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The Talent Economy Podcast

The Future of Staffing Is Now

Companies today are facing a global war for talent. At the same time, the talent with the skills companies are fighting over wants more flexibility around the way they work and the way they live.Talent now has a choice a
Latest Episode1/18/2022

Architecting Scalable Engineering E-book Podcast

Season 2, Ep. 21
For many CTOs and directors of engineering, building scalable and successful software engineering teams can be difficult, due in large part to competing pressures and responsibilities. In addition to managing growing teams, they are tasked with keeping an eye on overall business objectives and navigating the pressures of their leadership roles—overcoming technical challenges, motivating the teams, planning for scale, settling disputes, tracking key metrics, and reporting to executive management—all of which require them to make countless vital decisions daily.Toptal’s new e-book, Architecting Scalable Engineering Teams, helps leaders build the right team structure to overcome technical challenges, motivate talent, plan for scale, and track key metrics. In this accompanying podcast, Toptal Director of Engineering Marco Santos interviews Josh Holat, the Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Cube, a company dedicated to making FP&A faster, smarter, and simpler. Marco is also joined by Nik Patel, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder at Cohesion, a cloud-based IoT company for smart buildings.This episode highlights three of the e-book’s five team models, acknowledging that any given structure for success rests largely on an organization’s size, industry, and product:● Stakeholder-focused squads. At Toptal, these squads are integral to building strong relationships between engineers and business stakeholders to ensure consistent delivery of business value.● Front-end/Back-end split structure. Cube, a financial analysis and planning platform, employs two different leaders—one to helm the front-end team and another focused on the back-end team.● Satellite teams. At Cohesion, a cloud-based IoT company for smart buildings, satellite teams ensure rapid scale and eliminate the complexity of hiring, onboarding, paying, and managing each team.Across all five models, engineering leaders recognize the value of temporary help—whether it’s to build their teams or to add expertise that they may not have in-house.“Sometimes, a project needs to get done, but the leadership team isn’t sure if the increased capacity will be necessary in the long run,” says Santos. “That is why so many startups rely on talent networks like ours to augment their teams. When you have an extra load, it’s really nice to have an amazing network of talent that can help scale up.”Download the Architecting Scalable Engineering Teams e-book here to find out:How to overcome the short- and long-term challenges engineering leaders face when building their teams.How engineering leaders structure their teams for scale and success.How to hire and retain the best engineering talent.How to strategically hire freelancers amid rapid growth.Links:MARCO SANTOS, Director of Engineering at ToptalNIK PATEL, CTO and Co-founder at CohesionJOSH HOLAT, CTO and Co-founder at Cube
1/18/2022

Architecting Scalable Engineering E-book Podcast

Season 2, Ep. 21
For many CTOs and directors of engineering, building scalable and successful software engineering teams can be difficult, due in large part to competing pressures and responsibilities. In addition to managing growing teams, they are tasked with keeping an eye on overall business objectives and navigating the pressures of their leadership roles—overcoming technical challenges, motivating the teams, planning for scale, settling disputes, tracking key metrics, and reporting to executive management—all of which require them to make countless vital decisions daily.Toptal’s new e-book, Architecting Scalable Engineering Teams, helps leaders build the right team structure to overcome technical challenges, motivate talent, plan for scale, and track key metrics. In this accompanying podcast, Toptal Director of Engineering Marco Santos interviews Josh Holat, the Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Cube, a company dedicated to making FP&A faster, smarter, and simpler. Marco is also joined by Nik Patel, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder at Cohesion, a cloud-based IoT company for smart buildings.This episode highlights three of the e-book’s five team models, acknowledging that any given structure for success rests largely on an organization’s size, industry, and product:● Stakeholder-focused squads. At Toptal, these squads are integral to building strong relationships between engineers and business stakeholders to ensure consistent delivery of business value.● Front-end/Back-end split structure. Cube, a financial analysis and planning platform, employs two different leaders—one to helm the front-end team and another focused on the back-end team.● Satellite teams. At Cohesion, a cloud-based IoT company for smart buildings, satellite teams ensure rapid scale and eliminate the complexity of hiring, onboarding, paying, and managing each team.Across all five models, engineering leaders recognize the value of temporary help—whether it’s to build their teams or to add expertise that they may not have in-house.“Sometimes, a project needs to get done, but the leadership team isn’t sure if the increased capacity will be necessary in the long run,” says Santos. “That is why so many startups rely on talent networks like ours to augment their teams. When you have an extra load, it’s really nice to have an amazing network of talent that can help scale up.”Download the Architecting Scalable Engineering Teams e-book here to find out:How to overcome the short- and long-term challenges engineering leaders face when building their teams.How engineering leaders structure their teams for scale and success.How to hire and retain the best engineering talent.How to strategically hire freelancers amid rapid growth.Links:MARCO SANTOS, Director of Engineering at ToptalNIK PATEL, CTO and Co-founder at CohesionJOSH HOLAT, CTO and Co-founder at Cube
1/10/2022

Can You Train Managers to Be Empathetic?

Season 2, Ep. 20
The COVID-19 pandemic not only brought about sweeping changes to the way we work, but it also offered crucial insights into what employees truly want and need from their employers. In this episode, we speak with Tracy Layney, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of iconic apparel company Levi Strauss & Co., about the adjustments the company has made since the pandemic when it comes to flexibility, wellness, and overall work-life fit. She shares the lessons the pandemic has taught her and why she feels strongly that these learnings shape the workplace of the future.Layney is responsible for Levi’s people strategy on a global scale, including recruiting, employee engagement, talent management, compensation and benefits, HR technology, and HR communications. She brings more than 20 years of experience in human resources and organization strategy to her role.Prior to joining the company, Layney served as Senior VP and CHRO of Shutterfly, a leading retailer of personalized photo-based products. Before that, she spent 10 years at Gap Inc., where she held numerous HR senior leadership roles. Layney has also held positions at PwC/IBM Business Consulting Services where she worked with Fortune 500 clients in the high tech, financial services, retail, and healthcare industries. She is active in the HR thought-leader community and serves on the Board of HR People & Strategy, the executive network of the Society for Human Resource Management.Also in this episode, Layney talks about what it was like to work in the Bay Area at the beginning of the dot-com boom and how she discovered her passion for organization strategy. She discusses how navigating the early days of the pandemic called for crisis-management skills, and how Levi’s pledged to emerge from the most tumultuous times stronger than ever. Finally, she explains why empathy is so integral to leadership, and why the company offered an artificial intelligence bootcamp to its employees.Some Questions Asked:How did you navigate Levi’s COVID-19 response so quickly after joining the company?What are some strategies that the company is implementing to achieve a stronger, healthier, and more productive workplace?Do you believe it’s possible to train people to be empathetic?In This Episode, You Will Learn:How Layney credits her experience of being laid off with helping land her current CHRO position.Why Layney believes that forgetting the lessons learned during the pandemic would be missing the opportunity of a lifetime.How Levi’s has implemented a comprehensive employee support mechanism that includes child care and access to mental health services.Links:Tracy Layney - in FortuneTracy Layney - at Levi Strauss & Co.Tracy Layney - LinkedIn
12/7/2021

Putting Customers First Means Caring for Employees

Season 2, Ep. 19
Big companies have often treated efforts to build a cohesive corporate culture as an afterthought. More recently, however, and particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders like Angela Santone, Senior Executive Vice President of Human Resources for AT&T, have begun to realize that cultivating a positive environment is integral to maintaining a dedicated workforce. Santone says that in order to fulfill its mission of putting customers first, AT&T focuses on caring for the employees who serve those customers, creating an inclusive culture that helps it attract and retain exceptional talent, even in the face of the Great Resignation.Santone, who oversees AT&T’s global human resources strategy, leads a team of HR experts rethinking the company’s talent development practices, total rewards and benefits programs, and culture initiatives. She was appointed to the role in 2019 after serving as Chief Administrative Officer of AT&T.Before joining AT&T, Santone served as Executive Vice President and Global Chief Human Resources Officer at Turner Broadcasting System Inc., where she led a global HR strategy. Her executive oversight included talent acquisition and retention, learning and development, employee engagement, workplace culture, wellness, corporate responsibility, diversity and inclusion, succession planning, and global security.In this episode, Santone talks about keeping employees safe during COVID-19, how her experience as a woman in the corporate world led her to implement AT&T’s generous and flexible benefits program, what she’s doing to retain employees during the Great Resignation, how to blend company cultures during a merger, and why it’s crucial to involve employees when designing culture initiatives.Some Questions Asked:How did you motivate your employees to continue showing up during the most dangerous and uncertain days of the pandemic? How did you reassure them you were doing your best to keep them safe?What are you doing to attract and retain top talent for AT&T, especially in light of the Great Resignation?What were some of the creative methods your team employed during the COVID-19 lockdown to ensure media was still being created?In This Episode, You Will Learn:Some of the family-friendly benefits that AT&T has recently introduced, and their importance to the company.What it takes to successfully consolidate workplace cultures in the event of a merger.The lesson about mobility that Santone wishes she’d learned earlier in her leadership career.LinksAngela Santone - in BloombergAngela Santone - LinkedIn
11/15/2021

Recharging as a Team

Season 2, Ep. 18
For those of us who continue to work remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve come to enjoy the flexibility that comes from it. But for many of us, there’s also a flip side: seemingly endless Zoom calls, lack of socializing, and an all-around feeling of burnout. In this episode, we speak with Scott Domann, Chief People Officer of Calm, the software company behind one of the leading mindfulness and meditation apps, about how the company is working hard to make sure its own employees benefit from Calm’s wellness philosophy.Domann joined Calm as the first CPO in July 2020, overseeing people, learning, development, recruitment, and operations. Domann, who holds a master’s degree in psychology and industrial organization from NYU, previously led HR teams at Honey, Netflix, Spotify, and Facebook. In his work, Domann strives to create corporate cultures founded in inclusion, creativity, and positive action, and to raise the bar for building world-class teams.In this episode, he discusses the mindfulness practices that he has picked up since he began working at Calm, why having a high emotional quotient is so important, and the tools that Calm offers to help people develop a mindful leadership style. He also shares steps that HR leaders can take to promote a culture of wellness in their companies, and how admitting, “I don’t know,” can be a powerful management tool.Some Questions Asked:What was it like to become CPO so early in the pandemic and lead people through a time of transition while you yourself were onboarding?Was this your first time working remotely?Can you tell me how Calm for Business works?In This Episode, You Will Learn:The mindfulness practices that Calm incorporates into its companywide daily routine.How Calm implemented mental health days, so everyone on the team could recharge at once.How HR leaders at companies that are new to talking about mental and emotional well-being can start the conversation.Links:Scott Domann - LinkedInCalm
11/1/2021

Preserving Community and Retaining Talent in Challenging Times

Season 2, Ep. 17
The COVID-19 pandemic forced massive changes to many aspects of our everyday lives, but few things were affected more than the way we shop for and obtain our food. In this episode, we speak with Mike Theilmann, CHRO of food and drug retailer Albertsons Companies, about how COVID-19 encouraged the company to work toward greater efficiency and spend more energy retaining and engaging their employees.Theilmann has more than 25 years of global experience across retail, hospitality, consumer goods, and venture capital. As CHRO of Albertsons, he leads diversity and inclusion, talent development, acquisition and engagement, and learning and capability development across all areas of business. He holds both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in physics from Gustavus Adolphus College and University of Nebraska-Lincoln, respectively.Theilmann shares just how critical grocery employees are as frontline workers, the ways Albertsons is working to retain its employees, and why he focuses so much of his effort on talent. He also discusses how the competency model helps evaluate transferable skills and talent among employees, and tells us the one piece of advice he would give other retail HR leaders.Some Questions Asked:You majored in physics in college. How did you wind up in human resources?What kinds of technologies are you using, and how are they improving the candidate experience?What are some of your predictions for how food delivery and the grocery business in general are going to change in the next few years?In This Episode, You Will Learn:How Albertsons is combatting the so-called war for talent.The major opportunity that the COVID-19 pandemic presented for Albertsons Companies to step up their efficiency.How Albertsons HR is working closely with the company’s communications team to ensure that everyone is on the same page.Links:Mike Theilmann - LinkedInAlbertsons Companies
10/18/2021

How One Brand Can Impact a Wider Industry

Season 2, Ep. 16
We’re currently experiencing a massive shift in the goals and philosophies of corporate culture. More and more, organizations are providing resources for their employees not only to improve their work experience, but also to improve their lives as a whole.In this episode, we speak with three members of Diageo, the multinational alcoholic beverage corporation that represents renowned brands like Johnnie Walker, Ketel One, Captain Morgan, and many others. Laura Watt, Executive Vice President for Human Resources of Diageo, North America; Caroline “Cabs” Rhodes, Global Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) Director and HR Director, Corporate Functions; and Jeanine Dooley, Head of I&D, Diageo, North America, explain how Diageo is a leader for global brands who want to tell a story and impact social change.Laura Watt serves as a member of the North America and Global HR Leadership teams. She has 25 years of experience in HR and transformational leadership roles.Cabs Rhodes is responsible for the development and implementation of Diageo’s inclusion and diversity policies, practices, and progressive frameworks across all global markets, alongside her HR-directed strategic responsibilities.Jeanine Dooley has worked at Diageo for 19 years, holding various operational and project management roles and leading strategic initiatives. In her current role, she combines her functional expertise with her passion to drive Diageo North America’s inclusion and diversity initiatives.These leaders discuss how Diageo is making strides to ensure that each employee feels like a valuable member of their team, how they’re taking employee health seriously, and the fascinating lessons learned by being part of a global corporation. We learn about the steps Diageo is taking to make employees feel like they belong, how a hybrid work model can be a recipe for success, and how remote work ended up making the international company feel more united than ever.Some Questions Asked:Can you tell me about the global menopause awareness guidelines, how they came about, and what their goals are?What campaigns or policies are on the horizon at Diageo to further encourage belonging?What are some best practices for HR and I&D leaders to work well together? Where should their work overlap? And where should they stay distinct?In This Episode, You Will Learn:The story behind Diageo’s “My Name Is” campaign and how it came about.​​How Diageo managers ensure that they’re giving their team stretch assignments, and the exciting development opportunities coming out of this philosophy.Some insight on the theorized “mass resignation” that may be coming as COVID-19 rates start to ease.Links:Laura Watt - LinkedInCabs Rhodes - LinkedInJeanine Dooley - LinkedIn
10/4/2021

Piloting a Program for Radical Flexibility

Season 2, Ep. 15
The last year and a half has caused massive changes in all of our lives, both personal and professional. What if a company decided not only to embrace those changes, but also to use them as a catalyst for large-scale evolution in the way we work and in the way we think about work? In this episode, we speak with Leena Nair, the first female, the first Asian individual, and the youngest ever Chief Human Resources Officer of Unilever, about what the company is doing to create a radically flexible work model—and the benefits that approach can hold for everyone involved.Nair heads a pioneering agenda for Unilever’s 149,000-strong workforce. Under her direction, the London-based company has achieved a 50/50 gender balance across global leadership and now offers a living wage across its supply chain. Her expertise has driven business growth to €50 billion. Nair began her Unilever career at Hindustan Unilever, where she became the first woman on the management committee in 90 years, heading HR. She was also appointed the first woman on the Unilever South Asia leadership team and was responsible for Unilever’s growth in five markets with a business size of around €6 billion. Nair has continued to redefine how big business can contribute to the environment and society; she has a reputation for putting the people at the heart of the business, driving growth, and taking risks to create a better business and a better society.Nair speaks about the unprecedented flexibility that Unilever is currently piloting with its workforce, how the company encourages its employees to be lifelong learners, and her push to continue valuing all the lessons learned over the last 18 months. She also shares with us the lesson Unilever learned about treating every country’s workforce according to the country’s own culture, and why it’s so important that the company continue to support its employees in every way possible, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.Some Questions Asked:What can you tell us about the program that’s allowing people to get an education while maintaining job security?What more can you tell us about how Unilever is imagining what will happen next?Unilever wants all its employees to have a future-fit skill set by 2025. What is a future-fit skill set? And how are you ensuring that goal is met?In This Episode, You Will Learn:How COVID-19 has forced employers and employees alike to slow down and take stock of the way we work.The ways Unilever strives to support its employees’ well-being—mentally, physically, and emotionally.How other companies can learn from Unilever’s gender balance and what they can do to achieve the same.Links:Leena Nair - at UnileverLeena Nair - LinkedInLeena Nair - in Time magazineLeena Nair - in Harper’s Bazaar magazine