RiseSmart CEO Sanjay Sathe was recently interviewed by Peter Clayton at TotalPicture Radio. Here are some excerpts from the conversation:

Peter: Welcome to our leadership channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio. This is Peter Clayton reporting and joining us today is Sanjay Sathe.

Sanjay, welcome back to TotalPicture Radio. The last time we spoke was in 2008, and there have been a lot of changes to both the employment market and to RiseSmart since then. Can you bring us up-to-date?

Sanjay: Sure, Peter. Thanks for having me back. I really appreciate it. It’s been really busy time for RiseSmart, business is brisk, a lot has happened since we last spoke.

For one, we’ve grown substantially. We have many more Fortune 500 companies who really have seen the value in our next-gen outplacement solution and have moved to us from the traditional players. Since 2008, there has been a significant growth in the virtual workforce, so that has strengthened the virtual outplacement model even more. So that’s one thing.

The other thing is that companies realize more than ever the value of 24/7 access. We give them an assigned coach and easy-to-use tools, all targeted at helping people get to the next job fast, and we are proud of the fact that people that use our service are finding jobs twice as fast as the national average.

Peter: According to your website, your customers include Fortune 500 leaders in information and technology, consumer products, data centers, government contractors, financial services, engineering, news services, good and drug and health care. So tell us about some of the trends you’re seeing in these industry verticals.

Sanjay: That’s a good question. On the outplacement side, we are seeing trends obviously resulting from a lot of M&A activities that you see happening these days, also companies wanting to ensure that they have lean operations as they’re moving into the recovery phase. We are also seeing companies offering outplacement to broader employee populations in order to keep positive employer brand, and that’s increasingly important because as you know companies spend billions of dollars in building a brand and what happens to folks as they transition out of the company can have a big effect on a brand's reputation.

On the hiring side, we are starting to see companies competing more and more for candidates. Really, we haven’t seen this sort of activity since 2007 ... In terms of industries, if you ask me, the industries which we work with and we’re seeing a fair amount of traction of course are healthcare, clean tech, green tech, IT broadly, finance and professional services.

Peter: The traditional way of outplacement, I think what most people think about outplacement is you get an outplacement service where you can go and they’ve got a fax machine you can use, they’ve got a little office you can sit at and you may get someone to give you some counseling. Your model is completely different from that. Is that correct?

Sanjay: That’s right, absolutely. When we got into the business, the reason we got in it is because the traditional model was broken. What I mean by that is that the single most important thing to a person in transition really is to get to the next job fast. If you look at it, the traditional model is more about teaching you howto become a jobseeker, whereas we are about actually getting you a job. We use technology, social media and a virtual model to help the individual get to the next job, and today that’s why we’re running at 50 percent faster than the BLS labor stats in terms of getting people into jobs. So that’s what we’ve done to disrupt this marketplace.

Peter: I think for people who really are not so tech-savvy, it would really be helpful if you could kind of just paint a picture for us of how Transition Concierge works from a technology standpoint.

Sanjay: Transition Concierge is a full-service outplacement solution focused on delivering results both for employers and employees. It’s not so much about its leveraging technology or using technology as an enabler; at the end of the day, it’s about helping these people get to the next job. So Transition Concierge offers a combination of technology and personal support to help these former employees find jobs.

We offer these employees a full spectrum of job search services, including an online portal where they receive weekly batches of handpicked job leads from across the net which are customized based on their background and preferences. So it’s bringing the needles in the haystack to you.

We also have built recommendation engines. So based on their profile and their zip code, we geotarget them and send them relevant articles, relevant blogs and relevant events. We give them access to vast array of webinars and other sort of networking and job searching information.

Then to supplement the technology, we have built a virtual network of Transition Specialists who work one-on-one with these individuals to help them, motivate them, inspire them and guide them through the job search process. To top it off, we have built another virtual network of certified resume writers who create new resumes for each jobseeker. It’s not retrofitted stuff. It is new resumes for the job seeker to effectively market themselves.

For the employer, we provide full transparency for the service in terms of giving them custom reports and analytics, driving accountability into their outplacement program. It gives the employer the ability to effectively manage and track their outplacement investment, which is becoming increasingly important.

Peter: In the conferences I’ve been attending this year and in speaking with a lot of HR managers, they seem to be a little bit overwhelmed right now because they have very, very full plates. Is there any advice that you could share with them on how to kind of lessen the load and perhaps be a more efficient at what they’re trying to do?

Sanjay:HR managers need to look at a variety of tools and technology, but I probably like to give them advice at a little higher plain, and my advice to HR managers would be to be aware of and nurture their employer brand. I think it’s very important.

You know, over the course of the next decade finding and retaining the right talent and rehiring displaced talent is going to be even more challenging than it is today, with all the baby boomers going out of the system. So the way you treat your employees, from the time they join the company to the time they leave the company, is very important. I think increasingly companies are going to start focusing on employer branding, and then of course leveraging all the tools and technologies to make achieving their goals easier.

Peter: That’s an excellent point because the other thing I’ve heard in a lot of these conferences is everyone is talking about transparency and the fact that with all the social networks, when you’re not treating your employees right, it’s going to get out there, right?

Sanjay: I agree.

Peter: Just a couple of more questions for you. For those out there who are currently looking for jobs who perhaps don’t have the advantage of the RiseSmart platform, what kind of advice could you share with them?

Sanjay:The first thing I would emphasize is network, network, network, and that should be both online and in person.

Many jobs are found, really, through the people you know. The more and more you connect with people, the more likely you are to find a person who can open the door for you to be considered for a particular position. If you look at us, we heavily promote and teach networking through our Transition Concierge service. The jobseekers receive coaching in networking by their Transition Specialists. And we enable them to leverage over 300 social networks to share a particular job or find connections in a particular company.

The other thing that is very important is the resume. Jobseekers really must take time or spend money on a well-written resume that can position them well and market their experience and achievements to the fullest. In our case, we provide new resumes -- not a touching up of existing resumes or just giving them a template -- for everyone in our program.

Peter:Sanjay, thank you so much for taking time to speak with us here again on TotalPicture Radio. It’s always great to have an opportunity to hear what you guys are up to.

Sanjay: Thanks a lot for the time, and I look forward to catching up with you later this year to give you more details.

Peter: Absolutely.

21 June 2011

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