HR leaders are what drive innovation, and in a changing HR landscape, highlighting their thoughts on the industry is more important than ever. Fond of Work is an interview series that connects HR leaders with readers like you to provide insights on the latest HR trends, updates, and challenges. Fond of Work explores why HR innovators love their jobs and what’s rapidly changing in the space.
This time for Fond of Work, we interviewed Amy Hanlon-Rodemich, Chief People Officer at GlobalLogic. GlobalLogic partners with businesses across every major industry to make amazing products and connect the dots between people, products, and business opportunities. As Chief People Officer, Amy Hanlon-Rodemich manages the strategy and processes for retaining an exceptional team of professionals. Amy is a deeply experienced HR executive who has helped some of Silicon Valley’s top brands scale and grow, from Yahoo to VMware.
Amy holds a Master’s degree in Human Resources & Organizational Development from the University of San Francisco, and she earned her B.A. from Tufts University. She also sits on the Board of the Bay Area Executive Development Network (BAEDN).
How did you first get into the HR space?
By accident! I took a job right out of college at an 11 person startup. I was a “Jane-of-all-trades,” helping all types of departments — marketing, finance, operations, and more. They sat me down after six months and told me I had to choose a career path. I chose HR because I loved working with the engineers to help them hire, and I loved counseling them through any issues that arose. For me, it was a chance to be both a lawyer and a psychologist — two careers I had previously considered.
How did you get started with GlobalLogic?
I was hired as the Chief People Officer two months ago. Previously, I was a VP of HR at Synopsys. GlobalLogic was looking for an innovative HR leader to help them continue to scale. I have participated in some significant scale efforts (VMware, Inktomi) in the past, so we fit together well.
Why are you fond of your work?
I get to build cool programs and systems that ultimately enable employees to focus on their work and learn and grow.
Why do you think HR is an important department for every business to have?
No business can run without people, and we are the experts on people — what motivates and engages them. It is, quite often, more art than science and — in my experience — you truly learn through immersion.
What’s your management philosophy?
I am not a dictator — this is a democracy, and the best ideas often come from the folks doing the work. Why wouldn’t you listen to them? I have a million ideas and some of them are terrible. I tell my team up front that it’s okay to tell me that my ideas suck, but let’s keep an open mind and work together to create the best solutions for our people.
How do you apply your management philosophy at your current company?
It’s still early days, but I am trying to be transparent and approachable so that people will talk to me about what is and is not working. I am listening and forming opinions on what our focus areas need to be. Next, my team will meet to review my initial observations, see if we all agree, and brainstorm our key initiatives.
How do you reward and recognize your employees at work?
I believe that regular, authentic recognition is critical to driving engagement. You need to take the time to really understand your people and what makes them tick, what type of recognition works best for them, and where they want to go. I work hard to ensure that folks are paid fairly and offered excellent benefits, and then we explore ways to surface their great work for others to see.
Why do you think employee recognition matters?
It is one of the top drivers of employee engagement. Not acknowledging someone’s work is almost as bad as shredding it, if I may paraphrase Dan Ariely. People want to know that their work has impact and meaning. Not recognizing that can lead to disengaged employees who feel they are just pushing the same rock up the same hill every day and that no one cares.
What are some of the most pressing issues HR leaders face today?
Managing the generational gaps is a big one. We have four generations in the workforce right now, all with very different views on the workplace, the role of the manager, and the use of technology. Helping them understand each other can lead to better collaboration and innovation. That and the need for deeper and more meaningful analytics is critical to determining where your problem areas are and how to address them. Lastly, automation, self-service and efficient tools and resources are key to freeing up time for management to be great managers.
What do you know about the HR industry that might surprise people outside the space?
Most HR people truly get into the profession to help people, but we often get labeled as the “Evil HR Director” or the corporate police. There are things we have to do to help keep the business successful, but that doesn’t mean we like it.
For instance, I hate laying people off. I often lose sleep and worry about the people affected for a long time. Of course, it is worse for those being laid off, but it is not easy for us either. These are not decisions that are made by us, but we have to execute them. It’s awful. No one likes doing it.
Do you have any advice for future HR leaders?
Try everything. It is easy to get pigeonholed into one specialty in HR, so try new things and broaden your experience. It will make you a more knowledgeable and empathetic leader if you have walked in the shoes of everyone on the team.
Thanks so much to Amy for taking the time to speak with us. Stay tuned for the next interview in the Fond of Work series, coming soon! By the way, GlobalLogic is hiring, so check out their website to view their open positions.
Fond is a global SaaS platform that seamlessly consolidates employee rewards and recognition processes into one easy-to-use solution. For more information on how Fond can help you, request a demo today! And if you’re an HR leader (or know an HR leader) interested in being interviewed for Fond of Work, email email@example.com for more information.