Meet the Team: HR Engineering

Bloomberg’s most important asset is our people; they drive our success, and it’s critical that they have the right tools and resources to support their professional and personal lives. To do this, our 20,000 employees rely on the company’s robust HR systems for hiring, talent development, compensation, benefits, and payroll. The HR Engineering team builds and maintains the technology and systems that help Bloomberg’s human resources staff to hire and manage talent across 167 locations around the globe.

Engineering Manager Michael Blake leads this rapidly expanding team.

What are some of the technical challenges your team needs to tackle?
Our systems are critical for managing and developing our people, so availability is something that is always at the front of our mind. The use of our systems varies from hiring and compensation to employee benefits, so we deal with some of the most sensitive information at the company. This requires not just maturity, but caution when implementing new features. Data must be protected at all times, yet our caution can’t hinder the pace of development and growth.

Our products are used across mobile and desktop devices, and exist as a combination of modern web applications, Bloomberg Terminal functions, and distributed back-end systems. Because of the numerous subdomains our team is responsible for, we integrate with vendors that provide services for payroll, benefits, and recruitment.

What are some of the factors driving the rapid expansion of your team?
While many have the option of working from home, there are some people that either need, or want, to come back into our offices. At Bloomberg, the HR Engineering team is responsible for the implementation of critical applications to facilitate an employee’s safe return to the office. We are looking for committed team members to help create these applications, iterate quickly based on feedback from our employees, and respond to the dynamic rules and local regulations that impact each of our hundreds of offices around the globe.

Devarshi Kumar

Engineering Manager Devarshi Kumar is helping rethink all human resources tools and systems. His team must work alongside stakeholders and users across the company to understand future product needs.

Tell us about your career path.
After spending time in the telecom industry building smartphones, I joined Bloomberg a little more than 11 years ago. My first team at Bloomberg was the Foreign Exchange (FX) Analytics team, where I helped build some award-winning FX pricing products. After a few years, I became a team lead. I went on to manage different teams in that space until 2018, when I got the opportunity to take on the bigger responsibility of leading the HR Core engineering team.

Tell us about what you’re working on now and what your biggest challenge is.
The HR Engineering space is at a very interesting juncture. We are evaluating each and every application to determine its future role. We are partnering with our stakeholders and product owners to understand the company’s current and future needs in terms of running the company more efficiently, improving the employee experience, and continuing to hire top talent.

In addition to the planned projects mentioned above, we undertook a significant unplanned project to help reopen our offices worldwide that had been temporarily closed due to COVID-19 lockdowns. The HR Engineering team collaborated with HR, Facilities, Security, Legal, and other teams to develop a solution that streamlined the process for employees wanting to return to office (RTO). In a very short time, we developed Terminal, mobile, and web applications to empower our employees with the required forms and information to safely return in compliance with the country, state and local requirements for each office’s re-opening. We also provided our HR teams with useful tools to manage the workforce and track RTO progress in our offices across the globe.

What is it like moving to different teams within Bloomberg? How have you adapted?
In my case, moving teams was seamless and very well supported by my manager. I would like to give a special shout out to Ken Bromberg, who was my manager in the FX space and with whom I discussed my career goals and venues that could help me achieve those goals. Ken encouraged me to explore other opportunities within Bloomberg Engineering and helped me find my current team. Adapting to the new team was not challenging once I understood the product space and players involved. Ultimately, the core culture of Bloomberg Engineering remained the same, thereby giving me a sense of continuity in my new role.

What are your best tips for inspiring direct reports?
While all of us focus on productivity and getting more done, we should have our teams focus on “happy productivity,” which I think is more sustainable. In the HR Engineering space, we like to remind our team members to do the right things while designing, developing, testing and delivering products — even if it means taking a slightly longer route.

Anthony Neis

Software Engineer Team Lead Anthony Neis helps manage the effort to build tools that will help Bloomberg employees return to the office in a safe and efficient manner.

Briefly tell us about your career path.
I joined Bloomberg as a Senior Engineer in 2015, having led teams of engineers in other companies. I started with the HR Engineering team working on BOB <GO>, an internal application on the Terminal that our Corporate Philanthropy team uses to manage employee volunteer hours and donations to our philanthropic partners. I quickly grew into a technical lead role for the team.

Partnering with my team lead, I introduced Scrum to HR Engineering and began practicing it with the BOB team as an example for other teams within HR. After the release of numerous key milestones, I worked on our employee directory, employee and organizational management tools, and our employee transfer system.

I recently moved into a team lead role for the HR Talent and Payroll Support team, where I hope to help shape how our products and functions are used by both admins and end-users.

How did you find out about Bloomberg?
When I first began my job search in New York, family and friends in my network who lived and worked in the area suggested Bloomberg as a potential employer. I would often hear phrases like “I hear Bloomberg works on some interesting things,” so I knew this would be a good place to start my search. After speaking in-depth with a recruiter, I found a team that worked with the technologies that matched my experience pretty well.

While I was interviewing with Bloomberg, I was also offered positions with a bunch of other companies — some of which were management roles. However, I was really most excited with the opportunity with HR Engineering at Bloomberg, so I chose to accept the offer from Bloomberg and declined all the others – and I am really happy with that decision!

Unlike some of your Bloomberg colleagues, you’ve managed distributed teams before. How has that enabled you to help your direct reports adapt to working remotely?
I have found that the key to working with remote or distributed teams is realizing that there is no “one-size fits all” approach that works for everyone.

One aspect of remote work that is consistent across all teams is communication. For example, we noticed that my team needed to have a standing 30-minute catch-up in the middle of the day that is reserved to address any blockers, issues, or questions. My advice to distributed or remote teams is to stay connected, communicate often, and allow room for adjustments in the team dynamics and processes to ensure that all team members feel included and supported.

You’re a member of the Interviewing Standards Working Group. How did you get involved and what is its purpose?
I was first introduced to the Interviewing Standards Working Group because I was an active interviewer for both my team and with entry-level engineering candidates, and I wanted to contribute more to the community. I’ve always felt that, as a large organization, it is important that we evaluate our candidates equally and use the same standards so that each applicant has a fair chance to showcase their abilities. One of the main objectives of the Interview Standards Working Group is to spot gaps in the consistency of how we evaluate candidates. We also identify ways to streamline the interview process to ensure that each candidate has a positive interview experience.

Jessie Hou

A 20-year Bloomberg veteran, Jessie Hou has helped build critical products for an array of teams, while also managing to find spare time to hobnob with celebs, as well as build lava lamps and bicycles.

Briefly tell us about your career path.
I spent the first 10 years of my Bloomberg career working in Trading Systems. I started on the Portfolio Management team and then moved over to the Trade Order Management Solutions pricing team. I worked in one of our data centers for a while, then moved to Internal Applications, where I have spent the last 10 years.

So you’ve worked on several Bloomberg teams in the past 20 years. What motivated your most recent move? What surprised you most about them?
There was a good opportunity for me to try something on a new project team and I took a chance. I am still surprised how every day presents a brand new challenge to overcome. I deal with several different people for a multitude of various projects, and there is always a brand new problem to solve.

Tell us about what you’re working on now and what your biggest challenge is.
I am currently working with the HR Recruiting engineering team, which manages the internal tools that support Bloomberg’s recruiting function. The main challenge is how to adapt to a constantly changing technological landscape. New tools and software are always being introduced, requiring us to keep the door open and be willing to try out new ideas on a regular basis. There is also the added complexity of dealing with the sensitive data handled by the HR department, so we must be especially mindful of all the privacy and permissioning concerns that come along with it.

How have you been able to manage your career over the past two decades to keep things interesting and challenging?
Always be curious. There are a lot of opportunities out there. Keep building and expanding your knowledge and relationships. Last but not least, participate in various training classes so that you can stay on top of new technologies and trends within the company.

Philanthropy and volunteering certainly offer a different experience as well. Bloomberg’s Corporate Philanthropy team provides us with great opportunities to participate in a variety of activities for good causes. This includes access to museums and live concerts, volunteer projects, and a lot more. There are so many options to fit all different types of interests.

One of my favorite experiences was assembling bikes for kids in need. It was a fun group event that we were all happy to be part of. I’ve even had a few opportunities to go to some events for worthy charities where I’ve sat with sports icons, movie stars, and even a former President of the United States!

Bloomberg also promotes education for individuals and families as well. I recently signed my family up for a virtual activity run by the California Academy of Sciences, in which we built a lava lamp and became scientists at home.

Check out some of the open roles with our HR Engineering team here and here.