On June 13, Priscilla Koranteng joined Indeed as chief people officer (CPO). Koranteng will be part of Indeed’s senior leadership team and oversee people functions, including human resources (HR), recruiting and real estate. She joins Indeed during a period of tremendous growth and momentum for the company, as we seek to hire approximately 4,000 people over the next year. In addition, she joins Indeed, the #1 job site in the world, at a time when how, when and where people work is changing.
With Koranteng’s unique perspective as an HR and recruiting executive, we sat down with her to learn how she thinks about today’s labor market, employee retention, building a diverse and inclusive culture and more.
Q: As the CPO of the world’s largest hiring platform, what are your thoughts on the current state of hiring?
A: Hiring will continue to be competitive. An important topic to pay attention to right now is job seeker wants and needs, and what these mean for hiring. Alternative work arrangements will continue to be preferred when possible, and I predict candidates will seek opportunities that allow for flexibility in how and where they work. I also encourage my colleagues in HR and recruiting to follow updates from the Indeed Hiring Lab — it provides powerful perspectives about what’s driving change in the job market.
Q: As companies seek to retain employees, what are some ways employers can “win” with their workforce?
A: You must win the hearts and minds of your talent every day. Understanding your workforce metrics in terms of hiring rates, promotions, turnover and available labor pools (based on your industry), as well as taking the pulse of the employees, is critical. Be sure to listen to your employees to better understand their needs and concerns. Empower managers to manage: everyday management and engagement is key to creating the best environment possible for employees. Finally, stay competitive. For instance, constantly review pay to ensure equitable processes — pay equity must be an ongoing, “always on” practice, not a once-a-year event. And beyond pay, think about the total employment value proposition. As a leader, always ask yourself: Why would employees stay with us, what makes us unique and what do we have to offer them?
Q: Many employers are actively working to hire and retain diverse workers. What advice do you have for opening opportunities to all job seekers and building workplaces where everyone feels they can belong and thrive?
A: Over the past three years, I have built a strategy that drives diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) through a holistic approach. This involves several crucial components. First, you have to have an authentic commitment from leadership. Leaders must ask: does our company culture truly embrace differences? Now more than ever, employees and candidates want to know whether a company actually embodies the messages it puts on its website. They’re looking at the composition of leadership teams, for instance, as well as what leaders say and stand for. But perhaps most importantly, employers cannot simply state that they hire diverse talent — teams must actually represent this diversity in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, nationality, veteran status and socio-economic background.
One of the things that drew me to Indeed was that I could see from the start that this is a company that not only says it is committed to DEI, but actively practices this value.
Q: How can talent and HR professionals help build genuinely inclusive company cultures that provide more equitable opportunities?
A: To start, organizations must continuously measure all hiring, promotion and turnover data to ensure that the workforce is diverse and that the company is walking the walk. For hiring, you want to ensure your candidate pools are diverse. If there are gaps, you must go back to the drawing board and source more candidates — this is crucial. Along similar lines, employers must be intentional about monitoring equity among employees, such as with career growth. For instance, they should constantly measure who is promoted and how, and make sure that all employees have equal access to opportunities for professional development.
Q: How do you see the distinction between a Chief Human Resources Officer and your title, Chief People Officer?
A: This is a small, but important, change in terminology that reflects how different companies view the function that handles all things people-related. The past few years have taught us that workers are more than just “resources'' or “headcount.” A CPO’s job is to look and think more holistically, solving for what people need in order to thrive within the organization. I believe we need to pivot to a “whole person” approach.
Q: You’ve had an impressive career. What have been the secrets to your success, and what advice would you share with the next generation of job seekers?
A: First, do what you love. I found my passion in helping people as an HR leader, and I have never regretted it. Second, always keep learning. Learn about different cultures and appreciate what people bring to the table, and you will enjoy your work — and life — even more. Third, self-belief is the key to unlocking possibilities. My father taught me this as a child, and I am passing this truth on to my own kids. Fourth, whatever job you do, work the hardest on it and you will be rewarded.
Coming to the US all the way from Ghana via the UK, I was faced with many challenges, from learning new cultures to living in places where I always felt different or “othered.” I tell my kids that I came to the US with nothing, and all I had in my hand was the hope of a great life and career. If I can do it, I know others can, too. Finally, know there will be setbacks. While I have been successful, there have been many challenges I have had to overcome — and I had to pick myself up and keep moving forward, but here I am.
About Priscilla Koranteng
Koranteng brings more than 22 years of experience leading HR, talent management and DEI functions at multinational organizations, including Kellogg, DXC Technology, T. Rowe Price, Booz Allen and JP Morgan Chase. Most recently, she was Kellogg’s global head of talent and chief diversity officer, driving enterprise-wide approaches to human resources and designing the company’s global diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy. In addition to her many professional accomplishments, Koranteng is a published author and the founder of the Janju Foundation, a nonprofit supporting education for girls in Ghana. Read more about what drew Koranteng to Indeed here.