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Ep5 - Moving Fast & Breaking Shit

Welcome back to VOICES w/ Amy Butchko SAIC's Director of Talent Acquisition Solutions. This is the final episode of this 5 part binge-able series. We pick up the conversation around a debate in HR about augmentation vs. robots enjoy.


- Augmentation over Robots

- Building Recruitment Teams

- Wage inequity solutions

- Moving Fast and Breaking Shit!

BINGE all 5 episodes with Amy

Amy (0s):

Where I just kind of imploded and just quit being effective at my job, because I was just like my attitude tanked. And I mean, just all the things that can happen when someone is burnt out, you know, you say the wrong thing in the wrong room.

Voices INTRO (18s):

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, y'all 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.

Chad (52s):

It's Chad again, welcome back to voices with Amy Butchko SAIC's, Director of Talent Acquisition Solutions. This is the final episode of this five-part bingeable series. We pick up the conversation around a debate in HR about augmentation versus robots. Enjoy.

Joel (1m 12s):

Your opinion on the robots is obviously pretty clear from this interview. Curious about your thoughts on if you're bearish on automation, where are you on augmentation? In other words, creating tools that help enhance a human being's ability to do something quicker, faster, more, you know, more, I dunno, deeper where they're going. Like I always think of a lot of the sourcing tools, the Seek Outs and the Hired tools, their success has been built on augmentation. So instead of you having to go out and search Google or whatever search engines, like they bring all the candidates into one place. So where are you on augmentation in the future of that?

Amy (1m 49s):

Bullish on augmentation, because it works. I mean, it works! So, let's break that down into like, what does that actually mean in the job? So back in the day, if you were a sourcer, which I was, you know, you had to know how to write a Boolean code string into your, you know, into whatever, you know, the kajillion browsers that you can, you know, use to go find your specialized people to do the stuff that you gotta do. And, you know, because Google does one thing and the other, you know, and they all do different things to keep you in their walled garden and keep search and their algorithm working their way.

Amy (2m 29s):

Right? So you had to know how all those different things worked and how to code your search. Just so, the software does that for you now. And it has completely transformed how efficient sourcing can be. You know, another example of where augmentation is effective is text messaging. So used to be, if you wanted to send text message, I'd pick up my phone, open my app, put your number, in type you a note, and wait for you to respond. Now I can do that at scale, I can send kajillions of text messages, to kajillions of people who have opted in to my system.

Joel (3m 13s):

That doesn't sound spammy at all.

Amy (3m 15s):

Well we don't actually do it because the kinds of candidates that we work with.

Joel (3m 17s):

I know I'm giving you shit. But when you say a kajillion that's a lot, but I guess,

Amy (3m 21s):

But it's augmentation, but I could do it.

Joel (3m 24s):


Amy (3m 24s):

And you know, and what we were talking about before with the chatbot thing I'm telling you, you can't do it. I'm gonna tell you what, like, that's probably not gonna work. This you could do it.

Joel (3m 35s):

So yay on terminate or no on Terminator. Yay. On Robocop. That's no Schwartzenegger, we're going Robocop.

Amy (3m 41s):

Robocop is the answer.

Joel (3m 43s):

I like it. We like to funnel everything to the eighties Amy, when we understand stuff.

Amy (3m 47s):

I don't understand anything before or after.

sfx (3m 50s):


Joel (3m 51s):

Oh shit, she just earned a second applause. Way to go Amy.

Chad (3m 57s):

Yes! Yes!

Joel (3m 58s):

Any pro '80s commentary gets an applause.

Chad (3m 60s):

So yeah. Now we've got to get into you know, the, shall we play a game kind of scenario. So the algorithms are generally trained off of humans, which are biased. Right? But yet we expect the algorithms not to be biased. Well, how have you seen just the conversation go around matching biased in the different algorithms that are out there for organizations like yours to find better quality candidates and not be a bunch of old white dudes.

Amy (4m 37s):

We don't use a lot of that.

Chad (4m 39s):

Okay. Is that because of the perspective, bias or what?

Amy (4m 43s):

Yeah. The potential for, you know, so I work in an environment that is very focused on like information security. And so one of the components of information security is identity. So anything that potentially breaches the identity of the individual is going to be questioned in our world. The search that we do is pretty careful, and we have a lot, we have humans doing it. So do we use the tools? Yes. Do we rely on those tools to handle every component of that search? No we do not.

Chad (5m 22s):

Right. So augmentation. Back to augmentation then?

Amy (5m 25s):

Yes, definitely back to augmentation.

Joel (5m 28s):

We briefly talked about scaling, scaling a company in terms of talent acquisition in a post pandemic world. Obviously there are new challenges in that. Have you, have you given much thought to that and how people should sort of rethink building an organization quickly in a post pandemic world, is, do things change much or do they change a lot or somewhere in the middle?

Amy (5m 51s):

Yeah, that's a good question. And I haven't thought about it specific to post pandemic, probably because I think talent acquisition to me, but to me, talent acquisition has always felt like a place where people come and go and it's, you know, COVID was a time when not a lot of people came or went, if you were, if you had a job, you could keep your job. If you can, you know, if your company downsized your recruiting department, then you know, I know that that was a gosh, the spring of 2020 was rough for a lot of people. And for us, we were able to retain and keep chugging along.

Amy (6m 35s):

Government contracting was pretty stable. So post pandemic, we have started to see an uptick in turnover, just like everyone else. And you know, some of that may have been, as I discussed, pent up, you know, might've left last year was thinking about making a change, blah, blah, blah. And some of it is because, you know, compensation is, you know, some of the offers are really good. I have been hearing things, you know, from some of my peers out there that are making me wonder, shouldn't my phone be ringing? I'm like, wait a minute. Cause there's some pretty nice and pretty sweet deals.

Amy (7m 16s):

But I think that for me, in terms of building a team and growing a team, we started this team three years ago and started kind of scaling it up around 2018. And now the team is much larger than it was, but that it feels to me right now, more like that building phase when we were starting from scratch. And it was like, wow, you know, I'm going to be interviewing all the time. I've gotta be always, you know, making sure that I'm taking care of my people that are here and, you know, and we do have a good emphasis here on what is our quality of work-life balance?

Amy (7m 58s):

What is the, you know, is it, how are we treating each other? How, what is the burnout level? How are we taking care of ourselves? And, you know, bringing that wellbeing work. So I think, you know, I think that that last part is new post COVID where that mindfulness of being human, that we're human, that part is kind of new, but the rest of it, you know, the, the growth and building something is familiar to me.

Chad (8m 27s):

When it comes to wage inequity, talent acquisition has a lot to do with that. HR has a lot to do with that because we're the ones actually pushing the deal across the table, for the most part. Right? How do we, and if you take a look at talent acquisition as a whole, and correct me if I'm wrong, it's a very female heavy department and/or industry. So why are women allowing other women to get shafted? And why has this happened for decades?

Joel (9m 0s):

And you thought this would all be softball questions.

Amy (9m 3s):

No, I know, I thought we'd be talking about robots and easy things.

Chad (9m 9s):

We already did that.

Joel (9m 10s):

Search queries.

Amy (9m 11s):

So a couple things on, you know, and this is just speaking strictly, this is just Amy. And this is as you indicate HR, not so much talent acquisition, though, I can say is not female dominated, right? Like there's a lot of men. I mean, we're currently I'm out numbered on this call.

Joel (9m 40s):

Not in IQ points, Amy, not in IQ points.

Amy (9m 43s):

Well, I, so I think that there's a couple things that are, that I would say that have to be addressed in this, around wage, around wages and around women, in particular. One is the historical pay gap, how much you make, when you start working largely sets, how much you will make forever, right? Because the increases that you get, the, the amount that you make, it can be set by that very first job, right? And often we know that women are paid less, but I also think that around that, you've got the fact that that pay is not transparent.

Amy (10m 31s):

And I actually, I saw an article. This doesn't have to do so much with women in particular, but the Wall Street Journal this past week had an article that was something like, there are companies out there who are apparently advertising their jobs, that they can be worked anywhere except Colorado and why is that? Because Colorado has a law that went into effect early 2021 that said that companies must post compensation for the jobs that are either remote can be worked anywhere or are based in Colorado. And so there are companies out there and by the way, SAIC complies, we post our compensation for jobs that can be worked in Colorado, or that are in Colorado.

Amy (11m 19s):

And we have both. So it was like, it was a huge hassle to like, make the change out from a technology perspective, like getting that fixed and, you know, so that it works. That was a thing. So the robot is helping us there. So point for the robot. But when you look at, you know, why would a company, like, what are we doing here? If we're keeping things in the black box where nobody can know what, like, I can't know what you make and you can't know when I make, you know, we just kind of have to guess. And a lot of times, you know, you're lucky you feel lucky to have a job. And so you're not necessarily going to want to rock the boat.

Amy (12m 2s):

And I think we know historically women also, you know, another statistic that you can go find them on the internet, but I don't, I can't remember who did the study, but you know, there was a study done where women will only apply to jobs where they feel they're a hundred percent qualified. Whereas a man, I can spell that, you know, I can, you know, I'll apply to that job. I mean, and sure, both people might be equally able to do the job, but the woman is more, is less likely to apply. And then if you think about that same mindset going into an offer negotiation, you know, if you put her back on her heels and be like, well, have you ever made a chat bot?

Amy (12m 45s):

And she'd be like, no, like maybe I should just take less money right, to do the job? Right. I mean, just think about it, right. As a person, you know, in the middle of a negotiation, what's going to happen to you. So last thing you know, around gender and pay is there is a, another known phenomenon where there's actually like a premium that happens when a profession is male dominated. And as soon as more women start to join a profession, the wages start to go down for everybody. And so, you know, and if you look at like teaching, right, potentially HR, I don't, I don't really, you know, right, like the wages start to go down, whereas male dominated professions or professions that are thought of as male dominated are, you know, can be more highly compensated.

Amy (13m 41s):

And this is just kind of how our brains work apparently. So

Joel (13m 46s):

You touched on how male and females view job descriptions differently. And there are a lot of solutions out there well-known, and startup that are trying to solve that problem of creating equality and job postings and the actual description. Has SAIC done anything in the past a few years to change how they do job descriptions? Are there solutions that you sort of rely on to help you do that? Do you find that effective? Because I think it's something that people just sort of, you know, copy and paste and we're done, but I think companies have to take more thought into what their job descriptions say because of these studies that are being done.

Joel (14m 27s):

What's sort of your take on that.

Amy (14m 28s):

Yeah. So we still mostly manage that with humans and we have looked at some of the solutions and have found them promising, but not, you know, I think you're getting into a place where the language of a job description, it's not standard, right? Like every job can be different. And so the software, when you have, you know, like right now, like we could probably have 1300 jobs open, you know, you can go look out on the internet and each one of them is different and software just, hasn't caught up to enterprise scale on that.

Amy (15m 9s):

So it kind of works, but, or we haven't gone forward with that type of a solution for that reason right now. Can't wait for them to get all the vendor pings.

Joel (15m 20s):

Yeah and I know we talked about jobs to web earlier, and how much does SEO come into play when you're writing description? Cause there's a certain amount of, I guess, maybe think like a search engine, but also think like a human being and how do you balance that or do you?

Amy (15m 37s):

We do so a couple things that we do is we do train our recruiters in the kinds of things, to like the do's and don'ts, especially with job titles where, you know, it can, you can break Google really quickly by, you know, sticking a bunch of acronyms into your job title and, you know, and Google goes what? And so we do train our recruiters to do better with that. And in terms of other mechanisms, we also use a little bit of automation with our advertising agency has the ability to do some sort of like AB testing and stuff with our jobs that are sponsored and we have pretty good results that way out of advertising, so there's another, you know, another point in the robot column,

Joel (16m 27s):

I think you're saying there's a lot of nuance in your job, Amy. There's a lot of nuance.

Amy (16m 33s):

There is. And that's part of what makes it interesting for me, as a human.

Joel (16m 37s):

And that's a point for the humans. Nuance.

Amy (16m 39s):

And that's a point for the humans. That's exactly right. Yeah. I don't think, I don't think that a robot could do my job yet.

Chad (16m 44s):

We actually had Tracy Lovejoy and Shannon Lucas on the show to talk about their book, Move Fast, Break Shit, and Burn Out. And it was centered on catalysts, pretty much, I would say a silo of individuals who do just that. They move incredibly fast, they break shit because they're moving so fast and then they burn out, right? And how to actually manage that. So I found it somewhat enlightening for myself to be able to have that conversation and almost feel like I found my people. You obviously gravitated to it as well. Why?

Amy (17m 21s):

Probably because ultimately I recognize the burnout cycle and I saw the, you know, it's almost like it can be manic, you know, when you're building something or when you have a concept or an idea that you're trying to bring to fruition and, you know, and I'm so fortunate with this role where I've been able to build things and build teams. But in my career and you know, now that you know that I'm an expert on the eighties, you know, that I didn't just start here. I've had some cycles where I just burnt out.

Amy (18m 2s):

And what ends up happening is there's a couple of ways that that's kind of manifested for me, you know, and one of them is, has been health problems. And the other one has been where I just kind of imploded and just quit being effective at my job because I was just like my attitude tanked. And I mean, just all the things that can happen when someone is burnt out, you know, you say the wrong thing in the wrong room. Your attitude tanks, you know, you become the kind of person that other people don't want to work with and they are the people you don't want to work with anymore either. That's the kind of, you know, sort of that cycle of things was something that I recognized and as I've matured in my career, I've kind of gotten to the point where I've been able to manage that more myself, but kind of reading that perspective and just spending time thinking about the concept of a person as a catalyst and what it really takes to move an organization was just fascinating to me.

Amy (19m 11s):

And so I, to kind of felt like I found my people, but you know, that whole concept was just, I was like, wow, okay. So I'm not the only one over here moving fast, breaking shit, and burning out.

Chad (19m 25s):

What about managing people now? I mean, because after that, right, you kind of find your people and then you see other people and you're like, okay. I think from a mentorship standpoint, I might be able to help them. How has it helped you?

Amy (19m 41s):

Yeah, so I did, I actually had a conversation with Tracy and thank you for that introduction, with Tracy Lovejoy about that. And, you know, I have a couple of catalysts, you know, people that I would describe as catalysts on my team. And in terms of managing that person, there's a couple of things. One is being really respectful of what they're bringing to the table, even though it's not something that you can act on right now. If you can't act on it right now, then how do you give the idea it's do? You know, give the concept, you know, the proper error for what you can do right now, or the proper investment so that you can figure out how to grow it forward.

Amy (20m 26s):

And then also on the flip side of that, recognizing that that person also probably burns really hot. So when I say burns hot, what I mean is, that's the kind of thing, that's where the burnout can happen and, you know, and being like, okay, how is this person doing on their leave bank? How have we all had a vacation this year? You know, and being really mindful of watching out for signs, like getting texts at nine o'clock at night, every day?

Chad (20m 57s):


Amy (20m 58s):

Not okay. Right. Like that's the kind of stuff that, that managing really smart people who can see the future, which is how I would kind of like sum up what I think a catalyst also is. How do you manage those folks and help them be successful in your organization?

Chad (21m 19s):

No, I was just going to say, I call that the dots concept, because most individuals can't see all the dots. They'd just like, they're not aware to all the dots, let alone, they don't have the ability to connect the dots. So, you know, those are things that they're seeing in the market and they see the dots connecting in the market itself. So it's not like seeing the future, but it's kind of like seeing the future. Yeah.

Joel (21m 41s):

And Amy, we don't want you to get burned out on the Chad and Cheese podcast. So thank you for coming in and spending some quality time with us, for those listeners who want to know more about you connect your organization, where would you send them?

Amy (21m 56s):

They can find me on LinkedIn or on Twitter. I'm at Amy Butchko. So just AMY B U T C H K O on Twitter and on LinkedIn that's also my handle.

Joel (22m 6s):

This has been a treat.

Amy (22m 8s):

Thank you.

Joel (22m 9s):

Chad we out.

Chad (22m 11s):

We out. Yeah. Thanks for listening to the Chad and Cheese Voices series with SAIC's, Amy Butchko. If you like what you heard, there are more great interviews with amazing people ready and available. If you're not already subscribed, look for the Chad and Cheese wherever you listen to podcasts and hit that subscribe or follow button. Thanks for listening.


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