Talent Management Solutions: Julie Wolfe, Director of Human Resources for Shlemmer, Algaze and Associates and Lisa Pinkard, Vice President of Human Resources for Emplicity, Inc.

Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2 – Talent Talk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives.  TalentTalk connects professionals who deal with talent management and care about talent-related issues. 


Today’s guests are Julie Wolfe, Director of Human Resources for Shlemmer, Algaze and Associates; and Lisa Pinkard, Vice President of Human Resources for Emplicity, Inc. Wolfe and Pinkard are fraternal twin sisters who both pursued HR career tracks.  Talent management and employee success are two things that are very important to them.  To hear the entire show, click here

JULIE WOLFEtalent management has been in HR for more than two decades, beginning in the personnel department for Price Club (now Costco),and later transitioning to Paramount. She has also worked alongside her sister at Emplicity, Inc. before jumping to Shlemmer, Algaze and Associates. While Wolfe enjoyed Paramount, she wanted to touch multiple companies where she could provide value, so consulting was a natural fit.

They believe the fact that they both landed in HR has a lot to do with how they were brought up in a small town in Ohio. That upbringing instilled in them work ethic, honesty and a tendency to want to help others. “The ability to go to work and help people” was highly attractive to them. This is why talent management and development is so important to them.

talent managementLISA PINKARD also started at Price Club, where she stayed for about a decade before transitioning to Best Buy. She is currently at Emplicity, and has been working here for the past 15 years, providing talent management solutions and all types of outsourcing solutions through a workforce of 5,000 employees



Culture is Two-Pronged

Pinkard advises that culture necessitates a two-pronged approach. “It’s bottom up and top down. It’s not just an event. Culture happens over time.”

Wolfe adds that when she arrived to her current company, an architectural firm, it felt “old school” so she “did a lot of discovery the first year about what the culture was…and slowly started to implement change.” To address the two-pronged nature of culture, they created committees at both the lower level and top level to help create a culture as an employer of choice. “When we redefined our mission and our vision, it really changed the behavior of our staff.” 

Wolfe continues, “When there is a departure from the mission, it creates confusion in the workplace.” So she suggests that companies “think of culture like a marriage. You have to refresh it, to keep it alive.”

The Interview is Not About You

Wolfe believes two factors play the biggest role in employee success, especially in the constantly evolving architectural world. “For employees to be successful, they have to be constantly learning and have someone who is truly a mentor to them.” Secondly, they need solid talent management and leadership they can look to and depend on.

Pinkard goes to USC every year to help coach real estate program students. She advises the students: “The interview process is not about you. You have to see me and understand my needs.” She continues, “If you can connect with me on a social level, I can teach you any skill or any widget…You need to be able to connect and read a room.”

In fact, at career fairs, Wolfe receives a steady stream of prospects that show her their portfolios. “I don’t know a good portfolio from a bad portfolio,” so she stops them and asks a random question, stumping some candidates. “People forget to be themselves because they are so concerned with what they are saying or not saying.”

The CYA Department

When it comes to common talent management challenges, one of Pinkard’s largest clients is struggling with a workforce that perceives its top management as completely disconnected.” For Wolfe, she believes a lead challenge is communication, including internally. “For us, it’s always communication,” especially having multiple locations.

As it relates to challenges facing the industry at large, Pinkard believes that “how fast technology is moving” is stumping leaders who haven’t taken he time to get savvy. “Some of them don’t know what a Twitter feed is.”

Wolfe on the other hand sees compliance as a leading challenge. “It’s so complex now. You really need an expert internally to deal with that. If we don’t do our job, then our company is cutting a check…so I call myself the CYA department.”

Pinkard certainly sees an evolution in the role and perception of HR, however. Years ago, “you were the complaint department, you checked time cards and planned the company picnic.” Now, she believes it’s “much more strategic, and HR plays a key role in talent management, succession planning and recruitment.”

Wolfe adds that people and businesses are becoming more savvy about what HR can do. For instance, her company is part of the ATP program, by which they get money back from the state for training and allowing HR to be a revenue driver. “Everyone is just becoming much more educated.”

The Stay Interview

To retain top talent, Wolfe and her team implemented a new process for talent management called the “stay interview.” Similar to exit interviews, the stay interview is designed to get ahead of any issues, and allow employees to share what’s going on at the moment and what changes they would implement if they could.

What are You Reading?

Pinkard is reading a James Patterson thriller, but does recommend Good to Great.” Meanwhile, Wolfe is reading The Noticer by Andy Andrews about how perspectives on people and situations come out in your leadership role.

How Can I Connect with You? Connect with Pinkard at www.emplicity.com and with Wolfe at www.saaia.com

Remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.

Air Date: May 27, 2014