The Talent Economy Podcast

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Adjusting to a New Normal

I’m joined this week by Brad Johnson, a consultant who works for a large professional services company and its advisory practice. He’s in the people and org competency and works primarily with large tech companies.

Prior to current events, Brad’s office presence mirrored that of his clients, and he usually found himself on site. That’s where the magic happened: relationships were built, meetings held, presentations made, and pitches conducted to attract new business. Cut to a month or so ago when most of Brad’s clients had to shift their operations to a remote work structure, forcing him to do the same.

Brad and I speak candidly on how the remote work shift has impacted the client-consultant dynamic, how he and his team have adjusted to the transition being longer than they originally expected, and the importance of the virtual experience being enhanced to match, or exceed, the richness offered from in-person interaction.

More Episodes

4/12/2021

Corporate Culture Renovations

Season 2, Ep. 4
A healthy, empowering, and people-centered culture is vital for any company to thrive, but leaders must model the company’s culture every day for it to take root. Toptal’s Chief People Officer Michelle Labbe speaks about this with Ana White, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer of F5 Networks.Ana White earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a minor in Economics from Seattle University. She graduated with honors and received both academic and athletic scholarships. Early in her career, White discovered that her love for people was more prominent than her other passion, her love of numbers. Before joining F5 Networks, she worked as a Compensation Consultant at Watson Wyatt Worldwide and as General Manager of Human Resources at Microsoft.White, who is dedicated to generating social impact through her work, shares her thoughts on the importance of bringing the company’s culture alive through rewards and recognition and focusing on creating an environment of support and positive feedback rather than a competitive one. We also speak about how crucial it is for companies to provide a platform for employees to realize the personal satisfaction that comes from helping the community and what F5 Networks is doing to raise awareness about mental health issues.Some Questions Asked:Now that COVID-19 is upon us, how have you all had to shift or pivot with the people’s needs?I read a really great article that you wrote on LinkedIn about empowering employees to make a personal connection and social impact. Can you tell us more about that?F5 Networks has around 6,000 employees. How are you keeping everybody together to feel like it’s a family with that many people?In This Episode, You Will Learn:About shifting into an agile mindset from the engineering perspectiveThe importance of the people-first approach at F5 Networks bringing clarity and certainty during difficult timesHow normalizing the conversation about mental health issues through education, understanding, and support is an essential part of well-beingLinks:Ana White - LinkedInF5 Networks
3/22/2021

Innovating to Solve a Global HR Crisis

Season 2, Ep. 3
The COVID-19 pandemic produced what might be the largest workforce disruption since the Great Depression; its effects on the global economy are devastating. Unemployment in some areas hit 30%, which turns the economic crisis into a human resources crisis. Our guest, Christy Pambianchi, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Verizon, explains how her company has transformed recruitment, hiring, and retention, given the chaotic scenario. She describes the challenges of maintaining the company’s values and culture in a virtual environment.Pambianchi has more than 30 years of experience working as an HR professional. She has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. Before Verizon, she worked for 10 years as HR Director at PepsiCo Inc. When the internet revolution arrived, her passion for communication and technology spurred her to join Corning Inc., optic fiber inventors. She worked her way up in the company, becoming Executive Vice President of the People and Digital department.Creating People + Work Connect while at Verizon is definitely among her career highlights. The idea came about as an answer to the HR crisis generated by the pandemic. The free, online employer-to-employer platform helps companies that need talent or are displacing workers to quickly identify and fill positions.The hiring process is also evolving, according to Pambianchi. Companies used to hire for job titles, looking for workers who fit into a specific role. Nowadays, it is more about skills and every worker’s attributes and interest in learning. She believes the skill economy will gain even more prevalence in the next decade.Plus, Pambianchi shares her thoughts on the best way to assist workers during the unstable times we are going through and the silver linings of the pandemic’s effect on companies.Some Questions Asked:What are the biggest challenges and surprises this pandemic has presented to companies?How did Verizon recruit for the summer 2021 virtual internship program?How does People + Work Connect help people who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19 get back to work?Are companies looking for previous experience with a specific role, or are they looking for the skills that can be applied to a variety of roles?How can companies help their employees, both full-time and contract, with navigating times of change and instability?The pandemic has hit women, working mothers in particular, especially hard. Can you tell me how Verizon is stepping up for women and what you believe is important to help women in the workforce thrive?In This Episode, You Will Learn:Verizon’s growth plan in technology and innovationFinding fulfillment in working for companies where you feel connected to the purposeWays to drive retention and tenureThe innovation happening in HRWhy the Verizon 2020 summer internship was recognized as one of the best virtual internship programsHow Nestlé filled 75 open roles quickly using People + Work Connect when business demand increased due to COVID-19Links:Christy Pambianchi - LinkedInVerizonPeople + Work Connect
3/1/2021

Preventing Burnout in Times of Crisis

Season 2, Ep. 2
Companies have faced many challenges during the pandemic, but the best ones prioritized their employees’ mental and physical health—and were successful as a result. In fact, the only way to maintain a healthy work environment is to make sure staff feels safe, heard, and valued.Joining Toptal’s Thought Leadership Lead Editor Meredith Bodgas today is Roche Diagnostics’ Bridget Boyle, People and Culture Business Partner, Enterprise Diagnostics North America. She is the former Vice President and Senior HR Business Partner of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and has more than 25 years of experience working in HR.Since Boyle joined Roche Diagnostics in 2007, she has helped transform its culture and beliefs, leading to a strong and sustainable relationship with employees, customers, and patients.In this episode, we talk about how Roche increased its retention rate during the pandemic, all while creating and distributing key COVID-19 tests and diabetes-care products. We also talk about the company’s tactics to prevent employee burnout, the importance of nurturing connections, and how to make workers feel secure and cared for. She explains how Roche dealt with internship programs, recruiting, and much more in an inspiring conversation.Some Questions Asked:Tell us about your path to leading people and culture at Roche.Roche has been in the news during the pandemic for creating tests. Can you tell us a little bit about those tests?You mentioned that you thought about how to feed your essential employees. What do you mean by that?What did you do for the parents at Roche and the other caregivers?How did you prevent employees from burning out?Mental health apps exploded in 2020. Did Roche offer any of these to their employees?How did Roche keep employees physically healthy?How did Roche approach internships during the pandemic?In This Episode, You Will Learn:Roche’s two types of essential workersHow Roche ensures people feel connected to leaders and the company’s visionNew ways for providing employees reliefHow Roche makes essential workers’ lives easierThe positive impact of less formality and more realnessHow having a lighter touch in the performance review process increases connection and discussionLinks:Roche USA websiteRoche Diagnostics USA TwitterRoche Diagnostics USA FacebookBridget Boyle - LinkedInToptal Insights - How Roche Diagnostics Improved Employee Retention During the Pandemic