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Exit Interview by Patrick Donegan – Newsletter #7

By: Patrick Donegan

For some time, I’ve been looking for one “source” that curates modern takes on HR Tech, perspectives from the people who build it, and its impact on enterprise — something that’s tailor-made by professionals for decision-makers.

I never found it — so I decided to build it.

For some time, I’ve been looking for one “source” that curates modern takes on HR Tech, perspectives from the people who build it, and its impact on enterprise — something that’s tailor-made by professionals for decision-makers.

I never found it — so I decided to build it.

Every week, I’ll be sharing fresh insights on tech platforms, design, data, and the future of work — straight to your inbox.

My Thoughts

State Street is planning to eliminate 1,200 jobs in 2021. The headline is ominous, but the impact of the layoffs will be mitigated by having an internal talent marketplace. State Street CEO Ron O’Hanley said he expects many of the employees who will lose their current jobs will find new ones internally through the company’s Talent Marketplace job-placement system.

This type of creative solution is something that we’ve been working on as part of HR tech reviews and roadmaps for some time. It is not just related to layoffs – to ensure you reduce severance costs and retain critical skills that may have been aligned to the wrong jobs –but also to improve mobility for internal candidates and break down the unfortunate and unnecessary barriers and red tape that can impede attempts to make internal moves.

Tech Innovation at Work

Andreessen Horowitz may be looking to replace the media as we know it. Horowitz’s a16z is building a media empire to roll our stories about crypto and fintech with an upward slant. 🤖🔭✍️  Like many commentators, I’m not sure what the world would look like with something like a16z supplanting mainstream media outlets. But there’s no doubt that the pieces they currently put out are insightful and well-written. The rest is wait and see. 👀🔮

Gamification could be the future of remote work. We already see virtual spaces supplanting offices. Using services like GatherRemo, or SpatialChat, workers can meet at a virtual beach, in a virtual bar and more. Our brains are wired to adapt quickly to virtual spaces.Software like this can do what Zoom, Slack and other tools can’t — by creating a permanent space and mimicking how we find documents, projects, and other people  in real life. 🔥🎯👬  But like any tool, how it’s adopted by employees and integrated into company operations will be key. 💪⚒️

On a similar note, Buffer’s survey of 3,500 remote workers — conducted before the pandemic — found that workers are struggling with loneliness, collaboration, and communication. If you’re worried about making remote work more productive, Teamflow, previously Huddle, may be worth checking out. It offers a virtual headquarters that enables distributed teams to collaborate together. 🙌👩‍💻 What distinguishes Teamflow is its emphasis on spatial interfaces (rooms + faces), its emphasis on integrated apps (timers, whiteboards, etc.), and persistent rooms based on projects.

The Changing Workplace

Here’s an interesting look at the lies we tell in our interviews. Some of them are pretty expected — misrepresenting our enthusiasm for the job, proficiency at certain skills, and past salaries. 😇😈  But there are some surprises: For instance, 80% of candidates “embellish experiences” while 20%-30% would go as far as inventing a degree. 🤔👔🕶️  Interviewers are also guilty of misrepresenting their “fabulous corporate culture,” average workloads, and opportunities to move up. 

Home Depot is a good case study in responding to COVID with HR transformation. 🛠️🏠📈 They needed to manage the risks of keeping their stores open while responding to rising demand (for many, lockdown was a time for home improvement). Their Workday deployment began in 2019 and in 2020, it was central to their pandemic response. Scott Smith, Home Depot’s VP of compensation, puts it this way: “All these great programs that we put in place, whether it was the paid time off or the weekly bonuses or things like that, those all require technology support. We can design great programs and come up with great ideas, but if you can’t execute them, it really doesn’t matter – and we had to execute them for 400,000 associates every week.” 📣📱  Workday also improved communication: “We found throughout 2020 that we’ve been having to get messages to associates quickly, whether it’s a change in protocols, a new program, something they needed to do to take action. Workday Notification Center is just one of the many ways that we’ve tried to reach associates more directly and more quickly over the course of 2020.”

Facebook has hired Roy Austin as its first-ever VP of Civil Rights. 👏😮⚖️  It’s not clear yet what this role means or what Austin will be doing.  In July, the ACLU released a multiyear civil rights audit of Facebook that covered a number of concerns. It also acknowledged that Facebook has made progress on banning discriminatory housing and employment ads and monitoring for voter suppression. 

All About Data

Netflix has released its first ever diversity and inclusion report.  If you haven’t had a look yet, here are a few of the highlights: 

  • Worldwide, women makeup 47.1% of their workforce
  • Since 2017, white and Asian employee representation have been in decline, and Hispanic or Latinx, Black, mixed race, and native representation has been rising 
  • The US breakdown: 8.1% Hispanic or Latinx, 8% Black and 5.1% mixed race, 1.3% are either Native American, Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and/or from the Middle East or North Africa 

Here’s a study from MIT Sloan School of Management that shows how employee experience — especially when it comes to digital capabilities — is directly linked to business performance. 👨‍💻✊📈  Companies with great employee experience delivered an average of 66% more digital capacity to their employees than those on the bottom. Companies on the top quartile were also 90%  more likely to seek feedback from employees on friction points.  Technology isn’t everything, but it’s clear that investing digital capabilities is about the fundamentals: supporting collaboration and empowering employees. 

Click here to subscribe to Exit Interview, a weekly email about tech platforms, design, data, and the future of work — straight to your inbox.

Patrick Donegan

Managing Director

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