- The value of business acumen in HR
- Why HR should have a seat at the table, especially when decisions impact the people within your organization
- Why flexibility and listening to candidates is key to creating a great candidate experience
- And more!
Listen Now & Read On for the Episode Summary
Welcome to "Talent on the Rise," the podcast that showcases transformative leaders and their incredible journeys to success. In today's episode, we have a special guest, Ricky Russell, the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. With over 20 years of experience in HR and talent acquisition, Ricky shares his insights into talent management, recruitment, workforce planning, and creating a culture of inclusion and engagement. Join us as we delve into Ricky's background, his career progression, and the importance of business acumen in HR.
Building a Foundation: Shaped by Rural Upbringing
Ricky begins by recounting his upbringing on a tobacco and beef farm in southeastern Kentucky. Growing up in a rural environment instilled in him a strong work ethic and shaped his character. The experiences of toiling in the hot summers and cold winters inspired him to seek a different career path. Ricky emphasizes that his childhood laid the groundwork for his future educational pursuits, which included attending a college with a mandatory work-study program. The combination of working on the farm and pursuing higher education fostered a sense of determination and a drive to succeed.
Early Career Journey: From Talent Acquisition to HR Generalist
Ricky's interest in HR was sparked during his teenage years while working in the restaurant industry. He found himself drawn to the hiring and interviewing process, which fueled his curiosity in HR. Ricky's first role after college was as a talent acquisition recruiter, where he gained valuable experience in networking and building relationships. He later transitioned into HR generalist roles, broadening his knowledge in areas such as employee labor relations, organizational development, and learning and development. Ricky's diverse experiences across industries, including healthcare, eventually led him to his current position at the University Medical Center.
The Value of Business Acumen in HR
During the podcast, Ricky emphasizes the importance of HR professionals having a solid understanding of the business they support. Whether it's frontline HR staff or HR leaders, everyone should strive to develop a level of business acumen. Ricky encourages his team members to engage with the departments they support, attend staff meetings, and gain knowledge about the work environment. This deep understanding of the business allows HR professionals to effectively communicate with candidates, understand the organization's needs, and contribute to strategic decision-making. HR professionals should have a flexible approach when it comes to recruiting and onboarding new talent.
HR's Seat at the Table: A People Impact Perspective
As the conversation turns to the role of HR in the C-suite, Ricky highlights the significance of HR's involvement at every level of the organization. HR should have a seat at the table, especially when decisions are being made that impact people within the organization. Ricky emphasizes that every decision made by the C-suite has a people impact, be it hiring, termination, or policy implementation. HR's role is to provide consultative support, ensuring that decisions consider the people component, align with contracts and policies, and benefit both employees and the organization.
Collaborating with the C-Suite: A Case Study
Ricky shares an example from his experience where his involvement as a CHRO allowed him to collaborate closely with the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO). The challenge at hand was implementing a centralized resource pool, a solution to address staffing shortages in their hospital. Ricky said that he will never be a nurse or doctor, but his ability to work closely with leaders in this field has given him a better understanding of the day to day operations, challenges, and opportunities that these employees face in these roles. Ricky's prior experience in designing and implementing such a pool enabled him to contribute to the decision-making process effectively. Being part of the executive team, he could ensure the new system considered the impact on the people and aligned with the organization's goals. Ricky's broad business acumen and HR expertise allowed him to be a valuable partner in driving strategic initiatives.
Candidate Experience: Flexibility and Listening
We should have a flexible approach when it comes to recruiting and onboarding new talent. Talent Acquisition specialists should strive to provide a top notch experience for job seekers from the moment they apply to the moment they are hired (and beyond!). Some may want to complete their onboarding process remotely while others prefer completing it in person. Either way, you have to adapt, you have to pivot, and you have to listen to gather insights and understand whether we are meeting the needs of our candidates.
Advice for Aspiring HR and TA Leaders: Ask for More
Ricky encourages HR and TA leaders to not sit back and wait for experiences and opportunities to come to you, but instead put yourself out there and ask for assignments that expose you to other things. Leaders will see your passion, dedication, and commitment to the organization and learning additional skill sets. By asking for more, it will force you to make processes and procedures more efficient in order to carve out time to gain more knowledge and experience.
This article is based on an episode of Talent on the Rise, Brazen’s podcast about transformative leaders and how they got a seat at the table. Subscribe in your preferred podcast app.
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