FISPAN’s Key Takeaways & Review of the 2022 Tech Talent North Conference

Last month, FISPAN’s HR team attended the 2022 Tech Talent North Conference in Vancouver, BC, Canada. This conference helps leading tech firms navigate the most pressing HR issues and brings together people-leaders, culture scalers, and HR aficionados from other leading tech firms. Adding to the excitement of being Tech Talent North’s 10th anniversary, was also the fact that it was the first in-person Tech Talent North conference since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Conference attendees were delighted to get together in-person, at long last, to share knowledge gained, best practices learned, and to reconnect on key HR issues brought on by the pandemic.

Attendees at Tech Talent NorthHosted at the Vancouver Convention Centre West, the event marked one of the most significant in-person people and culture events since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FISPAN’s Head of Human Resources, Claudia Ivanova was one of those attendees, thrilled to return to in-person events and to learn and share with others in the tech field. Here, Claudia reflects on her experience and shares some key takeaways and learnings from the event:

2022 Tech Talent North Key Takeaways:

1. Business strategy is people strategy  

People make up the core of every organization. Speaking at the event, Julie Debuhr, Senior HR Director at 1Password highlighted the importance of people, adding that “putting HR’s people-first thinking at the heart of business is essential in an increasingly competitive and distributed scenario”. 

When it all comes down to it, a company is nothing without their employees: as explained by Claudia in a recent publication with HR Daily Advisor, “People make up the ‘product’ of the organization”. Claudia also reflects on the importance of HR and how it’s shaped FISPAN’s growth. From its inception, Lisa Shields, FISPAN’s Executive Chair and Co-Founder, understood the importance of an established HR department and instilled strong HR practices for long-term success. For FISPAN, investing in people (and, as such, HR) has added value to the company over the years.

“A company is nothing without its employees. [Employees] are the primary source of ideas, innovation, and success. Bottom line - investing in HR means investing in your people.” -Claudia
 
Tech Talent North Presentation room

Attendees gather in the Vancouver Convention Centre to learn from key HR professionals and innovative thought leaders 

2. Communication mediums matter 

Candace Giesbrecht at Tech Talent NorthOver the past few years, remote work options have become the norm, and they aren’t going anywhere. As more opportunities open for work environments, so do the options for communication channels. Candace Giesbrecht, Director of Remote Performance Academy - Teamit, explained that with so many options available, leaders need to know which communication method is best to use in specific circumstances: does a situation call for a one-on-one zoom call? Quick Slack message? Informal coffee chat? Leaders need to be in tune with their teams to manage distributed meetings effectively.

The importance of communication is nothing new to Claudia: In a publication by StrategicCHRO360, Claudia spoke about its significance, adding “communication and transparency are really at the heart of making employees feel connected to their jobs and to their employer. When you have open and honest feedback between an employee and their manager, it creates a vulnerable space for both individuals to feel heard and understood.” 

To foster conversations and strengthen team alignment, FISPAN employees engage in weekly one-on-one meetings and formal check-ins with their managers. These recurring conversations are just some of the ways in which FISPAN creates a space for everyone to be heard and aligned.  “It’s critical that employees feel valued today… [with] a “space” where they can candidly communicate any concerns” -Claudia, in StrategicCHRO60

Communication and transparency are really at the heart of making employees feel connected to their jobs and to their employer” -Claudia

 
3. There is room for compassion in leadership

Simply put, there is room for compassion in leadership. As part of this year’s program, conference attendees were invited to engage in early morning wellness workshops, reflecting on the importance of their mental health and that of their teams. In one session with speaker Lorie Corcuera of DNEG, HR leaders learnt how to strengthen and create a more resilient post-pandemic workplace through compassionate leadership.

Conversations surrounding compassion and wellness were of particular importance, as HR professionals reflected upon the uncertainties of the pandemic over the past few years. The event instilled a reminder for attendees to take care of themselves in order to better take care of their teams, following turbulent pandemic times as employee expectations changed and workplace norms shifted. 

In emphasizing compassionate leadership, it is crucial that employees feel valued in a workplace that rewards value, fosters opportunities for growth, offers a space for candid communication, and understands their employees’ needs. Looking back at the past few years, Claudia noted that HR leaders have observed the changing expectations of employees, such as the increased flexibility desired towards work accommodations. Hybrid work environments aren’t going anywhere post-pandemic, as employees value the flexibility brought about by remote and in-office options. 

When considering the hybrid workplace of the future in a StrategicCHRO360 publication, Claudia illustrated the need for two-way trust: employers must trust their employees are in a productive environment regardless if they’re working remotely or from in-office, and employees must trust that they’re given the appropriate resources to grow in the workplace. At the end of the day, “work from anywhere is about owning results, regardless of where and when work happens.” Through compassionate leadership, HR leaders can foster an environment that understands and accommodates their employees’ varying needs.
 
Claudia at Tech Talent NorthFISPAN attended the 2022 Tech Talent North Conference to connect with HR professionals and explore the industry’s most pressing topics
 
Tech Talent North: Final Review 
The 2022 Tech Talent North Conference was an ideal opportunity to connect with people leaders in the tech industry. The event fostered an environment to engage in impactful and meaningful conversations something that’s not always easy in an increasingly remote world! 
 
After the Conference: Next Steps 

There are three key actions the FISPAN team will take after the conference:

  1. Continue the Conversation: Network with other HR professionals online and in person
  2. Share Knowledge: Ensure others in the organization are aware of the key learnings and takeaways that can apply to the company
  3. Take Action: Use the knowledge gained to review existing programs, start action plans if needed and continuously survey and connect with employees to gauge satisfaction levels

“As a small HR team within FISPAN, it is always beneficial to network with other HR professionals who are experiencing the same challenges. Not only can you develop meaningful connections, but events like Tech Talent North enable the conversation on topics of relevance that have a big impact on our industry, especially at a time like now… I am very excited to bring back my learnings to the team and continue to build the relationships with the colleagues that I met at Tech Talent North. ” -Claudia

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