Season 3 • Episode 1

There’s no question that the pandemic has changed our outlook on remote work, and redefined many things in our daily lives, including our relationship with work and the future of the workplace itself. For many, this was swift and transformed the way we in human resources recruit, hire, onboard, train, and engage. With employers having to adapt to the profound change, two questions bear consideration — how do employees feel about remote work, and what impact does that have on employers? Dive into this podcast, as Scott Sendelweck of Community Health Network shares insights into tech, remote work, and the future of work as we know it.

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About DE Talk

For DirectEmployers, it’s all about valuable connections and meaningful conversations. This monthly podcast features honest and open dialogue between powerhouse industry experts on a variety of HR topics ranging from OFCCP compliance advice to emerging recruitment marketing trends, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and insightful solutions that help infuse new life into your HR strategies.

Hosted by Candee Chambers, Executive Director of DirectEmployers Association.

Episode Guest

Jason Ward

Jason Ward

Chief Innovation Officer at RocketBuild

Jason Ward’s portfolio of experience centers on team leadership, effective communication, and innovative thinking. He’s had careers in all three major sectors (public, private, and nonprofit) for a combined twenty years. Much of that time has been spent leading creative teams, designing digital products, founding small businesses, and consulting with cross-discipline groups. Jason’s education is primarily in the social sciences, and he has expertise in sociology, social psychology, research, and human behavior. In addition to his work with RocketBuild, Jason is a co-founder of Boardable, a tabletop game designer, a father of three, and a husband.

Episode Guest

Scott Sendelweck

Scott Sendelweck

Director Employer Brand at Community Health Network

Upon graduating from Purdue University with a degree in advertising and marketing, Scott went straight to work with a 3rd party recruitment agency, which propelled him into the niche universe of corporate talent acquisition. Scott’s career has been spent designing talent metrics, recruitment strategy and negotiating human interactions. Industries include Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Automotive, Engineering and Transportation Logistics. He is a passionate believer that quality talent can be found in the most un-likely of places. There is nothing better than offering a job to someone who truly needs purpose. Scott is an early adapter of technology in both his professional and personal life. Over the last few years, Scott has presented at multiple technology and talent acquisition conferences as an industry leader who specializes in HR talent marketing, text recruitment and the AI revolution. He is an ok mechanic but a great D&D player. “Life is an adventure; it’s how you get there that’s remembered!”

Episode Transcript

Candee Chambers:
Welcome to the DE Talk Podcast. Tune in for dialogue between HR experts to amp up your HR strategies. Don’t worry. We’ll mix in a few laughs as we know you need it. There’s no question that the pandemic has changed our outlook on remote work and redefined many things in our daily lives, including our relationship with work and the future of the workplace itself. For many, this was swift and transformed the way we recruit, hire, onboard, train and engage. With employers having to adapt to the profound change, two questions bear consideration. How do employees feel about remote work and what impact does that have on employers? To answer these questions and more, we’re welcoming Jason Ward, Chief Innovation Officer at RocketBuild and Scott Sendelweck, director of employee brand at Community Health Network to talk tech, hiring, remote work, branding, and the future of work as we know it.

Jason Ward:
Welcome to DE Talks Podcast. I’m Jason Ward. I am the head of RocketBuild, which is the subsidiary brand of direct employers that focuses on software development, web development and app development. And I’m here today with Scott Sendelweck of Community Health Network. He is the director of employment brand and Scott, welcome to the podcast.

Scott Sendelweck:
Oh, thank you so much for having me. Great to be here.

Jason Ward:
Yeah. So, tell me a little bit about what that title means.

Scott Sendelweck:
Yeah. The employment brand is a fairly new term, not only within the world of healthcare, but also just the industry. Basically what I do and try to accomplish is manage our brand reputation for the world of employment or talent acquisition.

Jason Ward:
And so, you’ve got a team that’s working with you to make sure that you’re getting the right message out there in the world to attract the right kind of talent.

Scott Sendelweck:
Right. So, my team of marketers actually, so there’s a team of marketers as a team and partnership with talent acquisition professionals, recruiters, sales individuals really, not only brand managers, but also communication managers that fall under that title.

Jason Ward:
Interesting. And so, what is your day-to-day look like? What are you doing with your team and with recruits and those sorts of things?

Scott Sendelweck:
Day to day I answer interesting question. Crazy, it’s always crazy, right? Well, I would say day to day for us it’s brand management and brand communication. It’s not only defending the brand, but also seeing how we can get the message of the brand out to the general public and specifically the public who’s looking for maybe a career change or a switch in venue, or just something new, something that fits culturally. So, we’re not only selling a position or a job or career path, we’re selling the culture and the environment and the diversity and inclusion parts of our job.

Jason Ward:
Yeah, that’s fantastic. And those are huge areas for all of us to improve and how do we make culture something that’s out there more in the world so that people are attracted for the right reasons, not just a paycheck and how do we make sure that people understand the efforts we’re putting forth for D&I. And so, it’s great to have a position that’s dedicated to that kind of work.

Scott Sendelweck:
Yeah. It’s interesting when I started there at Community, it was really focused more on the talent acquisition recruitment effort. Looking at our positions or job positioning or job boards, or vendors, the interaction, our spends, everything that comes along with a talent acquisition except picking up a phone and doing the recruiting, right? But what was really cool about that part of the job was that I could work with the talent acquisition pros, the HR generalists, the nurses, the physicians, the individuals doing the job and learn exactly what they went through on a day to day basis and then compare that to our current culture. And that kind of evolved into where I’m at today, Community, as a network, said, “Hey, we’re taking some really strong moves and positions to develop a culture that’s not only diverse, but inclusive, but also is just a great place to work.”

And not only that, when you leave work, you’ll be wanting to come back to work tomorrow. And that really hit home with me. I was like, “That’s amazing!” So, you’re looking for someone to actually take over the brand, not only the, really the brand, like who we are, but also the position of which you work in. So, that work-life balance, the culture, the soft skills, the, “why do you wake up every day and come to work here,” and what do we do about it?

Jason Ward:
Yeah, that’s fantastic. I think more employers, as you said, this is kind of a new role, but we’re seeing more and more that employers are creating roles like this, whether it’s a chief culture officer or employment brand director as you are. So, I love this trend. I think we have to be doing this particularly in the light of the topic today, which is specifically how is remote work since COVID hit us and we’ve gone through all of these iterations of COVID and people working from home and then the hybrid and working from home again, how has that shifted your job and what’s going on at Community Health Network?

Scott Sendelweck:
Yeah. The pandemic is something that none of us really ever expected and now we’re here, right? And there’s a lot of unfortunates to something like this when it happens because it’s just an unprecedented time in the history of human nature, right?

Jason Ward:
Yeah.

Scott Sendelweck:
We’ve gone through this in the past. As a bit of a historian and as an historian junkie, you see some of these things happen time to time in the US culture and also in the global culture. And then it comes down to the work environment, right? Now we’re in it. And none of us ever expected that to happen. And what happens then? What happens when a company or culture runs into something like this? You either adapt and you got to be agile and change or you definitely go the way of the dinosaur.

Jason Ward:
Yeah, absolutely. I do a little bit of the hiring on our side of the DE brand as well. And I have found in particular most recently that there’s one attribute that I’ve been looking for. And I didn’t realize I was looking for for the longest time and now it’s front and center because of the shift and that attribute is resilience. How can people take a punch and get back up and move forward or even become better because of it, develop scar tissue or whatever it is to follow that analogy so that they can be stronger and more productive and a better team member. Is that something you guys look for when you’re out there looking for people?

Scott Sendelweck:
Absolutely. The resilience is interesting. I heard that word yesterday used a couple of times on by our executive team and it’s definitely hits home. It’s resilience, it’s evolution, it’s being agile. It’s being able to adapt all of those key words that you’re starting to hear right now in the trending languages on Twitter, right? It actually holds true. We look for that in our populations, just mainly because of the system we’re in, right? We’re in the world of taking care of people when they fall ill or fall sick or need help. Resilience is pretty key in the world to healthcare. Sure.

Jason Ward:
Yeah, absolutely. So, tell me a little bit, just let’s look back a little over a year ago and say, what was life like those first couple of weeks when people started working from home or were forced to quarantine and those sorts of things, how did you pivot you specifically in your team, but then also the organization as a whole?

Scott Sendelweck:
Well, I would say that how we pivoted was really interesting because no one knew that we’d been there, right? None of us then. Not even in the world of healthcare, just any industry. And it was all of a sudden, boom, okay, well now what? What do we do? It took about two to three weeks for everybody to really adjust to, “Okay, now what do I do? Do I have the right technology? Do I have the laptop? Do I have wifi? What am I going to do with my kids? They’re also at home. What am I going to do with my grandparents or caretakers, or what am I going to do with my car? How am I going to get my coffee today, right?” All these things, all these culture alignments and changes all happened so rapidly and not only rapidly just for one person or company for everybody at the same singularity and time.

So, what did we do and how do we adapt to that? First thing we did is take a step back and say, “Okay, well we are a corporation, we’re a healthcare network and an entity, but we also provide patient experience and patient care. But we also have, what’s called our caregiver care. The people that work for us. So nurses, positions, finance, housekeeping, food service, recruiters, everything across the board, all of these people are depending on us to make that decision and how we’re going to operate and how are we going to keep them first and foremost safe.” So, for us, that adjustment was okay, the positions that can work from home, let’s see if this works, let’s get them the technology, let’s get them in here. And interesting when I say work from home that term and or returning to work, I’m sure we’ll talk about return to work. It’s we’ve never stopped working, right? No one ever returns to work. That work follows us. And it was more, again, going back and being resilient and being able to evolve to adapt to those challenges. That’s really where it was.

Jason Ward:
Yeah. That’s interesting that you bring that up, that return to work. I think one of the core topics to get to today is the erosion or destruction, even of the 8:00 to 5:00 workday.

Scott Sendelweck:
Yeah.

Jason Ward:
It has just gone away for a lot of us that don’t have to be physically in a place to do our jobs. What does that been like for you and for your team?

Scott Sendelweck:
When I first talked a little more about the 8:00 to 5:00 workday for my team specifically in the marketing world, marketing never sleeps, right? Sales never sleep, our hospital and never sleeps. Why would we ever sleep ourselves? But I guess in serious notes, yeah. There’s like an 8:00 to 5:00 type of mentality, that traditional mentality. We threw that out the window. There is no way we could operate that under crisis situations and incident commands and under a pandemic. And that 8:00 to 5:00 mentality is gone and that really doesn’t exist in healthcare anyway. It’s a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365. And we’ve really strived to do that in the marketing world as well.

Jason Ward:
Yeah. So, for your non-physical employees, people who are not in the hospitals or the clinics, or what have you, you were already accustomed to working some of those odd hours?

Scott Sendelweck:
Right. Yeah. I think part of the marketing, part of us, and then also the internal communications and just the brand, we’re definitely used to working a little bit of a off hours. I think for us, it’s more about the job or the project or the situation. And let’s do our a 100% to get that done. When we get it done, not so much, or I guess the hours we get it done in, not so much important as to the quality of work we turned around at the end of the day.

Jason Ward:
So, you’d say you have a results driven culture-

Scott Sendelweck:
Oh, yeah. Definitely.

Jason Ward:
… More than a “clock in, clock out” culture.

Scott Sendelweck:
Yeah. I would say for some of the organization, we’re definitely a 100% results driven, right? We’re patient focused driven. We definitely want the best possible outcome for our patients at all times. And there are certain positions within a network, whereas it is definitely either a “clock in, clock out” situation. But during those clock in and clock out situations, that’s core set of hours that that position may require or we’re working. It all is for the same thing.

Jason Ward:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, how do you recruit and hire for that adjustment, which wasn’t a huge adjustment for you all, but adjusting to that new way of life, the COVID way of life, the remote work way of life. What has that done to your recruiting strategies?

Scott Sendelweck:
Well, first off it started out as, “Okay, this might be a temporary thing.” Well, we all know how that went. And then it started to change the wait a second, what’s the position demand? What is the requirement of the job? Does the requirement of job tell me that I have to drive an hour to work every day and sit at the desk and do this job, take an hour for lunch, come back and do four more hours and then do the same thing over tomorrow? It does not. What was the actual work that needs to be done? So, we started doing an evaluation of the position. We started looking at the description.

We started to look where the work was accomplished and could get done and then we looked at the productivity along with it. It was a little bit of a journey to get there, but as we’re starting to do the recruiting, we’re starting to find out other organizations, other industries and technologies, they’re starting to do the same thing. So, now as a kind of a global shift in the employment cycle is starting to move towards that momentum of, is it a hybrid blend of work? Is it a work from home a 100%? Do we need an office space? Do we need all the real estate and the dollars that go around with it? There’s so many factors that starting to filter in to kind of blend it out to, whereas, okay, now what are we recruiting for, right? What are the true skill sets?

Jason Ward:
Yeah. So, those of us local to Indianapolis know that Community has a big footprint here. You’re doing a lot of things that are direct healthcare. You’ve gotten, I want to say an incubator of sorts or a community space that’s on the Northeast side that I’ve been to a couple of times for events and those sorts of things and that’s great. Tell me a little bit about the sorts of talent that you generally are out there looking for. A little bit of a plug for you…

Scott Sendelweck:
Little bit of a play for my colleagues in talent acquisition if they’re going to listen to this? Yes. There’ll be like, “Oh, he didn’t plug me.”

Jason Ward:
Got to get it in there.

Scott Sendelweck:
I guess. Yeah, you’re right up in the Northeastern corner. And even East side, South Kokomo, for instance, we have an operation in Greenwood, our Community Health Network south, our community hospital East, Kokomo and Anderson – all of these individual areas have so much involvement community is in our name, right? So, it would behoove us if we did not take advantage of so many awesome opportunities that are out there.

Jason Ward:
So clever, right?

Scott Sendelweck:
Yeah. It’s so clever. Right? So, you have to mute, I wonder who brought that up? That’s I have to shake that guys. But when you look and see what we’re actually doing in our actual communities and incubators and trying to find those individuals, it is definitely going back to that core factor of diversity and inclusion, and knowing who the person is and the opportunities that are available within the network. I would say we’re definitely one of the highest places rent in Indiana to work just for you because of that involvement, because of all the opportunities we have for that involvement, because of all the things that are available to us at a cultural level outside of the job. So, the job is definitely rewarding, but if you really want to have some other opportunities within community to succeed or grow that culture and voluntary experience, absolutely, we’re all for it.

Jason Ward:
Yeah. And so, how do you describe the brand or how do you dictate that the brand be described when you’re out there recruiting and finding talent?

Scott Sendelweck:
Well, our actual brand is “Exceptional care, simply delivered.” Right, that is our overall brand. You’re probably set on advertisements and TV, radio and whatnot. For our recruitment brand, it’s the exact same, right? It’s “Exceptional care, simply delivered” but on the position level, right? So, every position is defined. Every position has a purpose. And those purposes of those positions are to in effect, give the patient the best outcome of care. My goal, I guess when I look at some of the talent acquisition jobs and that we’re pushing and the positions we have out here, whether it’s a nursing job or it’s a support position, is to make sure that these positions meet the brand standard and also meet the employment goal of our culture, right? We want to get you guys involved in our culture. We want to get you involved in our community and our development to not only help you, but also help your community.

Jason Ward:
Yeah, absolutely. So, you talked about diversity and inclusion and we talked about remote life and that’s kind of what we’re trying to focus on. How does diversity in geography come up at all? Are you going out of your way to find people who have different worldviews because of where they live?

Scott Sendelweck:
Absolutely. We’ve hired recently our chief diversity and inclusion officer, a great acquisition for us here at Community. She has brought a wealth of experience from different areas. And I would say we don’t really, the old definitions of diversity and inclusion, we’ve thrown those out the window, right? Those are gone. They’ve really didn’t exist within community anyway, but now we’re going through some of these organic changes, not only with our own culture, but also looking to see what those true definitions are. And we’re going into the other populations and pockets of populations, not only diverse talent, but just diversity and ethnic backgrounds and educational backgrounds and religious backgrounds, you name it. We’re going into these pockets. And again, using the word to “community” within our community and within the communities of which our caregivers live and operate and trying to look for talent in these specific areas that can represent our patients, our patient values and what’s really important.

Jason Ward:
Yeah. So, primarily still in Indiana?

Scott Sendelweck:
Definitely, yeah.

Jason Ward:
But targeting areas in Indiana where you might find pockets of diversity?

Scott Sendelweck:
Right.

Jason Ward:
Yeah. Yep.

Scott Sendelweck:
Yeah. I guess from a recruitment standpoint, when you’re looking at like a diversity and virtual recruitment and positions outside from the work from home basis, we’re starting to broaden our horizons outside even in Indiana, right? So, we’re starting to do recruitment from say Kentucky or Ohio, even Colorado, West Coast, East Coast. There’s a lot of different places out there where these diverse pockets live for some of the openings that we’re going to have as a 100% virtual, for instance.

Jason Ward:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. That’s fascinating. When I think of Community, obviously I think of direct care. My children to a pediatrician that’s Community, my primary care physician was Community until very recently because he retired. Now I’m on the market again. So, if you know anyone let me know. And so, we’re firm believers in what goes on in Community. We know that you guys have a big impact. I’ve run into you more than once in the community when it comes to entrepreneurship and incubation and just being a thought leader in the healthcare space here locally. And I told you before we got on the conversation here today that I actually ran into Community while I was out of state. I was, as I told you up in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin with some friends and we were having brunch and I saw your brand represented very boldly on some folks that walked into the restaurant, which was fun for me, knowing that we were going to have this conversation here in a few days.

So, I guess all that to say, you’re doing a great job with the brand. I know you’re a part of that. You’re the internal deployment facing brand for a lot of purposes. But I can say from personal experience and just being out in the community so much that you’re doing a heck of a job and you can be proud of the work that you’re doing. Let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about what tools did you have in place, or did you not have in place to make that adjustment to going remote and virtual?

Scott Sendelweck:
Oh, that’s a good one. We’ll start with communication. So, communication and the evolution of our communication systems going from certain traditional ways of communicating, right? So, we’re talking email, we’re talking manager to, or supervisor manager level to caregiver level communication. Yeah. How do we progress when no one’s there in the office anymore, right? How do you just get on and say, “Okay, I’m going to walk down to Sally Jo Smith’s office and talk to employee, blah, blah, blah, and then come right back and do that work, or have a big team meeting in an office setting.” Impossible, right? I can’t believe actually we lasted that long, doing that traditional play apart. Did it take a pandemic for all of us in the industry to say, “oh,” and wake up and it may have, right? So, there is, I guess, a bonus, yeah.

For us, the communication standpoint, we actually implemented a company-wide internal communication tool at which we, I won’t give you the company, but we’ve rebranded it to around Community, right? So, I referenced that as our AC project. So, AC (Around Community) is now like a social media tool that reused internally for all news, all announcements all the time, 24 hours a day, it lives and breathes, we’re getting into adoption rates throughout the network. It’s amazing. But that tool really allowed us to give real-time, face for communications via mobile devices anywhere you’re at, whether you’re on the couch or you’re at work, or wherever in the line at the grocery store. You can open up, read everything you need to know about what’s going on throughout your day, and then communicate directly with those that you need to and in for those communications relatively quickly. So, that allowed us to be not only, I guess, freed us to be virtual, but also gave us a mobile technology as well.

Jason Ward:
Yeah. And you said it was called Around community. Is that something you had in place before the pandemic?

Scott Sendelweck:
No, absolutely not. Yeah. That was one of the things, the biggest projects that I was assigned right off the gate, when our directors and our VPs came to me and said, “Oh, by the way, thanks for taking this job. And here’s this really cool to-do. Can you follow up and get that done for us?

Jason Ward:
Wow, it’s a big task.

Scott Sendelweck:
It’s a big task. I do love it though. Now it’s just second nature to me. I live and breathe the new tech. So, it’s kind of cool.

Jason Ward:
Yeah, we’ve seen a lot of that in industries across the board. I mean, as I said, we’re in custom software development. So, sometimes we’re helping folks build or customize those tools. And that has really spiked since the pandemic for us people coming to us and saying, “Hey, we have this great tool, but it doesn’t do X, Y, and Z. Can you add that in?”

Scott Sendelweck:
Right.

Jason Ward:
And it sounds like you were overseeing that from your perspective inside your organization

Scott Sendelweck:
Still overseeing it. So, we would love to have full adoption. We’re close, we’re pushing on 50% in less than six months, which is a big deal.

Jason Ward:
Yeah.

Scott Sendelweck:
Especially when you’re coming from traditional emails, right? So, anything from say news and announcements, like we have a blood drive today, or we have a bake sale or maybe a service outage or something like any IT notifications, we have now stopped sending those in email communications. Not all, believe it or not, not all nurses read their emails, right? They’re with patients and that’s how it should be. But when we started to do some research and walk around, for instance, our cafes during breaks, or just see at Starbucks counter in the works or wherever we’re at, we’re starting to see nurses on their cell phones more often, right? Imagine that, people on their cell phones. How can I reach them with news and announcements in a mobile environment where they do not have to sit at a shared workstation. Or maybe it’s an access issue, whereas a person in housekeeping or food service while they’re taking care of the meals for the day, or cleaning up some area here within the network, do they have access to this on their break?

And can they do it relatively quickly? Maybe they don’t have time during the day. How do I get them the communication they need? And then when we went remote in a virtual environment that even made it more crucial, how do I get these communications to the individuals so they know what’s going on with our COVID announcements? What’s going on within side Community? Is something happening here where it’s an adjustment to the pandemic or a patient volume? We need more services over here versus over here, it’s a staffing thing. These tools have really helped us shape how our virtual strategy and our, I guess you would say how our work from home strategy probably will shape up in future.

Jason Ward:
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s going to continue, right?

Scott Sendelweck:
Absolutely.

Jason Ward:
Yeah. Let’s assume we’re going to beat this pandemic, but we’ve learned a lot during this time and it sounds like you have built some tools around what you’ve learned and the hope is obviously that you want to see that continue particularly where it creates efficiency and effectiveness gains. So, let’s talk a little bit about what you’ve seen in terms of you’ve told me already that you’re a results driven. Everyone is results driven, but some folks are still of the mindset that we need to clock in and clock out and work regular hours. My company, much like yours, runs more along the lines of, did you get done what you needed to get done and it wasn’t a top quality? Tell me a little bit about how your measurement of those results has changed going to a virtual environment.

Scott Sendelweck:
So, I will talk not as a network, but actually as the team that I support. It’s probably a little more, it’s closer to home, a little more experience with that. So, from my team’s perspective, how we virtually kind of made that switch. It’s interesting about two weeks ago, we as a MarCom team, marketing communications, change to a 100% virtual environment.

Jason Ward:
Wow.

Scott Sendelweck:
So, we basically went to a shared workspace. You can check out offices if you want. Really cool, right? Solely hip. And now we’re a 100% work from home. And the reason behind that was we’re already in the field, working with our physicians, working with our site leads, working with our administrators already. And we were doing that prior to our COVID pandemic. So, it only made sense while we weren’t even in the office, but 50% during a week now we’re just a 100%.

And for my team, it was a really easy transition from the office space to the virtual space, just because of that reason, we’ve already done it and we already had that kind of the background behind it and then push and drive to do it. I think for us, the ROI was that number one, are we getting any complaints? Are we missing anything, right? Is there any feedback, negative feedback we need to adjust? Fortunately for my team, there was not, it was a seamless transition. And then we started seeing, okay, is that seamless transition? Where can we improve upon that? Do I need to do a one-on-one now with my team more often? Do I need to have my team do one-on-ones with their site leads or with say their administration folks at hospital administrators?

Believe it or not, we didn’t change very much in terms of that. We just fine tuned it and really started focusing on the actual work and the project work, making sure that the work that we do turn in, whether that’s a communication campaign or recruitment campaign, a patient advocacy, or even a notification that we’re sending out was top notch, top quality all the time.

Jason Ward:
That’s fantastic. And so, tell me a little bit, are you seeing gains or losses in terms of productivity or efficiency? Is it about the same?

Scott Sendelweck:
I would say this is interesting question too just in terms from the work from home standpoint. Certain corporations, certain technologies and industries will see a drop, I think right off the bat, the first three weeks. Well, productivity, not too good here. And then that will reinforce the traditional stereotype of can’t work from home because I’m not going to productivity. After that, I think it skyrockets towards productivity.

Jason Ward:
Okay.

Scott Sendelweck:
It did for us, I think the first two weeks, they got the adjustment again, the technology that’s about wifi work. What am I going to do for this? Do I have to do this whatever? Now you can literally do everything, and I do mean everything, from your phone and from a laptop at home, whether it’s work or ordering groceries or getting dinner for the night and you can do it all. And we’re finally in that too.

So, our productivity now has gone up and not only up, but now we’re getting more work. I have to help really have conversations with my team to stop working sometimes. It’s interesting, I’m a type of guy where it’s a time and space mean nothing to me. It’s the work and whatever the work is, whatever the work calls for this organization network call for this, I’m going to work it. My teams in the same mentality, 24 hours a day all the time. And it’s interesting when that work comes in, everybody’s so hyper-focused to make sure that the products get turned around and everything is so exact and precise and it’s white glove world-class service at all times. It doesn’t really matter when we get that done, as long as we got at time. And we started to see that productivity, just go through the roof.

Jason Ward:
Yeah, absolutely. We’ve seen the same thing. We’re in a full remote situation at RocketBuild, DirectEmployers and Recruit Rooster are the other brands, are also primarily remote. Almost no one’s in the office. We’re here today recording, but that’s the only time I’ve been in the office for weeks pretty much.

Scott Sendelweck:
I was going to mentioned that too. This is the first time I’ve been outside of my home office for quite some time.

Jason Ward:
Yeah. It’s nice to see someone face-to-face without a mask on, we are distanced and being very safe.

Scott Sendelweck:
And I will say as Community, I did have my Community branded mask on.

Jason Ward:
You did. In fact it was, and I was familiar with it. So again, could work. What else would you have you learned during this process of going virtual? What are you going to be your key takeaways as an executive, as a professional that you can carry on with you and your team?

Scott Sendelweck:
Oh, communication. Connection and communication virtually and engagement is extremely important when moving to a virtual space. Individuals, we’re all human and we all have been in that traditional 9:00 to 5:00 drive into work, wherever. I go into work every day at another location outside of our home. And for me, it was really adjusting to and having my team adjust to that. Whereas, “Hey, I know I haven’t talked to you in like a couple of weeks. Are you still okay, right? You got it. I’d see all of your work. I see everything turned around. Everything looks great. Are you all right over there?” And having those one-on-ones set up, whereas you can do the check in, you can hang out virtually. You can see what they’re doing and they can see you. It’s more of a mental break from the day-to-day stuff. You’re filling in the gaps of what you may have missed.

Jason Ward:
I love that you used the word communication and connection as separate things, but obviously they go together like hand and glove. But communication is not connection. How have you been able to create or maintain connection to your employees through the remote life? And maybe you potentially create a connection with new employees if you’ve hired during this time.

Scott Sendelweck:
So, funny story, I hired an individual who I’ve never met and I’ll meet her in a month. Okay. She works here locally. She manages our Eastern Health and South Hospital network communication strategies, marketing strategies, and employment branding. Wonderful individual, hired her and literally have never met in person. So, that kind of gives you an idea.

Jason Ward:
Yeah.

Scott Sendelweck:
But how do I connect with these individuals? Again, it’s a, this is a cool thing. I’m going to pilot it as if someone here online and listens to this podcast and says, “I’m going to patent that,” you have to give me credit. I make it, it’s called the five second check, five sec check. So, with the five sec check, I’ve tried this near for the last three weeks. I know it’s relatively new. I literally pick up my phone, I text them and I say, “Chris, five sec check. What’s up. Anything? Need anything?”

“No, All good.” “Cool.” That’s it we’re done. I may have not seen Chris all week, but I dropped that text, whether it was a Wednesday or Thursday evening, after 5:00, before work starts, in the middle of the day. And he instantaneously feels connection. Oh, Scott’s got my back. Let’s see what I can do and boom. And then it will go online and we have a program called Basecamp. We put all our work in there anyway, and we’re running back and forth. Everybody, no matter where they’re at and network on my team is connected to everybody else, which is totally cool. And that’s a connection part of it. The communication part of it comes in where we do either the five-second check or our once a month meetings, or if they need me, I’m a 100% available again, as they are.

Jason Ward:
Yeah. And that five sec check is really great. It’s a philosophy that we use in the development space a lot, the stand up, right?

Scott Sendelweck:
Right.

Jason Ward:
You’re just very quickly every day going to say, what’s going on, let’s talk about it if we need to, or just know that there’s a problem and we’ll shelf it and talk about it in depth later. But it lets everyone know that you care, that you were thinking about them and that they can reach out to you the same way that you’ve just reached out to them.

Scott Sendelweck:
Exactly. It’s not my work line. It’s my cell line, right? And they know that I’m available except like an hour a day. So, it’s like that’s my family time there, don’t interrupt that. But anything else they can buzz me.

Jason Ward:
I can’t tell you the last time I had to use my work phone number. I don’t even know it.

Scott Sendelweck:
Right. Yeah. I have no idea what mine is. I think it’s on my email signature.

Jason Ward:
That’s a good place for it. What else do you want to say about the work that you’re doing there and how that is affected by virtualization of the workforce?

Scott Sendelweck:
I think when you look at the virtualization of the workforce, it’s something that the American economy is now thrust into. Do I think the 9:00 to 5:00, the 8:00 to 5:00 to 8:00 to 4:00, that core traditional work hours is done for certain populations and tracks of workers and workforce absolutely gone, burned up. And if it’s not burned up or it will be very shortly. I think now that individuals have gotten the taste for what it’s like to have true work-life balance and understand that they can get their job done and not have repercussion to their family life and say, “Oh, I got a tennis game. Cool. I’m going to bolt out for this tennis game. I get a bolt out to pick my kiddo up. I’m going to bolt out to go to the grocery store or take my dog to the groomer,” and have no repercussions to come back because you know, that time is still there.

The work is still there and you know your product’s going to still be there, that’s crucial. And I think the more and more companies that start to identify the work from home strategy and either implement hybrid strategy or even a 100% mile, they’re going to survive longer than the ones that won’t.

Jason Ward:
Absolutely. One last thing we’d like to do with all of our guests is do the rapid fire five questions. So, five rapid fire questions coming at you. Just the first thing that pops into your mind. We do this with everyone. We’re not singling you out.

Scott Sendelweck:
Not singling me out.

Jason Ward:
You’re special but not different. So, are you ready? Take a deep breath, get a drink of water.

Scott Sendelweck:
We’ll focus, yeah, let’s go.

Jason Ward:
Okay. Describe yourself in three words.

Scott Sendelweck:
Dangerous, productive, and creative.

Jason Ward:
Wow. Man, I might be in love. Those are three great words.

Scott Sendelweck:
Yeah. I try to be one of those three at all different times and trying to reign myself in.

Jason Ward:
Yeah. I love that, dangerous. A lot of people see that as a negative, but as soon as you said it, it was like, “I like this.” Yeah. All right, I’m going to steal it.

Scott Sendelweck:
There’s a really cool book called The Dangerous Book for Boys. You get a chance to read that.

Jason Ward:
I will check that out.

Scott Sendelweck:
I think there’s also The Dangerous Book for Girls.

Jason Ward:
Okay.

Scott Sendelweck:
I’m not sure, but The Dangerous Book for Boys is pretty cool.

Jason Ward:
Okay. It’s on my list. Favorite technology you use daily.

Scott Sendelweck:
Wifi.

Jason Ward:
Yeah, no brainer, right? I don’t even know why it didn’t come to my mind.

Scott Sendelweck:
Wifi. If it’s a hard software, it’d be wifi, hardware would be my espresso machine.

Jason Ward:
Espresso machine, another a good answer. Oh yeah. When are you most inspired?

Scott Sendelweck:
After either one or two Monsters or one or two bourbons. It really depends on what time of day.

Jason Ward:
Okay. The right blend of upper or downer, depending on the time of day.

Scott Sendelweck:
Right. It is either super relaxed or super wired.

Jason Ward:
Yeah. That’s me too. But I’m a coffee guy in the morning. So, coffee gets me going through the morning and then wind down is the bourbon at night.

Scott Sendelweck:
Yeah, I think my caffeine addiction is pretty high.

Jason Ward:
Coffee is not quite that addicting. Most important advice you’d to your past self.

Scott Sendelweck:

Never look back.

Jason Ward:
Never look back. That’s an ironic answer.

Scott Sendelweck:
It’s an ironic answer. I just go. I think and that really blends into just an attitude, right? It’s an overall life function. Let’s say, well, the past is the past. Again, going back, I have no concept of time or space reality. So, it’s all forward.

Jason Ward:
You are the you that you’ve always been and always will be, yeah, love it. What do you consider the single most important component of an employer brand to be?

Scott Sendelweck:
I would say engagement. I will also say resilience, and I will say collective culture.

Jason Ward:
Collective culture. Unpack that a little bit for me. What does collective culture mean?

Scott Sendelweck:
Collective culture to me means the whole game, but it’s the whole value of what a corporation, entity, or person brings to the table to make that culture. Corporates can’t just say, “That’s not our culture. And this is who we are.” That fails. It’s the people, it’s the individual work, it’s the products, it’s the services, it’s the brand that brings that culture down. So, that’s that collectiveness.

Jason Ward:
Yeah. I love it. There’s a lot of talk for the last five to eight years since social media blew up about not owning your brand anymore.

Scott Sendelweck:
Right.

Jason Ward:
Brand is everybody that interacts with it, right? And the same is true of internal culture. So, it’s not dictated. It is the organic thing that happens when employees interact with one another and with the institution as a whole.

Scott Sendelweck:
Absolutely. I mean, look at the new platforms like TikTok, for instance, it’s all about personal brand culture.

Jason Ward:
Yeah. Personal brand. Big thing right now. I don’t know what that means, but I did work on mine, probably. So, Scott, great pleasure. This is the first time we’re meeting. I am sad, we haven’t done it before, but hopefully we can have a conversation again in the future. Thanks for joining us today to talk about the future of hiring and what the pandemic has done for virtual work in your company. Go ahead and let us know, if folks are interested, let us know how they can get in touch with you.

Scott Sendelweck:
I’ll use another corporate social media platform. Scott Sendelweck at LinkedIn. That’s where I get everything right there. Hit me up there. If you’re interested to learn a little more about the future tech and just tech in general, and also work from home and recruitment technologies, all sorts of cool stuff.

Jason Ward:
All right. Again, pleasure. Thank you so much.

Scott Sendelweck:
Thank you for having me.

Candee Chambers:
Thank you for tuning in for another episode of the DE Talk Podcast. Stay connected with DirectEmployers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and be sure to subscribe to the podcast to receive notifications of new episodes each month.

Candee Chambers
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