Jodi Lloyd loves clean data. This is not something Jodi imagined as a single mom majoring in elementary and early childhood education. She started out teaching but felt like nothing was working because there was just not enough time, energy or Jodi to give to all her students and her child.

While she figured things out, she started helping her dad who worked in HR. She had worked as an HR assistant during summers, so she knew the people and was familiar with the work. She learned about HR information software (HRIS) and enjoyed helping people navigate benefits and find the information they needed. Eventually, she was offered a job at the organization. But her dad said she'd always be in his shadow and needed to forge her own path.

Empowering People Through Data

So Jodi took a customer assistant job in HRIS at another organization. She started out doing data input and reporting. She loved learning about the results and digging into the analysis. When the organization changed software, she worked on the implementation. She became hooked on the relationships between data, technology and people. "We have access to all this people data and can learn so much about our employees and how to help them use that data."

Jodi believes that giving employees access to their employment data is empowering. One of her favorite projects was training people to use the self-service portals to access information about their pay, benefits and PTO. At first, HR was concerned that people would not be comfortable with the technology and would resist using it. But when she started seeing people pull it up on their phones, she knew it would all work out. "We undervalue what employees can do with a little help and guidance," she says. "But tech is everywhere and everyone already uses it." Jodi has figured out that the missing piece is to let people know how to use it and why they would want to.

Jodi was delighted to see how surprised employees were that the self-service portal really did make things easier. "People love having access to their own information and can make vacation plans or change their withholdings without having to talk to HR all the time," she says. HR likes that too.

Making Data Accessible

Jodi also enjoys improving process and building programs that make things easier. She recently worked on a project to create a program to help consolidate HR data across all global locations. She gathered all the data from different programs, then figured out what she needed and how to sort the information so it could be used with the new program. Sometimes the work involved converting data so it was easy to understand and compare across locations and countries. For example, just being able to see all the compensation data in U.S. dollars made merit and bonus planning faster and easier. The process went from taking months to being completed in just a few weeks.

Building a Team

Jodi's favorite part of her work is getting the chance to interact with so many of the organization's employees and helping them use technology to make their work easier and more efficient. "I love being in contact with so many wonderful people and building relationships with both managers and employees," she says.

When the business acquired another organization, Jodi and her boss went to the new location to help get all the new employees on the payroll system. She realized she was on the front line of the acquisition and wanted people to feel like they belong.

While they were helping employees complete the security and payroll biometrics, she chatted with each person. Although it was just a few minutes, she felt like she got to know them and hoped she made the transition to a new organization a little easier.

Finding the Human Connection

Now, this group is her favorite location because she remembers their conversations whenever their photo or records come up in something she's doing. She has a deeper connection. "It's like the quote: 'They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.'" (The quote is often attributed to Maya Angelou, but was originally written by Carl Buehner.)

Finding the human connection and empowering people by making data accessible, understandable and useful is Jodi Lloyd's mission. As the HRIS manager at TriMas Corporation, she has found the recipe for combining HR and information systems.

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Tags: Employee Engagement