Are You Winning the War on Talent?

Laura Turner

Director, Staffing & RPO Solutions @ Jobcase

Are You Winning the War on Talent?

We sat down with Laura Turner, Director of Staffing & RPO at Jobcase to discuss how COVID-19 is impacting the future of the talent industry.


Podcast Transcript:

Episode 1 – Laura Turner | Director, Staffing & RPO Solutions @Jobcase


Speaker 1 This broadcast is brought to you by integrity, Staffing Solutions and Integrity. We’re passionate about connecting great talent with great companies across North America. For more information on how our custom, flexible workforce solutions can help solve your biggest challenges, visit us online at Integrity


Megan Couch And now we’re thinking in terms of let’s go to one. Welcome to air Lift off with Megan Couch. I’m your host, and with Integrity Staffing Solutions. Our first guest is Laura Turner from Job Case. So, Laura, thank you for joining us today. It is the inaugural podcast.


Laura Turner Thanks, Megan. I’m excited to be here.


Megan Couch Are you a little scared? Is it a little nerve wracking that you’re my first guest? Because I wonder how I’ll be as a host.


Laura Turner So, I wasn’t really that scared until you just said it like that, but, I feel good about it. I’m excited to, to talk to you, and, I mean, there’s a lot of cool things going on right now. We’re certainly in an interesting time. So, I’ve been looking forward to the conversation all week, but.


Megan Couch Now I have I so full transparency. I love talking to Laura because she always has some great tidbits and advice. I am very aware of what job case is and does. But do you want to just get a little bit of background on what you guys do?


Laura Turner Yeah, absolutely. So Job Case is a social media platform dedicated to, empowering and advocating for the world’s workers. So what that means is we develop technology to help people lead better, more meaningful work lives by providing access to jobs, tools to take action, and a community for support. Job Casey’s roots actually began during the 2009 recession, when our founders repurposed the skills of a machine learning, money management firm to help people find education and jobs. So over the next couple of years, our company got an in-depth view into the struggles that workers face in this country. And then armed with that insight, we launched Job Case in 2015. We often collaborate with employers, nonprofits, government agencies to both improve and diversify access to opportunity and participation in the workforce. And as a company focused on the development of people for Technology job cases, an industry affiliate of MIT, Csail, or Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab.


Megan Couch Oh my gosh, literally. So you ended with artificial intelligence lab, and then you even had MIT in there, which makes me feel like little less of an adult because I’m like, that’s a lot that goes into that. And the parts that I love, especially the kind of engagement and trying to, I’d say, come from the roots of and I heard 2009, you know, which was a different climate for, I would say, the United States. You know, right now we’re definitely going through a tumultuous time. There is predicted to be an unprecedented talent crisis that’s coming in the coming years. So I would say, and I know you normally work with companies, but how do you think that they can best position themselves kind of in their brand to not just survive, but be on top? And that’s something that I think I struggle with as well, where it’s okay. Like how do you promote when you’re potentially in a situation where you’re having to look at your own employee base, right, and think, you know, make some hard decisions, maybe for the short term. Yeah. Undecided ness. But I know that you guys do a really good job just of overall engagement. So with the kind of, again, tumultuous times, what do you kind of see yourselves moving into?


Laura Turner Yeah. So you bring up a few good points and we yeah, we definitely are in tumultuous times and it’s difficult. And, you know, every staffing company that I speak to, you know, unfortunately is having a lot of the same conversations. So I think that there’s a little bit of, comfort in knowing like, hey, I’m not alone, right, with some of the difficult challenges, but kind of be on a bigger, bigger picture. I mean, it’s happening to everyone. But so you mentioned, you know, talent crisis and how tech companies positioned themselves. Right? Because inevitably we will get through this, right? It’d be it’d be really nice if that was like, today, you know, but it might be a little bit further out than that. So a large part of being prepared for the future of work is anticipating needs. You know, at Job Case, we spend a lot of time listening to the people in our community and developing ideas based upon their insight. Right. So, you know, we want to be a voice for, for workers in cases where they feel an underserved and undervalued. You know, and one of the things that we talk about within job case is kind of our mission. And one of our taglines that, you know, we believe by acting together, we’re stronger together. This is why we encourage employers to get involved and why we like to collaborate with nonprofits, government organizations. If you’re listening to the needs and developing solutions for them, you’ll come out on top. And community engagement makes that possible. So, you know, we talk about, you know, kind of where our products evolved. And, and we’ve done a lot of, or a good amount of evolution over the last handful of months by, you know, listening to what some of the concerns were for our job case members in the platform. And then being able to act on those pivot, etc..


Megan Couch So we literally are and it sounds like you guys are too, you know, writing chapters. Well, we haven’t named the book yet. But what it sounds like and I know from our experience at least with integrity, is experience that there’s demographic areas that may have a certain level of comfortability with tech or may not. And there’s different community programs that will introduce them to it. You know, I’ll give you a great example. My own mother, you know, would not put a credit card online before this. And because of current state and I totally, of course, was like, okay, yes, I will order this for you. And she’s crazy, intelligent woman, you know, but just it’s a thing. Yeah. I didn’t want to do it. But then as this continued and people didn’t want to leave the house with the Covid 19, you know, she kind of at least moved herself into that zone where she understood, like, hey, okay, like this. This is actually very easy. You know, protected and all those pieces, you know, and so that I see different buying patterns occurring to where it’s people that normally wouldn’t have ordered online by necessity, are doing that now, even if it’s kind of a quarantine situation. But I think about that when we in our own companies recruiting, you know, where, you know, she would call me and say, can you put this together for me or can you fill this out? And I think of her walking into maybe looking for a job or looking, you know, filling out an online application. So in those areas, have you seen people get kind of more comfortable with the technology that you’re offering?


Laura Turner So, yes or no? And, you know, you gave the commentary around you’re your mom. And, I can completely relate because my mom does the same thing. She needs to buy something online, and she goes to get a debit card, like one of those prepaid visa debit cards. Yeah, that number in online. I’m like, what are you doing?


Megan Couch I know, Laura, I feel maybe it’s appropriate at this time that we should say hashtag. I love my mom and, you.


Laura Turner Know, hashtag my mom. Absolutely. But, you know, to go back to your question around job seeker behaviors. Yeah, we’re seeing a lot of that. So and, you know, job case, you know, for clarification, we really support kind of the 70% of the workforce, right? So those nonprofessional folks where, you know, they report to a warehouse or a factory or a call center every day, right? So this virtual, you know, remote work stuff has never been an option for them. So they’ve certainly been exposed to different things. And maybe you or I have, have, you know, so job seekers are definitely adapting in a, in a variety of ways. Some are completely new to zoom and other video conference solutions. You know what they found interviewing challenging before they might find an online version very confusing or scary. And you know, when we think about, you know, some of the potential implications, it has the potential to create a big divide based upon accessibility of technology, but also by demographics. So older people may not be maybe very uncomfortable. And people in more rural or lower income areas may not have as good of access to high speed internet for some of these solutions.


Megan Couch Exactly. Yeah. So actually.


Laura Turner It’ll be very important going forward to provide the training and resources necessary to help people feel comfortable and capable.


Megan Couch Well, I liken it to and I mean, this is so relevant to the current moment, as the stimulus packages are still being discussed. While we don’t have a good we have we have multiple paths that they could go to. Right. But a lot of the funding to proposed are for schools, and some for workplaces. But, and I’ll use an example from my own life, you know, my son who is going into high school. You know, hopefully for next year, if nothing bad happens within the next month, you know, knock on wood and, you know, the technology that they’re going to be required to use, you know, is something that you may have to purchase. If you can’t purchase it, then the school will assist. But we’ve seen even with the last 3 to 4 months of school last year, that the, the adaptive technology, isn’t always possible. And so then there’s the contingency plans, and I think about how we might have recruiting offices where it’s, like you said, like the we have a lot of clients that are at the light industrial space. So when we figured out virtual hiring and how to do those pieces, it may not be something that is picked up by the same folks, right? It may be something that we’re like, no thanks. Like, and I hate to say, but I think I’m in a demographic as well where I’m like, I think I want to see somebody.


Laura Turner Yeah, that makes sense.


Megan Couch That it’s kind of more concrete to me. And I think that there’s still, I think, a mental model that a lot of people. Will have. And I find it super interesting, too, that I see, you know, and we do a lot of reviews with, of course, and deep dives into our own information. And it’s, it’s been interesting to watch across the years where and I shouldn’t be dating myself, but the how traditional media has started to exert and everything is online and PPC and, you know, such a high presence and it is kind of dragging the demographics along with them. Does that make sense? Like it’s like regardless of where you’re going to see this, you’re going to end up seeing as. So come with us now.


Laura Turner Right. Yeah. No I agree absolutely. And you bring up a a few good points. You know, you know obviously that the pandemic has resulted in record unemployment levels. But the toughest part I think, is uncertainty. And that’s a lot of what we’ve been hearing and seeing in the job case community over the last handful of months. You know, this is a huge challenge for how individuals and companies make choices. You know, whether it’s the fear of getting sick, a general shutdown in certain industries or the comfort of government assistance that may have influenced job seeker motivations. So for various reasons, it’s affected applicant engagement, but that’s gradually changing. Engagement will become more and more necessary in the coming weeks, especially as the pandemic assistant starts to drop off. There are folks in underserved communities where access to technology and opportunity is still a challenge, but the workforce becomes more virtual and we hope to improve participation in these areas as well. We’re just not quite there yet. Right? So we’re seeing strides being made. But to your point, you know, you’ve got to have the technology, right. You’ve got to have the accessibility. And, you know, there’s a lot of uncertainty around that and certainly other factors as well.


Megan Couch Yeah, I think that as we kind of move forward and, you know, it’s the end of July, it’s literally the last day before July. Before all excuse me. And people aren’t sure when necessarily their children are going back to school. So that’s one dynamic, you know, there’s they’re unsure as to what those cascading ramifications could be. And then we’re looking to kind of, you know, Q4 to say, like, what are these, you know, what is hiring even look like? Right. You know, and I think about where we were in March, where I think as a country, we were thinking, hey, we’re going to be back to work like, this is we’re going to shut down. We’re going to do this for a couple of months. And then I’m paraphrasing, of course, but then, yeah, we find, you know, like this, this will not be an extended problem. And then there’s started to trickle in the whole like resurgence conversations. And you know, and we started kind of, you know, eye opening up, which I could give my opinion on for probably the rest of this entire time. But I won’t, you know. But, so now we are in, I think, almost the greatest time of uncertainty where it’s I think folks want to be reached. And I think that they are interested in finding positions, especially the number of people that are unemployed and with the current state of stimulus. But it’s almost like, do they actually complete or click through because there’s so many uncertainties right now. You know, we’re normal state. It would very much be okay. Well, I definitely know that I need this job. Here’s the positioning of these jobs like these are this is where it’s available. Here’s where I heard about it. And there’s a direct path, but now it’s it’s not even worrying about, I would say transportation. It’s worrying about basic daily life.


Laura Turner Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.


Megan Couch You know, so I, I’m going far down the rabbit hole. I feel like maybe we should have, like, drank some wine before this because I did do this for you late on a Friday and.


Laura Turner Well, and I appreciate the late on a Friday. Actually. Have a glass of wine here.


Megan Couch That’s perfect, because I actually just want to be the only one. This would be where I would say, like, let’s go to a word from our sponsors, but we don’t have any yet because it’s our first podcast know. So I don’t think that I could actually like move it there yet, but we could just take maybe a minute of silence and just act like we’re not doing what we’re doing. So. I’ll go get a hat. We’ll transport to a different place. This will be amazing.


Laura Turner I love it. This is perfect.


Speaker 4 Thanks for tuning into air. Liftoff. We’ll give you about 15 seconds to top off your coffee or your wine. Don’t worry. We don’t need to know what time it is.


Megan Couch So I’m picking us back up again.


Laura Turner We’re going to get back on it. I’m ready.


Megan Couch You ready? Yes. It’s very uncertain. People aren’t sure. Thank you very much.


Laura Turner I have one, it’s.


Megan Couch It’s it sounds. So, I will pivot then and say.


Laura Turner What are you doing next?


Megan Couch I know, I know, I’m not going to. I’m going to try not to use the word adaptability even more. I’m going to try and cut that out of my vernacular. I think at this point. All right. Right. You know, I’m trying to think so from an audience member. If I was listening, I think I would want to know. Okay. So you’ve explained that John Case is, you know, connecting folks and engaging with community and community. And I think that’s where our organizations are very similar, because we talk a lot about community programs and really being able to get into areas and whether it is rural areas or whether it’s, you know, the areas that are just, I would say underdeveloped at the moment, or also areas where there might have been a large employer that exited. So it’s kind of trying to come back into the fold here, you know. So when we say empower communities, because I’ve heard different folks from different walks talk about this, what do you consider empowering a community and kind of how to do that current state. Yeah.


Laura Turner So I’ll talk a little bit, I’ll take that in two different ways. Right. So, the first piece, you know, when I talk about communities, meaning actual communities, right. You know, job case often collaborates with nonprofits and government organizations who want to provide equal access to opportunity and to improve and diversify workforce participation. So we play, we each play different roles and complement each other really well. Our partner organizations, like the Chicago Urban League or the Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation, they witness the needs on, on the ground and develop great programs to address them. As a social media company, Job Case provides technology to enhance their outreach and programs in order to help create better outcomes for the communities they serve. So together, we’re able to advance our shared missions by fostering communities online and offline. And then the second piece of that, you know, when we talk about community, there’s a large job case community. So again, you know, we serve kind of the underserved portion of the labor market. So a lot of those hourly workers, you know, folks who don’t have a college degree, right, maybe don’t have a specific career trajectory and aren’t really sure what they’re doing next. Right, because there’s not always kind of that next logical step in their career. Right? So those are folks that we work really, really well with, and that’s who we’re focused around. So when we talk about that type of community, so our online community, you know, versus Chicago or West Virginia that I used in examples. But our online community, that’s where we build, you know, tools and resources for those folks. Right? We provide a place for them to be able to network with each other to, you know, provide support, to ask for support. And then, you know, we engage with employers to be able to provide opportunities to our job case community as well.


Megan Couch So areas of support, I would think those, you know, and from my perspective and I think integrity, perspective, you know, we have multiple programs that we use to engage with our workforce. And then I think also with communities, and but there’s some very basic, I think, items that we find that are consistent. And I think we might be kind of along the same lines, whereas and it sounds like what you’re doing too, with connecting people, is almost helping them to resource each other a little bit. And whether that’s from a, you find out that there’s let’s I’ll take a rural area. We’ve had multiple where there might be a transportation challenge or there might be positions at a certain employer that, you know, does have transportation that goes there. But my understanding is that you guys can kind of connect those resources together, at least from the employee side. Would that be right?


Laura Turner Yeah, absolutely. That’s a really big portion of what happens within the job case community. And you know, that’s really our differentiator, right? So the community that we’ve built and we’ve provided the framework for, but all the job case members are the ones that are in there doing the actual work. Right. So they’re creating that in terms of just conversations, you know, responses. And it’s not an unusual to have somebody out there saying, hey, I have an interview with ABC company next week. But, you know, gosh, you know, they want to talk about X, right? Does anybody have experience interviewing with that company? And to your point, you know, hey, you know, transportation challenges etc. So, you know, we like to think of our community as representing a source of knowledge in. Encouragement that many workers across the country have never had access to before. And, you know, we take note from there. We take note of the trends and need surfacing in the job case community, and are able to adapt based on the need that the communities that we support.


Megan Couch I love it, I love it, it is providing resources that people can resource themselves.


Laura Turner Absolutely.


Megan Couch I think that’s fantastic. So you have provided a wealth of information. And I think that we’ve covered the serious bits. Right. Like, I feel like we’re in business and doing serious bit stuff, but, I like to add a lightning round. And when I say I like to, you’re the first. So you are the first lady, you know? So I am going to literally yell questions at you and see what your answers are. And if you are uncomfortable answering one, just go ahead and answer it anyway. Okay? This this is.


Laura Turner Perfect. This is.


Megan Couch Exactly what you want to.


Laura Turner Have to lose. Let’s go.


Megan Couch No. Okay. First question. What would your parents describe as what you do for a living?


Laura Turner Oh, goodness. So my mom. So I was in staffing, right? Traditional staffing for 17 years that she knew how to describe really well. And, now, I would say that she would probably say that I do something in technology, or she would actually probably say I do something in computers.


Megan Couch To.


Laura Turner Help companies with recruiting.


Megan Couch And I will answer this along the same line, because I think that, my mother will say that I somehow run my own call center. I think just by the amount of time that she’s usually seen me on the phone. Yeah. Where it was like, oh, and but very early on, 20 years ago, I think it was, it was, you know, staffing. But I think they legitimately had no idea. Yeah. I wasn’t sure exactly if I could describe it myself where I was like, we are starting people at jobs, you know, which, you know, I don’t think has changed, which I think is very appropriate still. But yeah, I think if you asked her today, she would probably say, oh, well, you talk to people.


Laura Turner Yeah. Yeah. My mom thinks I do stuff in computers, so it’s good.


Megan Couch Okay. Second, if you had to write a biography about yourself, like, legit, I would say write a book, but maybe an e-book now. Okay. What would the title be?


Laura Turner Oh. So if I had to write a biography about myself, I would want to write like a collection of short stories. And I’d want to make like, just different funny outtakes from my life. Right? And compile them into, like, a memoir. But the title, goodness. Probably something along the lines of being authentic. That’s something that’s always been very important to me and a driving factor in my life. So something maybe around like authenticity.


Megan Couch I love this authenticity, sincerity I love that’s the chapter. Like the short story ideas. Because I think that if you and I could record a four-hour podcast, we would probably have pretty awesome stories.


Laura Turner Well, and so Augusten Burroughs is one of my favorites. You love him. Yeah. So I really like his writing style. Right. So he’s funny like he tells things like kind of weird and with a dark, you know, writing style. So that’s how I would envision writing my biography. But yeah he’s definitely my favorite author. And David.


Megan Couch Sedaris.


Laura Turner Yes. He’s another good one.


Megan Couch Yes. He’s a good one that I just I his irony. I just can’t stop laughing. Yeah. I wouldn’t be able to answer this question. I think if the situation was reversed because my attention span is would lend itself to short stories. You know, where I’m like, you know, I don’t think it would be the most appropriate chapter titles.


Laura Turner No, but they’d be funny, I bet.


Megan Couch I think they would be, you know, there would be a lot I’d have to click the box on a podcast that said, you can cast. Yeah, you can do that. So maybe next time, maybe the next iteration of this.


Laura Turner But yeah, your next podcast series or episode.


Megan Couch My sister series. I’m already there. It’s already starting to happen. So Duran Duran or Stevie Wonder?


Laura Turner Oh. All right. So I’m a big fan of both. I’ve seen Duran Duran in concert, and, I’m pretty sure Simon was singing directly to me.


Megan Couch Yes. I’ve always pretty strong with his singing, do you know? Oh.


Laura Turner Gosh. No, I was like. I was just like in heaven. I was like, I’m pretty sure if I contact. But it was great. It was. It was really wonderful. It’s like her name.


Megan Couch Is the radio. And you were like, yep.


Laura Turner That’s Laura Rio. That’s pretty close. So that one was dedicated to me. Yeah. No. So, but I have been on a Motown cake lately. I love to cook and, I’m cooking. I drink, surprisingly, some wine, and I love to listen to Motown. So right now, even outside of my, experience with Simon, I’m gonna have to go with Stevie Wonder.


Megan Couch Well played. Well done. I see what you did there. Yes. Kudos to all I see it. Yeah. See me. All right. Last one. Taco truck or fine dining?


Laura Turner Oh, goodness. These questions keep getting harder.


Megan Couch Last one. I know, it was like I wanted them to be slightly thought provoking, but then not too much.


Laura Turner Yeah. So I love both, but I will have to say, you know, after being inside for so long and having so much takeout from restaurants, I would really welcome a fancy fine dining experience right about now. But I love both.


Megan Couch You’re not kidding. I know.


Laura Turner I’m ready.


Megan Couch If they could drive a taco truck through my dining room and just place it there with some good food. Like, I would even be happy with that. Maybe if they could just park it in the garage, I’d be totally okay with it. And I am a big and I’m sure like a lot of people, big supporter of local restaurants, and definitely want to do that. But I know in the beginning of this it was I kind of felt like I got my cooking skills back for a minute where I was like, oh, I’m going to cook all this. And now I’m just right back to, like, I wonder if there’s any Rice Krispies in the pantry.


Laura Turner Yeah.


Megan Couch I’m just going to just have a bowl of cereal. It’s almost like I reverted back to college cooking.


Laura Turner Well, and so funny enough, I don’t think I’ve had cereal cereal in the house for a really long time. I have cereal in the house now.


Megan Couch Well, I mean, I don’t know if anybody realistically should if they don’t have a 14 year old. You know what I mean? Really? Consistency. Okay. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Because when I have to go through the cereal aisle now, they’ve literally made everything that you can think of. That would be a candy to like. The next thing is skittle cereal, like, that’s coming. And it just it’d be fine.


Laura Turner Yeah.


Megan Couch Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal in the shape of little tiny waffles. They’re adorable.


Laura Turner That’s my favorite, a Cinnamon Toast crunch.


Megan Couch Okay. Well, then. Yeah, then we’re on point. Do you want maybe I should just start saying companies names and see if they’ll sponsor us. Do you know. Do you think that’s a smart.


Laura Turner I mean, Cinnamon Toast Crunch?


Megan Couch General Mills quip, the toothbrush cereal, the Dollar Shave Club. I mean, just I’ll just keep saying random ones. Anyway. Well, I cannot thank you enough for being my very first guest.


Laura Turner Thank you. I am, I am, honored that, you guys thought of me and job case and, really enjoyed our conversation. I’ve been looking forward to it all week.


Megan Couch I know, so have I, and I look forward to getting all the stuff to make this. And then I thank you for being so reasonable and accommodating. Enjoyable. And we do really love jokes. And you were perfect to be the first guest, so I cannot thank you enough.


Laura Turner Well thank you.


Megan Couch All right. Have a good rest of your day.


Laura Turner Thanks. You too.


Megan Couch All right. Bye bye.


Speaker 4 Thanks for listening to this episode of H.R. liftoff and Integrity. We believe opportunity is everything. We take an associate first approach because when our associates succeed, our clients succeed. Whatever you need, we’re ready to support. We partner with clients, large and small to deliver custom staffing solutions that provide the cost, service, and scalability efficiencies you need to stay competitive. Learn more at Integrity