Meet the HR Tech keynote speakers: Lisa Buckingham

The Lincoln Financial Group CHRO shares her outlook on HR tech trends.
By: | October 1, 2020 • 3 min read

This is the third in a series introducing our keynote speakers and their HR Tech Conference topics. Read more here.

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The workplace intersection of technology and people has never been more critical, or more rapidly changing, as during the coronavirus pandemic. Tech is being looked to as an enabler of new remote work engagement, to maintain culture despite challenging conditions and to help HR reconfigure hiring and retention—all while centering employees and candidates.

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At the upcoming free, virtual HR Technology Conference, Lisa Buckingham, executive vice president and chief people, place and brand officer at Lincoln Financial Group, will explore how HR can leverage technology without losing sight of people-focused HR. Buckingham, HRE’s 2017 Executive of the Year, will share the organization’s multi-year digital journey and how it enabled Lincoln to provide true workforce support throughout the pandemic.

Before her keynote, she spoke with HRE about the trends that are reshaping HR, technology and the workforce of the future.

Lisa Buckingham

HRE: Where do you think most HR leaders’ attention was prior to the pandemic? And how different is it (or should it be) now?

Buckingham: Prior to COVID-19, some of the biggest “hot topics” in HR were talent and technology—and while the specifics might look different today, these two themes continue to be hugely important. Before the pandemic we heard a lot about the “war for talent”—or the “war for differentiation” as I like to call it—and, yes, the landscape today looks dramatically different with the level of unemployment COVID-19 has caused. But, we’re still seeing a competitive talent marketplace and, more than ever, we’re seeing the importance of employee engagement and creating a differentiating employee experience. Technology, similarly, has become more critical than ever. In the HR space, we continue to focus on how we can leverage technology while at the same time keeping human in human resources. We want to implement technology that fosters more connectivity, more time to be present and focus on things that matter most.

See also: Tackling the ‘connection’ challenge of COVID-19

What are the most important skill sets that HR leaders of tomorrow will need, given the uncertainty in the world of work right now?

I like to say HR has been in the “front seat” of this crisis, and we will continue to be as the working world evolves as a result of this pandemic. Adaptability is so key. Yes, that means being nimble as changes come—and it also means being able to leverage those changes to make a positive impact. How can our learnings from this pandemic make us better? Make us more creative, more agile in the long-term? Another big learning for me is the incredible power of a strong, global HR network. We are all sharing more and learning from one another. We aren’t competing against one another, we are building vibrant and very different work environments and can help each other and our beloved workforces.

HRE: What emerging technologies are you most excited about that have been fueled by the disruptions of the last few months?

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Buckingham: Technology has facilitated increased connectivity among the HR community, which I am super passionate about. In April, I partnered with fellow CHROs from Accenture, Verizon and ServiceNow to launch People + Work Connect—a digital employer-to-employer platform that brings together companies laying off or furloughing people with companies in urgent need of workers. There is no cost for employers to join and participate. We developed this initiative in direct response to unemployment caused by COVID-19, but I believe this is just the start of a new chapter of deeper connections between companies, driven by HR, to better all of our collective workforces.

To learn more about the HR Tech Conference and to register, click HERE.

Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at hreletters@lrp.com.