Louise Welch, former Senior HR Professional at Google, in the CEO Corner: The Role of HR in Today’s Organizations

Senior HR professional, Louise Welch, who has been with Google for 14 years in a variety of HR positions, is now moving from California to Capital One in Virginia. During her time at Google, Louise’s responsibilities included staffing, global university relations, human resources, career development, product management and talent management.

Most recently, she was Head of Talent Management at Google and lead talent management best practices, succession planning and top talent initiatives company wide. Prior to that, she was Head of Learning and Development Technology and lead product strategy for new company-wide learning technology systems.

As the Head of Career Development, she and her team built global coaching, mentoring and rotational programs. Louise was with Google in Mountain View, CA for 10 years and in London for 4 years. Prior to Google, she was in advertising at Bates Worldwide in New York and at start-ups in San Francisco. Louise holds a degree in Psychology from Sewanee, The University of the South.

I wanted to hear Louise Welch’s thoughts on her HR career, that has spanned several functions. I was curious to know how her experience has shaped her view of the role of HR within organizations.

Q.  You have already had a rich career in roles ranging from HR Business Partner, to Career Development and Global Talent Management. From your vantage point, what is one insight you would share from having worked across these various functions

A. There is an advantage to developing breadth across several functional areas. I’ve been able to reinvent my career every few years—virtually starting a new career each time in an area in which I hadn’t worked before.

I attribute my career opportunities to excellent leaders who were willing to take risks on me to do these jobs well even when I didn’t have a background in them. The insight I’ve gained–which has benefited me throughout my career–is an understanding of how all the aspects of HR work together and the build value in each other, whether it’s strategic planning, staffing, university relationships, or people systems. Broad exposure has been eye-opening and helps me operate as a strategically minded HR professional.

Q. What is the most important area of human resources or talent management that all leaders and managers should get more training in?

A. One skill that leaders don’t exercise consistently is how to have development conversations. They tend to be good at the mandatory conversations around performance management, succession planning and compensation.

However, I’ve found that great managers naturally and instinctively have development conversations as part of their one-on-one meetings with direct reports.

They really take the time to get to know their employees, their long-term goals, and what skills they want to develop. I think all managers should take the time for these rich development discussions.

Q. What is one area of HR that often gets overlooked and could benefit from more innovation

A. I think there needs to be more innovative improvement in the overall HR system landscape. For example, I’ve found that many HR departments use multiple systems for their operations, however most of them are not fully integrated and do not have a holistic picture of the employee or organization.

By integrating systems and having effective data management practices, HR will have a more complete and strategic overall view of the organization.

This will enable HR partners to better consult with business leaders and to help shape their people strategy.

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You can fine and follow Louise Welch on LinkedIn.

If you’d like to comment or have further questions for Louise (or me), I welcome you to post here (below), on Twitter @GregJMorton or on LinkedIn (please use #CEOCorner when you comment or ask a question).

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Greg Morton  is a corporate strategy and growth development specialist and Chief Executive Officer of the Northern California HR Association.


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