When we have choices, we all should look for those workplaces that allow us to be our genuine selves.
As a part of my HR Strategy Series, we are learning from top experts in the field who share the five most effective strategies they currently use to identify and retain fantastic talent. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Elizabeth Hall.
Elizabeth Hall is Vice President, Employee Experience for Cambia Health Solutions. Elizabeth and her team improve each step of an employee’s career at Cambia, including onboarding, development, performance management, and succession planning. Prior to joining Cambia, Elizabeth was HR Director for Global Business Support, a unit of Microsoft Corporation. Elizabeth was the lead business partner, designing HR strategy for the leadership team and 8,000 employees in 82 countries. Before Microsoft, Elizabeth worked with Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. in various Human Resources roles. Elizabeth holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a BA in Public Policy from Pomona College. She is an alumna of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs. Outside of work, Elizabeth serves on the Board of Directors for ThirdPath, a non-profit dedicated to helping everyone find an integrated approach to work and life. She is also the proud mother of an amazing tenth-grade son.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! With so many years of experience and success in HR, what was it that brought you to this specific career path?
My first job after college was at a very small, family-run consulting firm. I was fascinated by how the company adjusted to maternity leaves and needs for flexibility with a small workforce. I pursued this curiosity through internships, graduate school and then into my first big corporate job, starting up a work/life program. My strong belief is that work should add meaning to our lives, and I’m committed to creating workplaces and organizational cultures that do just that.
Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career?
During my interview here at Cambia, I found myself laughing at my interviewer’s sarcastic sense of humor within the first few minutes of our conversation. When we have choices, we all should look for those workplaces that allow us to be our genuine selves. In leading employee experience at Cambia, that’s meant introducing jeans every day, pub trivia challenges for our new hires, and free sanitary supplies for our workforce of 70% women. Little things matter to help us all feel like we belong.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Leaders speak last! I would encourage all of us in leadership positions to hold back, listen with empathy and encourage others’ ideas. A fancy title is already a big stick and speaking softly brings out the best in everyone else.
Wonderful. Listening is so important! Now let’s jump into the main focus of our series. Hiring can be very time consuming and difficult. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill?
1) Pitch your purpose. I’m fortunate to work for a mission-driven company, and we want people who can sign on willingly to the hard work of transforming health care. If candidates aren’t with you on “the why” up front, they never will be.
2) Understand their motivations. Always ask why a candidate wants the role.
3) Listen to their story. I ask candidates to tell me about each of their career transitions, and why they made them. This is a great way to learn about their values and decision-making process.
4) Keep it casual. If you can, arrange for you or another interviewer to meet the candidate for a meal or coffee break. Give them an opportunity to shine in a less formal atmosphere.
5) Build a team. Expand your thinking beyond a match between person and role and explore how the candidate will fit into your team. What fresh thinking will they bring? What new experiences? How can you be inclusive in casting your net to build a strong and diverse team?
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I grew up in Rochester NY, and one of my hometown heroes is Susan B. Anthony. In 1906, she motivated the suffrage movement with “failure is impossible.” We need her brand of courage to take on the big challenges of today, especially when they require work over generations to adapt and solve.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?
Talking books, motherhood and careers with Michelle Obama and Reese Witherspoon would be a dream.
Thank you for sharing these valuable insights!