S4 E123 | CXR Podcast: Tracey Parsons Talks Internal Mobility

Tracey talks about the importance of being strategic, having tough conversations and knowing the math when it comes to internal mobility.

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Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:23
All right, welcome everybody to another edition of the CXR podcast. I am excited. We got a fun topic, and we have a very fun person. Listen closely watch out for her tone, and some green room chatter bleeding its way into the show already. Tracey Parsons, how are you today?

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 0:43
I’m great, Chris, how are you?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:45
Doing? Wonderful. Thank you for asking. For those who may not know who Tracey Parsons is, I’m going to I’m going to ask you my infamous question for the show. Can you give us an escalator pitch around who you are, and why we should care what you have to say today?

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 1:01
All right, well, my escalator pitch is. I’m Tracey Parsons, and I’ve been working in the TA space since the late 1900s, as the kids would say, and the world’s first banner ad for recruitment, I placed that in 1997 on ZD net, and launched the first ever social recruiting campaign on MySpace in 2005. So I’ve got to watch this whole thing, grow up the recruitment, marketing, employer brand, explosion grow up kind of from the front seat and push it out the door.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:34
My gosh, Tracey, okay, so you’ve got two milestones that you just mentioned, this is totally unrelated to our topic, by the way. But Gerry’s been working on this history of recruiting project. And it is it’s literally goes all the way back to the Romans. I mean, it is this the birth of recruiting, you’re laughing, but it’s it is literally the history of recruitment.

Gerry Crispin, CXR 1:53
And you’re going to get a copy of it, Tracey and when you get the copy, if you add to it, then you become a contributing author.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:04
And the fact that you’re the first person to say MySpace in at least a year I was any recruitment that I think both of those two things would be really interesting to include. So watch out for that. We’re gonna send that to you

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 2:14
Happy to participate.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:15
So as we jump in to talk a little bit, because I want to talk internal mobility with you today, you’ve got a unique perspective on that, I think, and I think we’re both aligned. With regards to it just a little bit of a shit show right now with a lot of people playing catch up. Tell us just give us a really quickly like 30 seconds about Worqdrive the founder of this new organization, tell us a little bit about what it does. And then let’s jump it’s not a product pitch letting everybody knows listening. No, but I do want people to have a background of sort of where you’re coming from.

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 2:44
Yeah. And it was born out of so. So I run this consultancy, which we, you know, briefly talked about, and a customer had us design, redesign their entire employee lifecycle and candidate experience, how they deal with talent. And we started digging into the data. And I found that they were converting external people into applicants at a 5x rate of internals. So internals weren’t converting. And I said, Hey, by the way, we’ve got some software sitting on a shelf, that we could probably repurpose this source code for you. And it turned into this whole product now and they’re using it, they’re actively using it. And essentially, it’s trying to kind of reimagine internal hiring and mobility by putting the employee in the driver’s seat and giving them the keys to their career, as opposed to somebody saying, Oh, we have a plan for somebody or doing your traditional succession planning. This is more about giving your employees and empowering them to make choices about where they want to go and what they want to do next.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 3:50
Yeah, so anybody who’s interested in the product should check it out. It’s work drive with a que nada K. They should check it out. But I want to talk about your headspace around why you think internal mobility is so important. Now, like why is it such a hot item today?

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 4:09
Well, a couple of reasons. We’ve, we all keep watching these quit rates, and then you’ll see these you know, 3% of the workforce left and, and you then there’s articles like the economist came out yesterday, there’s like, well, this is all overblown, right? This is all the great resignation is, is completely overblown. This is actually flat. Regardless, any person that walks out of your door that would rather stay costs your business money. And I’ve been telling this to my customers for you know, 20 years saying, Great, it’s all about it’s nice that you’re bringing new people in but what are you doing for the people who, who currently work here and and we’re reaching this saturation point with recruitment, marketing and employer brand where we’re getting the point where keep keep dumping more names in the top of the funnel? So what are we doing with the people who already work here? How are we engaging them? How are we impacting powering them. And we’ve had COVID. I mean, I’ve told this I’ve given this a story 62 times. But basically, two years ago, we were all these lovely little hamsters running on a hamster wheel. And then somebody jammed a pencil in all of our collective hamster wheels. And all the hamsters went flying. Right. And so like, there’s all these concussed hamsters walking around the world going out? This is weird. I don’t really like wait a minute. There’s a house of people that I know that I need to take care of, oh, no, what do I do. And then meanwhile, you know, leadership starting to tape that hamster wheel together, not really fixing it, just putting some tape on it, maybe shining up the edges, and say hamsters get back on the wheel. And the hamster is like we don’t, we don’t really want to get back on the wheel. So we’ve got all these people who are exiting the workforce, we have a bunch of people that are retiring the workforce and a bunch of hamsters just walking around with concussions. So what I’m been advocating for people to do is not only are people leaving the workforce, and mass, they are there. I think I saw 6 million in the last year were retirees.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 6:02

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 6:03
Um, we, we had a lot of people die of COVID in the workforce. That’s, that’s a big thing. And then in the last year and a half, almost 5 million new small businesses were started. Which is a 24% lift from the year before. So people like yeah, so they’re, they’re like finding a new way to make money and pay their bills. But at the end of the day, they don’t really want to have to do all that. Right? Like, they would like to get on the wheel, or near the wheel or wheel adjacent, if we could present them with a better wheel experience.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 6:42
So I’m imagining all of these

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 6:45
Concussed hamsters, I know, that’s a great story.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 6:47
I could just listen to your dog for 30 minutes all by yourself. I mean, just imagining all these Dizzy little hamsters, walking around the cage, bumping into the glass, you know, tripping over the water bottle? So I guess my question is, and I am asking this to the industry with peace and love. Why are we so lazy? With regards to fixing the internal mobility challenge? Like what why if we’re doing all this stuff, externally, we dump. And here’s a really easy, lazy example, on my part, we’re going to spend millions on a new employer brand, we’re going to spend millions on an external candidate experience. And we’re going to spend crackers, right, or hamster meal on the internal experience. So it becomes so much easier for somebody to go find a job somewhere else. I know there’s an issue of equity also right into with internal movement. It’s so it’s so much easier to go find a job somewhere else get a 20% Raise to go right easily nowadays 20% Raise to go then it is to even find what jobs are available internally. Why why why do we do that?

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 7:51
I have a good answer. Um, there was some research last year from I’m going to get it wrong. Global TA Trends, it might have been LinkedIn data. 70% of TA professionals say the reason they can’t get this done is managers. Managers are a barrier to internal mobility, because they’re concerned that people are going to they’re going to poach their A players. And so the Yeah, okay, cool. But also, they’re gonna leave anyway. So the people that are pulling the trigger on mobility have some things in common. One of them is they’re brave and bold and brazen, right? They’re going to look at the hiring manager and say, Hey, I know you don’t want your top performers to leave to go do something that they really want to do. But I’m sorry to tell you, they’re going to do that anyway. Because the last three weeks, they’ve had 62, LinkedIn invites from recruiters that want to hire them anyway, they actually would like to stay. So we need to make it easy, and you’re holding them back. And we’re not going to have that talent hoarding mentality anymore at our organization. But they’re also really focused on allowing and empowering that employee. Right. So that’s, that’s a big component to this. One of the reasons that we built this, like I worked at, you know, monster TMP, I’ve worked at a bunch of different brands throughout my career. And every time I wanted to know what the next thing was, for me, I was told we have a plan for you.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 9:15
Just wait, be patient.

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 9:16
Wait, and I was like, well, and I had a lot of reactions to that we have a plan for you thing. I was like, this plan is this and do I have a pointless plan? What is the plan? We do you guys care what I want to do? Right? And that’s where this all kind of was born from? Yeah, why? Why do I have to Why does somebody have a plan for me? This is, this is my career.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 9:38
Yeah. Well, it’s it is it’s fascinating to me that we make it so difficult, and there is a cultural shift. You know, we talked to leaders all the time, we were talking about trying to build a business case internally to have an internal recruiting team. Yes. And it’s not while budget is sometimes a challenge. One of the biggest sticking points. I think Tracy, as you mentioned, is that internal Culture of managers are directors who say, This is my talent. No bub, it’s not your talent. It’s the organization’s talent, right? It’s the work for the company. It’s not your talent. So I’m sorry, your succession planning is such a shit show that you can’t figure out how to let people move and grow with the organization.

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 10:19
And with peace and love, I would just pinch their little cheeks. Yeah. Adorable if you think that that’s gonna work.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 10:28
So if we were going to tell somebody how to tackle that internally, right? So it’s the Tracey and Chris methodology? What what do you think we would what would be like our top? Alright, you this is how you’re going to tackle this internally. This is how you’re going to take on internal mobility, you’re going to you’re going to turn that frown upside down in your organization and get people on the move. What do you think we would tell them?

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 10:50
Well, I think there’s a couple different things. One is that you’re going to have to be strategic, because one of the things that we keep seeing over and over again, is that whenever we’re talking to people about Worqdrive, I hear from talent management, well, that’s TA and I hear from ta Well, that’s talent management, right? So we’ve developed a lot of different silos that are preventing internal mobility from happening. And one of the things that we have to do is remember that it has nothing to do with our organizational structure, it has everything to do with the talent we’ve already paid to attract and hire. So how do we how do we elevate them? So we’ve got to break down those silos and be really strategic about this. And we need to realize that an internal job board does not internal mobility make, right so like that, we were talking in the greenroom about like, little, you know, check mark things, and we, everybody’s gonna say we offer internal mobility. And what they’re saying is that we have an internal job board.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 11:42
But we posted two weeks before we send it externally Tracey, so we’re, we clearly care about our internal

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 11:47
Obviously, this is important to us. Um, so. So what I would, what I would say is, we have to be really strategic, and we have to let go of our silos and our ownership and realize that we, we need to, we need to contribute and be strategic about how we bring solutions to the table. The second piece is being fearless. Like, clearly going into your talent hoarding managers and saying, This is not the way we’re going to do this anymore. And the reason that we’re not going to do this anymore is reason number three, is that they have to know the math, you have to know how much money is walking out your door every year. Like everybody that leaves I think the stat is one and a half times their salary, if they’re a manager above is leaving your organization. That’s what it costs. Is it higher Gerry? Yeah. Okay. So let’s even say it’s two times. So if you have $100,000 a year salary person, and they walk out the door, that just cost your organization $200,000. Right. How many did you lose this year? Multiply that by 200,000, that should get your C suites attention and allow the talent hoarding managers to say, Oh, we’re not going to do that anymore. Because it’s hurting our bottom line. Yeah, it’s really about being strategic having tough conversations and knowing the math.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 13:06
Yeah, I think we’re also seeing a spotlight that gets that gets shined on the issue of development internally, as well, which changes also how how we expect or what we expect of candidates into certain roles. So hiring people for potential, hiring people with learning agility, and any the willingness to invest in them, I think is a game changer, as opposed to looking for people who have already done that job, or the resume says, logically, they should make that, you know, that shouldn’t be the next piece. And I think we’re starting to see a shift there as well. And I think that will play nicely from an internal mobility standpoint, too, is that, you know, as we want to move them internally, we’re also going to double down and develop that talent, as well as invest in those that those people internally.

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 13:51
Absolutely. And how do we how do we know what they want to do? And how do they want to how they want to grow? Right, that’s the that is the missing component. Like we make a lot of guesses. And I’ve seen some tech out there that is, you know, robot driven, that will take your resume and say this should be the next job for you. It was like, if I did not my manager telling me what my plan is, I certainly don’t want a robot telling me what my plan is. So we have to give them the keys to that car and let them tell us how they want to grow. And then if they’re telling us how would they want to grow, grow them. I love it. I mean, maybe that was the tone. But I’m so sorry to say like I I am very, very common sense and straightforward. And one of the things that I think is kind of funny, is that everybody tells me Tracey that just makes sense. I was like Yeah, I know but it’s just not common practice.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 14:45
Yeah, well, what is it the Who is it once told me that common sense is in short supply and you should learn to charge a premium?

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 14:53
Yeah, right. I mean, if they tell you where they want to grow, grow them.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 14:57
Yeah, with peace and love, just grow

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 14:59
With peace and love.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 15:01
Tracey, get a give us a final thought, I mean, I’m gonna put you on the spot. Is there somewhere somebody should go to learn a little bit more about internal mobility? Do you have a reference or resource that maybe you lean on when you’re when you’re just trying to catch up on the news or figure out what’s going on.

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 15:17
So I have a really extensive setup and Feedly

Chris Hoyt, CXR 15:21

Tracey Parsons, Worqdrive 15:21
My Feedly feed is where I go, and I wish I could, you know, share that in a way that was the would be useful. Um, I do There’s a lot of analyst work being done out there right now that is really strong, we actually, we got our hands on the aspect 43 talent mobility report. So we’ll definitely get that to you for the community. So people can download that and kind of take a look at it. We’re always listening to what Madeline Laurano has to say she’s just got some really great scents going on. She’s doing a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of that. And Sarah White’s just really, really a smart person. So whatever she’s doing an aspect we’re listening to. And I tell this to people all the time, I was like, we’re creating content, all of the info turning mobility software is creating content, read it all with a grain of salt, including ours, like, just it’s it’s it’s marketing fluff, and you know, follow the analysts follow your peers, read case studies, like just an what, what I want everybody to focus on and realize as we’re as we’re getting out of this, this is not going to end like people, the hamsters are tired and there are injuries they’re concussed concussed. And so this is not going to end. But think of it this way. And this is one of the things that we’ve been talking about in the platform, everybody that’s leaving right now, you actually have an opportunity to bring them back in six to nine months. So think about not just internal mobility, but alumni and how those two things play together. Because you’ve crafted and forged a relationship with your talent that you should really invest in. And I think that’s what we’re trying to communicate across the continuum right now. Like it’s, you’ve paid a pretty penny to attract and hire these people, nurture them.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 17:08
I love it. I love it. Well, Tracy, thanks so much for joining us. We’re gonna have to have you on again. I’d love it. All right, for our listeners. Coming up next week, I think we’ve got one, one podcast left, I think for the year we’re inviting Tara Doyle, she’s going to talk at ta transformation. So you’re gonna wanna, you’re gonna want to make sure you dial in for that. And for anybody else who’s interested, of course, it’s CXR.works/podcast, you can check out all of the years and hundreds of episodes that we did this year. I can You can also go to CXR.works/books, where we’ve got a book club going on. We did quite a few books this year. I think at least a dozen of them feels like a dozen of them. But we’re wrapping up I think on the 17th so next week, we’re wrapping up, we’re doing an essay so it’s not that if you’re short reader, you got a short attention span. You won’t even get through your run on the treadmill to get through it but we think you’ll be laughing out loud with that one. So check that out. And until then we’ll see everybody online in the community at CXR.works Take care everybody.

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