
Another great question. I would say, a couple of things are key there. Number one, what are our goals? Are they well defined? And how do we measure them both at baseline and outcome? And there’s a lot of data that’s out there. And we talk about surveys, and we talk about all the stuff that’s there. The problem with it is within that data, that first sort of component against our goals is contextualization in conversation.
So when I think about, I’m harvesting data, but what does it really mean? It isn’t necessarily an answer. It’s that rich sort of interrogation that allows you and I to talk about, are we moving the correct way through the goal or to the goal. And I think that’s measured through a number of areas. Number one, the idea of balancing the enterprise needs at a macro level, to the actual business decision rights that people want around guiding their business strategy, right, that’s often at odds. And I think getting through that change management, and getting to those outcomes will be measured in that lane, in how cohesively the strategy at the functional layers drive towards the enterprise needs.
And I would say, lastly, is that constant pulsing of user experience, lots of neat ways to handle sort of these listening labs that, again, the consumer side has had for a long time. But when you think about using things like whether it’s, you know, slack or other chat type functions, and just allowing people to openly talk and tag things, monitoring that will give you a really good idea, are we doing the right things? What headwinds Do we need to think about getting ahead of and are they all marching towards our goal?
And I think the thing that people need to owners of these need to really feel comfortable with is working agilely and very small, what’s the minimum viable product or sort of proof of concept to launch it first, be willing to fail. And I hate to sound trite, but fail fast, learn quick, quickly adjust. Because this isn’t something that you can do wholesale overnight. Go back to my opening statement. It’s a journey. It’s one where we’ll be on for a long time.
What did we learn? What did you learn about digital transformation digitization from COVID?
There’s a long list.
I forgot to tell you this is a three-hour podcast.
Yeah ok not a problem. Well, let me sit down and pull out the pot of coffee.
Top line it. What do you think we, I mean, we’re still technically in COVID. So but we, I think we can see a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel. What do you think we learned? I mean, collectively?
I think collectively, we learned that. Number one, many of our predisposed thoughts, shackles of how we work, how we deliver work, how we interact with our customers was completely disrupted, and in some cases, to the detriment but in most cases, to a very positive way to re reimagine what we do and how we do that, number one. Number two, I think that again, it forced us to, in some cases, just simply take baby steps.
You know, how are we deploying the correct assets? And how are we scaling certain digital platforms? Quickly? How do we sort of break the ideas that everyone has to be set into a certain provisioning subset. And now we can distribute work very differently, because we did break down the silos of functions. In some cases, we had all hands on deck, and people were doing things that they didn’t normally do.
And we had to enable them through digital learning, which was a great, great beneficiary of some of this that we’ve done through distance learning and just cross-training, which again, thinking back many, many years, if not decades, is nothing new. But this effort has allowed us to do that. And I’d say, lastly, is now we’re learning to that we can’t just swing wildly at what everyone tends to think or hear on the hype.
You think about June of last year, and almost everyone was saying, gosh, I don’t think anybody’s going to return to work. Especially as we’ll return to physical work as a location. And we know that’s not the case, there’s always equilibrium. And I think that’s the lesson we’ve also learned is that while we have to very much pivot to the ultrabook, end of one end, we have to think about that natural middle, when things settle back, how are we going to do that return?
Who gets to go back to that return? And how will our digital efforts either then change dynamically, or have to grow significantly, to adapt and change to that workforce?
I love it. Last question. Post-COVID. Where do you think? Where do you think this goes? And again, we can go deer term, not flying cars, but just near term? Where do you think this goes post-COVID.
So with the journey that we’re on, I think that we’re going to continue to make more incremental rather than quantum leaps, at least for the next three to five years. Not that that’s a big horizon. But in terms of skill sets and digital efforts, it is a pretty long period, right. But when I think a little bit about an innovation roadmap, let’s say, I think that we can continue to build on what has worked and work well. So focusing on the user at the center and the wonderful sort of unintended consequences that we have found.
That being the data that we can continue to use and develop, as well as really using it as a creative catalyst to open new markets offer new services that we might not have contemplated, because again, all of a sudden, we have people where we never thought we could serve as clients before, or we have organizations using different types of platforms and, and devices that they didn’t need previously, and now might create a new ecosystem of buying and selling with their partners that they’ve been introduced to, I think those are the neat things that we’re going to see to continuing that trend.
You know, the one that I’m really, really hopeful for, though, in the digital effort is blockchain. I know everybody knows of it around cryptocurrency, right, and we’re starting to see huge applications of it elsewhere. The biggest issue I think we have beyond the regulatory or legislative agenda is whether or not we can find some type of either unified platform or interoperability. But think very much forward 15 years into the future, bold statement. And there’s a number of organizations that have talked about this. So this isn’t, you know, Geoff’s idea.
This is just listening to some really smart people, is our sudden ownership of all of our data, every work, every job that we’ve had our compensation, our benefits, the things we need, all in our own digital key now being shared amongst the people that we work with and for, but moving through a large Clearinghouse, a clearinghouse that allows us to maintain benefits and continuity of those benefits, regardless of where we go. Help giggers with income smoothing and adjudication of let’s say, quarterly tax payments that they might not normally have been working with.
Allowing to share, let’s say in the US a W9 and in other auditable forms, as I move gig to gig to gig. That is, I think, a tremendous catalyst in blockchain that has yet to be delivered. And it
It’s just and in the validating of degrees and experience, cutting out some of the fraud that happens in recruiting. And in HR, there’s so many upsides to blockchain. I can’t wait. I know it’s gonna be hard to push that thing through. But I can’t wait for it to be there. Because I think it’s going to actually help a lot of organizations.
I could talk to you for three hours easily. But, but we need to wrap. Geoff, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I really appreciate it. And we need to talk about this topic more. So maybe in another quarter. So we’ll get back on and talk about what you’re seeing at the top. So thanks again.
William. Thank you very much. Look forward to it again.
Absolutely. And thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Until next time.
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.