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Todd Carlisle, Ipsy
AI’s Growing Role in HR
By Bethany Tomasian

Todd Carlisle is vice president of people at Ipsy, a beauty company based in San Mateo, California. A former HR director at Twitter and Google, Carlisle says “Ipsy” is a play on the Latin word “Ipse,” which means “self.” Workforce Editorial Associate Bethany Tomasian recently caught up with Carlisle.

Workforce: How does HR within a startup differ from more established companies?

Todd Carlisle: There are a lot of differences. The first is that you are forced to become a generalist really fast. At more established companies, you have an immigrations team, benefits team, an analytics team or a diversity team. At a smaller company there might be five of you and all five of you have to learn how to do all of those things. I quickly learned that some of the stuff that I’ve done well in the past were fine but there are all these other parts of HR that needed attention. At a startup, there’s no one to turn around and pass the ball to. You have to do it. Another difference is that whatever you’re offering to employees, even at a small start-up, you’re still going to be compared to the big companies. Since Ipsy is located in Silicon Valley, we’re compared to big tech companies.

Workforce: What is the promise of AI for recruitment?

Carlisle: I think that there is a ton of promise for AI during that initial screening process. After that though, I think the humans need to take over because there are skills that recruiters have that requires them to actually talk to a candidate. There are a lot of complicated interactions that make amazing recruiters worth their weight in gold.

Workforce: Along with neutralizing gender-specific language, how can an automated HR help solve diversity barriers?

Carlisle: Aside from the recruitment stage, there is a lot that has to do with compensation. There is still a gender pay gap. I’ve never talked to a single person who has been OK with the pay gap. We have total pay equity and total promotional equity, but I wish there was a tool that would suggest that I take a closer look at employees where the only difference in their pay is gender. Same thing for recruiting. I wish that there was a little bell that went off if the pipeline for certain roles had too many dudes in it.

Workforce: What have been the successes in the workplace thanks to data analytics?

Carlisle: Compensation is one. I think a problem HR always faces when doing compensation is worrying if someone is going to leave. HR might give someone more money if they are worried about that or perhaps HR believes an employee isn’t being compensated enough. Although compensation seems like an easy lever to pull, it’s an expensive lever. Having that data handy always helps to drive that conversation and we can look at all the other factors that contribute to attrition risks.