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Culture as the Ultimate Recruiting Advantage

Job candidates already know your culture

“Always be recruiting,” is one of veteran recruiter Tom Schin’s mantras, “You should be recruiting every day, every week, every month, every year.”



Tom joined us for this week’s Thursdays with CultureTalk. An executive at Alaant Workforce Solutions and the founder of Build Better Culture, he helped us explore the connection between workplace culture and recruiting, and how to leverage leadership and team develop to build culture.

Here are some key take-aways from our conversation.

(1:00) “The many angles of workplace culture”
Welcome to Thursdays with CultureTalk. We gather here to share ideas about workplace culture and how to make it tangible through the framework of human story. We share how the framework can be applied to help organizations solve all kinds of challenges, so if you tune in on a regular basis, you’ll hear us talking about everything from DEI, to branding, to mergers and acquisitions, to leadership development, to communications.  All these angles are part of how people experience culture.

(2:27) “Culture and recruiting in 2022”
Today we have Tom Schin joining us to talk about ‘culture as the ultimate recruiting advantage’. We know recruiting is big challenge amid post-pandemic Great Resignation, in which employees are re-evaluating their goals around employment and their ideal employers.

(3:00) “Meet Tom Schin”
Tom Schin is the director of talent acquisition partnerships and recruiting consulting services for Alaant Workforce Solutions in Albany NY.  Alaant has been recognized both as a Great Place to Work and a one of America’s top recruiting firms by Forbes Magazine. Tom is also the founder of Build Better Culture, a consultancy where he focuses on leadership, team development, and employee engagement. Tom shares how he landed in a career focused on recruiting and why it’s been a good fit for him.

(5:20) “Opportunities to improve experience”
As a recruiter, Tom is exposed to many different organizations and how they do thing differently. He noticed opportunities for leadership development, management training and improving the employee experience, especially how you treat people, and this led to the idea of Build Better Culture. Tom also recounts his initial exposure and interest in Archetypes and storylines.

(6:10) “Pandemic adds to HR overwhelm”
Tom takes us to the front lines of recruiting, adding detail to the challenges that HR teams and hiring managers have faced over the last couple of years. He describes the sense overwhelm, how more keeps getting added to the HR person’s plate, including the additional maelstrom of communications and compliance that started in March 2020.

(8:30) “Culture Leaders and Diversity Directors”
Even before the pandemic, recruiters begin to see brand new positions being created within HR like people and culture leaders, chief diversity officers and other diversity roles, which Tom feels is long overdue and expands the capacity and role of the HR office.

(9:20) “More turnover, higher wages”
We quote stats about hiring, turnover, and rising wages from a timely article in Entrepreneur Magazine including 144% turnover among hourly wage earners since June 2020, 70% more job vacancies and wages that have jumped an average of 10%. (Black Box Intelligence and Snagajob). Tom touches on the issues surrounding hourly workers and minimum wage laws.

(11:35) “A message of hope for HR”
Against the backdrop of hiring challenges and the myriad of issues contributing, Tom shares that his message to HR teams and hiring managers is one of hope. In a recent keynote he underscored his philosophy that every time you are asked to ‘do more’ – you also need to delegate, pushback, or reprioritize.

(12:30) “People want to work”
Tom takes a stand saying, “most people want to work and what’s come to light these last two years is that they feel confident about their choices.” He also talks about how the remote work landscape has opened opportunity for everyone.

“It's our job in recruitment to find the ones who are motivated and interested to entertain other options, meaning is the grass greener, or somebody is not taking care of me as well as I think I should be.”

| Tom Schin, CultureTalk Partner & Founder, Build Better Culture

(14:30) “How job candidates experience culture”
One of Tom’s mantras is: “You need to be recruiting every day.” We discuss the mindset leaders need to adopt that if pulling someone through a recruiting process that their experience of your culture starts from the moment you have a connection with them (or maybe even before that!) and continues throughout the hiring and onboarding process.

Tom comments on the candidate experience –especially how potential employers communicate with them from start to finish. He also notes that the candidate experience starts before they’ve even applied! When candidates begin entertaining the job search, they begin an evaluation of “what’s important to me” and “what’s the culture” – and how job seekers already have a mindset of what they’re looking for in an organization. They want to find an organization that fits.

“You must know who you are to bring the people into that organization. You must know your cultural identity. The culture piece that people need to tie and connect to, needs to start from day one and go through the entire process.”

| Tom Schin, CultureTalk Partner & Founder, Build Better Culture

(16:45) “Candidates know your culture”
Tom and his team at Alaant help clients focus on the hiring process looking for ways to optimize the culture experience at every touchpoint and with every person they meet along the way. “The employer brand is front and center,” he says. We discuss why “you’ve got a brand, whether you’ve built it with intention or not, and that your brand is every part of the experience”; and how candidates come into employment conversations with an already-formed first impression of the brand and culture.

(18:25) “Transparency on the front end”
Tom uses a subscription service analogy to question why employees only get negotiating power when they say they are leaving, at which point all the upsells (or discounts!) are offered. He encourages clients to give candidates as much information as possible on the front end – including salary ranges.

(20:30) “The 80/20 Rule and the Long Game”
At Build Better Culture Tom helps clients focus on opportunities like leadership development and employee engagement. He uses the 80/20 rule to help clients understand how an investment in development for front line leaders pays.

Tom calls leadership development “a long game” and “not a lunch and learn.” But he sees that when organizations make time for it, they begin the important work of building a better culture.

“You can have a big impact with front line leaders, influencing how they do things and how they influence the people that are working in that frontline trench. Teaching them how to connect to culture is so valuable.”

| Tom Schin, CultureTalk Partner & Founder, Build Better Culture

(22:38) “Seeing yourself as a leader”
Leadership development is the first place where Tom uses the CultureTalk platform and individual Archetype assessment. He talks about the use of story to help leaders understand how to communicate and collaborate with their teams, how to see the impact of their own pre-conditioned behaviors.

(23.22) “An investment in people
Tom recounts his first job and the emphasis the company’s CEO put on developing people. Recalling his early experience, he knows first-hand how the investment pays off, especially for front line leaders in boosting morale, productivity, and engagement.

(24.45) “Using Archetypes to Coach Leaders”
Hear how Tom leans into his own Archetypes (the Caregiver and Creator) as he is working with clients. He shares how the combination of strengths creates an impact in how he internalizes pain points and ideas solutions.

He continues by sharing how knowing his clients Archetype patterns helps him coach them through challenging situations, including helping them reframe situations and choices. He touches on the Everyperson, Hero, and Sage.

(27:44) “The power of context”
We discuss how knowing our Archetype patterns gives context to our experiences, and why a particular situation is going the way it is, or why you’re addressing it the way you’re addressing it or experiencing it the way you’re experiencing it.

We talk about the superpower of our unique combination of Archetypes strengths – and then Tom reminds us to consider the shadows too, how to notice we’re slipping into behavior that’s not helpful, how to balance these tendencies, and when you know to pull back.

(30.25) “How the team vibes”
Tom elaborates on how the personal awareness around Archetypes becomes even more fascinating as you delve into teamwork. We jump into an example of how understanding someone’s Archetypes provides the context to see where this person is coming from, and what their motivation is, even when there is conflict. We use the Ruler pattern as an example, sharing its strengths and shadows and how it may offend team members who don’t share the pattern – until they understand it’s higher intention. 

“[The Archetypes] allow others within the team to see how everybody vibes and connects. If you start to think about this as their personality and how they function, you get a better picture and a better lens, and a better level of patience and understanding for how they communicate."

| Tom Schin, CultureTalk Partner & Founder, Build Better Culture

(32.35) “It’s not personal.”
As the understanding of Archetypes take off on a team, people begin to see behavior as part of a pattern, and they stop taking things personally. Tom creates the analogy of the different ways we show up at home and at work, the lens of our comfort zone and when we deliberately choose to show up differently.

(34.25) “A language for teamwork”
The Archetype framework also provides a language a team shares. It helps them become more compassionate understanding of each other, and it gives them a way to address conflict without judgement. Tom talks about how team members become more willing to hear each other out and understand where each other is coming from.

36.12 “Getting curious”
At Build Better Culture, Tom is focused on the long game, but he also encourages clients to identify the little tweaks that start to move the ball forward. He closes with some practical advice about “getting curious about what you know, what you don’t know and what you don’t know you don’t know” and “the willingness to adapt an R&D mindset about finding middle ground and change.

The best place to connect with Tom on LinkedIn.

If you want to learn how to apply the CultureTalk framework to help your company or clients build a culture-inspired brand, or recruit, onboard and engage employees, you can book a call here.