The Talent Economy Podcast

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When Leaders Listen

Season 2, Ep. 7

In an ever-changing world, the employer-employee relationship is more crucial than ever before. After nearly a year and a half of remote work and video meetings, properly managing employee burnout has become one of the most important factors in corporate success. In this episode, we speak with Mai Ton, Chief People Officer of Kickstarter, about what happens when a company takes the time to listen and respond to its employees’ needs. 

 Ton has spent the last 20 years leading all aspects of human resources in several businesses. She was the first Vice President of HR at six companies, where she helped build the people function from scratch. Ton has won 14 awards for her companies and was named to the list of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology, Top 50 Tech Leaders in 2019, and Top 20 Tech Trailblazers from Insights Magazine. She is a board member of LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics), a nonprofit organization that helps Asian and Pacific Islanders achieve equality through education, leadership, and empowerment. She is also an advisor to some of the newest HR technology software companies. 

 In this episode, Ton shares her thoughts on the exhaustion of working remotely through COVID-19, the evolving culture of startups, and what happens when the way of work stagnates. She also talks about the rapidly changing future of work, why the pandemic caused Kickstarter to flourish, and her new book, Come Into My Office: Stories From an HR Leader in Silicon Valley.

 


More Episodes

8/23/2021

Recruiting With AI

Season 2, Ep. 12
As companies work to eliminate bias from their recruiting processes, some are turning to artificial intelligence to help them build a more inclusive workforce. In this episode, we speak with Suzan Morno-Wade, CHRO of Xerox, about how AI—coupled with an emphasis on building human connection—is helping the iconic company hire the best talent.Morno-Wade has been the CHRO of Xerox since 2018. She joined the company in 2016 as Vice President of Global Total Rewards, leading the company’s compensation and benefits strategy. She has more than 20 years of experience in HR leadership for global companies, including Hess, Quantum, Mitsubishi, General Electric, and Quaker Oats. In addition, she serves on the board of directors of A Better Chance, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to increase the number of well-educated young people of color in the United States. In 2019, Black Enterprise named Morno-Wade to the list of Most Powerful Women in Corporate America. She holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Illinois.Morno-Wade shares why she believes it’s critical to quantify diversity and inclusion efforts, how the last 18 months have spurred organizations to better anticipate employee needs, and why she feels a responsibility to prepare people for change. She also discusses the decision to have employees return to in-person work and why she believes adaptability and resilience are the two most important skills in today’s business climate.Some Questions Asked:How did you become CHRO of Xerox?How does your work with nonprofits that are dedicated to educating young people of color influence your approach to your role as Xerox’s CHRO?How do you leverage employee resource groups to prompt real, significant change?In This Episode, You Will Learn:The innovative ways Xerox is leveraging cutting-edge technology in its talent acquisition efforts.How other people leaders can effectively use employee resource groups to cultivate honest, open communication that prompts significant change.How AI is helping to solve the issue of bias in recruiting.Links:Suzan Morno-Wade - LinkedIn
8/10/2021

Building Skills With Virtual Reality

Season 2, Ep. 11
As technology continues to evolve, so must the way we learn and work. In this episode, we speak with Dan Domenech, CHRO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Financial Services, about integrating virtual reality into employee training, and how the immersive experience optimized the learning process.Domenech has almost three decades of experience holding HR leadership positions at several Fortune 500 companies. Over the years, he has honed his focus on building talent pipelines and leadership capability, while also creating passionate, forward-leaning cultures. At HPE Financial Services, he works with the president and CEO to drive business transformation, talent value management, and company culture.Prior to joining HPEFS, Domenech shaped organizational culture and empowered employees at companies including Johnson & Johnson, Dun & Bradstreet, and American Express. Domenech holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, where he also serves as VP of the school’s Latino Alumni Association, as well as an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. Domenech talks about why the time is right to introduce virtual reality training for employees, the role a growth mindset plays in candidate success, and preparing for the post-COVID-19 pandemic colleague experience. He also discusses how HPE has managed to maintain their rich company culture throughout the pandemic, promoting diversity and equality in a corporate environment, and why it’s so important to encourage career growth and upward mobility for employees.Some Questions Asked:Why is building soft skills so crucial? And how are you using virtual reality to develop those soft skills?When hiring, are you looking for candidates with soft skills that are already well developed, or are you looking more for the ability for them to be trained?What do companies stand to lose if they don’t give their workforce the choice on whether or not they stay remote?In This Episode, You Will Learn:What the logistics of virtual reality training for employees really look like.Why HPE is taking a role-based approach to bringing employees back into the office post-pandemic.How the advancement of women within HPE is so important to Domenech personally, as well as to the company culture as a whole.Links:Dan Domenech - LinkedIn
7/25/2021

Prioritizing Education

Season 2, Ep. 10
The year 2020 offered innumerable lessons about our individual communities and even society as a whole. As we begin to wind down from a tumultuous year, many corporations are looking to their workforce to see what they can do to elevate them. In this episode, we speak with DJ Casto, Executive Vice President and CHRO of Synchrony, one of the nation’s premier consumer financial services companies, about the initiatives companies can take to help build up their employees.At Synchrony, Casto is responsible for engaging employees in the company’s strategic business imperatives and building people-led development programs that strengthen culture, drive business growth, and nurture the company’s talent as a competitive advantage. He began his career at PepsiCo in human resources field operations, advancing to lead labor and employee relations for the North American beverages business, where he managed union awareness strategies before advancing to the role of Senior Director of Global Organization Development. He holds a master’s degree in industrial relations and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from West Virginia University. Casto serves on the boards of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), buildOn, and West Virginia University MSIR Executive Alumni.In this episode, Casto provides an in-depth look at Synchrony’s Education as an Equalizer program, and how important education is in creating an ecosystem for success. He also discusses how remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic has helped the company align business goals, and how it has affected the way Synchrony employees work, including insight into the three different “hubs” the company has put into place—and what that means for the future of their working environment.Some Questions Asked:How did you arrive at your job with Synchrony?What are the specific goals for the Education as an Equalizer initiative?What are you doing to continue to instill Synchrony culture to those employees who are now 100% virtual?In This Episode, You Will Learn:About the implementation of Synchrony’s five-year, $50 million Education as an Equalizer initiative and how the concept came about.About Synchrony’s 100 Days of Wellness initiative and how the company is committed to helping its employees refuel after a difficult year.What the pandemic taught Synchrony about employees’ desire to work from home.Links:DJ Casto - LinkedIn