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.
Hosted 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:
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.
Attendees gather in the Vancouver Convention Centre to learn from key HR professionals and innovative thought leaders
Over 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
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.
There are three key actions the FISPAN team will take after the conference:
“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