Journey into Tech
Please tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at Quantcast. How did you arrive at Quantcast?
My role as Chief People Officer is to help drive Quantcast’s continued growth, ensure all employees are empowered for success, and that Quantcast’s global team is able to collaborate and work effectively toward the common goal of championing a free and open internet.
I’m excited to build upon Quantcast’s strong culture to help make our employees’ time at the company the highlight of their careers. I will also be focused on continuing our dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
“A large part of my choice to join Quantcast was because of the impressive leadership of the CEO, Konrad Felman, and his compassionate approach to supporting the Quantcast team during an especially difficult time for the industry and society as a whole over the last year.”
What is the most contemporary definition of a Chief People Officer? What kind of influence does it have on the overall business?
The Chief People Office should be a champion and fierce advocate of a company’s employees, both present and future. It’s vital that this role helps a company’s leadership take a high-level view of what type of organization they want to build in the years to come and understand how that ties back to the hiring, training, and development taking place today.
Talent is the number one asset of any company.
Ensuring that everyone from hiring managers to recruiters and training teams understands the importance of maintaining a high bar of talent and investing in employees is key to a company’s longevity.
The fact that Quantcast thrived over nearly 15 years in a competitive and fast-changing industry like digital advertising is a testament to the work being done to look after its people. I’m excited to carry on that great work.
How has the overall People Management industry evolved in the last 2-3 years? What are the critical challenges for any business today when it comes to People Management?
The changes in People Management today can be summed up in two words: data and diversity.
From a data perspective, there’s a wealth of resources that gives HR professionals data-driven insights into how employees are engaged with the company and its mission, and how successful they are at retaining and growing talent. This will be critical in navigating new hybrid working models, recognizing that people can be productive from home while reinventing the role of the office to fit with employees’ new expectations.
From a diversity perspective, it’s not a surprise that the events of 2020 have highlighted the importance of companies creating an environment in which people of all backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations can thrive. It’s those companies that have the diversity of thought and experience and people comfortable bringing their full selves to work that will be better placed to adapt quickly to an uncertain world.
Why do we need a solid Employee Experience Management policy before investing in HR Technologies? How do these policies influence ROI from various HR programs?
If you don’t know what you need your technology to do, how can you make the right choices of what to invest in? Understanding your philosophy and ambitions when it comes to employee experience will help you make higher quality decisions when it comes to the technology to enable and support that experience.
Comparing, testing, and embedding any new technology into a team or an organization takes a huge amount of time and effort. Getting the wrong fit could have damaging consequences in terms of the employee experience itself, but also the productivity and morale of the teams working with the technology day-to-day.
Pandemic Era Management
How has your role evolved through the pandemic crisis? How did you stay on top of your game?
In many ways, the role hasn’t changed at all; it’s always been the responsibility of senior HR leaders to coach executives and the wider organization through change. The past year has certainly tested our profession with the combination of the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, anti-Asian racism, and, as is the case with the advertising sector, fast-shifting market forces that have driven business leaders to revise their plans and predictions for the future.
One lesson you learned by working with technology and people during the pandemic?
No amount of Zoom calls can compensate for a bad culture. The companies that hadn’t taken a purposeful approach to culture pre-pandemic have struggled in the past year. Without close bonds, understanding, and trust between colleagues and teams, it’s almost impossible for productivity levels to be consistent when those teams are suddenly separated. Companies like Quantcast, which take culture and compassionate leadership seriously, have had an advantage over the competitors as teams have been able to adapt.
Tell us more about your recent HR campaigns and how they played out in the larger context of employee engagement?
In COVID times, creating opportunities for people to connect through online events and collaborate while working remotely has been where we have invested most of our time. Over-communicating has also been key in keeping corporate culture alive, teams aligned and our empathy quotient high.
How do you think Training, Learning, and Development help companies to reskill their workforce?
Change is inevitable. If 2020 taught us anything it’s that the world around us can change overnight. Companies should be investing in talent that’s able to adapt and open to learning new skills. Investing in training, learning and development before change comes is the best way to ensure your organization will be able to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.
Your prediction on the future of CPO’s role in the post-COVID world
A chief people officer’s role has never been more essential to organizational health. I predict a strong correlation in the coming years between CEOs that put emphasis on their people and the growth of their companies. The expectations of employees in nearly every organization has changed for the long term. CEOs that listen to their employees and their HR partners will find themselves at an advantage.
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Thank you, Valerie! That was fun and hope to see you back on HR Tech Series soon.
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Valerie Junger is Chief People Officer at Quantcast, where she is responsible for driving Quantcast’s continuing growth by ensuring all employees are empowered for success and that Quantcast’s global team is able to collaborate and work effectively toward the common goal of championing a free and open internet. Prior to joining Quantcast, Valerie served as Chief Human Resources Officer at Hillspire LLC, the family office for Eric and Wendy Schmidt. Before that, she worked as Vice President of HR at several global technology firms, including Aerohive Networks, Model N and SSL. Valerie has a law degree from Santa Clara University’s School of Law.
Quantcast is an advertising technology company and the creator of an innovative intelligent audience platform that empowers brands, agencies and publishers to know and grow their audiences online. The Quantcast Platform, powered by Ara, a patented AI and machine learning engine, delivers automated insights, marketing performance, and results at scale to drive business growth. Our solutions are leveling the playing field for our customers when it comes to effectively reaching audiences online and helping them power a thriving free and open internet for everyone. Headquartered in San Francisco, Quantcast has been serving customers around the world since 2006.