Did you know that recruiting teams and hiring managers spend 80% of their time on manual tasks!? Joining Aoife on the podcast this week is special guest Josh Secrest, Vice president of marketing and client advocacy at the hiring technology company Paradox. Paradox’s mission is to empower recruitment teams to spend time with people, not software, with their AI flagship product, Olivia.
With clients like Amazon, McDonald’s and Nestle, to name a few, there is no doubt that Josh holds the key to recruiting smarter. In this episode, Josh unpacks the powerful combination of HR and technology, sharing how to supercharge your recruitment process, gain extra time and alleviate unwanted frustrations. Josh explores how you can overcome business challenges by using data to solve problems, unpacks the magic that lies within assistive technology and reveals hiring approaches and how you can bring warmth and humanity back into the workplace. Key points throughout include:
– An introduction to Josh Secrest
– Why the skill of listening is vital in business
– Striking a balance between human interaction and AI
– Removing obstacles from the recruitment process
– Combining HR with assistive technology
– Mastering your approach to hiring and maintaining company talent
– Mapping a candidate and customer journey
– The benefits of automated processes in the workplace
– An insight into boss, concept and culture
– Championing the champions of talent
– What happier at work means to Josh
‘’The data says that people typically apply to 12 jobs around the same time. So, if you can be the first to get back and start communicating there, I think it gives you an advantage to move through.’’ – Josh Secrest.
THE LISTENERS SAY:
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produced in partnership with https://www.podlad.com
Aoife O’Brien 00:00
Are you looking to improve employee engagement and retention? Do you struggle with decisions on who to hire or who to promote? I have an amazing opportunity for forward thinking purpose-led people first organisations to work with me on the first pilot Happier at Work program for corporates. The program is entirely science backed and you will have tangible outcomes in relation to employee engagement, retention, performance and productivity. The program is aimed at people leaders with responsibility for hiring and promotion decisions. If this sounds like you, please get in touch at Aoife@happieratwork.ie. That’s A O I F E at happieratwork.ie. You’re listening to the Happier at Work podcast. I’m your host Aoife O’Brien. This is the podcast for leaders who put people first, the podcast covers four broad themes, engagement and belonging, performance and productivity, leadership equity, and the future of work. Everything to do with the Happier at Work podcast relates to employee retention, you can find out more at happieratwork.ie.
Josh Secrest 01:11
Work technology just has lagged and I think we’re starting to get to this place where slacks and murals of the world are starting to be these really enjoyable commercial grade tech that’s entering our work lives which makes work easy because it’s a natural fit.
Aoife O’Brien 01:27
Hello, and welcome to this week’s episode of The Happier at Work podcast. I am so delighted you have joined me today. My guest today is Josh Secrest who is the Vice President and marketing and client advocacy at Paradox. He has led talent and talent acquisition teams for some of the world’s largest and most recognisable brands. In his most recent role as the head of global talent strategy at McDonald’s Corporation, Josh helped design people programs and experiences to support internal and external talent for McDonald’s corporate offices and restaurants around the world. Previously as head of global talent attraction at McDonald’s. He collaborated the Paradox to bring the world’s first voice application to life in partnership with Google and Amazon’s Alexa. Prior to joining McDonald’s, Josh spent over 13 years at Abercrombie and Fitch, where he was an HR business partner and led various HR functions including global talent acquisition, philanthropy, and home office development. Josh proudly served on the board of Flying Horse Farms, a series fun camp for children with illnesses in Mount Gilead in Ohio. Josh and his wife, Oregon, live in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. At its core of what Paradox does is it uses technology to free up time for recruiters to humanise their recruitment process. Because it automates some of the processes that can be repeatable. And really, our conversation is about how to make the recruitment process more human, we talk about spending more time with people you know, and that that human element, the value of talent, looking at the frontline workforce, I know you’re really going to enjoy today’s episode, do stick around to the end. And as always, I will do a synopsis of some of the key points that we covered, and some of the key takeaways and maybe some challenges for you to implement in your own business as well. If you want to connect with me, please do so on social media, you can do so through my website happieratwork.ie, Instagram happieratwork.ie or through LinkedIn. Aoife O’Brien. Welcome, Josh to the Happier at Work podcast. I’m absolutely delighted to have you as my guest today. Do you want to introduce yourself to listeners and give them a bit of a sense of who you are, what you do and how you got to where you are?
Josh Secrest 03:49
Hi, thanks so much for having me. So I’m Joshua Secrest. I’m the Vice President of Marketing and client advocacy at a company called Paradox. Paradox is hiring technology. We get to partner with clients like Amazon, McDonald’s, Nestle, Unilever, Lowe’s, and really take their hiring process from from start to finish. Our goal though, is to have hiring technology that allows for our clients to spend more time with people and not technology. So we’ll we’ll kind of get into a little bit of Paradox as we move through but my background is been longtime HR leader, I’ve gotten to sit in basically every seat within HR maybe except for comp benefits. I spent a good chunk of time at Abercrombie and Fitch in TA and culture roles. And then prior to coming in Paradox, I was the head of global talent attraction and acquisition and strategy at McDonald’s. So you’ve got to think about hiring and happiness at work for over 37,000 restaurants over 2 million employees in 120 countries so kind have, you have just passionate about talent, I’m passionate about recruitment. And that was kind of like the Super Bowl for me. So now it’s it’s neat to be able to advise some other big clients and find ways to help them solve challenges.
Aoife O’Brien 05:12
Yeah, brilliant, love that, and two very well known brands there. And interesting what you’re saying about McDonald’s, like, you know, I mean, the thing that springs to my mind is the challenge that it’s 120 different countries and dealing with different cultures, and maybe there’s different practices and you know, nevermind all of the legalities around the different hiring practices and, and employment legislation as well.
Josh Secrest 05:37
Yeah, it was a good learning, I’m sure for all of us in the business world, right? You, you go from your one job, your first job, where you kind of become this expert, you know, all the people, you know, your way around, you kind of have a cheat code. McDonald’s was in this like big, big jump of scale, and complexity. I mean, yes, all restaurants are serving burgers and fries. But your point, doing the human and people side of that across 120 countries gets really complex. And we have a had a huge have a huge franchise organisation over 90% of our franchise. So in those are amazing business owner operators that business leaders that you know, want to listen to. So anyways, a lot of listening in that role before sort of designing in my head always wants to go to designing and brainstorming, especially on the people side, because for a business like that, you know, we were able to directly tie this is, I think, a fun anecdote, but we were able to directly tie understaffed restaurants, to also lower performing restaurants, right. So you kind of think of that vicious cycle of if your, your business is understaffed, then the remaining staff probably gets spread pretty thin, and your managers are trying to plug holes everywhere. And so then there’s higher turnover as a result of that. And then your customers probably aren’t getting as good of an experience, you’re not servicing as many of them within a minute or within an hour. And so then your revenue or your store hours get impacted. So anyways, there was this big business challenge. But it took a lot of listening to be able to ensure that how you’re addressing this business challenge, you’re really taking care of the people and thinking about it in a warm way. And listening to kind of all the stakeholders to your point. Yeah, in multiple different countries and multiple different scenarios with with multiple different challenges.
Aoife O’Brien 07:31
Yeah, I love that actually. Yeah, just this whole idea. I mean, listening is really, really important skill, in business in general, I think. But I love this idea. Rather than just thinking, I have this brilliant program. And now I’m going to roll it out to all these different different businesses or all of these different countries. And it’s going to be the solution to everything. It’s about listening, and a really, really important and powerful anecdote that you shared as well there, Josh, in relation to using data to solve problems. So having a look at well, is there a correlation here between these two things? Okay. So this is we’ve noticed that this is what’s happening now, and then going to the end, you know, probably to individual restaurants, it might be difficult, but at least groups of of restaurants together to say this is an issue. Now if we’re to solve that, then why don’t you tell us how to how to solve for that problem? Or how can we support you to solve that, as opposed to just saying, Oh, here’s, here’s the solution. So I love that approach
Josh Secrest 08:27
In what you hear there through that listening, and I think it’s where this this podcast, it just brings me brings me joy is like, there is a very, you know, obviously I work for a tech company, I love I love what some of the advancements in tech can can be. But you know, within this, it was kind of this very human component, which is if you’re into McDonald’s, right, and I think this just echoes in a lot of different places.
Aoife O’Brien 08:55
I think we could probably say that 100% of listeners has experienced McDonald’s at some point in their life. And if I think you know, I’m going back to my market research days when we’re looking at things like penetration. So that’s market penetration. So looking in, in any given year, what percentage of people and remember that there was always this funny percentage on toilet paper, I think it was something like 97 or 98%, which means that 2% of households This is when I lived in the UK, 2% of households or 3% of households are not buying toilet paper in a given year. And you know, I always just thought it was like, what if that’s quite unusual, you would think it would be 100% or 100%. And what are they doing? Let’s not think about that. But, you just kind of assume these things but but for the sake of this podcast, let’s assume it’s probably 100% of people listening have tried to McDonald’s up at some point in their life.
Josh Secrest 09:51
Yeah. Or been that manager because right you get really quickly out of the you know, we have to hire 2 million people per year. You’re in very much into a single restaurant sitting across from a single restaurant manager. And it starts becoming really this this human experience, like, hey, what happens when you’re understaffed? Oh, my gosh, I already have 12 things to do. Now I have 15 things to do that, that make, that is hard. You know, I want to run a really great business, I want to deliver amazing customer results. But but now I went from having 12 things to having 15 things. And I think we all kind of experienced that if we’re managers, and we go down a headcount, you know, you end up kind of having this moment where, like, I was already doing a lot, and now it’s more and, and for that, I mean, it was really helpful, because you stop looking at this problem as just this behemoth and you started looking at it, it’s like, how do you help a specific restaurant manager, and then potentially scale that and, and for us, and this is where, you know, I got interested in, like, where the interplay of technology and bringing kind of happiness in humanity to work, even at scale, even though I like McDonald’s, because really, the solution there was like, oh, during these times, you actually need to give hiring managers time back, you know, like, they don’t need more process, they don’t need lots of new things and stuff to learn. It’s, you know, this is a great deployment of maybe some automation, because where we want those people and where they want to be is, is helping their customers helping, running, run a great store, great restaurant, helping onboard and train new people. And it kind of kept them in this space of really, really doing kind of the critical components of of their work. And so that resulted in us kind of looking at ways to automate that part of the process. And yeah, and that’s actually how I ended up at paradox because we were able to partner with paradox there.
Aoife O’Brien 11:53
So I’ll come on to that in a minute. But I suppose I just wanted to reiterate this point of, it’s not looking at it as exactly as he said, just the behemoth challenge of hiring 2 million people in a year, it’s bringing it back down to one step at a time. And what’s this problem? And how do we then solve this problem at scale, I love your use of the word humanity. And it’s about being human at work and bringing the human back into work. I’m a huge believer, a huge advocate of that. And before we go further, I’d love to know more, in your words of what dpes paradox actually do. And then maybe we can talk about automation. And, you know, and taking, taking away the kind of menial tasks to be able to push the humanity back at work.
Josh Secrest 12:40
Yeah, well, in I’ll get to the paradox piece, but I think it’s just playing off of that point. Sometimes we think about problems, and really, it helps to think about in the biggest possible way, you know, our brains can do that well. And then sometimes in this example, it was really helpful thinking about it right? And maybe not the smallest possible way, but getting really into the specifics, getting into a specific restaurant. And in that’s, I think, showcased by even just some numbers. So, you know, if McDonald’s, even if we were seeing, you know, 10 20 million applications come through, if you actually divide that by 37,000 restaurants and divide that by 365 days per year. Yeah, what you were finding was our restaurants were chronically still understaffed. But even though that seems like a lot, if you look at the big level, that’s a lot. How do you how do you process that? At the smaller scale, that’s actually like, one, you can check me on my map, but by like, 1.5 per day, right? Right now. I’m gonna probably get something on LinkedIn on that. I, I botched it. And so but so so that’s really interesting. I’m like, enter Paradox, which is a hiring technology that is conversational. Which means that it really looks like text base. So mobile first texting, so if you go into a restaurant, or if you’re seeing on Indeed, a shortcode, or a QR code or chat functionality on a website, it allows for you without any pass codes or logins, or filling out forms to apply to a job in essentially a text based conversation. So you don’t have to download any apps. And it actually takes you all the way through so you can you answer the question? So you get screened through conversation with you then get qualified you automatically move to getting scheduled? This is all happening on your mobile device. You can even take an interview through that get your offer all through that so no, no logging in and no waiting. It makes the experience super easy. It removes a lot of the friction points. So I mean, a lot of the things I’m kind of calling out with if you’ve applied for a job recently, or sometimes frustrating, it’s a 20 minute application, you’re asked to fill out multiple things.
Aoife O’Brien 15:12
Upload your resume here. And then also, can you fill out all of this additional detail, which in brackets, which is also contained in your resume, which is what people are thinking, they find frustrating. And I know there’s certain platforms that do that. And you know, I’m not going to mention them on here. But yeah, like, that sounds much easier. And exactly as you say, it takes the friction away from what it is that you’re trying to do.
Josh Secrest 15:36
It, that’s a key part of it, you know, and I think we all look for this. And like any consumer experiences, it’s just that for some reason for the last a long time, and I think HR is finally catching up, or you know, when we have to apply to a job. It’s always been kind of 10 or 15 years behind, and it’s finally caught up. So okay, yeah, everybody wants simple and frictionless. No, he wants frustration, right. So everybody wants frictionless. And then where technology is gone. And what I think paradox is wonderful at is providing warmth through personalisation. So you talk about millions of applicants, or even if 10 applicants, everybody able to ask the questions and get the answers they need 24/7 apply in whatever language they want to it’s got multilingual capabilities, the ability to not have to have a computer at home, to be able to apply. So it ends up being fast and simple, but then creates this ability to have kind of warmth, personalised experience for every individual, even if you’re you’re doing this this at scale. And so you tie that into McDonald’s and why that was such a, like, wonderful feature for us. Because you, you have this restaurant that’s chronically understaffed, then you’ve got that manager, that’s, that’s working hard to kind of keep that restaurant afloat. And so the automation helps that manager get, you’re getting four to five hours back per week. So that’s amazing. But then it’s also allowing those candidates that are coming in at 1.5 candidates that’s coming in per day, for that restaurant to be the first one to get back to them to make sure that their experience, you know that they’re coming in for an interview that making sure that their experience is great. And so you not only saw more than applications coming in, because it was an easier process that was really fast. But then you’re also seeing people who really wanted to do this, this, this is where they wanted to work. They had all their questions answered and started to see less turnover in the short term as well.
Aoife O’Brien 17:38
Yeah, what I was going to say another one of the frustrations, I think that happens is that you apply for a job and your resume, your CV goes into a black hole somewhere. And maybe you get a response in four weeks, maybe you get no response at all, and you don’t really know where it’s gone, or what happened. But if you can process that, or if you can move someone to the next stage a lot more quickly, through using technology, rather than having to to kind of wait all of that time, I think that reduces the friction. And I’m thinking from the candidates perspective as well, if they’re applying for a lot of jobs. And like you say, in that case, McDonald’s is the first to reply, then, you know, it’s it, it makes it then the kind of number one and if the experience that they’ve had in terms of the the McKinsey, the onboarding, it’s like, I guess the pre screening stage, which is an important part of the impression you get off an organisation before you join us.
Josh Secrest 18:35
Yeah, the data says that people apply to typically 12 jobs around the same time. Yeah. And so I mean, that’s really interesting. If you can be the first to get back and start start communicating there, I think then it does give you an advantage to be able to move through. Yeah, I think it just keeps going back to this. How do you make these processes at work, you know, hiring but but even more broadly, really simple, really intuitive, you know, match more of the technology that is in our personal lives? You know, we all have the either Google or Alexis around the house or how dependent we are on Siri. And then sometimes like work technology just like has lagged and I think we’re starting to get to this place where, you know, the slacks and paradoxes, murals of the world are starting to be these really enjoyable, easy, intuitive, commercial grade tech that’s entering our work lives which makes work fun and enjoyable and just easy because it’s, it’s a natural fit.
Aoife O’Brien 19:03
But it helps us to get the work done as well from a productivity perspective, you know, and from an organisation perspective, just trying to get trying to organise things in such a way that you will get, get more done and automate Thanks. I know certainly in my own business, I’ve automated you know, the, the podcast is kind of a case in point. Everything is streamlined. The emails are all templated. There’s automated reminders that go at, all of that kind of stuff. And it’s, you know, my little, my little pride and joy, I love that everything’s so kind of, it’s, there’s no, it’s leaving me free to do the stuff that’s important to me. And having more of that human connection, as opposed to having to do the menial things of sending reminders and picking dates, and all that kind of stuff. It’s all it’s all done for me already. And the other question I kind of had around this is given the type and given that you’re talking about it from a McDonald’s perspective, and that’s kind of how you got into Paradox. What kinds of organisations can use this technology? Is it more the type of high volume type of recruitment or kind of be used at any level? Or talk to me a little bit more about that?
Josh Secrest 21:00
Yeah, yeah. And I think there’s a really nice tie in to what you were talking about around automation, because I think they’re, they’re, you probably hear automation and a couple things can come to mind. One is just like, oh, my gosh, you know, like, automation taking over. Yeah, yeah. And in if I like how we’re, we’re talking about this, because I think it’s like what I’m so passionate about, is this, you Where does automation make sense? Where does that make sense at work? Where’s that makes sense in the hiring process. And in the hiring process, it’s a really great activity to go through, right? Like, someone gets someone applies and get screened, oh, well I actually want that to be consistent 100% of the time, from a reducing bias, I want that to happen. You’re selecting based on criteria, so that if someone’s given name or address or something like that isn’t isn’t ever even considered. You know, that’s going to help. Being able to answer questions that feel, you know, like, personalised, you know, that’s something that I’m open to being automated. And, you know, for McDonald’s, one of the things that we said, you know, wasn’t going to be automated ever was the in person like the interview, right? Yeah, that that in sometimes during COVID needed to be virtual or video, but like, you know, our managers and our franchisees were really eager to make sure that there was still that, like, come into the restaurant, just make sure it’s right for you. Let’s, let’s meet each other. And there’s that, that that component, you know, so that was a piece where that wasn’t going to be automated. And so when you kind of talk about like, oh, well, then the a paradox as this conversational way to apply and hire that automates, you know, I usually talk about it as can be anywhere from 90 to 100% of experience, the industries that we support, they’re, they’re pretty far reaching, but I’ll kind of talk about it in three different ways. One would be a customer facing, maybe it’s a high volume recruiting scenario. So yeah, McDonald’s is a perfect example. But you know, a Lowe’s or a retailer, I think, kind of falls in this grocery store, a hotel falls kind of similar here, you’re probably going to automate 90% of the process screening, scheduling q&a, but then you’re going to have a an interview, you know, so that that interview, you’re armed with information and you can just you can really connect, you can, you probably saw the job a little bit, you can talk about, you know, answer the questions that are unique to them. You then have some industries, maybe it’s warehouses, distribution, wholesale, where, you know, it’s the kind of the Amazons, maybe of the world. And for that, you know, the need is really, really great. And so you see, a lot of them automate potentially 100% of the experience so that they can spend time at training and onboarding, okay, so they hire really fast, but then a lot of effort is getting that person in, and they have just amazing, you know, onboarding and training programs. And then the last is, is maybe for a lot of listeners, you know, kind of your your corporate roles. And so this is where, you know, Unilever and Nestle, you know, it’s really fun to be able to see all the great ideas that they they have Procter and Gamble, but it’s it’s almost a way to supercharge your recruiter, right? You know, your recruiter is so valuable within the organisation. How do you give that recruiter? Almost like an Iron Man suit, you know, like, how do you supercharge their powers? And you know, Uh, what I do is I ran corporate recruiting teams. And our CEO talks about this a lot, he did the same, you know, what would drive us crazy is you have this team of recruiters and their heads down in their computers, instead of talking to candidates and and, you know, giving out offers. And so for us, it was how do you design software, so that scheduling is taken off their plate, some of this initial screening is taken off their plate communications or off their plate, so that they can really kind of focus on some of that sourcing some of the interviewing and making sure that those Rockstar candidates become employees for the organisation. So in that scenario, it’s probably 60 to 70% that’s automated. And it’s kind of super supercharging, your recruiters.
Aoife O’Brien 25:48
Yeah, that makes total total total sense. And it goes back to your earlier point, Joshua, this idea of it’s kind of putting the human back in. So I suppose in my head, I can relate it to the podcast, so I can spend time sourcing guests, so I can spend time on other aspects of my business that are kind of that are important in terms of my business growth, the scheduling, the screening, and then the communications for me is templated. It’s automated. And it’s it’s outsourced at the moment as well, all of that, the other stuff, so you can’t automate everything. You know, I haven’t got to the stage where I’m using an AI to communicate with potential podcast guests yet, but maybe that is the future as well. And but I can, I can totally relate to it. I was gonna say, I’ve never worked in a recruitment role. But I actually have I did, I worked in Perth for a time doing high volume recruitment. And my recollection of that is, I mean, we had three different systems that we were using, I think we had an Excel spreadsheet, we had an internal system, and then we had an external system that we needed to input data into. So it was very cumbersome, very repetitive. And was there enough time talking to candidates, we were recruiting for blue collar workers like painters and scaffolders to go and work in the mines in the Pilbara in Australia, in Western Australia. So it was, you know, a huge learning curve for me, but but massively, massively interesting. And I think something like that could really, really benefit from the type of technology that you’re talking about. So that you’re taking a lot of what we would previously have had to do manually. And you’re, you’re taking it away from us, essentially so we can focus.
Josh Secrest 27:35
I like that, that sometimes that frame for technology is there. There may be an instance in your life or your work were like, oh, having fully automated, almost like robotics, you know, that type of stuff makes sense. I like this technology that’s assistive, you know, like, what would you do if you had an assistant, and wherever that challenge, or whether it’s a worker, worker at home, right? Like, what’s, what’s the thing that if you could take that off your plate, you’d be more productive and happier. And, you know, hiring an HR tends to be this application of like, oh, my gosh, we all want these like human components, like we want to listen to each other, we want to help each other, we want to, like, make sure that this is right, it’s just doing that at scale is hard. So you being able to automate some of those components, it’s, it’s so it’s so interesting to see where then companies use that time back, again, back into if it’s training or something else. And to your point, even if you didn’t, didn’t sit in the seat of a recruiter, probably a lot of us have hired at some point. And sometimes the frustration of that process isn’t too dissimilar from that McDonald’s manager we were talking about, which is like, you really need somebody this is something that’s so important. Uh, you know, like, if you hire the right person, your life is going to be easier, their results are going to be better. Like, you can take more pride in your work, like, you know, the stakes. But for some reason that process is can be clunky and frustrating. And you you’ve again, you’ve taken on three or four more things to it in your swamp. And so a clunky process may lead to poor decisions, less time, even for this really important topic of hiring. And so being able to remedy some of that stuff to make it faster, make it easier for hiring managers just felt really important for our clients who were saying like, hey, we win, you know, certainly based on the products we sell, but the people who are coming up with the ideas and the people who are teaming up to make our companies exceptional. So like how do you make sure that we’re all spending the right time there versus like fighting off a clunky and cumbersome process? That should be one of the most important you know, in a company.
Aoife O’Brien 29:59
Yeah. No, it’s so interesting. I think like, I love your description of it. It’s assistive technology, it’s, and I suppose I want to put it out there and not spend too much time talking about this. But I think sometimes the perception of things becoming automated, and the existence of technology means that there’ll be fewer jobs, or there’ll be less work for people to do. But for me that it’s kind of the opposite. It’s creating more happiness at work, more joy at work, because we’re taking the kind of menial tasks away from people and putting the human back into what we are actually doing at work.
Josh Secrest 30:36
Yeah, absolutely. It’s, it’s a lot of these repetitive administrative tasks, which I don’t think most most would define as, like, those are the things that like, get us up in the morning, it’s yeah, it’s the creative, or it’s the interaction, or it’s the new. And in sometimes it’s the feeling, right, it’s the feeling cared for and appreciated, which sometimes just needs time, you know, like, I think we’ve all been in situations to where you have, I’m sure you’ve talked about this a bunch on your podcast, but like the role of manager and leader and boss, and happiness. And, you know, I think there are a lot of wonderful humans, who sometimes aren’t the best bosses, because of stress and lack of time to be able to, you know, kind of dedicate there. And so, again, if you can, if you can provide some of this assistive, you know, whether it’s technology or otherwise be able to take some of that work off, then you see that time being dedicated, and very, just very human ways to get back creativity, helping others, training others, responding to customers, observing your surroundings, it to make the right decisions, you know, those things are really important for all of us to drive our business since apparently, it’s really important to our CEOs, and CFOs, and CEOs. And I think more clearly, over the last couple of years, there’s been more of a direct line, which has been so, so neat to see, you know, I think some of the leading like HR talent and leading organisations really start to talk about this, like engagement and work happiness at work retention at work. Because they’re, they feel feel good and right and for all of us proud to be in a company that, that thinks about those things. But then from a business side from like, a pure, maybe dollars and cents, it’s good for it’s good for business, you know, it’s it’s more more productive, people coming up with more brilliant ideas and, and wanting to stay in contribute and give energy,
Aoife O’Brien 32:38
Better innovation and, and saving money in in, you know, through retention, rather than having to hire people again, rather than having a high attrition rate and people leaving, and then you having to replace them. And, you know, data shows that it’s I see differences between 30 and 200% of a person’s salary in order to replace them with, you know, because training because of gaps in the team because of relationships they’ve built and recruitment costs, and all of those kinds of things. So it’s more important, I think, to hold on to the people that you have than to try and recruit new ones. Yeah, yeah. So kind of doing the, you know, getting the right people in in the first place, and then holding on to them, essentially. Yeah. And the other thing that you talked about is this important topic of hiring. And I’d love to get your thoughts with your, with your background, Josh, on talent, kind of in general. And when you’re hiring someone, what are the kinds of things that you’re thinking about? And, you know, how do you make sure that you do hire those right people into the organisation?
Josh Secrest 33:46
Yeah, it’s a great question, because each organisation should have a potentially slightly different approach. So I mean, one would be, you’re setting up a process that feels really fair and inclusive for anyone that’s coming in. And so this is a really a neat frame at McDonald’s, which was, how, how are we being evaluated by those who don’t get a job here, so they’ve applied and they don’t get a job, and we’ve been able to provide them with a really good and warm thing, their experience, and I thought that was just like a cool metric that I will like, take with me for life of just like, Alright, first baseline I, I want to build, build respect for my organisation by giving it to every individual who applies or considers our organisation thing that’s just like, human good for business. And I think sets it sets the tone for the full full organisation. I then think it sometimes can come come into the role, you know how we’re looking at hiring someone in a McDonald’s or an Abercrombie distribution center or a retail store was going to be different than how we’re hiring the next great Abercrombie designer or the head of marketing, right for, for McDonald’s. But so I’ll kind of focus this one, maybe more on that professional and corporate side, which is, I love being able to ask largely behavioral questions. So, you know, give me a time when, and so that they can really account not just their resume, I’ve seen their resume. But talk to me about the decisions they made, why they made them. And those questions should be tied to a lot of the culture, values and what makes someone successful. You essentially, they should be structured in a way that almost no one can tell you what you want to hear. It’s anecdotes from from their own their own life. And the other piece, I think, is increasing and in popularity, and in practice, is that ability to do some sort of like, either skills based questions or skills based, like, if I call them testament actually just like seeing some work get done? You know, I think within Paradox, I think one of the really neat pieces, is there a lot of physicians that may have do projects tied to the interview process. Okay, I think that opens up a lot of opportunity for talent to kind of shine in the ways that you, you need to make sure that it’s it’s, it’s, it’s coming through within that process. So really, really good structured behavioral interviews on a, you know, a fair and inclusive, simple process, that if the role is right, doing a little bit of kind of project based or like skills based assessment.
Aoife O’Brien 36:46
Yeah, I love that. And again, totally agree, I love this idea of being evaluated by people who didn’t actually get hired. And I guess so, you know, I guess you’re going to Glassdoor to see that. So people can even if they’ve interviewed with somewhere that they can say what their experience was of being interviewed there. And like you say, treated with respect that I thought it was a fair process, that you enjoyed it, that they kept regular communication, going back to my earlier point where you know, if you don’t hear anything at all, or if you don’t hear something for four weeks, and you’re kind of like, well, I’ve just sort of sent my CV into the abyss now, it’s gone. It’s gotten nowhere. And so it’s, that’s a really interesting metric. And that one I’ve heard before, so I really like that. Yeah.
Josh Secrest 37:31
And, and even to, you know, you can wait for glass door. And, you know, one of the features I like on Paradox is we can at different points in the process. You can send requests for feedback and have your review.
Aoife O’Brien 37:46
Are you enjoying this is a kind of as simple as the smiley face type of thing? aren’t, you know, it’s smiley faces. Yeah, I’m done. Okay. Yeah. Even easier. Yes. Smiley face.
Josh Secrest 37:57
Yeah. And that’s, that’s really, I mean, I, again, back to this, that’s great feedback for if you’re a small organisation, minimal, even just like your recruiters to now, there’s, there’s maybe something that if I, if I clean this up in the process, I may have even more people, less people frustrated at any point in the process, more likely to come and join us. Yeah. If you’re a large, maybe consumer facing brand, oh, my gosh, like back to this, like I want to know, in real time, you know, we affected millions of candidates at McDonald’s, we want to know in real time, if they’re enjoying the process, if they feel the process is fair, if they feel like they’ve gotten their questions answered, because again, like they will, they are our customers, they will be our customers going forward. And we need to treat them as this is almost a part of their customer, customer journey. And so if that’s one of the other pieces we have this week, She’s the Chief Marketing Officer of global McDonald’s and she’s just just brilliant and talks a lot on kind of like, the the customer journey, and I think we were really inspired by that within, you know, how do you map that candidate and then employee journey to have, you know, really be cognisant of sort of every single touch point? Is it necessary? Like, are you adding friction? Are you removing friction? And where can it be personalised? In you know, are there moments to be warm and, you know, really showcase your, your brand, and I think that’s a I think that’s a neat way to be able to think about it, you know, where in a customer journey, would we think it’s okay to have a customer wait 48 hours for a response, like, like, that’s not going to happen, right? It’s not good business practice, but in our candidate journeys, for some reason, that’s okay. Or, you know, making a customer fill out a 30 Minute form to purchase something like that that’s not going to happen. And I think this is where a lot of the commercial products and developments are starting just like, hopefully help all of us as they make their ways into our work lives.
Aoife O’Brien 40:16
Yeah. It’s interesting, because yeah, it’s it’s totally, it’s totally right. You know that, why would you feel like you have to wait. And I think from an from, let’s say, from a candidate perspective, the perception is that the organisation maybe thinks that they’re too busy, too important or too popular, that fast, they have too many applications that they can’t be not that they can’t be bothered, but they that they don’t have time to, to invest in sending a personalised response emails to each individual person who didn’t get a role or who was who didn’t make the shortlist, or whatever it might be.
Josh Secrest 40:55
Yeah, and it’s usually not lack of desire, right? I think you talk to the brilliant leaders in those organisations, and they say they, they want to, it’s just how do you do that? How do you how do you do that at scale at all of the touch points, because it’s not right, just just after the interview, they didn’t get it, which is critical. But but also, just like that, answering the questions throughout, and I think that was a bit of this, like, epiphany for me. And even like the career switch was like, like, there was finally this, some of these technologies that were truly like, next gen, you know, like generation skips, that allowed for you to help businesses like actually help business results, but then scale almost like white love, personalised, warm, inclusive experiences, you know, to scale that, you know, until automation, you weren’t able to really scale, scale that in a warm, personalised way. And I think maybe before meeting Paradox, I kind of always thought of it as just a way to scale one size fits all. And now with how smart technology is, it’s like, oh, no, you can actually scale personalised experiences. And make, yeah, this is maybe the paradox, but like, make it more human at the end of the day. Because it’s an not particularly human or caring right for us to leave candidates with no response ever. Or, you know, ghost them or leave them hanging? Waiting? Yeah. Right. So like, it does, it does warm up the experience in a lot of different ways.
Aoife O’Brien 42:36
Yeah. And Josh, is there anything else that you wanted to add in relation to, you know, Paradox, or any, any additional thoughts around talent or talent management just before we start wrapping things up?
Josh Secrest 42:48
Yeah. If you’re in a world where you, you have recruiters or you get to work with a recruiter, I just think it’s kind of my my pitch for them, you know, we talk a lot at work and kind of championing the champions of, of talent. And we just have so much respect for people who are in recruiter roles, or TA roles, or talent roles, or HR roles. I think you find great ones, and they, they really help you, they help your team, they help you end up being successful. I think they’re motivated by the human aspects of work and finding people that that can be differentiators. And I think sometimes it’s an it can be an unsung hero type role. You know, after you fill the job, you’re kind of on to the next one. So yeah, I think it’s maybe a shout out to the to the recruiters, I think they’re doing some really amazing work. And that role is just continuing to evolve and be sophisticated. So if you are in an in recruiting, or you are in talent, you’re thinking about things. My maybe my my pitch is that I think you’re in a spot where you could be the next Chief People Officer or CEO, because there are very few roles in an organisation where you’re learning technology at the pace that reading or Talent Team is learning it. You’re learning, branding and marketing, similar to a marketing team to launch an employment brand line. Yeah, yeah, you’re learning about all aspects of the business. And if you’re doing a job really well, you actually know, you know, sort of what the differentiators of those aspects of the business, you know, are, and you’re designing really great processes that are checked by data, which is, you know, what we all should be learning. So you kind of get this really grateful experience, I think is is directly correlated to success and kind of C suite type position. So thank you, if you’re if you’re in one of those roles. If you’re considering a career in HR, you know, please feel free to reach out to me to reach out on LinkedIn, be happy to chat with you, but just we should all be excited about how those roles will continue to impact us as they get further and further away from like process driven or administrative, because more of that stuff is being automated and allowing for some of these brilliant humans to bring really unique cultures to life and make sure that we’re kind of maximising our performance.
Aoife O’Brien 45:16
Yeah. And the question I ask everyone who comes on the podcast, Josh, is what does being happier at work mean to you?
Josh Secrest 45:24
It’s such a, it’s a good one to wrap it up with. To me, it means like, there’s no lines. And I mean this in a positive way. And I think it’s almost like internally of like, that blend between work and not work now in an unhealthy way. Right, like, that blend means Oh, you’re always on your computer, or you’re always. For me, it’s the indication of like, that transition. There’s, there’s nothing in my guts. Friction, as you might say, in your language. Yeah, frictionless. Exactly. But yeah, and and I think that’s a great sign, right? Because it allows for me to say, like, Hey, I’m, I’m just as excited. You know, I always think about boss content and culture, kind of in those orders, you know, like, yeah, who do I Who do I get to work for? And am I learning? And, you know, I think just so much of that dictates your like, day, and that frictionless transition from personal life into work life? Yeah. Content then Right? Like, am I doing the things that like, I feel like I’m uniquely good at and in jazzed about, and like, their 99 things that I can’t do, as well as so many other people. But it’s, like, if I’m in the spot, where I’m, like, I’m doing the thing that I, you know, I think I can really contribute or bring something special, like that gets me going. And then culture, I think it’s just getting so broadly defined, but I mean, like, you find the thing for you. But I mean, ultimately, being a place where people want you, you know, like, they, they recognise that skill set and treat you well and give you a lot of trust. And you, you measure that back to this McDonald’s example of like, you, you, you measure that by how much you want to give back to it. Like you feel like your cup is full, and you can now give to others within that environment. And I think that’s such like a healthy, healthy sign. So yeah, you know, you’re kind of getting it on all fronts.
Aoife O’Brien 47:23
That’s a that’s a lovely way to describe it, though. Yeah, like the boss content and culture. Now, we definitely would love to drill into that a little bit more, and at another time, just given given the time that we’re at now. Now, if people want to reach out to you, or if they want to understand a bit more about what Paradox does, what’s the best way they can, they can do that.
Josh Secrest 47:42
Yep. Please reach out to me on LinkedIn. So Joshua Secrest, and be happy to chat with you there or Joshua dot serest @ paradox dot ai.
Aoife O’Brien 47:56
Brilliant. That’s great. Thank you so much for your time today. I loved our chat. I’m sure we could have gone on for another little while talking about all things automation. And you know, the fact that the robots are not taking over the world. And but thank you really appreciate your time today.
Josh Secrest 48:11
Thank you so much.
Aoife O’Brien 48:14
I thoroughly enjoyed that conversation with Josh. And I definitely feel already the future is kind of here, it feels quite futuristic the way that the company operates in relation to recruitment and using that type of technology to take away some of the menial tasks that recruiters and talent acquisition normally tend to have. And so some of the key points, before I go into some of the key points, I’d love to get you involved in the discussion, feel free to connect through happieratwork.ie the website or happieratworks.ie through Instagram, and through LinkedIn as well. Aoife O’Brien. And I would love to continue the conversation with you and understand if there’s any changes that you’ve made. Are there any light bulb moments that you had during the podcast, I always love to hear that feedback. One of the core things I suppose that stood out for me in the conversation with Josh was this idea of listening before designing programs, so not kind of going off and designing an entire people program without actually listening to what it is that people need and what it is that they want. So that was one thing that that really stood out. For me. I love this whole concept of bringing it back down to the human level. So designing programs to automate things that can be automated, but still leaving room for that level of human interaction, which I think is really, really important. I love this idea as well of taking the friction away. So it’s about removing what are those obstacles? What are those things that are getting in the way from having a really great recruitment process? This idea then that he mentioned that HR were about 10 or 15 years behind but has caught up now with the use of technology where other departments are using technology already, HR is starting to really make strides and catch up now as well. And I suppose a lot of our conversation reiterates this idea that hiring is actually really, really important. It’s something that’s really, really important to get right. And from the organisation’s perspective, making sure that you’re hiring the right people, that you’re giving them a good experience, that you’re giving them a flavor of what it’s like to work in your organisation, before they start working there, from an individual’s perspective, then it’s about that entire experience of working in an organisation starts with the hiring process. So your impression of them starts with the very first time you reach out to them to apply for a job. So bearing those kinds of things in mind, I think is really, really important. I love the idea that automating processes and this doesn’t just apply in recruitment processes that can this can apply to any type of processes in an organisation. But it frees up time for people to be more creative, to help other people and to train other people as well. I really admired them this other aspect of what we spoke about with Josh was this idea that it makes it more a fair and inclusive process, and the kind of questions they ask of the process. So how are we evaluated by people who didn’t get hired? So it’s not just by the people who were hired, but people who didn’t get hired? Did they enjoy the process? Would they advocate for your business? Would they have positive things to say about their experience of going through that hiring process? Some of the behavioral questions and sort of thinking about decisions and and why decisions get made, talking about the culture, the values and what makes someone successful in an organisation. And that’s something I’m hugely passionate about, especially around this area of values and getting a better understanding of what does make someone more successful in an organisation. And number three, then was around a skills based questions. So actually seeing work getting done so that that will be more about project based work that you allow people to do the work before they actually get hired. So if there’s scope to be able to do that, then it’s really it’s a really valuable way to assess the level of skill that someone has. Finally then I loved how Josh broke it down to this idea of boss, content and culture. So boss is the direct person that you’re going to be reporting to what are they like? What what is it like to work with them? And getting an understanding of that? The contents then really focuses more on the content of the role that it is that you’re doing? And is it something that will light you up? And then the culture is the general culture of the organisation? And is it somewhere that you feel like you would fit in or you would belong? Do let me know what you thought of today’s episode I would absolutely love to get your feedback and continue on the conversation. I mentioned those social media channels before but everything you will find through the website happieratwork.ie. That was another episode of the Happier at Work podcast. I am so glad you tuned in today. If you enjoyed today’s podcast, I would love to get your thoughts – head on over to social media to get involved in the conversation. If you enjoy the podcast, I would love if you could rate review it or share it with a friend. If you want to know more about what I do or how I could help your business head on over to happieratwork.ie