Gary Davis

Adobe Sr. DEI Business Partner Gary L. Davis

Gary DavisAdobe Sr. DEI Business Partner Gary L. Davis

Recruitment methods have remained stagnant while company needs have evolved significantly. Gary Davis, Adobe’s Senior Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Business Partner, joins us in this episode to explore the shifting significance of DE&I, candidate evaluation metrics, and assessing company culture perception. Gary shares insights on the reciprocal nature of recruitment, the value of transparency, and addressing Generation Z’s unique challenges. Our conversation delves into closing equity and inclusion gaps, Gary’s aspirations for the industry’s future, and other pertinent topics.

Gary also shares his thoughts in The Future of Tech Hiring: 8 Bold Predictions for 2024.

Episode Transcript

Rob Stevenson 0:05
Welcome to talk talent to me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the front lines of modern recruitment.

Speaker 2 0:12
We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life, we want to understand how they make decisions where they’re willing to take risks and what it looks like when they fail.

Rob Stevenson 0:22
No holds barred completely off the cuff interviews with directors of recruitment to VPs of global talent, CHRO’s, and everyone in between.

Speaker 1 0:31
Once I went through the classes and the trainings and got the certifications through diversity inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.

Speaker 2 0:39
Talent Acquisition. It’s a fantastic career, you are trusted by the organization. You get to work with the C suite and the security at the front desk and everybody in between and everybody knows you.

Rob Stevenson 0:52
I’m your host, Rob Stevenson. And you’re about to hear the best in the biz. talk down to me. Here with me today on top talents me is the senior DNI business partner over at Adobe. Gary L. Davis. Gary, welcome to the podcast. How the heck are you today?

Gary Davis 1:09
I’m doing well. Rob, thanks for having me.

Rob Stevenson 1:11
You are broadcasting in from Rhode Island, right?

Gary Davis 1:15
Yeah, Providence, Rhode Island today. It’s a little holiday tradition for my husband. And I

Rob Stevenson 1:20
thank you for squeezing this in on this holiday week. Thanksgiving is fast approaching and it sounds like you and your husband sort of get out of dodge this time of year. And it’s just the two of us were taking over this place. Is that right?

Gary Davis 1:29
Pretty much it’s really wild to me that we literally hold someone someone’s home hostage for an entire week and make a full Thanksgiving meal. I can’t even believe that we’ve been doing this now for the last three or four years.

Rob Stevenson 1:41
Yeah, well, I’m sure they love it, they get to rent it out. They get to go somewhere. So everybody wins. Absolutely. Absolutely. Gary, I am really pleased to have you here because we met when you appeared on a hired webinar a few months back, and I’ll make sure there’s a link in the show notes for people who want to check that out. But you were just like dropping rhetorical bombs all over the place. And I was like, I gotta hear more from Gary, I need to need to know more about his background, his work and in his approach to your function. So we’ll get into that. Adobe is a company I should think most people know. Well, I would like to add that as of last month, I’m officially in Adobe paying customer. I paid $10 a month now for Lightroom. Gary, you have had a really interesting background. And I would like to just kind of jump into it. Rather than have me sort of give a hackneyed version of your curriculum vitae. Would you mind sharing a little bit about your background and how you came to be in his current role? Absolutely.

Gary Davis 2:35
So I would say that the through line for any work that I’ve ever done has been about designing programs and products, that creates spaces for people, particularly people from historically excluded groups. So when I say that I mean women, people of color, folks with disabilities. And for me, it really started in the nonprofit sector. So it’s worked across education, reform, college access workforce development, even spent some time in higher ed, because I wanted to understand any quality more in this country and finding really creative ways that we could go about addressing and really mitigating it. Then I thought, Well, how about a career in tech, everyone is talking about technology as being this thing. That’s a great equalizer. You know, when I think about what the smartphone did in high school, compared to what it looks like, right now, I felt like well, this could be something that could change the conversation or really move the needle in a different direction. But I didn’t just want to do any particular type of tech, I wanted to do tech that really focused on addressing some of that inequality. And so at the time, I worked for a much smaller recruiting software startup. And what was great about that is that I had the opportunity to work with the product that focused on reducing bias of the interviewing, because we know that that is just something that there’s a lot of opportunity and vulnerability for bias to come up. But I thought to myself, well, I’m doing this, it’s enabling diversity for companies, I’m also helping people just understand the consequences of some of these standardized things that we do in the recruiting space, let’s just do it a little bit differently. Let’s see what we can come up with because everyone was talking about we want to sort of bolster workforce representation. And so that led me to accept a role at Adobe last year as a diversity, talent acquisition lead. And in the start of this year, that role got expanded into my current position. So what I do as a senior D business partner is I look after those same things I talked about before, so building programs and products that create that space, but I do so now in the vantage point of focusing on recruiting retention, as well as advancement for all of the communities at Adobe,

Rob Stevenson 4:25
when you think back to your time at the recruiting software company, essentially productizing equitable interviewing, right, or at least attempting to, was it effective to to work?

Gary Davis 4:38
I’d say yes, and that we were able to evolve some mindsets. I think one of the interesting things to me about recruiting is that we have not really changed it in the last 50 or so years. Someone will write a job description, usually full of laundry list of things that are completely unrealistic. They’ll then charge a recruiter to go out and find these unicorns and then expect them to do it that day. Before we’re the next day, and I always just thought that was really weird to me. And so the thing that I really enjoyed that we did is that we granted some folks some visibility into what is actually going on within their pipelines. When I say that we were able to take candidate demographic data, anonymized and aggregate it and showcase to recruiters and hiring leaders broadly. Here’s what the makeup of your applicant funnel looks like, though even most importantly, this is exactly where that diversity that you’re claiming that you want is falling out. What’s cool about that is that you can show people hey, listen, you can do this differently. Just as that’s what our attempt was, we wanted to tell people that listen, if you embrace things like standardizing your interview process, it will go a long way in making sure that the women that you’re trying to interview or trying to recruit are the people of color, folks with disabilities or veterans actually have a shot to were making it so that on site and could go even further toward reaching that offer stage.

Rob Stevenson 5:50
When you were showing people hiring managers, I imagined stakeholders, the makeup of their hiring funnels. Were they surprised?

Gary Davis 6:00
Ah, really dependent on the customer? I think in some aspects, yes. Because I think that there was this assumption that there was just no diversity at the top of the funnel. And one of the coolest things I would always share with folks is that pay people know who your company is, people want the opportunity. And most of my clients were tech companies. Everyone wants to work in tech, because you know, in this country, at least, it’s very difficult to not have an interaction with technology, have a watch on it tells me the time the number of steps that I’ve walked today, I have a cell phone that I can use to contact anyone or look anything else up. And so we really wanted to focus on helping people understand that the diversity is around you, the diversity is interested, there is no such thing as sort of this dearth of talent or a lack of talent. It’s more about how exactly is your company approaching being able to find the talent that ultimately has always been here and been hidden in plain sight?

Rob Stevenson 6:50
I’m so glad to hear you say that, that there’s not a dearth of talent, because that has been the common excuse. And I’ve heard it a million times. Oh, if these people were out there to be hired, we’d hire them. Or it’s so competitive, how do you, you know, prioritize, and even more narrow measurement about talent, right? And you’re saying that no, no, everyone wants to work in tech. Like, that’s a huge problem if you’re not hiring these folks.

Gary Davis 7:13
Absolutely. It boils down to where are you looking for the talent? So I have great friends that tell me all the time, like, listen, we don’t have a talent shortage, we have a sourcing issue. We have issues with where we go about finding where we think talent exists. Talent does not only exist at Stanford talent does not only exist in the Ivy League, talent does not only exist in larger tech companies, we when I started in the nonprofit world, we always would say that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. And so I think what folks really need to do is focus on just interrogating Well, why do I think that folks who go to fill in the blank school are more intelligent or more capable than someone who goes to a school that I don’t recognize, but I oftentimes think that the way that we evaluate folks, which I mean, science tells us that humans are pretty sucky at evaluating other humans and their potential. So I think it’s just a matter of us identifying Well, what exactly are the skills that we need, and recognize that those skills exist everywhere?

Rob Stevenson 8:08
So when you say that people are sucky at evaluating folks for roles that feels related to this, take that recruiting has not changed a great deal in the last 50 or so years? In terms of Okay, open the roll, right? The job description, job description is a laundry list of keywords, find people that have that experience, hire them right at what is a better version of that? What would you prescribe, if we were to drag this process into the future kicking and screaming?

Gary Davis 8:33
I would say you got to start with what the business need is for the role. So you have to be really clear on what exactly are the business outcomes that this role will fulfill if we were to hire the individual in the seat, and then you backwards plan from there. So I always tell folks, listen, you got to know exactly what success will look like, or what the expected contribution or value that this person will create, how it impacts the bottom line, how it impacts the culture of the team. And then you build a process that focuses on that. And so I talk a lot about the importance of using standardized structured interviews, where you have distilled out like these are the core capabilities, or the skill sets or the requirements, so to speak, that we need, you know, oftentimes we talk about the person needs to have a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree for different positions. And I’m like, we can do that. But how do you know that a bachelor’s in philosophy or bachelors in engineering for that matter, provides you with the skill sets that you need for that row? Are you open to folks who have that same level of talent or knowledge that may come from community colleges or potentially boot camps? And I think once you are clear on exactly what the business value is, or the expected contribution needs to make sure that you’re providing people with some type of common rating scale or some type of rubric to evaluate the answers that they hear back from the questions that you ask. Because my worry is that you know, I think about the movie devil was proud of a lot where Miranda Priestly Meryl Streep’s character, literally takes two looks at Andy side. because this is an Hathaway’s character and says, Who are you? What are you doing here? Why do you want to work here? And these questions really don’t tell you like, Hey, this is what this person can contribute. And I find that when you get more clear, or you get better, rather, at being able to just know, here’s what we’re looking for, you’ll be much more efficient at it and actually be able to find it.

Rob Stevenson 10:19
Don’t we all think about Devil Wears Prada a lot.

Gary Davis 10:23
I’ve actually used that particular clip in interviewer training, because this is what traditional interviewing looks like folks are unprepared on the interviewer and candidates are eager to share what their experiences look like. And there’s oftentimes it’s disconnected this mismatch because it’s walked me through your resume, tell me who you are, well, if you read my resume, or you did the prep in advance, you would have all those questions answered. So it’s really about efficiency for me and making sure that you’re maximizing the amount of time you have to gather because 30 minutes in an interview can go by fairly quickly,

Rob Stevenson 10:52
particularly the more senior one gets, you run into this, like, Oh, I’m a good judge of character. I don’t need to prepare for this interview. Like I can tell if someone’s good at this job. It’s misplaced confidence. I think in most cases,

Gary Davis 11:04
it’s imaginary confidence. In my mind, I think that people again, will tell you, I’ve been recruiting for 30 years, I know what top talent looks like. The reality is, is that top talent, that definition changes every day. And it depends really on the company and what the need is, but I think it’s a matter of making sure that if you’re expecting candidates to upskill, and, you know, require different skill sets, or maybe even credentials, recruiters need to do the same, we need to also make sure that we’re catching up so that we’re not being left behind.

Rob Stevenson 11:34
Exactly that. Now, Gary, I want to hear about your transition into the specific DNI function, because you had this role you’re working in HR tech, recruiting adjacent really familiar with the processes of people getting hired and the folks who are doing that, at what point did your career sort of take on this like dedicated D E I focus,

Gary Davis 11:55
I would say, right before I moved into tech, so I was a director of people before, ironically for a tech boot camp, but training boot camp. And what was cool about that role is that I had the opportunity to really integrate equity into everything that we did, whether that was talent acquisition, whether it was talent development, and then I think there was that other component of D E I. What I enjoyed about it was that I literally leaned on what the best practices were. So when we were doing hiring, I was always working with hiring managers on okay, what are the questions that you want to ask what are the skills that are associated with this role? Let’s come up with some type of hiring assessment or tests. So we can make sure that we can evaluate something objectively. Let’s also come up with a rubric based on that, then there was an opportunity to work within a company called race forward, where we did an equity assessment of our team heard directly from our employees and said, like, Hey, what are the things that you all want to see, and then we built programming based around that. So this was about seven years ago now at this point. And what I loved about that work was that it’s all people based. So I’m literally giving people what they want. We’re surveying people, we’re asking them to tell us what things that they want to be able to see. We also were using things like culture amp to really evaluate employee engagement. And then we’ll oftentimes put demographic layers on top of the responses. So most people traditionally look at things like tenure or potentially even the team. I would want it to do that. But I also wanted to see well, how are people of different gender expressions and identities experience in our culture? Are there any gaps that we’re seeing in any of that data? And if so, let’s action plan to close some of those gaps over time.

Rob Stevenson 13:29
When you’re measuring how people are experiencing your culture, what does that look like?

Gary Davis 13:35
So for me, I always paid attention to those survey data, I would also look at some things tied to promotion, involuntary turnover rate, voluntary turnover rate, because the biggest thing that was important for me was just equitable outcomes. So we saw that we were losing more talent of any particular demographic at a faster rate, or that we weren’t potentially hiring that talent. That’s an opportunity for us to go in and do a little bit more discovery. That’s an opportunity for us to also go back and identify what’s working with our process. So maybe we have the velocity that we’re looking for, but we’re not necessarily getting the diversity that we’re looking for. And so there’s a trade off that needs to be made. So we have to be really intentional about well, if we want this one outcome, we want to build a workforce that is comparable to the communities that we work in and the communities that we serve, we have an obligation to make some very systemic changes to how we approach the work. We know that everyone has unconscious bias. I think that that’s that that wasn’t necessarily something I had to sell people on. I think folks were pretty open to the idea which was helpful. But we also have to understand that those biases show up within our processes and our systems. And if they were wired that way, they also can be rewired. It just is on us to be able to make that call.

Rob Stevenson 14:49
When you say equitable outcomes, you mean post higher equitable outcomes, right? Because it doesn’t stop with just making the higher.

Gary Davis 14:58
Exactly yeah, I think What’s interesting in the D E I space is that so much of the focus is around talent attraction and recruiting, which is important, right? Like I don’t want to discredit or I don’t want to minimize that. But there’s this other aspect, which I think we’ve talked about before, which is we don’t want to make this a revolving door, we don’t want to spend all this effort and trying to build this diverse slate of talent for this diverse base and employees only for six months for us from now to have to do it all over again. And so the biggest piece for me was like, let’s figure out a way to recruit this talent, let’s also be more important and put more of a premium on retaining the talent. When I think you can do that, chiefly by treating people like human beings and understanding that everyone essentially wants the same thing. They want to feel respected at work. They want the opportunities to advance they want fair compensation, and they want that compensation also to be equitable. But when I talked about wanting to look at things like voluntary or involuntary turnover rate, there may be some themes or there may be some patterns within that, that I think that every company has an obligation to diagnose, and then be able to build some action planning around it.

Rob Stevenson 16:03
Yes, and those problems may not be are the patterns, problematic patterns? may not be the recruiters well, almost certainly aren’t. It’s probably to do with the hiring manager is probably to do with the boss that they have or the team they work on. And this is where it gets so hard. Because what you have here are things that recruiters are not incentivized on or gold on, that affect their ability to do their job. And so do you think recruiters should be incentivized on retention? Hey, if the hire you make sticks around a year and a half, you get a bonus? Or? Or do they just need to know that other people in the organization are gold on that so that they can do work in good faith? You know.

Gary Davis 16:45
I do think that’s a great question. I would say that I would love to see an incentive for recruiters around retention. Because at the end of the day, what we’re talking about is measuring the efficacy of our recruiting process. And so if hiring managers are telling us the questions that we posed, when we were interviewing this candidate, or all other candidates, were truly a reflection of the things that they would do if they were in the seat six months down the line. I would say that that not only is a signal that the recruiter did their job well, and structuring a process that was fair, and again, mostly diagnostic. But I think it also says that, hey, are there lessons that we can learn from recruiting that we can carry over into our retention strategy and vice versa? Because realistically, if that hire leaves within six months, again, you’re going to be right back at the starting point. And I think if that does happen, and as it oftentimes does, we need to do a better job of understanding Well, what are the changes that we need to make? And at what point do we need to make them because there’s always going to be things where processes are broken or can be repaired. But I would love to see recruiters play some part both in the onboarding, I’m not saying they need to do the direct onboarding. I think that’s the managers obligation. But I would love to see some advisory happening on that front, too, just to for their own peace of mind and their own sense of sanity.

Rob Stevenson 18:02
So I was kind of operating under the assumption that this nuanced understanding of how that hiring managers team will operate down the line is separate from the process of making the hire. And it sounds like you’re contending that it’s the same that a really good recruiting process involves the recruiter understanding that part of the work of what the work is going to look like for this individual down the line and really understanding how this hiring manager does business.

Gary Davis 18:32
Absolutely. Because let’s remember their most qualified talent, they’re going to want to know that information before they even sign on. And so if I can’t answer the questions, as a recruiter what a day in the life may look like or things that you should be mindful of, if you were to accept this offer, I’m wasting everyone’s time. And so I think it’s important that when we talk about this idea of those structured, standardized interviews, we are clear upfront, this is what success will look like. We can even publish those things directly within the job descriptions themselves. Because I think when you do that, instead of saying, You need to be a great communicator, which again, like I don’t know, a job in which like, that would not be a requirement. I would talk about, well, how would you use your communication in this particular role? How would you use that superior oral written communication skills? And how does that tie back to an outcome or need for the position. But again, I think we just need to do a much better job of ensuring that all of these different aspects of this employee lifecycle so from talent, attraction to recruiting, hiring and onboarding, and then retention within that first six months, making sure all of those things are working in lockstep? Because again, the domino impact of that not being clarified upfront. It’s an efficient it’s obviously an effective when it can cost the company or the team more dollars than they actually need to pay. But I think that we always talk about cost savings in the business space, but we’re not necessarily talking about in in the world of recruiting, onboarding and retention and I think that We need to.

Rob Stevenson 20:01
Yeah, of course, we need to, I think every recruiter knows the fantastic expense of replacing talent, right? And not just in terms of the hours that you’re paying people to do that. But in terms of the opportunity cost of not shipping the work, you’re supposed to be shipping right after that hire would be shipping. Here’s a scenario where my heart really goes out to recruiters, which is when their hiring manager is not that good at their job. People get elevated into leadership when they’re not that good at it. And maybe they have like high attrition rates, like you mentioned earlier, like, are you measuring attrition rates and voluntary attrition and looking for patterns there. But if you are tasked with failing the team, hiring the team of someone like this, and you know that they’re a bad boss, and you know, their attrition rate is high? How do you motivate How do you like, Look those candidates in the eye and tell them that this is going to be a good job for them? I don’t know what you do in that scenario?

Gary Davis 20:49
That’s a great question. I have actually gone so far. And I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I think I have to have an obligation to it, I really value transparency, because I think we’ve all been in roles where we’ve thought that we were going to do one thing, and we’ve done something completely different. And so perhaps it’s some guilt, maybe even some PTSD, depending on the situation. But I tried to be completely upfront about ensuring that candidates make informed decisions about whatever role that they’re going to accept. So I might not say that, you know, this manager, you might, you might want to be careful.

Rob Stevenson 21:26
But I was a total bastard run.

Gary Davis 21:29
You know, like, I wouldn’t say going back to Devil Wears Prada that like you should work here if you’re not prepared. But I would say, if I want hiring managers to make informed decisions about candidates, I also want to make sure that candidates are making informed decisions about the hiring manager, because again, we talk all the time about you know, people don’t leave jobs because of the company, they leave. So because of the manager, I’d flip that and say, I’ve accepted jobs because of the manager. Because when I think about my own career ambitions and goals, I place a heavy premium on folks who I feel are the who are in a position to help you actually reach those outcomes. So I think it’s a matter of just knowing, Hey, these are the shortcomings for this particular manager. It’s tricky, because I can’t necessarily recommend that they ask very specific questions. But I would encourage every candidate regardless of where you are in your career to really see, recruiting is a two way street interview. And as a two way street, you have to ensure that the values both of the company, the team, and the manager are consistent on your own or with your own. Because if you don’t, as we’ve been talking about, in six months, you will be going through this process all over again. And so I want to make things as efficient as possible. But I also want to make sure that people are able to make decisions that coincide with what their own gut is telling them.

Rob Stevenson 22:50
Gary, you have this understanding of the recruiting processes, you have the mission to increase representation and inequity. Where do you kind of sit in the organization like I’m used to this illustration of, oh, here’s the HR business partner recruiting hiring manager triad. Are you just like the fourth cog in this wheel? Or where do you sit? How do you kind of apply yourself? I guess, is what I’m asking.

Gary Davis 23:13
Yeah, I would say that I’m in my team, someone like Glinda, the Good Witch. So we come in the big, beautiful pink bubble, and we’re popular. The guy got a reference popular culture. Here, we come in Glinda, the Good Witch, and we’re just giving advice, we are making recommendations of ways to make the processes far more equitable, also efficient, because I think there’s oftentimes this understanding or the sense rather, that there’s a trade off or sacrifice, and efficiency and equity. And I’m like, not necessarily, if we do some of that legwork in advance, we won’t have to navigate that. But that’s the other piece. But I actually said under our global diversity, equity and inclusion team, I work very closely with our HR business partners, and also have done some training for our global talent acquisition team. And what’s cool about that is that I am training the trainer, because at the end of the day, I’m one person I’ve small, very mighty team. But unfortunately, I can’t be involved in every interaction or every engagement for a company of our size. And so our priority is building out StandAlone Resources that folks can access on their own time, we’re really focusing on enabling our leaders as well as all of our stakeholders to understand the content that our team is owning, whether that be internal programming, or potentially external relationships and partnerships, making sure that everyone’s aware of this larger ecosystem of work that’s happening. I always sometimes see diversity, equity and inclusion as either a best kept secret or something that folks are like, Oh, wait, we do this. Let’s engage in it. Let’s invest in it. So I would say that I’m still kind of that Glinda the Good Witch not saying that folks are munchkins we’re not saying that there’s a Wicked Witch of the East or the West, or any flying names. Right now none of that’s going on. But ultimately They just being that source of confidence, that source of advisory support, and that source of good reason, we want to make sure that people are clear on, we have goals that we’re trying to reach. And ultimately, these are tactical things that you can do to contribute to us reaching them.

Rob Stevenson 25:16
I’m glad you mentioned goals that you’re trying to reach, because I would love to hear about how success is measured, maybe organizationally for Adobe. But for you personally, how do you sort of demonstrate success?

Gary Davis 25:27
Yeah, the coolest thing about what’s weird because it’s cool, but it’s also a little challenging. The coolest thing about diversity, equity and inclusion work is that you are really measured by your ability to influence. And when I think about relationship building, I always, especially in the work that I do, I always anchor on Well, we all want the same thing. We want candidates to have engaging experiences, we want employees to have really strong experiences as well. And we can all agree that like these are things that we’re all trying to facilitate. The other thing that I oftentimes hear in this space is that you know, as a company, people are our greatest asset, or this is a great place to work. And the question I oftentimes have is, well, which people are your greatest asset? Or we are a great place to work for whom, right? So is Does that include women of color, does that include non binary people? Does that include neurodivergent workers is that include workers over the age of 50, for example, and I’m just talking about this in the US context. So when we talk in terms of goals, it’s tricky, because I could make the argument that I would love to see representation of the United States, as an example, mirror what it looks like within the company, I think that kind of gets someone into that quota territory, which I do not want to touch for obvious reasons. But I do think it’s helpful that we just have some type of understanding that if we have this global mindset around who our customers are, or this mindset around, like, hey, we need to make sure that we’re building products that solve problems and address the needs of a very diverse base of users or potential customers, we also need to make sure that we have that same level of diversity showing up in the folks who are designing these products and solutions, these folks that are marketing these products and solutions. And so I would say that if I could set a goal that felt good to me, on the diversity front, I would say, let’s make it so that our customer base reflects our employee base. If I were talking about this on the equity and inclusion angle, I would say I don’t want to see any measurable differences between those voluntary and involuntary turnover rates. But then also, when we talk about employee surveys, sentiments, when we ask questions around belonging, learning to development managers are retention. So oftentimes, I see the question of I really think about looking for a job, but another company, I don’t want to see like if I were to put those demographic layers on top of that, are there any major differences or gaps between different audiences. And I think we can get to that place of equity and inclusion by shrinking those gaps over time. And I think you can do that by getting really creative, whether that means you build a program internally, or you bring in some external folks to do some some enablement work or coaching. I think all of those things are fair game.

Rob Stevenson 28:14
That is such a great answer this idea that you don’t want to see a difference in someone’s likelihood to get hired to get promoted to leave or be fired, based on demographic information. Absolutely, that feels really, really tangible, that okay, no matter what you look like, or how you present, you have the equal access to opportunity. Or you’re equally likely to leave in a huff no matter what you look like, what your background is. But that feels like a much more nuanced and maybe even manageable goal than the quota approach. And you said that, I don’t want to go near that, for obvious reasons. I would love to hear those obvious reasons, Gary.

Gary Davis 28:55
Well, we talked at the start about illegal men. So you know, quotas are not a thing that we can support in the United States. But I would love to see us have more of an intentional understanding of what do our consumers look like? When we talk about the changing face of America, we talk a lot about how purchasing power is continuing to grow, especially in historically excluded groups of color. I’m not saying that you need to hire anybody just based on a protected class, just to say that you did it. But I do think it’s important that we pay attention to the fact that the slate of customers that we have in 2023 is not going to look the same way in 2043. We oftentimes talk about Generation Z as being one of the most diverse ones to date. And I think we have an obligation to make sure if we’re going to remain nimble, we’re going to remain competitive in the market, that we’re solving problems that that generation has not saying that we sacrifice what goes on for other generations, but the world is changing around us. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a Blockbuster Video. I don’t want to be a RadioShack and I want to go out of business. And so it’s important that we pay Then attention to these emerging trends. And we have this data, right like otherwise the concept of multicultural marketing would not exist. And it has been something that’s existed for quite some time. So it’s up to us to be able to use information to tell the story of who we are today, and how that information will help us influence who we will become tomorrow.

Rob Stevenson 30:18
That’s a great answer at the end of an episode full of great answers. Gary, before I let you go, I would just love for you to maybe delicately thread the needle here at the end of the episode. What do you see coming our way, when you look around the corner of what it means to work in D E I and recruiting over the next, you know, year, year and a half? What can we expect?

Gary Davis 30:37
I will paint my holiday wishlist for you, please, I would love to see D E I show up more in HR software. And what I mean by that is, I talked before about working in a company where I was able to do that. But I want to see that show up and how we think about not only recruiting but also onboarding, how we think about in terms of compensation. So things that signal that like, Hey, did you know that you’ve offered two roles out one person looks one way another person looks a different way, they’re two identical roles, but you’re paying them two completely different salaries. So something that allows I mean, we talk a lot about AI, for example, but I’d love to see how AI can ethically help people become more intentional about equity. So whether that’s a pop up on our alert, it could be something like how Textio is using augmented writing to show people the consequences or implications of their language in both job descriptions as well as in performance reviews. But I’d love to see how technology can influence some of these historical processes, which again, have bias bake all throughout. And I think in doing so that will really reshape how we approach a lot of this work both I think in hopefully the next year or a year and a half. But I think also in the long run because again left to our own devices. We go a little bonkers and so I would love for us to have some type of guardrail that helps us be more mindful of the demographics around us more mindful of things that we can tangibly do and own and more mindful of the consequences of what happens if we don’t do anything.

Rob Stevenson 32:10
Gary, I hope you get everything on your holiday wish list and I suspect that you will because I believe you are on the nice list. This has been a really, really a great episode. Thank you for being here and sharing your experience expertise with me. I’ve really loved chatting with you today.

Gary Davis 32:24
Likewise, thank you so much for having me.

Rob Stevenson 32:28
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