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The Strategic, Integrated Role of Human Resources in the New Era of Work

January 27, 2023

TRANSFORMING
WORK

WITH
SOPHIE WADE

The Strategic, Integrated Role of Human Resources in the New Era of Work

The Strategic, Integrated Role of Human Resources in the New Era of Work

Allison Allen, worked at Twitter as Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition, through December 2022. She starts a new job at an as-yet-unnamed company in February. Allison’s expertise spans HR roles including Organizational Development, Diversity & Inclusion, and Talent Acquisition, mostly involving change management. Her experiences equip her well to recognize and adapt for ongoing workplace transformations—for leadership, HR, and managers at all levels. Allison discusses performance management, how leaders can foster employee engagement, who is responsible for retention, how Talent Acquisition can hire people internally, ways Human Resources can benefit from integrating silos, and much more.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[02:22] Allison starts her career in risk management but decides she prefers a more “human” focus.

[02:55] Allison joins McKinsey during a period of change and is fascinated by people’s reactions.

[05:35] Next, she overhauls Cushman & Wakefield’s performance management process.

[06:05] After Deutsche Bank, Allison moves to Bloomberg focusing on organizational development during a strong growth phase at the company.

[07:03] Allison considers her interest in helping companies in the midst of change.

[07:28] What people need to deal with change: communication, strategy, understanding, and time.

[09:28] Drawing on her range of experiences, Allison thinks holistically how to help each person succeed.

[11:24] What are the learnings from each role to take away and grow as a leader?

[12:44] Performance management started to protect organizations, but it should be about employees and supervisors being on the same page.

[14:12] It is a leader’s role to connect with their team members individually.

[15:00] Feedback is not a gift—what is it?

[17:16] Allison sees a huge opportunity in Talent Acquisition stepping back and reframing perspectives and approaches.

[18:20] Instead of hiring new people, a first consideration can be reassigning existing employees.

[18:49] Talent Acquisition can also be responsible for retaining people and helping their career development.

[21:56] What drives people and what do they need? Organizational Development exists to provide the answers.

[22:31}Talent Acquisition can be responsible for helping ensure an organization can attract and satisfy people.

[24:01] The multifaceted nature of Gen Zs.

[26:15] What Allison would say to a leader who is concerned about younger employees’ side hustles and how to achieve their discretionary effort.

[28:10] McKinsey was a formative experience for Allison when she was assessed on her ability to deliver results.

[29:13] We should get over ourselves and move on from traditional ideas of tenure (and more).

[31:30] “This is going to end badly” was Allison’s reaction when observing earlier mass hiring in tech.

[33:39] Firing new employees before they started work was a negative new trend Allison witnessed.

[34:02] Leaders—especially in the people team—need to be bolder about asking (strategic and operational) questions about the business.

[37:00] Allison is excited about her new job—wherever that may be!

[38:02] Aspects that attracted Allison to her new employer: leadership, operational agility, accountability, responsibility, and integration (rather than silos).

[39:59] Allison believes the world needs more leaders who have and lead with empathy.

[42:50] IMMEDIATE ACTION TIP: Within your people team, look for ways to break down the silos and integrate everything so objectives are not isolated by function. For example, it should be important to the Talent Acquisition leader to retain—as well as hire—people.

QUOTES

“How do we get people more comfortable with the notion that things will change, that they are not going to stay the same?”

“My role is actually to figure out how all these pieces come together so that we can impact people in the best way and we can actually impact the business in the best way.”

“I'm excited about it now because I think there's a huge opportunity at this moment for TA [Talent Acquisition] organizations to step back and reframe.”

“I actually don’t think we should worry about side hustles as managers: if you let your employees do what they want to do, you’ll get discretionary effort.”

“Just because my job is to hire people it doesn’t mean that my job isn’t also to challenge numbers.”

“I think we have to help people recognize that empathy doesn’t correlate to “soft” and weakness.“

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