In today's rapidly changing career landscape, many of us can relate to a job in an industry completely unrelated to our college degree. Whitney Bennett can say that she not only forged a career in a different area of her training, but navigated uncharted waters to create a thriving HR department where there was none before. For a woman in tech, that's no small feat. After earning a bachelor's degree in marketing from Kennesaw State University, Whitney worked in sales at phone startup Vocalocity. "My first job out of college was in sales and taught me that I hated sales," Whitney recalls with a laugh. “It was quite early on that I decided to go down the HR path. »Looking at the aura of confidence that Whitney carries within her, you'd be surprised to find that she started her career in HR just seven years ago. The initial support she needed to make her way in the industry came in 2011, when Whitney was hired as the 50th employee of health informatics company Ingenious Med. “Mike Vandiver was CFO at Ingenious Med. He served as CFO while I was on maternity leave. Before that, I reported directly to the CEO. When I arrived as HR Coordinator, Mike could easily have said, “I just arrived, I need a strong HR business partner. But he did not do it. He put me in touch with someone outside the company to guide me. He asked the company to pay for me to go to conferences.
He never made me feel stupid and I also learned the Employee Email Database financial side of HR. He's someone I still talk to now. His philosophy of what HR should bring to a company was formed during this fundamental stage of his career. “Initially, I probably had the same view of HR as a lot of people – it's like Toby from The Office and no one wants to talk to you. It's bad and scary. But when the company makes HR a partner, that team can really empower people. If companies only use HR to hire and fire, they won't find this kind of success. I learned that HR is really about the employee life cycle. Under Mike's mentorship, Whitney developed a broad-based approach to human resources –– the experience she brought to CallRail when she joined the team as Director of Talent and Culture and has since became vice president. At a rapidly growing technology company like CallRail, Whitney's first priorities were to implement a human resources management system (HRMS), namely managing payroll, benefits and service organization, as well as introduce new methodologies for goal setting and performance evaluations. “When you enter a new business, you know certain things need to happen to scale effectively.
At CallRail, there was no HRIS. It was difficult for people coming in to know who people were reporting to. It was clear that we needed performance reviews and to create a way for employees and managers to have their voices heard. Empowering his team to implement Namely streamlined things like payroll, org charts, 360 reviews, compensation changes, and goal progression. The rollout of an Objectives and Key Results (OKR) program was a second important initiative. Whitney observes that the traditional annual review process is largely outdated, especially in a results-oriented work environment. “I wanted the company's goals to be very clear and to help employees feel concerned about their roles in relation to them. I wanted managers to have conversations once a month with employees about their progress. OKRs have worked well for tech companies in the past. Google was the first to do this. Ultimately, it's someone's job and I want people to be able to review it and then fix it if necessary. Arguably, an HR role is one of the most challenging roles in a startup. Processes need to be established, systems need to be implemented, and ultimately the culture that made the company such a great place to work in the first place needs to be preserved. Whitney thinks that ultimately culture is something that requires a buy-in to more