Carmel Galvin is Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Autodesk, Inc. and is responsible for leading the company’s efforts to attract, develop and retain the best talent. In addition, Galvin oversees Corporate Real Estate, Travel, Safety and Security (CREFTS).
Prior to joining Autodesk in 2018, Galvin was the Chief Human Resources Officer of Glassdoor where she led all people functions of the company, including human resources planning, learning & development, talent acquisition, employee relations and engagement, and more.
Galvin brings 25 years of human resources experience at global companies including Deloitte, Advent Software and MSCI Barra Inc. where she developed a particular focus on leadership coaching, developing organizational culture and employee engagement programs.
A native of Ireland, Galvin received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Business from Trinity College Dublin and Master’s Degree in Business Studies from the University College Dublin’s Smurfit School of Business.
Here are the excerpts of the interview.
How do you think HR has evolved over the years and how do you see the role of HR as a business partner?
In many organizations, HR has already moved from being a purely administrative function to playing a more strategic role internally. HR professionals have increasingly shifted into a coaching and advisory role and have become, in many respects, the guardians of the culture and the employee experience. What is new and exciting is the increased role HR is playing both internally and at the board level, not just as it relates to governance but as a key player in defining and creating long term shareholder value.
Do you think recruiting is tougher in 2019?
Recruiting globally has become more challenging over the last several years. And while drivers can shift from region to region, two key factors include the amount of available talent and the evolving expectations of the multi-generational talent pool. We have also entered an era of continuous change where the skills needed for individuals and companies to succeed are constantly evolving making it harder to target your recruiting efforts.
What are the top strategies that you follow at Autodesk to win the war for top talent?
We are very fortunate at Autodesk to be a purpose-driven company, and our number one strategy for hiring great people is to ensure prospective employees understand that joining Autodesk is a real opportunity to make a direct and positive impact on the world. In fact, it was this vision that first drew me to Autodesk eighteen months ago when I decided to join the company. Another key element of our strategy for attracting and retaining top talent is the strength of our corporate culture. To provide some background, with Autodesk’s significant growth over the last few years, we saw an opportunity to influence the company’s culture – shifting it in a new and more purposeful direction. The goal of this cultural transformation has been to evolve and be intentional in setting the behaviors needed to be successful as an organization. I’m convinced that our culture transformation has made us a more desirable employer. We leverage our culture to help our employees see what’s possible when we work together and align around our mission.
HR professionals have increasingly shifted into a coaching and advisory role and have become, in many respects, the guardians of the culture and the employee experience
And finally, we place significant focus on creating a great employee experience across the entire organization so that our employees know that Autodesk is a place where they are valued and can do their best work.
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?
We have embraced the spirit of Agile in terms of how we approach our talent practices, including recruitment and hiring. We use this approach when building our key talent programs with an emphasis on experimentation, testing, learning and iterating. A specific example of this was the recent creation of our Hiring Manager Bootcamp, which was a program developed in response to a specific hiring surge that required us to not only move fast but also avail of this moment as a key opportunity to bring in new talent that would be positive, cultural “adds”, to the company. We followed an agile approach when developing this program, complete with multiple focus groups with tight feedback loops and iterations over a 3-month window. This resulted in an impactful new approach to hiring that not only helped Autodesk hire the talent we needed quickly but also transformed how our hiring managers think about their role in the hiring process, while at the same time significantly improving our candidate experience.
What are some of the hiring strategies that you follow at Autodesk to identify soft skills?
I referenced earlier how we have been intentional about evolving our culture. Our culture framework, or what we call our Culture Code, includes a defined set of values, and we have integrated interview questions tied to these values as a way of identifying a candidate’s alignment to our culture. So beyond evaluating a candidate’s skill set and work experience, we strive to determine if they will be a “culture add” for the organization. Not only does this help us test their critical soft skills, but it also makes for a richer interview experience for the candidate.
AI, can be used to better screen and understand large numbers of job applications and other input sources to identify and provide richer profiles of prospective candidates
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 HR in general?
There are many ways disruptive technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning will influence HR and talent acquisition. AI, for example, can be used to better screen and understand large numbers of job applications and other input sources to identify and provide richer profiles of prospective candidates. Another example is using automated interview scheduling tools, which will free-up recruiters to spend more time with candidates. At Autodesk, we’ve already experienced the power of AI first-hand as it relates to our employee engagement survey tool, which enables us to better analyze the comments submitted by our employees and move much more quickly into targeted conversations and responses. In addition, leveraging AI and machine learning to generate data driven insights from our wealth of employee data can be hugely helpful in predicting turnover trends and shaping our HR strategy.
What aspects of talent acquisition do you plan to improve or implement in the coming year?
One key area we are exploring is the idea of taking a more personalized approach to total rewards, to ensure that we are “meeting people where they are” in relation to compensation and benefits. The days of having a simple generic suite of offerings are quickly fading. We recognize that having a more flexible approach will help us differentiate ourselves in the market. We are also investing in developing our employment brand, recognizing that prospective employees research us and inform themselves on what we have to offer. We want them to understand who we are and why they should join us.