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PODCAST EPISODE 48: ANTHONY ONESTO | CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER, SUZY




The traditional Human Resources space has changed significantly over the last couple of decades and will continue to change over the next several years, due to several factors, according to Anthony Onesto, culture expert and Chief People Officer at Suzy. Anthony believes that in order to attract and retain top talent in the future, organizations will have to adapt to Gen Z’s focus on a more equitable and socially responsible culture. There will also be more of a demand to use metrics to support and evaluate initiatives in the People space as well.


Here are my three big takeaways from the conversation:

  1. People are undoubtedly the most important asset of an organization, yet there is no representation of this asset on an organization’s balance sheet.

  2. Certain macroeconomic requirements plus the effect of Gen Z in the workforce will lead to the need for a stronger HR professional that will have a seat at the table.

  3. Understanding and demonstrating the impact on the organization’s business metrics will be essential for determining the need and effectiveness of any people initiatives, such as training.


I am so excited for the future that Anthony paints in this podcast!


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TRANSCRIPT


Anthony: So for me, the contract I think is gonna be completely rewritten by this generation. They're gonna wanna know what your company does around climate change and racial inequity. And flexibility is gonna be important to this generation.


Aaron: I'm Aaron Levy. And I have this vision of a workplace where your manager doesn't suck. Where instead, your manager is your coach, helping you to reach your full potential at work. I founded Raise The Bar, wrote Open, Honest and Direct, and started this podcast to help companies transform their workplace to a place where both the company and employee succeeds.


In this podcast, I get to interview leaders who built high-performing teams. And learn from them on what it takes to unlock a team with potential.


Today. We're lucky to have Anthony Onesto, a leading expert and published author on culture, human resources, and talent. Anthony is currently the Chief People Officer at Suzy, the author of The New Employee Contract: How to Find, Keep, and Elevate Gen Z Talent, and also the creator of Ella The Engineer and the Ella Project.


Anthony has this fantastic high level view of the people space, the HR space and function, and its role within the business, and how that role is changing and will continue to change in the next couple of years. It's a fascinating conversation with really amazing insights, and it'll help you to think more like a scientist. Enjoy.


Anthony, thank you for coming on and taking some time to share your journey, your story, and your learnings on the podcast.


Anthony: Oh, thank you, Aaron. I really appreciate you having me.


Aaron: I mean, maybe the place I'd love to start is tell me your story. Like how did you get to here - what Got you here?


Anthony: It's all by accident, I think. So, I don't know if we have enough time on the podcast. I'm gonna give you a high level view.


If we harken back to the late nineties, I graduated college as an accounting major and I was really bad at it, actually. Pretty, pretty terrible. I also didn't like it all that much, which was obviously an output of my work.


And I got fired. I got fired from my first job. As an accountant. And it was, it was career changing. It, it really was. I look back and early on it, it felt pretty terrible of course. But when I look back, I look back at, at it as a badge of honor, but almost really like, It took me in a, if you've ever used Waze you know, there was an accident on the turnpike of my career.


And it rerouted me, which I thought was an important aspect of, of my life as I look back and I got into hr, I got into recruiting cause I went back to Robert Half who had originally placed me and said, hey, I'm, I'm not really crazy about this accounting stuff, and by the way, I just got fired.


So companies don't think I do it very well. And they were like, hey, did you ever think about recruiting? I was like, I've always only been on this side of the recruiting table, not the other side. And they're like, yeah, well, you can talk accounting, you know, the nuances of it academically.


Why don't you become a recruiter? And that really was the first time I sat in an HR seat, so to speak, and I did recruiting for Robert Half and then jumped into doing boutique recruiting downtown here in New York City. And then the dot com boom happened and I said, here's a, a really great opportunity for me to start staffing these companies.


And because they were so young, they didn't have an HR department. I started doing HR consultation and, and I really learned HR by doing and built employee manuals and did a whole bunch of things. A bunch of startups and I had my own real little piece of the dot com world as that was growing both recruiting and, and the HR for a bunch of different tech companies.


And back then a lot of them were started by techies and obviously that still exists today. And, and they didn't have an idea on how to recruit and build, you know, employee manuals and policies from, from the very beginning. And then I, I met a, a group of folks and founders and I just loved what they were talking about.


I also saw so many of, of these folks especially during the boom, have all these stock options. And I said, you know, I'm gonna jump into one of these. They invited me to become, you know, I was the fifth or sixth employee and they said we're growing. You know, we have an angel investor and a bunch of money.


We want to grow and, and really become you know, a premier tech company. It was just like it. As Biggie Small says, it was all a dream. And so I went in and, and I got stock options and it was really my first true experience in the startup. And, and so in the same way, I got bit by the HR recruiting bug.


I got bit by the startup bug, especially during a time in the late nineties, early two thousands where everyone was going, what, what company, what tech thing? You know, in New York it was all financial services, right? It was all those sort of large companies. And I've been doing startups. I like to say I got my, my PhD in startup.


I've been doing it for 20 plus years. Primarily doing it for startups early stage startups doing HR and recruiting and helping them to scale and build their processes as they, as they scaled. You know, most notably working with a company called FreshDirect here in the city, you know, started as their 40th employee and scaled it to about 3000 employees before I left.


And, you know, a 20 person HR department, it's really fun to be part of these startups, the startup space and, and these companies that are disrupting the status quo, especially, you know, companies like FreshDirect. And, and then I jumped out of the HR world for a little while and went into the startup space as a president.


I was president of the US operations for a training and development platform that was out of the UK in Singapore. And I wanted to get on the business side of things. I wanted to try to see how, you know, how would I do on that side of the equation? Cause I've been in the HR space for so long and I always look at these leaders and I said, you know what? I could probably do that.


And I did that and I was I was wrong. At least in that aspect, it's really hard to do that side of the business, but I, but I loved it. I loved being part of an HR tech company, but it just wasn't the right timing. And so I jumped into a company that was out of Toronto, Canada, looking to expand in the us.


Worked with them a little bit. And then I got a call from Matt Brenton, who's the CEO of Suzy and, and Matt had just pivoted you know a couple of weeks prior this company and, and really sold me on the opportunity to work with, with a company that I think, from the enterprise software space was gonna be pretty, pretty big.

In New York City, but even, you know, globally. And I jumped out, I jumped out of that that Toronto based firm and I jumped back in, back into HR and I became CPO of a company called Suzy. And I've been here, it's gonna be five years in January. So yeah, that's my, my sort of main Waze path on my career.


And then across all of that, you know, taking turns and doing advisory. I've always, I've always loved startups, so I advise HR tech companies. Along that journey, I, I found there was a huge gap in the amount of women within tech roles, particularly tech and data science roles. I wanted to make a change both short term and long term in that world.


And so I created a comic book series called Ella The Engineer that would, that took basically two approaches. One is a short term approach where if I, I was at a, recruiting event and I wanted to attract a, a female engineer or a female data scientist, I'd give them the comic book, and it created a really compelling story in, in brand equity for the company that I was working with, but also a longer term investment in the community itself. So getting girls really excited about STEM - tech specifically, but stem by entertaining them through a comic book. And that has spiraled into its own thing. And I'm really excited.


Aaron: Man, I…this was a great kind of like Google Map view, and I have so many questions that I wanna dive into. I guess the first place I'll start, which is really intriguing to me, is you talk about being in the startup HR space and on my business end, getting to see and work with a lot of people in your role, it's such a hard role.


The, you know, from five employees to, you know, 500. It is so messy. You go from a, a team of one to maybe at max a team of 10 or 12 as you said, you know, team of 20 at one point. But it's a lot on your plate and it's not that glorious. Like what attracted you to not just get messy once, but continue to get messy in that space over and over again of that early stage HR space?


Anthony: I, I think it was, you know, The, the various different side gigs that I have just tapped into a creative and innovation nature that I have. And just, you know, general curiosity. I've been talking a lot lately. I've read Adam Grant's book, Think Again. And, you know, he talks about thinking like a scientist and I, and, and it kind of made sense to me even though, you know, I wasn't really that great in science in, in high school. But I, you know, I think like a scientist and I think that has been a level of curiosity, invention, thinking things differently.


And when I looked at years ago, an opportunity to, to jump out of the startup space, I just felt like it would be within a company and I'd be a cog. Like I would just be this cog in a machine that all these things were already developed and you were just sort of executing, where in the startup space, you were inventing as you went, you know, and, and in a lot of cases you were, you were changing the wheels on the buses.


It was moving, so to speak. But I think it's that creativity, innovation, desire that I have, and it, and it still resonates today. It hasn't, it's actually become more and more a focus of, of what I do in terms of really thinking through things differently.

I have my own real brief podcast called Burn the Box. And the message there is essentially, you know, don't think outside the box or inside the box. Think, you know, burn it instead. So I think it's that kind of creativity and, and some of the companies that existed, or the larger companies where I could have jumped into an HR role, I, I would just be executing as opposed to inventing.


And I think that's a big component of what I loved about being part of that, an HR role in the startup space. And I think The other piece is HR has been pushing water up a hill, so to speak, as a profession. I think our, our day has come with covid, but I think it's coming even more so in the very near future with a bunch of SEC regulations around human capital reporting.


But it's, it's one of the few roles in an organization other than a CEO that has purview across the, like, I know what's going on in every part of this organization and organizations that I worked with before, cause I'm touching every individual. People are the assets, right?


There's a great Laura McQueen, sorry Laura Queen, wrote a book called People Economics and she has one graph that shows the value of the S&P 500 over the past couple of decades. It's actually shifted from tangible to intangible assets. And that's like, you know, IP code, all that sort of stuff. And of course people and, and so I've always felt like HR was at the center of these things, and it also had a branding issue, right? It was always, you know, personnel. It was called personnel at one point, which was like all this back office, and I've never approached it that way.


Aaron: Even, even HR is a branding issue, right? Yeah. You know?


Anthony: Absolutely. I, I, I think it still does. And I think, you know, there's a component of this, and it's not a popular position, but one is, because there's really no strong macroeconomic indicators. And, and that's what I alluded to before with the SEC stuff. It's not on the top of mind of, you know, limited partners and investors, thus, you know, boards and CEOs, It's going to be, I will tell you in the next couple of years, we're gonna see an evolution of these things, and I'm super excited about that.


But it's also the people, I think the people that were traditionally in the HR role, just they, they were comfortable with the personnel tasks, they were comfortable with the legal and understand because it's, you know, well, legal now is just very complex, but it's often very easy to understand it's black and white. Right. And that's always been a, a branding issue for HR as you know, you're not sitting in the business, you don't know the business. And I think my entire career was really trying to change that for myself, for the profession itself.


Aaron: Yeah. And I think you're right. In the last, you know, 15 years, that dynamic and perspective has changed.


It's gone from HR, being HR, where it's mitigate risk to people, where it's optimize your people and optimize the performance of your people. And that's what the role is. And, you know my, from my purview, it's, it's increased dramatically the percentage of companies that think that way. And there's still a significant percentage that don't And I've also seen kind of what you, what you were saying, like a, a byproduct of the old way of HR has led to, what I've seen even in these thoughtful, intentional startups is the people role or the HR role is often the most understaffed and unbudgeted portion of the business.


How do you navigate and manage that as someone who is trying to, not just mitigate the risk of the business, but really elevate the performance of the business?


Anthony: Yeah. you raised an actually really interesting point and, and it's actually one of the big topics in Laura Queen's book, People Economics, is this concept that, you know, if you, and, this is the advantage I think I have, is that I do have a, and, Laura actually had, a finance background. Also, I've come from accounting background, so I've read balance sheets and income statements. I can read them. I often surprise finance and CFOs with the knowledge. And I think that's one of the biggest challenges I've seen in HR is really, this, some of the stuff we deal in is, is often seen as soft or touchy feely.


You know, making the connection of what we're trying to do to the business side, I think has always been a big challenge. But it's also, from a, an HR perspective, it's been hard for, the profession to really connect. Right? Like, if you ever talk about the ROI of something, it's, it's often, you know causation, not direct correlation.


And it's hard to really, cuz, and, and we also, we fundamentally don't have the right tools and metrics available to us. Which again is changing. I think the dynamic, the macroeconomic changes that are happening are going to impact this. Because if you look at people within financial statements, they're not even on the income statement, right?


They're, they are, I'm sorry, as an expense, but they're not on the balance sheet. They're not an asset, right? So when you think of investing, there's a great example that Lori uses. Like if you're a company that owns a building and you're thinking about repairing your bathrooms at $10,000 cost or providing your employees with $10,000 worth of training from a pure financial perspective, you, you know, that's an investment, a capital investment on the bathroom side.


So technically the $10,000, the way accounting the GAAP sees it, is the, the $10,000 is a capital investment in your company and can be depreciated where that training is an expense and your people are an expense, right? So I think fundamentally at a higher level, if we can reposition the fact that most, if not all company value is derived from people and from these intangible assets, we need to change that.

And I think that is the big factors, having those macro economic changes. But I, I also believe that at a fundamental level, anytime I look at something, and say, hey, we wanna run this program. I do it under the lens of an ROI. So what is this? How is this going to correlate to business?


It's never like, oh, you know, Gallup just reported that engagement scores, high engagement scores are a good thing. It's no. It's like, okay, why should the CEO care about that? If you think about how the world works. It's at the end of the day, the stakeholders, our investors, our employees, our customers, they all have different wants.


Our investors are looking for a return on their investment, right? They wanna make money and thus the CEO wants to make money for them cuz that's the way she is bonused. So it's really getting down to, okay, how does this program impact business results? And if you can’t figure it out, even if it's messy, even if it's not direct correlation, but you can say, you know what? That $10,000 worth of training, our employees will help us in the long term because we lack this basic skillset, will create a market capability that will increase revenue. It's a different conversation where I think traditionally it's been. Yeah, we just, we need to have an engaged employee set because that's good, you know, like, it's, it's a very different conversation to have and, and that's what I've been trying to push and that's why I'm so metrics focused within every organization I've been in.


Because I think you need those things. You need that ability to say, this has return on investment, cuz it's impacting one of our major business goals.


Aaron: Yeah. And that's such an important piece. And it's also return on investment's such a vague concept. Right. Especially on the people side, whereas you said it's sometimes hard, it can be messy.


Do you have an example of a time that you did that where something maybe wasn't clear or clean or, you know, it wasn't like, hey, if we invest in these recruiters, we're gonna spend less money on recruiting overall. And so the cost is gonna be this, or a turnover is gonna be this. Like, do you have an example of something where you had to lobby for an expense with your board or the 'C-suite?


Anthony: Yeah, I mean, listen, I think currently with Matt Britton as a CEO he gets it often. So it's very, very rare, if ever, where I have to lobby about certain things with him. In my past, absolutely. I think almost in every case you know, you had traditional mindsets. I think Matt is a very progressive CEO I think, like you said, the last 10 or 15 years you have a new generation of CEOs that are coming in and looking at it and just knowing inherently, like, yeah, people are important to my business. And it sounds kinda silly that we have to repeat these things, but, yeah, it's having someone like Matt, super progressive in the past.


Absolutely. I think anytime you're, you're increasing the expense on you know, in the financial statements, you, you have to provide some sort of ROI and it's, it's very rarely very, very linear in terms of its impact. Right. And so even, even then, I, I know there was some training years ago. That I pitched for. and it was very specific to our sales organization, not here at Suzy, within another organization. And I said, if we do this training, this negotiation training, I, I believe my thesis, again, going back to that, think like a scientist, my thesis is that this will actually unlock a bunch of revenue for us.


A bunch of revenue is not helpful, so people want to know how much. And I said, well, then I had to talk to the head of sales and I said, okay, where are you struggling in the pipeline? We had to get so specific, but it was such a good question to ask because otherwise I'm like, oh yeah, a bunch of of revenue unlocked.


And, maybe we would've done it, maybe we would've been successful, but it was a great exercise to really dive into the business and understand will this unlock, you know, and where will it unlock and what does that ultimately result in potentially, right? There's always a range of, of impact and we figured out an equation on that.

We said, all right, if you think of the sales funnel, understanding that piece, it was, in the final, like asking for the sale we had a very low close rate, and we said, all right, that's where the friction point is. If we do this training, if we get folks to, to negotiate and know how to negotiate and ask for that sale, we're gonna unlock x x amount of revenue.


And, and we were pretty close. I mean, I would say, you know, 10 to 15% swing either way is, is probably a good stage. But but it's really diving deep. But it required me not to have an assumption, it required me to really dive deep into the organization to see that impact. And I think that, you know, while I don't have a a, I have a mental template on these things, I think it would be helpful to have a physical template to say, okay, this is the program, this is the cost, and this is how much we think this is gonna impact revenue.


Or in, you know, if you think about some of the major business metrics. At, at Suzy, we, you know, it's revenue. It's ARR annual recurring revenue, we have NPS, we have employee retention, and then we have, because we're a two-sided market research space, we, we control our audience. We have our own crowd it's called Crowd Tap, our own community.


There are some measurements on that. Everything that I do has to ladder up into one of those four. So yeah, I have too many examples. You don't have enough time in your podcast. But it's sort of that thinking, like getting super deep into the business and understanding where you think the impact will be.


Aaron: I love that. I mean, thank you for sharing that example, because that is, Like, there's a couple of things that you said in there, right? Like I didn't have assumptions about what was gonna work or wasn't gonna work. The other thing you didn't do, which I see a lot of people teams struggle with, is you didn't say like, I can't, like I can't take that next step.


You actually went into the business units, not just the people team. Like you didn't look at your people metrics. You looked at the business metrics, you didn't say, how is this going to help our engagement scores on our engagement survey, which that might be a metric you're looking for, for something else, but for that specific solution, you said, I need to talk to the sales director and how is this gonna affect our close rate on these type of sales?


And that was the metric you used, which I think is a layer deeper than what we often go as people teams think about how do we actually affect the solution, right? If we're bringing on this training or we're making this investment in this program, is it going to speed up our rollout timeline and by how much is it gonna increase our close rate by how much versus the standards, which are our engagement metrics are turnover metrics or our people are gonna like it.


Anthony: Yeah. I, I think in sales, it's probably one of the areas that are a bit more linear in terms of measuring and, and a lot easier. So, so I used that example. But, you know, there are some places where it's difficult to measure these things but we're becoming so quantitative and qualitatively focused in HR that we, we should be able to at least make some correlations to the efforts that you're making. Or even just general, if you come in and say, engagement is important, you know, are you looking at engagement against your business metrics?


Right? And can you make a correlation? And then do people believe it? Right?


Because another thing is people want to know that the insights you're bringing are validated, right? So making sure that you're, whatever you're bringing, also you have a lens of someone that really understands analytics and and analysis, and that's another thing.


I think HR we really need to upscale in terms of our, not only our storytelling with data data, but also data itself. We really, again, I'm not saying everyone needs to. You know, understand advanced statistics and things that I will, I will tell you, there's nowhere near, it's probably a class I fell asleep in, in high school, but I know the importance of it and surrounding myself or at least building a, a framework to say alright, do we have the analytics?


What tools are we using? and at least planning for that so that way someday in the near future we're able to do these things a lot better. And then you correlate that, right? So you say, okay, our engagement score dipped a little bit. What, what happened in revenue? What happened to our NPS score is our retention, is attrition going up? All these sort of things. And then you can really, and the key to me is, I think, from an HR perspective, I've said this and I know I wrote a book specifically focused, it was focused on HR, but really, you know, leadership and, and advice for companies.


I very rarely read HR books. I'm always reading like product. I wanna understand what it's like to be our chief product officer. I wanna know, and I did sales before in that startup I talked about at the very beginning. It's hard. And so I, I know I can empathize how our salespeople are feeling, right?


What is their energy? So it's really, instead of knowing more about HR, it's knowing more about business. And I'm very focused on like macroeconomic issues and things of that nature. And I think that's been incredibly helpful for me to sit, you know, be able to take that step back and understand, the economics of these things. So so yeah.


Aaron: I love that, and I love that the lens that you're taking and bringing and kind of even the, the arc of this conversation has been, we're talking about where HR or people have come from and what the future is looking like in your book, you know, The New Employee Contract, you talk about how to find, keep, and elevate Gen Z talent.


And so I'm just kind of like going from where we, where we've come to where we are going. I'm wondering, What are you seeing as the impact of this new generation having or going to have on the workplace?


Anthony: My reaction is similar to, Mark Cuban was on, I believe it was either the Pivot Podcast with Kara Swisher and, and Scott Galloway, or maybe they're one of their individual podcasts, but Mark Cuban was quoted as saying, Gen Z is going to be the greatest generation we've seen, and and it's interesting.


A bunch of backlash. Of course, every generation likes to fly that flag, right? I'm a Gen Xer. I believe Gen X is the greatest generation.


Doing research for the book and seeing what's going to be happening. I mean, they're just, a year or two in the workforce. In, in the next couple of years, there'll be 30 to 40% of the workforce.


I am, from an HR perspective, I am so excited about this generation coming in, and the reason why is they're going to be asking for things, and they also have had the leverage and continue to have the leverage. I even granted some of the macroeconomic challenges that we're seeing and we're going to see in the next six months, everyone's predicting certain things or that, you know, and the economy continues to throw people into, into scratching their heads.


But they've had leverage to be able to say, you know what, it's non-negotiable for us. Where I think some of us, and especially in Gen X, I mean, I grew up seeing, Michael J. Fox go from the mail room to, head of companies like that was the movies, every movie was Michael J. Fox going from some sort of, you know starting position and by the end of the movie he was running the company or something. And so our generation, or at least, for me it was like, all right, how do I move up in an organization.


I think with Gen Z, it's more about the experiences that they've had. Right? And what I talk about in the book that when I talk about The New Employee Contract specifically, I talk about what's happening in the macro economic environment.

Where are companies, lost the contract, and, and when I talk about contract, I don't mean literally like the the piece of paper you get for, for being employed by a company, but metaphorically speaking, like this agreement between employees and employers that existed years ago where there was a promise you you're gonna get paid, but also we're gonna take care of you.


A lot of the companies were ingrained in the communities, things of that nature. And then, you know, seventies, eighties and nineties, we became so focused on short-term gains that we've kind of lost the script and we continue to see that you have, you know, I don't know what's happening at Twitter and the deal whatever happens there.


There's much smarter people dealing with all that sort of stuff. But for Elon to come out and say, I'm gonna reduce 75% of the heads before even owning the company, it's just that, that we've lost this, we've lost this contract. So for me, the contract I think is gonna be completely rewritten by this generation.


And because. They really haven't seen a talent market that that's been focused on the employer advantages versus the the candidate advantages. They're gonna be non-negotiable on things. They're gonna wanna know what your company does around climate change and, and racial inequity. And and flexibility is gonna be important to this generation.


You know, they have very short attention spans and so and we're already seeing it. And, and I like to say I've been doing a couple of different podcasts on the book specifically. And what happens is whenever there's a new idea that's introduced into the world, in the business world, wherever, what happens is it's like a virus in a body.


The antibodies start attacking it. And so we're already seeing some of that where, you know, there are articles about Gen Z being spoiled and we saw the same thing about millennials too. So I wanted to create this book to basically prepare companies, prepare leaders, prepare CEOs for this generation, cuz I think fundamentally, they're going to change the game.


The macroeconomic environment that I talked about before around the human capital metrics that are gonna be required are gonna change both of these forces coming in. It's gonna be a really exciting time for HR leaders, in my opinion.


Aaron:Yeah, it's it's a future that I'm certainly hoping for, and maybe it was 10 years ago where you could say you could succeed as a company by being, an asshole to your employees or not treating your employees well and not putting them first and more and more over the last, decade that's changing. Covid has definitely changed that too, to say more companies than not, you actually need to think about how you treat your people in order to be successful.


Do you think there's ever gonna be that flip where it's gonna be pretty damn hard to be successful if you're not a people first company that's kinda like going back to that employee contract?


Anthony: Absolutely. there's a couple of different elements at play here. One is the future generations aren't going to tolerate.


Yes, there's gonna be a corrective action where the shift of leverage will, will move away from the candidate and the employees back to the companies a degree or two. Right. But I think we're not gonna see anything that we've seen. In the past, and they're gonna require companies, like, if I'm gonna come and give you my hands, my heart and my brain there's a reciprocation that I'm expecting and, and here's what I'm looking for.


So I think ultimately the, the companies that attract and keep and, and train the best talent are gonna be the ones that are absolutely thinking of how do we engage this generation and how do we change the way we're thinking about this generation? There will always be outliers.


There are always gonna be companies like I, I actually said in a podcast recently about this return to work. Listen, Goldman Sachs is, you know, they talked about a lot of financial services coming and requesting that people come back to work. They're, it's the Harvard of of financial services. They have brand equity.


So, you know, if you want to work there and have Goldman Sachs on your resume, you're gonna have to be there five days a week. You may not agree with it, but I think over time you're gonna see people making decisions not even to go there. Right? But this still, they have such huge brand equity in terms of careers that they're gonna be the exception, right?


They're still gonna be successful, they're still gonna be able to attract talent. I think it's where other folks that aren't in that premier status, that are, you know, sort of think of Goldman Sachs as a luxury brand. Like there are sort of middle tier brands in terms of employers and they're gonna have to get this right or they're not gonna be able to attract and, and retain the best talent.


And then I, I also believe in the next couple of years given, there's this SEC requirement, there's a thing called ISO 34 14, which is a bunch of different human capital metrics. Publicly traded or companies that are going to IPO need to start, or right now it's loosely defined, but I think at some point it's gonna be a requirement to report on.


You know, I think it's almost 50 metrics. So what's gonna happen there is when you make that a requirement, and there's some actually international limited partners that are starting to ask when they're investors, or they're putting their money into private equity companies or venture capital funds are, are asking these folks, what, what's your criteria for investing? Are you looking at social good?


Are you tracking whether or not they have strong people, strategies and operations? So we're already seeing that internationally, US of course, we're always, 10 or decades slower than everyone else in these things, but, I think when you start seeing that reporting, you can actually now go, okay, all these companies with these really good HR metrics are doing really well.


Now there's gonna be a fund, call it the Human Capital Fund, where you can actually track and say, okay, are these, and there's, there's a guess a thesis here that says, if you're doing all these things right, you're gonna be outperforming the S&P 500, right? And, and when you start seeing a move where people's wallets are impacted both negatively and positively, then it becomes a thing, and then it becomes, okay, venture capitalists and words are gonna wanna report on these things.


CEOs will be measured on these things, and then we're gonna make a ton of investment in these things. So I think these two forces, this generation coming in, and these new macroeconomic requirements that we're gonna start seeing around human capital, and I say this to every HR professional, hang on. It's coming and it's gonna be a wonderful time where we're at the seat, we're at the table.


This is like, real seat at the table stuff. But it's also gonna require, you know, a stronger HR professional. It's gonna require someone that can be strategic and report on these things and make sure that these investments are the right investment.


So it's, you know, in one breath we're gonna get focus and investment. The other breath, we're gonna be held accountable, which is fine. We've always wanted that, so I'm excited about the future.


Aaron:Yeah. You've gotten me like I'm sitting over here smiling and excited and it's just one of the things we talk about when we're looking for the right partners, right, is it's not just, is there a great chief people officer or great people team, but do they have a seat at the table?


Is it something that their business is measuring? Because if the business isn't measuring it, then people inherently, not that they don't care about it, but they also need to hit their business metrics. They need to hit the things that make their business successful. And if you can't tie in how the people function drives that, supports that, then it's, it's gonna be a secondary thing.


So I'm over here smiling and putting mute and giggling cuz I'm excited about this future that you're painting and I, I've definitely seen elements of it. And hearing what you're talking about and the way you're thinking about it, it makes a whole ton of sense. And man, you know, let's, let's get back out, let's get back on this podcast in five, 10 years and and, you know, enjoy that. The fruits of those changes.


Anthony: Absolutely. And, and if you think about it, I would imagine there are board meetings that are happening on a daily basis and can you imagine a CEO going into a board meeting and not presenting about revenue? But there, I, but I will tell you, I would guarantee 100, maybe for just error, maybe it's 99.99999, but I would even argue a hundred percent of board meetings have some sort of slide that has revenue on it. I would say the guess of how many people are reporting HR metrics is less than 50%, if not less than you know, if not even much more, less than that.


Aaron:Yep.


Anthony: So until we're in there and it's, and it's a requirement and people can see that they're gonna make money off of these things, it will still be a nice to have, unfortunately, but I am, I am truly excited about the future.


Aaron: Yeah. I think about it as like the early adopter curve and I used to tell people and clients when we started Raise The Bar six years ago, like, hey, we're not actually looking for the general population of businesses, we're looking for those early adopters, those people who like waited in line for the iPhone, you know, when the first iPhone came out, because they're the ones who are future forward and forward thinking.


And I think we're starting to move into the, you know, the other phases of the adoption curve. And hey, I'm certainly hopeful that we're gonna be moving further in that faster, which is really exciting.


Anthony: Great.


Aaron:: This is awesome, Anthony. This is just a really fun dynamic conversation and a really great view on how to think about the people function, how to activate the people function, your business, and then how to plan for the future of your people function.


So thank you so much for sharing your insights of you know, leading the work, doing the work and being a thought leader. So I'm just really grateful for your time and your energy and, and you being here. Thank you.


Anthony: Ah, no, thank you too.

But appreciate you and thank you for having me on this. it's truly exciting to be able to, I, and I don't have all the answers and I think, you know, with age comes humility, I believe. I don't have all the answers and I don't know if I'm even right here, but I, I do feel - and I think it's on my LinkedIn profile - I'm a rational optimist. I, I do feel like in a couple years we can definitely come back here and go, all right, yeah, actually some of these things actually came true. And we're starting to see that fundamental change.


Aaron: Thank you. Thanks for coming on.


Open, honest, and direct is produced by Raise The Bar, where we help organizations level up their leadership by empowering their managers with the tools, skills, and training to be better leaders of people you can get in touch with us at raisebar.co.


Thank you for listening and go put your learning into practice.






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