Next is Lynn McElhaney, chief HR officer at Core4ce, and finalist in the HR Executive of the Year, Private Company, annual revenue less than $250M category. Here, she discusses taking professional risks and shares career advice.
What’s the biggest professional risk you’ve ever taken?
Taking my current job! I was in a position that I had risen to over the course of 27 years with the same company (including through acquisitions). I was comfortable, well respected, and trusted. I knew my job inside and out, and I was not the lead HR practitioner, so I always had someone to rely on for guidance and a safety net.
Moving into the lead HR role at a new company that was growing quickly was a bit daunting, but I trusted the executive team that was in place and knew I could help make a difference. I have never regretted taking that leap as it has been a fantastic three years. Always believe in yourself and rise to any challenge that is given to you.
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
The Human Resources practice in many organizations focuses on keeping the company compliant and out of trouble with regulatory authorities, often to the detriment of employee wellbeing. By taking a more holistic approach and serving first and foremost as employee advocates, in addition to maintaining compliance, HR teams can make a noticeable impact on voluntary retention rates.
In the national security sector, keeping team members focused on their customers and the mission is essential. Take care of the small things for them, respond when they have needs, and always anticipate the question they don’t know to ask. Become a trusted partner in the work that they do, and you will add value to your organization.