Jen Tracy is the VP of Talent Attraction and Acquisition at Spectrum and she is here to tell us how she ended up becoming the leader of almost 100,000 dedicated workers. Our guest breaks down the importance of an employer value proposition, why it makes sense to invest in an employment brand, why changing her company’s applicant tracking system was worth the headache, and how she manages to accurately place candidates when there are over 5,000 different job descriptions within her company. After telling us the similarities between her internal and external recruitment processes, Jen gives us some valuable advice on what you can do to be the success story you’re destined to be!
[0:00:06.1] RS: Welcome to Talk Talent to Me. A podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the frontline’s modern recruitment.
[0:00:12.8] FEMALE: We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life, we want to understand how they make decisions, where are they willing to take risks and what it looks like when they fail.
[0:00:22.7] RS: No holds barred, completely off the cuff interviews with directors of recruitment, VPs of global talent, CHROs, and everyone in between.
[0:00:31.1] FEMALE: Once I went through the classes and the trainings, I got the certifications through diversity and inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.
[0:00:39.7] MALE: 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.
[0:00:53.0] RS: I’m your host, Rob Stevenson and you’re about to hear the best in the biz, Talk Talent to Me.
[0:00:59.5] RS: Hello there all of you wonderful talent acquiring and darlings in podcast land. It is I, Rob Stevenson here with you again for another instant classic episode of your favorite talent acquisition podcast. I am broadcasting of course from Denver, Colorado where the sun has not risen.
It is still dark here this morning, these are the lengths I go to, dear listener, to bring you the sweet, sweet content, but the sun is shining on our guest over in Charlotte. Joining me today on the podcast is the VP of Talent Attraction an Acquisition over at Spectrum, Jen Tracy. Jen, welcome to the show, how are you today?
[0:01:34.1] JT: I’m doing great, thanks so much for having me, Rob.
[0:01:36.2] RS: I am really pleased to have you. It’s going to be a great conversation, we have lots to go into. Let’s get going with that, shall we?
[0:01:42.4] JT: That sounds wonderful.
[0:01:43.6] RS: I mean, I’m sure most people will be familiar with Spectrum and with your company but in case they’re not, would you mind sharing a little bit about the company?
[0:01:50.7] JT: Sure, sure. So Charter Communications, which operates under the Spectrum brand, is a leading broadband connectivity company which serves more than 32 million customers in 41 states. We have roughly 93,000 employees and within our business, we take to market our voice internet, mobile services, as well as our TV in addition to some other businesses such as our structure networks 24 hours news channels, as well as Spectrum Ray Twitches, our ad sales business, and Spectrum Enterprise, which provide highly customized solutions to the business market.
[0:02:24.6] RS: Got it. Well, I am one of those 32 million customers and a happy one I might add. I know the company well, at least the consumer brand. You, however, are more focused with bringing people in, making them happy and making them good, successful employees at the company. How would you characterize your role?
[0:02:40.7] JT: So my role is expressly focused on making sure we can attract the talent within the organization, and we do that through our employment branding, social media strategy, as well as our military and university strategy, as we’ve taken talent pipelines in addition to deploying the recruitment technology that’s necessary to hire the individuals that work inside of our company on a daily basis, whether that’s texting or video interviewing or assessments, all of those fall within my shop.
[0:03:09.5] RS: Speaking of your shop, seamless segue, so you said, 92,000 employees?
[0:03:14.2] JT: 93.
[0:03:15.0] RS: Oh, pardon me, 93,000 employees fall under your purview in some capacity. Would you mind sharing just how you came to this role a little bit? I’d love to just know more about your journey and how you wound up in this role at Spectrum.
[0:03:28.1] JT: Sure, sure. So I actually have my undergraduate in hotel and restaurant management or hospitality management. I worked for Aramark, which is a services-based provider for food and facilities for my first 10 years of my career, and the first four years of those ten were in operations.
So, in my last operations role, the HRD at the time asked me to move to New York City to create an hourly staffing model that basically provided or operated like an external temp staffing agency. So I built that model out of our six cities and then was eager to take on additional responsibilities, and I took on a role very similar to the one I have today and that was 20 years ago.
So I must enjoy what I do but essentially, I took on our university and professional recruiting at that time, as well as the recruiting operations, which is that recruitment marketing and the recruiting technology. While I was in that role, I got my MBA and I completed that, realizing that the best way for me to get even better in talent was to move throughout different industries.
So I took it upon myself at that time to shift into the retail market, worked for some retailers, and then I actually did a stint working from home doing executive search because in order for me to get even better, I had to make sure I hit the top level of the organization, to be able to really hone my craft, if you will. I’ve now been in Telecom for about 13 years.
I mean, if somebody would have told me at the beginning of that journey that this is where I’d been and this is how long I’ve been doing some version of this role, I might chuckle at myself. At the same time, the reality is because the technology, because the data, because the opportunity that connects people with their next opportunity is so compelling, I just really enjoy the work that I do on an ongoing basis.
[0:05:09.3] RS: What led you to decide that getting a taste of different industries was the best way to collect the experience you wanted?
[0:05:16.2] JT: So being at Aramark, we serviced all the different kinds of industry. So I got that exposure very, very early on and so even in my operations roles, I was inside of a regular nine to five financial services firm. Then I went into insurance and then I went into warehouse with a pharmacy provider, so I had that natural curiosity by understanding how these different companies worked.
So then I realized that that had to translate once I got into my function and into my craft. I needed to understand what a talent looked like inside these roles. So yeah, a finance person is a finance person is a finance person, but these other operations roles or how people provide the services is incredibly fascinating to me. So I’ve always found myself working for companies that have self-made CEOs, including Charter, our CEO started as a field technician.
So I find those grassroots, pull-up-your-bootstraps stories really compelling, because I really do believe that if you want to do anything at all, you can just invest and make that come to life for yourself, and that’s what really energizes me, and then secondly is also making sure that we have large populations of frontline employees because again, that kind of fosters into what drives me and excites me about the work I do.
[0:06:31.8] RS: When you think back to those years at Aramark, what made you decide that this was going to be the career path for you, that you wanted to stick around in talent and maybe go the distance?
[0:06:44.8] JT: I have a huge passion, in particular in the university space, around kids. So to me, the fact that you can make a difference in someone’s life by taking them from pursuing a formal education to helping them be successful, or even if it’s someone that is in one of our frontline roles but they’ve continue to grow their career through career progression, that is incredibly compelling to me and rewarding.
To know that I still have contacts of interns that work for me at Aramark, still to this day, is what continues to drive me to want to continue that focus and effort, because relationships do matter and it’s nice to see how they manifest themselves over time, and I find it incredibly rewarding.
[0:07:28.3] RS: I imagine you would need to keep that personal perspective while you have this overview of so many individuals, right? With this huge scale that you’re operating at right now. I fear that a lot of people interested could lose that sight of, “Okay, these are people’s lives you’re affecting,” even though it can be a little more callous with the decision making in terms of, “Oh well, you look at lots of data, you look at spreadsheets.” But you have this opportunity to remember their people, right?
So I am so curious, when you think of all these people, these 93,000, what are some of the challenges you face at this scale? I imagine they’re quite a bit different than the director of recruitment at a hundred-person company that I speak to often on the show.
[0:08:08.3] JT: I think that the difficulty in operating a talent acquisition structure inside of a large Fortune 500 company is that you do have different populations, and you should. So for example, one of the things that often gets talked about in today’s world, especially post-pandemic, is around the hybrid work model, and because of what we do, there will always be people that are like, if they’re in a retail store, they’re always going to be in a retail store.
So being able to convey a message or create a brand outside of the company when you’ve got lots of different factors underneath is probably one of the trickiest parts of my job. That said, it can be done and it can be done well, as long as you’re taking the time to do the research, to really communicate that employee value proposition and then create different channels for those different audiences. No different than traditional marketing would.
[0:08:59.7] RS: So how do you go about eliciting that information?
[0:09:03.6] JT: A lot of surveys. So we actually, when we created our employment brand, we actually started this in 2017 post-merger, after three companies came together. We surveyed top performers and got some insights to them as to what really drove our employees to be successful within the organization, no matter what part of the organizations they were in.
That manifested itself to actually launching our employment brand in 2019 which is, there’s a strong connection here and since then, we’ve been doing additional research and work with our partner, Xactly Corp., to make sure that we can take that brand and execute that on campaign.
So this past year, we focus in our product and technology world to make sure we could understand what drives that population of people versus our field tech, and to give you a small outcome of that is one of the things we learned from a DNI perspective, one of our goals is to continue to increase our representation of women in our field technician roles.
So what we learned by doing this research was that our female field technicians were on TikTok, and had we not done that research, we might be shooting in the dark to figure out where we should be targeting and then not surprising, again, if you look at the field tech role very broadly, they were actually gaming, and so serving up those ads on in-game ads.
So making sure you really understand where that person is to try and really recruit them into the company, and so that’s I think, one of the fascinating things about my job, is this has become its own craft over the last 20 years.
So you know, you went from – and this is embarrassing, but newspapers before 2000 and then you had all the major jobs for it, and so now we’re down to the point where, while we may be 10 years behind consumer marketing from a really focused perspective, we really have the data to support what we do, why we do it, to make sure we’re reaching the audience.
[0:10:49.7] RS: For our Zoomers out there listening, a newspaper is like, if you went to the Washingtonpost.com, it used to be printed out on paper and delivered to your home. You know, physical capacity. Call that out but it’s so interesting that this contextual marketing is such a crucial part of what you do.
This segmentation exist in sales and marketing. Sales usually calls it buyer persona, marketing calls it audience persona or sometimes buyer persona, and you’re just trying to put yourself in the shoes of who is going to interact with your material and who are the people in the deals who have influence or who were involved in marketing.
It’s like, who is listening to this, who is paying attention to this, what do they care about, what are their problems and you do the same thing with candidates, right? When you develop an employer value proposition. I fear there’s this misunderstanding that an employer value proposition is something, it’s like a mission statement or that it’s something you write once, but you have to write it for every – not just every job, but every person who you want to apply for your job. Is that fair to say?
[0:11:51.6] JT: So the way I describe it is, the EVP is the persona, right? If I read that statement, it should feel like no matter who you are in the company, it should resonate with you and then from there, we create, to your point, personas that align against roles and functions, depending upon how broad or how narrow you need to go to make sure you can execute that, but to really get detail and reach the correct audience, to make sure you can convert the talent.
[0:12:15.7] RS: At what scale do you think it makes sense to really invest in a project like that?
[0:12:21.7] JT: I think it always makes sense to invest in employment brand. I myself have, with the exception of when I worked at Bright House, which would have been a pre-version of working at Charter, that’s the smallest company I ever worked for and it was 8,500 people and we still did that work. I don’t know that I wouldn’t invest in the work.
I think to the degree might be the answer. You might not take it as far if you happen to be a more local audience because you could do other things in the community to create the drive and branding that you would need to.
[0:12:51.1] RS: Got it, yeah, that makes sense. So in addition to the EVP and the segmentation, the extensive marketing, what else is on your plate right now? I feel like you must have so much to think about on a daily basis. What kind of big campaigns have you been working on lately?
[0:13:03.8] JT: So the biggest project I have on my plate this year is we’re in the process of replacing our applicant tracking system. When I think about recruiting technology, I don’t ever do more than one major project in any given year because when you are trying to steer a ship for 400 recruiters, and I’m not even sure what the total number of HR professionals are that touch the systems, we have to do so in a careful meaningful way because they’re huge change management initiatives that require focus and a lot of good effort.
[0:13:32.1] RS: Yeah, the reason I gasp there is because people are usually so averse to changing their ATS, even in a case when people would admit that their ATS could be better. Usually I hear something like, “Well, it could be better, but we have so much legacy data in there, it would be such a pain to switch. Is the benefit of changing you ATS worth the pain of ripping and replacing it?” What made you decide it was worth the pain?
[0:13:55.5] JT: That is the million-dollar question. So I always say, you really got to make sure that if you’re going to change a system that you understand the why. For us, making sure we understood the why and making this decision before the current system that we have in place today has been in place for over 20 years.
That’s amazing that a technology has supported an organization for that long, which is fantastic. They’ve been a really great partner for us but the other side to this is that, we also see new technology coming down the line and so we see the opportunity to optimize and integrate and move forward with some new solutions, in addition to streamlining our overall technology stacks.
So some of our other providers that used to be boundary systems are now owned by the new provider that we’ll move to, so that’s how you make the decision. When I think about cost per hire, I always look at three different inputs. You have labor, which is obviously evident, then you have the marketing, and then you have the technology and there are so many different tools you can use in technology today.
Obviously, the applicant tracking system is probably – should be one of your most expensive investments. At the same time, it’s still a system that’s built around the compliance process, which means the user experience is never going to be as slick or as sophisticated as if someone just building a technology that can launch for a new Apple Phone, for instance.
It’s never going to be that sleek and that’s where all these other boundary systems come into play, and then go through these expansion and contractions of new technology, and then being acquired. Honestly, you’re making the best decision at that moment in time and then you constantly evolve, because you’re never done.
That’s my other line, whether it’s marketing or whether it’s the technology, you’re never done. You still have to constantly be out in the marketplace listening to what is new and next to see where you might be able to fill in gaps or improve processes for your organization.
[0:15:51.6] RS: What do you mean when you say boundary systems?
[0:15:54.0] JT: So I’ll give an example. So when we merged together, we actually had been using a texting tool to be able to text candidates, and we thought that texting candidates versus email was going to be the biggest win. It was a big win but in addition to that, what we also saw was that if we were texting people throughout the process, we converted more of the percentage of the funnel.
So meaning, “Oh hey, you have your background check, you got to go do that and make sure that’s done.” “Oh, your drug test needs to be completed within 24 to 48 hours.” Sending me simple little reminders through text instead of email proved to be a better use or way of doing that, so that was a boundary system that wasn’t part of the ATS. Over time, they will be part of the ATS and the new solutions moving forward, and they are.
Another example was with the videos that we use on the career site. So the videos we use on the career site is an app that can be recorded. What it did was it made our ability to feature our employees streamlined and also take the voice of those employees and feature it on the career site, in a less sophisticated way than just doing a high res video suite that might be edited by everyone in our teams, to make sure that the audiences we’re trying to reach here, in authentic voice, have our employees.
[0:17:12.2] RS: I see. So a boundary system would be a tool that provides functionality that maybe is part of the hiring process, and so logically should live under the umbrella of ATS, right? So an example of a non-boundary system would be, “Oh, here is our tool we used to help you find up scaling and development resources” right? Okay, that’s post-hire, you’re no longer an applicant, you’re not being tracked by the system, right?
So that would not be a boundary system but texting is, okay, thank you for clearing that up. I like how you said that we’ll be part of an ATS but it’s at the moment not. That is more a common on like how innovation works, right?
[0:17:49.1] JT: Right, exactly.
[0:17:49.9] RS: It’s like this big legacy ATS’s will not launch a texting thing probably, but then a smaller startup might try it and then when it hits escape velocity then a big ATS gobbles it up.
[0:18:00.3] JT: That’s exactly right.
[0:18:01.8] RS: Interesting. So I really want to ask you about how you assess HR tech. It’s self-serving but it’s so important too because people in your position, that’s an important part of the role. Your inbox is probably filled with sales people being like, “Hey, can I get your time for a demo on this thing you didn’t know existed but I’m telling you, you desperately need it,” that sort of thing. It can create a lot of noise in an inbox but it is important, right?
You need to stay abreast to technology and innovation. So first, I would love to just know about when you’re speaking with vendors, how do you cut through the noise? One example that was sticking out to me is when you said you had your previous ATS for 20 years, my first thought was, “Wow, that’s a lot of legacy data,” like millions of data points probably that you want to use in your future insight.
If you ask your new vendor, “Hey, would you be able to pour that over?” They’re going to go, “Oh yeah, yeah, totally. That’s going to be super easy,” right? But how do you know that that’s actually the case? I guess my question is how do you actually assess a vendor who is going to say yes to everything to make sure they’re going to be right for you?
[0:19:05.8] JT: Okay, so I am going to start with to me, the one thing you have to do in leadership positions within, if you have HR tech as part of your roadmap or responsibility, is you have to set up a rhythm or a cadence by which that you sit and listen to technology. Often times because our cycles work — my budget for the next year is set by June and the reason why is because I have called different recruiting leaders that need budget numbers from me to build their budgets for the next year.
So my decisions around HR tech is probably done by March of the year going into the next year, if that makes sense. So I listen to new technology between the end of December through March timeline and I do that for a couple of reasons. One is I don’t want to waste sales people’s times on what I’m not going to listen to them and, quite frankly to your point, it does create noise.
So I just want to be honest with people and say, “This is what I am going to listen, so reach back out to me at that time and we’ll see where we’re at.” I am very fortunate in the recruiting technology that charter has invested in. So the other thing I find myself forcing myself to do is, is this really additive or does this really, really improve the process? How I go about doing that within our organization is we have a what I’ll call a decentralized model.
We have these 12 different recruiting teams, 12 different leaders, all the recruiting tech may or may not necessarily work for each one of them. So what I’ll do is I’ll pick one that I think the used case might work well, do a pilot with them and then if it works, then we’ll consider how to scale it for the organization and so that comes into factor of, “Do we get licenses for every 400, all 400 recruiters in the company or do we just get it for these specific business units?”
So I think being intentional throughout this entire process is incredibly important, but I also think in making sure you expose yourself via conferences, via webinars, to hear what the other tech is out there is important, in addition to being part of other consortium. So for example, we are partnered with Career Crossroads. We are part of the talent marketing board and that allows us to talk to our peers in other companies about what they’re doing to stay current.
So I think between all of that, I feel like I have set up a nice rhythm for my team to make sure that we’re constantly looking at that new and next.
[0:21:25.8] RS: Were you able to set up a trial in the ATS case?
[0:21:29.1] JT: No.
[0:21:30.7] RS: Yeah, that’s kind of an all or nothing thing, right?
[0:21:33.2] JT: It is. It’s very true.
[0:21:34.9] RS: Yeah, it’s so stressful. It’s funny, you mentioned to me when we spoke before you’re like, “If you don’t have to, you shouldn’t,” whatever in letting new ATS, right?
[0:21:44.3] JT: Correct.
[0:21:44.9] RS: So why did you decide that you had to?
[0:21:47.2] JT: We had to because we wanted to evolve with the technology that is out in the marketplace today, where we see things going. So I mean, think of a world where pretty much everything we do in today’s world is done on what? An app, right? So it’s really not that foreign to me to think that when we get 10 years, 20 years down the road, I am not sure what the timing will be, that the consumer and the recruiting brands will eventually have to come together under one app.
Oh my gosh, the technology behind that to make that happen is, I mean, we don’t know how to think about going about doing that, but I do think at some point that’s where we might go. When you look at the app and tracking system, there are only so many providers that can support an organization our size, so there is plenty of little smaller applicant tracking systems that are slick and sophisticated but they aren’t going to be able to support the organization our size.
So we made the decision to move forward because we need to get to some other technology but that said, it always constantly challenges us to make sure that we keep some of the things that we’ve set up with our existing vendors in our current process. So we have a lot of automation in our current process that we want to carry over and it’s added more time into the project than we wanted to, but at the same time, it’s worth keeping.
[0:23:01.5] RS: Right. Jen, I am starting to see how your master plan all hangs together here because you have the ATS, you’re adding the boundary systems to make a more tech savvy, tech integrated process for people applying. There is also this question of the EVP and the segmented marketing that has to happen and in your case, there’s also so many roles at Spectrum, right?
Even from all of the field technicians to the people who work in corporate and 93,000 people working in there, how many different job descriptions could there be, right? A lot.
[0:23:36.0] JT: A little over 5,000.
[0:23:36.8] RS: 5,000 here in job descriptions, right?
[0:23:38.9] JT: Yes.
[0:23:39.5] RS: So when I think of the path someone might take through that funnel and that there is 5,000 possible endpoints right for them in all of those jobs.
[0:23:47.8] JT: Right.
[0:23:48.2] RS: That is a very complicated sort of process. How do you make sure people find their way to that right job among the 5,000?
[0:23:56.4] JT: You can’t boil the ocean, so you do a couple of different things. One, you take the majority. 86% of our hiring is for our frontline positions, which is the field techs, the sales and the customer service roles. So those you can do very specific campaigns and that takes care of a lot pretty quickly.
Then you have what I will call the functional positions that exists within the body of work and in that case, one of the things we did over this past year to get ready for the applicant tracking system project was we actually created a train the trainer on how to take job descriptions, which our job descriptions are 700 or 800 words, and to be optimized as a job posting, it should be 400.
We took those 5,000, prioritize what we wanted to focus on, and had copywriters, student copywriters, work with us to redo all of these so that when we go live with the new system, these new job postings are better. What is interesting about this is they’re not my traditional interns. They just happen to be something we funded as a pilot. But some of those folks even converted into our organization because we still have those roles inside the company.
So I think the neat thing for me is always be happy and surprised when you find a little nuanced of a way to convert talent that you weren’t expecting.
[0:25:12.9] RS: Does it happen a lot?
[0:25:14.5] JT: Yeah. Yeah, it does. It does, I’ll give a different example. Walking into the pandemic, I had a military recruiting team and so I have four dedicated full-time employees but obviously, we couldn’t travel during the pandemic and we have a base strategy where we want to be on bases to make sure we’re helping to convert military and transitioning veteran talent into our organization.
What we realized is, what better way than to take a military spouse, who is at the base, who better yet has access to the base, and have that person represent us and our brand at the career events that happen on the base. We pre-pandemic didn’t have that. Post-pandemic, we now have that and we have four, and you are not going to do it at every base because not every base has transitioning military.
Bases have different purposes, but if you have an intentional strategy, and that’s been a huge win for us, and also the military spouse population is one of the highest unemployment rates of workers and so for us, out of our employee base, one in ten of our workforce has a military affiliation. We have one of the highest workforce representations of veterans in our company and we’re quite proud of that.
[0:26:28.3] RS: Yeah, as you should be and I am glad you called out the military spouse of it all, they are victims of awful amounts of bias, right? They are one, like, majority women, right?
[0:26:38.3] JT: Correct.
[0:26:38.9] RS: Because they move around a lot or there is all these existing beliefs about them, yeah, they struggle to find roles, which is shameful if we actually care about our active service men and women, right? We should be taking care of their partners as well and in many cases, fantastically talented people that can do great work for you and they just get totally overlooked.
So I just love that outside of the box thinking with having them represent the company at career fairs, like you can do anything you want is what I am saying, l be creative. There are no rules here. It is easy to get bogged down in funnels and HR tech and phone screens and whatnot but you can be imaginative and be creative and do anything you want, that is a really outside of the box example.
There is a misconception that at bigger companies you even have less room for that, which I don’t think is the case. It sounds like to me like you have more resources and you have more opportunity to do some of these creative things than other people might.
[0:27:31.2] JT: Yeah and I think some of that is my natural curiosity. I would be bored if I didn’t do those things. So I think it is a natural tendency for me to try and seek those things out and also just never to be satisfied with the status quo. I don’t function well in maintenance type roles. So if I am not creating innovative ways to evolve my position in the way we recruit people, one, I am probably not listening to what is going on in the labor market, which by itself is crazy and then two, I am not going to continue to challenge myself to be even better than I can be from today.
[0:28:03.6] RS: Yeah, I do so love to hear that and I wanted to ask you a little more about this process of matching applicants to the right role, but specifically with regard to the people who already work for Spectrum, right? That is a huge population of people and at a certain point, the person who is right for the job might already exist in your company, it probably does in a population of just under a 100,000, right? So are you using the same kind of processes on your existing employee base?
[0:28:30.6] JT: Yeah, so one of the tools that we launched in 2021 was a tool called Fit Finder, and it’s featured both on our external and in our internal sites. So it started as an external used case for the simple fact that I always get annoyed with the fact that we have millions of candidates and then we only hire X number of people, and so I desire strongly from both the candidate experience perspective and for our company perspective, from an efficiency perspective to match that person at a closer rate.
So if I had a perfect world, it would be one to one, I would have this perfect job for this perfect candidate, everybody would be happy. It is not reality but we can make it better, and so what my selection of assessment team did was they recreated this whole Fit Finder in partnership with modern hire. Essentially what it is, it’s a personality assessment at the top of the funnel, they take it and then this tool then serves back to the individual five different jobs that they can consider.
So what’s interesting about this tool, again, it ended up having lots of different used cases that were incredible, one is that we see that candidates withdraw less from the process and complete the application more because they’re getting something of value back to them that they didn’t expect.
[0:29:44.0] RS: Yeah, even if it’s not for Spectrum. They’re like, “Maybe this is the kind of role I should be considering everywhere.”
[0:29:48.7] JT: Correct. The other side benefit that we got from this was that we improved gender diversity on our field technician roles and our sales roles, because it’s no different than if you walk into a store and no one interacts with you and you go and pick out what you want to wear, you’d pick out something and you may or may not be satisfied with it. If you walk into a store and a sales associate walks up to you and says, “This would look really great on you” the chance of you buying that goes up infinitely higher.
This is no different, we’re basically suggesting different jobs for them to consider and broadening their perspective of what they may or may not be qualified for, and that allows us to improve our overall workforce statistics. It’s just been such a win both from a candidate experience, from improving our workforce statistics, and just satisfaction overall.
[0:30:37.8] RS: Yes, I can see why that has helped with gender diversity. There is this offsite and research that a male applicant will apply once he meets like two of the ten qualifications while a female applicant will wait until she meets nine or ten, and the real generational shift we would like to see is women just hammering that apply now button, right? You should just apply but in the meantime, this is I think conquering that.
Because it is saying, “No, you are qualified for this, you should apply. Don’t discount yourself, don’t rule yourself out for this.” This is actually an example where you might succeed. So that makes all the sense in the world to me and congrats on instituting that and meeting those goals. So I am really glad to hear that.
Jen, we are creeping up on optimal podcast length but before I let you go, I would love for you to offer some advice to folks who want to end up in a position like yours, maybe to make it specific, when you think back on your career, what are some of the commonalities across the career in terms of the ass you’ve been kicking?
[0:31:40.9] JT: So we do an executive speaker series every summer with the students and what I always tell them is, always ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” So when I was in this food service as director role, right in corporate cafeteria inside of a retail pharmacy company, the worst thing that can happen is I could stay as being a food service director, but look at what happened instead. So that’s my one piece of advice.
Then also, just be naturally curious, right? So if you see something interesting, pursue it, find out if it is something you want to take even further, and then also identify people that have been successful that you are interested in getting to know, and then just continue to grow those relationships. My mentors, without question, have been just as responsible as I was for my success over my careers, my current boss included.
I worked with him with a nonprofit telecom HR organization before he hired me and that relationship helped me to secure the role I have today.
[0:32:37.8] RS: That is fantastic advice at the end of a fantastic episode. So Jen at this point, I would just say thank you so much for being here. I have loved chatting with you today.
[0:32:45.0] JT: Thank you.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
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