What’s in a year for the average HR person? It depends on who you ask.
For Wendy McWhorter, HR and recruiting manager at Industry Dive, parent company of HR Dive, 2017 has been a whirlwind of moving pieces — literally. In February, Industry Dive packed up from an apartment-style space and relocated to an 18,000+ square-foot office (nearly quadruple the space).
In between the construction of new meeting rooms, arranging desks and setting guidelines for using the company kitchen, Wendy took charge of a massive recruiting push during the spring and summer months, scheduling interviews and onboarding new editors, salespeople, technical staff and several others.
We at HR Dive have plenty to thank her for. But we were also genuinely curious: what is she most appreciative of as an HR person at a small but growing media company? If you’re still mulling over what you’re most thankful for in your HR world this weekend, Wendy’s three items aren't a bad place to start.
#1: Open enrollment season is (almost) over
Months of planning are finally paying off. Industry Dive’s HR team is seeing benefits election forms completed as deadlines approach, and a big push to put benefits information in front of workers when they need it most has come to a close.
The winding down of open enrollment means the entire industry is heaving a collective sigh. This year, as with every other, employers demoed, tested and implemented new solutions, ranging from machine learning platforms to new plan designs. Despite all the drama around healthcare reform that preceded the enrollment period, existing protocols under the Affordable Care Act remained intact.
Of course, don't fall asleep on benefits enrollment for the rest of year just because your job is done right now. HR should be proactive, delivering the right information when employees need it. That said, do practice a bit of "mindfulness" of your own this weekend by reflecting on another successful fall season.
#2: "HR department of one" no longer
For most of her Industry Dive career, Wendy has worked effectively as the HR department. Though others are happy to pitch in and build company culture while assisting with tasks around the office, it's been her duty to spearhead recruiting efforts, onboard new hires and juggle all the tasks of moving into a new space.
That is, until 2017. In Q3, Wendy hired an HR associate to help delegate responsibilities, including those tasks related to open enrollment. It's a relatable situation for HR managers in many start-ups who've worn several hats and functioned as their own department. But even larger teams can appreciate the sheer amount of work that gets done in HR, as well as the number of hours it takes to do so between different personnel. Now's the time of year to write those thank-you notes you've had on your mind for so long.
#3: A functional, authentic workplace culture
Our company’s portfolio includes publications in 13 different verticals, as well as an in-house brand studio, design team and other departments. It’s a busy job to address the concerns of all those different groups, but Wendy says an emphasis on shared goals and a list of company values that are actually lived out help to make that job not just easy, but very enjoyable.
"Each new hire that we bring onboard will change the dynamic of our team by bringing their own life experiences," Wendy added, "but I especially look forward to hearing their new ideas and what it will all mean for our culture."
It's key for HR to remember that culture isn't just something that appears on a poster or t-shirt: it's authentic and integral to day-to-day functions, including HR activities like training and performance feedback. Moreover, building a culture of thanks includes social recognition when employees do the right thing. Perhaps that's something to consider bringing to your team after a long weekend of, well, giving thanks.