AMTRAK CLO Uzma Burki Discusses Talent Management

Leah Williams

As Senior Vice President of Human Capital Strategy & Centers of Expertise at AMTRAK, Uzma Burki has kept a watchful eye on the past, present and future of corporate talent.

What Burki sees is a major change in the composition of the American workforce . "The demographic shifts that have taken place in the United States continue to have a major impact on corporate America," Burki notes. "In the late 19th and 20th centuries, most of the workforce came from Europe. The United States talent pool will continue to change dramatically due largely to the influx of skilled and unskilled immigrant labor as well as the continuing retirement of Baby Boomers."

Burki explains that rising talent centers, which include women, Asians, Generations X, Y and Millennials, and LGBTQ individuals, each bring unique cultural issues, ethos, constraints and opportunities to work.

"Whether they are regional, national or international, companies have to look at how they attract, retain and develop these different talent centers. What types of benefits and rewards would appeal to these people? We have to start thinking of an a la carte, rather than standard, menu of compensation and benefits."

"I believe corporate assimlation is pretty much passê," Burki continues. "What should be taking root is reverse acculturation. Companies need to become sensitive to the issues, challenges and opportunities that a diverse workforce brings. "

Burki warns that the risks of failure to successfully diversify include losing market share and diminished brand effectiveness. "More and more, the workforce is representative of the consumer to whom these companies cater. " Burki notes that a corporation should be mindful to avoid a disconnect between its outreach to consumers and its workforce.