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Inside Recruitment Marketing Podcast: Diversity and Inclusion in the Modern Workforce

SmartDreamers Team
13 min. read

Diversity and inclusion are the two hot subjects in the world of recruitment, but can new technology and automation help make recruitment more inclusive? Enrique Rubio, the founder of Hacking HR, brings his great ideas to the Inside Recruitment Marketing Podcast. Learn more about the strategies companies can use to increase and diversify their candidate pools. Just hit play to get started!



Listen on SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts or Anchor.

Tell us a little bit about you and Hacking HR and what inspired you to launch Hacking HR.


Absolutely. Well, I think the complexity of the things that we're dealing with in the world right now is increasing. We think that it's very difficult to comprehend all the things that are happening on the base of which they are happening and that base, that complexity, the chaos, the volatility of all the things is only going to increase. And in my view, it is fundamental to be able to thrive and even survive in the new world of work, that we get together as a global community to support each other, to learn from each other, to collaborate and even to challenge each other to remain relevant, thriving and succeeding in this new world of work.


The main idea behind Hacking HR is building a global network of HR people or those who work with people for people to get together regularly to learn from each other and continue remaining relevant in this new reality of work. So the main driver of Hacking HR is building a global community and the second driver is the idea that we need to inform the HR community that to do good HR work we need to know way more than just HR. We need to manage several things that are what I call known HR stuff. We talk about digital transformation, emerging technologies innovation, design thinking, agility and even diversity and inclusion which it's a very important thing that maybe hasn't been on the radar of HR for a long period.


So that's what we're doing with Hacking HR. I am an electronic engineer and I worked in telecommunications for about 10 years before switching to HR. I've been in HR for 10 years now and I think we need to bring back the very original idea of Hacking HR - to bring together the world of technology and the world of HR. But of course, that idea evolved now into becoming a global community of leaders, practitioners, CEOs, HR people to learn from each other and to well build this community.


You've mentioned technology and how you know technology is changing HR but you also talk a lot about the future of work and how technology is sort of driving this transformation of the workplace. What do you see is the real future of work?


The future of work that I'm hoping for and that a lot of people are rooting for is a future of work where technology takes over the manual transactional administrative work that we've been doing for such a long period and for which we humans are not good for and we start refocusing on what's intrinsically human. And then we let technology do the annoying chores you know day to day kind of step by step processes that we have been running. But as I said before we're not good at. Let me give you one example of that. Analyzing data on the spreadsheets. Technology can do that whereas we can focus on making sense of that data and informing our leaders on what that data can imply for the business, for people who work for that organization.


Another idea is we listen to the HR world. You get a lot of people asking you questions that require you to call back and you go into files and review information and policies. With machines, with technology, we can do that in seconds whereas we humans can focus on building the relationships. The future of work that I see is a future of work where we humans are working side by side technology and to do that we're going to need a new set of skills that we don't have today.


So let me give you one example of that. In 2015, Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell, was asked what he considers to be the most important skill for the CEOs of the future. He said without a doubt that is curiosity. So if you think about it curiosity is an intrinsically human capability and intrinsically human skill. But we have forgotten how to be curious. We have forgotten how to ask questions. We have forgotten how to reward curious people who challenge this out of school and how to ask the kind of questions that can drive more innovation, more ideas, more creativity.


So, I see a future where technology is taking over the more mundane transactional administrative activities and all humans be humans, being good at what we have always been good at - building relationships, being creative, being curious, using our imagination and empathy of course which is fundamental in all this transformation process that we're going through right now.


What do you see as the future of hiring and how HR leaders and recruitment professionals are going to deal with looking for these different set of skills?


That's a great question and I think recruiters have like many other fields of expertise the unique opportunity to revamp and redefine the way we do recruitment right now. What happens with recruitment like many older traditional HR functions, we have been so used to doing things in one way that we forgot that there are so many other ways to do things because we're still focused on that one thing, make it better, but within the box, you know what I mean it's like you always change things but always within the same mindset.


In the future, the newer generations are not going to school. And the reason why they are not going to go to school is because schools are slow, they are expensive, the newer generations don't want to get into thousands of thousands of dollars of loans to go to school and honestly very often you can learn I'm not gonna say the same level that you learn in school but you can learn great skills by watching YouTube videos or by going to online courses. So if you think about recruitment, as recruiters we have to think together with the rest of the functions whether it makes sense to continue hiring people that come from renowned schools. I'm not making a judgment call here. I don't say what's right and what's wrong. What I'm saying is for your function, for your industry, for your company, does it make sense to continue trying to find the people that come from the best schools instead of those who have done great work even though they don't have a formal diploma from a school. So if that is seen, recruitment is one in which recruiters will start seeing all the trends that are shaping the new world of work and they will start transforming the recruitment practices that they have in place. One of them as I said before is looking at the schools and another one is the way we sort candidates and bring candidates on board.


So right now technology allows organizations to filter out candidates that may not have the right set of skills or capabilities that the company is needing. But at the same time once technology helps recruiters filtering that out, the role of the recruiter is to understand whether the person that is being interviewed or that is a potential candidate can bring value to the organization. And this is important because I'm saying bringing value to the organization, not becoming a cultural fit for the organization or a technical fit but bringing value which sometimes implies that you may not be the best technical fit or the best cultural fit but that you have the organization transform itself to do more things and to do better things.


I think the role of recruitment would be extremely important but not from the transactional day to day recruiting operation but from the perspective of how we look at all the trends that are transforming the future of work and how can we transform our recruitment function to be better, more aligned with technology and more aligned with a new kind of reality of work.


You also mentioned that diversity and inclusion are incredibly important. Could you talk a little bit about that and how that might fit in with what you just noted about the way recruiters are going to have to start looking for candidates who fit a little bit differently than the conventional sort of perspective?


Absolutely. And that implies, for example, it's extremely discriminatory when companies and recruiters only look at people who come from Ivy League schools and it's discriminatory not only because you've taken out of the equation the overwhelming majority of all the other schools that are not Ivy League schools. So in the role of recruitment one of the main things that recruiters have to do is truly understanding where their business and their industries are going. What trends that affecting those business goals, what those trends are and then transforming what they are looking at when they are trying to recruit people.


Because as I mentioned before maybe somebody from an Ivy League school is not the best candidate for what you're looking for. Maybe you need somebody from another kind of school or maybe somebody who hasn't been a school at all. So this part of the thinking about diversity and inclusion I'm talking about is beyond just the gender spectrum which is what we normally talk about. We normally talk about diversity and inclusion as being something related to gender. And it's not that it's gender but it's also race, it's also background, economic level, nationality, it's several things. So recruiters have to do a better job to be more mindful when they think about diversity and inclusion but to do that they, of course, need to understand better what their business is about and where those businesses are going to and the trends that are affecting those business goals because otherwise, it's going to be impossible for them to recruit the right people.


Let's say that you are a company that is working with neuroscientists and you need to look into people who are neuroscientists. In that case, you may need to look into people you know have gone to school. It's because you don't want to have neuroscientists that learned how to be a neuroscientist just by watching a YouTube video. But if you're looking for a designer or if you're looking for a programmer, if you're looking for more technical work, customer experience or employee experience you may not need to have somebody from an Ivy League school or a famous school or an expensive school. But once again the cornerstone of all this mindful thinking about diversity and inclusion is first understanding where you are today as an organization, where you're going to and how you can build that diverse and inclusive pipeline. Otherwise, you won't be able to think whether one type of candidate, diverse or not, is going to be those who are going to be adding the most amount of value to your organization.

That sounds like a tall order for hiring managers and recruitment leaders. Are there any sort of technological tools, like artificial intelligence, that can help recruitment leaders to vet resumes better?


There are many tools, but for the sake of the community that I'm building, I'm always mindful not to name any because I don't want to be biassed towards someone. Our community is very diverse, members also come from competing companies, so I want to be mindful about that. But the bottom line here is that yes there are plenty of companies doing that. And one thing that I'm doing and that I am I'm inviting your listeners to pay attention to some of the things that we're doing next year with Hacking HR. We're gonna be doing a few things that will respond to your question more specifically and not just at a very high level that I'm saying right now. We're gonna be doing an HR tech startup week in which we're gonna be showcasing technology that precisely helps with what you just asked for.


Number two we're gonna be developing an online HR tech marketplace which will allow people from small, medium and big companies to come to that HR tech marketplace and see what's available to them. So we are building a tool that uses artificial intelligence to help with diversity and inclusion where you're going to input those keywords into our search engine and then you're going to find the companies that are doing that right now. In short, yes, there are plenty of companies that are doing that, they are not difficult to find but many companies are doing that.


The HR tech startup week is in February, correct?


That is correct. The HR tech startup week it's in February. Then we have coming up in March the HR Innovation and Future of Work Global Online Conference and Workshop which I'm hoping to become the largest online HR conference. Hopefully, we can bring 10.000 people for that one. So I'm inviting your listeners to join us. It's all free. It's all online and we're bringing an amazing panel of speakers an amazing agenda. Just keep an eye on HackingHR.io because we have there all the events that we're doing.

It sound's like you have quite a lot going on in the next few months. Anything else going on in the short term that you might like to invite our listeners to participate in?


We are going to have a reskilling and upskilling global conference and we are going to be talking about how to reskill ourselves, our workforce and our organizations. Is going to be a one-day online free conference. People can go to Hacking HR to sign up for that conference and we're bringing an incredible group of speakers who have been working on this area for quite a long time.


Skills right now have a very short shelf life and people say that every five years we're going to be changing between 30% to 40% of our skills. Imagine that every five years you are learning and relearning almost half of these you know. That doesn't mean that you will forget what you learned before because everything that we learn throughout our life and our careers contributes somehow to what we're going to be doing next. But what we know today and the skills that we have are not going to be enough for the kind of jobs and challenges that we're going to need in the future.


There was a research that said by the year 2030, 85% of the new jobs that will be created do not exist today. And what that means is that we may need several skills that we don't even know what they are today. What's important is to have the mindset that we have to learn all the time and this is something that concerns me about HR because we think that only by getting a certification or going to one conference is enough for us to remain relevant. And it is not.

You've talked a lot about creating a new value proposition for HR. How would you define that?


I think to me this new value proposition for HR has four elements. These four elements are not new, are things that are becoming more relevant than ever before.


The first principle is of course people. We in HR have not been focusing on people, we have been focusing on processes and systems. And this is what's funny about all this we think or a lot of people think that HR has been for the business and not for the people which is not true either. If HR was for the business, businesses we're not disgruntled or disappointed at the work of HR. So the reality is that we have been so much focused on running processes running systems, enforcing rules that we have forgotten that we have a business or an organization and a group of people that we need to serve.


The principle number one or the value no one is focusing on people, the value number two is aligning with business strategy. The ultimate goal of HR is to ensure the long term sustainability of the organization and to do that we work with people and we work with business leaders but we need to understand what the business goals are.


Principle number three is becoming agile. I don't think there's any function as a stale and slow and bureaucratic as HR and don't get me wrong I love HR and I love working for HR but this is a kind of though love that we need to talk about because as long as we keep telling ourselves that we're doing a good job we are going to miss the biggest opportunities to change and to add more value. We are not doing the best job, we can do way better but we're not. So this principle of being agile means that we need to embrace that we live in the chaotic, volatile, very fast-moving world and very often the processes that we have in place do not fit into this new reality. But what's even more important is that even if we revamp our processes we need to build-in the tools within that process to revamp it and renew it when it's time to do it because things change so fast today that we can't sit idly in the corner waiting for things to happen or we can expect from our processes to deliver value for a long period because things change too fast.


The last principle is leveraging technology and what that means is that all companies today no matter what they do are technology companies. Whether we want to accept that as a reality or not that's a different thing. But every company from the guy who's selling falafel on the corner of New York to the guy who's doing the most advanced rocket science to take humans to Mars, all companies today are technology companies because somehow we use technology for everything. So we need to leverage technology to become more effective to become more productive. And once again the future of humanity is effective work side by side technology. If we in HR can effectively use technology to solve some of the most mundane transactional, step by step processes then we're going to have the opportunity to stop doing what doesn't add value and instead focus on what truly adds value.

Thank you so much for being here with us today. Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share with our listeners before we sign off?


I always say three things. Number one is learn. Number two is to be part of something. Join something where you can learn. And number three is take action. You know don't seat waiting for things to happen to you. Especially if you're HR person because this won't happen to you anymore. The times when companies would invest in people as the only way for people to develop or grow those times are gone.


Now it's a very self-driven world, so learn, take action, be part of something.

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