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TecHRseries Interview with L. David Kingsley, CHRO at Alteryx

L.David Kingsley, CHRO at Alteryx dives into his journey through HR while sharing his thoughts on the biggest hiring trends and shifts in the B2B tech marketplace. Catch the complete conversation:

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Tell us a little about yourself David…and the best parts about your journey in HR within the tech industry…

I came into HR a little bit by accident. I was an organization design and effectiveness consultant with Accenture and Booz Allen for the first 13 years of my career. When Salesforce called, they were looking to shape their HR team in a new way that was more operationally minded and more focused on the needs of the business itself by way of true partnership. Highlights of my HR career have been working with founders and CEOs of some of the most respected companies in enterprise software. Serving them as we scaled those values-based organizations has been an honor at every turn.

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Over the years in tech, how have you seen core employee and workplace practices evolve; what are some top workplace trends in B2B/Tech that employees (and HR leaders!) can expect to dominate the marketplace in 2021 and beyond in your view?

I think most notably, there will be a much deeper continuation into the primacy of geographic neutrality. Today’s workforce (and certainly tomorrow’s) wants to work where, when and how it wants to work. Knowledge workers of the caliber that all our companies are seeking are highly self-directed and can be very selective about which organizations they work with (and not for). The employer-employee contract has transformed into much more of a relationship like any other. The companies who get that, and who lead from that place are the ones who will take talent in the market.

That shift means that companies and leaders have to be on their game in creating purpose-driven and values-based organizations that have a point of view on how they are making the world a better place through their solutions, services and presence in the market. Candidates are asking about core values as much as they are asking about compensation these days. Fair and competitive rewards are table stakes these days. Our conversations with candidates focus on how they will grow, contribute and thrive here at Alteryx.

We’d love to dive into your use of HR Tech to enhance and support overall business and HR initiatives; can you tell us about some of the technologies you’ve often relied on.

I’ve relied on most of the standard tech stack that most of us do: Workday HRIS and ATS, Greenhouse ATS, CultureAmp, Radford, Mercer and Equilar. A few newer ones I’m engaging with are Carrot for fertility and family planning support and Flockjay to find and engage the next generation of diverse salespeople.

When implementing an HR Tech stack on a tight budget, what are some of the questions you feel HR and business leaders need to ask themselves?

The most important question we can ask ourselves is, “how does this technology play directly into our ability to deliver on the employee experience that we have envisioned and have promised to our people?” If we can’t answer that on a sticky note, we need to keep moving. It will turn into a pet project that costs a lot of money and delivers little outcome to few stakeholders at best.

Can you take us through the ‘’work and life at Alteryx’’ during the last couple of months of the pandemic lockdowns; we’d love to hear about the various ways in which employees/ teams planned employee engagement activities while maintaining business productivity.

Our leaders have done a tremendous job staying human and maintaining productivity in our teams. Because we have a global employee footprint, it wasn’t difficult for us to rely on telepresence to continue to get our work done. However, we’ve made strides to help our people press pause with moments of mindfulness in our meetings, to help our folks set and keep boundaries about start and stop times for their day and to host some fun events like TikTok competitions across teams to help our colleagues let off some steam.

In what ways do you feel HR leaders need to take more initiatives during this (Covid-19) pandemic to support their organization’s stability and growth?

I think if the stability and growth weren’t already present in the company pre-COVID-19, that would be very hard to establish now that we’re in it. To maintain those things, however, I think HR leaders are most helpful when working with leaders on their own empathic leadership approaches as well as honing their visioning and goal-setting abilities.  Finally, it’s important to refine their ability to meet each employee where he, she or they are in their journey from both a career perspective and in terms of how they’re dealing with the pandemic as a person, family member, etc(Alteryx).

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What are some of the thoughts you’d share with businesses resuming work from office mode? What else should they be doing to ensure employee safety while operating in the new normal.

I think moving past the expectation of “returning to normal” is the first step. Normal is gone. The future we will live in is the one we create actively – with the input from our people, our leaders and our stakeholders. How do they want and need us to show up? And what do we need as people, and workers and family members? Articulating those needs and interests is the first step, and only then can we start to think through what that world should (and will) look like. It’s a multi-stakeholder engagement approach that will work best.

What are some top tips you’d share when it comes to formulating an end to end virtual-only talent acquisition and onboarding process?

Ask the candidate how they’d like to see the process play out – what’s their timeline, how fast do they want to move and with whom would they like to speak? If we’re targeting the right talent, it’s as much about them interviewing us as it is about us interviewing them. If they’re not in the driver’s seat, there are at least two steering wheels in the car and both sides have to agree when to hit the gas and the brakes. Because candidates don’t have to travel to interviews, the ones who are looking (even passively) can do so on their schedule and with a wider aperture than ever before.

And when it comes to onboarding, that process must redouble its efforts to help a new hire feel welcomed, engaged and energized. Their “office” looks exactly like their old “office” – it’s their kitchen table, basement or spare room in their house. In addition to ensuring the swag box and laptop show up on time, setting up virtual coffees and informal “get to know you” meetings are critical. We still have that deep need for casual human contact, even if over Zoom!

Can you talk about some of the most innovative hiring trends in tech you’ve seen in the recent years?

The shift I’ve seen in tech most recently is simply the velocity at which you must move to attract and engage top talent. Most top-tier candidates give you about 30 days to go from apply to offer. And, they’re running two or three of those in parallel. So even if you have the best product among your competitors, how you show up and the speed with which you do it is key. That requires a well-designed and configured ATS in your stack that has a candidate experience lens on every dimension.

A few parting tips on what companies and HR heads should keep in mind as they shape their strategies in 2021 amid the new normal?

Elsa said it best: the past is in the past. (Can you tell I have young children?!) However we thought we were running our companies before has changed and will continue to change. As HR leaders, we’ve got to have our radar way up and help our leaders do the same. We’re all learning how we’re going to work in this new world that is evolving every day and will continue to evolve. Recognizing that there has been a fundamental shift in the expectations of the knowledge worker labor market is the most prudent place to start. The moment we say “okay, we’ve got this…,” we definitely don’t have it.

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Alteryx

As a leader in analytic process automation (APA), Alteryx unifies analytics, data science and business process automation in one, end-to-end platform. The Alteryx APA Platform™ converges three key pillars of automation and digital transformation—data, processes and people—to enable the democratization of data, automation of business processes and the upskilling of people for quick wins and transformative outcomes. Alteryx unleashes the power of data analytics to help people everywhere solve business and societal problems. Thousands of organizations globally use Alteryx to deliver high-impact business outcomes and the rapid upskilling of their modern workforce.

L.David Kingsley is the CHRO at Alteryx

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