This time for Fond of Work, we spoke with Tammy Perkins, Chief People Officer at PMI Worldwide. Tammy is a highly experienced HR leader with more than 20 years of experience in global leadership roles and in diverse industries, ranging from Amazon and Microsoft to high-tech startups. Tammy’s experience in leading culture change, scaling global teams, people development and talent acquisition sets her apart as a leader in the HR space.

How did you first get into the HR space?

I majored in organizational communication at Ohio University, and at the advice of one of my professors, I found HR. After graduation, I started as an HR assistant and have since moved my way through positions and industries. I’ve worked in major organizations, including Amazon and Microsoft, as well as high-tech startups.

How did you end up at your current position?

In 2018, I joined PMI Worldwide as Chief People Officer after being recruited by an executive search firm. PMI is a global company that designs and manufactures sustainable food and beverage containers, with our most recognizable brands being Stanley® and Aladdin®. Our company values are focused on teamwork and accountability to the local communities we serve. I am honored to lead HR for this amazing company.

Why are you fond of your work?

I love helping others unleash potential! As the Chief People Officer, I wear many hats. I’m the HR advisor for the CEO. I represent people and culture at PMI — I coach leaders across the globe and I lead a team. My job is to make decisions that help us create a culture where everyone can do their best work.

Why do you think HR is an important department for businesses to have?

The HR function is essential to business success and strategies. We are the finders of keepers in talent acquisition. We are talent stewards and experience architects who shape and influence the culture. When we do this right, it brings out the best in our teams.

What’s your management philosophy? How do you apply it at PMI Worldwide?

Hire smart people and empower them to do meaningful work. My team inspires me to be a better leader — I couldn’t do what I do without them.

How do you reward and recognize employees at PMI Worldwide?

At PMI, our employees love to win and celebrate as a team. We provide ongoing recognition and encouragement to celebrate great work.

Why do you think employee recognition matters?

Employee recognition reinforces performance, motivation, and confidence. In my experience, employees will deliver results beyond expectations when leaders express recognition and sincere appreciation for their accomplishments.

What’s the best advice you’ve received in your career?

If there is no challenge, there can be no growth and development. The past needs to be a place of reference, not residence. Keep your focus on where you are heading and only occasionally check where you have been.

What are some of the most pressing issues HR leaders face today?

With gen Z entering the workforce, managing for inclusion across generations and leveraging different skills in the workplace is becoming increasingly important. Today represents an ideal time for HR leaders to engage different styles, capabilities, and ways to connect employees through onboarding, training, and employee experience.

What’s one thing you’ve had to learn the hard way in your career?

Being confident in my decision-making skills is something I’ve worked hard to learn throughout my career. Regardless of your position in an organization, or in life, you will be faced with tough decisions. It’s okay to pause, evaluate, and consider your options, but pausing too long will only delay the inevitable and may actually take the choice out of your hands.

Any advice for future HR leaders?

As HR leaders, we are positioned to influence and reinforce culture. We create opportunities. We position individuals and teams to thrive. Listen to employee feedback. Learn the business. Role model self-development.

Thanks so much to Tammy for taking the time to speak with us for Fond of Work. Stay tuned for the next interview in the Fond of Work series, coming soon! By the way, PMI Worldwide 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!