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Sam Jacobs, Founder & CEO, Pavilion | PUBLISHED ON Oct 7, 2021

On the Rise Volume 1: Thoughts on the war for talent in 2021

Brought to you by Pavilion

Welcome to the first edition of On the Rise. If you’re here, I hope you too envision a better world where business runs on kindness and nice folks finish first. Let’s get right into this month’s topic — the war for talent.


2020 was a record year for new business formation despite the pandemic. There are about a million more job openings than those looking for work. I’m hearing from my peers in CEO Pavilion that compensation is equivalently on the rise.

One recently told me, “It used to be that your execs either asked for tons of cash or tons of equity and understood they had to make a choice between the two, now they want both.”

So what should our collective response, as employers, be to the talent shortfall we’re seeing?

Inc. calls it an Inclusive Talent Strategy. We talked about it in our Unbiased Playbook. What it comes down to is:


Expand your talent search

There are dozens of emerging recruiting platforms that help find underrepresented candidates and training them on B2B enterprise sales. Two we’ve worked with are SV Academy and Us in Technology.


Diversity makes you better

The earlier you start building diversity into your company, the easier it will be to scale. Pavilion is over 75% women, including 50% of the leadership team. And that’s because we made it a part of our values from day 1.


Get to the heart of your business

This one is tough to get right. But something I hear time and again is “mission driven.” If your company truly has a broader purpose, you’ll be viewed more favorably. The reality, of course, is that this starts at the top and is hard to fake. Candidates are humans, and in a post-COVID world, all of us have our bullshit detectors up. Think about how to be authentic and real and identify elements of your culture that will resonate.


The future is transparent

With the acquisition of Fishbowl (a semi-anonymous community and job board), Glassdoor is betting on the rise of workplace transparency and the power of community.


Fishbowl grew 3X during the pandemic. Pavilion grew 5X. That’s no accident. Today’s workers crave connection and want open lines of communication. Here’s how you can embrace transparency and community in your org:


Invest in people

Make it a strategic goal for your company to be a good place to work. Specifically, make sure People Operations or People or whatever the function is called, reports to the CEO and has a seat at the Executive table. If not, it comes back to that bullshit detector I mentioned above.


Allow for safe spaces

Give people space to ask questions and connect, whether that’s an internal ERG or through an outside community like Pavilion or Fishbowl.


Be open about your own experiences

Openness is really about vulnerability. So many of us are convinced that leadership is only about sharing the good stuff. But I’ve seen an amazing response to sharing some of my most personal failures and setbacks, like that I was fired from 4 of my last 5 jobs before Pavilion, or the dissolution of my first marriage. I share this to underscore that success and accomplishment are never without pain, sacrifice, and failure.


A leg up in the war for talent


In this war for talent, if you can show your investment in employees’ futures, you’re going to have an advantage in recruiting.


I was talking with longtime Pavilion member Justin Cardillo on his new venture, Stride. Stride brings executive-level coaching to all employees with what they call “micro-coaching” — essentially on demand sessions with ICF-certified coaches.


We’ve both heard that managers don’t have the time or money to train, so in turn their team doesn’t have the skills needed to move up. Stride fills that gap with ongoing training, support, and outside counsel.


Imagine if access to Stride or Pavilion or a similar company was in your benefits arsenal (we also have a corporate membership, by the way). That dedication to ongoing training and support matters in today’s market and will make a difference in hiring.


More from Pavilion

Mentoring for Inclusion

Mentoring for inclusion

We co-hosted a panel with mentoring platform Guider on the power of championing inclusive mentors. Watch the recording.


The Definitive Guide to Keeping Hybrid and Remote Sales Teams Engaged & Motivated

Keeping teams engaged

We worked with Ambition to interview top revenue leaders on the best ways to motivate hybrid or remote sales teams — without compromising growth. Download here.


That’s it for me this month. If you like what you’ve read, please share with a friend. To feature your work or organization, reach out to Kerri Linsenbigler.


Until next time,



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