pymetrics recently welcomed Paul Bridgewater to our team, as the Sales Lead in the APAC Region. Paul has over 20 years of senior leadership experience, most recently having spent four years at the talent acquisition and engagement platform LiveHire as the Head of Partnership and Alliances, as well as Head of Recruitment Solutions. Prior to that, Paul spent over seven years in a variety of managerial roles at ManpowerGroup. He was previously Managing Director of Arriba Group and holds a BA Honors degree in Marketing from Bournemouth University in the UK. Continue reading below to learn more about what drew him to the human resources space, and the promise he sees in pymetrics to transform organizations’ D&I initiatives, talent strategies, and more.
Q: You’ve spent most of your career in the human capital sector – what drew you to the business area and how has it changed over the last two decades?
A: Like most people who start out in recruitment, I stumbled across the opportunity after having run my own sales business for seven years and realized that it was a good fit for my people skills. Back then, being a Recruitment Consultant was a 360-degree role. You would be constantly sourcing candidates and clients, screening applicants for open vacancies, scouring the papers and online for roles that you could market candidates into; it was fast paced and a whole lot of fun.
Over the years, we have seen the global rise of outsourcing solutions, the ever-increasing role of recruitment marketing and employer branding, sourcing specialists dedicated to finding the right talent across what is now thousands of data sources as opposed to an ad in the paper. Technology is playing a pivotal role in the change but what won’t change is the human connection necessary in providing support, guidance and advice through their career journey.
I was on a webinar earlier this week which discussed something that completely resonated with me. 20 years ago, you could be a Marketer; now we have an SEO Specialist, Brand Strategists, Content Producers and Social Media Editors. Technology advancements have driven this change and we will continue to see this type of specialization within the human capital space for the short to medium term.
Q: What attracted you to the role at pymetrics? Had you worked with AI/data in previous roles?
A: After 10 years in various leadership roles at ManpowerGroup, it was clear that technology is going to play a significant role in the transformation of the industry. The HR sector has been a little slower off the starting blocks than other industries, but data and technology is now accelerating the change and I’m keen to be at the leading-edge of it.
pymetrics’ human-centric technology combines my people and technology experience to help Australian and New Zealand organizations reimagine their talent acquisition and retention strategies. It’s a great intersection of the tech experience I gained at my most recent roles at an HR tech start up (all about the tech) and at ManPower Group (all about people and process). After all, technology plays a pivotal role but it is by no means the be all and end all. Successful transformation must include the right blend of people, process and technology. You cannot simply introduce a new tool and hope that your world will change overnight.
I’m looking forward to working with clients who are open to change and open to learning, leaders who are prepared and willing to invest the time and energy. The opportunity to move from ‘the way things have been’ to a fairer, more effective way is truly exciting.
Q: Where do you see the real growth opportunities for pymetrics in ANZ?
A: Until I started the interview process with pymetrics, I didn’t appreciate how their platform could be used to help drive retention, re-skilling and talent management; in addition to high volume and early career recruitment.
pymetrics will continue to play a transformative role in the way organizations engage new talent in their talent acquisition programs - we have seen this with some of the latest data to come out of our work with ANZ. For me though, the broader applications on talent are going to be more important and where the growth lies.
We can give employers a clear view of rich, objective and informative data that can help them truly understand their incumbent workforce DNA – which is something you can’t understand by looking at their resume from when they joined or from their current job title. Instead, it is important to understand their characteristics, traits and behaviors as a human being. Soft skills are inherent, hard skills can be learned through training and development.
Once informed, they can then use this data to influence and guide their workforce strategy, make data driven decisions on their Talent Management and Talent Acquisition practices. For years, HR leaders have been crying out for data on their workforce. The CIO, CFO, COO and CTO have all bought data to the boardroom to effect change within their business, now it is the time for the CHRO and HRD to shine.
Q: It’s an interesting time to join the company in ANZ given the impact COVID-19 has had on the economy. How do you think pymetrics can impact the region's recovery and way forward?
A: One of the things that COVID-19 has done is fast track digital transformation through necessity. Employees and businesses have had to rapidly embrace remote working and virtual meetings and get more comfortable with digital technology. Consequently, many organizations have a greater appetite for transformational change, along with the bandwidth to review current and future HR-tech options.
I am also hearing the voice of HR growing louder and stronger in the boardroom as they have had direct contact with the CEO three times a day, every day for the last three months! It has never been more important to have a clear visibility of the incumbent workforce as businesses continue to evolve. As employers are looking at the future of their workplace, we are talking to them about building up core capabilities such as digital potential, resilience, agility and adaptability in data-driven way. We are helping them understand holistically where the opportunities lie with their talent, be that for their permanent or non-permanent workforce
Q: It is not possible to talk about transformation without mentioning the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations. This seems to be a moment when real progress in social fairness is possible. How do you see pymetrics playing a role in facilitating this change?
A: Every single one of us as employers, governments, communities, families, networks and humans have a role to play in facilitating the necessary change to ensure that Black Lives Matter. The Black Lives Matter movement is based upon what is right and what is human. It also makes commercial sense too. A Harvard Business Review survey of 1,700 organizations across eight countries found that organizations with above-average total diversity had both 19% higher innovation revenues and 9% higher margins.
When I look purely within the sphere that pymetrics operates in, I firmly believe most HR leaders recognize the unconscious bias affecting human capital decisions, be it within talent acquisition or internal mobility. Many organizations have mandated “unconscious bias training” for their teams in order to try and shift the needle but this is not enough to effect change. At pymetrics, we focus on making the process as fair as possible.
And it works. In practical terms, most organizations are considered successful if they can get small percentage point changes through diversity and inclusion (D&I) focused programs. By utilizing pymetrics, ANZ recently saw an 11% increase in the number of job offers to socio-diverse candidates!
With all that has taken place over the last month, I am certain that we will get both the ear-share and the mind-share of diversity and inclusion leaders as they look to consciously create a workplace of diversity, inclusion and equity.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.
A: I have always figured myself to be very self-aware and it often comes up in 360 reviews as one of my strengths, but I have been learning an awful lot about myself lately by simply watching my almost three year old son grow up! Some of the behaviours and mannerisms can sometimes be confronting as you realise that it is the mirror image of your own behaviours, and you simply have not given it the attention or focus before.
As an example, lately he’s been asking for help to help him find something, his fire engine toy or his Peppa Pig for example. It’s not until you get next to him that you realise that particular toy is right in front of his eyes and he just isn’t looking properly. So frustrating(!) but more so for my wife who is screaming that now she has two of us who don’t look properly!
If you’d like to learn more about the pymetrics Leadership Team, feel free to explore our Team page here!