CHRO COVID-19 Action Recording with Splunk's Kristen Robinson - 7/31/20


As the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause unprecedented impact to business, employers, and employees, HR leaders continue to face both short- and long-term challenges. Since March, i4cp has held a weekly series of calls specifically for CHROs and other HR leaders to discuss problems and share ideas. Each week, hundreds of executives join these calls to hear from their community and access the latest research from i4cp's Coronavirus Employer Resource Center. 

This week's featured guest is Kristen Robinson, Chief People Officer at Splunk.


In response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and its unprecedented impact to business and employers, i4cp holds a weekly series of standing calls to help HR leaders navigate this unpredictable time.   

On i4cp’s July 31, 2020 CHRO/HR Strategy COVID-19 Response series call, HR leaders from wide range of organizations joined special guest Kristen Robinson, Chief People Officer at Splunk, a fast-growing, data-centric software company with about 6,000 employees based out of San Francisco, California. 

Some highlights:

  • Having a CEO and/or board members with human capital management backgrounds, as Splunk does, is very valuable. It reduces or eliminates the need to convince top leadership of the importance of human capital issues. Such organizations have seen this benefit even more so during the past several months of the pandemic and focus on racial justice issues. As many CHROs have been relied upon so heavily during these challenging times, hopefully more will later find themselves occupying CEO or board positions.
  • The response at Splunk to the coronavirus pandemic (as we’ve also heard from some other organizations) really demonstrated to their employees that they have a people-centered culture, one that is focused on their well-being. Inclusivity has also increased, as having large virtual meetings democratizes and levels everyone’s involvement (i.e., a video square on the screen.) Robinson gave a specific example of this from one of their interns who noted that being the only woman in a group can be easier online than in a physical conference room. She also noted the increase in Slack team channels, including their use as a transparency-enhancing back-channel during large meetings.
  • Many working parents are really struggling to handle kids at home while they are working remotely. Given that organizations can’t create daycare services or facilities right now to help their employees, Robinson said that the most helpful thing HR leaders can do is make sure managers are flexible with their team members’ needs to deal with family issues. This is important for all parents with school-aged children, but according to multiple news reports is impacting working mothers the most.
  • Reaching out to get input from the workforce is more important than ever. Implementing a more robust listening strategy was already trending in HR prior to the pandemic, but it is critical now given the pace of change and the wide range of ways it has impacted various employees.

In addition to this recording, please see these resources: