Assessing Climate Change…Without Scientists

Erin Dziekan, VP Human Resources

Working in an information and intelligence company’s human resource division, I don’t often interact with scientists. That doesn’t mean I don’t spend a lot of time talking about climate change. When you hear about “global warming” it may have negative connotations—images of soon-to-be-homeless polar bears, hurricanes and unpleasant political debates. In our organization, it’s a good thing. We are already seeing our recent focus on collaboration warming up our workplace.

Teamwork creates corporate change. In HR we strive to have a workforce of engaged and inspired employees. One vehicle where ALM is experiencing huge success is team building. Literally. Looking back even a few months, our company used to resemble other recently merged organizations. Siloed into individual verticals and inwardly focused, our tightly knit teams rarely interacted with “others.” Colleagues who sat a few feet from one another hardly spoke. Maybe this sounds familiar?

To start with, we are broadening our internal networks beyond colleagues with neighboring desks and engaging more with one another organization-wide. Now 70% of our employees are taking part in a company-wide collaborative venture. Employees are innovating and driving the show.

Cultural change? That’s an even bigger undertaking for any entity. That requires buy-in from all stakeholders. And this is what’s happening here this spring. Our team building is not formed through trust circles you have at a daylong, off-site retreat, but group projects that involve staff who haven’t previously worked together. I’m happy to be involved in a few such groups.

I’m part of a social media governance board that meets regularly. We’re an eclectic group mixed with representatives from our creative team, legal, editorial, events operations and, of course, some of our social media marketers. But our group isn’t acting alone – we’ve got 44 working groups meeting regularly across the company. By broadening our internal networks, staff who have traditionally focused on the legal industry, for instance, are considering points of view from staff focused on other industries like finance and insurance, and coming to the realization that not only are they are all interconnected but that they can also create new products that help solve customers’ common concerns.  

We’re building a dynamic environment, fueled by the heat of ideas moving in multiple directions, not just from the top down. Anyone in human resources knows that transforming an organization takes time, collaboration and risks. As we embrace new possibilities, we’re shedding legacy thinking and implementing fresh ideas born of our own greatest resource – our workforce, or, the people who can see and seize these new opportunities. It’s part of a global warming trend. Not all climate change is bad, especially when it exchanges legacy thinking for bright ideas.

Erin Dziekan

Vice President, Human Resources,Erin is responsible for all efforts to attract, retain and develop ALM employees. She manages employee-related programs and advises employees on career, performance and organizational planning. Previously, she held a senior HR role at both ALM and Summit Professional Networks where she helped guide the company through the acquisition by ALM. Prior to Summit, Erin held roles of increasing responsibility at KnowledgePoint360 Group and Thomson Reuters (formerly Thomson Healthcare).