Insurance giant Allstate Canada was recently recognized – again – as one of the best employers in the country so HRM
asked the company’s VP of HR to share some industry advice…
Q: If you could give your younger self, or someone entering HR for the first time, one piece of advice – what would it be?
ASC: I received a great piece of advice when I first started HR. It was, “take the project no one wants to work on and turn it into the project everyone wants to work on”. It speaks to the need to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way and that there is a positive learning in everything you take on. I still live by that advice today
Q: If you could change anything about the HR industry, what would it be?
ASC: This is an amazing time to be in HR – the bodies of work that are coming out of our field right now are relevant and respected. We need to continue to be progressive and aggressive in our approach to people programs so we can remain ahead of emerging trends.
Often, people costs are the highest spend in an organization – so it is imperative we take a thoughtful approach to how those dollars are invested across the organization and what the ROI is for each program we implement. A focus on data analytics within the HR industry can only help our credibility.
Q: What is the proudest moment or achievement of your HR career so far?
ASC: When I look back at people I worked with along the way in my career, I am very proud that they still contact me for coaching and mentoring. Nothing makes me more proud than seeing others succeed and challenge themselves with a new opportunity and knowing I had an impact on their careers.
Q: How do you predict the industry will change, if at all, over the next five years?
ASC: HR will absolutely continue to evolve – the market for talent will get more and more competitive, the employee demographic is shifting and people are looking for more career opportunities and development. This dynamic will force HR departments to seek more creative ways of attracting and engaging a diverse workforce, and ensuring we have systems in place for knowledge transfer as people move to different roles/organizations.
Q: What’s the greatest challenge the HR team has faced at Allstate and how did they overcome it?
ASC: The talent needs of our organization over the next 5-10 years and how we can fill those needs either internally or externally presents the greatest opportunity we face right now.
To take advantage of this opportunity our team needs to partner with our key stakeholders to proactively address our needs. We have a robust employee referral program and some of our most successful employees were referred here by someone else. We encourage all employees to act as “recruiters” in terms of identifying talent in the external marketplace.
Q: What do you think the biggest challenge facing the HR industry in general is, right now?
ASC: I see a few challenges ahead: practitioners in this industry need to ensure their organizations can secure a fully capable talent pipeline at all levels in their organization (including at the leadership team level); HR practitioners must figure out how to continue to evolving HR programs and practices to appeal to a diverse group of employees and candidates with very different needs and figure out how to use data analytics to look at our function differently.