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Ascent B2B IT Forum: Reimagining the Future of Work in the Enterprise

Ascent B2B IT Forum: Reimagining the Future of Work in the Enterprise

The proliferation of technology is impacting our everyday lives in a big way. From navigating our route to work to facilitating mundane everyday tasks, technology is proving as disruptive as anything we’ve ever experienced. The workplace is no exception – where every employee used to show up and work from nine to five and leave work behind at night and on weekends, today’s workplace looks much different. According to JLL research, 54 percent of people today work from home more than 5 days a month, and 34 percent work regularly from non-offices.

Last night, we explored the future of work in the enterprise at our 10th B2B IT Forum. With the help of our panelists we kicked off with the topic of Automation and Technology: Its Impact on Daily Work. Our first round of panelists included experts from Catalant, Wayfair and JLL. The conversation was colorful but the most pervasive theme was around the shift from corporate power to the management of an employee-centric landscape. Every panelist talked about the technology needed to adapt to the changing needs of recruiting for today’s (and tomorrow’s) workplace.

According to Arthur Matuszewski, head of strategic talent sourcing at Wayfair, the company is exploring technologies to augment both recruiting and how people work. The ways in which we interact have changed and “there is no longer one type of worker,” he said. Adaptability and fluidity are impacting the type of human capital companies are looking for.

Patrick Petitti, co-founder and co-CEO at Catalant, said that instead of thinking about “talent acquisition,” companies of the future think about “talent or skills access.” The demand for a healthy workplace, work/life balance and flexibility are a few important factors impacting the “human experience,” said Julia Georgules, SVP and director of research at JLL.

Julia delivered the mic drop moment, summing up the changing recruiting landscape with this stat: “there are six million open jobs in the U.S.” yet 6.8 million unemployed Americans are looking for a job. Why? Companies are no longer merely filling spots and are “constantly running up against the challenge of where you can get the best talent.” They are rethinking what it means to be a qualified candidate just as candidates are not settling for the status quo, but are looking for increased engagement in the workplace. Julia suggests that if companies can increase worker engagement, they may not need to hire as much.

Our second panel titled Attracting and Recruiting the Best Talent, continued the conversation with speakers from Pega, gr8 People and Synthesio. No one challenged the fact that there’s a skills gap in the U.S., and that it’s hard to find talent in specific areas. To attract talent, “you need to differentiate your employee brand,” according to Brandon Carmack, head of executive recruiting at Pega.

Jack Coapman, chief strategy officer at gr8 People, agreed. “Corporations used to be in charge of the engagement process; now candidates drive it,” he said. But there’s a transparency inherent in the process that never existed before. “There’s very little a recruiter can’t learn about a candidate quickly, and market specifically to them.” Technology has upleveled the recruiting playing field.

Barbara Curran, VP of global HR at Synthesio has been in recruiting since 1985. The biggest change is that “we really need to go out and find people. You have to go to them, and have to find them in a whole bunch of different ways and be extremely creative, and sell the job to them, and at the same time you have to vet and qualify them.” The process is more complex than ever but “recruiting is very much sales and math. You have to figure out what job to fill, how you want to fill it and then create a narrative to engage the people you want to speak with. What you really need to do is be laser focused on who you want to get,” she said.

We closed the evening with Sean Quimby, principal at The Quimby Group Consulting, former VP operations at Invaluable, and Zipcar and Equinox, and Bob Quinn, chief people officer at Cygilant. The topic, Scaling from 10 to 100+, triggered some valuable advice for the audience.

“The first thing companies do with new funding is expand talent,” said Bob. The biggest mistake, in his opinion, is not having a hiring plan before taking on the new funding. Hiring missteps or delays are costly and companies cannot overestimate the value of a well thought out organizational and hiring plan.

Sean Quimby agrees: “Have a meeting with the key decision makers. What are the three to five competencies you need that are crucial for this person to be successful?” It hurts more to hire the wrong talent than to take time to do it right.

With growth brings change and according to Bob, when companies scale and change there are competencies and skills that change. But companies need to think about what they don’t want to change.

“It’s healthy for organizations to think early on about the values they have as a company. They  will act as a beacon for decision making,” Sean said. “Creating a strong set of values and linking them to your business practices is really important.”

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