For our HR Passion Series, we’ve focused on bringing you insights, inspirations, experiences, and advice from top tier HR leaders.
We’ve reached out to and interviewed highly esteemed professionals who have been so kind as to share their experiences and thoughts with us in order to provide insights and inspiration across the field of HR. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed creating it!
Introducing our second guest: Human Resources Consultant at On-Call HR Services, Jennifer Moniz!
1. What was your journey coming up to your current HR role? Any milestone moments in your career?
I completed my post graduate Human Resources program in 2008. I was entering the workforce during a bad recession. I applied to 100 jobs a week and was struggling to break into the industry. I was competing with HR professionals who had lost mid or high-level positions and were taking entry level positions to survive. It didn’t leave very much room for a new aspiring HR professional eager for their first HR opportunity. I remained optimistic and continued applying ferociously while keeping busy working retail and administrate jobs.
In 2010 I got my first HR opportunity. It was a receptionist/HR administrator position. I made the best of this opportunity and took on as many HR and Health & Safety projects as I could. I was a sponge absorbing as much knowledge as I could get. I wanted to immerse myself in all aspects of HR so I saw every task as a chance to learn and master a new HR skill set. I was eager, ambitious and tenacious. Within two years I was given the opportunity to advance into a temporary HR Generalist position to backfill due to a sick leave. From this position I gained even more HR exposure that I leveraged to move on to work for other companies in various Generalist positions in vastly different industries including, start-up e-commerce, manufacturing, professional services, and not-for profit.
With my many years as a Generalist I gained a vast knowledge and skill set to help companies in various areas including, Health & Safety, Employee Relations, Risk Mitigation, Recruiting, Disability Claims management and Training just to name a few. I currently find myself in the position as a Human Resources Manager as well as a Consultant who enjoys helping Entrepreneurial business owners succeed.
I am looking to grow into a Human Resources Director position where I can build a team and help grow the capabilities and skillset of the Human Resources function within an organization.
I also aspire to teach adults and hope to teach Human Resources or Health & Safety courses on a part time basis if provided with the opportunity.
2. As an HR leader, what keeps you up at night, rounding out 2018 and looking forward to the next year?
I have noticed a big shift in the world when it comes to Recruiting & Talent Acquisition. There is a lot of talk about “The War for Talent”. It is becoming harder for companies to attract and retain top talent. There is a lot of movement and it can be difficult to keep the new generation’s top performing professionals who are eager for growth.
With the baby boomer generation retiring, the workplace is changing drastically. The new generation wants results and career advancement quicker and they are not afraid to take a risk to achieve it. The older generations valued loyalty, hard work and paying one’s dues. The new generation doesn’t buy into this motto. It becomes difficult for companies to keep superstar young employees.
I see a shift towards employers branding themselves and truly making their workplace a fun and engaging place. They are starting to have more fun at work, create more learning opportunities and develop more flexibility in the workplace to retain this new generation.
I see myself working to help companies with this branding and building a positive culture. I see myself helping them attract top talent and strategizing to help them retain these individuals.
3. What are some elements of focus for your HR strategy in the coming 12 months?
Talent Acquisition, Culture building, Branding and Succession Planning to ensure organization continuity.
4. What advice would you give someone going into an HR leadership position for the first time?
Be open and willing to take on new challenges. Don’t shy away from difficult or challenging situations as these will be your biggest learning and growth opportunities.
Find a mentor to assist you and be open to feedback and constructive criticism.
Be willing to look at yourself under a microscope and come to terms with your own weaknesses then create a plan to improve them.
Don’t be afraid of failure. Failure is necessary and produces our greatest teaching moments in life.
5. Is there anything in your career you’re incredibly proud of?
Achieving the Top 25 HR Professionals of the Year 2017 from The Canadian HR Reporter.
6. Is there anything you failed at? Any lessons learned?
I have failed many times in my career thus far. There is a famous video of Will Smith speaking about failure that I would highly recommend watching. I live by these principles that he speaks of, “Fail Early, Fail Often, Fail Forward”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks0GWwU50Ag
I can say that when I was younger and starting my career, I was filled with the confidence that comes with being young and naive and as I get older and more experienced, I have come to realize that I know less than I think I do and I will always be a work in progress.
7. Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as an HR leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you?
I have been lucky to have many people influence me throughout my career.
I could probably write a book listing all the people who have influenced, inspired and mentored me over the years. For this purpose, I will name a few.
Paul Allen– Paul was my Supervisor when I completed my HR placement at RIM (now Blackberry). Paul is an honest person who will tell you how it is with no fluff. Paul was honest about areas I needed to work on. He never sugar-coated the feedback and I appreciated that directness. He also has an amazing sarcastic sense of humor which helped me learn to make light of any situation and learn to not let things stress me out. Paul had overcome his own personal battles with a workplace injury in the past and truly inspired me to be passionate about Health & Safety in the workplace.
Jennifer Odorico- When I was starting out in HR I observed how Jennifer was able to be a true change agent in an organization and achieve tremendous results by being an authentic person, hard working and never forgetting to make each and every employee she worked with feel empowered, engaged and that she truly cared about them. Jennifer taught me that with hard work, dedication and being true to yourself you can achieve great success.
Lia Messina- Lia taught me that you could be truly authentic in HR and build long lasting relationships with employees. She is hard working and always make employees feel appreciated and valued. She has an amazing sense of humor and was able to help me see the light side of any dark situation. She is a true force of positivity in this world and anyone who meets her can’t help but fall in love with her energy.
Mauro Finocchi- Mauro was a Plant Manager that I reported to at one of the manufacturing facilities I worked for. He made me realize that the most important thing in life was how you treated people and not how much money you made or the title you held. This man treated his employees like family, was kind, caring and was able to achieve tremendous success in his career. He taught me that being kind and helping others succeed is the best legacy you can leave in your career.
Sarah Shaw– I call Sarah a ray of Sunshine because when you meet her and see her big genuine smile you cannot help but smile and feel good. She has a contagious positive energy and makes sure everyone around her feels good. She works hard to overcome obstacles everyday with a big smile on her face and a tenacious “can do” attitude. She inspires people everyday that they can achieve great things. I am very privileged to work with such a positive, inspiring woman as we help entrepreneurial companies succeed with their Human Resources requirements.
8. What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as an HR leader? any resources you’d recommend to HR colleagues?
I am very active on LinkedIn and feel that building your network is critical. Not only do you get to connect with people all over the world but there are many articles, forums and posts that will assist you keep up to date with the current HR trends and challenges.
I also subscribe to the Canadian HR Reporter which is an excellent media resource to keep up to date about the HR industry as well as keeping me up to date with recent legislative changes and employment case law.
I also participate in my local HRPA Chapter and attend events throughout the year.
It is also important to give back to your community and I sit as a volunteer on an HR Committee to network and offer support to local not-for-profits and charities that may need expertise in HR.
9. When you win HR Executive of the year soon, what song do you want playing when you walk up to the stage?
Recently a song by Carrie Underwood Ft. Ludacris “The Champion” has been my personal theme song as I look at how far I have come in my career and as I look forward to what I will achieve in the future.
10. Finally, give us three words that you would use to describe the HR profession.
A big thank you to Jennifer, and stay tuned for our next HR Passion Series guest!
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