Rebel Human Resources Podcast

RHR 114: HR in the Metaverse with Marcus Sawyerr

August 23, 2022 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 3 Episode 114
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
RHR 114: HR in the Metaverse with Marcus Sawyerr
Show Notes Transcript

British-born, San Francisco-based CEO Marcus Sawyerr is founder of EQ Community and executive board member to Microsoft services board. He’s ranked in the top-100 most influential industry leaders by Staffing Industry analysts. 

We discuss:

-How the decentralized workforce is transforming compensation and benefits

-D&I program best practices for a winning team

-Hiring Trends across Tech in DE&I Metaverse 

-How Web3 will impact the future of work

 Marcus aims at cultivating and connecting multicultural professionals interested in tech. As such, he’s successfully launched EQ Community— a space that’s bridging the recruitment gap in diversity among tech executives.

Marcus’s most recent speaking engagement: 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gTbbU2tqjgM&feature=youtu.be


EQ Community (brilliant): 

https://youtu.be/ZXao8v6hDEc


Microsoft speaking engagement:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEnr81Xx3jU


LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcus-sawyerr-593a716/

Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work.

We'll be discussing topics that are disruptive to the world of work and talk about new and different ways to approach solving those problems.

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https://twitter.com/rebelhrguy
https://www.facebook.com/rebelhrpodcast
www.kyleroed.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-roed/

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Marcus Sawyerr:

So that critical thinking of kind of figuring out what's the problem you're trying to solve, and working back from that, and bringing the tech in to deliver that problem for the tech, or and or the talent. So you want to think about the combination between tech and touch and tech talent.

Kyle Roed:

This is the rebel HR Podcast, the podcast where we talk to HR innovators about all things people leadership. If you're looking for places to find about new ways to think about the world of work, this is the podcast for you. Please subscribe, favorite podcast listening platform today. And leave us a review. Rebel on HR rebels. Hello, rebel HR community Welcome back for our podcast this week really excited for this conversation. This is going to be super fun. And I think it might be some things that we have not discussed much on this podcast. So really excited to dig into this. With us today we have Marcus Sawyer, Marcus is the founder and CEO at EQ community, he spent the last 15 years climbing from the frontline to executive of a fortune 500 company focused on online recruitment and digital transformation. Along with notable Microsoft services executive board position, we're gonna be talking about a lot of different things. But first, I want to start off by welcoming you to the show. Thanks, Marcus for being here.

Marcus Sawyerr:

Thanks for having me call. Appreciate it.

Kyle Roed:

Really excited for the conversation today. And you know, we've, I always regret not hitting record right when I meet someone on this podcast, because we were already just starting to dig into some really exciting topics. Before we get there, though. You have, you have had a really interesting career, you have relocated and lived in different countries, I'd like to understand a little bit about what brought you where you are today in your career.

Marcus Sawyerr:

Sure, I'll give you the mid version, right. So I'll say your spare, you're listening to the long version. But I basically like I suppose most people, whether it's recruiting or HR kind of fill in for that space, actually had a sports background. So in London, I was playing professional sports and they had a scholarship, decided to get a job in a gym. Because I thought that I could continue basically learning my craft of sports and get a job in the gym. But they didn't have any typical gym jobs. So then I got into sales. And I don't know if anybody knows I've ever worked in the gym, but going out on the street and trying to get people into the gym in the early 2000s when no one was interested in doing that kind of a little bit of a graft to make a ton of money. And that sort of sales job advertised, ironically, in online for the first time. And it was a company called careerbuilder.com. And I applied for it. I was under qualified, but they needed some cold callers. So I came in and got the job and started cold calling. And I eventually, like stayed there for a total of 10 years and got promoted every year and became director for Europe for the staff and recruiting division, which means I was working stuff and recruiting companies helping them get access to online. So we were disrupting the newspapers at the time because everyone was doing their ads in newspapers. So we kind of moved from into that world. And then after that, I one of my clients which happened to be large fortune 500 company, the Adecco group had said that they're doing a digital transformation. I said, I'll fantastic. Let's see how we can help you. And he was like, No, I think you could do it. I said, What do you mean? He said, Yeah, we've got 30,000 employees, we need global head of digital innovation. And the chief sales officer for the whole group said, I think you can do it as I really like Yeah. So okay, so I went through a process, I thought, You know what, this process is pretty long, because I met like 10 different people, but I thought at least I'm gonna get different sales leads and get deeper into the org. So it was like a nine month process. And I got the job as being global head of digital innovation for the largest staffing company in the world. And I've done that for five years, travelled the world bought, built and invested in HR tech companies, and scan the market. And yeah, that was kind of my my start of the journey and then decided once I moved out to the USA, found and set up my own business focused on diversity and inclusion. So digital, and diversity has been my background.

Kyle Roed:

Oh, that's awesome. Yeah. And I remember those CareerBuilder days. At one point that was kind of the only game in town. And yeah, so you were you were building that right when that was coming? Yeah. Being so that's cool.

Marcus Sawyerr:

Yeah, we've got we've got quite a strong alumni, everyone jokes around about the CareerBuilder mafia, because everybody who used to work for CareerBuilder in HR is somewhere and we had these cool Superbowl ads at the time before All I bought a yacht club, we had the apes on the Superbowl ads, everybody knew what it was. Yeah, that's pretty cool, good company to work for good culture. A lot of fun.

Kyle Roed:

That's cool. Very cool. So I want to dive right into it. You know, I think you already mentioned this, you know, there's really, there's really two areas that that we wanted to focus on today, and the D, and D, as you describe it, the diversity and digital. So why don't we start with? First of all, let's, let's start with diversity, you know, as, as you think about the organizations that you've supported, your customers or clients, what is your perspective on on companies, approaches to diversity in the past, and where our approach needs to be going forward?

Marcus Sawyerr:

Absolutely. So it's a huge topic. It's a topic that touches many people in different ways, depending on I suppose, where you're coming from, so your background, and also maybe where you live. And that means that it needs to be tackled with Nuance. My experience, after seeing multiple organizations, companies and the way that they operate, has been that really diversity acts as a superpower when you harness it. And with a sports backgrounds, great sports teams get that, right. So if you're playing and not everybody can play in the same position on a sports team or want to play point guard, you need different types of skills. And inside an organization, it's been proven that if you can get that team together, and let's say we're all sitting around a boardroom table, right, we're trying to identify this object, it's in the middle of this table. So we're looking at this object, but it's got multiple sides. And the only way we can understand what the object is or how it's going to work is by getting everybody's perspective. So the diversity of thought, as well as race, gender, color, ethnicity is super important. But what that brings is you come from a different perspective. And when you harness that, it gives you superpowers. But the challenge is, is bringing all of those diverse mentalities into one, one room and getting stuff done. Right. And that comes down to the culture of the organization.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, so I'd like to dig into that a little bit more, because I do I think everybody who's listening to this is probably shaking their head up and down. Yeah, it can be a superpower. You know, and I think there's a lot of, you know, there's a lot of organizations that are doing a great job kind of showcasing diversity within their organization. But, um, I think many of us still struggle with how do we actually address that challenge of bringing that diversity into an organization and then, and then allowing that superpower to actually shine? Right? Many times, it's, it's, it's, you know, it's kind of a compliance initiative, or it's a marketing initiative, but necessarily trickle into, you know, are truly trickle into our culture without, without some really intentional actions. So, as you look at that, and you think about the work that you do at EQ community, how do you how do you address that? How do you really kind of build that, that that culture to truly harness that superpower?

Marcus Sawyerr:

Yeah, so we started EQ community, based on the fact that, as I mentioned, that I kind of got to a point where I was at the top of organizations, I looked around, I saw less and less people that don't like me, or even had any perspective like me, which is fine. But when you've seen nobody at all, you start to question that. And I was in a position where I had the opportunity to work with some private equity firms and venture capital firms. And what they realized is that if they're fast growing companies, they are now seeding investing in trying to scale do not have access to diverse talent, it's going to be super challenging for them to operate in a global market. So that's like the macro level. So we build out these diversity pledges. So you're so let's get a bit more practical. What do you actually do? There's one thing I've having a pledge, then you have somebody that's going to support that pledge. So this way, what companies do the write out something like you said, marketing material, then they maybe hire somebody and put somebody on top of that, and they'll do one or two things. They'll isolate that person, give them no budget, so they can't do anything. Or it would have come top down and bottom up and they'll start driving things forward. One of the best examples of companies that have been super diverse for a long period of time, and they've got leaders every single level. And every time I've interacted with them, and they're not a client of ours or anything, it's just a company I've interacted with and seen as American Express. They've got diverse talent at every single level. So the challenge for HR, in my opinion, is, you're almost trying to keep the ship moving yourself day to day, and you're trying to make sure that the organization is well oiled, well drilled, and I'm sending my sister in HR as well, right? But then you've got to think longer term. And then you're trying to change a culture completely. Where does that culture come from? A lot of the time, it comes from the top. And we'll say that it's bottom up. But it is it comes from the top, and then you've got the comes from the bottom. And then in the middle, is where the bottlenecks are. So if you've got people that want to do things around DNI inside your organization, harness that, and it was in a safer digital, right, people want to do innovation, and then it gets messy, you get shadow it get one of these different things that people are working on, and you can't control it. But I think giving people a framework to work in. And crowdsourcing those ideas inside of your organization, and bringing people along the journey is really a key way to drive it. And you've got to see it as a priority. Again, it's not a box ticking exercise, like genuinely, if you look at teams, you do not have people playing in the same positions. Number one, you do not have people from the exact same backgrounds. You're just trying to win. So are you trying to win? We try to keep your job.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, well. Yeah. that I really liked how you put that I tried to win, are you trying to keep your job? And I can honestly say that. Sometimes when you see people at organizations, that's a valid question, right? You know, I think it's, and I so often I think about, it's the context of, it's like the people that are trying to win or trying to drive positive change, culture change, do some of the things you mentioned, top down and bottom up diversity, equity and inclusion. And then you've got people that are just trying not to get sued. Yeah, like they're afraid of lawsuits, right? And those are the people that are they're just trying to keep their job, right. They don't want the CEO calling them and saying, Hey, why are we getting? Why did we get this lawsuit notice or something along those lines?

Marcus Sawyerr:

Yeah. You know, what, call us? Well, like, there's a role for that in teams, right? You need defenders, you need defense. But if that's your culture, don't expect to innovate. And I would also argue that a lot of those companies that are thinking in that way of probably not innovating from a digital standpoint, that's why a couple of digital and diversity, are you thinking about how you can be better and how you can perform, irrespective of just the status quo? And then you've got to weigh up the risk? It's like, well, if I do that, then what? Right, and how bold Do you want to be? And and what I tell you is longer term, it will serve you much better short term, you're going to have some challenges, right? Because you're going to feel like you're driving an uphill battle. But you'll find rebels that will also want to do this and also want to drive things forward. Right. And that's what I suppose this is about.

Kyle Roed:

Hey, thanks. Thanks for working rebels in that was nice, nicely. Yeah. And I can tell I can tell you that in sales.

Marcus Sawyerr:

Yeah, I got the text message from you earlier. So

Kyle Roed:

everybody knows we didn't plan that. But really, he is very suave with with the, with the placement there. But all kidding aside, I think that's a really powerful connection. And I do, I kind of feel like it's kind of the same equation. Right? It's like, you know, if you're open to diversity, you're probably a change agent, you probably are looking to get better if your organization is supportive of diversity from the top down, I guarantee you that your your senior leadership team is is probably aligned with that thinking as well. And so often I'll find like when I'm when I'm recruiting a candidate candidates want that to you know, it's it's, it's pretty powerful, you know, their their experience, and and in just even just getting hired and how digitally forward thinking that experience was for them that matters. I've had candidates who are like, Yeah, I don't I don't, your website's a mess. I don't know if I want to work at a company where you you know, your website sucks so bad. I mean, it happens.

Marcus Sawyerr:

I heard that just yesterday, actually go by and we'd have to say no, no, no, don't worry about that. The company is actually amazing. Yeah, it's your shop and I think that's what we forget, if we all had a store or a shop, and we're selling items, we're not our shopping is not going to look a mess, right? Because we're on the front line, we're going to take private, we're going to sweep outside, we're going to make sure that it looks good. And it feels good, because we want to entice people into it. And that's what luxury brands do. And you see this. And so we're talking about being a bit more offensive. And so how can HR be innovative and offensive, when typically, the mindset of HR is to protect and be defensive? And maybe that's in the composition of your team within HR, maybe you are the one that's defensive, but you hire someone offensive, and you work together in tandem? In your team. And I've started to see that work as well, because it opens up your mind, and then you start to change things, and you can support them and how to operate in that environment. Because yeah, okay. But the reality of it is, people do want to keep their jobs. So let's just say that's a baseline, right? But then the next level is, how do you then progress to the next level, because I always feel like, if you're not growing, you're dying. And so if you're not growing, you're gonna only keep your job for a certain period of time until somebody else comes up behind you if you haven't moved things forward. So thinking about like, the next steps are always important, even if you can't execute them on them right now. But really being deliberate about how you drive the next steps forward, outside of day to day, I think is, it's super interesting. You've gotta be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, if they say,

Kyle Roed:

No, I, I agree. 100% not, you know, the world, I came up with an HR, I've worked for those organizations where HR was, was on the offense, and then I've worked for those organizations where HR was on the defense, you know, defending the goal line. And that's it. And I definitely, I tend to lean more on the offensive side of the of the coin, for sure. I want to dive into that word digital a little bit, because I think, you know, so often, you know, you see it in the HR tech space, where it's like, there's this, you know, there's this, this tool, and it's and it's a it's a piece of tech software, it looks really cool, gives you a flashy, you know, maybe you get a flashy dashboard. But, but it's it's really something that still requires, you know, HR to take some level of action, right, like, so like just getting a tool doesn't necessarily make you make you better or make you good in the digital space. And digital means so much, right? So. So as you look at as you look at digital in the context of human resources, what are some of the what are some of the things that you're seeing where digital is actually really enabling the business change that needs to occur?

Marcus Sawyerr:

Yeah, so the way I think about digital, and again, diversity, but I'll go back to digital, if you've got organizations that are digital, by default, and you have organizations that are diverse by default, and organizations that are digital, by default, it generally tech companies, because their business revolves around them having a solution where they can serve their customers, through technology, whether that's through online, and we talked earlier about your manufacturing. So there'll be some, I imagine in that process of whether we call it digital or not, but there's been a lot of automation that's taken place in manufacturing over the years, right to get more effective and more efficient. And manufacturing is actually the cornerstone, I think for a lot of automation digital, generally speaking, and why you decide to change your processes of manufacturing is probably because you can be more effective in delivering that good at a faster pace at a higher quality. And so how do you think about that with inside HR, I always like to think through what I call high frequency, high volume, highly repetitive tasks. So an example of that may be it depends on how you want to move the needle. So let's think about internally first, but an example of that might be you might get these canned questions that happen all the time from multiple employees, and you don't, and you'll need a place to direct them in order to do that. So that could be a website, it could be a chatbot. It could be something where you've taken that knowledge that you already have, and put it in a place where people can access it on demand. That will save you time. Internally, if you do that, externally, I think the digital transformation pitch for HR, which is really interested in thinking about talent. So when hiring managers come to you, and they may want to hire somebody, let's just talk about Let's say in the metaverse and when I say nervous, I say blockchain engineers. I know there are big financial institutions right now that are hiring blockchain engineers. I know for a fact that there are HR professionals that have no idea what the skill set of those blockchain engineers are because they haven't been up on it, which is fine. And probably even the hiring managers have read an article, they've seen something. And then the CEO said, right, we need to do this Metaverse thing, digital transformation, I want somebody to go deep in it, you've got a maverick innovation person in that unit. Understand that deeply. But they haven't brought everybody along the journey. So I think with digital taking a real interest in how those innovators are buddying up with them, is really important. Like, can you spec like, what if you've got somebody innovation in your organization, just to have a weekly one to one with them, because I'll be interested to tell you all the stuff that they're learning, and then you'll be the second point person on that, and you'll know how to drive things forward. So talent is absolutely key and understanding the type of talent you're going to bring an organization and then there's automation internally, that you may be able to drive.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. I agree. 100%, I think, you know, the, my approach has always been listen, you know, tech is great. I love I love automating a process and then never having to think about it again. And that frees up your mind to think about the bigger problems like, how do I address middle management's approach to diversity? Because that's where we're falling short, or, you know, how do I how do I improve this process so that it's more effective for an onboarding experience? And so on and so forth? And, you know, so externally, I think this is, this is getting, you know, pretty fascinating. First of all, you know, you used a great example of a position that hasn't existed, you know, 10 years earlier, Blockchain blockchain engineer, what, what is that? Is that somebody doing Legos, you know, like, didn't exist, right. So, it's like, that's a great example of like, HR is being asked to go find these people.

Marcus Sawyerr:

And 10 years ago didn't exist. And then they want somebody with 10 years experience, the hiring manager, 15, and preferably 15. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And so figure that out, we're like, we need five and 15 is experience. So I think part of that in keeping up on it is being able to manage those expectations as well. Right, internally and showing that you know, and it's work. But if you take an interest in tech, or you're interested in efficiency, and maybe it's not tech, but thinking about efficiency, so I was thinking as we were just talking, if you couple digital transformation with critical thinking, you you put yourself in a much better position to really understand that what is going to have a significant impact versus what is just a point solution, because you're talking about tools. And I agree, so many tools out there. And I remember when I first started doing innovation within a deco group, I see all these companies, and I thought, Wow, this one's amazing. This one's amazing. This one's made, and I'm fairly optimistic. So you kind of get product, then you get hard into it. I've just seen 100 of these same types of tools that say they can do the same service. And it's not necessarily going to move the needle. So that critical thinking of kind of figuring out, what's the problem you're trying to solve. And working back from that, and bringing the tech in to deliver that problem. So the tech, or and all the talent. So you want to think about the combination between tech and touch and tech and talent.

Kyle Roed:

I love that. You know, and I think about it, you know that? I think about it in the context of like you said, What's the problem you're trying to solve? Well, one of the biggest problems that all of us in HR are trying to solve right now is making sure we have enough time and making sure we can focus on the right things, right. And so, in that context, if that's the problem you're trying to solve, why wouldn't you go out and find something that can save you two hours a week in administrative repetitive tasks that could be you know, maybe, maybe you need to digitize your training program so that you just click one button, and then somebody is enrolled and all the trainees need to be enrolled in instead of sitting there and clicking through all the individual trainings like that legit happens, right? Like, oh, here's a list of all the trainings I got. I've enrolled people, like, maybe, maybe go spend $1,000 for software engineering to build a piece of software. It just does it for you. Right?

Marcus Sawyerr:

Yeah. No, absolutely. Absolutely. And I'm just gonna agree with you. And I think you actually asked a question, and that was, why is it not done but it's time right now. It's time, it's headspace. And then you think through is like, what? Is it going to be worth it? And you're like, oh, no, I need to get this report done by tomorrow anyway, so I'm just going to do it myself. So maybe you just have like some more practically, you've got one or two projects, you sit down and say, Bill, these are the projects that are taking the longest time. And, and even working with the innovation team, if you've got someone who's like, hey, these things are taking me forever, do you think you can help me, but digitalize these pieces, because that'd be super useful. And then you work in tandem. And there's an example. And they get those projects done as well, they've probably got budget in order to do that, and trying to figure out new ways to make the organization drive forward. But I think partnering with the innovation teams is

Kyle Roed:

key. Absolutely, Rachel, absolutely. One of my best. My one of my best friends at work is on the IT team, and she runs our intranet. And you know how many cool things you can do with a workflow and an idea, like, you know, we've digitized every last thing that we can and the onboarding process, so that all all hiring manager has to do now is is enter in some specific pieces of information. And then all of that information just flows to the people that need to know it. Yeah, it's as simple as that. It's really not that complicated. And, you know, I'm sitting, I was sitting here, hitting my head against the wall, trying to figure out this problem, like, I don't have time to do this, this is too time consuming, blah, blah, blah, ended up striking up a conversation with this person. And they're like, Oh, we can do that. Yeah. Have you ever heard of a workflow? And it's like, you know, you know, just asking those questions and having those connections is it's so, so critical. And now my team is like, is much more effective, because this stuff just happened. So I want to, in that vein, I want to talk about a couple things that I think some of our listeners might be familiar with, some of our listeners might not be familiar with. And I think there's, there's like so many headlines out there. I want to kind of dive into the kind of the digital landscape of the future. So you know, there's a lot of terms out there. As we think about blockchain. Web three. Metaverse, augmented reality, virtual reality, you know, I think there's a lot of stuff that's like, just sounds cool. But it's, it's hard for many of us to get our head wrapped around, okay, what's the actual application here? So so if we can take a step back and like, just kind of walk us through what some of these tools are, and I would say, like, I just threw those terms out there. So you tell me what terms we need to know. You know, what should we be aware of what's on the landscape? And how do you see that really impacting the world of HR and people leadership?

Marcus Sawyerr:

What is your favorite brand? Kyle? Tell me two, three, your favorite brands,

Kyle Roed:

my favorite brands? I like cheese. I'm really not a brand guy. Let's okay, I drive a Toyota. Okay. I have Hoka One One running shoes, and I don't know shirts. I wear I wear a Hanes undershirt every day. How about that?

Marcus Sawyerr:

Okay. So what I'm getting from that is like functionality is important to you. Right? That's accurate. Yeah, that's reliable findings to the study, and the Haynesville, soft and smooth, right that you got the pig. All right, cool. And so, so there's the functional side. And then there are some, like there are people that buy designer clothes, they buy certain cars, they buy certain thing, and a lot of it is based on the brand and the brand, hold something to it. I think what we're what we're seeing in the world of the metaverse, let's say and digital, let's say digital goods, for instance. Because there's there's many areas is that you're seeing that brands are now leveraging pieces of real estate, if you want to call them digital real estate information online, at scale, to really differentiate themselves and have people part of a club or a community based on being associated with that club. And I'm talking a little bit about NF T's if anyone is like people are familiar with those. And a lot of people buy these NF T's to be part of the community, you're part of an online club. And the difference with being part of that club and maybe there's another brand, maybe you met some people are part of country clubs, then there are certain things they go there to connect with people. And so what you're starting to see with these NF T's is they're really creating these digital clubs that people can be part of. So how does that translate into HR and the world of work? You're starting to see that with employer brand and employee engaged Sherman, Nike recently bought a company that is focused on creating these digital sneakers. And I was looking at the day and the sneakers like, like $9,000. Digital, you don't get given them. So there's no functionality, because you're not, you're not gonna have to run with it. That doesn't speak to me. Yeah, right, exactly. But the fact that we're talking about on the podcast right now, they've got an extra lift in their, in their brand, right. And there's more and more podcasts or conversations that are happening, because it's cool. And it's innovative. And like you said, around the website, you're starting to see that with digital. Like, you start to see that with digital goods. People have this affiliation in association with cool brands. So you're seeing a lot of fashion, you're seeing a lot, and also the other and then there's a more functional aspect of it, is in music. And so any item where there can be a royalty, a smart contract can be leveraged to ensure that, hey, if that resale value, if you create a good let's say, let's say a piece of music or a piece of art, or, or even like a physical good. If that gets sold again, you can automatically bake a royalty into that smart contract. So historically, in the music industry, people have not like the record labels have taken all the royalties, but now that individual can give their fans the opportunity to buy and purchase and then a number one fans can get wealthy, off the fact that they support it this is. So you're starting to see the way that might like brand is the big kernel and the way that compensation money is changing hands. For creations of work, is really what's driving and this is all happening in a decentralized way. So there's not one place or one person that is responsible for this is actually it's kind of bringing a crowdsource on steroids.

Kyle Roed:

Now, it's it's really fascinating to talk about I still it's it's still a little bit to kind of grasp, but I do think I mean, as I think about like the the world that we work in, like all all the administration that we do, you know, how do we protect employee privacy? What, who's drafting the contract for this employee that's working in this region? You know, how does someone actually want to get paid? You know, what form of currency what, you know, are we going for Bitcoin payment, whatever it is, like, there's just so many different areas that I feel like this could touch us, but I think the one that's probably the most interesting and fascinating to me right now, is that it's the community peace. Right? It's the it's kind of that that feeling of being a part of something that's bigger than you. And really, that's what we're talking about when we talk about building a culture and building a brand and building like, you know, a work environment that people want to be in and, you know, do you see that as a as a as an opportunity for kind of future thinking companies like Nike to say, okay, you know, here we've got these cool NF T's. Now, here use this to build a club of people with the same or similar type of NF T, or here's the Employee Resource Group driven by driven by this. I mean, am I on the right track there? My understanding this theory? Yeah,

Marcus Sawyerr:

I yeah, I think community is a huge kernel. So hence the reason we have EQ community and we started with the community first, because we believe that you can get more done with a group of people that have common interest. And what you see of a lot of these brands, like big brands is they have this community, Nike Rowing Club and all these types of organizations. But they but it's hard to cultivate and bring people around it. So they're using the metaverse and we started exploring with that with ERG, these different platforms are ways to bring people together to reward folks. So we actually dropped a couple of NF T's recently to reward people in our community for referring folks into the community or attending or attending events. So now you've got this digital wallet, that digital wallet is public, and people can see the events that you've attended to there may be some value in that in the future. And you can use like sports cards, TVs to collect them at school, and you're trading and swapping and changing these and then in the future, those collector's cards become valuable. And but it's a digital record and nobody can distribute. No, nobody can dispute whether you had that sports card or not. Because in your digital wallet, there's a record there. That's forever. And that brings you to become part of the community. And with tribal by nature, right? So we all want to be part of something we all want to feel like we're doing something and it's important. We want to feel like we're doing something special. And it gives you a way in order to validate and verify that and back to your point around culture and being part of an organization companies are using that to strengthen their employee brand. This is a cool company to work for, because you're part of something special. And I'll give you a practical manufacturing example. There's a sportswear company recently that done this, they basically created this sneaker, and they had decided to crowdsource all of the ideas around the sneaker to develop sneakers. So then it was a combination, like 1000s of people developing this sneaker sneaker, he's done that all through the blockchain to everybody had their input on this. So guess what, when it arrives at your house, you feel like it's like part of you. And so that brings that association and then it kind of got like, did you get did you get the new sneaker like was like, No, I missed it next time. And it's kind of that it's a little bit of that bit of camaraderie, a bit of culture, and bringing that all together. And again, it's these common interests that you can bring people into from different backgrounds as well. And we do that inside of the queue. We've got a crypto and NFT group. And so people are working completely different jobs, different levels, you've got software engineers, there, you've got senior executives there, but they have this interest that they then start to talk about this, and it brings people together as well. So I think you're gonna see a lot of that around a building brand, and especially employer brand, as well.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. So cool. You're saying that I was thinking, you know, what, what, you know, here's one practical example of where an NFT would make perfect sense. And that would be training. Every time you train someone, they get an NFT, they get a digital badge, and then that goes into your LMS. But then oh, by the way, that's non fungible, so they can take that with them anywhere they go. And you could validate that. And technically, that could be something that becomes a future resume for 100. Right? Like, there's so many different applications for something like that. That's fascinating.

Marcus Sawyerr:

We started looking at this in 2016, actually, like, so I was on a board at Microsoft services for peace, and they had a framework called cocoa framework with blockchain has been building and we started exploring that around smart contracts. The challenge was, it's like the Yeah, it's, it's sort of like the plugs, right? That apple plugs every time you go and plug something or buy a new Apple device, they've got a different plug socket, or something happens up against it. Yeah. So everybody needs to get on the same hymn sheet on like, what is going What are going to be those tokens that you collect from a training standpoint for them to be validated in the external world. And so thinking about those tokens and what they are, and if people all agree, if you don't then have to then vet and verify the skills of those folks, because they're already there. So I see that absolutely happening. But then I think it's a people challenge of people agreeing in order to do that, because everybody wants to be the one that delivers that type of token as well. So standards are going to be important.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, if you could just help me figure out if it's Cardano. Or, or Solana or some new, you know, that'd be great. But it's been fun. It's been fascinating. I mean, this world is just, it's kind of foreign. It's almost like, it's almost like a, like learning a foreign language for me. But it's just really interesting to think about, you know, the things we're talking about today, I'm sure in 10 years, somebody's gonna be like, they didn't even see this coming. And they didn't know what they were talking about. But it's it. I just feel like this is just another example of kind of that disruption, that it's going to change the way that you work. That's just the way it is. And you got to be ready to adapt to it, right?

Marcus Sawyerr:

Absolutely. If you stay curious, you got to you've got to collect the dots before you can connect the dots. So

Kyle Roed:

I love that. All right. Well, we are quickly coming to the end of our time together. And I'm fascinated to hear your responses. So we're gonna shift into the rebel HR flash round. So question number one, where does HR need to rebel?

Marcus Sawyerr:

HR needs to rebel more with hiring managers that don't see diversity as a superpower. I really push those boundaries. Love it.

Kyle Roed:

I agree. I think that's, you know, that's where the rubber meets the road. That's also where the, it's not just about hiring, right? That's the employee experience. That employee journey gets, you know, it gets much improved when you have managers that understand the importance. Question number two, who should we be listening to?

Marcus Sawyerr:

I believe that just from a standpoint of getting information from multiple sources, and then passing your own judgment is the way to make decisions. So I don't think you should leave anybody out of the conversation. I think you should be listening to the frontline. You should be listening to the senior executives. And then if you're in the middle of an HR, you should be really curating that information and then coming up with a conclusion. That is sound and reasonable. So I think information can come from all angles.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah. Listen to the community. Right. All right. Question. How can I listeners connect with you?

Marcus Sawyerr:

Easy to connect with me. It's my name Marcus Sawyer with two R's on on LinkedIn, the same on Twitter as well, even though I'm not super active on there. But if you're interested in learning more about DNI and something you want to drive EQ dot community. And yeah, that's a way to get in touch with me.

Kyle Roed:

Awesome. We'll have all that information in the show notes. You know, check it out. There's also I'll put a plug in there. Marcus has some really great content out there. And check out his NF T's. It's on the day, this looks pretty cool. So really appreciate the time Mark is some really great stuff, kind of stretching our minds a little bit around what HR can be and how we can innovate in the future. Thank you.

Marcus Sawyerr:

Thanks for having me call. Really appreciate it.

Kyle Roed:

All right. That does it for the rebel HR podcast. Big thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter, at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebel human resources.com. The views and opinions expressed by rebel HR podcast are those the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the organizations that we represent. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast. Maybe