Five Minutes With... Jacob Morgan, Best-Selling Author, TED Speaker & Workplace Futurist

We caught up with best-selling author and TED speaker Jacob Morgan to discuss his thoughts on employee and candidate experience in today’s workplace.

As one of the world’s leading figures in the field of employee experience, Jacob Morgan has been instrumental in pushing the agenda for change within workplace cultures over the past decade. He is a four-time best-selling author, including The Employee Experience Advantage (2017), The Future of Work (2014), The Collaborative Organization (2012) and, most recently, The Future Leader (2020).

Jacob’s work has also been endorsed by the CEOs of Unilever, Mastercard, Nestle and KPMG. As a certified TED speaker and regular commentator in Forbes and Harvard Business Review, his content on employee experience is viewed over a million times every year by a worldwide audience.

 

Employee experience is becoming a key consideration across every industry, especially among in-house recruiters. What should hiring managers be doing to ensure the best possible experience for their candidates and new recruits?

It’s great to see that employee experience is now the number one talent trend of 2020. My book on this topic came out back in 2017, so it’s clear the idea has been gaining more and more traction over the past three years, particularly among hiring managers and in-house recruiters.

Hiring managers need to tell stories to their candidates and recruits around the three environments that they can shape: culture, technology, and physical space. These are the three things that shape workplace experiences for every employee around the world.

Also, recruiters should be honest and up-front with people around what it’s like to work there. Don’t paint an amazing story about your company if it’s not true because that immediately kills any experience. Take a lesson from Netflix. They are honest and upfront with their people and tell them it’s hard work, but you will be paid well and treated well in return.

 

Our recent research found that 67% of HR professionals are facing inefficiencies and excessive admin as part of their recruitment process. What role can modern technology play in resolving these issues?

Jacob Morgan: The best piece of advice I have is to use technology in a way that makes the organisation more human, not less. Technology is a great solution to handle the more mundane and repetitive aspects of HR and recruitment like candidate tracking, screening, paperwork and follow-ups. It can also cut down human error and inefficiencies in these processes, leaving the more human stuff and relationships to humans!

There’s no reason why it should take months to fill a single role, that’s insane to me. I run a small business and I often hire people within 24-48 hours. We need to strive to get the balance between technology and human interaction right, also being wary not to put any additional layers between people. Nolan Bushnell who was the first boss of Steve Jobs told me this story of how he met Steve for the first time and then offered him a job after just a few hours of knowing and meeting him. That’s only possible with the right approach to candidate experience and people management in place.

 

With such high demand for skilled professionals today, how can in-house recruiters make themselves and their workplace culture stand out among their competitors?

For starters, the organisation needs to have a culture worth sharing – so that’s step one. Then, the most valuable thing for recruiters to do is to tell stories. Adobe does a great job of this with something they have called Adobe Life which is a site dedicated to employee and company stories. They also have a hashtag and post all over social media so that anyone can see what it’s like to work there.

Taking it a step further, if I were a recruiter working at a company with a great culture, I’d let prospective candidates just wander around and talk to people without any supervision. Let them roam the office and see what it’s really like to be there. That’s the best proof you can offer. Tell stories and give them an authentic view of the culture.

 

Should in-house recruiters be thinking more like marketers and brand ambassadors?

120%! Hence the importance of storytelling. Recruiters need to be the biggest champions of company culture. But again, this isn’t something you can fake… or at least not well. For example, if you work at a company where you know the culture isn’t great, where the offices are outdated, where the technologies are legacy and where leaders believe in command and control, then how can you genuinely sell that kind of company culture to someone else? You can spin it whichever way you want and make it look good on paper, though people will quickly find out that they were sold a lie.

I fell into this trap with my first job out of university. I was sold the wonderful story of an amazing company and instead was stuck doing drone work and getting executives coffee. I left after a few months. Recruiters need to understand what their goal is. If it’s just about filling seats and dealing with high churn, then I suppose you can tell whatever story you want. But if the goal is to bring in top talent that contributes to the organisation, then recruiters need to work with leaders and the rest of the HR team to understand candidate expectations and help drive change.

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Learn more about the key employee experience trends and strategic challenges facing HR professionals today in our latest guide: Undercover HR Boss. Make sure to download your free copy today!

Undercover HR Boss

Gathering insights from hundreds of senior HR leaders across multiple industries, we’ve uncovered the challenges facing HR today when it comes to the employee experience and what HR really needs to do to improve it.

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