A Vision for Better Business Relationships: Art Papas and Arianna Huffington at Engage 2016


Bullhorn Engage 2016 is here! Earlier today, the 1,000 attendees gathered in Boston heard about Bullhorn’s vision from CEO Art Papas, got a peek inside new Bullhorn innovation, and learned business (and sleep!) lessons from Arianna Huffington. Whether you’re with us at Engage or you’re following along from home, here’s a recap of Thursday’s keynote messages.


Art Papas: The Bullhorn Vision


How do you engage the most important constituents in your work life: customers, leaders, and talent.

That was the question Art Papas asked to kick off Engage. He shared three themes that are shaping today’s business.

1. We’re living in an age of transparency.

We’re being held accountable (by customers and by employees) in ways we never were before. Social media and online review platforms have amplified word of mouth. Good news spreads fast, and bad news spreads faster. It’s not just consumers rating restaurants or hotels. B2B software buyers can visit software review sites and find out what it’s really like to be a Bullhorn customer. Prospective hires can read employee reviews on Glassdoor. 

But leaders can’t control every single customer interaction. Somewhere, one of your employees might be doing something that’s disgruntling a customer. These days, you’re only as good as your worst customer interaction.

You can think of your customer experience like a train. The train looks good. It’s nice and shiny and clean. Everything’s working. Then, someone doesn’t return a customer’s message. Or one employee leaves a bad review on Glassdoor. So, a little spot of graffiti shows up on the train.

What happens next matters a lot. A little graffiti isn’t a big deal, but if you ignore it instead of quickly cleaning it up, the train quickly gets covered in graffiti. 

What’s the solution? Technology alone isn’t the fix, but it can play a role to warn you about the graffiti you need to pay attention to.


2. Robots are here, but they’ll never take the place of relationship builders.

Think about an industry that was nonexistent in the 1960s: Staffing. Now, contingent staffing is a $120 billion business. 

Another industry that was nonexistent just a decade or two ago: Robotics. Art has been interested in the rise of robots for several years. What’s crazy is how quickly robots are improving. They’re sophisticated, they can learn and they’re taking humans’ jobs. Robots are currently replacing accountants, telemarketers and factory workers. That’s a little scary, but there’s a silver lining: Robots won’t ever take the place of humans for relationship building. When people get bad medical news, or need help finding a new job, or need advice about improving their business, they want a human’s help.

In a nutshell: If you’re in sales, you have a future. If you adopt the adage that we’re all in sales, we all have a future.


3. Work needs purpose.

The conversation about work culture has gotten a little cacophonous. Core values, purpose, culture…is this just about millennials? Art says no. We’re all working all the time, thanks to our always-on smartphones with hundreds of red notifications. When you feel over-worked and exhausted, it’s natural to come to work, look around, and wonder what the mission really is. Maybe you hear talk about core values, but you don’t really see them in action. 

Gallup research shows companies need a mission people want to get behind — beyond just making the boss rich. With tools like Glassdoor, they can find a company with the mission they want.

 If you’re a nonprofit, it’s easy to clarify your mission and rally people around it. But how can B2B companies define a meaningful mission?

At Bullhorn, we came up with a mission that really resonated: Create an incredible customer experience. 

We created a huge sign for our new building lobby.

We also created new core values that are designed to reflect the behavior we want from employees. These values are based on what we’ve learned over the past decade about what customers like and what makes them want to come back and do business with us again. We got really specific about what to do — and what not to do. We score people on those core values every quarter.

Our incredible customer experience cycle helps employees see how the mission relates to them. If we live the mission, then we have raving fans, who grow the business by telling their friends, which means we have to hire more people, create management jobs for our top performers to move into, we can create better products and services and drive growth and momentum in a positive cycle.

Art drives home the core values that lead to incredible customer experiences by publicly recognizing Bullhorn employees who have done great work.

The results: The customer experience index went off the charts, sales went through the roof, Bullhorn’s NPS grew, and the employee experience went way up — Bullhorn used to have a 3.0 score on Glassdoor, and now has a 4.5.

“For me as a leader, I feel better about what I’m doing. I get my energy from this. It’s really rewarding. Culture isn’t just touchy-feely; it’s about actually running a better business,” Art says.


Turning Vision into Innovation


After Art outlined the vision and mission that drive Bullhorn, Matt Fisher and Bryan Roy took the stage to share how Bullhorn is translating that vision into innovative new products and features. Their key focus: using technology to create “radical transparency” and better attract talent and engage people.

They gave a sneak peek at two new Bullhorn technologies:

    • Sales Duel: We’ve built the spirit of fantasy football into sales contests to truly impact behavior. Bullhorn’s first foray into gamification of sales performance is available now at salesduel.com
    • Canvas: Ad hoc reporting is here! Our new drag-and-drop report builder puts reporting directly in your hands. Build reports just the way you want them.

The goal: to make automation simpler — streamlining processes by clicks, not by code.

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