Navigating Cash and Compromise with Taylor Roa

Some organizations just rise above others when it comes to supporting their people. This week on the podcast, we’re talking to Taylor Roa, talent acquisition leader at one such organization.

What’s so amazing about this company, Wistia, is that they’ve made very few changes to their people policies and benefits during the pandemic. Other organizations have sprinted to try to catch up to what their people needed during the last two years; Wistia has essentially gone on with business as usual. That’s how robust their culture and focus on wellness has been.

As Taylor shares, Wistia doesn’t have much of a wellness journey because it’s been baked into the company’s DNA.

On this episode, we talk about employee experience, how Wistia stands out, the different phases of the talent market over the last two years, why cash for team members isn’t the answer, and so much more.

It’s such a great conversation and you’ll be amazed at how simple it can be to put people first.

Listen on your favourite podcast player

About Taylor Roa:

Taylor Roa is a talent acquisition leader in the tech industry who puts a heavy focus on leveraging a hyper-human experience in hiring to achieve better outcomes, as well as keeping DEI at the core of recruitment strategy. He has specialized in growing startups and building hiring functions and DEI initiatives from the ground level.

Mentioned In This Episode:



people, wistia, company, employees, pandemic, burnout, candidates, culture, team, offer, mental health, hiring, values, conversation, terms, folks, experience, talk, manager, grow


Taylor Roa, Lindsay Recknell

Lindsay Recknell  00:00

Welcome to season four of mental health in minutes. The podcast where we normalize mental health conversations at work, and share the strategies and tactics that make those conversations ones you actually want to have. I’m your host, Lindsay Recknell, the psychological health and safety advisor, a workplace mental health consultant, a speaker, facilitator and an expert in hope. If you’re listening to this episode, you know, our people need us more than ever, and I know you want to support them, but maybe you don’t know the words to use to engage them in conversation, or how to respond when they do open up. That’s what this podcast is all about. My guests will share tactical, practical and simple ways to connect with your people. Let them know you care about them and are there to support them and believe in them enough to continue investing in their career and personal development. Each episode we’ll also discuss the future of mental health in the workplace, and the top ways we can engage our leadership in the workplace mental health conversation, and have them endorse and pay for a positive culture shift within our organization. It’s hard to put into words but the first three seasons have meant to me as a workplace mental health professional. I am honored to learn from my guests and walk alongside them as they solve some of the biggest issues faced in their organizations today. One of these issues, dare I say the biggest issue I hear from leaders right now is that they end there people are suffering from burnout is syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress. Burnout is very personal to me. The first time I experienced burnout was November of 2017. And this experience started me on the path to learning everything I could about burnout and what I could do to prevent, especially at work, be assured you can stop the slide. Burnout is not forever, and you do have the power to come back from the edge of burnout, you and your people. I’ve included a few simple strategies and tactics in my free training tryout package of materials you can download for free right now from my website at mental health in Forward slash tryout. without too much effort on your part, you can get started engaging with your team and teaching them to stop the slide into burnout for themselves. Included in this training tryout, you’ll find two different lengths of presentations, a 15 minute and a five minute version, as well as the speaker’s notes for each along with a quick training video and a checklist to help you get started. Easy peasy. Just go dude mental health in minutes comm forward slash tryout and download your free copy now. I’ll also link to the download in the show notes of this episode. Let me know how it goes. My conversation with this week’s guest could have gone on for ages. Let me introduce you to him. Taylor ROA is a talent acquisition leader in the tech industry who puts a heavy focus on leveraging a hyper human experience in hiring to achieve better outcomes, as well as keeping D AI at the core of recruitment strategy. He has specialized in growing startups and building hiring functions and D AI initiatives from the ground level. Taylor is articulate, hopeful, kind and forward thinking and I think you’re really going to learn a ton. So let’s get into it. Hello, Taylor. Welcome to

Taylor Roa  02:53

the show. Hello, hello. Thanks for having me, Lindsay. It’s great to be here.

Lindsay Recknell  02:56

It is such a pleasure to have you here. I’m really excited for our conversation. I think what you are doing in your organization is inspiring. And I think it’ll really help other leaders and HR professionals understand maybe how they can do some of these similar things in their organization. So maybe, maybe we’ll start with you just sharing a little bit about who you are, what you do, and who you serve.

Taylor Roa  03:19

Awesome. Great. Yeah. So um, so I am a talent acquisition leader. I have focused in my career and growing smaller, growing companies in the tech industry. And I’m currently Director of Talent at Wistia. We’re a small video marketing software company based in Cambridge, currently about 165 employees total. And whiskey is unique in a number of ways. I’m sure we’ll touch on a number of them in this conversation, but I could talk about this stuff for hours. So I’m excited to be here and dive in with you.

Lindsay Recknell  03:52

Amazing, good thing that we mean, the episode can be as long as we want it to be so I’m not sure people would want hours, but we have 30 minutes

Taylor Roa  04:00

and popcorn.

Lindsay Recknell  04:02

Get ready. Right, exactly. Um, so tell me about the mental health journey at Wistia. And what that looks like, and has it always been that way?

Taylor Roa  04:16

Yeah, you know, interestingly, I would actually describe it as less of a journey at Wistia than then really just part of the company’s DNA. And that’s really something that drew me in to about two and a half years ago, when I joined the team. I think that, you know, there’s been a number of trends, especially in the past three years that companies have decided, you know, on these human challenges, it’s time for us to dive in. And in those cases is very much a journey, right? But at a company like whiskey, I think the culture and the dynamic that we have very much starts with our founders and the values that they get to lead with and but even More specifically, I think, in my experience at Wistia. You know, there’s a lot of startups with great founders out there that have great intentions. But as we know, most startups begin to grow rapidly and to exit. And most companies enter the market backed by investors to get a leg up when they’re starting out. And so that kind of venture backed, rapid growth dynamic can make it really hard to prioritize your employees, and Wistia, our co founders made the unique decision about five years ago to buy the company back from investors. And I think that structure has really been a key ingredient on top of, you know, the values that we lead with that enable us to maintain this culture, as we’ve grown. So it’s been really cool to see, you know, we’ve built a really solid business while putting our people first. And I think it’s a great example to other companies starting out out there, I think a lot of the advice that I tend to give is more suited for small to medium sized businesses. You know, when you start talking about enterprise culture can be incredibly hard to change and shift. It’s like turning a tanker around in some cases. And that’s partly why I’ve, you know, enjoyed focusing on smaller growing companies, specifically,

Lindsay Recknell  06:16

what an incredible place to work, it feels almost unreal. I have worked in technology for 20 years. And you know, that is not a culture that resonates from reality, or from my personal experience in a typical way, but there’s something you said there at the end about, you know, it being hard to change and enterprise culture, and I couldn’t agree with you more. I mean, we’re talking, you know, potentially 1000s of different people, of course, with different values and different ways that we come to work and all of those things. But it’s often that we can think about our maybe our function, or our team or our department as a place we can affect culture. Would you know, so? Because if we only talk about how it’s impossible to change enterprise culture that could feel discouraging, or, or overwhelming? Yeah,

Taylor Roa  07:15

that’s a very good point. And I think that’s especially good for managers to hear. In particular, because so much of an employee’s experience, I’d say, even 80% is derived from their manager, whether it’s a good culture or not, right, and great companies and poor companies have tons of variants team by team in and employees experience. So I think that is a really important point you just made that, you know, for for people, managers, new and seasoned, you know, if they’re not thinking in human terms about their team’s experience, then it’s likely their team, you know, is suffering or lacking there.

Lindsay Recknell  07:53

And they have, they have a pretty cool opportunity to be able to take, you know, to really focus on that and be really intentional about that. They don’t have to wait for these big programs to come from the top, they can, you know, do those grassroots efforts to really make a difference for their people. Yeah. So you talk about a hyper human experience. Tell me what you mean by that, and how that showing up at Wistia?

Taylor Roa  08:17

Yeah, so I talk about that, especially in terms of hiring. You know, I think hiring and tech is such an interesting field, you know, especially, you know, compared to other industries, I think, when you’re looking for employee experience, tech is often at the forefront, because, you know, businesses tend to grow much faster. You know, there’s lots of reasons financially, why we it’s been a while since 2000, we all are aware of why that is. But tech companies have much more room to invest in their employees than a lot of other traditional types of businesses. But when it comes to hiring, you know, it’s probably the most human and ambiguous challenge a company can tackle. It’s also the most critical to that company’s growth. And it’s really easy, you know, especially in tech, we are so obsessed with data. And it’s, it’s our, you know, our primary means of understanding problems and defining strategy. But it’s very easy when you’re scaling a company for, you know, the higher up in New York you go when you’re thinking about your hiring plan and how you’re building out your teams for the human element of what you’re doing to get lost in that shuffle, right? Hiring is incredibly stressful and challenging for hiring managers. And it’s also incredibly challenging and stressful for recruiters and interviewing on its own is burdensome and stressful for candidates, right? And at the end of the day, we’re all just people. And really, first and foremost, we’re all you know, here to grow ourselves and provide for our families. None of us exist for any specific company, right? So I’ve found so much more success when you approach a problem as a human in hiring. And I think in terms of like explore employee experience and fit for the company and growth within the company, it all starts with those first interactions, it’s so tempting to try to pitch your company through rose colored glasses and say, Everything’s great. And everyone’s going to thrive here, and try to attract candidates that way. But I find so much more success and being honest about what people will get, you might have a stellar Rockstar candidate, but if they don’t truly stand to grow in this role, and you make it seem like they do, that’s not a long term fit for either side, right. So thinking in terms of the mutual benefit, the relationship between humans, and working, building a process around that is really the center of my focus. And that’s where I’ve seen a ton of success growing smaller companies, and longer term fits between candidate and team.

Lindsay Recknell  10:59

I’m sure none of us have ever experienced that gap in the interview and the reality of the job.

Taylor Roa  11:06

Right, especially in this remote world, you know, I’ve, I’ve talked a lot about how to start a pandemic, we are rather before the pandemic, we had a real advantage in terms of appealing to candidates, when someone would walk into a company like Wayfair, if you’re familiar, it’s it’s a much bigger company, sort of like Amazon, their headquarters is cool, but it’s like a bustling beehive, almost, you know, it’s crazy. And then you walk into our small office in Cambridge with maybe 100 people on any given day. And it’s just a very cozy creative space. There’s such a stark contrast there. But after the pandemic hit, you know, candidates were experiencing our team through the same zoom screen as every other team that they were meeting. And there was much less contrast there in terms of like the culture and the experience. And I think, in good ways and bad. But I think the other element is, you know, the market in this phase of the pandemic has gotten so competitive that we’re starting to see a lot of companies chop up their interview process and just put offers out because they need to hire folks, and they’re less concerned about getting it wrong, because they just need folks. And I think a lot of people are getting it wrong. You know, I’ve seen at this point in the pandemic, a lot more people open to something new, even if they’ve started a job four months ago, than any time in my career.

Lindsay Recknell  12:31

That is dumbfounding to me. So we’re recording this episode in March of 2022. Just to put a time stamp on it. And the idea of cutting out an interview seems bunker bananas.

Taylor Roa  12:47

Yeah, yeah, we’ve we’ve had situations where, you know, a great candidate has come through our full process. And they’ve, you know, very candidly shared with us that they’re in the middle of another process. But were their top choice, we may extend an offer, and then they’ll hear oh, actually, my, the rest of my interviews were canceled, they gave me an offer instead. And it’s just, you know, it’s really, it’s been really hard for a lot of companies to to grow at this pace that they’ve planned, because there’s just so much opportunity right now, for candidates out there. And it’s, it’s been pretty crazy, to be honest. Yeah.

Lindsay Recknell  13:24

Wow. So how how does Wistia stand out in that environment? Especially, like, let’s take compensation off the table. Because that, you know, I feel like in the environment that we’re in, one of the bonuses of what we’ve been through in the last couple of years is that ability for us to reprioritize what’s important in our lives, so if we take compensation off the table, what, yeah, how does Wistia stand out as an employer of choice?

Taylor Roa  13:50

Yes, that’s a great question. So, um, you know, one part of what we do we market to marketers. And I think marketers love Wistia, because of our authenticity and creativity, we take creative risks that no one else takes in a lot of ways. We’re using video. And we’re marketing in ways that marketers want to be marketing, but they don’t have the creative Liberty where they are to do that. And so, you know, marketers are big fans of what we do. But really, I think it’s that human authenticity that appeals to people. And that really just comes genuinely from our team. This is the most thoughtful and creative team I’ve ever worked with, right. And so interestingly, what works for our customers also works for our candidates, you know, when you watch a Wistia video, and it’s entertaining and quirky and weird, it’s actually usually our employees in that video. There’s also no shortage of videos of our team internally that we use and so videos definitely been our superpower. But I think really, it’s that human authenticity in what we do that has been really appealing to folks and so I would talk, I’ve talked about this in a few other circumstances. But I, I’ve started to look at this pandemic talent market in terms of phases. And obviously, the first phase was very stressful and scary, it was mostly layoffs. And people were forced to step away and take some space. And a lot of people came out of that time actually realizing what was important to them, like you said, and when they were ready to go back to work, when companies were ready to start hiring again, people had a very different perspective about what they were looking for in a company. And so that second phase of the pandemic was all about culture, meaning, and balance, right. And we were, we’ve offered that for years before the pandemic, that’s who we are, as a company, you know, we were incredibly flexible and outcome oriented before the pandemic hit. And so we actually did really well, even though the market was so competitive, we continue to hire, we welcome some really great talented people onto the team. And I think this current stage of the pandemic, continues to be very competitive. But we’ve started to experience a world where you can’t really remove compensation from the equation because it’s gotten so competitive, right. And we want to always be a place where we’re offering that meaningful work, that balance that people are looking for, but also that competitive package that makes the role exciting and offers growth for people in their lives. And so, but it’s been really hard, you know, I think a lot of those companies that aren’t necessarily peachy, and people know it have resulted just throwing money at candidates to win them over. And it’s working. And that’s great for a lot of people and a lot of different ways. But I would define this current phase of the pandemic, by cash and compromise. You know, I’ve actually had some conversations with candidates that have faced a really grueling decision. Because while we are actually very competitive with compensation, there’s still been a higher ratio than ever of companies that are just offering crazy amounts of money. And candidates will tell me like, Man, this is the company I want to work for. But I actually just can’t say no to this offer. And I’m really sorry. So

Lindsay Recknell  17:18

yes, feels like it’ll be good for recruiting but terrible for retention.

Taylor Roa  17:24

Absolutely. I think that’s a big part of what you know, that trend, I’ve shared that I’m seeing more candidates open to something new four months in than I’ve ever seen in my career.

Lindsay Recknell  17:34

I like that language, what you just said the cat cash and compromise. Yeah, I feel like that’s the title of this episode when we publish it. Because it’s like, it’s such a great descriptor of the evolution that we’re seeing right now. Where? I don’t know, it’s kind of it’s, it’s sort of fascinating. And it’s interesting, because it is the human condition, right? Where as other as other influences happen, right? We talk about the first phase of fear, you talk about the second phase of reprioritization. And I think, and let me know, where you sit on this idea. But I think the great resignation happened in phase two, right? Where people were reprioritizing, what’s important to them. And now we’re in phase three, where or seeing organizations respond to the great resignation and the opportunity for retention and the world opening back up. And so demand is going up, and all this kind of thing. And now we’re kind of sliding backwards, maybe into compromising our values, or compromising what we said was, was priority, but now that it’s hard, or, you know, there’s something else shiny. Yeah, interesting to think about.

Taylor Roa  18:48

It is really interesting. And, you know, I think a lot about what might come next, it’s really hard to predict. But I, you know, I also talked to a lot of folks who have accepted, you know, awesome, exciting new offers elsewhere. But there’s also a dynamic at a lot of companies that don’t have that psychological safety, that inclusive culture, where when a Manager offers somebody new, so much more than everyone else on their team, that disrupts equity pay equity on that team, but it also kind of puts a target on that person’s back. And it almost has like a very negative effect on the psychological safety of that employee on that team in that context, if that manager doesn’t see what they want to see right away. You know what I mean? So, and it’s very interesting, you know, it I think it’s always good when candidates have more leverage. And I think in every time we’ve seen that in the past, you know, work culture in America, and I say specifically America because I think we particularly have been behind the curve from our European friends on work life balance, but you know, we’ve seen work life in America shift analysis when candidates and employees have leverage. So I think I think ultimately, it’s going to be really good. We’ve already seen some really exciting changes in terms of how companies are treating employees across the board. So I am excited for you know, the new norms that that come from this, this phase, at least,

Lindsay Recknell  20:20

you bring to mind three questions. I really like the deep thinking that you’ve done in this space, especially you say about, predict being able to predict the future, I think I don’t think any of us can predict the future in an accurate way. But it’s fun to talk about things as you were talking about compensation is the idea of benefits as part of a total rewards package. How has wisterias benefits packaged, maybe changed over the last couple of years, and you use that as a tool for recruitment?

Taylor Roa  20:52

Yes. Our general package has not changed very much, which I think is a testament to how strong it was before the pandemic, we pay 100% of health care premiums for all employees, we have unlimited paid time off, which is untracked very specifically. Because we don’t want to be a company that offers unlimited time off, but has like that imaginary line that people can’t cross. And, you know, just to name a few, we also offer 16 weeks fully paid parental leave for all new parents. And so our employees are very well taken care of, I think what’s actually surprised me the most and made me the most proud is how our leaders have taken care of our employees outside of our benefits over the past two years, particularly through 2020, which was just a traumatic year all around for everyone, right. But from the George Floyd protests to the insurrection, there were a number of times in that year long period where we actually just shut the company down completely. And, and I think that was a huge testament to, you know, leadership on this team, because you can say, take some space, if you need it. But the built, the business is still going, you know, customers still have questions, and people still have, you know, needs cross functionally, it’s much harder for some teams to do that than other teams. And so by shutting down the company, you know, everyone gets to take that space, without any, you know, guilt, or, you know, whatever. And so those type those moments have really, I think, for me reinforced our values and made me the most proud, but there have been small things, obviously, we’re a hybrid culture now. So we do offer remote work from home stipend, when folks join the company will give them $750 For a work from home additions and things like that.

Lindsay Recknell  22:52

What else? In the kind of paramedical, or psychology, counseling sort of benefits,

Taylor Roa  23:03

yeah. So in terms of, you know, there’s, there’s so much that we could talk about in terms of building a psychologically safe culture, right. I think that, you know, the most important things come down to policy and culture, I think culture can be incredibly hard to create, actually, I think it’s tends to be a natural force that comes from just the group of people, you know, any company is just simply a group of people, right. And culture is really just your experience engaging with the people around you. And so it’s really hard to like intentionally create that, I think it just comes from having the right values and hiring people who contribute positively to that environment, right. And that’s what I think makes it harder. It’s great for a manager at an enterprise company to have that ability to impact their team’s culture. But I think that’s why it’s so hard for an enterprise company to change their culture. In any like, single year span, especially. But enterprise companies can focus on policy. And so one big policy of ours is that untracked, unlimited paid time off, it’s one thing to tell employees will allow you to not feel well, two days a year, you can take two mental health days a year. And we didn’t do that before. So that seems like such a gift, right? But for me, I’ve always been like a stubborn, egalitarian person. And for me, I take that as like, okay, like, I need permission to not feel well like, like, you own me or something. I think it’s another thing entirely to say, you know, we trust you to like, want to do good work here. And most people generally do want to do good work, I think, and we trust you to get it done, however, feels best for you. If that if you need to take a day off. You know, your outcomes aren’t day by day in most cases, and so people should have that freedom and that support on the team to do So so that unlimited policy is huge for us. Paying 100% of healthcare premiums is another huge policy thing for us. But I think one thing that any company can do is offer an employee assistance program. It’s relatively low cost per employee, but it’s essentially a 24/7 concierge that can connect employees within network therapists. You know, if they can answer almost any question like, where’s the nearest hospital, I have an emergency even, you know, questions like that. But we’ve heard from so many employees about how helpful that’s been, you know, it’s can be hard finding a therapist, especially for folks who’ve never done that before. And it’s great to have somebody walk you through that and connect you with the folks that check off your boxes, right?

Lindsay Recknell  25:49

Yeah, that’s incredible. And I think, you know, lots of organizations do have AAPs. But we don’t often know what they’re for, or know that they’re even there, and that they can answer questions as maybe as basic or as time sensitive as where’s the nearest hospital? I think a part of a part of the effectiveness of EAP is to have communication about them and continuing to have communication. And speaking of communication, and talking about these kinds of things at work, do you is is talking about workplace mental health and intentional part of the culture there,

Taylor Roa  26:30

yes, that we have leaders take mental health days, which I think is the best signal you can give to your teams that it’s okay to do so. And I love to see that. We also have a segment in most of our all hands meetings where we’ll celebrate people’s vacation time. And then people will share pictures from their trip, I think it’s even more important with unlimited vacation time, because when you don’t give somebody constraints, you know, they can naturally feel like guilty, taking what might feel like too much. But we’ve talked about even potentially defining a four week minimum, and leaving it up to managers to you know, encourage our employees if they’re taking less than four weeks a year to take more. Our VP of people, Jane Jackson is amazing. And she also is frequently saying in all hands meetings that we recommend you take at least one vacation that spans two weeks, every year. Because if you take a one week vacation, the first three days, you’re unwinding from work, the last three days, you’re thinking about getting back into work. And so you really have one day of disconnect. And that’s just not enough, right? So the conversation at the top level from your CEO, from your executive team really goes a long way. I think it also makes managers feel empowered to enforce those values themselves, too.

Lindsay Recknell  27:56

How do you help employees set themselves up to take that much time off, feel like that the mechanism to support time off is something that’s hard.

Taylor Roa  28:06

It is hard. But we’ve been able to maintain a vacation positive culture, you know, and in on most teams, folks can put their out of office calendar on, you know, you’re coordinating with your team to make sure things don’t fall through the cracks. And the team is mostly very supportive across the board. It was the I think there are some teams that it’s more challenging than others. I think sales is the perfect example. Because time away from the seat actually impacts your paycheck if you’re a salesperson. And so one thing we’ve done to to curb that kind of barrier to vacation time is we’ve actually created quota adjustments that trigger when somebody takes PTO. And so I think there’s at least there’s three or four weeks of quota adjusted weeks that sales folks can can take advantage of. Love it.

Lindsay Recknell  29:01

I mean, you have an answer. Every you know when when people say to me taking vacation is too hard. I don’t know the answer. It’s it’s totally possible, like the things that you’re talking about, just prove that it’s totally possible with a little bit of innovation and some creativity and intention and conversation and all those things and modeling that behavior out loud.

Taylor Roa  29:19

And I think so much of the perceived cost of these things is totally imagined. You know, I think I think people really do generally want to do good work. And most work truly operates on a timeline that spans much longer than a week, you know. And so I think it’s easy sometimes for executives to think like, well, if our people are taking this much time off, this is how much we pay them per hour. And then this is the cost of that time that we’re giving them. But I don’t think that’s actually the case. You know, I think when teams support each other and work together, and you’re outcome oriented, those outcomes are achieved and actually, in my experience that’s propelling Hold us forward. So. So yeah, I think I think it’s easy for us to try to quantify costs. But when we’re dealing with an ambiguous human dynamic like this, it’s not that simple.

Lindsay Recknell  30:13

Well, and also, you know, Parkinson’s Law sort of comes into play there, too, if the idea that you’re going to fit a task into the time you have. And so if you know, you have eight hours, and it’s a four hour task, it’ll probably take you eight hours. But if you know that you’re looking forward to two weeks of vacation, you’re going to do that task as quick as you possibly can. So you can take that vacation.

Taylor Roa  30:35

Yeah, this is the latest hot topic, the the four day workweek. I’m very interested in all the buzz that’s happening out there. About, you know, imposed four day workweeks.

Lindsay Recknell  30:48

Yeah, well, and but it feels like you guys do it informally. Anyway, if people want to work a 40 hour work week, fill your boots?

Taylor Roa  30:57

Yeah, we’ve talked about that. Before. And it was, it was actually a pretty short conversation for exactly the reason you said, you know, like, we have a lot of folks that will do a meeting free day, or thinking big day. And, you know, it’s time that they spend how they want. But in an outcome oriented world, you know, unlimited vacation time, you don’t you don’t ask permission to go see the doctor, you know, your ducks in a row, and you’re good to go.

Lindsay Recknell  31:23

Yeah. Are you sure this company’s real? I mean,

Taylor Roa  31:28

you know, yeah, I tell people, I think Wistia is a terrible first company, because it’ll ruin your perspective on every other job you have, after you leave.

Lindsay Recknell  31:37

You are not even exaggerating at all. Related to the trend you’re seeing with people who are, for lack of a better term, I’m going to call it Frogger, between different jobs, even more extreme than, you know, what we’ve often talked about, about how people these days are moving every couple of years, but you’re seeing people move every couple of months. As a recruiter, what do you think when you see that on somebody’s resume?

Taylor Roa  32:09

You know, before the pandemic, we might have just skipped over that candidate, depending on what level they’re at. So I’ll I’ll share, like how I think about where you are in your career. And actually, when jumpiness is good, in my opinion. But now, at this point, in the pandemic, we’re seeing so many people who’ve got it wrong, like I said, and I don’t necessarily knock people for that, you know, I think it’s great to take a risk. And we also want people who are open to taking risks, and you know, failing forward sometimes what’s important to me if you’re like a manager and above, and you’ve moved around quite a bit in the past couple years is the story behind it. And the reason behind it, what were you looking for, and what didn’t you get out of it? That’s what I care about. But I’m very interested in getting folks on the phone. Whereas before, I might have overlooked them to hear their story and the why behind those moves. But when I talk about the difference in where you are in your career, I actually think jumpiness early on is a very good thing. Because it is known that folks who tend to change jobs will grow faster in their career. And that’s because a lot of companies have a harder time justifying promotions, versus taking a risk on nexternal candidate. And raises still happen much slower and smaller than offers from competition goes right. And a lot of companies haven’t caught on like you’re losing employees, because other companies are offering them more. And you’re going to have to offer someone else just as much to replace that person. Right? Eventually, I think they’ll come around. But I often advice that I give recent grads is always to view yourself as a startup. And in your first few jobs, you’re not going to be offered much growth very quickly. But the growth you achieve will cap actually pretty early in terms of like what you’re learning and getting out of the opportunity. And so for folks entering the workforce, I think in your first four years, it’s actually really good to have three jobs, because your experience in four years in is going to be so much more diverse. And you’re going to be able to look at problems from different angles, whereas someone who was loyal and committed, those are great characteristics, but they didn’t get exposure to as many problems and dynamics and circumstances as you did right. So when you’re in that phase of your career where it’s all about learning and growing like definitely jump around the second you feel like there’s nothing more to learn in the role start looking elsewhere.

Lindsay Recknell  34:47

Well, and also your there’s a priority or a valuation that happens when you go to other roles as well. Like you know, we talked earlier about the gap between between the reality and and what sold to you in the interview, once you get into a role, if you aren’t testing the experience against your personal values, I think you’re handcuffing yourself in your career as well. And why would you stay somewhere that isn’t aligned to your values? Yeah. And if you’re intentional about that,

Taylor Roa  35:21

yeah, that’s true. And, and I, I tend to think like, first, when you’re in that when you find yourself in that unfortunate situation, first, it’s an opportunity to try and impact things to be the way that you thought it was going to be. Because also like that effort of trying is great experience in terms of like learning how to influence without authority, and you know, how to contribute to a culture in ways that make you more valuable. But don’t, you know, die on that hill, you know, it’s good to try and learn and grow. And if you don’t see change, or if you don’t have that psychological safety, or people are flat out rude, which happens more often than it should, then you know, you don’t it’s accompany you don’t owe them anything.

Lindsay Recknell  36:00

Again, I know I said, I had a couple of other questions, but I thought of one that I think is more important than the other ones. And it kind of goes back to what you open to this conversation with. And it’s the intention behind your founders to focus on employees, even in the face of rocket ship growth. Why don’t other tech startups operate this way? Like, what had what what gets in the way?

Taylor Roa  36:27

Yeah, it’s a, it’s a really good question. It’s not when I have an answer to but it’s when I’d love to talk about it. So I don’t know, I think most companies are started for the sake of an exit. And I think that’s the the basic truth. Really, I think it’s very rare for founders to want to build a long term sustainable business. And though those are the circumstances where we’re able to think about employees first, and their long term growth with us, right. So I think that, like, you know, the way Chris and Brennan talk about their story is really cool and inspiring to me. But it’s been so much fun to be part of a people team, working under founders with those values.

Lindsay Recknell  37:13

Yeah. Oh, incredible. Okay, well, I’m gonna find someone who’s gonna have a conversation with us about this topic, because I think it would be super fascinating to know, and I just think it would raise so much. I mean, it would just raise the employee experience, because there’s a lot of tech companies out there. I mean, we know tech startup rule the world right now, especially in the US. And imagine if, if we could have more experiences, like you’re having at Listia. Like, that’s, that would just be incredible. So I’m going to find some people that

Taylor Roa  37:43

I agree, I think, you know, kind of, I actually think the laws of competition drive us that way. You know, really, truly so many companies are great in the tech space right now, especially in small to medium sized businesses. There’s a number of companies who we are very friendly with and have similar values like buffer and HelpScout, in the Boston area, and it’s really encouraging for me to see, but in this world, where almost every industry is becoming a tech industry, I’m hopeful that, you know, that kind of growth in those dynamics will spread, and won’t just be this little sliver of the tech industry that actually, you know, more people can enjoy this type of growth and career balance that we get to enjoy.

Lindsay Recknell  38:35

Amazing and what a way to end our show together. Taylor, this has just been incredible. Thank you so much for your insights, you are clearly a deep thinker and have given me a ton to reflect on and and some real opportunities for other for leaders that are listening to this show to to implement maybe at their place and start to start to become one of these Utopia companies themselves. So thank you so much for joining me. It’s been a real pleasure.

Taylor Roa  38:59

Thank you, Lindsay. I had a blast. Thanks for having me.

Lindsay Recknell  39:03

Take care. Talk to you soon. There was so much goodness in that episode that I couldn’t even keep it to the regular 30 minutes. I hope you enjoyed hearing from Taylor as much as I did. And how cool is Wistia definitely an aspirational company to follow as far as living some of the best practices we talk about on the podcast all the time. Love to hear if you’re going to try out any of the strategies Taylor talked about with your own organization. At the beginning of the show, I mentioned the free training trial, you could try it with your teams, all about stopping the slide into burnout, that feeling of overwhelm and endless stress so many of us are experiencing right now. To complement those materials which you can download for free from my website at mental health in Forward slash tryout, I’ve also created a 60 minute live virtual or in person workshop titled from burnout to hope, which has been transformational for so many organizations. You and your team will leave this workshop understanding how to identify the signs of burnout in yourself and others how to put it into action, the evidence based strategies and tactics to reverse feelings of overwhelm and languishing and activate the hope circuit in your brain for a future even better than today. It’s hopeful, practical and transformative, and I’d love to bring it to your organization. On our website, you’ll find more information about this workshop as well as the mental health and minute digital subscription, a done for you package of presentations and other content designed to help you make meaningful connections with your people to increase knowledge and education about mental health related topics, and to normalize these kinds of conversations in your workplace. The thing we do best at mental health in minutes is open the door to conversations about mental health at work, and episodes like this give us real things we can try to truly make a difference. Being a people leader is especially hard right now, you might feel like you’re managing both up and down the corporate ladder. And if the thought of figuring out how to best support your people and yourself feels overwhelming and impossibly hard, let’s talk. We’re here to do the heavy lifting with resources and materials, along with the training and facilitation leaving you to do what you do best engaging with and supporting your people. We have many ways to support you from full service hands on guidance and support from afar. So let’s chat about what works best for you and your people. As always, I’m here if you need me.

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