Shutterstock HR Business Partner
St. John's University Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Psychology (Business Minor)
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How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah. So I started in college as a marketing major, but I found myself feeling very isolated and many of my business courses a lot of my colleagues were very focused on, you know, getting into the Goldman Sachs is of the world where, you know, I, um I'm a little bit more focused in you know, what I can do to contribute to the world and make the world a better place. Um and so I made the decision to change majors to psychology at the end of my sophomore year. Um, it was a lot of hard work, but I was able to fit all of my psychology courses and remaining electives into my junior and senior year. I was able to take some industrial and organizational psychology courses as well, which is definitely, you know, an area that well blended the business and the psychology aspect of things. On Daz, graduation was approaching. I wasn't quite ready to make the commitment Thio Go Thio graduate school, which quite yet eso um serendipitously in Asia. Opportunity A of rose at the company that I was interning at for a number of summers. Eso I ended up taking that opportunity. And since then I've only grown toe love HR more and more. Um, I started in a very operational HR role. Eso managed things like recruiting, payroll benefits, compliance. Um, it wasn't really all that glamorous, but or exciting, But I definitely wouldn't trade that experience for the world. My last 6 to 9 months there I was, actually, the only HR person, um, you know, running the show, which I don't think many people can play, can claim so early on in their post college careers. But I found that, you know, you eventually wanted to move in Thio role That was beyond the basics and play more of a strategic role when it comes to HR, which which has since shaped my career path since then.

What responsibilities and decisions does one handle in a job like yours? What are the top three priorities? What are weekly work hours like?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah. So a lot of my role revolves around advisement. So I'm responsible for understanding the different areas of the business that I support. Um, in serving as a strategic business partner to senior leaders. A swell as being a trusted adviser. Thio employees at all levels. Um, so in terms of priorities, definitely aligning people strategy to meet business objectives, keeping employees engaged and maintaining a supportive and inclusive company culture.Yeah. So, again, the priorities I think are really around making sure that our HR and and people strategy is, um, you know, it is on aligned with the business objectives that we're hoping to achieve, making sure that our employees are engaged and able Thio succeed in their roles that they're set up for success. Right? And, um, the third, I would say, is definitely maintaining. Um, you know, a supportive and inclusive company culture. Oh, yes. Eso In terms of weekly work hours, those can definitely very, um, I admit I'm a bit of a perfectionist and someone who takes a lot of pride in their work. So most of my hours do average around 50 you know, probably upwards of 50 hours a week. Um, with remote work, the exact hours can definitely be a bit more flexible, which is obviously a plus. Um, but again, you know, that's sort of my style, which, um, you know, may or may not be what others in in the human resource is field experience.

What tools (software services, websites, data sources, and programs) do you use at work? Do you prefer certain tools more than the others? Why?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah. So the most common tools I think specific Thio human resource is would be, um HR information systems or H r E s s a swell as applicant tracking systems or a T. S s Microsoft office suite and G suite are also definitely commonly used. Um, when it comes tohr s and 80 s s, um, intuitive user interface definitely matters a lot. I've had, you know, in the past organization we implemented a new h R E s that was supposed to handle performance me, understand, and all of these things. And, um, prior to that, we had managed everything through excel spreadsheets. So everyone was very excited. However, the interface was not user friendly at all. And so, by the time performance management season rolled around, um, you know, it had me missing the Excel spreadsheets because at least, you know, most people knew how toe you know, it, uh, implement everything and and you wouldn't have to walk through the process with everyone. So, um, definitely user interface, um, can make a huge difference. And then I think the other piece that's very important is ease of reporting

What are major challenges and pain points in a job like yours? What approaches are effective in overcoming them? Discussing examples will help students learn better.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yes. So I think serving in more of an advisory role. Unfortunately, you know, there are a lot of situations where I'm not the final decision maker. Right? Um, that actually is most cases. Um and that could be frustrating at times, especially as someone who went into HR Thio help people. I can definitely say that HR is not for the faint of heart. You need thio. You know, go beyond just thinking about, you know, doing what's right Because you need to be able to speak the language of business and be able to back up your recommendations with fax and and data eso, for example. You know, to get leadership, buy in for increasing diversity equity and inclusion efforts you can't simply rely on, You know, this being the right thing to dio, right? Everyone should be treated equitably. You know, we should have a more diverse workforce. We should be more mawr inclusive. But unfortunately, that's not going to convince the stakeholders or the board of directors in a lot of cases, eso you need thio, you know, be able to share the research behind how having a more diverse team leads to increased innovation, better productivity. Um, you know, and be able to back up those recommendations again with those facts and the data

What are the job titles of people who someone in your role routinely works with, within and outside of the organization? What approaches are effective in working with them?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
So I definitely, you know, get to interact with people at all levels from the C suite Thio entry level rolls. So it kind of runs the gamut. And then, um, you know, from A you know, not in my current role where I don't do much recruiting, but in past roles. Obviously, you're dealing with a lot of external people who are applying to roles as well. Um, I think the most important thing to recognize is understanding your audience right, knowing who your audience is and understanding different people's communication styles. So, for example, um, some people are very relationship focused. They want thio here the hi, how are you's hope everything's well, you know, how is the family doing and, you know, have more of that personal relationship building, right? And then there are others who want mawr direct and distinct communications. You know, they just want the high level summary and what the action items are, and and that sort of you know, how they want to receive information. And if you add too much fluff that might, you know, impact their perception of you, right? So I think understanding that and being able to tailor the way you communicate to those different communication styles is definitely very helpful

What indicators are used to track performance in a job like yours? Think of the indicators such as key performance indicators (KPIs), objectives & key results (OKRs), or so on.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah, I think. Um, So things like employee engagement, survey results, retention and average tenure on DTA Turnover stats are probably the biggest, The most common ones, Um, for recruitment, things like time to fill, You know, any open positions either from when a record session is created or from candidate perspective. So when someone has their first screen to the time that they received their offer, things like that are quite commonly used.

What skills and qualities do you look for while hiring? What kind of questions do you typically ask from candidates?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah, so I'm not too involved in hiring at the moment. But, you know, there are times when I'll be asked to join in on a new interview panel for the folks being hired in the teams that I support. Um, and they're in general. I look for, um, people with an ability to problem solve who lead by influence on our strong people. Managers, eso questions. I'll ask maybe around how they've handled workplace conflict, how they manage. Um, you know, having constructive feedback discussions on Ben. Also, how they have helped develop their teams in the past.

What labor law oversights do you often see in other companies? How do you ensure that such oversights don't happen in your company?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah. So I I don't know if I've seen all that many common labor oversights. I think, um uh, probably some someone's I've seen in the past or misclassifying contractors and employees. So sometimes they'll say someone is a contractor so that, you know, they're paying them an hourly rate, not worrying about benefits or things like that. Um, but there are, you know, very as, um, in the US at least there are a lot of requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to define. Hey, this person is a independent contractor on not an employee. And so I've seen, um, places of misclassification where I think, you know, having a strong partnership between, um legal and HR is definitely important and making sure that managers who are hiring these individuals are aware of the differences or no to engage HR and legal. I think in general, just having that strong partnerships of between human resource is and and the legal team, you know, help to mitigate that

What approaches or programs have you found to be effective in enabling a good company culture and employee satisfaction?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah, I think employee resource groups definitely help with include improving inclusivity and creating safe spaces for people. Thio discussed various topics that may be impacting Sauron marginalized groups. Um, you know, and talking about ways to change enable change in addition to those, I think, um, buildings, psychological safety. Which means, you know, people aren't afraid. Thio, um, speak up, especially when they have an opinion that maybe differing from from the majority of people in the conversation Andi feeling like they have that they'll be supported if they do make a mistake. That sort of is what contributes to psychological safety, right? Eso building that up and also having a blameless culture is very important. I think it enables everyone to just focus on the solution. And, you know, if we don't, um if something doesn't work, let's just think of what will work versus, like, assigning blame Or, you know, I feel like that ends up one, making people feel bad, right? And then they feel they lose confidence so they might not, you know, want to speak up next time. They have an idea. Um, and it's just time that could be spent looking for a solution rather than focusing on what's happened in the past, right? So I think, um, those are all very important areas to address. In order Teoh have a good company culture and and improve employee satisfaction.

When and how do you work with external recruiters or agencies? How do you ensure that they find, assess, and communicate to candidates as per your needs?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
So in most of the companies that I've worked in, um, you know, we've sort of used external recruiters as, ah, last resource. If we don't have enough staff on on site, um, especially at shutter stock and in my past role at episodes we did have we do have dedicated recruiting teams in house. So they do handle the majority of our roles. I think, um, you know, if we, uh, instances where we've used external agencies, it would be for very specialized rules that maybe we're not accustomed to recruiting for right and also form or senior roles. You know, sometimes companies will will work with external agencies to help, um, source these passive candidates because they have more bandwidth to do so. And they may already have a network of individuals that they know are, you know, maybe in roles, but are looking things like that, Um, and in terms of ensuring that they find, assess and communicate to candidates per needs, I think it's in communication is vitally important and everything you do as you know in HR. But I think it's also very important, um, both internally and externally, as recruiters Thio, um you know know what the hiring teams air looking for? Knowing the context of the business, how this role will contribute to that and what the expectations are and making sure that you are as transparent as possible with the candidates to make sure that you know they know what they're coming into. That they are excited about what they're coming into and that they have a full picture. Thio make an informed decision on Ben also, just like making very clear. Here's, you know, the must haves right here. The nice to haves and being truthful. Um, in assessing that right, I'm not saying like, Hey, this is thes Are are must haves. But these air only nice to haves. And then later sort of changing your mind and on disqualifying candidates who, you know, may have, um uh may not have all of those nice to haves. Right on. Did you know, being as, um, fair and consistent in how you're evaluating candidates

What helped you to stand out in your hiring process? How should someone prepare for an interview for a job like yours?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
um, for me, you know, I definitely focused on being solutions oriented. I definitely, um, you know, it, uh, try to emphasize the business value that I could bring and being able to highlight your key achievements. Um, you know, prior to interviews, I always recommend folks take the time to you know, the company. Right. Um, do your research. Be sure that you are able thio know what the company values are, right? What their mission is, why you wanna work there and be able to tailor your answers around those, um I think, you know, as someone interviewing others. I definitely am very impressed when they are weeping in, um, these small details, that might not seem like a lot, but they show that, you know, at least this person has done their research and, um, it definitely does make a difference when others other candidates may not be doing that right. I think also just being able to highlight here's you know what I did and here's why I did it. And here's the results that I achieved. I think a lot of people, especially folks coming out of school, they focus on the how a lot right or, you know, here are the things I did, but they don't focus on what the business impact is. So I think definitely, um, training yourself to think about that on DNA. Not just you know what you did, but why you did it and what the result was It's definitely very important. Um, and then in terms of preparing for an interview for a job like mine, um, I will say that HR business partner roles are definitely probably not for entry level. I think you do need to build a foundation in terms of like having previous HR experience in order Thio fulfill the role of the nature business partner because you wanted to understand the business. But then you also need to understand how different aspects in HR sort of work together on D how to work best with other teams. So e think, you know, uh, it requires drawing from your previous experience showing how you can add value and how you can, um, sort of, uh, take all of that experience you have and and use it in this role, Um, and demonstrating that business acumen as well as you know, that HR knowledge

Can you discuss career accomplishment(s) that you feel good about? Please discuss the problem context, your solution, and the impact you made.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yes. So I think you know, my first role. I mentioned earlier that my last 6 to 9 months I was the only HR person at the organization. It was a smaller company. So around 50 employees I was reporting to a director of HR who is also our corporate controller. Um, she made the decision to leave the organization. And so, um, at that time, you know, sort of me just running the show and making sure you know, payroll is still running that are benefits were still, um, you know, active. I was able Thio do you are 401 k due diligence audit all by myself, which I definitely didn't think I was going to be able to u s. So I think that was definitely ah, very proud accomplishment. Early on at my last organization, I helped Thio implement a Unturned ship program which grew from 16 employees, 16 interns, thio 50 interns the following year and has, you know, since grown on bond definitely a very proud accomplishment in terms of, you know, taking, uh, basically nothing and growing it into this formalized program that's definitely also helped to build, like, entry level talent pipelines and things like that. I think in addition to that, I was able to grow quite rapidly in my last year at that organization as well was definitely given a lot of opportunities to grow. Um, we had a bit of turnover within the organization that last year where our head of North American HR had left the organization. My manager was then elevated into an interim HR leader role. Um and, uh, you know, there was some conversation around, you know who is going to step into that role on an interim basis? Um, and my manager actually recommended that, you know, I step into that role eso the teams that we were both jointly supporting. I was then soul supporting, which was a team of about, you know, population of about 300 individuals, which, you know, I it was during a time of a lot of change within the organization. And I certainly think that I did a swell a job is anyone who you know is taking on, you know, the workload of two people, um, and managing through all of that change, that definitely also a very proud accomplishment.

What is a future career path for professionals in your role? How long does it typically take to advance through various roles? How easy are such promotions to come by?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah. So, um, in terms of future career paths, um, you know, I think in terms of my next step, ideally, you know, would love to grow into a director role where I am overseeing more of the strategy, potentially having, um you know, uh, HR business partners reporting to me and being able to develop them. Or, you know, having junior folks who are looking to move into hr business partner roles reporting to me toe to continue to grow them and help man development and manage them. E think in terms of how long it takes to advance through different roles. E think that definitely varies one by, um, you know, opportunities as they arise. Um, different companies certainly handle promotions in different ways. Um, you know, there's certainly the thought that you know, Perhaps if you can't find a advancing opportunities internally, then you look externally, right? And there's some people who have been able thio advance through going from one company to another. Others have been able thio grow within different organizations. So, um, it definitely varies, I would say. I mean, even if you look at different roles that air posted some, some companies require you know, 3 to 5 years for the same job title that another company might require 6 to 10 years. Right? So I think that definitely varies. I think in terms of you know how easy our promotions Thio come by. Um, it's important to understand what the promotion processes within the organization that you're in. I think having that conversation, maybe even during the interview process, right. Having that be one of the questions that you ask is important. Thio understand? You know what it is that this process is and having those conversations with your manager to not off the bat, right. But, um, as you're having achievements and accomplishments and taking on more work, saying, like, you know, I wanted to just bring this up to let you know you know where I want to go with my career, right? Um, not assuming that you're entitled to a promotion or anything, but saying this is where I wanna go. You know, I would love your feedback as to you know what I need to do, Thio get there right and having those conversations where you're asking for that feedback and wanting to take the steps to get there are definitely, very important, too Demonstrate, like when you are proactive about managing your own career and to your humble and you wanna learn and you are approaching it from a stance that I know I'm not there yet, but, you know, like I would love to know what I can do to get there.

What responsibilities and decisions did you handle? What were the top three priorities and pain points? What strategies were effective in dealing with challenges?

Based on experience at: Senior Human Resources Manager, Ipsos in North America
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah. So I think, um, you know, definitely had a lot of similar responsibilities. Azaz. You know, my current role as an HR business partner again. Waas working with a lot of senior leaders on overall. You know how we're structured as an organization? Um, are we, you know, meeting our business objectives through our people strategy. Um, making sure that our employees were, you know, are continuing to feel engaged and addressing any conflicts or or employee relations issues as they arise. And again, you know, making sure that folks are feeling supported and and, you know, are empowered to you, um, own their careers and things like that.Yeah, I think in terms of the priorities, pain points. Um, definitely time management was a pain point for me in terms of, you know, taking on a rapidly growing responsibilities. Especially, um, during it was, you know, during year end. So there was a lot of compensation planning, performance management processes and things like that. I think in addition to that more, you know, company wide. I think it was just a lot of change that we were managing through and figuring out, you know, um, what is the going forward structure of the organization? And, um, you know, how do we make sure that everyone understands that and and is lined with that Onda? Also, we were introducing some new, um, programs in terms of how we were on boarding entry level talent. So, uh, that was also, you know, a lot to sort of manage through and, uh, discuss, I think, you know, in terms of strategies to deal with those challenges. Um, for me, it was also an opportunity to say, Hey, these are my ideas for how we address these pain points and just speak up and throw those ideas out there. And I think um it was definitely something I, um, didn't always feel comfortable doing, But I think it was appreciated. And, you know, I'm definitely more, um, uh, confident in saying, Hey, you know, this may be crazy idea, but here's, you know, my thoughts on this and like, what are your thoughts? Do you have any concerns? Because a lot of times I think things move slowly because no one is is they're throwing out ideas to build on, right? It's just like a lot of times. There's like, um, decision, paralysis around how we get started. So, um, the more feedback that you can, you know, provide. And you know, obviously basing that off of the information that you have, I think it's definitely, um, you know, a good strategy. Each take

What college programs did you attend and what were their best parts? How did each of your college programs prepare you for your career?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah. So I think early on, when I was still a marketing major, it took a course on management, which I definitely that was probably my favorite course in, um, you know, and all of my business courses. Um it was a great opportunity to learn about different management styles and definitely, you know, has helped me a lot in terms of my current role. Um, I think also the i o psychology courses, the industrial and organizational psychology courses, um, you know, were opened up. You know, my eyes to like new possibilities and how you know, there's this blend of psychology and business. Um, there was also a I forget what it was called, but essentially, it was like sort of an internship program that I also got college credit for S O. That was really helpful. Thio. I was able Thio intern at the organization that my leader took that full time hr opportunity at and help with going through, um, their audit process and things like that. So I got a really good sense of like what I can expect. And, you know, it's, uh so and I opened up that opportunity Thio take on a full time role. So I think those were definitely probably the best parts and definitely helped to prepare me for my career. A swell.