HR Podcast

The Open Talent Report Podcast

This podcast explores all things open talent, direct sourcing, compliance and labour laws with industry experts. In each episode Connor speaks with CEO’s, founders and experts from staffing, technology and legal sectors around the world.

Below you will find all episodes of the podcast that have been released. If you want to get notified of future episodes make sure to subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google.

If you enjoy the podcast don’t forget to leave a review on your preferred podcasting app.

This week we are joined by CEO of HR services provider, Head First Group, Han Kolff. Han has a deep knowledge of the staffing industry having spent 15 years in the fast-moving consumer goods industry (Heineken and Danone) before moving to work for Randstad for over 8 years.

On the podcast Connor and Han tackle the pressing questions in today’s labour landscape from global labour shortages and remote working to the digitisation of recruitment and automation. They also take a look into a crystal ball at what may be in store for the future of work.

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Key Points

Labour shortage/ Labour market paradox:

There is always a paradox, there is always a balance between the supply and demand in the workforce and technology is simply giving us more data and a greater view of the mismatch making it seem like a bigger paradox than ever. 

Now that pandemic is hopefully lifting we are seeing a shift from where the demand side had previously had the power to more of a balance with the supply having more of a say. 

Companies should change their perspective when hiring. For example in the IT space, if you are looking for a Java developer companies should look at if they need somebody who already has that skill set or if they can look at training a person up as a Java developer. 

Is hiring anyone anywhere an area of growth?

In theory we can work remotely and cut jobs down into gigs so it is more concrete and easier to delegate a certain piece of work to somebody anywhere in the world. The issue comes with cooperation within companies which will slow down the adoption with global companies being able to adapt faster. 

Companies must also look at labour laws in different countries where they are engaging talent to ensure compliance.

The digitiziation of recruitment

There’s two types of companies now, which are merging into trying to solve for everything. There’s companies that come from more enterprise worlds, usually, they’re more touch than tech. They have a bit more people supporting the product, they are not only a tech platform. Then there’s companies that are more on the platform side like Upwork, maybe that’s more gig related more shorter term projects and more instant. Sometimes they are more, b2c but they miss the touch part, to really sell into large enterprise clients. So if we look at it from the client side, they don’t want only tech, they want a solution that encompass technology and a personal touch.


I think that there is a lot more to be concerned about in his world, a lot more about climate and about food and other trends, than automation threatening the labour market. On the contrary automation can be a big opportunity and these bigger trends might influence how we as humans need to act and resolve things. But as we said when we started out,  this labour market is so incredibly complex, and will need work everywhere, for a long period. So, this future where there’s no work, it’s very, very far out.

What would you do with a magic wand?

I think if I had a magic wand, I would want to have governments have a mindset of a more forward looking approach. They shouldn’t stick to the past of a unionised world and a job or a specific labour market condition that needs to stay forever. If I look at many governments and many labour markets, a lot of them are trying to contain the power and the contract of the past, instead of creating a contract of the future that is less frictionless and actually gets more people to an income or a job. So it’s all dependent on who has the power and then trying to protect what you have, instead I would appreciate if governments have a growth mindset.

We have a different episode for our listeners this week. At CXC, we have been running a Direct Sourcing webinar series that takes an in-depth look at direct sourcing as a talent sourcing solution.

Over the coming months we will be making these webinars available as podcast episodes. This week we have a webinar with expert guests Praneeth Patlola, Jan-Willem Weijers and Katie Bussey. Host Connor Heaney  explores what direct sourcing is, the common pitfalls and best practices with our guests.

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On this weeks podcast, Connor is joined by Joel Walker, Co-Founder and  COO of The Knowledge Group (TKG). On the podcast Joel talks about his career in outsourcing that has led him to help found TKG. Connor and Joel have a lively discussion around remote working specifically in outsourced organisation like sales and contact centres as well as the future of outsourced labour.

Joel also discusses how TKG solve complex customer needs by harnessing machine learning and technology to match  client requirements with an expert partner network and a rapidly growing international marketplace.

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Houston we have lift off!

This week, Connor spoke with Program Manager at NASA Tournament Lab and the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation Steve Rader. Steve leads NASA’s efforts to leverage crowd-based platforms for open innovation and open talent to bring value to NASA’s programs and innovation efforts around the U.S. Government.

Steve discusses his fascinating career at Nasa, how open innovation is transforming the organisation and where he sees the future of labour heading in this fascinating conversation.

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Visit Nasa:         

Key Points

What is Resource?

We set up Resource only 18 months or so ago, recognising that there was a requirement in the industry to be a sort of definitive source of data in what’s happening in open talent and freelancing with open talent platforms. We wanted to help enterprises, typically big businesses to put in place strategies, which would help them to access open talent at scale and have the confidence that we’ve sorted out operating model design, security, compliance, tax implications, etc.

What is Open Assembly?

Open Assembly, set up way before us, three or four years prior. It had come out of Harvard University’s laboratory for innovation science, and John Windsor, had set it up, who’s their executive in residence. Their vision was to do the same thing to try and help enterprises understand and access open talent, and also to create a community of individuals and professionals interested in the world of open talent. 

Why they came together?

John Windsor, who runs Open Assembly, said, wouldn’t it be great if we could put the two businesses together we could achieve so much more together rather than apart. 

The experience of founding and running this kind of advisor and consulting business, along with what they have, which has this incredible community, fantastic intellectual property, great connections with the laboratory for innovation science at Harvard, it was super complimentary. Then alongside that, you’ve got the fact that we’re in Europe, they’re mostly predominantly in the US. And it actually starts to add up, and the fact that we’re philosophically aligned, and we talk the same language, and we all like having a bit of fun, and realise that if you don’t have a bit of fun, then work is just work. It all adds up to a natural coming together. 

What is CTW?

We also run a component of this called our centre for the transformation of work (CTW). Part of this initiative is about making sure that the supply side, the freelance side of all the all the individuals that are participating in this new movement, get a chance to succeed, and that as much effort and energy goes into all of the considerations that are required to make their lives work happen.

The members of the CTW at the moment is 2500 companies or individuals who are members and anybody can join. It’s free, and we get together twice a month to have these discussions where the members of the CTW are all of the same mind. We are all working on behalf of freelancers who earn their living through digital platforms, we want to make that a valid and viable career choice. We want to be lobbying governments to make sure that they are, considered in their plans and, and have the right tax application, we want to work with insurance companies to ensure that, freelancers who earn their living by digital platforms, let’s call them open talent professionals have the ability to pay into pensions and to pay into health and health insurance, because they’re not all fortunate of the NHS like, like we are, that they have certainty.

What is your vision for Open Assembly and the future of work?

We hope that Open Assembly opens the eyes of large enterprises to what’s possible, through an open talent and innovation models are freelancers accessing opportunity via digital platforms. We want to be seen as a standard way of getting things done. That’s our vision. We’ll do that company by company. On the the other side, we want to use the centre for the transformation of work the CTW, to ensure that all of the right constituent parts are involved in making freelancing via digital platforms a valid and viable career choice. And if we can do both of those things, get the supply and demand working, we think we’ll have the opportunity to transform work for a billion people, which is part of the mission of the centre for the transformation at work. So that’s our, our big, hairy, audacious goal.

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