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Gerry Tales IV (Gerrymandering)

Gerry Tales with industry icon Gerry Crispin was off-the-chain, and this is Part IV of our interview on all-things-recruiting. Enjoy, get smarter and show exclusive sponsor Nexxt some love.


Chad: Welcome to Volume 4 of Gerry Tales. Joel and I sat down with Gerry Crispin for over an hour and a half and talked history, now and future state of the recruiting industry. This is the fourth installment of our Gerry Crispin series. Enjoy!

Chad: After a word from our sponsor.

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Chad: Hide your kids, lock the doors, you're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, rash opinion, and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese Podcast.

Joel: The growth of the gig economy. Your own opinion on that but also I know you talk to a lot of employers, particularly some big employers. Is the gig economy on their radar? Are they afraid of it? Are their companies embracing it? What's going on?

Gerry: I think that is an excellent question and the data that I would have and the conversations that I've had, because I do have a lot of conversations about this, are that large companies increasingly are recognizing that the gig economy is here. That it's active in their corporation, that they would estimate that something between ten and twenty percent of the people who are working and representing them as a company are probably in a gig situation.

Gerry: However, the majority of them would still admit that the control of the decisions around that are not in HR they are in procurement and they're in the throws. The transformation is both now are beginning to take a closer look at that because it does impact engagement, it does impact performance, it does impact a number of things. There are some jobs that will be much more amenable for gig work and there are other jobs that if you put gig workers in them you are potentially going to abuse them for a variety of weird kinds of reasons.

Gerry: An example that comes from history is that in the forty's and fifty's, there were some extraordinary problems with mining and the way the government dealt with that - a lot of people were dying in the mines because of safety issues. So to incent companies to participate in that, mining companies were forced to report on a regular basis every month the number of people who were hurt or died in mines. However, there a was a weird kind of thing about that. They only had to report full time worker injuries.

Chad: Oh, Jesus.

Gerry: So, what they did was they eliminated full-time workers and made them part-time workers.

Chad: Loop holes, man.

Gerry: And the reporting showed that mining injuries and deaths went down by enormous amounts and so the government thought wow there's a lot more safety being installed in mines. So, I use that as an example because it's so graphic, right? Think about this, we have laws in our country that have to do with when you need to give people benefits.

Chad: Right.

Gerry: And so you have to have so many hours before you get so much benefits.

Chad: Right.

Gerry: Some companies like Starbucks voluntarily give part-time workers full benefits.

Chad: Yeah.

Gerry: Which attracts a better class of worker, if you will.

Chad: Yep

Gerry: So we need to think about who should be a gig worker and who shouldn't and whether or not the company is benefiting in ways that they should not, or might actually abuse the workers themselves.

Chad: Well and I think today, I mean we're much more connected so back in the coal mining days there wasn't a message board or a platform for reviews of this employer on that sight. So, I think some of that abuse is definitely gonna go away because it's more transparent 'cause people are actually out there saying these guys are assholes. Here's the thing, and here's my question to you, Jerry. We just know a good friend of mine actually just started a position at Uber Works in Chicago so we see Uber Works is starting up and then we have other organizations that are freelance platforms, the snags of the world.

Gerry: Upwork

Chad: Communos, which are for creatives...

Gerry: CDP bought after market, as well.

Chad: Yeah, so we have all these, they're all coming out and because it is so much more of a transparent obviously market, if we do have some kind of universal health care system. Don't you think it makes it much easier for someone to be able to float from job to job and say whether they want to work for that company or not and know that they don't have to

Gerry: True

Chad: Go into an FTE type of position?

Gerry: Yes, for there's a whole group of people who enjoy it, are comfortable with it, et cetera. But, keep in mind there's also a strong percentage of people in our country who want the safety and security of a simple job that they can go to every day and at least pretend that they can go to it for the rest of their life. I'm not saying they should get it, I am saying that all of us are built a little different and I'm very comfortable not knowing where my next dollar is coming.

Chad: Yeah, but don't you think Uber and those types of platforms for somebody who wants to work part-time and wants to work when they wanna work, they can just pick up a phone and say okay I'm gonna go work at wherever I'm certified. I can just go ahead and pick up a shift and do that or drive my car.

Gerry: I'll bet, though that the most interesting persona within the uber community are people who are in fact working at a job, and picking up an Uber shift.

Chad: Side hustles.

Gerry: As a side hustle. So the side hustle person, who's a little more energetic in saying I need to make a little bit of extra money is really the persona for many of these gig works and I think that's really where the value is going to be, as opposed to the full-time piece.

Chad: Gotcha.

Gerry: The side hustle is the cool piece and I talk to Uber drivers on a regular basis and I say well who are you and they're typically students or a side hustle. I don't come across too many at all who are full-time Uber drivers.

Chad: Gotcha. I'm gonna do a little pivot and talk about diversity. I know that you guys on the diversity recruiting and sourcing side of the house, you definitely cover that and I guarantee you that your clients are wanting to talk to you about that. In my experience, whether it's Veteran hiring, or individuals with disabilities, or just really any diverse group I hear a lot of people talking about it. The problem is I don't see enough dollars and/or resources that are really earmarked for these types of programs to be able to create sustainable types of talent pipelines. What do you say? What kind of companies are really sticking out and do you think that this is going to be a trend that is just going to have to be the standard, or do you think it's just a lot of fluff?

Gerry: I think that there is a strong group of companies that go behind compliance right now, and have huge investment in insuring that the diversity of thought, diversity in every form is represented within their organization. The key here is that these are industry leading companies, these are successful companies, these are high brand companies, these are the companies that are out in the street, if you will, and known by organizations.

Chad: Gotcha.

Gerry: All right, so I'm differentiating and so my experience is because most of my members represent that. They are companies that hire probably more than five thousand people a year. They're companies that are probably close to, if not, the industry leader in their respective area. They are well-known companies within organizations, so they sense from a values point of view the criticality of that. And they are intent on improving, not all of them have figured out how to do it well.

Gerry: Let me give you one example of a trend that I think is happening among retail firms. Retail firms buy in large if you looked at their talent acquisition organizations they'd say oh we hire two hundred thousand people a year or we hire fifty thousand people a year, but I'm only responsible for corporate. We send information to the stores. They handle all of their hiring.

Chad: Yeah.

Gerry: We don't know what they do.

Chad: Right.

Gerry: Right?

Chad: Right.

Gerry: That would've been few years ago. Now, because of the data, they know what they do and you know what? They're not doing a good job at the stores.

Chad: Yeah

Gerry: And so, if you start looking at these big retail organizations, more and more of them are taking over the store hiring. Now that's not a simple issue.

Chad: No.

Gerry: But, I won't name the company, but two weeks ago we had an operations colloquium. We had a meeting, my meetings are fifty people or fewer from member companies and we had a presentation by a large retail organization and they gave a case study of last year, and this is the forth year that they have taken over centrally hiring all store employees. But last year they hired, and this is not the total amount of their hires, this is an expanding pilot if you will. Last year they hired fifty four thousand store employees with no recruiters and no hiring managers.

Chad: Yeah, high volume stuff, man.

Gerry: And they can measure that turnover is better, performance is approximately the same, however they define it. And other measures were the same. Their ROI was based on the fact that they were able to give back literally hundreds of thousands of hours back to the store hiring managers. Who now could spend time actually managing, rather than hiring.

Chad: Right.

Gerry: But, they also demonstrated significant shift in diversity.

Chad: Which way?

Gerry: So, there's some really strong evidence that a lot of corporations in the use of technology in the future that have sort of ignored the peripheral sides, but also the high volume sides of their organizations. Now they're coming back to more of a central approach to doing it well. So, practices and I will tell you in ever yo ne of my meetings during the course of the year, and I have one just about every month, there is a focus on diversity within it. So I don't have a meeting that specifically focuses on diversity, diversity is an intrical part of every subject and every topic that we deal with because that's our society from the United States. We recognize that, at least conceptually, our organizations ought to reflect a little bit of who we are as a society.

Chad: Was that mainly a platform that did that?

Gerry: No, that was cobbled together, you know again it's a tech stack and they're still experimenting with the tech stack. It's the biggest issue we have right now. Companies are just overwhelmed with the tens of thousands of TA point solutions platforms systems and other bullshit that's out there and how do you put pieces together when almost all of them overlap in weird ways. It's a fascinating problem that we're still going to be faced with for the next five to ten years.

Chad: Gotcha.

Joel: Gerry the jobs report came out today, and needless to say, things are good. Job growth is beating analyst estimates, we got wage growth, I mean things are good. Now, in your lifetime you've seen at least a handful of recessions, I'm assuming.

Gerry: Yes, I have.

Joel: What, if anything, is going to derail the good times, what does the next recession look like?

Gerry: I wish I could predict it because I could make a freaking' fortune doing that, right? Anybody who could actually predict when that recession's gonna come, can actually really do well.

Joel: So I'm hearing none of your members are expressing concern about global growth.

Gerry: No, no they're not. They're actually not and my experience is nobody ever gets it until it hits them and there's no evidence currently about that. I did think, and this was last year, was it last year? I'm sorry, it was the year before last, that it might trigger in 2018 and so I had an economist talk at one of our leadership meetings and he basically couldn't find anything in the future and I kept in touch with him and he still doesn't think he sees stuff in the next six months to a year.

Gerry: I have my own approach which is to go to SourceCon because I figure the first group of folks who are going to be cut will be sourcers. And if so I go to a room of five hundred sourcers and they're happy, that means somebody is giving them work that's going to take them six months. And if they're upset because they're being told there's no work beyond whatever, then I know they're starting to cut back. And so that has been my canary in the mind for a few years and kinda worked closed to 2007, kinda worked around 2001, as well which is the last time. We've had a long, long run. It's been slow, it has ups and downs in certain industries, but I have to say right now we are in a reasonable, still economy and everybody I know out there is attempting to hire, if not more, attempting to hire better and investing in talent acquisition.

Gerry: I don't see many people cutting at all.

Joel: Yeah, and it the next sourcing recession brought on by AI, as opposed to a bad economy?

Gerry: Yeah, or do we continue to evolve what the roles are in recruiting? I mean, if you look at the role of somebody in twenty years ago, what they did is nothing like what you see people doing today.

Chad: Keep an eye and ear out for Gerry Tales, coming soon. So wash out.

Tristen: Hi, I'm Tristen. Thanks for listening to my step-dad, the Chad, and his goofy friend Cheese. You've been listening to the Chad and Cheese Podcast. Make sure you subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don't miss out on all the knowledge dropping that's happening up in here.

Tristen: They made me say that.

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