E359 Recruiting Community: Raphael Ouzan and The Great Betrayal
Chris Hoyt, CXR
Are you headed back? Do you have do you have a trip scheduled to head back to Israel for visit or in
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 0:06
March? I mean that stuff next week and then in March and I’ll be I’ll be in Israel. Yep.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:12
I think that’s exciting.
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 0:13
Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:14
It is. As much as I would love to go. It is a bucket list place for me to go. And somehow it keeps it’s just just outside of my grasp. I know. I just can’t quite make it happen each time.
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 0:25
Yeah, well, you’ll be there. You’ll want to come back all the time. Yes. Yes. So many ideas and energy and yeah, it’s, it’s a good place to be electrifying. Even.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:36
Yeah, well, I think so Gerry Crispin, who was on a little while ago, sorry, watchers, he won’t be joining us today. He’s got an appointment. But Gerry will be going with this delegation that I had mentioned earlier. And I think they’ve just got a lot of really cool stuff. Barb Ruess, who’s VP on our team is going to be going and taking that on. So I just like I’m just so jealous. I’m like, if I had a filter to make me green right now, I would do it because it’s just Alright, well, we’re gonna we’re talking about an interesting topic. Today we’re going to talk about the the what we’re calling the great betrayal. So are you are you kind of ready to just jump right in?
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 1:14
Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:16
Well, here we go. Let’s do it.
CXR Announcer 1:18
Welcome to the CXR channel, our premier podcast for Talent Acquisition and Talent Management, listen in as the CXR community discusses a wide range of topics focused on attracting, engaging and retaining the best talent, we’re glad you’re here.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:47
All right, I know that eventually, we’re going to come back from that cut. And I’m still going to be up here kind of doing my thing. When it’s on we talk every year if we’re going to get rid of that music, and we keep it for those who just don’t in I am Chris Hoyt the president of CareerXroads, and I am your host for the next 20 minutes or so, for this podcast, we call it recruiting community. And it is quite literally that this is where we have a chat with folks from within the industry, they may be practitioners. They may be quote unquote, influencers, people sort of making a difference in that space. They could be in any level within that. So it could be somebody who’s sort of an up and comer that we just think has some really cool stuff to say or it could be an executive coming in and CEO founder that time to just chat about what’s going on. So I will say recently, we’ve been we’ve been having a lot of chats about this layoffs have been announced by a number of companies so far this year. It’s Valentine’s Day, by the way, happy, happy Valentine’s Day with the heartbreaking conversation of layoffs. But we’ve had an awful lot of them announced this year in 2023. That includes really big companies Showtime, iRobot, Twilio, Yahoo. And the layoffs of effect, I think a total of almost about 160,000 jobs just in the tech space. And a lot of the organizations are citing economic headwinds, they’re saying that these are the challenges increasing competition prices, that sort of thing are so the reason for the layoffs. And we’ve come up with a couple of terms that are kind of interesting, but one that sort of struck us as really interesting was not not quiet hiring, not quiet quitting, not quiet firing. But this idea of a great betrayal. And there’s some headlines that we’re going to talk a little bit about that. But before we do I want to bring our guests in from the green room. Raphael, how are you?
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 3:26
Hello. I’m doing very well. I’m really glad to be here. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 3:31
Thank you. Happy Valentine’s. I hope you’re doing something. Something special this evening. You have plans?
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 3:36
Well, my wife actually connected us. She’s flying out today to Canada. So no, no plans for today. Yeah, so I’m here talking about the great betrayal instead, lets do it.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 3:48
I can appreciate that. All right. Well, we’ll do it. Thank you for spending your heart, your heart day with me. Well, Raphael, before we jump in really quickly, why don’t you give us kind of an escalator pitch of who you are. And then give us a sentence or two about a team and kind of the work that you do there. And that’ll put I think, some perspective on your opinion and what you’re going to share with us. Can you do that?
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 4:10
Absolutely. So my name is Raphael Ouzan, I’m the founder and CEO of A.Team and a team was founded very much in the wake of the pandemic, thinking about establishing the world’s first team formation platform to enable companies to form what we call call base teams, fractional teams of very highly skilled professionals in tech, that have a chance to team up with people that want to work with to work on problems that they choose to work on, while having the autonomy and flexibility of contract work. While having the support of an of a network of a community of like minded peers. The company grow fast attracted. Today build it’s close to 9000 of some of the most highly skilled product builders so thinking tech product managers, designers, engineers, data scientists, growth marketers, etc. That connected through a team graph. that captures who works on with whom, on what sort of companies from startups to Fortune 500 can form those very high performing highly motivated distributed teams to enable innovation, product development, those type of things in a hybrid kind of contract, full time mix of, of elite tech and product teams
Chris Hoyt, CXR 5:23
Nice well and I want to remind everybody to because it is a live stream we’re on the YouTube and the Facebook and the LinkedIn and Twitter if you’re in some of those that actually have a live chat enabled, you can jump right in with Raphael myself, you can ask a question of him. Or you can just say hello or drop in your LinkedIn profile that’s working to do a little network but we do have that live chat there also of course on CXR.works/podcast you can jump in there. So if you’ve got questions and you want to be part of that conversation, throw it in there sometimes we just stopped to say hello. So Raphael we’re talking the great material but let me share real quick I’ve just pulled up the layoff.FYI anybody who doesn’t know and actually Oh kick off. Let me just do this. I’ll go and throw it in the live chat for those who have not seen this I don’t know how you would have missed it. But layoffs.FYI. Great resource that announces a lot of stuff going on. These guys have been featured in bloom, Bloomberg TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, that sort of thing. Right now I’ve got the layoffs sorted up just by recency. So Hacker Earth Twilio, electric iRobot magic eatin cassava food, Panda, even even LinkedIn, some numbers on here. So it’s kind of interesting from a layoffs perspective so that this isn’t stopping. Right. We didn’t get through a period of time where Okay, well, we’re done. We’ve sort of adjusted for some market. The layoffs seem to just keep happening in different industries. And certainly, you know, no TA leader is is a stranger to this and the impact that it has on the organization’s specifically in tech in the tech space. But there hasn’t what we haven’t seen. Are any CEOs getting shit canned? We haven’t seen any of these, you know, super high level leaders that has taken a bullet I think we saw Tim Cook said he took a pay cut. But my goodness, you know, he’s still making almost 50 million a year base what I’m talking about the other concepts. So it does bring us to the question, and you shared this link with me earlier, I’m also going to throw that in the chat for anybody who’s looking for it. Maybe you can answer this question when we’re saying great betrayal. WTF is great betrayal rough and what does that mean to you, as we sort of jumped into talking about what what does that phrase even mean?
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 7:34
Like you said, this is not stopping now. And it also didn’t just start in the past few month. And when you think about the relationship between employer and employees, it’s been for parents having a job was stability. And that’s kind of the thing you aim for. That’s what you wish you’re that’s what they are parents wish for their children is to have a stable job. And we kind of went into this and the models of company building and hiring models have been shaken up quite a lot in the past few decades. But if you think of just what happened over the past three years, from the early pandemic days, you remember those days in May 2020, when we thought that the world was ending, companies just had no choice. They were like, okay, look, we got to get rid of most of you, either firing you or furloughed. And a month or two later, when we realized the world was actually not ending just yet. Like, oh, actually, we are seeing some growth in particular verticals, please come back, we made a mistake. We were like, Wait a second. And then more recently, with the downturn in the market, you see those waves happening again and again and again. And it’s the type of layoffs that unlike what we’ve seen, now, the layoffs happen all the time in any time in history, the ones that are the ones where even when you you could be revenue generating where lights have, you know, had good standing in the company and could still find yourself as part of this layoff lesson handled in way that sometimes questionable, really has shattered, we see the belief that employment typical employment is stability. And, as you’ve seen that, that change, I think we live in a time of incredible disruption of the way people see work and how we structure work. And this now lay off in tech in particular, and then more broadly in the market is one that is almost like putting the nail in the coffin, when people realize throughout COVID that this can happen, you know, at any time. Also, experiencing that life can be short, global pandemic, actually is something that can happen. We’ve seen a lot of good years and certainly we see more challenging years. And people realize that they have to start relying on themselves. And they have to start and start caring about the work that they’re actually doing. What is actually fulfilling If the wild is so crazy out there, do you see people even in those times quitting jobs and saying, I want to be able to choose what I work on and work with. And if I cannot trust into in one employer, that will provide me the stability that I need, it’s on me to figure out how to diversify how to have more relationship with with companies, that will give me growth, but it will give me the stability that actually miss from employment. And that’s an incredible change that I think we’re experiencing right now.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 10:30
I would agree with you, it’s a hard, it’s a hard thing for me to take a hard line. And for one party or the other for this, because in my mind, employment has always been a promise between two entities, right? It’s the employer and the employee. And the idea that as long as you as long as you continue to invest in me, I will continue to invest in you and the organization and being successful. So I encourage everybody that if they’re not happy in their role, and it’s not fulfilling in the role to move on, right to, to just pick up and go as you can. But I do recognize there are countless hundreds of 1000s people who don’t have the luxury of this isn’t the best job, you know, from my interests. And so I’ll just pick up and go. And then we’ve got this curveball, that is the economy and the pandemic. And then these massive these organizations, certainly in tech that had this massive amount of growth, and now they’re curbing that right and coming back. So is this a betrayal of, of the organizations that scaled too quickly or scaled recklessly? Is that is that kind of what we’re talking about? And so that they’ve got a responsibility to the employee? Or is this just business as usual, and just just kind of a bigger deal than than it used to be? Because we’ve got a magnifying glass on it.
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 11:51
I think it goes deeper than this, because like you said, there is a social contract with with companies that has been around forever. And that’s one where you get to tell me where to be, what to work on, who to work with. And you give me stability, you don’t even contractually have to invest my growth, but at the very least, you’ll give me a paycheck. And if I do well, it’s understood that, you know, things should be okay. That has shattered, like you realize today, if you’re working at a company, you could be laid off tomorrow, you have no way to know. So when that happens, that moment in time is not just a blip. It’s a sign that companies and the overall market is entering an era that requires agility and flexibility more than ever. We seen this, like it was not just oh, we had COVID-19. And then we had to deal with this one pandemic. And then we’re done. It almost felt like the beginning almost like the the accelerant to so many other ways of disruptions happening. Just in the world of work, great resignation, quiet, quitting, read for consideration people going remote, in the broader scheme of things in broader world contexts, war here, Ukraine, etc, all this change is happening. Now there are so many variables, that’s even the most complex models trying to predict what’s going to happen tomorrow, are failing. So companies in a way have to rethink as well, their relationship with employees. Because the companies are not soliciting, to hire, despite the fact that it just did lay off. What’s going to happen in a few months, when the world changes. Again, when there’s another type of pressure that happens plus productivity and efficiency becomes absolutely critical for companies that enforce them, we forgot about that. But now companies in particular have to figure out how to grow cost and spending in a way that makes sense with revenue. So what are you going to do every time that revenue isn’t there, or you’ve invested and doesn’t work, you’re gonna do another wave of layoff. It’s incredibly taxing on so many levels.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 13:59
seems to be a pattern, though, that it right, it seems to be this never ending circle. You know, we hire big and oops, we F’d it up, and now we’re laying off big or, you know, having to do this shift. So how do we get out of that? I mean, I’m gonna go back to my other comment, and we had a really interesting conversation. Last week, not you and I, but some others on LinkedIn talking about some headlines that are hitting where people are saying, When are the senior leaders held accountable for poor people planning and poor business planning? Is that you’re doing the chat GPT and figure out what the answer to that is like, where do we go?
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 14:36
I think we can blame the leadership for not having the perfect crystal ball. But the bottom line is that no one does. And of course, companies would rather plan better and forecast better. But frankly, if you look at your electronic 23 You’re now making budgets and hiring, headcount, headcount management and prediction. How do you know what’s going to happen next month? How can you make prediction on revenue and income and spending in a way that makes sense is inflation. There’s all this movement happening, it’s almost impossible. And therefore, it’s reducing that happening. We’re also seeing that that’s been going on for quite a while, that incredible push towards contract work, freelancing being independent to some capacity. There was this research, so that showed that a third of highly skilled professionals earning over $150,000 A year was research by McKinsey are doing contract work, a third of healthcare professionals, which is crazy. You also saw this article that showed that nine to five employees feel less ability than the ones who do contract work. And we’re seeing that with the data that we’ve surveyed, saying that out of the people that have been laid off, close to 70% are looking into contract work as as a better alternative. So you see that the symptoms of this disruption in the higher end of the market, in the highly skilled category, there’s always going to be demand, if anything, that demand is gonna increase, but then people don’t want to participate in that. And companies cannot predict really well, what’s going to happen. And therefore, this big investment decisions such as hiring, a lot of people are going to have more and more error rates and correction required. So we’re seeing the best companies do is structured differently.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 16:19
Yeah, well, I was just gonna ask, I mean, it seems to me that the failure, the betrayal is not evolving, right. So when we’re talking about this company’s just continuing to recycle and do the same thing over and over that that seems to be the betrayal because there are unknowns and running a business and organization and staffing for that. But we did also see a lot of organizations do really cool things to keep their employees on, we have a couple of members within CareerXroads, who managed to not lay off a single recruiter, they repurpose them in the organization. And when that flex was done, they brought them back in and of course, to increase their own knowledge, right of how the organization works or business unit, they would have other line a line of business otherwise been supporting. So it seems to me that it is about restructuring, maybe role sharing, investing in sort of more gig work. I mean, that that seems to be where maybe the new code promise, right that that that promise to the employee, or the potential employee, and that work could see more investment.
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 17:17
Very much. So I think it’s actually brilliant way to put it. We have to revisit those models and revisit the vendor contract a social compact that we do with with, with our workforce, you could rethink having a smaller core employee kind of FTE footprint to which you’re really committed. And they’re also committed to you in the long term. That means like any good relationship, that means in good times, and in bad times. And if anything, the bad times are going to be the one forging that relationship, then you will be able to create a more agile and resilient and efficient workforce that is structured around impact around outcomes. We see the best companies do. And you’re right, that has been their failure for most of them to adapt a lot of tech companies that Oh, this COVID is growth, capital is free. Let’s hire just a bunch of people will ask questions later, instead of been thinking in terms of what are the outcomes that the company needs to accomplish? And if you start thinking that way, and that where I think ta leaders have a huge role to play in company building, is to move the conversation from less of headcount. Okay, what do you need? Let’s just write it down, right and get budget approval, but rather, what are the outcomes we need to drive? Because when you start putting that question, in terms of outcomes, and the next question becomes what are the teams that you need in order to maximize your chances to accomplish that outcome. And when you start thinking in terms of the teams that are outcome driven, then W2 W9, etc, becomes secondary. And that enables you to create that workforce in a way that you have that core that you very much committed to, you have the fractional expertise, and builders and so forth that you can bring on to power the teams in a way that is flexible, so that you made a bet you started building out, it didn’t work out that way. You can repurpose, you can shift, you can divest and invest into areas where you want them to lay off because our core are things that actually end up working, right. And you create a company building model that is much more resilient, dynamic, agile, and that can be I believe, and I think a lot of companies see the right the type of organization that can thrive in an environment that is very clear to be uncertain, uncertain, and riddled with challenges and disruptions.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 19:32
Yeah, it’s interesting Raphael so we’ve, we’ve got and I’m gonna, I’m gonna talk now just in the recruiting pocket, right of the business, right, the recruiting side. So within CareerXroads, we got about 130 employers and brands now that are members and we asked them from time to time we do we do these polls and surveys, these benchmark reports, and one that has come up that was asked for by members was they wanted to know how many of their peers were now investing, leaning in or leaning out on RPO services. This. So instead of having, you know, an entire recruiting team, that’s all FTE is, what percentage were they going to move to have core FTE recruiters versus, you know, an outsourced service or even contracted recruiters for that exact reason. If we if we step on our tails again, or if the market shifts, you know, unpredictably again, we can easily flex that that work, right, we’re not getting rid of FTEs, and pieces are you seeing, and I will tell you, roughly almost 30% of the respondents so far, they’ve come in and said they are doing their homework on moving, whereas, and I’ll use a quote from one of the leaders who had said, you know, a year ago, I wouldn’t have spit on an RPO to put them out if they were on fire. And now this year, I’ve got four, they’re in the middle of a process. But you know, we’re, we’re looking for bids. So, I mean, are you are you seeing that type of shift outside of recruitment, on a sort of a larger scale, moving more towards gig moving more toward contract, that type of flexibility?
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 21:02
There are. So we’re seeing, from our perspective, looking at product builders, and engineers, and designers and product managers, etc. We’re seeing that expand tremendously for companies of all sizes, from startups and tech companies to Fortune 500 and midsize enterprises. And we’re seeing that very interesting shift where actually recruiters and tier professionals are not thinking of gigs slash contracts slash contingent workforce, not just for commoditized type of work, which some historically has been the case in many situations, but rather for kind of the tip of the spear initiatives. And that’s where you can drive growth by bringing the type of expertise that because of the grid betrayal, because of the patterns in the market, actually don’t really want to work full time for a company that’s just gonna lay them off tomorrow, and whatever else might happen, but gladly team up with you on a particular outcome particular challenge. So I think with the that model that you mentioned, and that evolution within the recruiting sphere, is, is very relevant. And we’re seeing that happen with all the highly skilled and kind of 10x type people, contributors on the knowledge type work happening throughout the enterprise.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 22:14
Yeah, I was gonna jump into what I hear you saying a couple of times in your being your your outright saying it and I think you’re also insinuating, as you go through is that you’re talking about having a planning conversation that says, what is the outcome you’re looking for, let’s plan around the outcome. And I think unfortunately, for a lot of T leaders, maybe they don’t have that level of partnership within their organization. So let me ask you, if you have, so if I’m a TA leader today, and I just might, my head is spinning, and these layoffs keep happening all around me. And I want to ensure the mental safety of my team, I want to ensure that we are being effective as leaders in the organization, and maybe they don’t have the ear of the C suite. from a planning perspective. Is there anything you’d recommend? Is there something I can do to be more engaged or, or be better prepared for whatever the next great thing is? We’re going to call it quiet betrayal, hot betrayal, chat, GPT betrayal? I don’t know. Whatever, whatever that’s gonna be like, what as a leader should I know?
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 23:18
I love this question. We work a lot with with TA leaders across across the market. And we learned a lot from them. Because we see the shift that has been happening from almost playing defense, oh, I have a bunch of reqa, you know, how quickly can you fill those reqs to playing offense being like, what is the company building that will enable us to accomplish our goals, and you see to leaders working closely with hiring managers, to help them even think through that, essentially, ROI case, that impact focus, outcome driven hire. So when you think the way you group, even the hiring, if you can have that conversation with hiring managers doesn’t have to go to the C suite, sometimes they don’t even really know. But hiring managers should know. And sometimes asking the question we’ll look for, okay, like, this is what we need to deliver on. And this is why and it is roles, okay? What do you really need that? What happens if it if you don’t get the budget you think you’re going to get what happens if this works out? If it doesn’t work out? Whatever skills is really paramount versus isn’t in that will. And that will help move and graduate. I think a lot of the tip professionals to being potentially the most important people in terms of who’s building the organization. And the high managers have the pressure as well, because this whole idea of doing more with less is a good tagline. It’s very hard in practice, because what hiring managers are essentially experiencing is okay, you not getting those gridline on this headcount, and you still have to achieve what you need to achieve. You mentioned the word safety, which is really critical. Doing that work of actually asking ourselves the why essentially, why during that role, what is the outcome behind it? What does success look like? Helps with Safety once you’re under 18, because you understand why you there, it also helps with recruiting and actually attracting the right people because you can tie this into an outcome. You can tell them something that you opt into, Yes, I’m coming in, I’m going to go and help and solve the problem. And you help with participation, understanding the broader perspective that you’re contributing to. And that is very significant. And I look forward to more conversations with the leaders that are thinking that way. We’re also seeing those new departments being set up of talent access, or which are looking at alternative sources of high end contract, specialized workforce, etc. As a way to implement some of the things that we talked about, as we build more resilient outcome driven workforces.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 25:40
Yeah, I love that. And Raphael, I’m gonna put your, let me see if I can put this up here. There we go. There’s your LinkedIn place to connect. Again, I want to remind everybody, this is an ad free zone, it is technically ChatGPT free zone two, but it’s an ad free zone. So there’s nobody pays to get on the show. Nobody pays to sort of connect and be here just because somebody comes in, they’re doing cool stuff, or there’s an idea of a cool conversation that we’d like to have with them. So if you want to connect with Raphael, and the A.Team, go ahead and give this a look. It’s just linkedin.com/in/name. So we’ll put it put it all in there and out there. So everybody can sort of check that out. It’s pretty easy. Raphael, let me ask you if if you’re gonna if you’re going to write a book about what’s going on in the space right now, about this topic around what you’re so passionate about, what what do you think you would title that book?
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 26:29
I Builders, the Builder economy, the Team Economy that is being that is the world that we’re about to live in, I think the we experience our teams much more than we expense our companies. And the ability to team up with great people to do the work that you care about is something that is universal and so deeply rooted in all of us professionals across every industry, every discipline. And exploring that with people like you and your community. Is, is something that we’re deeply passionate with. And I think we’re writing the book as we as we speak as we’re as we’re doing it.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 27:07
I love it. I love that stuff. So Raphael, who gets the first signed copy, think carefully. It’s Valentine’s day.
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 27:13
Definitely. In fact, she doesn’t get the first thing coffee, she’s getting all the drafts. And she’s helping write it in a way because we can imagine to, to a husband and wife both in the future of work, HR tech, running startups. We talk about the book every day without calling it a book. dinner conversation for us, you know, yeah.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 27:33
But you know, being someone else that’s in a relationship with somebody in the space. The evening conversations are just easy. Yeah, right. Not lengthy. They do go along and work does carry sometimes to midnight, but they aren’t. They are good conversations and easy to have. I appreciate it.
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 27:46
Yeah, it’s a big and really interesting problems to solve with, with great people so grateful to have that opportunity.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 27:53
Well, it’s good stuff. We’re glad to have big brains like you come on and chat us up a little bit. Hanging out. Don’t go anywhere. Yeah, I’m gonna put you in the greenroom for two seconds. I just wanna remind a few people of stuff much gratitude, Raphael, much gratitude.
Raphael Ouzan, A.Team 28:03
Thank you so much. It’s great.
Chris Hoyt, CXR 28:06
All right, I just want to remind everybody really quickly cxr.works/podcast for all of the future shows as well as the previous shows in the archive you can get there as well as cxr.works/events We are back at live events. We’re super excited to kick off in March and Florida. So we’re we’re doing our branding, employment branding and marketing meeting will be live that I say live yet I’m super excited about it. But check out the events calendar, you can register if you’re CXR member to attend those and with that, I’m gonna leave everybody and say Happy Valentine’s Day and hopefully, you’re not working too late. Go have a nice dinner do something with somebody, whether it’s your pet or your friends, your your significant other but make it a great day.
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