Lisa Skinner Källström, CHRO at Teamtailor: “It’s hard to replace the magic that happens from interacting with colleagues”

Is it too corny to say that Lisa Skinner Källström is the head of HR that everyone would love to have? As you’ll see in our interview, her sheer zest for life — and for what she does — buzzes through every reply. And it also shows in many of the great HR initiatives she has achieved as Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at Teamtailor.

Teamtailor pitches itself as “the recruitment software your candidates & team will love”, and as it’s a tech company we weren’t surprised to hear that Lisa and her team have embraced technology. Including a drop of AI…

There is also much here for any current HR worker, or someone considering HR as a career, to take note of. For example, the way that Lisa “energises her team by aligning HR strategies with the organisation’s goals”. Or her focus on adapting to global trends and events, which means the company can grow rapidly and sustainably.

Finally, we love the idea of #denimtuesday. But you’ll have to read on to discover exactly what that is…

Tell us about your role at Teamtailor

I have the great pleasure of leading the HR team at Teamtailor, a Swedish-founded SaaS company with 300 employees across the globe. Teamtailor has grown rapidly during the last few years so the mission for my team and I is to support and contribute by being proactive, and innovative and constantly developing our ways of working towards the strategic goal of creating happy teams!

My role is very operational in terms of supporting managers, conducting training etc, but also strategically setting our agenda and prioritising initiatives to ensure we always work on the right topics together with the business!

What made you pursue a career in HR? And what advice do you have for anyone considering a career in HR?

I finished high school not knowing exactly what I wanted to do so I tried a few different jobs and by chance, was hired as a Researcher at a headhunting firm back in 2001. I always knew I wanted to get an academic degree but was unsure of what topic. After working in Recruiting for two years I had found my calling and decided to do a degree in Human Resources with a major in Psychology and I have never regretted that.

The HR area has developed a lot during the years I have been active and I can safely say that it is such a rewarding job. If anyone is looking for something varied and challenging where you can really make a difference, then try HR! HR is so much more than just an administrative function — we have the opportunity to sit at the table and make an impact on the direction of companies through the most valuable asset, which is the people!

We hear about terms like quiet quitting, indicating a shift in employees’ approach to work post-pandemic. Is this something you’ve seen at your work? And if so, how are you reacting to it? 

I think this is actually changing a bit now with the world’s economic situation. I feel that individuals value their jobs more since the job market is currently a little less stable. I hope as an employer that values feedback and measures engagement regularly and by having managers who are enabled to work closely with their teams, companies can prevent that approach!

Having said that — as mentioned — having a healthy platter of the time someone spends at work versus the life outside will always be a good topic to address, but I am a strong believer that it does not rule out a strong engagement.

Related reading: What’s lazy-girl jobs? The TikTok work trend companies should know about

I believe that the flexibility that work has offered us in the last year has been great in terms of realising the benefits of how valuable time is to us and evaluating how that time is spent! Saving two hours a day from a commute and spending that with family is hard to argue against.

Having said that, I am convinced that fully remote work is not the best long-term solution, neither for individuals nor companies. It is hard to replace the magic that happens from interacting with colleagues, small talk, being able to act and resolve matters quickly and, not least of all, laughing and having a good time in an office!

At Teamtailor we talk a lot about creating memories and experiences together and find that this often happens in between the meetings, the “chit chat”, just by walking in the hall or meeting at the coffee machine and I really agree with this. 

What are the top three challenges HR professionals face today? 

  1. The world climate — that is, unstable situations such as Ukraine and Russia. How this can impact a business is nothing anyone can learn from a course, but it often requires actions from HR to communicate, act and handle crises of various kinds whilst still delivering on the day-to-day topics. 
  2. Navigating in the remote work environment — what is right for our company? During Covid, many companies allowed remote hiring in new regions which could result in scattered teams. HR needs to find good ways to ensure that team members and managers alike feel engaged, belonging and healthy (both physically and mentally), even when the world has now gone back to normal.
  3. Compensation during a slower economy — many companies have been forced to lay off a large number of their workforce and that process in itself is tough, but also communicating and deciding on compensation levels during these times. Team members can be struggling with increased mortgages so a challenge there is to be clear in how the company will navigate and set clear expectations on salary and benefits.

What do you think has been the most significant way in which technology has impacted HR?

In the current times we are operating, there are so many ways in which HR teams are able to work much more effectively than ever before. I am that old that I remember when we would document interviews in physical “write-ups” and I remember when we decided to digitise these, which meant that I had to scan ten huge piles of papers into SharePoint.

By using AI, for example, I encourage HR teams to evaluate where they can make the most impact instead of doing a lot of manual work. Whether that is putting extra time into coaching managers or employees, will vary between organisations.

We should not be scared of outsourcing some of our work but instead make sure we understand the results, excel in how we present them and make a difference to the business!

Is your company using AI elsewhere? If so, what challenges have you experienced?

Yes, we are using a pulse survey tool for measuring engagement and it is built on AI, meaning that the system will probe questions according to how team members answer them.

We have actually not seen a challenge with this yet, quite the opposite! It allows us to be able to look at the data, keep anonymity and really get to the depth of the feedback in order to create the right actions. We are closely following the development of AI here.

The risk I can see is if you let AI take care of the responding part of a survey where there is no involvement from the company, you would jeopardise the culture and personal touch when communicating back results and actions.

What is an HR initiative you’ve spearheaded that you are particularly proud of?

I remember from a previous company where I was quite new in my role with the mission to build an HR function. I was looking for good ways to really capture our culture and find common ground on how to “package” it somehow. After some time, our CEO and I picked up that a lot of team members were dressing in a specific theme (wearing denim shirts) some days of the week and that it created a sense of belonging and “hype” — so I suggested addressing this and actually turned it into a CSR project.

Practically it meant that on Tuesdays, anyone who wore anything in denim and posted pictures of this in the #denimtuesday Slack channel would contribute 50SEK per denim garment to charity.

It created such a nice culture and room for creativity where people would end up wearing five-piece denim suits and every week we gave a large donation to the Swedish Cancer Fund, which also matched our values in a nice way. The best thing was that it wasn’t something HR or anyone else “launched” from the start — it was coming from the teams themselves and to me, that is true employer branding!

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Tim Danton

Tim has worked in IT publishing since the days when all PCs were beige, and is editor-in-chief of the UK's PC Pro magazine. He has been writing about hardware for TechFinitive since 2023.