‘Company culture starts with the hiring process’ | Contractors

The entrepreneurial offspring of an original SmileDirectClub VP hosted a panel discussion on workplace culture at Tech Hill Commons.






David Plazas (left) and Dan Hunter (front-right)


Opinion editor for The Tennessian, David Plazas, moderated a discussion at the headquarters of the Nashville Technology Council. The panel included HR executives from Bridgestone Americas, Creative Artists Agency, Tend and Workzinga – the latter being the brainchild of Dan Hunter, who helped create SmileDirectClub as vice president of revenue cycle operations. The conversation focused on the role cultural fit plays in enabling a business to thrive.

“The interview process is critical to the success of any business; who they bring is important. The more informed this process can be, the better those decisions will be,” Hunter told the To post. “When we all focus on the content of a CV, you see about 20% of the story. What we want to do is fill in the blanks of the other 80%, and we want to help both parties understand the other person at the table.

Workzinga is a recruitment and job search platform that connects employers and potential employees based on psychological data curated by Dr. Margarida Rafael, Head of Psychological Sciences and panelist during the discussion. She highlighted the intersectionality of cultural fit – uniting all disciplines, departments and positions – and addressed questions that explain why Workzinga is positioned as the only recruiting platform focused on cultural fit.

“It’s very true that a company’s culture starts with the hiring process, and if there’s one thing we know about human beings, it’s that they’re very resistant to change,” said said Dr. Rafael. “So you can’t hire someone based on technical skills with the expectation that you change their personality, change their motivations, change their values ​​when we know it’s not really going to work.

Other panelists attested to how critical it is for HR leaders to take the cultural helm of their respective employers by ensuring the culture is one that drives productivity and retention. Coady Rapp, human resources manager at the local office of Los Angeles-based talent and branding firm Creative Artists Agency, described a highly collaborative culture that prioritizes “winning teams” over individual production as key to the business model. of CAA.

“Our corporate culture is actually our biggest differentiator from our competitors, so that’s very important to us. And sometimes that’s all we have,” Rapp said. “The last pandemic, when a lot of our businesses disappeared like music and live events, all we were left with was our culture.”

The so-called big quit — a phrase referring to a snowball of 33 million Americans who have quit their jobs since the spring of 2021 — took center stage in the conversation. Despite a muted labor force participation rate, many of those who quit are re-entering the workforce in search of more competitive wages, benefits, or flexibility, with the notable exception of pre-retirees and secondary earners. that the pandemic has forced to focus exclusively on home childcare. This means employers have to fill newly vacant positions, and retention has become more difficult to maintain.

“There’s so much energy and focus right now on employee happiness,” Hunter said. “We think there’s an opportunity to be a vehicle for that discussion, and we really want to facilitate a much deeper discussion during the recruiting and hiring process so that companies and candidates simply make better decisions. .”

A hiring platform born out of these unique circumstances and in response to such a phenomenon is what the job market needs according to Hunter. An ostensibly higher focus on employee satisfaction means that employees are likely to only be loyal to work environments whose cultures reflect their own personality, whether they know it or not.







Panel 02 on the state of culture in the workplace

Rachel Thomas (left) and David Plazas (right)


“We definitely find that recruiting people who match or complement our culture works so much better because we can teach the skills,” said Rachel Thomas, director of learning and development at Bridgestone. “We can teach the technical things they need. We can help them get the education they need if there is a certain set of skills they are trying to acquire for their technical work; We can help with that.”

Hunter noticed the fit-culture quagmire while leading much of the hiring that built SmileDirectClub’s staff base of 2,300 people, having interviewed more than 1,000 applicants over his career. He brought that know-how to collaborate with his daughter, Lauren Hunter – a psychology graduate from Belmont University – and her sister to create Workzinga, which is set to launch its platform early this year. It uses a multi-factor algorithm to infuse the hiring process with data from organizational psychology.