Alice Lin

VP and Senior Talent Advisor, Liberty Mutual

I chose Tuck and Liberty Mutual because of the collaborative culture and their values of integrity and putting people first.

By Rachel Hastings

For Alice Lin T’14, a career in talent strategy was never the plan. “For a long time, I didn’t even know there were options in talent beyond recruiting,” she admits. But her current role—vice president and senior talent advisor at Liberty Mutual—is no accident. Instead, it’s the product of years of career exploration and self-reflection.

Lin, who started her career as an actuary, credits former manager Sean Riley T’05 for pushing her toward Tuck (in part, with Tripod hockey videos). After Tuck, she joined a consulting firm where she worked across several functions and industries. 

Once she was ready for a new challenge, “I did some soul searching and reflected on what energized me and the activities I’d gravitated toward,” Lin explains. “At Tuck, for example, I was the Quality of Life chair on the Student Board, similar to an employee engagement role in an organization. A lot of things came together and pointed me toward talent, and my analytics background made strategic workforce planning a great fit.” 

Today, Lin oversees talent strategy for Liberty Mutual’s 2,500-employee personal lines technology organization spanning 15 countries. We asked her to share her top workforce development advice for business leaders.

Keep the pulse of your employees and broader trends. There are a lot of economic changes taking place, from layoffs to return-to-office. These transformations are straining employees’ engagement and impacting their feelings about work and their company’s leadership. Companies need to listen to those concerns and create opportunities for dialogue with tools like focus groups and pulse surveys that they then act upon. 

Prioritize transparency. Trust in senior leadership is crucial during moments of transition. Full transparency from the top is not always possible—like during lay-offs—but share as much as you can. After changes take place, provide additional context to help employees understand your decisions and reassure them that you’re acting strategically to keep the business moving forward. 

Understand how company culture impacts recruitment and retention. I chose Tuck and Liberty Mutual because of the collaborative culture and their values of integrity and putting people first. Think about the kind of company you want to lead, and remember that culture starts at the top. 

Keep investing in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Many companies are decreasing their DEI budgets because these issues aren’t as elevated in the news. That’s a miss. DEI is even more crucial when your company is undergoing transformation. You need diverse voices to help guide those changes and ensure you do right by your employee populations and those communities that you serve.

Be clear and authentic about your commitment to DEI. Leaders need to show up, not only by attending employee resource group events, sitting on panels, and sharing stories about their own identities and communities but also by demonstrating equity through talent processes. At Liberty Mutual, we have employee resource groups and multiple grassroots, employee-led groups related to DEI, and our leadership champions them formally and informally. 

Incorporate inclusion into all talent processes. DEI isn’t an extracurricular. It needs to be part of all talent processes, including hiring, performance reviews, succession planning, and talent development. You need diverse voices at the table when decisions are being made, and they need to be empowered to contribute fully and challenge the status quo.

Use people analytics strategically. HR analytics tools can help you understand what’s happening within your organization. For example, you might look at data on promotions and performance reviews to check that bias isn’t playing a role. You can also use analytics to track the skill sets you have in-house against your current and future needs to drive strategic planning. 

Test out emerging tools and applications. Network mapping tracks the connections individual employees have across organizations and how that might influence outcomes. Similarly, career pathing tools that show the trajectories employees take after holding specific positions can help employees and their managers explore options for advancement and identify the skills they need to develop.

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