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AI is a Catalyst for Keeping the Best Talent, Says Chief People Officer

Part one in a series on employee hiring and retention strategies as the future of business evolves at incredible speeds.

How do you win the war on keeping great talent today? That’s tougher to answer than it used to be, thanks to trends like hybrid work, the artificial intelligence (AI) movement, and what we know about wellness in the workplace—not to mention all the classic challenges that test a culture, like mergers and acquisitions, employee engagement, and fostering a connection among all the potential generations.

During one of my recent Off the Rak episodes, I sat down with SymphonyAI’s Chief People Officer Jen Trzepacz to talk about her views and the trends she’s observing in her own company. Prior to SymphonyAI, she had fifteen years of experience in Silicon Valley and oversaw more than thirty-five acquisitions. That means that she’s hired more than sixty-five hundred employees in twenty-three countries.

When she’s not tapping into talent, Jen is an avid mountain biker who loves the intensity that the terrain can offer, mixed with the soothing moments when she’s admiring the great outdoors. Just like her favorite pastime, her career is offering plenty of intense moments that are tempered by her appreciation of the climate she’s managing in the midst of changing terrain.

Here are the highlights from the first topic we discussed in this three-part series:

As you can guess, one of my questions for Jen was about AI and what her views are on a topic that’s experienced a lot of speculation surrounding the job market—both good and bad. “It’s happening so fast and constantly changing. As an AI company, we used to plan one, three, and five years out. Now we’re planning one month, three months, and maybe one year … because AI has created velocity,” said Jen.

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She quoted a report by the World Economic Forum, which estimates that AI will replace some eighty-five million jobs by 2025. In the same report, however, it concluded that ninety-seven million new jobs would be created in the same time frame. Jen adds that this forecast is really about leaders focusing on their employees’ relevancy and dedicating resources to upskilling or reskilling.

AI will accelerate our learning about technology, according to Jen, “because AI will commoditize a lot of the transactional activity, but it’s not going to replace feeling. It’s not going to replace relationships.” Jen explained that EQ will become more important. AI will actually keep people squarely in the equation of work and the world because of our relational competencies. AI will help us lean into what makes us human because that will be our differentiator.

Watch for the next topic in this three-part series in the Off the Rak+ newsletter when we explore Jen Trzepacz’s views on employee engagement and why she evaluates an employee’s connection in two ways. In the meantime, feel free to tune in to my live conversation with Jen Trzepacz on other leadership topics, including scaling your business and managing intergenerational teams.

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