A digital workplace culture

I recently spoke with Tim Sackett, author of the best-selling book, The Talent Fix: A Leader’s Guide to Recruiting Great Talent, with over 20 years of combined executive HR and talent acquisition experience. Our conversation comprises his thoughts on how the future of work is changing and how you may have to change along with it.

This article includes the second part of our conversation on the future of work. You can read the first part of the interview here.

What is the most innovative role you encountered lately?

T.S. — I think I would say it has to be a digital workplace culture kind of role. I think we have so many people that are going remote or hybrid or a combination of all these. And culture has been totally blown up by this.

A great example is one of my sons graduated during the pandemic, got hired by an organization full remote, had to be onboarded full remote and then had to start working full remote. And the organization he’s working for is a great organization, a great brand. And yet he goes “I don’t feel like I’m connected to anything or anybody. I have no connection to stay with this brand”.

T.S. — So the digital workplace culture is one that I think really no one has figured out. We started doing Zoom happy hours and Zoom team building. Those are just tactics. Those are not really how you build a digital workforce culture. And I don’t have the answer. I don’t think anybody really has the answer. I think that’s an ever-evolving space that people are going to try to figure out.

Even those people who decided to go work from home, 100% work from home, you have to think “Is there a space within their home that they should have that’s totally dedicated to making sure they do the best work possible?” And if so, what am I doing to help them with that?

So before we never worried about our employees’ home. Now I have to be concerned with creating a workspace within their home, one that is functional and safe. And that also fits our culture.

When it comes to creatives, how do you recruit?

T.S. — For me, it seems like every artist kind of has a flavour. Like, if you take a look at one artist, you take a look at Monet. You can take a look at a painting and go “That’s Monet”. How do we know that? Because his art was very similar in a lot of ways, his brush strokes, his themes, whatever that might be.

But when you go to hire creative and you say “hey, show us a portfolio of your creative work”. I think it’s the same thing.

If you go onto Fiverr or Upwork and you take a look at digital artists and creators, they all kind of have that same flavour, right? They do one thing really well and they do it over and over and over again.

T.S. — And so, I do think you can probably take a look at somebody and say “okay, here’s what we believe we want out of a hybrid creative. Show us what you do.”

And I think you’ll start to see them going “you know what? I’m feeling that” or “I’m not feeling that” from a creative standpoint because their portfolios really are going to show you what they’re good at.

What are the benefits of using TikTok, a tool which enables people to be more creative, for the future of work?

T.S. — I think that taking somebody’s original art and being able to not necessarily recreate that art, but actually evolve that art, to me it shows creative ability.

T.S. — I don’t need you to be constantly creating something completely new, but can you take something that’s already done — and I think in a workplace setting this might be even more important — and give it a twist.

What I need you to do is to take a look at the world. Take a look at all that’s been created. Is there a way for you to evolve and recreate or create something new out of what’s already been there?

T.S. — And I think from a workplace standpoint that might be a more important skill. I don’t necessarily need brand-new. What I need you to do is take a look at what’s already been created and try to create something better or something different.

So maybe the TikTok generation would actually be better at that, right?

T.S. — Another example is when we see somebody develop code in this open source world. Others start to begin to add to it, subtract, change and all of a sudden at the end of the day, you have something amazing that’s been created by the community through adaptation and change and just evolution, right?

What advice would you give a hybrid creative navigating a company?

I think you have to have a story.

T.S. — The first thing that’s going to happen when you go in and have a discussion with an organization, whether that’s for a specific position or for something where they just say “hey, we believe we need to have this kind of skill set within our organization”, they’re going to hire the story.

I mean they’re going to look at your portfolio. They’re going to look at your skill set. They are going to look at all that stuff, but ultimately they’re hiring your story and so you better have a great story.

T.S. — I own my own company so I don’t have to do this anymore, but when I was in the process of interviewing for positions with other companies, my story was that I was raised by a really strong entrepreneurial woman.

My mother was one of five sisters. My sister was the first grandchild in the family. My grandmother was the matriarch of our family. So I was surrounded by strong women. I was raised by strong women. I know how to sew, I know how to cook, I know how to clean. And I start to go through this process of showing them who I am through this lens of how I was raised, right?

So this story might only be 3 minutes, 5 minutes, whatever. But if I start that conversation with that story, it drives the rest of the conversation for the rest of whatever time we have together.

T.S. — Because ultimately I’m building that connection right away.

And part of that is the strategy of controlling the conversation, controlling the interview, controlling whatever that might be. But I do think it’s important, ultimately, to build that connection right away.

T.S. — It’s important to say “hey, here’s who I am and here’s how I’m going to help”.

*Thank you, @TimSackett! It has been a privilege to chat with you and to learn from your knowledge and experience.

*This article has been edited and divided in two parts for clarity and space reasons. You can find part one here.

*This interview was video recorded.

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Dalia Poleac

Dalia Poleac

Hunting for jobs that don't exist yet. Founder @FutureJobs, a holistic approach to career design for creatives #CreativeDoers #TheFutureOfWork #MyCreativeStory