The VP of HR at a global firm says there’s one thing senior HR professionals can do to ensure they are taken seriously in the boardroom.
Dominique Jones is the VP of HR for global talent management firm Halogen Software – she says getting into the “nitty-gritty” of the business will not only improve your own understanding but it’ll build company-wide connections too.
“Even if it’s just going to sit with someone for an hour, having a conversation with them and trying to understand what it is they do – I fully endorse that,” says Jones.
“Go and listen to a few phone calls on the help desk, see what the customers are saying and see what it’s like for the employee,” she suggests. “Go to a project meeting, shadow someone for an hour or two – whatever you can afford from a time perspective,” she continues.
“That in itself helps you build connections across the organisation and helps you understand the context within which everything else is going to happen,” she explains. “It just builds your credibility.”
Doing the job
Jones has worked across a number of different industries and she insists her success is largely down to learning every aspect of the business – no matter how boring it might be.
“One of the things that has been key to my success is going back to this aspect of understanding and learning the business,” she told HRM, “because it really helps you establish your credibility really quickly.”
“I stacked shelves with the midnight shift when I worked in retail – and it was painful – because I wanted to understand what it’s really like,” she revealed. “I had to take phone calls from unhappy customers when I worked in a call-centre environment – and that was painful too – but it really gives you an appreciation of what it’s like to be that person on the end of the phone for eight hours a day.”
A different perspective
Jones even recommends entering into a different role on a more permanent basis should the opportunity present itself – she herself spent two and a half years in a regional sales management role while at her last company.
“That was one of the pivotal roles for me, from a career point of view,” she told HRM. “It allowed me to grow my understanding of the business as a whole and understand the challenges people are facing.”