The Alberta Investment Management Corp.’s chief human resources officer discusses the evolving employee life cycle, autonomous working and competitive weightlifting.
Q: What top challenges do you face in your role?
A: The talent environment is complex right now. There’s an increase in retirements and workers are more transient than before. To ensure we’re rebuilding for the future, our workforce must be as diverse as possible. Employers must be adaptable to what their talent base needs, so we constantly evaluate our offerings through the employee life cycle. Gone are the days when employees had to proactively ask for what they needed — and that’s a good thing. The more global our organization, the more these issues are amplified.
Q: What new programs or initiatives do you want to implement?
A: We’re developing a pension knowledge centre that’s open-source, so it’s available to anyone
who wants to better understand the investment sector. We’re just getting this project off the ground and are hoping to partner with some of our Maple 8 peers to make it happen. We’re also launching a data literacy program for our organization and our clients.
Q: How do you judge the success of a program or initiative?
A: If it’s a new program, we’ll look at participation. If it’s an educational program, we assess the level of learning. And with all initiatives, we examine retention rates. We also do a fair number of surveys and assess that data. Feedback is important to discern whether a program adds value or accomplishes company goals.
Q: Which programs do you consider the most successful or that you’re most proud of?
A: I’m proud of our autonomous work environment, which we implemented last year. It allows employees to choose when, where and how they work. Autonomous work arrangements focus on employees’ ability to deliver results, rather than where and when they spend their days working. When employees are empowered to work in a way that’s best for them and their families, their productivity and engagement increases.
Q: What HR issues are you expecting in the coming year?
A: The fight for talent is massive . . . . Retirements are being compounded with something I call ‘the great re-evaluation’ — the coronavirus pandemic caused a lot of people to think about what they want from their work and their personal lives. I think opportunities to work globally will arise more often when you have a more mobile talent pool, you have a bigger fight for talent. We know workers don’t stay in the same job for decades anymore, so we’re supporting development, learning and new opportunities within the organization. To speak candidly, that creates challenges, too, because your organization is always in flux. But it’s more challenging if those employees leave and you’re constantly looking for new people.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: For years, I competed at world-class levels in CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting. I’m not competing at the same volume anymore, but I still love to compete when I have an opportunity. I also love to travel — to big, beautiful cities in Europe or to New York. After living in the Caribbean for eight years, I’m constantly seeking sunshine and heat. And as a mom to a 15-year-old daughter, I’m constantly managing teenage daughter life.
Q: What’s your favourite employee benefit?
A: I’m big on the massage, physiotherapy and chiropractor benefits. They’re often maxed out.
Lauren Bailey is an associate editor at Benefits Canada.