There are a variety of problems large companies face when it comes to managing their workforce. From finding the right people to fill the positions on their teams to retaining them, the challenges are real. My guest on this episode is Amy Lackey, A Human Resources Executive who has spent the last 27 years of her career at Accenture. In 1995, Amy answered an ad in the paper for a project financial analyst at Anderson Consulting and was hired. In 1998 the company became Accenture and she moved into a role in Human Resources. There, she made her primary focus HR related to Accenture’s Technology practice. She was there until September of this 2022, when she left to pursue her next adventure.
Amy’s role in helping Accenture find the right employees – through innovative and groundbreaking new initiatives – and her years of experience helping team members find and implement the right resources for their career needs, makes her the perfect person for me to talk with on this episode. If you listen, you’ll learn how Amy has helped companies with issues relating to diversity and inclusion, women in the workforce, hiring and retention, and more.
You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…
- Discovering a new source for experienced, needed employees [1:39]
- The Accent on Technology Women program Amy has spearheaded [11:20]
- Approaching the diversity issue in a fresh way (using data) [15:52]
- Mental health awareness and removing the taboos so we can move forward [19:10]
- HR as a safe and trusted advisor within the organization [22:08]
- How to navigate your career at a large company [26:30]
Tapping an unrecognized source of personnel for needed positions
While Amy served in her role at Accenture, the team there was having trouble finding qualified people to fill the roles they had at the time. Her team developed a program to address the issues with the help of a new company (at the time), iRelaunch. The program was focused on finding people who had been out of the workforce for a time but who were qualified and ready to re-engage their careers. After identifying individuals that looked promising, they hired them as temporary workers, led them through a 12-week on the job experience program, and completed the track with a job offer, which was made to all nine of the original participants. 60% of them are still with the company today.
Diversity decisions through better data
When addressing the need for greater diversity in the workplace, many companies make the mistake of not being clear about the problem they are trying to solve. Amy learned to use data to discover the real issues and then address them. Metrics can help determine if there is a discrepancy in the way that diverse individuals are being treated compared to other employees. This information in turn, can be used to make changes that result in fair treatment of all employees.
Besides utilizing data as a primary tool for addressing inequities in the workplace, Amy is a strong proponent of companies taking the extra step to invest in the culture of their organization. This allows not only the leadership, but also the employees, to take a stand and voice their opinions on issues like diversity, and to be the catalysts for positive change from within the organization.
Retention and job satisfaction can be facilitated through better HR practices
In large organizations, employees can easily feel lost. They need a way to understand the company’s culture and procedures, and to learn how to chart their career path in the company. Amy refers to this as the effort to “make big, small,” and says it’s a matter of everyone, from the top down, being held accountable for their stewardship and their building of relationships within the company. Once established, those relationships need to be nurtured and maintained in order to truly make a positive impact on the company, long-term. It’s key to both hiring the right people in the first place, and retention of employees.
The HR department plays a vital role in this “make big, small” approach. As trusted advisors, the HR team should know how to connect the right resources to the team’s needs. The result of a company empowering the HR team with the right education and training is a workforce that feels safe, seen, connected, and courageous.
Resources & People Mentioned
Connect with Amy Lackey
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