Talent Experience Podcast

Ep. 07 - Jason Averbook

July 15, 2020 Fuel50 / Jason Averbook Season 1 Episode 7
Talent Experience Podcast
Ep. 07 - Jason Averbook
Talent Experience Podcast
Ep. 07 - Jason Averbook
Jul 15, 2020 Season 1 Episode 7
Fuel50 / Jason Averbook

As an experienced thought leader, analyst, consultant, author and CEO, Jason Averbook has been talking about the future of work for a long time. Today – the future of work is here! Jason shares why there is an opportunity to change, to transform and to prepare for what’s next. If you need motivation to really re-evaluate what your organization should look like going forward and help your employees bring their best selves to work, take this episode as your wakeup call: the time to act is now.

Find Jason on Twitter @jasonaverbook, LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonaverbook/ or at http://www.jasonaverbook.com

For more insightful conversations visit www.talentexperiencepodcast.com. We hope you enjoy this episode of the Talent Experience podcast! 

Show Notes Transcript

As an experienced thought leader, analyst, consultant, author and CEO, Jason Averbook has been talking about the future of work for a long time. Today – the future of work is here! Jason shares why there is an opportunity to change, to transform and to prepare for what’s next. If you need motivation to really re-evaluate what your organization should look like going forward and help your employees bring their best selves to work, take this episode as your wakeup call: the time to act is now.

Find Jason on Twitter @jasonaverbook, LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonaverbook/ or at http://www.jasonaverbook.com

For more insightful conversations visit www.talentexperiencepodcast.com. We hope you enjoy this episode of the Talent Experience podcast! 

Rhonda Taylor: Hi. I'm Rhonda Taylor, and today I'm hosting an episode of TalentX. TalentX is about employee engagement, career engagement, talent management, everything that an employee endeavors, while in the workplace. Today I have with me, CEO of LeapGen Jason Averbook. Jason is no stranger to the space. He's an author, he's an analyst, thought leader, consultant, and a good friend. So welcome, Jason. 

Jason Averbook: Rhonda. Thanks so much. It's so great to be here and I so appreciate the honor to do this with you. It's fun to have a conversation like this on the podcast. We get a chance to talk at a lot of conferences together, so it's really fun to have this opportunity. 

Rhonda Taylor: We need to be formal now, Jason, 

Jason Averbook: I'm not sure we can be that formal Rhonda, but we'll do our best. 

Rhonda Taylor: Absolutely. So Jason, what I noticed right off the bat, when I started corresponding with you guys, everybody is talking about the future of work, but in your signature byline, it says the now of work is happening now in like parenthesis. Do you want to tell me about that? 

Jason Averbook: Yeah. So Rhonda, this is a really passionate topic for me, just because I've been in the space for a long time and I've been talking about a future of work forever it seems like. And what did the future of work mean? As we've been talking about it? It meant, Hey, we might be distributed. Hey, we might do a little more working from home. Hey, we might have to correspond a little bit more digitally. Hey, we might be looking at contractors instead of full time employees. Hey, there may be different ways of learning and skilling. And guess what? Now? All of a sudden we're here.

So we've been talking about the future of work for 20 years, 25 years. You know, Y2K was supposed to be a big deal. It came and went. Then the next thing was workforce 2020, and now we oddly through this unfortunate two pandemics, a pandemic of coronavirus and the pandemic of social justice, have found ourselves in a situation where the future of work has turned into the now of work.

And our time to act has to be now, it can't be focused on kicking the can down the road and saying someday, someday in the future, this is the way it's going to be. It's now. Our time to act is now, our time to think about work is now, and the way that people expect us as HR professionals and leaders to respond is in the moment of now. So, you know, for me, Rhonda, it was a wake up call. It's like, let's stop talking about the future. It's here. It's now let's do it. 

Rhonda Taylor: Oh, absolutely. The transition has occurred. In saying that we're seeing a lot of new challenges in the talent management space right now. What do you see the most significant challenges that people are facing?

Jason Averbook: So, Rhonda, I'm going to pick on, not surprising, one of your words for a second. And you said transition, and you said transition and that's one of my biggest problems. Is when we think about transition. One of the things that's a problem with talent management is I can't just take a bunch of stuff I've been doing for 50 years and put it online and say, Hey, this is going to work.

That's a transition. It's taking the way I've been working and putting it online. What I truly need to do is I need to transform. Okay. I don't transition. I transform. If you think about the word trans, it means move. And what I'm not doing is I'm not moving from one form of technology to another, paper to online or one form of on-premise technology to cloud technology.

That's transition. When we talk about transformation, I'm truly saying I'm moving how work happens. I'm moving how work gets done. I'm moving how managers and leaders show up. I'm moving how we think about our employees and the role we play in our employees, our contractors, and our extended workforce.

That being said, all of our talent management practices and processes that we've done in the past, needs to change. They need to change for the now of work, for the new persona, which is how employees are thinking and feeling right now. To the now of work, how managers and leaders are managing and leading right now. The days of doing talent management for HR sake are over, the days of doing talent management sake for our people are here and we have to transform to that as quickly as we can.

Rhonda Taylor: Absolutely. Absolutely. And Jason taking that one step further. There's definitely a transformation in job architecture. And we're seeing so many people speaking about it because it has become a very, topical discussion right now. What are you seeing? What are you predicting? That's going to come down the pipeline in regards to job architecture. 

Jason Averbook: So, well, let me share with you something and then I'll get to that. I'll answer your question. We're in a dangerous time right now, Rhonda, is that we're at the intersection of confusion and opportunity. We're right at this intersection of confusion and opportunity.

And there are organizations and people that are turning left towards confusion and waiting for something to happen. And there are organizations that are turning right towards opportunity and taking that opportunity to change. And I think what's really important going now onto your question is what's going to happen with job is based on the mindset of us as people professionals.

If we take the opportunity to realize that the way we've recruited in the past has opened a rec and let's find a full time person. The way we've thought about careers is, Hey, if someone happens to be in the right spot, they have an opportunity for a career progression. We haven't done it in the eyes of the people.

We haven't done it with the focus on the way that jobs are going to be architected going forward, which is more based on skills. It's more based on tasks. It's more based on getting something done than it is on the employment relationship. The label of employee. So when you think about that, what's happening with job architecture is it's being broken down to tasks.

It's being broken down into how people prefer to work in today's world, A, B, and then C it's being broken down into a way that isn't hierarchical it's team based. Okay. And it's distributed. So all that being said, we as people professionals, you know, if we turn left into confusion, we're going to be like, Whoa, this is a lot of work.

If we turn right into opportunity, we're going to say, wow, this is a lot of work, but this is the time we've been waiting for. This is the time where we finally get to match the profession with the people. And because we have that opportunity, you know, it's magic. So I hope that wasn't too long winded, but it's really important that people know that this isn't just going to happen.

Job just isn't going to change. It's going to require us to change, to allow job architecture, to change the way it's trying to. 

Rhonda Taylor: And I think what's happened now, especially in this COVID era, Jason, we're seeing companies, you know, changing their organizational structure maybe for financial reasons.

So somebody who's got the skillset, but they can go and help out in another part of the organization. And so it's a great, like you're saying it's a great opportunity for a lot of employees because they're going to have a chance to build skills that they never had before.

Jason Averbook: Yeah. And COVID is a moment in time, you know, in the moment, the question is how long is the moment, but there's a time that this COVID. You know, the danger, our wellbeing danger goes away. And the question is what happens next? And that's really what we're preparing for is what happens next. Cause we are in a period of chaos and crisis and not normal at the moment. So we don't know the answer. What we have to do is we have to think about how do we prepare for what's next?

Which means we as organizations have to play offense and defense at the same time. We have to play defense in making sure we're protecting our people and we're listening to our people. We're being empathetic to our people and we're worried about their overall wellbeing, but offensively we have to do exactly what you said.

We have to be thinking different about what does our organization, what should it look like going forward? A lot of people don't actually stop and take the time to realize that there's never been a moment in time where everything stopped. Never, ever and there hopefully never will be again. So when you think about that, the fact that globally economy stopped you think that global business stopped.

And by the way, it's still stopped in a lot of cases. Like this is the moment. If there's ever a canvas where I can paint what I want my future organization to look like and how I want my people to work. It's now, it's now if ever. Because if it's not now I get going back into this frenetic pace of, Hey, we've got to keep driving sales. Hey, we've gotta keep driving revenue. Hey, we gotta keep doing this. And guess what? I don't have the time to think about what the optimal design is. So it truly is this unique moment that I hope and pray that organizations, which it isn't the organizations it's the people in the organizations use to design what the now of work is going to look like for the next 20 to 30 years.

Rhonda Taylor: Oh, exactly, right now we have a workplace that a lot of people are calling the talent marketplace, who you can turn around and start moving your talent around and start doing some professional development with them. What do you see the future? Like everybody's dealing with this marketplace within their own infrastructure and then within their own business community what do you see the future? Like what's going to happen? What's going to be the development with the talent architecture marketplace. 

Jason Averbook: I believe that the business has been operating this way for 10 years. Okay. And so I believe that business leaders have already been operating this way and thinking this way, I believe HR leaders have not. I believe HR leaders have been thinking about their same old practices where the business has already seen everything as a talent marketplace. So my prediction, which isn't really a prediction, it's more of just an observation. Is that what we're going to see is we're going to see HR leaders become very much more aligned with the business.

More aligned with what the business needs from a data standpoint. Cause right now the business is just doing this with manual heroics. They're like, Hey, I happen to know this person and they're over here and they've got this skill and I'd love to have them work with me someday. And I happened to know this person and they're over here, but my talent management practices today haven't produced the true data that I need to be able to run an effective and efficient talent marketplace.

That being said, I believe. And once again, it's not a prediction. If it was a prediction, I'd be some soothsayer it's going to happen. It's an observation is that HR leaders will change their stripes and say, instead of HR driving talent to the business, HR is going to help the business shepherd the talent into this new talent marketplace that we're moving into.

Rhonda Taylor: Absolutely and HR is going to be able to create analytics like never before. And these analytics will allow the HR executives to be instrumental at sitting at the executive table and the corporate decisions. 

Jason Averbook: Yeah. And Rhonda just really quickly. And you know me so well when we've had these conversations so many times. It's going to create analytics, but the most important thing that I can do right now is not create analytics alone, but to create action. I've had analytics all day long. I can have analytics about everything. Okay. What I need is I need to teach action. Okay. Analytics is part of it. Okay. But analytics plus action equals change analytics plus action equals change, and that's really what I'm driving.

So we need to not just give them the tool, but we also need to give them the ability and the understanding of how to create, how to take action to actually turn those analytics into change. 

Rhonda Taylor: And speaking of change. Let's say we're we all start seeing the green light we're coming out of this. What do you see? The future trends being in HR? 

Jason Averbook: Wow. So great question. I mean, so let me just start with the first thing. The first thing is when people ask me this question, I break down the word HR into what does it actually mean? And I take the first word, it's human. I believe that the future of HR is much more human and much less robotic.

Now that doesn't mean we're not going to leverage technology, but what it means is we don't, we're not process mongers. We're humans. We're doing what we can to bring people, to empower managers and leaders to allow their people to be the best people that they can be to do the jobs that we want them to do, the tasks we want them to do and be humans as well.

So I believe we're going to get much better at listening. I believe we're going to get much better at acting. I believe we're gonna be much better at what I said, driving change than we've ever done before. I believe we're going to be much better at actually showing the impact of people on whatever the business is.

Okay. So that's the first thing and it's a prediction, but it also, it has to be a mandate. Because I truly believe that the HR organizations that don't do this, aren't going to exist. The business has to do it. We have to listen to our people. We have to be human to our people. If we don't our people leave our business goes away.

So that's the first thing. The second thing that I believe that's in the future of HR is that we truly focus on how do I drive experience for my workforce. And when I say experience for my workforce, I'm constantly thinking about how do my people feel at doing their job. Okay. It goes back to a little of the first thing, but it's a little different because in the past HR has been responsible for creating the physical experience, but then there's been this thing called IT, and it's been responsible for creating the technical experience.

Or the digital experience and what we find in a world where we're distributed more than ever, is that there's only going to be one experience. The question is, where do I experience it from? Am I experiencing it from home? Am I experiencing it from an office? Am I experiencing it from wherever? And you know, once again, the job of HR is to define that experience and to own that strategy. It's not IT's job. IT's job is to empower it. HR's job is to own it and create it. 

So that's the second thing is the concept of experience. And the third thing that I think is so important about where this industry's going is that we have to take the time to make sure that we design the future of the function, for the worker. For the manager and the employee. Okay. We've moved from a HR, used to be a B2B function business to business function. Then we tried with some things called self service to make it a B to C function business to consumer, but where we're really going and where we need to get to is a B to me function.

Yeah. Be to me where I know so much about you, Rhonda, why am I not personalizing? Every bit of conversation I have with you, whether it be a digital conversation or a human conversation, why am I not using the data I collected about you in the app interview process, as part of your development process, we've been doing these things in silos and silos don't allow me to take the action of delivering to a Me. They just give me data in silos. So I truly believe that's a third thing is designing with the workforce at the center. And making sure that workforce is the me that I'm focusing my actions on not HR being HR. 

Rhonda Taylor: Yeah. You're so right about being, you know, being the vertical side of the business, you know, what was going on in the learning department was not in sync with the coaching or the mentoring and all of them play a significant role in the development of the employee.

Jason Averbook: Well, and Rhonda, what you just said is so key, just the last word you said the employee, the employee has one brain. They have two ears, they have two eyes. They don't care if I've got a learning department, a performance department, a recruiting department, a succession department, a compensation department.

They only know one thing. I'm proud of my company. I'm proud of who I am as a person. And I want to do my best work. So let's not make them go through that crap of trying to think through these silos of how we've organized ourselves. Let's have them show up, make it as easy as possible for them to bring their best selves to work, and also make it as easy as possible to allow them to climb to where they can go within an organization.

If we do that, that's truly the power of what a human resource function in the now of work should be. 

Rhonda Taylor: And part of that is empowering the employee 

Jason Averbook: Part of that's empowering the employee along with making sure that we adapt our managers and leaders to let the employees be employees. 

Rhonda Taylor: That's true. And be transparent.

Jason Averbook: Yep. 

Rhonda Taylor: There has to be that level of transparency for them to have control in their career. And I always love to say that we all should look at our careers as owning a GPS. We know where we want to go. Okay. I think COVID is a perfect example that many of us will divert and do a zigzag.

And we may go on track to where we're going, or we may, you know, identify a new direction with our career. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But the employer needs to put things in place for the employee. 

Jason Averbook: Yeah. The employee needs to unlearn. We need to unlearn a lot of the stuff that we've done in the past. The more that we can unlearn and the more that we can adapt the better it will be.

Rhonda Taylor: You know, Jason, you and I though we could keep talking all day, but before I wrap up, but we always have one question that's very near and dear to our hearts. We really believe that you need to enjoy and be passionate in what you do and you own Leapgen. You do so much other work. You do some, a lot of charity work. What drives Jason to keep doing what you're doing? 

Jason Averbook: People. People driving me. I love talking to people. I love working with people. I love educating people. I love learning from people. People. It's the human, it's the human connection of people.

Uh, I'm an, I'm constantly curious. It drives me crazy at times because I have to keep learning. Uh, and what you do is you learn from other people. So, I mean, it's, I know it's kind of a weird answer, but it's also simple. It's if the people are what drive me. You know, the reason that we call Leapgen Leapgen, I think, you know, it stands for love, energy, audacity, and proof.

How do you love what you do and the people around you, which give you energy? To do the audacious and to continue to prove that value over and over again. And the values of Leapgen are the same things that drive me is if you love people and love being with people that gives you energy to do audacious things, and then to continue to prove that value over and over again.

Rhonda Taylor: And that's why the HR space loves Jason Averbook. You get such great applause when you're up in the stage where you're very well respected. Jason. No doubt about it. 

Jason Averbook: Thank you. Thanks so much for that. And I appreciate that. It brings a little tear to my eye actually, but, uh, it's a lot of work, but it's a, it's a, it's like, like I said, you love people, you do the right thing.

Rhonda Taylor: Right, right. Well, Jason, I want to thank you for, for being part of TalentX today. And we will surely to goodness see you when the dust all settles.

Jason Averbook: Right. I can't wait to give you a hug and have a cocktail with you. As soon as possible. 

Rhonda Taylor: I agree. I totally totally agree. So this is Rhonda Taylor. Thank you for joining us on TalentX and Jason Averbook you have yourself a great rest of the day. 

Jason Averbook: Thanks so much.