Akebono Brake HR VP: We need to be more strategic

Eric Torigian weighs in on current HR Challenges




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Human Resources has been undergoing a digital transformation for years, and it will continue for years to come.  Having said that, it’s time to stop for a moment and review the performance of HR and how it’s managed the transformation so far.  What was HR like before?  What is it like now?  What will it be like in the future? 

These questions will be asked during a panel discussion a part of the HR Tech Online Summit North America event in June.  One of the panelists, Eric Torigian, the VP and Assistant General Manager of Global HR for Akebono Brake USA, will be asked these questions and others including:

  • What challenges have been addressed?
  • What success has been seen?
  • What is keeping HR professionals up at night as the digital transformation continues?

Before the June 11-12 event takes place, HR Exchange Network editor and panel moderator Mason Stevenson interviewed Torigian.

HR Technology

Mason Stevenson

How did you get into Human Resources?

Eric Torigian

I grew up as a bit of a hacker and when I graduated college, I did database and computer programing work for companies.   I was hired by Ford as a data analyst in labor relations to start automating the labor relations information flow.  My boss, the head of labor for Michigan, approached me and said, “Hey, you are really good with the data, people like and trust you and you show a lot of potential.”   He then challenged me to get a Masters Degree in HR and put me in the Ford College Graduate rotation program.    

Mason Stevenson

If you could fix one problem in Human Resources regardless of industry and if you had unlimited power to do so, what would it be?

Eric Torigian

I would move HR closer to the business and make us more strategic.   I still feel like many people in HR, even in 2019, tend to fall back on old administrative and bureaucratic ways.   They fail to see our role as a strategic business partner and as a result lose the ability to influence the business.

Mason Stevenson

From your perspective, what are the top 3 HR technology challenges facing HR today?

Eric Torigian

  1. Self service and who is responsible for the HR dataset.
  2. Removing barriers to system utilization.  I.e., simple ATS systems that capture initial data well, mobile solutions, NFC based time clocks, etc
  3. While not entirely technology based, we need to document and manage our procedures as systems

Mason Stevenson

What book would you recommend a new HR professional read?

Eric Torigian

Thou shall prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lappin.

Mason Stevenson 

Now for a fun question:  what’s your favorite movie?

Eric Torigian

Oh, this is a great one.   I really enjoy movies that develop characters and stay realistic as they explore a theme.  For the past 10 years or so, like many in America, we have been binge watching TV shows.   I see them as very long movies that just go on for days.  But to answer the question, it would have to be Back to the Future!

HR Technology Online Summit North America

Eric Torigian is the VP and Assistant General Manager of Human Resources for Akebono Brake USA and a panelist for the HR Tech Online Summit North America event set for June 11-12. 

Key themes for the online event include:

  • Creating an HR department more strategy-focused and less transactional with automation and RPA
  • How to integrate AI into your overall strategy to remain agile, relevant and competitive
  • Effectively using recruitment technologies to find the best talent available for your organization to sustain business growth and survival
  • Becoming proficient at understanding and using data through effective application of people analytics
  • Consolidating your employee experience strategy to increase engagement, development and retention
  • Leveraging video, social media, gamification and microlearning to increase employee engagement

To register for the free-to-attend event, click here.

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