Yarden Assa On How We Need To Adjust To The Future Of Work
Creating a positive candidate experience. The job application is the first point of contact that candidates have with your company, and it’s so crucial companies don’t overlook it. According to HR Executive, 72% of candidates who have bad experiences share it on Glassdoor, with colleagues and friends, or on their social media platforms. Negative word of mouth could kill your hiring funnel right from the beginning.
When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.
As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Yarden Assa.
Yardenne Assa is co-founder and CEO of hiring prediction technology Unboxable, a tool that’s changing the way companies see and hire Talent. No stranger to building impact startups, Assa has founded multiple impact companies that focus on democratizing unequal industries and developing technology to address major financial challenges in emerging markets.
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today.
There’s no defining event that I can pinpoint. Instead, I believe that many different factors, and all the roads I’ve traveled to get to here, have influenced who I am today, both in business and in life. Growing up in the melting pot of Israel (a geo with a mix of ideas, cultures, and people) impacted me just as much as my upbringing. My parents worked hard to become self-made entrepreneurs, and working in Africa myself revealed the power technology has to change people and their lives.
Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?
First, you have to think about where we are hiring right now. The protocol between companies and Talent is broken. And it’s broken because we’re relying on very old tools like resumes and copy-and-pasted job descriptions, but still expecting to find candidates that perfectly match our needs. All companies are seeking that top 15% of the Talent pool (the ones with great education pedigree, high-profile companies, etc.), and they’re overlooking that 85% of hidden talent. The “War on Talent” is the greatest issue right now–employers fighting over the same candidates and ignoring the rest, despite how extraordinary they might be.
In 10 to 15 years, our prediction and our deepest belief is that companies are going to replace the outdated hiring tools for predictive hiring tech that forecasts matches between the candidate and their hiring manager. The future means assessing Talent not by their resume highlights but for their 360 degrees of potential.
What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?
Don’t give up on hiring quality Talent! When it feels impossible, companies tend to speed up their hiring process by settling for any candidate. There’s a right way for accelerating the hiring process without losing out on a great candidate or investing big budgets to recruit people. Future-proofing means growing your team with compatible candidates that are 100% qualified for the job skills-wise and that will thrive in the company ecosystem.
What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?
Basically, companies are stifling the Talent. They put them into boxes and keep them from tapping into other abilities or skills. It’s frustrating for Talent, as made evident by the mass exodus of people resigning from their jobs. Employers need to unbox the Talent first in the hiring process, and then let them unfold their abilities on the job.
We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?
Big time. Plenty of employees are thriving from the WFH shift. There’s a Stanford study that reveals a 13% increase in productivity. There’s another survey that shows 30% of employees complete the same work in less time and 24% do more work in the same amount of time.
More studies show more incredible results, so it would be crazy for companies to ignore them and require employees to go back to the normal 9 to 5. Talents are looking for employers that support and offer a WFH option, so WFH is here to stay.
We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?
Equality for all. When employers look for pedigree–subconsciously or not–it damages their hiring outcomes, and even worse, it creates a toxic work culture. Talent comes in all shapes and sizes and we want to encourage reforms that banish racism, classism, and elitism from society. Companies should be hiring candidates based on the shape of their Talent, not how many society-approved boxes they check.
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?
I am in complete awe witnessing the disruption that technology is playing in so many areas of our lives. It makes me realize that we are on the verge of changing a new area, where every Talent will have a home.
I’m optimistic seeing how other industries are starting to value the same qualities as us, like personalization and equality. Our industry is still untapped and that’s the only thing I need to push me every day.
Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?
Toxic work cultures are the worst for mental health and wellbeing, and that begins with the hiring process.
One huge way Unboxable helps employers is by clearing the way for a positive company ecosystem. We enable companies to hire Talent that will thrive on the job by forecasting how compatible Talent will be with their hiring manager, and putting their abilities in context to the job role. Combined, these two elements help in facilitating a positive company culture where employees and employers have productive, dynamic work relationships.
It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?
The greatest takeaway is that Talent are unhappy and they’ve lost all their patience. Company cultures need to address work/life balance in a respectful way. Too many employees are afraid to even take a sick day in case their boss looks badly at them.
Plus, there are still companies that haven’t addressed the most shocking issues being addressed right now, from sexism to homophobia to xenophobia. Companies that don’t put a halt to hate speech or uncomfortable themes in the workplace are fostering toxicity and shouldn’t be surprised when employees quit.
This is a big part of our movement “the Great Hire.” Hiring is just the beginning of changing the things that led to the Great Resignation. It’s about building strong, healthy work relationships that last a long time, and we support this by matching people to companies in context to one another.
Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”
- The boring company bio is out. Employees want to know who they’ll be working for, so employers will go deeper and share company values, philosophies, and even introduce candidates to their direct supervisor.
The best example is the immense success and popularity Glassdoor has. Today’s job hunters are performing their own due diligence to uncover the truth behind a well-crafted company bio.
2. Wellbeing stops being a buzzword for work/life balance and companies start transitioning into fostering holistically healthy company cultures. Emotional and mental wellbeing (what most people associate the term with) is just one aspect of wellbeing, there’s less obvious aspects such as work wellbeing, where employers have a strategy for incorporating employees in the decision making, as well as financial, physical, and social wellbeing (like charity work).
The founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, has created a name for herself and her brand for encouraging positive values, fun, and creativity at work. A 400 million dollars turnover is proof that success doesn’t require a results-only work environment.
3. Creating a positive candidate experience. The job application is the first point of contact that candidates have with your company, and it’s so crucial companies don’t overlook it. According to HR Executive, 72% of candidates who have bad experiences share it on Glassdoor, with colleagues and friends, or on their social media platforms. Negative word of mouth could kill your hiring funnel right from the beginning.
4. Using surveys in the job application process. On the one hand, it’s because they’re more entertaining for candidates to fill out and, therefore, provide a better candidate experience (sound familiar?!). Then on the other, employers can gather specific information about specific questions and topics they want to know more about. Surveys are a win-win for both employers and Talent and we’re not the first ones to be using them. We are just the only ones to use a survey to forecast how compatible Talent will be in context to the role and hiring manager.
5. The Gig Economy will only get stronger. Companies used to be restricted to regions when hiring people. Now, thanks to “Working from Home,” companies are used to working with Talent from all over the world. The technology makes it possible, and there’s an even greater willingness to hire contractors and freelancers. The flexibility of the gig economy, having workers who don’t need to follow a schedule, has proven to be a cost-effective, efficient, and flexible avenue for companies to pursue.
Just look at the popularity of Uber or any online food delivery service. All these workers are working their own schedules and filling an important need, while allowing the companies to provide fair and reasonable prices for customers.
I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?
“The only way is the truth.”
There are a lot of cliches about startups, including the quotes that everyone loves to repeat. One of the topics least talked about in startups, though, is the TRUTH. Startups are always on the thin line of constantly selling and shaping perceptions over success. I know this game but somehow I’ve always chosen to talk and walk the truth. It allows me not only to sleep better at night but also, finally, to win. There are people that can smell and are attracted to truth, and those are the type of investors that we like.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.
Serena Williams because I admire her strength and independence. I believe the world needs to see more women at the top of their game (no pun intended!) to inspire the next generation.
Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?
I’m available on LinkedIn and I encourage everyone to check out the Unboxable page to hear the truth about the future for Talent.
Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.
You’re welcome, thanks for having me. 🙂