VOICES: Culture, the New Discrimination?


Robert Ruff joins The Chad & Cheese for another VOICES episode where they spin through topics like:

- Gaming the system with the Gig Economy

- Culture, the new Discrimination

- The 10x Rule for Work

Enjoy this Voices Series podcast from The Chad & Cheese - HR's Most Dangerous Podcast.​

PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:

Disability Solutions connects jobseekers with disabilities with employers who value diversity and inclusion.

Voice Intro:

Voices. We hear them every day. Some voices, like mine, are smooth and comforting. While on the other hand, The Chad and Cheese Podcast is like listening to a Nickelback album. You'd rather stab yourself in the ears with an ice pick. Anyway, you're now listening to Voices, a podcast series from Chad and Cheese that features the most important and influential voices within the recruitment industry. Try not to fuck it up boys.

Intro:

Hide your kids, lock the doors. You're listening to HRS most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls its time for the Chad and Cheese Podcast.

Chad:

Welcome back. We're picking the conversation back up with Robert Ruff, president of Sovren, industry veteran and all around smart dude.

Joel:

How does that shake out, Robert? Is there one major player for all jobs because it's very fragmented now, right? And you know Uber lost a billion plus dollars last quarter. How are they going to be profitable? Is anybody going to make money in this business from the gig economy perspective? What does this look like in five years?

Robert:

So I'm not a big proponent of the gig economy. I think the gig economy is just another exploitation of a kind of a desperate and dispossess class in general. Now, having said that, that doesn't mean that if you're driving for Uber there's something wrong with you or blah,

blah, blah. I mean, there's a lot of people that do it and are big advocates of it.

Robert:

But in general, the driver behind it is we don't know your benefits, we don't know your retirement, we can play games in some cases with the rules and how we pay you.

Joel:

They do in California. They're trying, yeah.

Robert:

Yeah, they're trying to crack down on that, but you'll notice that the day after they pass that law, Uber announced that they were not a transportation company. They were an operating system for life to try to redefine themselves out of the tentacles of the law that was passed.

Joel:

Yep.

Chad:

Have you seen Uber Works? Because what they're doing is trying to be just the apparatus for hiring through staffing.

Robert:

Correct.

Chad:

I mean, that's it. They want to get their way out of the actual human part where they actually have to treat people like people.

Robert:

So I think at the gig economy level, at the "can you show up tomorrow for a physical labor type of job" level that there is a lot of use for systems that will replace application systems.

Robert:

So a video interviewing system, which is essentially just asking you the information that would be on an application. Which I am a big proponent of that and here's why. There's a lot of people that aren't fluent enough or literate enough, let's just say literate enough, to fill out a written application in any language. It doesn't mean that they shouldn't have a job and couldn't do a great job. It just means they can't get over the application process.

Robert:

So to have a oral, chat bot interview process or whatever that is that's AI...

Joel:

A robot.

Robert:

Yeah, a robot doing that is fine for those shops. But please do not try to convince us that that is also going to replace hiring for CEOs, mid-level managers. That's just nonsense.

Joel:

Yeah.

Robert:

So when we talk about HR is being revolutionized or disrupted, which my least favorite word on earth, we forget that there's no such thing as HR. HR where? Right? So that's like the whole thing that we talk about about corporate culture. I don't believe that there is a corporate culture. I believe that your accounting department has an accounting department culture.

Robert:

I believe that your engineers over in the engineering department have their own culture and I don't believe those cultures are the same. I don't believe an accountant going and sitting with the engineers for a day, would feel like, "well this feels just like my job over there." They was be like, "wow, everything about this feels different." Right?

Robert:

So this whole idea of corporate culture as being a monolithic thing that people need to fit into. I think it's just another way to discriminate against people. Let's just say I test you and I feel like you're very extroverted and you have these following traits.

Robert:

Surely, in most companies there is a job where that is needed. Why are we trying to apply those traits as a filter for like, "oh, you don't actually fit the overall profile of the corporate culture." That's just some silly average, which obscures the fact that there's a tremendous amount of difference underneath it.

Chad:

But wouldn't you agree that, I don't want to use the word culture, some companies, their purpose is much different? And to be passionate about that specific purpose, not everybody is.

Chad:

So if you're just looking for a job and you're not passionate about building widgets or what have you, then you probably shouldn't apply, but people are going to anyway. Don't you think that is a fair assessment, somebody who really wants to dedicate their life to doing widget building?

Robert:

No, because I think you're confusing the job that you identify with that company, with the jobs the company has. So let's just say you work for Tesla. Yeah, there's a lot of people there that have this passion about changing the world and getting rid of carbon-based transportation systems and stuff like that. But there's also a lot of people there that are doing facilities maintenance that all they really care about is facility maintenance. They don't have to buy into the overall vision of the company. They're not actually changing. They don't need to fit into that quote, "vision and culture" in order to be a valuable part of that company. There is a slot for everybody if we'll just quit pretending that everybody needs to fit into one monolithic culture.

Joel:

And do companies that have that goal, are they making a mistake? We talked to quite a few chief-whatever officers that talk about "what is your why," like what is your company purpose. And if a person doesn't fit into that, they don't get hired.

Joel:

So is your sort of theory that companies are overthinking culture and overthinking their "why" when they shouldn't be, they should just be hiring people that can do the job?

Robert:

So yeah, I would agree with that. I think that they are really just in a news form of hire people like me that I'm comfortable with. And let's admit that your culture may be great, but it might be able to be much greater. Your culture may be great today and completely inappropriate tomorrow.

Robert:

So I think what we're doing is we're building in the future to look like the past by too much of this, analyze who we are today and cement that into what we're going to be tomorrow.

Joel:

Interesting. And how does the hiring of robots impact so much of that? Like Chad and I talked about a story. How many workers at Amazon, Chad? 100,000 they're going to hire in the next three months or something.

Chad: