The Recruitment Hackers Podcast

New insights every single week from top leaders in Talent Acquisition.

    Assessment Strategies with Professional Snoop, Bas van de Haterd

    In this episode of the Recruitment Hackers Podcast, Bas van de Haterd, self-described professional snoop and consultant for TA professionals talks about assessments, from how to choose the r...
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    Max Armbruster
    Max Armbruster
    CEO Talkpush

    The Hidden Hiring Engine: Internal Mobility with Lindsay Witcher from Randstad RiseSmart

    Episode 63 full cover

    In this episode of the Recruitment Hackers Podcast, Lindsay Witcher, VP of Global Practice Strategy & Solutions at Randstad RiseSmart, talks about the benefits and best practices of outplacement programs for both employees and employers. Lindsay tackles the culture shift needed for successful internal mobility and how investing the same resources into building a talent pool of employees as employers typically reserve for external recruiting efforts.

     

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    Don't feel like listening? You can read the entire transcript right here. 👇

     

    Max: Hello. Welcome back to the Recruitment Hackers Podcast. I'm your host Max Armbruster, and today I'm delighted to welcome Lindsay Witcher, who is VP of Global Practice Strategy and Solutions at RiseSmart, which is part of the Randstad group and an expert on internal mobility, which is maybe the hidden engine a company needs to activate in order to really power up their hiring for graduate hiring That’s what I'm hoping for this, that with a good internal mobility engine, then that means you can train, you can grow people for many years, and then you can build a more diverse workforce, which is built from people from within coming straight out of school. So that'll be my pitch. And maybe Lindsay, if you want to poke holes in it, you're most welcome to do so and to expand our mind on how to build a good internal mobility program. So welcome to the show. 

     

    LINDSAY: Thanks Max. I'm so excited to be here. And definitely looking forward to that topic. I don't know that I'm going to poke holes necessarily in, but I'm excited for an interesting conversation.

     

    Max: Thank you. And to kick things off how did you end up in such a, you know narrow, I would say specialized area of mobility I'd ran stats. Walk us through your career on how you ended up in the beautiful field that were of people strategy. 

     

    Lindsay: Yeah, sure. No happy to. So I've been here at Randstad RiseSmart for a little over 10 years. I started when we were just RiseSmart very early days as a small Silicon Valley-based startup looking to disrupt the outplacement industry. So the industry of supporting people who are impacted by layoffs, find a new role, that was really the roots of our company.

     

    And since that time you know, the company has really grown and expanded in terms of what we do and how we support our customers to really encompass the entire employee life cycle. So internal mobility redeployment all the way through to outplacement. And so obviously internal mobility today is such a hot topic for companies.

     

    The war for talent is such that you can't find people on the outside. It's an important time to start looking within. And so we do a lot of that. We offer services and technology to help with that.  And looking forward to, you know, diving into that topic as far as on a personal note I got here, I started my career.

     

    I actually got a master's degree in career development. I was really passionate about psychology and careers and HR. So that's the path my education took me and then stumbled upon you know, a number of different roles, managing businesses, managing HR and some small businesses, coaching executives, writing resumes, all sorts of interesting things. As I went through graduate school, and then ultimately came more into this space, specifically that outplacement space and now the talent mobility space. And I'm part of Randstad RiseSmart’s global leadership team. So excited to have... 

     

    Max: Well of psychology is one of those departments that always produces great talent for the HR teams because you know, you have to have that sort of twisted mindset.

     

    Sorry, just poking fun. But then you kind of have to have that curiosity to try to create these good environments and deal with the stresses of people. Maybe people from in talent acquisition these days I see more and more who are coming from an analytics background and maybe more, you know, left-brain thinkers.

     

    But there's these two elements rises psychology elements and the analytics, which are both rising in demand and perhaps a in town tech position, what's becoming less, less frequency is the, you know, the more aggressive salesy kind of profile. The last two years must have been a very busy time for RiseSmart.

     

    I'll play it. You know, if we're talking about outplacement and how is the market changing in the field of outplacement, which is. I think unknown to most people outside of that, up in the air movie with George Clooney. 

     

    Lindsay: Ah, you thought, oh man, I have to be honest. It's very much not like that movie.  I can assure everybody. So just know that I mean, you know, we've really. Well, first of all, to answer your first question, what it's been like. I mean, obviously last year, 2020 was an incredibly difficult year for many companies, right? So many organizations were really negatively impacted by COVID their business models were turned upside down and they really struggled to find their way through the economic downturn that we experienced.

     

    So we definitely had a lot of our customers needing to have layoffs last year, unfortunately. Which of course, you know, we much rather our customers retaining talent and move talent and train talent and do all those things. But of course, last year we saw a lot of companies needing to let people go.

     

    But at the same time, you know, there's always that other side of it, there were a lot of organizations that we work with that were in a good position as a result of COVID they were in industries that were, you know, boom. On the flip side of that scenario. So in that case, we were able to really work hard with those customers who were having to let people go.

     

    And those customers who were hiring to try to connect those dots and create as good of an outcome as possible for those employees who were impacted by layoffs. Because, you know, for us, we're really focused on experience. We want the individuals to have who we work with to have as good of an experience as possible, have all the support they need.

     

    They get partnered with a coach, they get a brand new resume from a resume writer. We do a number of things to help them. And so for us, you know, we were really honored to be able to help a lot of people through a difficult time and found a lot of success, helping them find new roles in the industries that we're hiring over that time.

     

    Max: I've never received this Rolls-Royce service, but I've actually never suffered a layoff personally you know on a personal level. But the career coach service the outplacement service, is that something that is offered at scale or it's more for, you know, leaders, senior leadership and you know what are some of the best practices in this space for maybe the more high volume space?

     

    Lindsay: Yeah it's a good question. And I think that it's a nuanced answer because I think I remember, I don't think I know every company handles it differently. So on the one end of the spectrum, we have customers who truly are committed to equity and inclusion, and they believe that everyone should have equal access to services such as ours, as part of their exit process from the organization.

     

    And so those organizations whether you're at the, you know, most entry-level of the company, or you're the most senior executive you're going to get outplacement services. And I do think that is the most fair and equitable approach because really we that when people have our services, not only do they handle the transition better, land into their new role much, much more quickly.

     

    So that's good for the company, right? You save on severance, you save on unemployment insurance, depending on what country you're in and what those rules might be. But ultimately I think that we, of course, always advocate for that approach. There are companies, however, Based on budgets or past, you know, past processes or whatever the case might be.

     

    They only offer our services to, you know, a certain level of employee up through, you know, their executive team. So it really depends on the company and what they're trying to achieve and their sort of point of view around. Who gets what and how much and that kind of thing. And then as far as the best practices, I think that for us, it's really about tech and touch.

     

    We have a technology that we built that helps match people to jobs, helps them prepare for the job search, helps them be effective. But at the same time, like you might, like you mentioned, we have coaches, people who work with us get unlimited coaching. They get that brand new resume to have a job concierge career concierge who is really supporting them and finding opportunities, all of which sort of surround that person during this difficult time to help them be more successful because when you're out on your own, you know,  it's challenging and you don't do a job search normally. So you don't know what to do to your point. Some people have never had to kind of go through that. So all of our services really help people be successful. 

     

    Max: Yeah you anticipated next question, which was around technology and automation. And of course they're dealing with an emotional time when you need ideally a high touch approach with a human touch. Do you think that this domain still has room for automation and you know, what is the crystal ball say on this one? 

     

    Lindsay: Yeah, I think that, you know, like I mentioned earlier, we were born as it's really a technology company. We've always had services, but really where we focused. How can we deliver a great experience through technology with the human touch to supplement it and really power the human touch through that technology? So I think when we think about automation, we think less about reducing the human touch and more about optimizing the human touch.

     

    So when we build backend systems, when we build tools in our portal that individuals use, we're really focused on how can we optimize a person's experience so that when they are leveraging our services,  they in the coach are really focused on strategy, focused on the most important things.

    Not doing things like trading emails on what time someone's available. Right. We have self-scheduling for example, or, you know, job matching. We don't want a person having to go out and spend hours and hours and hours looking online for jobs, our technology. We have a patented matching technology that does the work for them.

     

    A curated list of all of the opportunities out there, just down to the ones that are best fit for them, their profile they're still, so there's always room for additional efficiencies and creating greater experiences through technology, certainly. But I think for us, our DNA and our commitment to creating just what we would call a wow experience for people, it's never to replace the human element, but just to optimize it and make it either.

     

    Max: Amen. Amen. There's so much that can still be done around yeah. Productivity of individual contributors and. I personally feel like my job has changed a little bit in the last two years with an increase in zoom meetings and obviously a decrease in traveling. So I feel like you know, the day-to-day job has changed a lot. Even though my remnant and job title is remained intact. Wondering about moving on to internal mobility and the, the way we market our jobs to our employees. Generally, that's not something that's handled by the same team as the one that does recruiting. Right? Or do you find that there's a dedicated team just in large companies that say if many thousands of employees do they separate those two teams because we're dealing with different audiences with different expectation?

     

    Lindsay: Yeah, it depends. And again, I hate to keep saying it depends, but it really, each customer handles this a little bit differently. And I think that the reality is most professionals would say or would agree to, it's easier to find a job outside the company than it is to find a job inside the company. Right.

     

    And that's why so many people leave. I mean, there's a lot of stats being thrown around right now. You know, 95% of professionals are considering leaving their jobs or 75% of professionals are considering leaving their jobs right now. Right? I mean, I'm sure the actual number is somewhere in the middle of all that, but ultimately when you have a situation where it's easier for someone to find a job externally than it is for them to find a job internally, then, of course, they're going to go externally, right.

     

    Because it's the path of least resistance. And so from my perspective, And what I am seeing, some companies move towards is treating internal talent acquisition with the same thought investment teams as external talent acquisition. Because really at the end of the day, from my perspective, it's all about talent pools.

     

    Your internal employees are just yet another talent pool for you to tap into and you should be leveraging and optimizing that just as much as you. university hiring or your early professional hiring or, you know, whatever other types of hiring you're trying to do. And so from my perspective, at least you should be making the same types of investments in that but there's a big change management culture curve that has to happen in many organizations because what we find is a number of things. First and foremost, a lot of companies don't have a culture that's accepting of internal mobility. So managers core talent, or they penalize people who raise their hands and say, Hey, you know what? I actually might want to try something new. Right. And all of a sudden, you're not getting projects, your manager won't talk to you.

     

    And you know, you're worried you're going to get that pink slip, you know, the next time you talk. Right? So there's a culture problem first and foremost, in a lot of companies. Whereas they say they want to do better internal mobility, but they haven't created an environment where that's accepted and encouraged and rewarded, frankly.

     

    So I think first and foremost companies have to focus on the culture. And then from there, once you have the culture in place and managers and leaders on board, then you have to create the systems by which people can actually be mobile. Part of that comes down to, do you have a profile of all of your employees, right?

     

    You would be surprised. How many companies don't have something as basic as just an inventory of employee skills, for example? Right? So in order to enact into our internal mobility and do it well, you need to know what skills your people have and you need to know what skills your organization needs to be successful, and you need to bring those two together.

     

    Right? So, that's not happening in a lot of cases. And then furthermore, I think if you can think about it from a top-down or a bottom-up perspective. So top-down perspective is the culture change, the leadership, the, workforce planning, activities, all of that sort of thing. But then at the end of the day, you can workforce plan, you know, you can implement LMS systems, you can put, you know, training videos in place, but at the end of the day, if the individual employee doesn't understand.

     

    What's in it for me? How does my making the effort to take control of my career? Take that class, gain that skill, you know, apply for that job if they don't understand why that's important and how that fits in for them and their future. They're not going to take action. They're not going to be motivated to do the things that are needed to make internal ability successful.

     

    So our point of view, of course, somewhat selfishly, is that everyone deserves a coach. Everyone deserves that one-on-one career support, right. And in a perfect world, everyone who wants it would have access to. But you know, of course not everyone is ready for something such as that, but we know that people are more successful when they have one-on-one support around their career.

     

    And most managers let's be honest, are terrible at supporting their employees from a career perspective. So, you know, you kind of have…

     

    Max: You've said a couple of you've had a couple of digs at managers for protecting their teams and yeah, because 

     

    Lindsay: I'm a manager, I have a seat. Right. But I also have… I'm also a, self-aware enough to realize that in a lot of cases, a manager has so much impact and control over the career of an employee that, you know, you have to really create a culture where part of the manager's job is getting great talent up and going into other roles within the current along way towards that internal mobility. Yeah. 

     

    Max: Yeah. It's that switch? When the manager starts to see themselves, as, you know, a pat, you know, a stop along the way of a great career sees themselves as a mentor who will help them get to the next step. It's yeah, it takes a level of. Detachment from the day-to-day, which is a level of maturity, which it takes a while to get there.

     

    Lindsay: Right. And just a commitment to the bigger picture putting the good of the company over the good of me as a manager. Right. And just my team. And I think that's part of it too. And again, it comes down to culture, right? It comes down to an example that your leadership is setting for, you know your directors for your managers and, and kind of everyone in.

     

    Max: Do you think that you know, there's a stat to say that new generations have a shorter attention, span, more opportunities than ever, and everything is available at the click of a button these days. So that they're a little bit more high-paced and so do you think that the pace of internal mobility has changed to reflect that and that companies now are okay with people changing roles faster than they did five, 10 years.

     

    Lindsay: I think they have to be. Cause if they're not okay with it, it's not going to change that that's the new reality. Right.  So they need to figure out a way to be okay with it and create a scenario where people have the opportunity to do it because I think that people do have choices. And I also think there's a lot of trend towards people not willing to put up with what they have in the past, from, from companies from work. That sort of thing. I do want to acknowledge that not everyone is in a privileged position to have that level of autonomy over their career. Right? It's not available across the workforce. So I think it's important to recognize and acknowledge that. But I think for, you know, a lot of professionals today you look at a lot of the studies and surveys and things that are going out there, but work-life balance doing work that has purpose and meaning.

     

    You know, all of those things are so important and then people are not willing to accept anything less. So they'll come to you they'll work for you, but if they don't find that they have the opportunity for growth, that they're learning, that they're engaged with. They're connected to something bigger than themselves, they will go somewhere else. And personally, I think companies should be more okay with that and recognize that while this great person may be leaving to go to another company, I'm probably gaining a great person from some other company, right? So it really almost creates an ecosystem where everyone is benefiting, where if I think all companies can get comfortable with the idea of mobility, get comfortable and committed to skilling their workforce and keeping people employed. Where everyone will then benefit from each other's investments versus this very narrow-minded view that we hear a lot is, well, I'm not going to invest in skilling my people, because then they're just going to leave. So why am I going to do that? Right. Which is very prevalent, you'd be surprised.

     

    And that, to me, that's a very short-sighted view and it's a very short-sighted approach because at the end of the day, There's a bigger societal commitment. I think that companies should have to do their people, right?

     

    Max: Yeah. Yeah. I agree that as a psychologist, you know, you can probably dig into the reasons why. I mean, it just comes from a certain level of insecurity. Somebody leaves you and you fail. You take it personally.

     

    Lindsay: Yeah, but it's not about you. Right? We have to leave our egos at the door in some cases with some of these things, right. If someone goes on to take a new opportunity, it's not about me. It's not about my company. It's, that's what was right for them and that's okay. And I need to be okay with that as a leader and even support them in a lot of cases.

     

    Max: Hey I think you're so damn right. And it's so damn hard.  

     

    Lindsay: Can you please cut that out of the podcast and just give it to me in a little a drive so I can share that?

     

    Max: Yeah, I wonder on the recruitment marketing side do you think the right approach is,   to go and promote and hunt these jobs out, or that would create too much disruption like to have a head of a department go speak to another department and say, you know, come and work for my team. Have you seen these companies where there's enough maturity and trust where that, 

     

    Lindsay: Yeah, I absolutely have not a lot are there. Right. But there are absolutely organizations that one comes to mind that we work with. It's a  large technology company. They have about 70,000 employees globally and they have a very robust, very mature kind of internal mobility mindset where they kind of buy into a lot of what I've said so far on this call, which is, you know, we are stewards of a person's career during the time they choose to be here. And so we're going to invest in them. We're going to make opportunities available and we hope they stay. But if they choose to go, that's okay too, because that's what's right for them. And kind of going back to your question. They actively encourage cross-functional networking leaders, getting exposed to people across the business, individual contributors, you know, professionals at all levels being exposed to leaders, considering making career changes, considering joining different teams.

     

    You know, I think at the end of the day, a lot of the companies are moving away from this concept construct of, you know, you have a manager and then you have a team who work for that manager and that sort of what they do. To more of a dynamic, you know, skills-based there's work that needs to get done within the company. Here's the people who happen to have the skills required to get that work done, put those individuals together on a dynamic team, get the work done. And then they move on to the next dynamic team for the next body of work that needs to get done based on their skills. So I'm not suggesting that we're anywhere close to eliminating the idea of a manager. I think even in that sort of more dynamic team environment, you're always going to need someone who is that touchpoint for the individual to help direct and monitor and support and all of that. But I do think that you're going to find the borders for lack of a better word around the groups of talent, which today we kind of call teams being broken down a little bit and being more fluid, focused more on skills and work that needs to be done and less on well, you know, that thing isn't part of the charter that I have, therefore I'm not going to commit any resources to it. Right. Which is what you see in a lot of companies today.

     

    Max: Just for the sake of debating, what if there was a counterpoint to internal mobility? What would it be?  Is there, can you imagine a scenario where a company goes too far into this internal mobility business and just creates a havoc for them?  Can you imagine such a scenario? You know, I'm trying to imagine it and I think, well, no way, like, of course, it's good for every department to know what the others are doing. But maybe at some point, there's like an overload. I don't know. 

     

    Lindsay: Yeah. I mean, I haven't seen that happen yet, but you know, and I very much believe in the idea of the less rules, the less overly processed things can be the better. Right. I think that when you start to apply too many processes, too many rules, too many regulations, you inhibit growth, you inhibit innovation, you know, things like that, but, you know, of course, you don't want to create a scenario where people are hopping jobs every 30, 60 days or something like that. So I guess if there was a scenario where that was happening within a company. I could see that as being viewed  as, maybe not ideal necessarily, but short of that, I, 

     

    Max: With the graduate management training program where we made them hop department to department, but it was hard to get people to accept in our company. It's just, yeah. 

     

    Lindsay: Well, that's also during a discreet time, too, right? It was a special kind of insulated program, if you will, versus like the entire company is working. And I've every 60 days I'm moving onto a new role type of thing. That could be good. 

     

    Max: Yeah, that would be hard. 

     

    Lindsay: Okay. That initiative that you've just mentioned.

     

    Max: Yeah. Yeah. It's great. It's because you know, you feel like the people coming out of the program have you know, more maturity than if they had just done one thing. So I think it's just the way to go  and if you can afford to do it, it's great. And you can't really afford to do it you know, you can't hire up some top executives and say, all right, just bounce around for a year or two. And tell me what you like. 

     

    Lindsay: That would be tough. 

     

    Max: So you're going to do that with the young talent, but I think it works of course. And well I normally asked two more questions to all my guests, which are a little bit outside of our topic.

    But you know, the first one is technology that you use in your field that you think could lift an operations effectiveness and alluded to that a little bit saying simply well productivity tools like scheduling and calendaring. Is that the first thing that comes to mind?

     

    Lindsay: I mean, yeah, it's sort of basic, but yeah, I think for me, as far as making the work, we do more efficient. That's part of it. I mean, I do think another technology that we have is called Bright Fit that we've just recently released, which is really focused around helping an individual, understand their skills, understand what opportunities in the broader job market have the best outlook and then matching those two things together.

     

    It's sort of like a GPS for your career. To help you really navigate things. And so, you know, to me to get to that conclusion for an average person would take hours upon hours upon hours of research and interviews and digging, and Googling and all sorts of things. So I think anytime you can consolidate the effort of something to help a person make a career decision and give them insights that really get them closer to being comfortable, making a decision to me, that's a great efficiency.

     

    Well, of course I think what we've built is amazing. I'd love to see more companies focusing on that. It's really an employee experience consideration just across career decision-making and career path thing and all of that kind of thing. 

     

    Max: Yeah. Well, salaries are going up and you know, many people are. Oh, can I get a raise? And then you need to be able to come up with an answer for that. So using the tool, like you mentioned to say, well, you can get a raise if you move a little bit towards that direction, because that's where the market is becoming, where there's the most demand. So it's a market-based approach to dealing with that situation. I think it works well. And then my last question, which is you know, a bittersweet one while more bitter, really it's about hiring mistakes that people make. And so as a manager I know you've made hiring mistakes before probably. And so just if you could walk down memory lane and even if it's a suppressed memory to, to, remember for our listeners, what mistake that was and you know, what they can learn from it. 

     

    Lindsay: Yeah. I think for me, especially in our earlier days working, you know as a startup and whatnot, you know, you work very quickly. You're moving at a million miles an hour and not always taking the time to really stop and think about what you need. So I certainly can think of times in my career. I've made a hire based on, you know, available information, but not given myself the time and space to think it through longer-term and more strategically.

     

    And as a result, you know, might've been able to hire someone who was a slightly better skill fit for the long-term versus just the immediate need, if that makes sense. So I think that I would call that kind of a hiring mistake is really mostly about just being very intentional. Thinking it through and not making a gut decision, but a really well-informed database, longer view type of decision around hiring now.

     

    Max: What is this person going to be doing a year, two years, three years from now. 

    Lindsay: Right. And is this person I'm looking at hiring right now, capable to get there, even if they're not here right now, do they have the capabilities to grow into that? And if not, then I need to really question if that's the right hire. 

     

    Max: Yeah. And it's a delicate balance, right? Because if you're interviewing somebody as if they were coming in for a VP role, and then you put them at a desk to handle a customer support. Yeah, this is going to be a bit of a gap between the experience of the recruitments and then the reality of the job.

     

    Lindsay: Yeah, somewhere in, but even just things like growth mindset, curiosity. Right. I think that there's some kind of baseline traits that can tell you that a person can be poised for greater things down the road, even if they're not ready for them today, maybe not quite that leap customer service to VP, but at a minimum, you know, customer service to maybe eventually being a manager of a customer service team, for example, I think thinking that through is really helpful. 

     

    Max: Yeah. I had an assessment vendor on the show that was saying that for positions that are indeed high volume, very repetitive that they would ask questions to make sure they would for people who were highly creative thinkers, they would downgrade their...

     

    Lindsay: And that's where it's interesting. 

     

    Max: They'd be afraid that it would burn out through boredom. 

     

    Lindsay: I think that there's a right job for each person. Right.  And no matter what someone's skill set is, what someone's sort of a superpower is if you will, that there's a place for everybody somewhere.

     

    Max: Well, beautiful words to finish our conversation. Thank you, Lindsay, for coming on the shelf. Of course. Thanks for having me max. I appreciate it.

     

    That was Lindsay Witcher from RiseSmart reminding us that someone coming to work for you as only there for a little part of time. For a few years, if you're lucky. And that recruitment is a small step within a big step, which is joining your company but in a very multi-step and many sometimes many staircases experience, which is a career.

     

    So as Lindsay works on outplacement services, you reminds us as recruiters to always keep the long-term perspective of what a candidate has to do to progress in their career. And it's important as to keep that top of mind so that we don't solve short-term problems to create problems down the line where candidates that don't have a path for growth.

     

    Hope you enjoyed it, and that you'll be back for more on the Recruitment Hackers Podcast. Remember to share with friends. 

     

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