In The Modern People Leader Podcast, we go behind the scenes with HR executives to hear about their daily routines, what it means to be a Modern People Leader and we will discuss the latest topics in the HR world. Our goal is to keep you up-to-date on the latest trends, and to help spark conversations and change within your organization. You can access our episodes below. Or you can subscribe to The Modern People Leader directly on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

39 – Bouncing Forward in This Time of Uncertainty

This week we had two return guests for another MPL Group Chat:

  • Libby Fiumara, Talent Program Manager from Expel and
  • Sarah Salbu Young, Talent Experience Partner at Pegasystems

We talked about how companies can bounce forward vs. focusing on the great resignation, the importance of pausing and reflecting on people who are making a positive impact on you at work, and trends heading into the last quarter of the year.

Episode highlights:

  • We’re in an environment where it feels like things are moving slowly
  • How to bounce forward vs. focusing on the great resignation
  • Getting the most of being exposed to different people, ideas, and work
  • Doing work that gives you energy and aligns with your purpose
  • How time-off has become a safety need (think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) and why periodic company-wide days off will become the norm
  • Why you should pause and reflect on people who are having a positive impact on you, and
  • Trends in the workplace heading into Q4, the “People Quarter”.

38 – Steve Cadigan (Former CHRO at LinkedIn & Author)

Steve Cadigan, author, and former CHRO at LinkedIn, joined us on The Modern People Leader to discuss his recent book: ”Workquake: Embracing the Aftershocks of COVID-19 to Create a Better Model of Working”

Episode Highlights:

  • Steve’s journey from graduating with no plan to becoming LinkedIn’s first CHRO,
  • the inspiration behind his book,
  • workers and companies can see LESS of the future than ever before,
  • what companies can learn from Duke basketball’s Coach K and his talent strategy,
  • organizations are hiring for intellectual curiosity,
  • the lifespan of a new skill is shorter than it has ever been,
  • and how Steve was conned by students into joining TikTok.

37 – Hybrid Work & The 4-Day Workweek

For the 37th episode of The Modern People Leader, Daniel and Stephen explored the emergence of a new dual labor economy and the future implications this will have for businesses and employees. Specifically, we dove deep into the potential of the four-day workweek, as well as other pre-World War II work constructs that could change as part of the emergence of hybrid working.

Episode highlights:

  • Future of work strategies and the impact to engagement and retention for companies
  • Risks of rushing future of work strategies and things that should be considered
  • Other related areas that are top of mind for HR Leaders
  • Why we may need to consider a regional differences to hybrid work
  • Potential of the four-day workweek and the logistical challenges behind it
  • Other trends that may emerge based on the adoption of a hybrid working model

36 – MPL Group Chat: The Summer of Counteroffers & Choice

This week we had three return guests for another MPL Group Chat:

  • Jennifer Paxton, VP People at Smile.io,
  • Jaclyn Jussif, Director of Talent Acquisition at EDB, and
  • Adrienne Barnard, SVP, People Operations & Experience at Mainstay

We talk about the summer of counteroffers & choice, moving people ops from an administrative function to a strategic function, and an employee-driven future of work.

Episode Highlights:

  • Moving people ops from an administrative function to a strategic function
  • The summer of counteroffers & choice
  • Focusing on key performers and high potential employees
  • Mental wellness is top of mind for employees
  • Will the four-day workweek be the norm in the future?
  • Redesigning the employee journey for the future of work
  • Collecting data is a strategic approach to making decisions
  • Advocating for more people on the people team,
  • HR has the data to make the decisions that will change employees’ lives,
  • And an employee-driven future.

35 – The Importance of Employer Branding

With so much change in the workplace, it’s critical that businesses are (re)defining their employee brand, leaning into a future-of-work strategy, and consistently communicating across levels of the company. In this expert session, Eric Harris, CEO of MindHandle shares best practices and tactics that will enhance your employer brand.

Episode Highlights:

  • The difference between employee branding & employer branding
  • Who should own employer branding internally
  • Why employer branding is so important
  • Do you have a culture or an employer brand issue?
  • Getting HR to think more like a marketing department
  • Organizations need to talk about their WINS more often
  • The biggest challenge with employer branding
  • Using your leadership team as thought leaders
  • And how to communicate culture & values in job postings.

34 – The challenges of recruiting into new countries.

Noreen Zobel, Chief People Officer at CrossBoundary, joined us on The Modern People Leader to share the challenges of recruiting for a multinational growth company, maintaining culture as you grow, and the 16-hour diversity workshop series that they put on for their people.

Episode highlights:

  • What it’s like being a new Chief People Officer at a high-growth company
  • The challenges of recruiting into new international countries
  • Maintaining your culture as you grow
  • The 16-hour diversity workshop series they put their employees through
  • And the biggest changes to come out of COVID when we look back in 20 years.

33 – Fading Relics at Work

David Hanrahan, CHRO at Eventbrite, joined us on The Modern People Leader to share why Eventbrite is letting employees decide on whether or not they want to return to the office, what operating in high trust mode looks like, why you should take a hard look at your culture and why the traditional workweek is outdated.

Episode highlights:

  • Origin story for Eventbrite’s decision to go hybrid
  • Why operating in a high trust mode drives higher engagement
  • How culture is fundamentally changing
  • Suggestions for how to rethink your culture
  • Why the 9-to-5 workday is a relic of the past
  • How work and life will continue to blend together, and
  • Key people metrics you should keep a close eye on.

32 – Return to Office & The Great Resignation

This week we had four return guests on for our first-ever CPO Group Chat: 

  • Lyndsay Lord, CHRO at Team Car Care dba Jiffy Lube
  • Rhiana Barr, Chief People Officer at KushCo
  • Dilshan Ratnayake, Chief People Officer at Securonix
  • Kristen Barbor, VP Global HR at Groupon

We discuss their return to office strategies and the ‘Great Resignation’. 

Episode highlights:

  • What their return to office strategies look like
  • Apple taking a mandatory stance on employees coming into the office
  • Crafting back-to-work strategies to get top talent
  • The big concerns about the great resignation
  • Communicating your strategy effectively across the organization
  • Preventing your culture from eroding in the new world of work
  • Quick wins with total rewards strategies
  • And what every company should be doing to keep their best talent.

31 – DEI is a competency that every leader should have

We were fortunate to have Yemi Akisanya, Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Groupon, join us on The Modern People Leader where he shared his career journey from living in Nigeria to his current role. 

Yemi also provided his perspective on why DEI can be such a struggle for companies, why you need a clear business case for DEI, and why you should focus on executing a strategy instead of racking up a couple of quick wins.

30 – How to drive performance conversations

Christopher D. Lee, CHRO at William & Mary, joined us on The Modern People Leader. He shared how he went from a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps to being the CHRO of one of the oldest and most prestigious schools in the US.

We discussed how a leader’s job is to help each employee be their very best, why boosting your employees’ confidence is important, and how to drive performance conversations by asking the right questions.


  • why HR practitioners are miseducated & the 4 elements of HR,
  • a leaders job is to help every employee be their very best,
  • discretionary effort = employee engagement,
  • boosting the confidence of your people,
  • asking the right questions to drive performance conversations,
  • and the common objections to scrapping the performance review.

28 – Revamping Your Employee Engagement Strategy

During this episode, we dove deep into employee engagement & what companies can do if they need to revamp their approach. 

Episode highlights:

  • The convergence of engagement and pulse surveys
  • What a “cookie-cutter” employee engagement strategy looks like
  • How pulse surveys have evolved over the years
  • What a blended engagement strategy looks like
  • Where to start when revamping your engagement strategy
  • Setting goals for your engagement strategy
  • What good and bad survey design looks like
  • The 3 primary engagement models being used right now
  • Big misses in engagement in 2020.