Emphasis on the Human: The Evolution of HR in a Virtual World


Three quarters of the way through 2020, the world is fundamentally different than it was in January. Markets have shifted, causing vast labour adjustments, and remote work has raised important questions about long-term changes to our lives. Perhaps now more than ever, questions of talent acquisition, employee professional development, and retention are front and centre. So, how exactly does technology fit into the mix? ICTC’s Senior Director of Research & Policy, Alexandra Cutean, sat down with Lindsey Walker, VP of Talent at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, to get a glimpse into this rapidly evolving space.


You mention leaning on a few apps for support — Calm and Talkspace, for example. Looking at the industry over the years, how do you think it’s evolved, and what role has technology played?


I’ve been in this space for close to two decades now, and technology has played a huge role. One area that it’s made a big impact in is applicant tracking systems and candidate relationship management systems. These tools have gotten pretty advanced, as we’re able to use them to automate workflows but also make sure that we’ve got the right touch points with candidates. They have other benefits like process efficiency, but for me, the biggest value is in improving the candidate experience. I mean, these are not widgets, they’re people, and they’re applying for jobs, which can be hugely stressful, especially in times like these. If we can use technology to make that experience better, I think it’s a big step in the right direction.
There are times where a personal touch still has to come into play, but I think in some instances, technology can be a big resource. I say “some instances” because I know there is talk about how AI is starting to influence the recruitment space, and to be honest, I’m wary of it. Candidate selection is a really important decision, and I’m not quite comfortable leveraging AI for this purpose, yet.
However, the other part of my role is about internal talent development. This includes career mobility and learning and development; that’s an area where technology like AI has made leaps and bounds, in my view. It’s horrible to say, but years ago, there wasn’t a lot of robust thought around the best ways to enable employees on their learning pathways, or how to find opportunities for internal career mobility for existing employees. But next month, we’re going to launch a new system and platform that uses machine learning to learn about what an employee is passionate about, what motivates them, what their skills are, and where they want to go in their careers. I think this tool will really help our employees find internal avenues that they can grow into with some skill development. To me, that’s really exciting.

Read the full interview here📝


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