Senior Director of HR at Kinetica- Lauren Pierce joins us in this TecHRseries interview and shares her thoughts on the core challenges facing hiring teams in tech today.
Catch the rest of this QnA to read about Lauren’s thoughts on the evolving HR Technology landscape and what she’d most like to change about hiring and recruitment practices in the B2B/tech industry!
Tell us a little about yourself Lauren, including your hobbies! You’ve just recently taken over as Sr. Director of Human Resources at Kinetica! What are some of the biggest plans you have for your new role, what are some of the most exciting things you are looking forward to?
I am new to the Bay Area after living abroad for nearly five years, so it is exciting to be back on US soil. I have three sons, which means I spend a considerable amount of my free time at youth sporting events, school activities, and birthday parties.
I am particularly excited to be at Kinetica because we have the opportunity to reshape the HR function. We have an amazing product, trusted leadership and an engaged workforce. Yet, we can improve our understanding of our employees’ strengths and desired career paths. The team is currently focused on developing an integrated approach to performance management, learning and development, and career progression. One element of my new role I am most excited about is leveraging Kinetica’s platform so that we can complement our HR initiatives and decisions with insightful analytics.
Given your years/expertise being in the HR segment for tech companies, we’d love to know about some of your most common workplace challenges you’ve faced in your role over the years. How would you advise senior level HR leaders within the B2B/tech industry to address these same challenges?
It’s impossible to speak about HR challenges in tech and not mention the “war for talent.” My advice to B2B/tech leaders is to stop searching endlessly for the perfect candidate. The talent pool simply does not support this behavior. In other words, the demand is far greater than the talent supply. Instead, tech companies need to continuously re-engineer how they look for talent. Examples include a focus on competencies-based recruiting, as well as building a larger internal pipeline through redeployment and enhanced learning and development initiatives.
Tech companies are both multi-national and multi-generational. I advise HR leaders to beware of the “one size fits all” approach towards employee engagement and to allocate the time and technology needed to understand the unique needs of their workforce. A deeper knowledge of what motivates employees, their approach to learning, and the unique challenges they face better positions HR teams to successfully drive workforce transformation.
Could you share a little insight on how you see the typical role of an HR leader in the tech marketplace evolve, given the current dynamics in the industry?
The typical role of an HR leader in the tech marketplace has evolved from a shared service function to a trusted advisor, project leader, and strategic voice within the organization. HR leaders are uniquely positioned in that they have an holistic view of the entire operation. A tech company would be short-sighted not to leverage this perspective as a competitive advantage.
What are some of the most common hiring challenges in the tech industry today?
Some current challenges in hiring in tech are:
- Sourcing – specifically, strength of the employer brand
- As mentioned above, the supply/demand dynamic. Searching for the perfect candidate rather than creating innovative recruitment strategies
- Onboarding and integration of non-US hires
- Recruitment team capacity planning and resource management
If you could change 5 (mundane) things about HR practices in tech companies, what would they be?
I’d change these practices:
- Defining company culture by office snacks and ping pong tables
- Bonuses and bell curves
- Feedback in the form of a “compliment sandwich”
- Steve Jobs quotes
- Distributing hoodies
In what ways do you use your HR tech stack to drive better HR best practices and strategies?
An element of HR’s role in any organization is to act as customer support for employees. One way we do this at Kinetica is by adopting HR technology that supports self-service models and makes HR-related information more accessible to employees.
In addition, an often overlooked feature of HR tech platforms is the benefit of improved compliance and quality control. We leverage our HR platforms to mitigate risks related to employee onboarding process and capacity planning, among others.
Finally, as previously mentioned, we are excited to leverage Kinetica’s active analytics tool to provide insights that will complement strategic HR initiatives, such as recruitment and a better understanding of employee behavior and engagement.
Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read!
Your favorite leadership/hiring quote or top team building books you’d suggest every B2B or Tech professional reads in 2020!
Quote: “The most meaningful way to succeed is to help others succeed.” – Adam Grant
Books: Radical Candor by Kim Scott and The Four Tendencies by Gretchin Rubin
Tell us about some of the top industry events that you’ll be participating in (as a speaker or guest!) in 2020!
Our 2020 events are still being lined up, but I’m excited to represent Kinetica in all that I do!
The Kinetica Active Analytics Platform combines streaming and historical data with location intelligence and machine learning-powered analytics. Organizations across automotive, energy, telecommunications, retail, healthcare, financial services, and beyond leverage Kinetica’s GPU-accelerated computing power to build custom analytical applications that deliver immediate, dynamic insight. Kinetica has a rich partner ecosystem, including NVIDIA, Dell, HP, and IBM, and is privately held, backed by leading global venture capital firms Canvas Ventures, Citi Ventures, GreatPoint Ventures, and Meritech Capital Partners.
Lauren is Senior Director of Human Resources at Kinetica. She has over 16 years leading human resources, workforce operations and client support teams in matrix organizations across the economic regions of North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Australia. Lauren spent ten years at Morningstar, Inc. where she helped grow and develop their global customer success teams. Most recently Lauren built a team of 350 and led operations for 40K volunteers at the largest humanitarian event on record, the 2019 Special Olympic World Games.