Erica Carder

Wellthy Head of Talent Lifecycle Erica Maureen Carder

Erica Maureen CarderHead of Talent Lifecycle

For Erica, finding the right kind of employees, ones that are prone to growth and seeking out challenges, is fundamental to success, and she talks about why this individual attitude is the number one thing she looks for in prospective hires.

Episode Transcript

Rob Stevenson 0:05
Welcome to talk down 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

Speaker 2 0:31
Once I went through the classes and the trainings and got the certifications through diversity and inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.

Speaker 3 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 talent to me is the head of talent lifecycle over at Wealthy Erica marine Carter. Erica, welcome to the podcast. How the heck are you today?

Erica Carder 1:09
Thank you for having me. I am doing swell today. It’s beautiful out and I’m excited to be here.

Rob Stevenson 1:14
You’re in an uncharacteristically cloudy but still beautiful San Diego. It sounds like is that right?

Erica Carder 1:20
I am. I’ve never been to San Diego before today. So it’s really exciting to actually see the city and how warm the climate is. Coming from New York, it was a little human, a little bit rainy. So here it’s just beautiful. Even with the clouds in the air, can’t beat it. Love it.

Rob Stevenson 1:37
And you’re in town for a conference, right?

Erica Carder 1:39
I am I’m here for a TD it’s a learning and development conference.

Rob Stevenson 1:43
So what are you learning so far?

Erica Carder 1:45
So far, we’re focusing on leadership development training for our executive leaders, and then also our mid manager level, the mid manager level is really important, because that really affects the top down and down up approach and making sure that everyone feels comfortable with those managers that are currently in place.

Rob Stevenson 2:06
Got it. Now, the attendees at this event? Are they title wise? Are they kind of similar to you head of talent lifecycle? Are they recruiters heads of talent directors of recruitment? Or are they like l&d specific folks?

Erica Carder 2:18
I would say good 90% is probably l&d specific folks who are doing instructional design. And or they might be leading leadership development training programs out there places of work,

Rob Stevenson 2:31
those places of work at sounds have the privilege to have a dedicated l&d function, right. A lot of times, though, it seems at smaller to medium sized companies that often falls on the Talent Team.

Erica Carder 2:42
Yeah, I would say that the series A to about Series C, D ish. Usually that level of an organization or small to midsize business, they can’t necessarily afford an entire in house learning team. And there’s a lot of awesome software’s out there that can be implemented, to really gear what you want your employees to be learning about whether it’s leadership, conflict resolution, how to communicate better. So that’s the nice thing about if you are in that smaller arena, there are a lot of tools out there, some less expensive than others, but you do have to invest in those tools or within a team to really see a return on investment for employee engagement at the end of the day.

Rob Stevenson 3:34
Yeah, that makes sense. And this is all part and parcel. I think the plight of the talent pro at a smaller company is that you wind up taking on lots of other roles. Often you’re the recruiter, but also the recruiting coordinator, but also the head of talent, but also HR person in your case you have taken on l&d as well. And it’s because it’s not your explicit function, but it does affect your ability to do your job. So I can see why folks do seek it out. We’ll get to that we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Erica, let’s just because I’m excited to talk to you. Before we get into all that stuff. Let’s get to know you. Would you mind sharing a little bit about your background and how you wound up at wealthy?

Erica Carder 4:11
Sure. So if you ask me straight out of college, did I think that I was going to make it to recruitment or H any HR function, I probably thought you would be crazy. In HR in general, I think that the path is never straight for most people. Most people don’t go to a university to really study HR concepts. What most people do is they get involved in it from the roles that they’re in, and then they move into a more HR function because they see the importance of it. For me my path actually started in process improvement length sigma. I was helping a hospital kind of build their consults center and making sure that patients were getting to all their appointments in one day. So these were usually patients that were transplant patients that had to see maybe six to nine doctors. And we had to make sure that the flow was moving correctly. What I realized from that experience is in any organization, there is a need to understand how to build a process and how to execute it. From there, I had this real interest in quality. I really loved putting the processes in place. But I wanted to make sure that there was a quality effect in order to make sure that the patients were having this great experience coming in, and that we were meeting all the guidelines that were set up for us from agencies like CMS. From there, what really happened was my trajectory into EHR, I moved into more of a manager position, and I dealt with a lot of medical affairs and credentialing. And in that is where I learned more about recruitment more about HR policies and the importance of it when bringing someone on to an organization and then following them through especially their first year. After a while, I got sick of working for a large corporation and working for a hospital center. And I really wanted to get into tech, and I found a wonderful startup vaults. And I came in to do more of office management policy processes, because I had that background from the hospital. And that’s really where I started to develop an HR department and HR function from creating and helping with an employee handbook all the way to making sure that we had a recruitment team that was able to hire within a 30 to 60 day timeline, because we were constantly growing, especially during COVID. And we had to make sure that we were really agile, bringing back those process improvement ideologies that I learned at the beginning of my career. After being at fault, I really wanted to work for a company that was more mission driven in the sense that I related to it. I had an experience where I took care of my grandfather right after college. And it was, it really opened me up to where I realize the importance of being a caregiver and how hard it was to navigate an arena that I really knew nothing about when it came to medications and doctor’s appointments, and just taking care of another individual. And when I found wealthy, I knew that this was the place that I wanted to be. And this is really where I wanted to help set up additional processes similar to what I did at vault, but focus it more on one area, whereas vault I was encompassing over many areas of HR. So I got to focus more generally on recruiting and building a recruiting pipeline, but also a recruiting process where we had a high touch candidate experience. So candidates really understood the value of what wealthy brought, but we also understood why they were so engulfed in our mission from at the beginning of when they started to come through the journey.

Rob Stevenson 8:25
So it sounds like even in disparate kinds of roles, you’ve had this interest in what it meant to work at a company even after day one, so I can see why like the l&d stuff that talent lifecycle that’s in your title has stuck with you. Is that been a deliberate thing? Or has that been like, needs musts you kind of were forced to do it or have you gravitated towards it,

Erica Carder 8:46
it’s more of what I’ve gravitated towards, I didn’t start by telling you that I actually went to graduate school for curriculum planning. And then I realized, I don’t like to work with children personally. So it was not necessarily an area that I felt that I would flourish and grow. So I think my desire to make sure that people are educated in the arena, that they’re going into work, but also have the opportunities to grow while they’re with the company, because you don’t want to be stagnant. And if you have employees that are stagnant, guess what, they’re not going to be engaged. And if they’re not engaged, then you’re kind of going through a full cycle of not having someone stay with a company long, because they’re just kind of there to collect a paycheck. And so for me, what was more important is building a roadmap, that when we find someone that’s an excellent candidate, really figuring out how are we going to utilize the skills of today have what we need, but what other skills can we leverage in a year from now two years from now? What projects Could they potentially be on? And what is really their growth path within the organization, especially at a startup level? As you begin to grow out and realize more functions that you need? Internally, there are people there that have those skill sets? And how do you really foster, making sure that they have the background knowledge, as well as the ongoing knowledge to take that organization to the next level?

Rob Stevenson 10:29
So you mentioned a moment ago, the type of worker who is maybe just cashing a paycheck or not feeling super connected to the company, beyond getting the paycheck, however, that person could still be delivering at a high level, I can imagine that person thinking like, you know, what, do I love working here? No, but I log in on time I get to work on time I do my job, I go to my meetings, I’m fulfilling everything that’s asked to me. In that event, or that person is disengaged, but also delivering at a high level? How do you suss out that they’re disengaged.

Erica Carder 11:00
So I think there’s a mix, you can be disengaged at different items of a company. So it could be you might meet your milestones, but you’re not necessarily making the salary you think you deserve. Or you could have a manager who’s not supporting your growth and where you want to go. There are times in people’s lives where there’s so many things going on in their personal life, that their work life, they’re kind of just trying to get by, in order to just keep their job, but they’re not necessarily participating in one to ones at the level that they should be. They’re not thinking about, like, what is my next move. And unfortunately, even if somebody is a high potential learner, as a manager, if you feel that they’re just hitting their milestones, but they’re not looking to do anything else, you need to figure out what are they looking to do in the future, because they’re going to start to get bored. And that person who is really doing amazing work, but not really like loving the company, you have to identify why. And once you figure out the why, and you ask yourself, Okay, why are they not necessarily participating in other areas? After you find that, why you have to ask the next why of why would they not want to work with their teams to build out another project? And then from there identifying where the disengagement lies in order to really figure out how do you bring that person back into the organization? Or are they at the point where they’re kind of ready to move on, even if there are high achiever, because you want people that want to stay long term with a company, which with my generation, especially, it’s a two year three year period, and then you jump, but you want to try to keep somebody engaged, you want to try to figure out what their evolution is. Because if they don’t have that, even as a high achieving individual where they’re meeting their milestones, at some point, they’re going to stop, and they’re going to start looking. So you have to figure out that why ahead of time.

Rob Stevenson 13:16
When you hone in on that. Why is there an answer to that question? Where it’s like, you know what, it’s fine. Like you said, Oh, that they are just have things going on in their personal life. Or maybe they just love being in this role. They don’t really need anything else. In addition to work like this is exactly what they want from a job at this point. Is there a version of someone doing their job, but reads as disengaged where you’re like, it’s okay, we don’t need to offer them other leadership or development opportunities, we can just let them tread water.

Erica Carder 13:46
No, because once you start letting them tread water, they’re going to infiltrate in through the organization. So once one person becomes that vote sinker, in a way where they’re kind of getting disengaged, they’re not as much enjoying not only their work, but the environment that they work in, those that they consider like their best friends at work, you then have to kind of worry about what they’re actually telling those individuals. And if they’re starting to disengage them as well. So it’s almost like a domino effect that can happen, especially if your teams are small, because they’re constantly talking to each other about issues that they’re having. So somebody’s just coming to work to just do the work and just leave, that’s fine. But at the same time, that person is probably going to push others to say, Well, why are you doing more? Like what are you getting that is really helping you too, want to do more? Like I just meet my metrics and I leave and that’s going to affect others at the end of the day. And that’s really not what you want at an organization. You want people who to value the work that they’re doing, they want to not not, they don’t have to want to grow into a better position. But there’s always an area that they need to grow as an individual. So if somebody stops growing as an individual, and I want to make sure that’s clear, because there is two different points, there’s somebody who’s looking for the promotions, and then there is the person that needs to grow individually. Because if you stop growing individually, you’re not going to want to be there because you’ve hit your milestones of what you needed. And it’s now like, Okay, I’m doing really good work, I probably can go somewhere else that’s either going to pay me the same amount or more, or I am not being challenged. And if I’m not being challenged, what am I really doing here? Do I really just want to be complacent? And that’s what you have to kind of look at is, what how is that person then going to affect others?

Rob Stevenson 15:58
Yeah. And I think it’s worth calling out wealthy’s company values, in this case, in this sort of hypothetical, because I’m assuming on your in job descriptions and interview process, that’s part of it, where you’re like, Look, these are the base expectations of the role. But we want people who are also XYZ, who are also helping out their co workers who are also looking for opportunities to make their boss’s life easier, or to develop and grow and change that part of it is a job requirement. It’s not just like, the metrics that you’re gold on that you are you’re delivering against the with the work being put in front of you by your boss, there’s also this other piece of it, presumably that was communicated in the interview process. Is that right?

Erica Carder 16:37
Yeah, it is. And I wouldn’t just say it’s just towards wealthy, I think it’s most organizations that you go to work for there is like a core mission and values, that you do want to make sure that your candidates and then your future employees really have and that they also feel strongly about those values. Because if they don’t, you’re not going to get referrals, they’re not going to tell other people about your product, when they go out. They are your best salespeople, because they’re going to really push the product in front of their friends and families or whomever they mean, mete out and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to do my own elevator speech when somebody’s like, oh, what does your company do? And you don’t want an employee to just sit there and be like, Oh, well, we do caregiving, you want them to have a passion of what their their work is doing and how it’s affecting the company’s end goal. And you want to be able to have them really ignite this passion for the work. Because it doesn’t matter. If you are a data auditor, you’re a customer service representative, you’re in HR, every role is crucial to a business. And if those individuals don’t have those values that we need them to have, most likely they’re either going to leave within the first year, or what’s going to happen is they’re going to get disengaged, or they’re not going to be the right fit for the organization in terms of our culture, and where we’re actually striving to.

Rob Stevenson 18:24
Okay, yeah, I’m glad you you distinguish that because as I was kind of formulating the question a moment ago, I was thinking, Well, look, isn’t someone who shows up? And does the job in front of them? Isn’t that being a good, a good little employee? And I guess it’s worth calling back to like, look, there’s all these other things that make someone a good employee. And you would need to reflect to that person like, Look, if you only want to do the work immediately put in front of you and not do the other things. That’s not everything that makes you a really good employee. That’s not everything that we’re asking of you. And so that is your like, your motivation, then there’s other companies that will not be as concerned whether you’re generating referrals, for example, right?

Erica Carder 19:01
Yeah, I think there’s two parts to that part as well. Like you want someone to be your sales person, especially when you’re a smaller organization, you want people to like say how amazing the benefits are, how amazing the culture is, how great their manager is, because their managers went through a lot of training that prepared them to be a manager.

Rob Stevenson 19:25
Look, doing the work in front of you is not the whole job at a company like wealthy right?

Erica Carder 19:29
It’s not just the job at Wealthy I think, anywhere you go even a large corporation, you want to be able to really propel others to want to work for the organization. And you do that in so many different ways, whether you’re wearing the swag or you’re talking about what the company does or what you do in order to kind of leverage your networking. So I think In general, we want individuals who are really going to not only just come to do their job, but they want to do better. And they want to learn, because that’s really I think, what distinguishes someone from just hey, I’m here to collect a paycheck to this is a skill set that I’m really good at. But there is another skill set that I need to develop within myself. And I think that this organization can help me to do it.

Rob Stevenson 20:33
The water treading employee that we keep that this persona, though, we keep mentioning, I feel like it’s been enabled by remote work, it’s a little bit easier to be disengaged, one, you can kind of fly under the radar when you’re not in person, it’s easier to get a mask your disengagement, but also the format of you as an employee of you being remote of every coworker just being a tile on your screen, not being in an office not being around people, I can see how it that disengages people as well. So how are you meeting that? How are you kind of meeting the challenge of keeping people engaged in a remote way?

Erica Carder 21:06
So I think that when you look at engagement as a whole, there are multiple things that you have to consider. First, what’s the baseline of the whole organization? Where are your employees currently? And then what are the outcomes that you want to really drive as an organization towards engagement, the one thing that COVID gave us is remote work. And it gave us the ability to kind of balance that work life balance a little bit more, especially somebody who has kids myself, you’re constantly pulled in both directions. And for engagement, whether you’re a Gen Z to a baby boomer, there’s going to be different things that you are going to want. And as an organization to kind of flip the question a little bit, you need to figure out what those employees need. Sometimes engagement can be related to just feeling heard, feeling that their feedback is taken. Others can need a full growth path where they understand like, here is where I am today, I came in at this entry level job. And I need to know what my five year plan potentially could be at this organization. And if there is not a five year plan, what do I need to do? It can also be in terms of engagement, just someone who wants to connect. So if you’re offering a lot of meetings by zoom, or team outings that are done via zoom, using games, like you can get those individuals to engage in that way. So I think when you think about engagement, it’s not like a one strategy fits every employee that you have, you have to have multiple strategies where people feel like they are part of a workforce that’s working together and collaborating. But to find out what that actually means. You have to figure out what your employees actually define as engagement at the beginning.

Rob Stevenson 23:17
Yeah, that goes back to what you said a moment ago also about like, if someone is disengaged, find out why. What does engagement mean to them? What are they not getting that they could be that could make them engaged with what their expectations of the role that aren’t being met? This is up to hiring managers to be surfacing this stuff in one on ones, but often they’re bad at it, which is why like, l&d exists as his own department. So what do you think is recruitments role in this part of it? This is what I was kind of getting at in the beginning of our chat when I was like, Look, this is stuff that affects your ability to do your role, because if someone’s disengaged at work, they leave and now you as the recruiter are back, right where you started filling their role. But it’s also like, you’re not gold on that you’ve got roles to fill in front of you. So what do you think is recruitments responsibility in this stage of the lifecycle?

Erica Carder 24:04
So I think recruitment actually pays a large portion of where a candidate’s journey is really going to start and end. When we’re asking questions, you get an idea of what’s really important to that candidate. And you also get an idea of where potentially do they have downfalls there is no perfect candidate, when a whole hiring team gives someone a strong, yes, you still have to identify what are the weaknesses that this person has? Because that’s where you’re really going to start to build that growth path for that individual at the organization. They are not going to be perfect at everything and if they are, are they too perfect for this role. If they’re too perfect for the role, it means that they have done everything that you’re looking for them to do. But when you look for them to actually move it to the next level, so as the role changes, because every role evolves, they may not be able to actually meet the demands of that ever changing role now, because they only know how to do that one portion that they do to perfection in what your mind might be as a hiring manager, or what the candidates mind might be as their strengths, and they don’t want to work on any other weaknesses. So we’re recruitment comes back into this is one, you have to ask questions that are not only going to tell you how someone has done the role in the past, but also challenge them in the sense of what would you have done differently? And understanding that piece is going to help your hiring team understand what that potential growth path is? I always like to ask candidates, where do you see yourself in five years, I’m not looking for them, say I’m looking to be at your company, I’m looking to grow X, Y, Z skills is really what I’m looking for. Because that tells me that they don’t just want to be good at one thing. They want to be good at a lot of different things. And they have the ability to change and adapt. And with a smaller organization as I was at vault or here, you want somebody who’s constantly adapting constantly evolving. And that’s where recruitments kind of identifying is this, someone who can adapt and evolve, because that’s somebody who’s going to not only be engaged, but they’re also going to be looking for other opportunities down the line as the company expands to grow into, I think I answered your question. But if I didn’t, I’m happy to go back and answer any additional pieces there

Rob Stevenson 27:03
that you definitely did. Erica, where do you want to be in five years?

Erica Carder 27:06
Where do I want to be in five years? That is a great question. So I feel that on recruitments, and of developing processes, I’ve done an amazing job there. If I was to do anything in five years, I really want to build an organization, to the point where I feel that our employee Net Promoter Score really aligns with where our employees are. So we’re really always changing our approach to making sure that anyone that we’re working with, we’re looking at how can we make them better people, not just better employees, because I know for myself, I want to grow, I want to change. I also want to see that in not only the people that I supervise, but every one that I work with, and I want to know that I helped to develop an HR department that really strived on making people better, rather than just completing annual performance reviews, doing pips, trying to weed out people. It’s identifying who those people are upfront, and then helping them to grow.

Rob Stevenson 28:28
I love it. I love that trajectory. And I want it for you so that Erica, I hope those dreams come true for you. We are creeping up on optimal podcast length here so we have to wind down but this has been such a great chat. Erica, thank you for being here and for sharing your experience. I’ve loved learning from you today.

Erica Carder 28:44
Thanks I really enjoyed being here as well.

Rob Stevenson 28:46
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