Meet the new host of the People Managing People podcast: David Rice—Senior Editor at People Managing People.
In this episode, David shares his career journey and how he got to where he is today. As well as his thoughts on how HR is changing in our tech-savvy world, especially with all the buzz around AI and remote work.
He also teases upcoming episodes where he’ll chat with HR, People & Culture, and leadership experts about everything from the nitty-gritty of workplace tech to big ideas in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the ever-important topics of employee wellness and the skills gap.
Tune in to meet David, and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes.
- New Host Introduction [0:29]
- David is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and has a passion for soccer and outdoor activities.
- Started his career as a journalist in 2007, covering a wide range of topics from sports to business for eight years.
- Transitioned to content marketing due to the changing landscape, finding commonality with other journalism professionals in the field of brand storytelling.
- Explored higher education marketing, specifically healthcare IT programs, gaining insights into the challenges of the health IT industry.
- Immersed in the world of health IT, conducted innovative projects such as launching a podcast and delved into HR through audio content research.
- Worked for an events company running an HR website, serving as the editor, podcast host, and lead event content creator during a transformative period in 2020 amid the pandemic and George Floyd events.
- About a year later, shifted focus to DEI by joining a DEI-focused company as a managing editor, leading event programming, website management, and content strategy for two years.
- His journey through HR, DEI, and talent-focused roles over the last four years led David to his current position.
- David adopts an outsider perspective on HR and people ops, allowing him the freedom to examine approaches, goals, and ERG development without being tied to specific people-focused goals of a business.
- During his time at a DEI consultancy, he provided perspective on ERG development by considering broader impacts on society, speaking on a tactical and best practices level beyond the organization’s walls.
- Advocates for honest discussions about what is realistically achievable in business actions and acknowledges the need for mandates from governments or social institutions in certain areas.
- Emphasizes the importance of framing conversations in a way that aligns with what makes sense for both business and society, recognizing that a perspective solely driven by business interests may not always be beneficial.
- David is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and has a passion for soccer and outdoor activities.
- Upcoming Topics: A Sneak Peek into Future Podcast Episodes [6:35]
- David emphasizes the need to focus on actionable and pressing issues in the workplace, particularly in the realm of technology.
- Acknowledges the prevalence of technology in the workplace and the challenge of making sense of it, highlighting the importance of tailoring tech stacks to meet specific needs and understanding the impact of AI on people.
- Highlights the challenges of addressing topics like the legal and compliance landscape in text format, and expresses a preference for the podcast format to make such information more accessible through expert conversations and impactful stories.
- Evolution of People and Culture Practices [9:43]
- Pre-pandemic, HR was often associated with compliance, case management (e.g., for sexual harassment claims), payroll, and benefits.
- The pandemic significantly altered the employee experience, especially in managing remote employees, with some companies struggling to adapt, leading to calls for employees to return to the office.
- There’s a shift in people’s focus towards personal fulfillment, mental health, and changing expectations from work, contrasting with attitudes from 10 years ago.
- The impact of inflation on salary expectations in the job market, with individuals seeking satisfaction in work beyond monetary compensation.
- David highlights a stat indicating that only 14% of hiring managers believe college graduates are ready for work and another stat revealing that only 50% of graduates feel emotionally ready for the workplace.
- He envisions a shift in hiring practices, with a focus on hiring people to innovate and leveraging AI in ways that may not be fully understood by hiring managers.
- While jobs may not be lost to AI directly, they could be lost to individuals who effectively use AI, emphasizing the changing landscape of skill sets.
Culture is a key component in every part of the employee life cycle. They’ve got to feel it and they’ve got to see it come through in your actions.David Rice
- Current Struggles for People Managers and HR [15:45]
- David describes the challenges faced by HR professionals during the pandemic, with constant changes, unexpected events like the death of George Floyd, the emergence of the great resignation, and women leaving the workforce.
- The transformation of HR from a focused field to one that encompasses various aspects, requiring professionals to wear multiple hats, including operations, talent acquisition, retention, development, DEI, and employer brand.
- There’s an ongoing need for HR professionals to navigate human capital needs amidst technological advancements, citing ChatGPT as an example.
- Human connection and skills will continue to hold value despite technological advancements and societal changes, comparing it to the value we place on currency.
Meet Our Guest
David Rice is a long time journalist and editor who specializes in covering human resources and leadership topics. His career has seen him focus on a variety of industries for both print and digital publications in the United States and UK.
As long as we value human connection, human skills, and what humans bring to the table, they’re going to continue to work.David Rice
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Read The Transcript:
We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.
Becca Banyard: Welcome to the People Managing People podcast. We're on a mission to build a better world of work and to help you create happy, healthy and productive workplaces. I'm your host, Becca Banyard.
But not for long. Today I have the pleasure of introducing and interviewing our very own David Rice. He's the Senior Editor here at People Managing People. And as of today, he is the new host of the show.
So David, welcome.
David Rice: Oh, thank you. It's a pleasure to be here and to take over.
Becca Banyard: I want folks to really get a good picture of who you are as the new host. So let's start there. Why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself, how you got to where you are in the world of people and culture, and also what you're passionate about?
David Rice: Yeah. So, I mean, a little bit about me, I'm a big soccer nerd. I love the outdoors, like the, you know, sort of my passions. I live in Atlanta, Georgia, so I'm very blessed with a beautiful landscape around me. I'm always trying to take advantage of that. But in terms of like how I got to where I am, you know, I was a journalist for a long time.
I started my career in 2007, just in time for the job market to collapse. And, uh, I worked as a journalist for eight years, and it was interesting because I covered everything. I did a little bit of sports, business, you name it, all the way down the spectrum of things you can cover. And I was very idealistic for a long time, and one day I actually wanted to get paid for a living.
So, I decided to get into content marketing. And what I found there was a bunch of journalism refugees all doing the same thing. Because brand storytelling was taking over and our skills were actually very much desired. And that led me towards higher education. So I was working for a company that partnered with universities and I was marketing healthcare analytics for our healthcare IT programs, I guess I should say, for a long time.
And that caused me to like immerse myself in the world of health IT and really learn about challenges that they had. And I actually got to do some pretty cool, like innovative things. I don't know, we launched a podcast there and basically, because I started doing all the audio work for this company, like the audio content, I started researching HR and that led me to working for an events company where I was running an HR website.
I became the editor and podcast hosts lead event content creator for this HR focused platform. And that was an education, it really was, you know, but especially considering that it's, I started in 2020 in April, just as the pandemic really hit and then George Floyd happens. And so I, I really got this education into the world of HR, what was happening in the workplace and it was sort of life changing period of time. About a year later, a little more than a year later, I was doing a lot about DEI and caught the attention of a DEI focused company.
And I became their managing editor and for two years ran their, all their event programming, their websites, all the content strategy over there. So focusing on HR talent, but through a DEI lens, it was a very interesting period of time, especially as things became more difficult for DEI was an education and that led me here.
So yeah, I've been doing HR, DEI, talent for like four years, just covering that specifically. And, uh, yeah, that's how I got to where I am today.
Becca Banyard: That's awesome. I always love hearing people tell me about their journey to where they are now, because I think it's easy to assume that it's kind of like a direct path from like point A to point B. But to hear the journey and the, the different ways that people get to where they are, I think it's just so beautiful.
So though you're not a people and culture professional, you have a lot of experience in that area, and like you said, DE&I as well. So I'm curious what you feel is your unique perspective and approach that you're going to bring to the podcast as both a journalist and somebody who's been in this field, but not necessarily as a practitioner?
David Rice: Yeah, I think it's similar to more of an outside observer of HR and people ops than someone who's really involved in the practice. But what that gives me is sort of the freedom to examine what's being done, how people are approaching things, why certain goals are being set without, and doing it without my work being tied to the people focused goals of a business, right?
So like when I was working for this DEI consultancy, clients would come to me and say, what are you seeing around, you know, ERG development around religion, for example. And I could take more of a, rather than thinking about the business's place in the community, what the impacts of adding in this ERG are going to be on a broader scale than the organization just speak specifically on a sort of tactical or best practices level and give some perspective beyond the walls of your organization.
And the other thing is, I'm not much of an idealist, so I think businesses play a really critical, sometimes too critical role in society. They influence culture in greater ways than say governments or social institutions do. But that said, I don't subscribe to the notions that corporations are people not advocating for the Supreme Court's citizen united ruling here. But I would say that businesses are like people in one sense. And that is, you can only expect them to do what's good for them. If it doesn't improve their standing amongst customers, employees, it doesn't pad the bottom line. You're being kind of unrealistic to expect it from them.
So I think that what you'll see from me in how I sort of direct conversations or what I hope to get from the show is I always want to pull whatever we're talking about back to that. Like, sometimes it'll be what is best for the business is the right thing to do for society, but I think we have to be honest about what we can realistically expect to do and what needs to be mandated in other areas, be it by, you know, governments, like I said, social institutions or something like that rather than business.
Because in truth, if business drives all things that isn't necessarily good. So I think like my perspective is always trying to frame things in the right way. What makes sense for business? What makes sense for society?
Becca Banyard: Super interesting. And I'm excited to hear more about that. But I'm curious what kind of topics specifically we can expect on the show in the coming weeks, in the coming months, what are you really wanting to go after?
David Rice: Yeah, I think we need to focus on like what's actionable and what are really pressing issues. You know, we see so much technology in the workplace today, but making sense of it all and tailoring your tech stack to meet your needs, you know, making sense of AI and the impact that that's going to have on your people.
It's a really interesting time for all that. There's a lot of snake oil salesmanship going on out in the market around, especially AI right now. I hope that we can help people weed through some of that and keep the bigger picture in focus as they adopt new technologies and what's really going to help their business, what's going to drive results.
I mentioned previously that businesses have this huge influence on broader culture as well as work culture, and I hope to examine some of that and look at how important initiatives like things like DEI, L&D, sustainability, employee wellness and mental health, how do all those things plug into driving success on multiple fronts.
Whether that's your employer brand or you're straight up bottom line. And then I think the other cool thing about a podcast and why I love this format so much is that it's not just a conversation, right? It's format where you can dig into something, some pretty complicated things in a more digestible way than text.
And don't get me wrong, I love writing, right? That's how I've made my living. But when it say it comes to something like legal and compliance landscape, well, laws change, standards and regulations change. How does all that impact the workplace? What are other ramifications upon on that that you may not see right away?
Is there any research to back up this stuff? It's sometimes when you do those things in text format, it gets so rich that it's like reading a book, but it's only an article, you know. So I love this format because it allows you to make it accessible and easier to understand by talking to experts, by telling the stories that, you know, where you're seeing an impact from a regulation or something like that. So I'd like to do some of that as well. I think it's a great way to take something complicated like that and get easier for everybody.
Becca Banyard: Yeah, I love that. I love that idea of making things accessible and inclusive too, so that more people can understand. It doesn't have to be a big complicated thing that only certain people get to understand. It'd be for everyone.
David Rice: Yeah. And what I love about this too is like, we really can elevate all these different voices by just facilitating the conversation and sort of getting out of their way. Whereas like the nature of an article, let's say, yes, I can quote them, but you can't hear them.
You don't hear their passion comes through. You don't hear like the intricacy of their thought as much as you do with a format like this. When you need to talk about elevating diverse voices, that's really how you have to do it. You have to clear the space for them to shine and be them.
Becca Banyard: So you'd mentioned about laws changing. I want to talk a little bit more about the change in the industry. What have you seen or how have you seen people in culture change as a practice over the last few years?
David Rice: Yeah. It's interesting because pre pandemic, I think most people thought of HR and they thought about things like compliance. They thought about case management for something like sexual harassment claim.
They thought about payroll and benefits, but with the rise of like employee engagement and employee experience in the years just before the pandemic and all the different recruitment and talent management practices, then the pandemic happens and all of that stuff comes center stage. The employee experience completely changed.
How you manage employees completely changed in a lot of companies, they never really figured out how to manage people in the remote space. And that's why a lot of them are ordering them to come back because they still haven't figured it out. But, you know, culture is a key component in every part of the employee life cycle.
They've got to feel it, they've got to see it, they've got to see it come through in your actions. So especially now at this time when so many people are aligning who they work for and what they do with their ideals, their aspirations for the future, not even just for their lives. Right? But society as a whole culture it's defining them and something that defines your organization.
Uh, trying to remember that old Peter Drucker quote about it, you know, I'm drawing a blank right now, but, um, yeah, it's changed so much in the last couple of years. Even that, what I said previously, that kind of speaks to how people have changed in the last few years, we're more focused on ourselves. We're about focused on doing something fulfilling, making sure that we have space for our mental health.
People's expectations and what they want from work are very different than they were 10 years ago. And I think that's going to continue, you know, it's sort of like with inflation being when you go out in the job market, I've talked to a lot of people who are kind of between things or moving or want to move and like, what is a reasonable salary to ask for anymore?
Because the inflation has sort of distorted your idea of what's necessary so much that a lot of what you find out in the market doesn't match it, and so people are finding other ways to be satisfied with their work other than just salary. That's interesting. That's an interesting development.
I don't know with inflation and the demands that it places upon people, how much that will continue. I think where a lot of people are just gonna want money in exchange, because they need it. If there's no other way around that, you need it. So, but it's going to be an interesting shift to see over the next couple of years.
Becca Banyard: Do you have an idea of what else we can expect in like, if we were to look, you know, at the next 10 years or so, what you can expect to see in this world of human resources and people and culture and leadership.
David Rice: I think that skills gap conversation that we're going to be having and how you get people to the next place in their career, or we've just done a recording for my first episode. One of the stats that stuck with me through it, and I keep coming back to it in my mind, only 14% of hiring managers actually feel that people coming out of college are ready to work.
That's crazy to me. And when I came across another one actually recently, and it said, um, only 50% of college graduates feel that they're emotionally ready for the workplace. And I'm not sure what exactly they mean by emotionally, but I think that these two things tie together, right? So people aren't ready for the demand that's going to be placed on them because they don't feel as though they're, they're having an emotional reaction to not being actually ready skills wise for what they're being asked to do.
And employers are like looking at it thinking, why are these folks not coming out and they don't know this, this, that, right? They don't, they're not ready to hit the ground running. At some point that skills gap has, especially at a time when we're outsourcing a lot of things to AI, right?
Like this is just happening at a rapid pace now. That skills gap has got to get closed and it's going to be people using AI in different ways, in ways that probably a hiring manager maybe not, doesn't even understand at times. You're going to be hiring people to innovate. That's essentially kind of what it is.
And it's going to be an interesting shift around how we work. I recently heard one expert say, well, nobody's going to lose their job to AI in the next three years, but you're definitely going to lose it to somebody who uses AI. And I think that that's really interesting because we're going to talk about different skill sets that traditionally had nothing to do with that role.
So, yeah, I think in terms of the future for talent professionals, I also did read an article from Fortune recently that said that, uh, most CEOs said that the most low priority area for AI investment is HR and people operations. So your work is not going to go to AI, but everybody else's is. So it's, yeah, it is interesting where we're headed around AI, because it is going to change how we work, what we do for work.
And at a time where we're all demanding flexibility about where we work and when we work, it's sort of like the who, what, where and why that was the old journalism thing, right? The key to a good story, all of this stuff is in flux. And that's why I'm excited as a storyteller, because there's definitely a story here to tell.
Becca Banyard: I'm so excited to hear more about this and to, to listen to that episode that you're referencing about hiring managers, the stats that you were sharing from your first episode. I'm really looking forward to that one.
So I think you've touched on it already, but I wanted to dig in a little bit more with you about just some of the challenges and pain points that people managers and HR are facing. Where do you see their greatest challenge right now?
David Rice: I think when you talk to folks in the field, there's a sense of, it's almost like actual pain because the pandemic took up so much of their capacity for a couple of years. Like it just felt like everything was constantly changing. You had to fly by the seat of your pants, build the ship as you go, all those sort of like little cliches, right?
They all came to life. It felt like during the pandemic and there was challenges within there, right? You had the, the George Floyd thing, and then you had other challenges that nobody saw coming, you know, the great resignation, women leaving the workforce in crazy numbers. So I think HR has gone from being a fairly focused field to a field that sort of touches everything, right?
You've got to wear an operations hat. You've got to wear a talent acquisition hat, a retention hat, a development hat, another for DEI, another for the employer brand. And so on and so on and so on. And it's sort of different from any other part of the business because how HR has taken its place at the leadership table is the ability to influence, aid and develop people, but people are in every single part of the business.
So it's not the HR has to have expertise in every single area, but in a way, forgive the sort of gross analogy here, but their fingers are in all the pies, so to speak. So they are touching everything and sort of monitoring everything. And then in this role where because they're at the intersection of the business and people, they have to think about things nobody else thinks about.
You know, I just published a story on the website about climate change and I can remember five years ago, going, I lived in Florida and going through a hurricane, a major hurricane, but we as a business had to just stop. Everything stopped and it was crazy. Like it was, it was like nothing I'd ever seen before.
The, the, the state went into like a panic, like I, like I lived there for 34 years and in those 34 years, I never saw anything like the level of panic people were punching each other on reply what in parking lots like. It was chaos, you know, and HR had this really interesting sort of journey that it went on through that, about like communicating with us, letting everybody know, you know, like, take this with you, leave these things in the office.
We need you to do this. We need you to do that. Like, it was all a learning thing for them at the time. And you could tell at times, cause the organization of it and sort of the execution of it wasn't always perfect, but it was fascinating. And that kind of stuff is just going to continue to happen, right?
You're going to have to navigate the human capital needs of your organization with the technology that's coming out. A year ago right now, at the time that you and I are recording it, we didn't even know what ChatGPT was. And one year later, it's in almost everybody's workflow at some point, it feels like. That is a massive change and a new skill set that you've got to account for now.
And that kind of stuff is going to continue to happen. So it's challenging as a people leader, as a operations leader as well, to read the tea leaves a little bit, but also still have be rooted down into the people within your organization. So that when something happens, when the wildfires reach the doorsteps of your office, that you have the capacity, the resiliency within the business to keep it going, keep it operating, because we are all dealing with this now.
Everybody across the world, you know, you can throw a dart at a map and there's something going on with the climate, you know, wherever it lands. I've been doing a lot of research lately, so forgive me for going on a tangent, but there's this sort of vision some people have of like a utopia where we guess we don't work for a living. I can't see that being the case. I'll just be honest, like all the robots will do it all. And I'm like, I don't, I still think that human connection will have some sort of value just because we value it. It was really, you know, the only thing that gives money value is the fact that we all agree on it.
If otherwise, it would just be interesting looking paper. And I, I think that it's the same thing here that, you know, we all, as long as we value human connection, human skills, what humans bring to the table, they're going to continue to work. And you know, somebody definitely values us paying our bills on our taxes, so you're going to continue to work.
Now, I wanted to ask you a question. What is something that you never expected to learn that you have taken from your time as the host of this podcast?
Becca Banyard: I don't know if it's something that I didn't expect to learn, but something that I have just seen over episode after episode after episode is just the beauty of people.
And when we ask somebody a question, when we really look at them and are curious about what they have to say, just seeing them open up and their passion come out and seeing them come alive and like, people have so much, so much treasure inside of them, and just giving them the opportunity to open up and to share that is just a beautiful thing.
And I feel like I can't pick one specific thing that I learned, but just getting to talk to so many different people and hear their stories and hear their insights and what they've learned over the years, their expertise has been just such an honor for me. I really enjoyed my time as the host of the show.
David Rice: I hope we get the same experience.
Becca Banyard: All right. Well, David, it's been such a pleasure chatting with you and just learning more about your journey and what we can expect in the coming months of the show. You are now the host of the show. So I'm actually going to pass it over to you to close it out.
David Rice: All right.
Well, thank you for everyone for joining us today on the People Managing People podcast. If you want to learn more about what we got going on over at People Managing People, just head on over to the website peoplemanagingpeople.com/subscribe to subscribe to the newsletter, and you can keep up on all the things that we have going on. A lot of good content coming your way, a lot of hard work going into the website, very excited to be involved.
With that in mind, smell some flowers, pet some dogs, enjoy, have a good week!