HR Legends on the Evolution of Work and Technology

Hosted by

Steve Boese

Co-Founder of H3 HR Advisors and Program Chair, HR Technology Conference

Trish Steed

CEO and Principal Analyst, H3 HR Advisors

About this episode

HR Legends on the Evolution of Work and Technology

Hosts: Steve Boese & Trish Steed

Guests: Meg Bear, Don Weinstein, Cecile Alper-Leroux, Gretchen Alarcon, Mike Carden, Lisa Sterling

Today, Steve and Trish brought the HR Tech Legends to the show to talk about the evolution of work and technology over the last 15 years.

– Disruptive technology in HR, including cloud adoption and generational shifts

– HR innovation and evolution over 15 years

– Generative AI, and the challenges and opportunities it presents

– Accessibility and inclusion in the workplace

– Personal and professional celebrations, including children’s successes and workplace transformations



Thank you for your continued support of the show and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

This episode is sponsored by Paychex.Whether you’re looking to enhance employee career growth, improve your onboarding process, or understand the importance of flexibility in today’s workplace, this guide has got you covered. Grab your free copy at to unlock the secret to building your dream team today.

Transcript follows:

Steve 0:26
Welcome back to the HR Happy Hour Show. My name is Steve Boese. I am joined by course, Trish, how are you today?

Trish 0:33
I’m fantastic. Looking forward to the show. Steve, how are you?

Steve 0:36
I am well. Thank you for asking. No, I’m excited. We this is maybe the best show we’ll we’ll ever do or the final show.

Trish 0:45
Maybe we should just end right here?

Steve 0:48
I know we’re excited to celebrate our 15th year anniversary, which we’ve been celebrating over the last few weeks. And we’ve assembled a wonderful group of folks to join us. If you’re lucky enough to be watching on YouTube, you already see all their happy faces or their faces either one and before we started introducing them, we have to thank our friends at Payche. Of course, Trisha, they’ve been with us for a big chunk of our 15 years. They’re wonderful people doing great work, especially with the small and midsize business community. And so thanks to them, and you can go to for lots of really good stuff. And one thing I’ll say about Paychex just real quick is I was at SHRM last week, which is another story entirely we’ll have to cover conversation that’s may have by the way, I haven’t been to the SHRM event in a long time. If you’re an HR tech person or HR tech vendor, and you’re trying to figure out your booth for this year, I have got two words I’m going to recommend based on my SHRM, it’s not well puppies will be the first. If you can’t do puppies, skee ball, skee ball machines, pop a couple skee ball machines in each corner the booth, people will line up for skee ball, I’m telling you.

Trish 1:59
Did they have hairbows there as well, I always remember there was always like jewelry and then hairbow booths.

Steve 2:04
It was a wild scene. We’ll have to talk about that some other time. So thanks to them, and I did meet with them at SHRM though that’s why I brought it up and shot a couple of videos with our friends at Paychex, which you’ll be seeing soon. So first, we got to start introducing our guests. We have so many wonderful people who’ve taken their time out of their day to join us which I’m thrilled about. Let’s start from the start.

Steve 2:26
First off, let’s please welcome Cecile Alper-Leroux. She was the GVP of Research and Innovation at UKG, where she fostered a culture of innovation resulting in the delivery of people centric technology solutions. Cecile is an economic anthropologist and a best selling author of From Dissonance to Resonance, bringing your people and organization into sync. And most recently has been an advocate for equitable cognitive diversity at work. And this is the coolest part ever here Trish an olive oil couture. I think I hopefully said that right. Which is a did a producer of olive oil, which is fantastic. in Provence, France. Welcome and hello.

Cecile Alper-Leroux 3:08
Hello! Delighted to be here. Thank you. That was quite the intro. Steve. Thank you.

Steve 3:15
You’re had quite the career and getting more interesting by the minute. We’ll talk about that our other podcasts, olive oil weekly. So next we have Don Weinstein. Don is a strategic advisor, venture investor and corporate board member and honestly the first ever five time I think HR happy our guests previously as he was previously ADPs, chief product and technology officer responsible for all aspects of ADPs global technology, strategy and delivery, where he successfully introduced numerous new products and industry first, among the usually successful ADP mobile app, the ADP marketplace and the ADP Data Cloud among others. Don, welcome back to the show. And but not that maybe we you care that much anymore. But I will say the ADP Data Cloud was very, very cool. And I remember the first time I saw it, I was like, wow, this is really this is really good stuff.

Don Weinstein 4:09
Of course I care. It’s one of my babies. Yeah. And do I get like a jacket for five times or something? I feel you know, maybe like a varsity letter. I don’t know.

Trish 4:25
This group is at least that that mark right now.

Steve 4:27
All right, I’m gonna keep plowing through intros. Don, welcome and good to see you. Meg bear is with us. She’s a technology Executive Board Member patent holder and change agent and startup advisors, keynote speaker and TEDx host. She has a Bachelor in science and economics and entrepreneurship and is committed to using her talents to close opportunity gaps and help others achieve their full potential. Meg, welcome back to the show and it’s great to see you.

Meg Bear 4:56
It is great to be here. I’m in lovely Bay Area. It’s sunny and I’m excited to be with this group. Thanks for including me.

Steve 5:03
Thank you. Great to see you. I’m going to continue on with intros you got to take over the show from the show’s gonna be over. I am so excited to see Gretchen Alarcon today. Gretchen has more than 20 years of innovation experience at the intersection of people and technology and is passionate about building products to transform HR and the employee experience with digital workflows. Recognized as a top HR tech thought leader, she has a unique view of the challenges many organizations face as they reimagine the future of work and one of our like best friends of the show ever. So that’s not in the bio, but I said it. Gretchen, great to see you.

Gretchen Alarcon 5:40
Thank you. I’m so thrilled to be here. This is one of my favorite times to get to hang out with you and see some old friends. This is awesome.

Steve 5:47
Thank you for being here. Next up, we have Mike Carden. He’s an entrepreneur, artist, author, Father, traveler, and plane crash survivor, this show will be not only slightly less scary. He’s the co founder of joyous which makes it easy to gather feedback from your frontline employees and previously founded early HR SaaS company sonar six and quite rightly a legendary company and a legendary person in our space. My card and welcome and good to see you and thank you for standing up in the middle of the night to join us from New Zealand.

Mike Carden 6:19
Well, I’m getting up early in fact all right. That’s because the sun has not yet risen. It’s winter so it’s not there really to be fair. Lovely to see your lovely to be on the show.

Steve 6:30
Thank you, Mike. And last but not certainly not least, a great friend of our show. Lisa Sterling. She’s the Chief People Officer at Perceptyx who I just got a demo from recently, by the way, I’ll talk about that some other time very cool stuff, her superpowers and enable her to excel in disrupting the HR landscape, driving cultural and organizational excellence and leading transformational change. She’s also the proud mom to three young women and the wife to one fabulous man. Well, good for him. Lucky guy, I’d say, Lisa, Hi, how are you?

Lisa Sterling 7:02
I’m good. It’s good to see everyone. Thanks for having me. Just

Steve 7:05
So great for everybody to be here, we are labeling the show the legends of HR Tech, which quite honestly, that we couldn’t think of a better name for this group. And that’s it. That’s the name and thank you again for being here. Trish, I got to take a pause. I’m throwing it to you, you can maybe carry it to me gotta get started.

Trish 7:21
Yeah, I mean, I think like anybody who’s been listening to the show over the course of 15 years, this group that we’ve assembled today have been on the show numerous times. And for good reason, though. I mean, we really wanted to bring back people who had made not only an impact in the industry, but an impact on the show. And on the listeners. These are the people who have taught us the most out of anyone that’s come on the show, the ones that got the highest amount of listens and downloads over the years for the various topics and just being very generous with sharing what you all know. So welcome to the show everyone.

Trish 7:53
we’d love to start out first with though, is really talking about I mean, we’ve been around for 15 years, and a lot has changed, right? Some things that remained the same. But there’s been such a pace of change. So maybe we throw it to Meg, how about you first? And we’ll kind of go around and talk about what were you doing 15 years ago? And this could be what were you doing in terms of work or family or both? And and what are you doing now? So maybe we wanted to kind of start off with what’s that progression look like for people who eventually wound up in executive high level positions that are impacting the industry on whole?

Meg Bear 8:29
Yeah, so the first time of joining the HR Happy Hour, I have to say I actually had a swing and a miss, because we were building a new set of products at Oracle after being acquired from PeopleSoft. And those products had not yet reached market. So we got invited, I got invited to come on the show. And there was some hesitation that I might share some super secret information. And at the last minute was told I wasn’t allowed to join. So 13 years ago, I was in the trenches of trying to learn and imagine what the future was going to be. And your voices. Trish, I know you weren’t on the show, but I was already a big fan. were a big part of how I started to connect with the community and how I started to think about what technology needed to look like in the future. So I am just a huge fan and so delighted how far we’ve all come from where we were at that moment. 15 years ago.

Trish 9:29
Were there things I know I mean, I remember becoming an analyst and that was right about that time. When I was I was also a guest on the show for the first couple years I wasn’t a host but definitely going out to each of the companies you all worked with right and learning about the industry from sort of the behind the scenes how things are not just imagined but then built right put into practice. Meg, as you were in that role, like what were there things that you were thinking about then that are just now really starting to take hold because I feel like there’s a About a 10 year gap sometimes between innovation and actual into regular practice with HR.

Meg Bear 10:07
I think that 10 years is exactly right. It could be just even a little bit longer. But it you know, at that moment, we were really starting to think about what today we would call employee experience, right? How do you think about user experience? How do you think about engagement? And how do you think about connecting the understanding of the individual to the needs of the organization, so give a shout to the sonar six, innovation of thinking about top talent differently thinking about visualization and long term understanding strategically of where your top talent was. And then of course, the early things like performance management, elearning, all the things that would connect with an individual. In those early days, this was all kind of where both technology was, but where the thinking was around what the role of HR was supposed to be, and what the role of the individual so we were talking self service, right, which back in the day meant something very different than what we would think about today. But yeah.

Trish 11:07
There was a lot of pushback, I remember being a practitioner, and that our employees did not want self service. They said, You know, I remember a conversation, right? I know,

Cecile Alper-Leroux 11:17
You’re asked to do things on their own. That was a huge issue, wasn’t it?

Trish 11:23
HR was not approaching it with heart. And I distinctly remember very early conversation with Gretchen, where we were talking about that and how, you know, they wanted HR to be that heart that cared about them. And that, you know, and so they felt like self service was taking that away. So yeah.

Gretchen Alarcon 11:41
I was I remember in those days at Oracle, we used to joke about how I was trying to build out the softer side of Oracle, because we were the HCM vendor PeopleSoft, like we purchased PeopleSoft, I came with that group. And my whole point was, we’re building these products, but I have got to get people to understand that there are people who use these products, and we have to know what they want to do and how they want to interact. Otherwise, this is never going to be a success. So it was it was a big challenge back.

Steve 12:12
That’s a case in point working on on the softer side of things. But yeah, well, well said Gretchen. Meg as well. Mike, you got named dropped in the Meg comments, your company did your former company, Sonar Six, which was certainly quite innovative for its time and honestly would still be innovative today, if it showed up today. Did but you came from outside of HR. Right. Mike? If I’m remembering your back? Yeah, actually, I love how you were thinking about some of these HR stuff with a different lens, especially back then.

Mike Carden 12:45
Yeah, I was funny, isn’t it? I mean, I did come from outside of HR, I came from kind of other sides of software. And you’re much more I guess, user oriented stuff to the maybe which is not really where HCM was at the time, right? And so yeah, I guess we were we were inventive, then in the, in the HR tech space, but it’s kind of like being the tallest dwarf at that point, really, like it was sorry, that’s probably not the best way of putting it. But like, it was, yeah, the bar wasn’t that high, I don’t think. And all of us were really focused on one thing, which was, which was the cloud, you know, like, we were really focused on this idea of taking on premise software and putting it on the cloud. And that’s actually how you built the business. So there was lots of innovation going on. But the fundamental driver was we were we were putting stuff in the cloud. And it’s a, it’s a beautiful era, the beginning of SAS, because you didn’t actually have to be that good. Like, you just had to put it in the cloud. Salesforce took big CRM and put it in the cloud. And here you go. There’s a big, big business. And so a lot of the fundamental driver of us as we were, we’re going to do performance reviews, and we got to put them in the cloud, which is very, very different than now that trust me, it’s it’s very different now.

Mike Carden 13:59
But I think the main thing has changed, not just the tech landscape. And yeah, I think that like you’re making talked about the 10 year gap, right? Yeah, we were talking about. We were talking about integration in 2009. Like it was a thing. Yeah, like it actually worked, either. It’s sort of works now right? Now, it’s kind of got to this point where actually we’re bringing lots of data together. And we’re like, yeah, we’re creating value out of that. But most of the time, then we were sort of talking about it rather than actually doing it. And so that stuff yet it takes shifted, obviously, I changed a lot. But um, but also, it’s easy to forget how much the world of work changed, right? Even over the last five years, the world of work changes so much that lots of the lots of the UX and where we, where we, you know, design stuff to interact with the populace of an organization. That whole populace changed. I remember talking about on this radio show, the difference between Gen X employees and Millennial employees was stupid. IBM, it seems now that was a big thing. Right? Yeah. Like it was like the sort of generational shift in the, in the, in the enterprise.

Trish 15:09
I’m glad you mentioned the generations because that was such a big thing then. And now you would think, you know, millennials and Gen X are like Best Buddies, right? We’re all in it together. And, and you know, I watch on tick tock, where Gen Z is like picking on Gen X, and millennials will show up and be like, Oh, don’t do that. I wouldn’t do that. If I were you that don’t mess with them. Right? Don’t poke the bear. So things, it’s very different. And I will say, Mike, one of the things I remember, again, being a very different space, 15 years ago, myself, it was so innovative, because you were showing up and definitely had a better ability. Because you were the Creator, right? You could push the limits a little bit more, and in a very different way than we were thinking in HR. So I definitely still had people saying, I’m only going to do my performance evaluations in a Word doc period, if I even do them at all. Right? So you were really shaking up the landscape? I think for practitioners who would go to events and see you and hear about the product. It was really innovative at the time.

Mike Carden 16:06
What a fun time was it?

Steve 16:08
Yeah, it was.

Cecile Alper-Leroux 16:12
Your booth was super innovative. I remember everyone talking about the cardboard boxes. And it’s just like, you have to see this booth. It was like this just be groundbreaking.

Mike Carden 16:24
Like the one thing I did in my life, isn’t it?

Steve 16:30
Around last time we had Mike on the show I had to ask I mean, you’re obligated to ask that question about the cardboard box and tell the cardboard box story. But it does seem quaint, maybe it’s some ways now to in 2024, to think back at the cloud as being such a disruptive technological change. And it really disrupted this industry as well as others, right. But certainly this one where Meg mentioned trying to get software migrated to the cloud, or build new software for the cloud when you were an enterprise provider, which wasn’t doing cloud, right. And Don, maybe you can even comment from some of this, from your perspective. Certainly where you were would have been wrestling with some of these things as well.

Don Weinstein 17:09
For sure. So 15 years ago, was actually when we brought out our first mobile app. And another great case, example of there was tremendous amount of pushback of people saying I don’t want it, I don’t want my employees to have it. That’s going to they’re just going to ask me questions about how to support they were fearful that they’re going to turn into you know, mobile device support. I kid you not. And, you know, now it seems almost anachronistic, right to be talking about it.

Steve 17:39
We did sessions at HR tech, like mobile HR, that was like a theme I had for years.

Don Weinstein 17:46
It was a big deal. When it first came out the idea that said, Yeah, I’m gonna run my whole payroll off, my mobile app did not seem very conventional. But you know, to your point, whatever that gestation period is 10 years or so. And now it’s now it’s old hat, but it was quite transformational at the time. And the other one too, just to dive back on. Steve’s, as you mentioned, the, the data cloud and back to Trish is, you know, lifecycle because that was more than 10 years ago. And now, of course, Gen AI is is all the rage, of course, you need to have a really solid foundation of data underneath it to train Gen AI models. And it seems there’s a proliferation of models happening. And, you know, my point of view was always the differentiation is going to be down in terms of the underlying core data asset, how quality it is, how reliable it is, versus just trying to train AI models on unreliable data, if I were to put it generously.

Trish 18:49
I remember being also there was, I was customer at the time ADP customer. And at the time, we had like nothing else. And so I was trying to use a very, very, very old version of ADP because we were too cheap to upgrade at that time. But you’re trying to it’s like we were trying to piecemeal to use it for every way we were operating the people side of our business. And so for me, it’s been super exciting, though to watch, you know, that entire transformation, not just from ADP, but through all of the technologies you all have worked with. Because when I truly mean this, when I look at each of those solutions today, if I would have had any of that 10 years ago, 12 years ago, I might not have left HR. I mean, seriously, it was HR got to be so difficult in that sort of transition from on prem to cloud. And if they, you know, I guess the people that stuck it out when right, they have these solutions, but seriously, it it made it was very difficult to do an HR job without some of the technologies to your point downlink mobile. I mean, you wouldn’t even be able to operate without mobile today, right?

Don Weinstein 19:54
So it’s a good thought experiment. Could you go back in time like 10 or 15 years and function like you’ve, you’ve you baked in today’s environment into your lifestyle. Imagine going back 15 years ago, and being handed a bunch of paper forms to fill out and hand around and fax in. And we were still getting my favorite. You know, kind of going back in time capsules, we used to have what we called various payroll input methods, right? So how do you put your payroll HR data in mobile obviously being a breakthrough cloud or SAS being, you know, kind of mainstream folks still faxed it in? But my favorite called it in the fall?

Don Weinstein 20:47
Focus, I don’t think is on your mind. Okay, my favorite was something called the road. And because you know, every client would be set up in what was their their input methods. So road was in densely populated areas, we would have drivers go out and drop off worksheets, and people would fill them in by hand, these are folks who had not yet adopted fax technology. And then the drivers would go back and pick them up, and bring them to a data processing center where people would just literally sit there and rekey them in and, you know, shows you how far we’ve traveled in just, you know, one one generations lifetime.

Trish 21:24
Okay, I’m glad you shared that, because you’re right. Sometimes I feel like, why aren’t people adopting faster, but then when you look at maybe all of the things we have adopted, and we have adopted a lot in the last 15 years, truly.

Cecile Alper-Leroux 21:37
If you think about it, though, Trish, it’s everyone, it was sort of the the very, very beginning of the primacy of talent management. Remember that. And that was, you know, and that, of course, Meg, you talked about it as being, you know, the employee experience, but it was still just like, oh, well, this is actually how HR is going to become strategic. It’s going to be through talent management. And we don’t care about all the back office HR things. And that whole world has shifted dramatically. But I remember when I think 15 years ago, like, that’s pretty much when you and I met, right, Lisa?

Steve 22:13
I was about to bring Lisa just I was about to bring her in, because I wanted to get like she’s the only person on this on the show right now, who’s an actual HR leader, like right now. And I want to be talking a lot about technology. I’d love to get your thoughts. Yeah, a little bit on some of the changes as they actually affect the HR leader role and what’s happening inside the organizations and how people are experiencing work?

Lisa Sterling 22:38
Well, it’s actually interesting I was thinking about 2009, I had left the HR tech space, because I was so fed up with how slow moving HR people were, I decided I was gonna go start a State Farm Agency, and I was going to run my own business and get the hell out of this space. Because I felt like beating my head against the wall, right. But fast forward. The first time I was on the show with the two of you was the day that I got announced as the chief HR officer for Ceridian, we were in Beverly Hills, you all were there, we had a motorcycle that just kept running behind us in the show. And it’s it’s interesting, because while we’ve advanced a lot, HR hasn’t advanced nearly as much as I wish it had in this period of time, right? Like, I think about the technology platforms that I’m leveraging today.

Lisa Sterling 23:26
And I still have some of the same frustrations with how they’re not truly built for humans. And they still keep us from having accessibility to the right information, they aren’t to the level of predictability that they need to be to. And so I totally agree, we’ve made huge strides like from where I was when I you know, when I was in 2010. And then when I went back into this space, and Cecile, that’s when I met you at at ultimate software. There, there’s still a lot to do like I we’re in the process of implementing UKG. Right now. I’m blown away at how much hasn’t changed in 10 years. So listen, I want to say we’re getting there we are, but as an HR practitioner, my best off thank you. Right. And Don, you mentioned Gen AI, right? Like we’re trying to figure out all the ways that we can have the right data set to feed those things so that I can start to move things off of the people team and have them split focus more on high touch high value versus some of the tactical work we still need to do. But even then, the resistance to that reminds me of the resistance to mobile. Right? Like I’ve got people going wait, stop, what are you talking about? I’m like, Why do I need an internal comms person anymore? Like, I’ve got this technology, throw some stuff in there, tweak it, I just, I’m like, I don’t need a person for that, right? There’s still so much resistance.

Lisa Sterling 24:47
So I think no matter how far ahead we go, HR is always going to be the last to really be provocative and innovative and adoptive of these things. And my hope was at I’m on the show today. And so it was radically different. It’s not radically, it’s we’ve moved ahead. But I talk to CHROs all the time who are in the same place I am. They’re like, it’s not fast enough. We’re not getting to where we need to be quick enough. And that’s not technology’s fault. I actually think it’s, it’s a combination of both technologies not advancing. But humans also aren’t adopting and accepting at the rate they need to be.

Gretchen Alarcon 25:23
Every time there’s a technology change, though, right? So if you look at the move to the cloud, you look at adoption mobile, and you look at generative AI, it’s the same process each time where it’s like a technology change has happened. What does that mean, for me? What does that mean for my business? What does that mean for my profession? And how am I going to move with that? I will say, with generative AI, what I am seeing differently is, it’s the first time I’ve seen HR take a new technology and lean in it feels much more like the mobile in that it’s not a scary tech thing I don’t understand. It’s, I understand this at a personal level. And so I can see the potential, there’s still obviously going to be a question around, you know, how do I make it safe? How do I make sure that I’m taking care of my employees and protecting but I’m seeing a lot more interest in this way, much like what happened with the tech with the phone, the iPhone, but I think there’s even more interest.

Mike Carden 26:17
Yeah, I recognize all of the, you know, when SAS was a thing, when it was early, I think HR took abscess faster than faster than the accounting department. Yeah, like, I mean, it had a heritage from, you know, I mean, folk like ADP had kind of like, sort of pushed into sort of online delivery early. So they were sort of, you know, there was some kind of heritage and, and says, but I think the early days of SAS HR was one of the first first to actually really adopt this sort of you look at both business models. They weren’t the first. It just sort of went through a lull in the middle as well, I think happened, Gretchen. And I agree with us now. It’s now uptaking technology, in generative AI, maybe quicker than some other parts of the business. But certainly, yeah. I think HR, there’s a lot of people in HR who are trying to challenge an experiment all the time, and they have actually helped our industry a lot.

Cecile Alper-Leroux 27:15
I think sometimes that’s when it’s it truly serves the purpose in the case of of SaaS, right, it was when you had distributed district, a distributed workforce, it absolutely made a difference in that case. And with Gen AI, I think there’s finally this idea, because we all know that self service was sort of a failed experiment in many ways, right? That there’s actually the opportunity to take some of the crap off of HR with Gen with Gen generative AI, if done right. And I think that, you know, everyone thought, oh, self service is going to do that, well, you know, dumb, dumbed down admin isn’t really going to help HR that much, or employees for that matter, but with Gen AI, I think there’s finally an opportunity. And I think that that changes, that changes the game a little bit. So I think if it if it serves the purpose, appropriately, you know, I still think there’s a lot of there’s a lot of throwing of technology, though, that isn’t necessarily solving real problems yet, because we haven’t, you know, zeroed in on that. But I think I think it’ll come actually, I’m pretty optimistic.

Cecile Alper-Leroux 28:21
But it’s not working. To your point.

Don Weinstein 28:25
It’s a fair critique on on self service, because it didn’t make the work go away. It just shifted it around. Right. So it’s like, I’m now I’m going to do it, you’re going to do it. But the work still had to get done on the promise. And obviously, it’s very early stages. But in theory, the promise of of AI is to actually take the work off the collective organizations played as opposed to just giving out the workload in different order. So we’ll see it’s early stages. And, you know, as Lisa pointed out, every single one of these new technologies goes through its its adoption curve. But, you know, luckily, our industry, we’re, I don’t know that we’re the leaders on it. I think it has gotten out fastest on it. But, you know, maybe being a fast follower is not the worst place to be on some of these things. And certainly not the laggards like those those Luddites and finance.

Trish 29:20
Well, you know what, I’m glad you mentioned sort of that, maybe not being the first but I think one of the things that was missing 15 years ago was learning how to do some of these things, learning about the different technologies that were coming or that were new. And that’s one of the reasons I started listening to the show to begin with. When Steve created it, it was more for the purpose of community and gathering, like minded or similarly honestly, like minded But similarly, you know, interested in the same things together. And as a practitioner, I was absolutely fascinated when he would have guests on who would be talking about how they were implementing any little shred of technology, because sometimes I was at places like PWC where we were, and then I went to a smaller, you know, Children’s Hospital where we weren’t. So it gave me kind of perspective, I’d love to just kind of go around. And maybe this time we’ll go backwards, we’ll start with Cecile, what were some of the memories you have of of favorite memories of, of either a show you were on or even just something you might have learned on the show? What kind of comes to mind when you think about why the show was important.

Cecile Alper-Leroux 30:24
So not to be too much of a fan girl or anything, but actually one of my favorite memories. First of all, it was, it was always a highlight anyhow. Regardless, I was always like, Oh, I’m so excited to talk to Steve. And then when you join Treasury with Steve and Trish to talk about some things, but one of my very favorite memories. And one that really stayed with me was when Gretchen and I were both on the show together from HR tech. Yeah. And we had this sort of really, really vendor free, very open, honest conversation that focused on people and interests, you are always, always the first to sort of grab on to it’s like, I love how you’re focused on people. And I’m like, can we please bring it back to what’s what’s at, like, who’s actually using this and all that. And I, and I just remember that that particular conversation being incredibly easy.

Cecile Alper-Leroux 31:21
And Gretchen and I, it was just I think we exchanged information afterwards, because it was just like, we have this very, very again, it was it was a, it was sort of like a, an Indus, I don’t know, it just felt like a very natural conversation about what really needed to change. And I think that the forum that you provided at HR tech, to bring people together to bring, you know, vendors who were supposed to be, you know, sworn enemies, right. Competitors, or when enemies together was was really refreshing. And we had this sort of just delightful conversation about what was happening. And it was, it was one of the best, you know, for me personally, it was one of the best shows, just because of the fact that you you brought us together to have a very open conversation about and it was an interesting time. Also, it was sort of there was a lot going on, in in employee experience and what was happening specifically, it had gone beyond sort of the very early early stages of employee experience, where we were really digging into what it meant to support employees and what that was going to look like in the future. So so that was one of my favorite memories. Honestly, night, I can’t even remember which year that was, but it was probably about eight years ago. Yeah.

Gretchen Alarcon 32:42
Probably. Yeah.

Steve 32:44
It was always interesting trying to bring people together, whether it was on this show, or some of the things we did at the conference, when you had folks from different competitors kind of sharing space. And depending on who they were and what their companies agenda may or may not have been at the time, it was either easy or not so easy. And you guys made it easy and things like that. I’m sure we probably asked you before and Hey, is it okay? If you’re on the show with someone from, you know, XYZ company kind of thing. But maybe at the end of the show, I’ll tell my favorite story about that. It’s not actually related to the podcast, but it’s an ADP story done. And you may remember, Oh, God. Oh, no, that’s fantastic story. I’ll never forget it. But the Yeah, it I thank you for saying that since Eli. Appreciate that. Because one of the things we tried, you know, here is to get past some of that stuff where we could and we couldn’t always do that, right. There was a time and Gretchen and Meg will know this because I’ve worked with both of them. There was a period of time I was working for Oracle and still doing the show. Speaking of warm and fuzzy Oracle, let me continue to do it, which was I’ve shared welcome.

Meg Bear 33:47
When you joined our team, I was like this has to happen.

Steve 33:52
Oh my gosh. Yeah. I guess I knew that. And I maybe forgot. But thank you. Because yeah, I know I got to talking to you about something I did. But it wasn’t this it was something else. But the Yeah, but I think so because I think ultimately, the people that we became friends with became connected to in the industry and leaders like all yourselves, honestly, we you could tell that you all were very genuine about what you were trying to accomplish. Sure you want your company to win to succeed, and you’ve got all the goals, but I always felt like with everybody on this call, there were bigger goals in mind, right? Besides just the quarter Right? Or whatever metric you were chasing at the time.

Trish 34:31
Yeah. Gretchen How about you? I mean, what’s your favorite memory that also was to steal or was it like something?

Gretchen Alarcon 34:38
yeah. No, it absolutely wasn’t. What I remember about that was I don’t think I knew until the day we got there that we were even doing it was kind of like oh, the record the show. I’m totally showing up. And I remember to feel that I were like so when when do we get to be the guest house? You know, Steve gets sick. We’re totally filling in and taking. Absolutely.

Trish 34:57
You post on this show.

Steve 34:59
You know, gotcha. Next week?

Gretchen Alarcon 35:02
There we go. No, absolutely. But you know, I think the other part of it, and I think you know what to seal this thing is really important. You guys have always, this session has always been about not just the technology, but like the humanity behind it. And to me, that is the biggest thing, because we all know about those opportunities where you can geek out on the technology, I certainly have those times too. But I love that this is always you know, in its colleagues, its friends, but it’s connecting that technology to the people and the humanity, and how does the technology actually impact people? And to me, that is one of the most important things is that we’re not just saying, do the technology, because that’s the the business says, so it’s the newest coolest thing, it’s really coming back to what is this going to actually do for the people that use the technology for the way we’re going to change how work works. And for me, we’re changing the way people interact one interaction at a time. So I’m just always so grateful when I get to sit, sit and talk with you guys. Because I learned something and walk away with a clarified perspective, every time.

Trish 36:04
You know, you mentioned to like, it’s more than the technology, it is about those very specific moments. And I think that’s why when Steve asked me to be on the show with him originally, that’s what I hope to bring, because I felt like he was so great at the tech part. And I was a practitioner tech person, right. So it was just a different thing. And I’ll give you an example. You know, time when you mentioned payroll, and being able to do it mobile. And, and and when that was very new, you know, my last HR job, we used ADP, and I would manually approve all of the exceptions, right? For payroll, and it would be stacks of paper. And I would be staying until seven, eight o’clock at night. And then it was another hour and a half to drive home. And so when I see stuff like that now, which is even right, far more advanced in all the companies you all have worked for. That would have given me time back with my kids. I would have been at dinner with my kids. If I had mobile pay, I would have you know, been at practices more or whatever. And I mean, Lisa, maybe we go to you next in terms of just like, you know, favorite memories, but like I’ve watched all of your kids grow up. And Lisa, especially you I mean, being a working executive, both in technology and in HR, I was so drawn to you because you had little girls, and they are basically the same age as my kids. So maybe talk about like, what, what got you interested in even listening to the show to begin with? And maybe a favorite memory?

Lisa Sterling 37:31
It’s interesting. My my kids still don’t know what I do for a living. And they’re 25 and 16. They just think I’m like this person who sits around and tells people what to do. That’s right, right. No, listen, I am, I was just thinking about my favorite memory. And it honestly was when we were outside of the hotel in Beverly Hills, I guess, Hollywood maybe. And I think the reason it stuck with me so much. And what got me really into the show was it was a point in my career that I was taking a major pivot. And I was scared shitless sorry, you have put an E on this. Now my apologies. And being able to sit down with the two of you after such an announcement was just made me it was literally hours before it you brought a calmness to me moving from building HR technology to now being the consumer of it right. And going from being a product person to a practitioner, I was petrified I saw so much opportunity. But I was also like, Okay, if I navigate this the wrong way, these are human beings that are going to be impacted by the decisions I make or don’t make or the things that we do or don’t do. And I remember us just getting real real about what it was going to be like to make that transition. And the things that the questions that you asked me about, what am I going to think about first? How am I going to approach this at my whole plane ride home from California. That’s all I thought about.

Lisa Sterling 38:56
And from that point on, that’s when I really became even more of a an active listener and got deeper into this because you impacted me at a very pivotal point in my career. And I you know, it’s been exciting to be a part of this journey. What I will say is, you know, Don, you mentioned the human side of this and I think that’s that’s more my focus is now I’m less concerned about the technology than I am the actual experience. But what does concern me is we’re starting to do things very differently at Perceptyx in the people team around how we think about work, how work is designed, how our teams are designed, and our technology is not designed to support that at all. Like we are purposely moving away from the construct of jobs. And we are mochas moving to a focus on work and tasks and building it around people and teams. There’s not an HR platform out there right now that does that the way we need it to be done right. And so when I talk about HR not always being provocative My goal now is to radically change that and to be first on everything changed the experience and let the technology catch up. It’s just really hard to manage that when you don’t have technology that supports what you’re doing. And it still wants job descriptions and job codes and things like that. Right. So. But thank you, I don’t think I’ve said that enough to the two of you. You you literally lifted me up on a day that I was elated. And not sure what the heck I just signed myself up for. So thanks for being a part of it.

Steve 40:30
Well, thank you. And I just sort of want to say I mean, you tell that story, Lisa. And I’m thinking myself, man, like how lucky have I been like this silly little thing? We started in Oh, nine. I’m getting invited to hang out at some fancy hotel in Beverly Hills to talk to you.

Lisa Sterling 40:45
I mean, we saw Jennifer Aniston that night that besides the two of you, that was my other highlight. I’m like, Oh my God, that’s Jennifer Aniston. told me I couldn’t go running up. To stay back. I was like, Okay, fine. Yeah, yeah.

Trish 40:57
Well, I think what’s fun about that, number one, thank you, because I love hearing what impacted each of you. And because we don’t always know that we’re all of us. We don’t know when we’re impacting people, and what they take away from those experiences with us. But I think too, yeah, definitely going from someone who was a consumer of technology to being warmly welcomed by every single person on this call into, you know, starting out as a blogger, not even an analyst. Right. Like, while I was still a practitioner, I mean, Mike, you let me blog, write a blog post on your website. And I was just like, Oh, my God, I’ve made it. I’ve made it.

Steve 41:34
I had walked into Meg bears office once I was super intimidated, like, I’m so intimidated by these people. Yeah, for real, and I’m like, oh, man, it but she was like the coolest person ever. Right. And I think that’s a big part of what we’ve done on the show, too, is hopefully with I mean, these are all C suite CEOs, chiefs of whatever’s and things that Oh, like, Oh, lacouture, which is fantastic. Like, but to say that it can be intimidating for people, especially less senior people in their careers to even talk to people like who are on this call. So yeah, Meg, thank you. I’m gonna thank you for that. You.

Meg Bear 42:09
And I’m putting legend out there now. And I’m really questioning life choices. Never having been invited to meet with you guys in Beverly Hills. I think we need to work on that.

Trish 42:23
Well, Meg, while we’re while we’re talking, why don’t you go next, like what memory, anything that stands out.

Meg Bear 42:29
I have several fond memories. And I do really want to reflect in a similar fashion that being able to connect in this with this community. And in HR technology in general, I feel really privileged because, for me, it has always been about the ideas as much as it has been about the company. And so coming from wherever I’ve sat, which has been several different places, I’ve always felt welcome. And I’ve always felt like I was learning because of the community that you’ve built. And because of the the real generosity that everybody brings to making sure that their ideas are there to serve, what we want to see is the future of work and how we all want to thrive in the future. So I’d love the perspective of asking ourselves, How would we survive if we had to go back to what we were 15 years in the past and thinking about that, on the forward looking as it relates to favorite moments, I kind of have two.

Meg Bear 43:35
One was, of course, the live show, because I really think the live shows bring something interesting. And Steve decided that he was running a conference. So he sort of blew us off. So I got to meet George. So I remember on a live show with you Trish and George. And that was a really fun experience, because I was just coming back to the HR community. And I, as I mentioned, felt really welcomed, but also really enthusiastic to see how much had happened while I was out and what was what was kind of the new ideas. And then secondly, the conversation we had. That was Joe Palca and myself when we were talking about people sustainability and just just how much your eyes lit up and just how far we’ve come and how far we haven’t come yet with that conversation. The idea of making, the investments we make in people and the investments we make in HR sustainable, and not just within the company but within the world writ large. So I’m excited when we get to talk about those kinds of why moments. And I think those are two that come to mind for me anyway personally.

Trish 44:47
Thank you for sharing those. I will tell you it’s like when you weren’t in the for that short time when you weren’t in the HR world. It it’s like when you come back it’s like this entire group but when it’s when I see you all it’s like family. You know, it’s like my long lost cousin or, you know, whatever it it does have a bond. And it doesn’t matter what company because everyone on this call has been different companies. Right and, and I’ve even done a stint with a vendor as well, but, and Steve obviously as well. So I think there’s Yeah, we get it to a more personal level. And you’re right, Steve, these are all executives and people sometimes get intimidated to speak to an executive and get their real perspective. So for me, that’s what I’m always hoping to get out of each of you that have been on the show is like your people first and foremost. And you’re really open to talking with anyone at any level of the organization, answering questions, being real. And that’s what I think hopefully is inspiring that next, you know, this level of managers of HR to step up and do more.

Steve 45:47
Yeah, Trish, we’re like getting close to the top of the hour. I want to make sure we don’t overstep anybody’s schedules and things like that. I guess the last thing real quick, we’ll do a quick roundtable on this one. It’s our it is our 15th year as a podcast we’re celebrating cups are on the way whoever did not get one yet. I said there’s a trawler on its way to New Zealand. There’s a steamboat on its way to Provence. But we did send those out. But the theme, we’re asking all our guests and just when we do the normal podcast is celebration, right? What is something you want to celebrate? Whether it’s a personal thing, business thing, something in the world? What’s something it’s worth celebrating right now in your life? Let’s go to my card, and I’m gonna ask you first and it could be just coffees on the horizon for you shortly, you could be celebrating that.

Mike Carden 46:35
I just want to celebrate you guys. Trish. Steve, look, yeah, I think that you go back 15 years, we were at a time of like, absolute shift in the world of HR, you know, HR come from kind of labor and relations. Yeah, like, come from time and attendance and was starting to create this strategic talent, talent space. And I remember events like, HR evolution and stuff, where I kind of like suddenly there was a community of people coming together, talking about the way that HR was going to change. And, and yeah, that stuff was super important. And it’s funny Trish, you said that you kind of like, Hey, you got to be on our blog, but I remember going into a room full of of folk. Yeah, like yourselves, and Laurie and Jason Lauritson. And it’s and it was like, to me as this little tick dude from New Zealand there was like, I’ve arrived I’ve met it’s like, like, like, I’ve meeting Kanye or something. Yeah, it was like, it was this real sense of energy and, and community around that which you folk carried on. But I just want to, I just want to kind of celebrate that, the genesis of that, and the fact that you can actually sustain it for for 50 years. That’s, that’s incredible.

Steve 47:41
Mike, thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah, that’s good stuff. Yeah. How about you, Don, what’s you got to? You’ve got a lot to celebrate. But I mean, give us one?

Don Weinstein 47:52
I think we talked about the, the humanizing aspect of what we try to do here. And from my perspective, just something that I’ve enjoyed as I think, Lisa, you mentioned, you kids have no idea what you do. And I know I struggled with that a long time. But now I’ve got two of mine are out in the workforce. And both of them are using ADP technology at their, at their job. Finally, you get and it’s pretty like back like my one use the ADP mobile app. And she loves it. She goes on to compares the paycheck comparison tool, and they like and I’m like, yeah, like I’ve been trying for 20 years. And now we finally got somewhere. So it’s, you know, it’s it’s kind of, obviously, it’s neat to see your your kids using the fruits of your labor. It’s also a good reminder back to what we were talking about, you know, at the human at the end of the chain.

Steve 48:46
Multiply those two kids by like 10 million, right. That’s how many people that are doing that. So that’s the impact, right you’re having on the world and the world of work. So that’s a huge, great story, Don.

Don Weinstein 48:57
Yeah, it’s a good reminder, like, hey, as we’re building technology picture, I’m building this for my children. That’s right, and everyone else’s. So hopefully we do a good job.

Steve 49:06
Yeah. How about Meg? How about you? What’s your celebration?

Meg Bear 49:12
I’ve got a lot of things to celebrate. Right now. I’m in this great sort of sabbatical liminal space. But what I would like to celebrate with this group specifically, is really the experience and expertise that we’re bringing to this next round of innovation. So if we recognize that the innovation curve is is speeding up, and we recognize the amount of collective wisdom and crystallized intelligence that we have around this table, and in other virtual tables of innovators and thought leaders that we all know and respect, I truly believe we’re in a unique opportunity to do something really amazing going forward and I in the optimistic side of celebrating that right now.

Steve 49:56
I love it. I love it. How about Gretchen, what’s your celebration for the year?

Gretchen Alarcon 50:03
Got a lot to celebrate? You know, going along balance comment, my kids have always been my petri dish of what is happening. And you know, everyone kind of every year it gets to hear like, where are they in the world. So to successful humans launched and off the payroll is an amazing thing and changing the world working with autistic kids, immigration, so like things that really are infecting, you know, affecting the broader world. So I have a personal side, I have a lot. On the professional side, I have to say, I am spending so I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to work where I do where, you know, while ServiceNow is changing the world of work and putting so much out there in terms of AI, there is equally a huge emphasis on growing people and growing culture. And so the times that I amount of time that I’m spending right now, working with early in career, new hires, who are trying to figure out what this work thing is, and having that opportunity to really think about what could that world look like for them is to be personally just so exciting. And I think another great way to get back. So that’s really my big celebration for the year, not just the tech, but the people.

Steve 51:10
Great and not just Well, I’m gonna ask Lisa sounds like you’ve got children around that same life stage as well. Lisa, have you saw, can you celebrate getting some people off the payroll as well.

Lisa Sterling 51:20
I actually, I was lucky enough, my My oldest is off the payroll two years now she finished her master’s in gainfully employed, which is wonderful. I have one that’s going to college in the fall. Nice, nice. And hopefully, the career choice that she’s making will get me back on her payroll at some point in time. But yeah, I mean, it’s been awesome to watch, watch, three young women start to become their own. And learn from some of the things that I’ve done that had been mistakes. And also some of the things that I’ve done that have been successes. And then from a professional level, like everybody has talked here at like the perceptive X is going through a radical transformation now, going from a survey and services organization to truly a platform and insights and behavior change organization. And it’s really fun to be part of that not not just the technological part. But back to what you were talking about gretchin, our company is shifting radically. And everything about us is changing. And it’s fun to be a part of that. And I we’ve made some really, really positive strides thus far. Not to say we’re doing everything, right, we’ve got our own bumps, there’s things that aren’t going the way we planned, but to be able to help lead that charge and see the impact that’s making on those people that still choose us every day. That is that’s next to my daughter’s and my husband, that’s like the greatest success.

Steve 52:39
Awesome, thank you so much, Lisa, all right. Cecile, you’re last. But because I’ve saved you for last because I wanted to follow up with some olive oil questions. So you’ve got to be celebrating the fact that you’re in a beautiful part of the world doing some really interesting things.

Cecile Alper-Leroux 52:54
I really, really am actually, I’ve had an interesting few years, I had some personal tragedy, losing my mother and then my brother. And part of that was a realization that celebrating, celebrating, being alive and family and all of those things has really really been on the forefront moving to pull Voss and in like buying a house that had these incredible 300 year old olive trees, and then that had been neglected. And like, I’m actually believe it or not olive oil self sufficient, which means that I make enough olive oil to give it to close friends. Obviously, I have not delivered it to you all.

Steve 53:38
Check in the mailbox. Absolutely.

Cecile Alper-Leroux 53:40
And, but But you know, even beyond that, I’ve got two kids who are off the payroll who my daughter is actually at UKG and does some remarkable work in accessibility. So she sort of was an anthropologist and followed a little bit in my footsteps, which was kind of interesting. I very humbling actually to have a child sort of do some of the things that you were focused on. But so I mean, I have a lot to celebrate. I have two self sufficient happy children. My father is actually visiting us right now in plus. And so yeah, I’m actually sort of celebrating that. I feel like I I did what I could in the workforce and in the workplace.

Cecile Alper-Leroux 54:26
And I’m kind of celebrating that was enough for a while. What I’m, you know, helping my daughter potentially launch into another area and supporting difference. I think many of you know I have a child who’s on the autism spectrum, who’s a wonderful, you know, human contributing to the world every single day went to Barnard so I mean, clearly she’s got a lot to offer but from from my perspective, celebrating being enough also I’m not always having to, to do more and more and more, although I know all of you are constantly doing more, although I think probably you’re taking a little bit of right. But yeah, being an ollie a couture is figuring out like I go out every day. And I’m like the olives are growing. And it’s an incredibly fulfilling sort of a respite right now. A high powered and never nonstop so so just know that on the other side of all of this, there’s, there’s, there’s peace and a lot of other things that you can do.

Steve 55:35
Well Cecile, it’s been great to see you. And thank you. Do I need the extra virgin or just the extra spine?

Cecile Alper-Leroux 55:42
It’s all extra virgin? I mean, it’s I take him to us. It’s all you absolutely. Do you want early green olives versus the later. Yeah.

Steve 55:53
Totally different. All right. Well, listen, we could go on and on about that. We’ll call you offline to see Oh, absolutely. 17. Other questions. I’ll tell that ADP story some other time. It’s, it’s probably too long to tell. Now. Trish, this has been super fun. Thank you, first of all, for being here for almost all of the 15 years, and honestly, being the inspiration behind getting this group together. Because I’m like a typical guy. In many ways. I’ve been like, yeah, it’s 15 years. That’s fun.

Trish 56:22
He was like, what do they care?

Steve 56:25
I did not think anybody would show up, honestly. Thank you. I appreciate that. But thank you, of course, for everything

Trish 56:32
And thank you for creating the show. Because like I said, I was a listener for a long time. We’re a guest host every now and then. And I not only I learned a lot, but I think again, being closer to everyone on this on this episode, for sure. Making me see that I can make a difference. I think that was the big takeaway for me that each person that’s appearing here today has had a personal impact on me to show me how as a human, I can make a difference in the world. I definitely I love to hear that, you know, whether it’s personal connections to different accessibility needs, or things that your businesses have done. I mean, I think all the way back to like, SAP, for example, back in 2015, we were talking about accessibility and autism being on the spectrum.

Steve 57:14
We had the we just had the CEO of Autism Speaks on the show about a couple of months ago, like so it I love how it circles back, right.

Trish 57:23
I think that’s you know, we’ve kind of each touched on that IT technology is super important. That’s why we all work, right? We’re doing we’re trying to do something with that. But it is that human side. To me, that’s always that connection. And the fact that every single business on on here, whether it’s a past business, you’ve worked for something you’re doing now, we’re all still focused on that human aspect, right? We want to help people who are not seen as often or enough or recognized enough. Steve and I recently gave a presentation where we’re talking about the difference between like, underrepresented, which we all focused on for a long time to underrecognized. And I think that’s the shift and I’m talking to each of you on how you’re thinking about the future of work. It’s recognizing and giving people opportunities who really may not ever get them. So thank you to each of you for for teaching me that over the last 15 years.

Steve 58:12
What a great group thank you again. Thank you, Meg Bear, Mike Carden, and Don Weinstein, Gretchen Alarcon, Cecile Alper-Leroux, Lisa Sterling. Everybody Trish of course. Thank you. Thanks to our friends at Paychex. Thanks for celebrating with us. My little background thing is your background. So much.

Trish 58:31
For anyone who’s on the on the radio, so we have our little 15 year logo. Every person on here if you don’t have it, you’re getting it has the original HR Happy Hour logo and the one we’ve had for probably five years. So anyway, always. You all can’t wait for your next appearances individually or collectively or in person.

Steve 58:49
Let’s do that. 15 years from now, we’ll do this all again.

Trish 58:52
I was gonna say I want this exact group for the 25th Okay. First, can we say 20? Every five years we’re gonna all get together.

Steve 59:02
I think it’ll be hopefully the retirement home has strong Wi Fi.

Trish 59:06
Five years. How about that? All welcome you.

Steve 59:10
All right. Thanks to our friends at Paychex. Thanks for everybody for listening for every part of the last 15 years. Thanks so much again. We’ll see you next time. And bye for now.

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