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Nichole Oocumma On Nurturing Talent With Internal Mobility

Are the days of job hopping from company to company over? In this episode of "Hire Quality," host Devyn Mikell discusses strategy for nurturing internal talent with Nichole Oocumma, VP of Talent Strategy at CareSource. Nichole stresses the importance of HR departments managing data about their employees’ skills and how AI can help if used correctly. She also shares her philosophies for keeping employees happy by allowing them to stretch and grow across a company, rather than moving on to the next company. Tune in for a refreshing take on how to retain talent, not just acquire it.

Devyn Mikelll

Hire Quality is a show built for Talent Acquisition Professionals.

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Devyn Mikell [00:00:04]:

Hey, this is Devyn Mikell with the Hire Quality podcast. Super excited to be interviewing you. So could you introduce yourself, your role in the company that you work at?

Nichole Oocumma [00:00:14]:

My name is Nicole Oocumma. I am the Vice president of Talent Strategy Interim, and I manage our talent development, our talent management, and in the interim, I lead our Talent acquisition teams.

Nichole Oocumma [00:00:29]:

I work for CareSource, which is a managed care organization that's headquartered in Dayton, Ohio.

Devyn Mikell [00:00:35]:

What is top of mind for you as a talent leader at your organization?

Nichole Oocumma [00:00:39]:

Internal mobility. Helping our employees move through the organization.

Nichole Oocumma [00:00:44]:

Not just promotion, but having lateral opportunities to be exposed and grow their own career. And I think that it's important for us as an organization to know our talent so that we can support any moves and utilization so that they can.

Nichole Oocumma [00:01:00]:

Grow within our organization.

Devyn Mikell [00:01:02]:

What is something you wish you knew about leading talent that you didn't know when you first started?

Nichole Oocumma [00:01:07]:

Something I wish I had have known.

Nichole Oocumma [00:01:10]:

When I first started was that there's not necessarily a right or wrong answer. It's about doing your best and being as thoughtful and communicating. I spent a lot of years trying to do the right thing, and I've learned that there's not necessarily a right or a wrong. It's the best. Thoughtfully.

Devyn Mikell [00:01:28]:

We made it to the last question and this one's a fun one. What is the worst question you've ever been asked in an interview?

Nichole Oocumma [00:01:37]:

I was in an interview once and.

Nichole Oocumma [00:01:38]:

Someone asked if the interviewee was pregnant, and they were obviously pregnant, but it's an illegal question to ask and it.

Nichole Oocumma [00:01:46]:

Threw the interviewee off.

Nichole Oocumma [00:01:48]:

Any questions that are personal about your children, your spouse, your personal life are bad questions.

Devyn Mikell [00:01:55]:

What's up, everyone? This is Devin Michael, co founder of Qualifi and your host here on the Hire Quality podcast. I'm joined by Nicole Oocumma, who you just heard on the interview prior at the beginning of the episode. I'm super excited to have her here. She's the VP of Talent strategy at CareSource. But I'm probably underselling your intro. Nicole, why don't you tell the audience who you are a little bit about yourself?

Devyn Mikell [00:02:18]:

The company you work for, throw a little sizzle on what I gave for your intro.

Nichole Oocumma [00:02:22]:

I work for CareSource. CareSource is a managed care organization. We provide Medicare, Medicaid, and marketplace insurance in multiple states across the country. We have about 2 million members. We're one of the largest managed care organizations in the nation and we're headquartered here in Ohio. I'm in Ohio. For those of listeners that live in the Midwest, go Bucks. And my role I'm actually an interim VP talent strategy, and we're currently in a major reorg in our organization, but I lead our talent management, our talent development, and in the interim, I'm leading our talent acquisition team.

Nichole Oocumma [00:03:01]:

So it's all of our talent teams that are responsible for attracting, developing, retaining our employees.

Devyn Mikell [00:03:09]:

Got it. Awesome.

Devyn Mikell [00:03:10]:

And yeah, shout out to the Midwest. I'm in Indianapolis.

Devyn Mikell [00:03:13]:

Don't know if you knew that semi.

Devyn Mikell [00:03:14]:

Down the street, but I can say go bucks from time to time.

Devyn Mikell [00:03:18]:Are you kind of born and raised Midwest?

Nichole Oocumma [00:03:20]:

I was born in Ohio, actually. I've lived in about six other states, all the way from California. I lived out in LA for a while in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee. But Ohio is my home. I moved back home about 15 years ago. Ten years ago. 15 years ago now.

Devyn Mikell [00:03:37]:

Got you.

Devyn Mikell [00:03:38]:

So you've seen all the different facets of America, it sounds like.

Nichole Oocumma [00:03:42]:

Yes, I have been open to travel in my career. I have enjoyed it.

Devyn Mikell [00:03:48]:So you mentioned you guys are going through a reorg, which means you're taking on more hats than maybe before. To my understanding, your background is more talent management side.Right?

Devyn Mikell [00:03:58]:And kind of managing talent, making sure they stay here, grow here. Talk to me about adding talent acquisition. In for this period of time. What's that been like?Has it been a learning process? Has it been a. I don't like this process. What's it been like for you?

Nichole Oocumma [00:04:14]:

No, I think that the talent acquisition piece is really important. In my past life and other roLes, I've managed recruiting, but from a different perspective. Right. So it's not just the traditional recruiting. We do have recruiters, but it's also about employment strategy. So a lot of my experience in the talent acquisition space has been around building pipeline programs, both internally and externally, finding the right talent and potentially even building those from high school technical programs, college or our communities. And so in this role, as I'm helping in talent acquisition, we have the employment strategy piece. What are we doing? So that we're attracting the right folks to our website, let alone to our company, and what makes us competitive, where people will choose us over any other organization, especially our competitors in managed care.

Nichole Oocumma [00:05:06]:

But of course, we can't always build that talent or what we call buy the talent, find the talent in the marketplace, we often focus on building the talent. And so my primary expertise and what I really enjoy doing is that talent management piece, and that is how do we develop people? How do I identify what people's skills, their interests, their opportunities are? And how do we as an organization tap into that and so talent acquisition is about bringing people in from the outside and filling our roles, but there's a large piece of it that also building a pipeline, and if we can do that internally. So that's the reason why my role right now in the interim space and even going forward has a bit of all of that, because it's about employment strategy and workforce development, whether that's internal or external.

Devyn Mikell [00:05:58]:

I love that.

Devyn Mikell [00:05:58]:

So at the end of the day, it's like, hey, this is about filling the seat. We could do that inside, or we could do that outside.

Nichole Oocumma [00:06:05]:


Devyn Mikell [00:06:06]:

Is it one of those things whereyou find when you're building a great.

Devyn Mikell [00:06:10]:

Internal strategy, are your talent acquisition teams now kind of more reliant on the internal pipeline than they used to be.

Devyn Mikell [00:06:17]:

Or do you keep them really focused on external only?

Nichole Oocumma [00:06:21]:

I don't know if it's about Reliant or not, because our talent acquisition team, a great recruiter, wants to find the best candidate. And ideally, they don't care whether it's internal or external. Obviously, if it's internal, they already know the culture. They know a lot about the organization, the business. And I say that every day at work is a job interview. So if I'm applying internally, people already know me. So it's easier, a little bit easier for the recruiter to support our internal applicants than external. You don't always know what you're getting externally, but you definitely know when you have an employee internally.

Nichole Oocumma [00:07:00]:

So I think it's not necessarily better or preferred for our recruiters because their ultimate goal is always to find the best talent. And of course, if we can find it internally, often that turns that role over quicker, and we've got someone working quicker. And when you're internal, because you know the culture, you know the systems, you know that your onboarding is accelerated because you're really focused on the job itself, not the organization or the culture, which is a big part of onboarding when you come new from outside of an.

Devyn Mikell [00:07:34]:

Organization, for sure, yeah. That makes me think, like, is the hiring process significantly different if you're internal.

Devyn Mikell [00:07:41]:

Versus external, or do you try to keep those same?

Nichole Oocumma [00:07:44]:

Well, we definitely want a standard because we want to treat everyone the same. But I think for the candidate, it feels different when you're internal because you have been showing up the best way you can up to that point. And now I'm being really looked at and being compared to both internal, external and others. And so it feels different. I think when you're internal, we try and make sure we're communicating better because sometimes if you have 100 applicants for a role, it's really hard for a recruiter to keep up with all of that. And so we can have a special eye to the internal. We want to treat our internals. I wouldn't say better because that's not the right word, but more thoughtfully.

Nichole Oocumma [00:08:29]:

Right. We don't want them to sit and wait several months till they hear anything, even if they're not getting an interview. Right. We want to communicate. And then I think the other piece, that's a benefit that's a little bit different with interviewing selected or not selected for the role. I think both the hiring manager and the recruiter are better at giving feedback. There's nothing worse than going for a job and waiting and waiting and waiting one for another interview or feedback. So try and pay particular attention to that, especially for our internal candidates, because often if you don't get a job, it doesn't mean you're not great.

Nichole Oocumma [00:09:06]:

It just means that you found someone.

Devyn Mikell [00:09:08]:

Else that fit better. Yeah.

Devyn Mikell [00:09:10]:

Honestly, that's got to be tough because, yes, I could imagine the feelings of being internal and not getting selected. You have a risk there now it's.

Devyn Mikell [00:09:18]:

Like, oh, well, they don't want me here.

Devyn Mikell [00:09:20]:

Like, no, we do want you here. You just didn't get chosen for this role.

Devyn Mikell [00:09:23]:


Nichole Oocumma [00:09:24]:

And it doesn't feel good when you're not chosen for whatever, even if you're on a baseball team and you're not chosen, it doesn't feel good. So the more we communicate, the better you're able to understand the thinking. My focus is that mobility approach. What's our strategy to help people look for opportunities. And opportunities are not always promotions. Right. It's lateral. It's learning a new part of the business.

Nichole Oocumma [00:09:47]:

It's having a broader scope and looking for people to move into roles that are not just a promotion. And those really open a lot of doors for folks. And when we know our talent internally, it's easier to move people. Like someone who has a clinical background but wants to learn more about operations or has an operations background, but maybe they are a nurse. They just never practice clinically. Right. How do we move folks around and give them different exposure within the organization?

Devyn Mikell [00:10:17]:

It really helps to build culture that's strong.

Devyn Mikell [00:10:21]:

You don't hear that often because a lot of times I think of internal, I think of the only way is.

Devyn Mikell [00:10:25]:

Up this path that I've already had set.

Devyn Mikell [00:10:27]:

So that's really cool. So maybe help the audience orient around what kind of talent caresource is bringing in. I know it's big company.

Devyn Mikell [00:10:38]:

It's a little bit broad, but maybe.

Devyn Mikell [00:10:40]:

There's like an area like majority of the people we hire, usually around this kind of talent. For example, a technology company like myself, we might be hiring engineering talent a lot. What's like the areas that you guys hire a lot of?

Nichole Oocumma [00:10:54]:

Well, one of the best parts about Caresource is that because we're a managed care organization, we have an IT team, so we'll be hiring it roles. We have customer service. So those are the people that answer the phone for our members to ask questions. We have a large customer care team. We have a clinical team. Those are the folks that actually go into homes or into the communities and support our members and help folks in our different programs that we have as well as navigate the healthcare system. And that's not easy to do. So we have clinical staff and then of course we have operations people and business development folks.

Nichole Oocumma [00:11:32]:

Those are folks that are in our communities or in the market. They're looking to make sure that we are compliant with federal and state laws in which we live and work and that we're looking for new business. We always want to see what is a market that we should be in or is there a new product. Working with individuals who need long term services or support or who have complex health or maybe who have chronic illness, complex illness or behavioral health. How can we help folks navigate? But as an organization, where do we want to focus? So we don't really hire any one particular role because we provide such a broad range of services. So there's a lot of opportunity for a lot of different skill sets in our organization.

Devyn Mikell [00:12:20]:

Super cool.

Devyn Mikell [00:12:20]:

I didn't realize that you guys were going in the home. I at one point had a care source card, so I was like, there you go, definitely had this.

Devyn Mikell [00:12:28]:

So I didn't know that there was actually care provided. So that's really cool.

Nichole Oocumma [00:12:33]:

I mean, there's a lot of families who need support, A lot of folks who may be in the foster system or have some intellectual developmental disability. So it's not just Medicaid in the way that I have a lower income and therefore I don't have insurance with my job or I don't have a job. Right? There's such a range of folks who navigate Medicare, Medicaid, and with a growing marketplace, that's the insurance for those who maybe have their own business or a contractor and they're buying into our federal program. Everybody has different needs and so we do support our members. We help with finding homes and education and their substance use either in the past or currently. Right. We really want to make sure that our members have their whole self. And that's one of the things I think, that makes Caresource great.

Nichole Oocumma [00:13:29]:

And so that's why we do go in the homes to support families and individuals.

Devyn Mikell [00:13:34]:

That's awesome. I feel like you carry the brand of care source the care part of it really well. I can hear it through the way you talk about talent, too. So my question is kind of rewinding back to the early days of your career.

Devyn Mikell [00:13:48]:

You started off in academia, I'll call it Academia higher ed. Right?Can you walk me through the whole journey of how we got here?

Nichole Oocumma [00:14:02]:

It's a challenge, but a fun journey. It sounds like all of our journeys have ebb and flows, and I Always believe on Being open to any door that comes in front of us. And I think one of the things, the reason why I like the talent management and the talent development piece is even for my own journey, there are people invested in me throughout my career, and there are people I'm like, oh, you're smart. I want to learn more about you. And those are the same People that have opened those doors for me and invited me to parTicipate. So I was in academia, ActuallY, my first life. I was a dental hygienist, and I started teaching in health science, and then I became an academic chair in multiple health science programs. And then I started jumping into development, faculty development, student development. How Do we help people build the skills they need to be successful in their career and education? And then I had the opportunity to partner with our HR director at the college that I was working.

Nichole Oocumma [00:15:00]:

And it was really about identifying the best talent to grow our College and work together with our HR director and our president at the time to look at who we were hiring, what we needed, what kind of skills we needed, so that the students would have the best experience. And what was so smart about that was if you hire the right people who are managing, the people who are caring for our members. In the case of caresource or students, when I was in academia, we have better business outcomes because if your manager is good and you like your manager, you're going to work harder. If you feel like the company cares about you, you're going to stay. So that's how I started. I just started working on talent development, talent assessment, helping with workforce planning, and then I had the opportunity to start consulting, and it turned into a business. I consulted for about eight years, working with organizations who were transitioning their HR function. So if you imagine back 25 years ago, HR was payroll, benefits, employee complaints.

Nichole Oocumma [00:16:06]:

And then over the last 25 years, now we look at Employee experience. How are we developing people, not just Managing their performance? And so I was Consulting with multiple Organizations that were looking to transition and restructure their HR function to be more employee centric. And then my kids became teenagers, and I had the opportunity to take a role in a healthcare organization who was restructuring and growing. It was all about acquisition and growth for Organization here in Ohio. Large health system in Ohio. And so I've been in healthcare ever since I settled down. But that Contracting the Consulting was my bridge between academia and healthcare.

Devyn Mikell [00:16:53]:

Got it. Are you still doing the consulting business?

Nichole Oocumma [00:16:57]:

I do do some Consulting on the side, but it's not my bread and butter. It's what I do for fun.

Devyn Mikell [00:17:03]:


Nichole Oocumma [00:17:04]:

I own a company called think well coaching and consulting, and we focus on actually professional women helping them. So I provide leadership and executive coaching, and we also do some retreats, but that's on the side. That's not my primary role. I just do that for fun on the side. And it's also another way to impact people's lives.

Devyn Mikell [00:17:26]:

That's awesome.

Devyn Mikell [00:17:27]:

It's surprising what the path was, but it makes so much sense when you hear it out loud. And also, I swear this is true for everybody in talent, it seems, which is, I'm guessing you didn't study HR in college, but I could be wrong.

Devyn Mikell [00:17:40]:And then also, you kind of fell into it, right? So that's wild.

Nichole Oocumma [00:17:46]:

I think the common path to HR is very varied because HR roles can look different in every single organization, small or large or international or domestic or local. HR looks so different. So often we get tapped to do different things because of our ability to engage with people or our knowledge of benefits, and then next thing you know, it becomes more and more. At one point, I managed HRIs team and did electronic medical records implementation for our system. I am not an IT person, I am not a system analyst, but I had some wonderful people working for me, and we were in HR. So I think a lot of people who come to HR didn't necessarily get their degree, although there are quite a few folks in my peers who have.

Devyn Mikell [00:18:41]:

A degree in HR.

Devyn Mikell [00:18:42]:

I can tell you firsthand, I never thought I'd be involved in talent acquisition. So I'm on the company, the vendor side, as you'd call it, but still. Didn't think that this would be my path. And there's great people here, and I think that's probably the commonality, is it's great people trying to bring great people places. So talk to me about maybe some of the challenges.

It sounds like you've been this restructure expert, like everywhere you've been, it's like some sort of restructuring.

Nichole Oocumma [00:19:10]:I

t does seem like that, yes.

Devyn Mikell [00:19:12]:

Is that on accident or is that on purpose?

Nichole Oocumma [00:19:14]:

Well, I love it. I think I'm good at it. So being attracted to it might not be on accident, but because I've done it so much, people who know me say, hey, we need you over here. So it's been just part of my career. But I also think that business has evolved over the last 2025 years, which is the majority of my career. And so with technology evolution, and it's funny, I tell my kids, they can't even imagine when I started in the workplace, we didn't have the Internet, right? And so just evolution. And now we're seeing AI. How is that going to change the workplace? The pandemic changed the work.

Nichole Oocumma [00:19:56]:

Like, we don't just come to work and work hard. And my parents, who are in their seventy s, eighty s, you just went to your work and you did that for 35 years. Right? People now, they may stay in their role for three years and they have to have a reason. And so that's where development becomes even more important to keep people. People are always looking to do something new or different. So I wouldn't say it's by design for my career, but it's been an opportunity because organizations just have evolved. And I've been fortunate to be in organizations who look to evolve.

Devyn Mikell [00:20:33]:

Right. You mentioned something really interesting.The switch from my dad, for example.Worked at one company for 20 years.I'm like, man, I don't know if that's ever going to be my story.

Nichole Oocumma [00:20:44]:


Devyn Mikell [00:20:45]:

So when you think about talent, do you accept the reality that the chances of someone staying three years, regardless of. What I do, is slim? And you start to think, okay, I just need to have pipeline for that role because it's going to inevitably be open. Do you focus more effort there or do you focus more effort on, I think we can break the norm and keep people here for more than three to five years.

Nichole Oocumma [00:21:10]:

I think that's the mobility answer, to have a strategy around mobility, because I think people have six to seven major career moves in their lifetime. And I said, why can't three or four be in the same organization? And so if we know our talent, if we're supporting our talent and we're letting people move up and over, and I think that's what our generation of workers and I'm in my 50s, so I'm going to say 30 and under. They want to do different things. It's not about leaving the company. It's about being stretched. It's about being challenged. It's about learning new things. And so if a company can provide that, people will stay more than three to five years.

Nichole Oocumma [00:21:50]:

They may not want to stay in the same role for more than three to five years, but if we're challenging them, if they're moving around, if they're taking on different scopes or responsibilities, then they very well may. And then they actually become more valuable because they've done so much different work within the organization. So they become even more valuable to us, but also to other companies.

Devyn Mikell [00:22:13]:

Right. There's a challenge, and they're like, oh.

Nichole Oocumma [00:22:17]:

You worked in these four places and managed care. Come over here. We need your expertise.

Devyn Mikell [00:22:22]:

And then, yeah, they get that promotional opportunity. Yeah. So there is that quote, though. It's something like, treat your employees so well that they could leave, but they don't want to kind of deal.

Nichole Oocumma [00:22:35]:

Yeah. And I also say treat them so well that they want to come back or they will refer their friends even after they leave, because sometimes there's not always a promotion available and somebody's ready and there might be some amazing opportunity. I think, in our lives, different salaries and different opportunities come in front of us, and we might take them. But I don't want you to leave because you don't like it here. I don't want you to leave because you didn't feel like you were cared for, invested in, because you might have some great friends that I want to hire that could contribute to our company's outcomes or go over there and get your manager experience. And now I have a role open, whether it be a manager or a director or some other role, and come back because we miss you as much as you missed us, even if we didn't have that promotion opportunity for you today.

Devyn Mikell [00:23:26]:

Exactly. So talk to me about the general makeup of your talent acquisition team. How's that built out for you guys?

Nichole Oocumma [00:23:34]:

We have several members on the team that are employment. Well, we have one person that focuses on employment strategy. It's like, how do we show up in LinkedIn? What career fairs and job fairs do we go to? So that's about the talent attraction piece. We have a number of recruiters on the team, and then we have the specialists who do most of the admin kind of onboarding paperwork. And then our team is split with a couple of managers, and they're looking to fill the director role. That's the reason why I'm hanging out in this interim space.

Devyn Mikell [00:24:07]:

Got you.

Nichole Oocumma [00:24:08]:

They're filling that director role soon. And then we also have an executive recruiter, so someone that really focuses on our most senior level roles, our vice president, through some of our executive roles. So it's a pretty good sized team of recruiters and employment strategists.

Devyn Mikell [00:24:25]:

Got you. Are the recruiters broken out by the job groups that you mentioned earlier, or does everyone touch everything?

Nichole Oocumma [00:24:33]:

They are broken out, so they're assigned to an area of the business. They really get to know their leaders in that area of business. They know the more they learn about the business. So a recruiter in it really needs to understand those it jobs, what they're looking for. It's very different than a recruiter in the clinical setting. And so, yeah, they are assigned, they get to know their leaders, and we are aligning those with our business partners. So the business partners are key members of HR that work really closely with our business leaders. And so if we have our recruiters and the business partners kind of forming a triad with that business leader, then they work together to know the talent, to fill the roles and that.

Devyn Mikell [00:25:19]:

So what are some of the tactical challenges that you've maybe just heard about in this interim time? What do you see as areas where Care source stands to improve? Because I feel like every company always has a chance. Right. We're never perfect. So where do you see opportunities to improve? And then we'll flip it and we'll talk about where you guys are killing it.

Nichole Oocumma [00:25:40]:

Yeah. One of the things we've been focused on, we set a goal, a corporate goal around retention last year, and our corporate goal this year is around mobility. So we really had an all hands on deck with what do we need to do to retain folks, and then what do we need to do to purposefully move people throughout the organization? And I think what's been highlighted in that effort is we need to continue to get better around data management. Right. How do we really know our people, know their skills, know their resumes? And I think that's been an area that we've been really focused on is our data management and our talent data. Specifically, what are our people analytics. I think a lot of companies are focused in that space, but because we've had such a thoughtful look at retaining, promoting, and moving talent, it's just highlighted our need to get better at managing our people data.

Devyn Mikell [00:26:39]:Got you. On the flip side, where are you guys best in the world with confidence.

Nichole Oocumma [00:26:45]:

In the talent space. I would say we are really good at growing within. I think our focus, even before our corporate mobility goal this year, it's been really about knowing our people. And we've been growing as a company, moving into new markets with a focus on growth as a company. And so being thoughtful about who our people are and how we can move people around and what talent do we need to be successful in new areas of business or new states, that's something we're really good at. And I will also add one thing that we're really focused on. I don't know if we're. I wouldn't say we're good at it.

Nichole Oocumma [00:27:25]:

I wouldn't say it's a challenge, is diversity. I think we have, especially in our current days and times, really wanted to be thoughtful about who our leaders are, who our employees are, what do they look like, what skills and experiences do they bring to the table, and do we have a mixture of skills, experience, age, gender, ethnicity in the conversation? And I think that's been something. When I say something we've done well, it's a part of our conversation. It's a part of our thoughtfulness as we are looking at the talent that we're attracting and growing and moving around. Could we do better? Oh, yeah, we could do a whole lot better. Healthcare in general is not as diverse as it should be, but I think being thoughtful about what that looks like.

Devyn Mikell [00:28:19]:

Is really important for us. I'm glad to hear that as a top priority. I mean, everyone says it, but you, I feel like, have the plans behind it just from hearing the whole conversation.

Nichole Oocumma [00:28:30]:

We're trying our best. Having the conversation is the hardest part. That's true. And even the simplest, like what I hear, who our leaders are. That's a big one for me. Okay. They at least get that part right because everyone's like, that's a big one. Yeah

Usually people focus on, like, let's source from diverse areas and those things like that. But starting from the top of the company, how diverse are we? Because that's where it's just a trickle down effect.

Nichole Oocumma [00:28:56]:

It really is. And you need people at every level, in all levels of decision making, because if there was just a bunch of people like me, which there's very seldom a room of people that look or talk like me or have my experience, but if there was a bunch of Nicole's in the room, we would be making decisions that don't necessarily fit the general public. And so I think that's why it's important to have diversity at all levels in all ways, right? Not just ethnicity. We often think about race, that's the most visible. But age and gender and experience. Right. All make a difference to how we make decisions for our organization.

Devyn Mikell [00:29:40]:

So true. So we're moving towards the end of our time and one of the things we like to do is a question of the week.

Devyn Mikell [00:29:48]:

So the question of the week is something that you get the first pass at, but it's actually for our audience to get involved as well. And so I'm going to tell you your question of the week and then you get first pass and I'll tell the audience how to do it.

Devyn Mikell [00:30:00]:

So you mentioned this earlier, so I'm excited to hear your answer, but is AI relevant to your work?

Devyn Mikell [00:30:08]:

If so, how have you used it to help your day to day?

Nichole Oocumma [00:30:11]:

AI is relevant to our work. I think we're looking at AI because a lot of organizations and systems have jumped into it. We hear chat, GPT all the time, but AI has been around for a very long time. Just our phones are built on AI. The reason why at some point today my phone will say something about something I talked about sometime today, AI is all around us. And that same thing happens in recruiting. There are within our systems, we can build and use AI to source. So when we get 100 resumes, we can source keywords and they can pull resumes.

Nichole Oocumma [00:30:50]:

We can use AI even for communication and development and alignment of our strategy, things that we wouldn't normally think of. How are we looking at our talent in a way that is potentially less bias? Equally, AI can introduce bias that we don't even realize because like our phones, we're going to get the same thing we look for and we just get more of it. And that's what AI does. So there's opportunities for us to really use it. But in HR, because we're dealing with people, we have to be really thoughtful about how we're using it. I'm not one that supports hiring assessments, personality assessments with hiring, because who I am today is not who I am tomorrow. Who I am at work is not who I am at home. AI can define Nicole, which might be, they might be like, oh, Nicole talks fast and I move fast and I manage a lot on my plate at one time, but is that really a bad thing? And so if we're relying on AI or an assessment to tell us something, we just have to make sure that it's not telling us what we're looking for, because that's one of the downfalls of AI, but it does make our lives quicker, easier, simpler the same time.

Devyn Mikell [00:32:13]:

Good answer. Good answer. If you're listening to this, you can take part in that question. It's going to be in the description below, and if you give a great answer, it might end up on an Episode and we'll play it for the audience that's listening on that episode. And you yourself will get a reward for that.

Devyn Mikell [00:32:31]:

So definitely take part in that. But with that, Nicole, this has been awesome. I hope that you've enjoyed this as much as I have. I've learned a ton just from the short 30 minutes and so want to give the audience a chance to connect with you. What would be your preferred way for people to learn about you and keep up with you?

Nichole Oocumma [00:32:49]:

Look, for me on LinkedIn, it's easy to find my name, Nichole with an H and two O's in the last name, Nichole Oocumma. So I really love for people to connect with me on LinkedIn. It's an easy way to find me and I can answer questions about anything you're looking for, provide you my ear or my opinion because I have a lot of those. So LinkedIn is the best way to get me.

Devyn Mikell [00:33:16]:


Devyn Mikell [00:33:16]:

Well, everyone do that. Definitely connect with Nicole. He's got lots to share and I'm sure we didn't get to unpack it all here, but if you saw value in this episode, make sure to hit the subscribe button so that you can never miss a beat, and we'll be back with more episodes to come. Thanks so much.

Nichole Oocumma [00:33:32]:

Thanks, Devyn.

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