Allyn Bailey Futurist

Allyn Bailey is a talent futurist, HR technology specialist and practitioner of organisational transformation in companies ranging from multinationals to start-ups.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your current role?

Currently, I am the Executive Director of Hiring Success Services for SmartRecruiters, where I lead a global team of consultants to support companies in navigating their talent acquisition transformations. I have designed and led revolutionary organisational talent acquisition transformations that have included inventing and implementing the Talent Acquisition Infinity Loop, while at the Intel Corporation.

I have been a leading voice in the talent and HR industry advocating for innovation and purposeful adaptation that will allow companies to meet the challenges and opportunities the rapidly changing future of work is providing. I lean on my experience as a facilitator, my focus on engaging with empathy and insights honed as an experienced designer, to see patterns and make previously unrecognized connections readily visible for teams, organizations, technologists, and leaders. I am also a frequent blogger and keynote speaker about all things HR, Talent, and transformation.

Finally, in collaboration with my long-time friend and the CEO of WORQDRIVE and Parsons Strategic Consulting, Tracey Parsons, I have built the Talent Rebel Alliance, a movement connecting strong, independent and feisty women in the talent industry. Together we are on a mission to grow our ideas, our presence, our value and our impact; smart women connecting with smart women to support each other. It’s as simple as that. We believe big things happen from simple ideas.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I never intentionally planned my career. Instead, I pivoted as opportunities presented themselves and decided where to add value.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Throughout my career, I’ve faced various challenges such as being fired, laid off and passed over for promotions. However, I’ve learned to trust myself, my voice and my confidence in these situations. I’ve learned to overcome and own my story and be confident in it.”

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

While there have been many successes, my proudest moments come from seeing people I’ve worked with or coached, evolve in their careers. It’s so rewarding to know I’ve helped spark something in them to become who they are today. I will always remember the moments when I have seen fresh leaders rise to meet the challenges of today. I can look on from the side-lines and know I was there as they were finding their voice and inner strength.

My biggest career achievements are actually achieved long after I am around. They happen when those I have had the privilege of working with carry forth our innovative and fresh ideas and evolve them while taking on new roles and new organisations. I believe in the butterfly principle, that small things can have non-linear impacts on a complex system. We are more impactful through those we support and encourage than through our own work. 

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in your achieving success?

I don’t get bogged down by job titles, descriptions, or scope. I see them as recommendations, not as mandates or limitations. My responsibility is to provide and add increasing value over time. This belief has allowed me to feel comfortable in rooms where my role or title may not have gained me entry on their own, but my work and ideas may have garnered me a limited-time audience.

I have learned to take advantage of the moments I am granted to build confidence and trust in my work. I am keenly aware that every interaction is an opportunity for me to show what I’ve got. I know my ability to make things happen is directly correlated to my ability to instil confidence in my work.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

To excel in a technology career, you need to look outside of your particular zone of influence and learn from others. Participate, ask questions and capture insight from outside your industry. Tech is ever-evolving and you cannot rest on laurels and expect to be successful tomorrow with what you know today.”

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

Absolutely. The way companies and decision-makers look at women and their value creates barriers. While I can’t change their minds, I can hold them accountable. I can call out the inequities I see; things as simple as who is getting asked to have drinks after work can be moments that create inequity.

However, if we, as women, don’t point these moments out to our male peers and leaders, they don’t always recognise the impact of their choices. Most importantly, it’s the responsibility of all women to support and pull each other up and show each other how to be successful. For example, basics like framing a business case and driving corporate decision-making through analytics, are spaces many women have excelled in and it has built their overall influence.

We need to coach others now on how to do this. If I have a business win, or get to a better position, I shouldn’t have to be a gatekeeper. The more women I can bring along, the better!

What do you think companies can do to progress the careers of women working in technology?

Companies need to start paying women what they deserve. Honestly, this is the number one action they can take. We are way past being able to justify the wage gaps that exist between women and men in tech.

Company leaders need to listen to all voices and promote women to decision-making positions. For women, I believe it’s important to be purposeful in where you work and who you work with. You have to do your research and when that fails do not hold yourself down by staying in roles and working for leaders or organizations that are not going to allow you to shine.

Personally, at this point in my career, I’m unlikely to take a job where I’m not reporting to a strong woman, because I know the value of collaborating with other women and the impact women in leadership can have on my own career.

If you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

If I could wave a magic wand, I would hire all capable women and stop creating false gates for them to go through. We need to quit making excuses and promote more women to leadership positions. Diversity is essential for innovation, and companies need to prioritise it.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I recommend attending Women in HR Tech Conferences, which is a great place to start. I also recommend building connections and networking with other women. A few other resources to consider are Catalyst Group, and Chief, which is an executive network exclusively for women. Lastly, I recommend checking out the Talent Rebel Alliance, which is a platform that elevates women leaders in TA and HR, founded by myself and Tracy Parsons.