New Western’s Rahul Yodh on the Importance of Culture for Recruiters

 Rahul D. Yodh, vice president, talent acquisition, New Western

Talent Acquisition

The vice president of talent acquisition at No. 23 on the Fortune Best Workplaces in Real Estate list in 2023 talks about flexibility, AI, and the power of curiosity.

For talent acquisition pros and recruiters, the value of workplace culture is inescapable.

It’s easier to recruit the best talent when you can tout a best-in-class experience. When your employees are willing to be ambassadors on your behalf, they can become your best recruiters. Referrals and nominations are invaluable assets for companies scaling their workforce.

We spoke with Rahul D. Yodh, vice president of talent acquisition at New Western about his work to support employees at the No. 23 company on the Fortune Best Workplaces in Real Estate™ list in 2023. 

Here’s what he shared with us about his career journey, lessons from the pandemic, advice for others building high-trust workplace cultures, and more:

What was the hook that first got you interested in workplace culture?

Yodh: With a background in talent acquisition, the hook that drew me into workplace culture was simple: It was easier to attract and retain high-performing talent to organizations that did workplace culture right.

As I delved deeper into understanding what made a great workplace culture, my curiosity transformed into a pursuit of knowledge. I sought opportunities to learn and experiment with strategies for cultivating, fostering, and harnessing a positive workplace environment.

Today, my journey has brought me to New Western, where my responsibilities encompass talent acquisition, human resources, and learning. I’m committed to leveraging my experience to craft an environment that embodies our values of social connection, high performance, and cohesion. I firmly believe that a strong workplace culture attracts top talent, enhances employee satisfaction, boosts productivity, and drives organizational success.

What has been the biggest challenge you faced in your career when trying to build a great workplace culture?

Yodh: One of the most significant challenges I’ve encountered in my career when striving to build a great workplace culture is the resistance to change and deeply ingrained behavior within organizations.

To overcome this challenge, I realized the importance of taking a patient and strategic approach. I began by fostering open communication channels and transparent discussions to address concerns and gain buy-in from key stakeholders. By actively listening to employee feedback and involving them in the decision-making process, I was able to gradually build trust and alignment towards our cultural goals.

Implementing incremental changes proved to be effective in breaking down resistance and generating momentum for cultural transformation. We celebrated small victories along the way, reinforcing the positive impact of each change and encouraging further adaptation.

Additionally, I recognized the importance of data in objectively measuring our progress. We implemented systems to collect and track relevant metrics. These data points provided valuable insights into the effectiveness of our initiatives and guided our ongoing efforts to shape a thriving workplace culture.

What is the No. 1 lesson you have learned about what it means to be a great workplace in a post-pandemic environment?

Yodh: The foremost lesson I’ve gleaned about being a great workplace in a post-pandemic environment is the imperative of recognizing and adapting to the profound shifts that have occurred.

It’s clear that the strategies and norms of the pre-pandemic era are no longer sufficient. As we navigate this new landscape, it’s crucial to prioritize flexibility and empathy. At our organization, we’ve implemented a range of initiatives aimed at supporting our employees in this regard. This includes offering remote work arrangements and curated opportunities to meet and collaborate in person.

Ultimately, we view this commitment to flexibility and empathy as not only essential for the well-being of our employees but also as a strategic advantage in our pursuit to constantly increase our talent density.

Meet inspiring leaders like Rahul at our next For All™ Summit May 7-9, 2024 in New Orleans

How do you think AI will change your work? Are you excited for those changes?

Yodh: I am excited about what AI is going to bring to our work. I envision AI helping to enhance, support, and enable our workforce to be better and more efficient. In fact, we have already started to embrace AI as a tool in our toolbox.

Last year we implemented an AI tool that helps our recruiters focus on having an engaging conversation with candidates instead of being distracted by feedback forms and note taking. This has resulted in a better candidate experience and higher quality outcomes.

What’s your favorite career advice you’ve ever received? Why?

Yodh: “Be curious.” This advice resonates with me because it emphasizes the importance of maintaining a curious mindset throughout one's career journey.

By being curious, I continuously seek out new knowledge, experiences, and perspectives, fostering personal and professional growth. Curiosity encourages me to ask questions, explore new ideas, and challenge the status quo, ultimately leading to innovation and success in my endeavors. It’s a reminder to approach every opportunity with an open mind and a thirst for learning.

What’s a recent book or podcast you loved that you recommend to our community?

Yodh: Book: “Powerful: Building A Culture of Freedom and Responsibility” by Patty McCord. Podcasts: “Talk Talent To Me” hosted by Rob Stevenson and “The Breakthrough Hiring Show” hosted by James Mackey.

What about your job makes you excited to come to work every day?

Yodh: I absolutely love the challenges associated with hypergrowth and scaling. Each day is different, each challenge is a learning experience.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about how workplaces operate in the world today, what would it be?

Yodh: It would be to foster a culture of continuous learning and development for all team members. Investing in ongoing education and skill enhancement not only benefits individuals in their careers but also enhances organizational agility and innovation.

By prioritizing learning and development, workplaces can adapt more effectively to change and empower employees to reach their full potential.

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