This article was updated on August 29, 2018.
In the first installment of "Humans of HR," Grisell Martinez shared her experience with HR transformations and business growth at an IT solutions provider based in Boca Raton, Florida. The senior HR and payroll manager shared the importance of automation, delegation, being strategic and focusing on revenue-producing tasks and cost avoidance rather than paperwork.
In this second installment, we delve further into the importance of the employee experience. She talks about how her experience has changed throughout her 12-year tenure. The challenges, the future and how HR leaders can find ways to grow in their business roles.
What Do You Like Most About What You Do?
I get to help numerous people. I've seen people grow with the organization, which is rewarding. It's a very exciting environment because we have systems in place that help us do our jobs efficiently.
What's Most Challenging?
There are a lot of gray areas in recruitment and employee relations — you have to be careful to make the right decisions because the wrong decision could land you in court. It's a challenge balancing the information you have at hand to solve problems while mitigating risk to the business. Answers aren't always 100 percent clear. You have to make a lot of judgment calls to keep the organization out of trouble.
How Have You Grown Since Joining Your Firm?
I started as an HR generalist in the entertainment industry and was under the supervision of others. Even though I was a payroll and benefits specialist when I started here, there was nobody who knew as much about HR as I did. This has been a huge growth opportunity for me. I've had to make my own decisions to ensure people comply.
Also, before I joined this organization I'd never handled any kind of implementation on my own. I've probably done 10 implementations now on my own, without advice from anyone. We've also had three business acquisitions.
How Involved Are You in Making Policy Changes?
At the beginning, I was very much involved. Now, policy changes come from our parent organization and we just comply. Most of the time, the VP of HR asks for my opinion to ensure there's no major impact on the subsidiary.
What Policy Changes Have Been Put in Place That Positively Affect the Employee Experience?
Our parent organization had benefits we never had access to, so in the past few years I took it upon myself to ensure our employees got the same deal those employees had. We implemented a tuition reimbursement policy, made changes to our employee referral policy and added adoption assistance. Now we have robust HR policies. Our old employee handbook had small paragraphs about every policy — now we have detailed policies for each area that generally favor employees. We foresee more employee development and career path development in HR. We may even have a new HR system and more automation.
What Advice Do You Have for HR leaders Wanting to Grow in Their Roles as Business Partners?
Keep a close relationship with other leaders so you always know what's going on, and report to the top.