HR interview #2 Three experts reveal HR secrets
HR interview

We continue to welcome all who reads our new topic on AcademyOcean blog — Interview blog posts with HR experts.

Dave Ulrich, professor of business at the Ross School of Business and co-founder of The RBL Group, once said:

Future leaders will be less concerned with saying what they will deliver and more concerned with delivering what they have said they would. 

Why do you need to read this blog post?

We have created a new interview topic on our blog for you to acquire new knowledge in the HR field or develop an existing one.  

Today we are pleased to introduce you to three HR experts from Armenia, the United Kingdom and the United States. They shared their success stories and biographies with us, and also answered interesting and slightly tricky questions.

You will find out what HR superpowers our guests would like to have, what HR areas need the most improvement, what problems HR faces during employee onboarding and many other things.  

 

Debra Corey, an  award-winning HR professional  

Let's start from our first guest —  Debra Corey. 

She is a highly experienced and award-winning HR professional, three-time author, world-class speaker, and was recently named one of the top 101 global employee engagement influencers.

She’s had a varied and exciting career over the last 20+ years, working for global companies such as Gap Inc., Honeywell, Merlin Entertainments and Reward Gateway where she’s developed and delivered HR strategies. 


AO: Debra, what is the one thing that you enjoy most about working in HR?

D: There’s so much that I love about working in HR (I must love it as I’ve been doing it for over 20 years), but if I could only pick one thing, it would our ability to truly impact the lives of our employees.

Knowing that the decisions and actions we make can be the difference in how they feel about the company, their job, and even how they feel about themselves. This comes with a huge responsibility, which I take very seriously, but it also comes with huge rewards.

AO: What HR superpower would you like to have?⚡️

D: It would be to be able to hear the thoughts of others. The reason is that it is so important to hear the voice of my employees so that we can truly understand what matters and is important to them.

As it’s often challenging to have them speak up, this superpower could really come in handy, but until I get it I’ll continue talking to my employees and getting their input through surveys, focus groups, anything and everything to hear their voice.

 

Onboarding is such an important moment in an employee’s lifecyle, since we only have one chance to make an impression and to get important points and information across.

AO: What are the challenges HR faces during employee onboarding?

D: So, let me explain. Onboarding is such an important moment in an employee’s lifecycle since we only have one chance to make an impression and to get important points and information across.

For this reason, it can be a huge challenge, how do you do this in an effective and meaningful way? I’ve found that designing something which maps out AND brings it all together works together as employees can see the whole picture but then hear/learn in bite-sized pieces.

AO: Debra, what is the most valuable professional development advice you have ever gotten?

D: Always ask why - Don’t automatically do what you’ve always done in the past. Yes, it may have worked, but without taking a step back, asking why, and challenging things, we’ll never drive change and meet your objectives. Stand back, look at things from different angles and debate better ways of working and doing things.


William Tincup, the president of RecruitingDaily  

Being the president of RecruitingDaily, William Tincup is also a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. 

He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20 HR technology startups

William earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


I love being amongst people with hope.

AO: William, what is the one thing that you enjoy most about working in HR?

W: HR professionals are filled with hope. Nevermind that they know the deep dark recesses of the firm: pay inequality, sexual harassment investigations, bad managers, etc. This is a group of people that are largely hopeful. I love being amongst people with hope. 

AO: Can you share your thoughts on why HR is an important function in any organization?

W: People are at the centre of what a business is and does. Period. The people function runs the gamut of tactical compliance to lofty analytical strategy and everywhere in between. It’s never done in a perfect way and it’s never done.

Think of it this way, without people, what do you actually have as a business? Machines, plants, office equipment, pencils, computers, etc. Those are important assets but not even close to the people in our organizations. The most important function within any company is people. Hard stop.

AO: Can you name three areas that you feel need the most improvement, based on your understanding of common HR practices? 

W: Not in this order but I think we need a deeper understanding of the concept of praise (1) and how folks personally like to be recognized for great contributions. If it’s money, great. If it’s Starbucks gift cards, great. If it’s public acknowledgement, great. How does each person in our organization like to be praised? 

Next would be a deep commitment to training and skilling (2) each and every employee. If they work with us, they need to be consistently learning. Now that learning can be professional or personal as it doesn’t matter. What matters is that they want to learn and we want to train. 

Next, I would say we must get better at career pathing (3) for all of our employees. If we call that internal mobility, then it needs to be just that. A job comes up in London, who on our team wants that position and deserves that position. Filling jobs should be from internal first then we cast outside of the firm. 

The above paragraph with three things assumes that we’ve got a serious plan in place and are already working on pay equity and  DIBEE (diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity, and equality). If you’re an HR professional and you don’t have a plan to make these two things better day by day then start here first.

AO: Who do you think is the top 1 HR expert in the world and why?

W: I’m a weird bird when it comes to influence and knowledge of the actual profession. I think the women and men that do the job day in and day out are the truly knowledgeable folks. 

So the answer that I want to believe is someone or groups of people that we don’t know. It’s not an analyst or academic or thought leader or futurist. It’s Jane or Jim doing the job each and every day. They’re the ones that innovate. That’s why I think they’re the number 1 experts at human resources


Liana Dokhoyan, HR specialist from Armenia

Liana Dokhoyan, HR specialist from Armenia. 

Her experience has started in the IT-sphere which is one of the most developed spheres in the world nowadays.

She tells: "I like my job because it isn’t restricting me, it gives me opportunities to develop different skills (both hard skills and soft skills). I also like working with internationals because I learn different perspectives and get to know different working styles."


Building effective communication with employees is the key to success in every company.  

AO: Liana, what is the one thing that you enjoy most about working in HR?

L: I have been working in HR for more than a year now and I can say for sure that it is communicating with people that I enjoy the most. Building effective communication with employees is the key to success in every company.

It is not a secret that people have different characters, working habits and may also have mood swings sometimes.

And a good HR specialist should be able to build good relationships with each employee. Having effective communication with employees is an important aspect of running a successful business.

AO: What are the challenges HR faces during employee onboarding?

L: Onboarding is the most important part of hiring. And it starts right when the candidate is being interviewed by the recruiter. It is very important to organize that process as smoothly as possible because during onboarding the potential candidate gets to know the company and its culture.

A lot of stakeholders are engaged in the onboarding process and probably the most difficult part of it is to make sure that everyone is on the same page, every process is aligned with each other.

HR should keep in touch with everyone responsible for onboarding and make sure that everything is ready for the start date. There are a lot of tools to handle this (reminders in google calendar, lots of task/job management tools,etc.)

AO: What HR superpower would you like to have?⚡️

L: Mute Slack and don’t answer any messages from employees when I am busy with other tasks .

AO: Liana, what is the most valuable professional development advice you have ever gotten?

L: The best advice I have got at the beginning of my career was not to stick to one function of HR. Human Resources Management is a very broad sphere and if someone wants to be a good professional, it is better to be involved in all aspects of it: be it talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, HR administration, etc.

Acting as an HR Generalist helps you understand what interests you more, develop different skills and broaden your expertise in the field. And then already, you can choose to go deep into one or two functions of it. 


We hope you liked our guests today. In case you would like to ask your own questions, write down them in comments. Also, if you want to read an interview with a particular person, let us know.

Take care! 

 

 

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February 17, 2020

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