For many businesses, the world of human resources (HR) can be a lot to navigate. Ensuring that every employee feels valued, safe, and supported is the foundation to success.
With the heighten interest in remote work, the ‘Great Resignation’ and a people-first movement that flies in the face of decades of corporate employment practices, this role has never been more important.
We sat down with Big’s new director of human resources, Kelly Hutchinson, to answer some of our lingering questions about HR and to learn from her 25+ years of experience.

What was your first role in HR? What was the biggest lesson that you learned from it?

I actually “tripped” into HR. I was hired as a branch manager for a staffing company and from there I became certified in employment law and fell in love with helping people. I was hired for management but steered my career in the direction of human resources/people operations.
The biggest lesson I learned was how to balance what is good for the company with what is good for the employees/people. An organization that places importance on the people will always do the right thing. There are times when balance is difficult and you must live with the fact that you will not be able to make everyone happy, but that should never stop you from trying to achieve the best outcome for all parties involved.

How do you feel the recent shift in desire to work from home affects the current work force? What does this mean for HR?

HR has truly become more about people operations and how you take care of your people, no matter where they work (office, home, hybrid, etc.). This shift has forced organizations to be intentional in their communication and to lead with empathy. To understand that there may not be a one size fits all and to adapt appropriately.

With more people working remotely, what are some practices that you believe will help businesses keep employees feeling connected?

Again, I believe that communication must be intentional and transparent. Organizations need to over communicate sometimes to ensure that the message being sent is received in the manner that will allow people to feel involved and invested. “Impact” and “Value” are two things that both employees and businesses can share as a common ground. There are a lot of opinions out there, but the consensus is to lead with empathy, and having been in the HR field for over 25 years, I am excited to see this as we continue to evolve the workplace.

Workplace diversity and inclusion is now more important than ever. What are a few key practices that a business should have in place to ensure that all employees feel well represented, included, and safe?

This is a great question. I believe that great organizations have been practicing diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging all along. It means recruiting the best talent, ensuring all voices are heard, creating an environment where people feel safe in expressing who they are and what they believe in. It means taking action when any of those is compromised in the workplace. One thing I am proud to say is that at Big, you are hired for exactly who you are. A job description will detail the expectations of a job, but each employee brings who they are to that role.  Each person brings their uniqueness, their own beliefs and their own path to the table and to me that is to be celebrated, nurtured and grown.

Are there any other methods on the rise what may be vital for attracting and retaining talent?

The struggle for talent is real. Many of our recent hires have been by employee referral. I believe a focus on retention facilitates a shorter cycle with recruiting. Also, it is important to be as transparent as possible with candidates, as this is a huge decision for them. Retention hinges on creating and maintaining an environment where people feel valued, share a common goal and know that the role they play has direct impact on the organization’s health and success.

Want to Talk?

Rebekah Weinberger

Business Development Specialist