Talent Retriever President and Co-Founder, David Barbato, joined Jason Goldner and Nicole Rafferty of Ultimate Software for episode 2 of the Inspiring People Podcast. Dave shared advice on topics ranging from keeping a virtual culture strong, to how to best help furloughed employees. He also shared his thoughts on how this inflection point will forever change the way we work — for the better in many ways. Here are 5 insightful snippets from Dave during this podcast.


Communicating with Employees

“One of the things we started doing (to communicate with our team) is making more videos. I mentioned about respect of our teams earlier. When we first started to talk to the team about what was happening and that there were going to be changes, we knew it was going to be hard to get people throughout the U.S. on the phone at the same time,  knowing that they had different challenges they were trying to deal with.


So we decided to do a (recorded) video to update and explain, ‘Hey, you guys know what we’ve been doing. We’ve been communicating with you, but we want to give you an update on where we’re at and what’s happening and what’s going to happen next.’ And we did this by video so that they could watch this and take this in when they were comfortable to do so. Share it with their family as, as they desired. We really tried to think about all of that as we’re communicating that message.”


The Future of Remote Work

“We’ve often been a big proponent in talking to our clients about if they would consider allowing some level of remote work or work from home for a long time. Explaining to them that those have been able to tie that model in have been able to see a ton of benefits. From expanded candidate pools, different skill sets that they can bring in and how it can actually impact their company in a positive way.


Do I think everyone’s going to completely work from home? No, there’s something to be said about human interaction and being together and working as a team together, but I think it’s going to change the way that we do it. We’ve always had a component that has been virtual, but we had people that would regularly come into the office. I can even see with us. If somebody wants to work from home two or three days a week, that used to come into the office, I don’t see an issue with that. I think there’s going to be a time where there’s certain components, certain things that you might schedule meetings a little differently. You might schedule team get together as a little differently. There’s a whole level of how do I actually engage and manage folks? How do we continue to keep our culture in place if we don’t have people coming in, which is the challenge. But I think, just looking at the Boston community, we have a lot of smart people. I think we can figure this stuff out. I think we are figuring it out on the fly right now. So I’m hopeful that we see, we see more of that and the ability, cause I think it’s going to help.”


Translating Your Culture Virtually

“You want to display your culture. You want to get that person to understand why you guys are unique and the differences there, and some of the things that make you special. And also make sure that the candidate likes that and is interested in those things. Coming back to that video component and some of the things you can do with that. On a personal experience, my daughter was deciding on her college and determining between a school in Wisconsin and the university of Miami. Very different schools.


Not having gone to either campus. There were a lot of things they use social media for, and I think we can do this in the workplace as well. The Universities were doing “takeovers” on Instagram. So that had students walking around campus, showing things off, and we can have our employees do that. We can have employees recording videos, grouping these videos together. Pulling together things that our teams are doing culturally, showing how they work together. Really displaying that so that a candidate that’s now trying to consider, do I want to take this job – get that sense and then we need to build that stuff. They need to be able imagine themselves in the environment.”


Managing Recruitment and Helping Furloughed Employees

“The first thing we had said to the team was, ‘look, you guys naturally want to help people. But right now, you might not be able to naturally help them get a new job. A lot of these folks will want to go back to the place that they just got furloughed from it and they might have that opportunity. And hopefully 90% of everybody that’s been furloughed is going to go back to the same place because that says, we’re all getting back to normal and things are getting better. That said, there’s going to be some time where people have time on their hands. They’re looking for things to do and we should be giving them advice that they can use. Things like updating LinkedIn profiles and resumes. Also think about the networks that you have, people that you haven’t connected with recently. For younger employees, maybe it’s connections to professors in schools or alumni that they haven’t reached out to recently. Maybe there’s networks there that they can get involved with. So we’ve talked to our team about programs to advise on. Even if somebody goes back to work at the same place, if they take the next 30 days and they start in implementing these things, it gives them something to feel like they’re doing something every day. They’re not just getting up and have nothing to do. They feel like they’ve got some tasks that they can start to align with and it keeps them mentally in the game. I know other companies out there are also making materials available to people for professional development purposes for free. I think that’s another great thing to encourage people if you have the time, if you are furloughed, if you’re laid off, take the time to develop yourself to enhance your skills.”


Familiar Territory and the Power of the HR Community

“What we went through in 2008 and the challenges we faced then were big.  We hoped we wouldn’t have to break glass and open that jar back up – but we did – we had to pull that book out. But because we’ve been through it, we knew the things to do and it allowed us, again, to be able to be respectful to our team and put things in place that will get us through it. We’ve got great advisors around us. We’ve got good people that we talk to and we run things by, and it was 2008 really that, that allowed us to understand and know what to do. The big thing that people keep talking about is the strength of the HR community right now, and people respect the work that’s being done in the HR community and because it’s challenging. It’s tough, it’s always challenging itself. But right now I think people are really paying more attention and realizing the importance of strong HR, human resources, professionals in that skill, in what it means. Unfortunately, it takes crisis, but thanks for everything you guys are doing and it’s much needed.”