May 10, 2022

The New Talent Code Podcast: Josh Bellis on Improving DE&I Through Skills-Based Decisions

The New Talent Code with Eightfold’s Ligia Zamora & Jason Cerrato is a podcast with practical insights for empowering change agents in HR. We’re bringing you the best thought leaders and practitioners to share stories about how they are designing the workforce of the future, transforming processes, rethinking old constructs, and leveraging cutting-edge technology to solve today’s pressing talent issues. It’s what we call the new talent code.

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Josh Bellis is a global talent acquisition programs lead and head of America’s recruitment at PTC, a global technology company with over 6,000 employees in 30 countries. He is also an expert in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and lectures at Columbia University on HR technology transformation topics. As a champion for infusing DEI principles into every aspect of talent strategy, he joined the podcast to expand on his belief that the organizations not adapting their tactics to incorporate diversity are the ones that will be left behind.

As part of each episode of The New Talent Code, Ligia and Jason are on a quest to uncover their guests’ unique contributions to the New Talent Code, which is a big part of trying to approach the future with new solutions and new approaches to help us get to where we’re going. These are the three biggest takeaways from the conversation with Josh Bellis:

The most successful culture shifts make DEI the responsibility of everyone in the organization and don’t put the onus on one person or department. 

It’s a shared responsibility among leadership, HR, and employees. For Bellis, “I’m not on the diversity team, per se, but I am responsible for the processes for the top of the funnel flow of all of our applicants and it’s my job to make sure that we have an equitable hiring process.”

He continues, “The most successful transformations happen when leadership is on board from the beginning.” While Bellis reminds us that it takes time to build an inclusive environment where people want to stay and are encouraged to grow, he suggests once an employee resource group is established, make sure those groups are working with leadership to build actual business solutions. 

Diversity goals cannot be “one size fits all.”

Setting diverse hiring and promotion goals is valuable, but ultimately is going to depend on the department, industry, and role. As an example, the engineering workforce is not equally distributed between men and women, with women making up only 27 percent of all STEM workers in the U.S., so an organization’s hiring goals have to be realistic within that context. Bellis’ advice? “Take a step back, understand the market you’re in and the levers that you have available.” 

There is a stronger connection between skills-based talent decisions and equitable hiring and management processes than you’d think.

Bellis remarked on a profound opportunity to shift the mindset of hiring managers on what an ideal, qualified candidate looks like in the real world. He suggests hiring managers move away from making sure that a candidate “checks all the boxes” in terms of education or past employer and instead embrace the notion that candidates have unique skill sets and capabilities to do the job and bring a new perspective. 

Not only does sourcing for transferable skills expand the talent pool, but it opens up options for underrepresented groups who possibly don’t check all the boxes, simply because of their different lived experience or lack of access to the same types of connections.

Within talent management, by moving beyond making promotion and mobility decisions based on connections alone (i.e. “I used to play golf with that guy”), and instead building transparency into the talent management process, it contributes to creating an equal playing field among employees, regardless of connections.

Listen to The New Talent Code

You can listen to this episode of The New Talent Code on your favorite podcast platform: Apple, Spotify, Google, and Stitcher. Be sure to subscribe, share your feedback, and help us contribute to the New Talent Code. We’ll catch you on the next episode.

Photo by Chris Lynch on Unsplash