When George Dobbin got into the talent acquisition business over a decade ago, his answer was money—but today, he says, “That’s a bad reason.”
George joined Sabio as their Head of Talent Acquisition three days before the first COVID lockdown. While he couldn’t have known it at the time, he would have a front-row seat to one wild ride.
Sabio is a digital CX transformation company that brings together expertise in cloud migration, cutting-edge CX technology, and customer insight to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Because they’re a cloud tech company, COVID accelerated Sabio’s growth, pushing them into a period of explosive growth that George hadn’t expected.
During our conversation, he shared with me some of the surprising insights he’s gained into the buoyant job market of today—including the fact that people expect far more from a job than money. Instead, he says, the recruitment landscape is all about playing the long game.
Data-driven insights help keep the “human” in HR
Sabio was started to connect businesses to their customers, so it makes sense that they love both people and data. While leaning heavily on data in HR might sound contradictory or exploitive, George believes the truth is actually quite the opposite.
He believes that data can help HR teams ensure they’re always asking the right questions and steering clear of bias—keeping them more human, not less. (Not by chance, the entire Talent Acquisition team joined Sabio with data in mind.)
In part, data helps keep their decision-making objective, which is why “agency” is not a bad word at Sabio. The numbers don’t lie, George says. Agencies deliver results when they act as a true partner that reflects and complements your business. They almost work as free advertising, helping spread the word about your employer brand to candidates who otherwise may never have known your name.
Lots of decisions are like this. They aren’t all or nothing; there are shades of gray. Data helps keep teams grounded in reality.
The key, George says, is to use data as a touchpoint rather than a tool for bashing people over the head. The goal isn’t to aggressively monitor employees or enforce punitive KPIs. Contracts between employer and employee are built on mutual trust, and when you’re working across country lines and time zones, data is an important part of building that bridge for both sides.
This means using data to make better decisions and keep firms honest about their performance against some meaningful initiatives like ESG and DEI.
Diversity may come easily, but inclusion probably won’t
On the theme of using data for good, George says that Pinpoint kicked off Sabio’s deep dive into DEI as a focal point. For the first time ever, they could see exactly who they were attracting to apply, and who they weren’t. Today, Sabio’s Talent Acquisition team is doing a lot of work to assess their current state and create a path toward their desired endpoint.
Globally, Sabio has made 13 acquisitions over the past two years. With offices ranging from Europe to South Africa to Malaysia, those acquisitions have created a natural diversity—but not necessarily a natural inclusiveness.
The latter has taken time, and it’s something the team is still working hard to pull together. After all, direct hires chose to work at Sabio, but acquired teams didn’t. Rather than avoiding that point of friction, Sabio’s EVP team has worked to redefine their company values and find new, creative ways to embrace the diversity of their now-much-larger global team.
The Great Resignation? More like The Great Renegotiation
George has dubbed the Great Resignation “the Great Renegotiation.” It isn’t a resignation at all, he says—it’s just a shift in focus.
Pre-pandemic, a small cohort of massive companies could easily outpace the competition, luring in employees with sky-high salaries and other offerings that smaller businesses simply couldn’t match. In many ways, COVID has become a great leveler. The focus has shifted away from big salaries and flashy perks to the things people want and need, like flexible working hours or the ability to work directly on high-priority projects.
Focus has shifted to what’s most important: supporting a lifestyle that allows people to spend time doing what they love. That change in perspective has created a much more level playing field for smaller firms, who can finally compete in arenas that were once off-limits.
Sabio is staying true to its people-centric mission by focusing intensely on EVP and what sets their employer brand apart. A shining example is Sabio Academy, a training program designed to help position them as a global CX leader. They’ve taken additional steps toward future-proofing their recruitment efforts, too, like creating an internship program to prepare the next generation of talent.
In the process of becoming dedicated mentors, Sabio is opening up untapped sectors of the market and positioning itself as a force for good in the world of tech. Aligning careers with what people want to do is true inclusivity, in George’s view—and Sabio Academy is part of that. He sees it as a vehicle for anyone who’s interested to enter the world of tech, regardless of their age or background. “Every vacancy is an opportunity,” he says. “The time to stick your head above the parapet and mentor future generations is now.”