Tracy Keogh has worldwide responsibility for HP's strategic human resources activities, employee communications and social responsibility initiatives. She leads all aspects of HR, including workforce development and organization effectiveness, benefits and compensation, staffing, global inclusion and diversity, and HR processes and information management.
Prior to joining HP in 2011, Tracy was the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Hewitt Associates, the world’s largest provider of human resources consulting services. Her accomplishments included creating an award-winning virtual learning and development network, implementing a disciplined global succession planning process, and designing a comprehensive and successful employee engagement program.
Previously, Tracy held the top HR job at Bloomberg LP, the financial data, news, and analytics provider. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Tracy was Vice President of Human Resources for Analog Devices. In addition to her human resources background, Tracy has a wide range of leadership experience in operations, sales, marketing, and consulting for a number of organizations.
Here are the excerpts of the interview.
How do you view the current talent acquisition landscape? Do you think recruiting is tougher in 2019?
With the rapid acceleration of technology advancements in all industries, pretty much every company is being faced with the reality of having to prepare their employees with new skill sets. With unemployment rates at an all-time low, and niche skill sets on the rise, companies will be competing more fiercely for talent, particularly in the hottest marketplaces across the globe.
Think outside the box with hiring, educate managers to be great talent scouts, teach them how to identify talent, stress the importance of hiring for growth mindset and aligning with the culture
The key will be staying ahead of what skills are needed for your company going forward. It starts with understanding the skillsets of your current employee base to determine whether they are the right ones for the company’s path forward. And then, the next step is to develop accelerated training programs to help employees learn these skills, supplementing that with hiring external talent to fill the skill gaps.
From an external talent view, it is critical to build and maintain a strong pipeline of active and passive talent so that recruiters can easily tap this network at any time. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can provide possibilities for automation and efficiency by helping streamline the process and enable recruiters to spend more time selling the company and providing a strong candidate and hiring manager experience. At the same time, you must also keep an eye out to make sure that the algorithm itself is not biased and doesn’t inadvertently exclude entire pools of talent. The key here is balancing AI with human review and constantly fine-tuning.
What are the top strategies that you follow to win the war for top talent?
At HP, we believe in hiring leaders at all levels and we embrace a talent mindset of developing our own employees first, with external hiring focused on high potential and niche skilled talent. We enable recruiters to become true talent consultants and we educate managers to embrace a talent scout culture.
Ultimately, we strive to build an employer value proposition that makes both internal and external talent see our company as a best place to work. It is also about creating a personal journey and an emotional connection with our employer brand. Having a well-articulated EVP that is shared by internal brand ambassadors and communicated in a way that resonates with different candidate personas helps us differentiate ourselves in the market.
Agile isn't just for tech anymore, it's transforming how organizations hire, develop and manage their people. How can HR organizations leverage the power of agile practices in recruitment and hiring?
Agile recruiting and hiring practices can have many benefits to the company and the employees. All efficiencies will maximize the work your team does, saving time and money, and enabling for both scalability and growth. An agile approach can help transform lengthy recruiting processes into highly efficient ones. The key is having recruiters do frequent checkpoints in the hiring lifecycle providing clear communication among stakeholders to identify any changes. This way, the recruitment team can modify the different processes based on the feedback. This allows the recruiters to adapt the modifications so that the next candidate cycle can move more quickly to identify and qualify top talent.
What can business leaders do to ensure that their recruiting processes are truly maximizing their organizationÕs ability to attract and retain the best possible talent as they grow?
Here’s the key thing that everyone in the company should understand: hiring is a community effort. It is not just part of your DNA, and each employee should understand and be committed to hire great people into the company. Good talent brings good results, great talent brings extraordinary results.
Think outside the box with hiring, educate managers to be great talent scouts, teach them how to identify talent, stress the importance of hiring for growth mindset and aligning with the culture. Hold them accountable for the quality of talent they hire and how that talent progresses and reward the ones who are importers and exporters of talent.
What are some of the hiring strategies that you follow at HP to identify soft skills?
At HP, throughout our recruiting lifecycle we are assessing candidate soft skills. We have built an assessment tool which is aligned with our company culture, highlighting key attributes on the talent we want to hire and who will be successful at HP. This tool enables recruiters and the interview team to delve further into the individual’s softer skills, helping determine whether this is the right fit. In addition, we assess talent for a growth mindset, this assessment helps us determine those candidates who have an aptitude and curiosity to continuous learning.
With Artificial Intelligence set to impact every aspect of HR and talent acquisition in particular, how do you see the rise of next-gen technologies and its role on recruitment in general?
Artificial Intelligence and its impact on the recruitment of women and minorities is currently a topic of high concern in the HR community. In the US, software development continues to be dominated by white men: only 25 percent computer scientists are women in the US and minorities are in the single digits. Hence, the algorithms that are supposed to be more impartial than humans, in fact perpetuate the same biases. And that is causing, among others, automatic rejections for job applications due to racialized names.
With unemployment rates at an all-time low and niche skill sets on the rise, companies will be competing more fiercely for talent across the globe. The key will be staying ahead of what skills are needed for your company going forward
Algorithms for online job ads sometimes inadvertently omit entire populations, including the very pool of diverse talent companies are trying to tap into. The engineers and scientists who are developing AI technology must do a better job of building inclusion and diversity into AI design by using the right data to train AI systems to be inclusive.
At HP, we are aware that algorithms can perpetuate human bias and we take a balanced approach to recruitment with an emphasis on human interaction.
What's the future of talent acquisition? What are the top challenges HR organizations face when it comes to talent acquisition and recruitment?
The future of talent acquisition revolves around the ability to identify and attract the right talent, faster.
In order to do this, moving from requisition-based hiring to pipeline hiring will be more agile and effective in bringing the best talent to the table. It is also critical to remove time-consuming administrative tasks and invest in AI to empower recruiters to focus on building relationships both with qualified talent and hiring managers. HR organizations will be most prepared if they are keeping their own on the latest trends in AI, but as I said earlier, it is critical to constantly review tools and fine-tune algorithms with an eye on ensuring diversity in the pipeline.