The #WonderWomen Series: Pat Wadors
Pat was formerly Senior Vice President Global Talent Organisation at LinkedIn and is now Chief Talent Officer - CHRO at ServiceNow, one of the fastest growing companies in the world.
Pat is regarded as one of the top CHRO’s globally and her impact at creating an employee first culture around diversity, inclusion and belonging at LinkedIn is regarded as one of the best corporate cultures out there.
What does your typical day as the Chief Talent Officer at ServiceNow look like?
I try to ‘porpoise up’ as I call it, working with John Donahoe, ServiceNow’s CEO, and my peers, always looking and aligning to the business’ strategy. Constantly asking myself questions such as, what does a 10-billion-dollar company look like? What does a great enduring company look like? What does a great place to work look like in a really healthy way for our employees? Then I take that and reverse engineer down on my day to day. This transpires into, what programs need to be put in place? What talent do I need to hire both in my own function and in tech or in sales? How should we organise ourselves for the stage the company is at today? I’m always keeping an eye on the future.
My day is varied, interchanging between strategic and tactical. I focus on thinking about employee sentiment and their voice on what works, what doesn't work, what we can improve, as I am committed to the employee and their experience and those moments that matter. Creating a great place to work - that is, a healthy enduring company - really stimulates me. It gets me up in the morning.
At Linkedin, you paid particular attention to how millennials fit in with the modern workforce and their ‘habit’ of job-hopping. How do you think this will impact the workforce over the next 10 years?
Regardless of age we all want to be developed, challenged, appreciated, and know that we're having an impact. Regardless of where we are, what age we are, we all crave the same development, the opportunity to advance, the opportunity to grow.
I think with millennials, if you look at the things that drive them to take a job, they're more likely to take less pay to be aligned with their personal purpose. They want community involvement and to align with the company's purpose. Doing that matters to them more than any other generation. The second thing that this generation is willing to do is advocate for change. They know that change can happen and feel like they have the right to raise their hand and seek that change. Where other generations have been happy to be led, they're not, so they help me stimulate my creative thinking and I learn more rapidly through them.
Essentially, millennials demand a little bit louder, and they have the technology know-how. I think we have a responsibility to tell them in their journey more often about how they're growing, every generation wants that. What they're asking for is really not unique. It's something that the human condition wants.
In your talk at Talent Connect 2016, you said that millennials are ‘the most blended generation in the world’ – what do forward-thinking employers need to be doing to attract and inspire them as employees?
Firstly, identity needs to be considered, because even if you look at 23andMe, people take such tests and realise they're a combination of so many different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, but how do they identify? That's what matters. As well as how they find a place where they belong and not only survive but thrive in their unique authentic self. They want to be that person. They want to be their whole self at work in all their complexity, in all their joy.
Secondly, to attract millennials, a healthy environment needs to be created, where you accept their full authenticity. You accept more freedom to express personal self, such as tattoos and coloured hair, as long as it's respectful, because it doesn't tie to IQ. Such differences could be the spark of innovation, because the diversity of experience, diversity of thought, actually creates better outcomes. The magic happens at a team level, so the more the team can have differences in age, demographics, background, perspectives, the optimist, the pessimist, the introvert, the extrovert, we will be better off.
How have things changed for women in the workplace since you started out?
I think in my early career, women were not advocates for women enough, I often had to rely on men to mentor and inspire me. The women that were few and far between who crashed through that ceiling were a bit hardened by that journey, so their coaching and advocacy on what it takes to get to where they are is is harder to get. When I was younger, the world made you feel a bit like you had to hide your femininity and adopt masculine traits. We didn't share enough stories about the complexity of being a mother, pregnancy, pay parity and how your income matters. People assumed because you were a woman that you had the secondary income, not the primary. Such assumptions harm our ability to earn viable incomes, and a quality of life that we deserve, and fair pay.
Now there is much more awareness, especially with International women's events and governments looking at pay parity. Companies are now really standing up and saying this is something that matters, and it's changing the GDP of countries. If you think about women that were not able to work and are able to a global scale – so much has changed. Women can work out of their home, earn a living, support their family in ways never before imagined, where it was shunned before.
It is not acceptable that a man raises his hand when he's 70% skilled for a job, but a women waits until she is 110% skilled for the next opportunity. Don't look at that lack of confidence as lack of ability! If you turned around and said, "I believe in you", they will be the most loyal and productive quality leader you can find.
And finally, what does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Celebrate women. Celebrate our progress but look to the future. There are so many opportunities left in the world where women are not educated, or employed, or fully employed. Locking arms, raising voices, taking a stand on education, employment, rights, and women partnering with men, will make this a reality. Yes, IWD is a day. It's a few days, but it's a mind-set. It's something that's been going on for decades, and it's just gaining more momentum. It's a movement. It's showing compassion for the full human being regardless of gender.