The Small Business HR Podcast

Ep. 37

37. Avoid Being Labeled the “HR Police” w/ Heather Skillman

In episode 37, we sat down with Heather Skillman to talk about how she navigates office issues without being seen as the HR police.
37 - Heather Skillman

Heather Skillman

HR Strategist and Owner
The Skillman Enterprise

In this episode, we sat down with Heather Skillman, HR Strategist and Owner of The Skillman Enterprise. We wanted to know how Heather navigates office issues without being seen as the HR police.

During our discussion, we talked about:

  • How The Skillman Enterprise seeks to help small businesses with their retention needs, while breaking the mold of the typical HR norms
  • The value that getting up from your desk to develop relationships with employees brings to a company
  • Why learning about the business can help HR professionals open up their eyes to different things
  • How being curious and asking questions helps companies find the real issues and come up with solutions

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As I started doing my HR career, there were a lot of things that I was doing and sometimes people would be like, ‘Well HR doesn’t normally do that.’ and I’m like, ‘Well why not?’ And it made me think that was sort of how my dad was. A lot of executives stay behind their desks and don’t want to do it, but my dad was out and about. So that’s sort of how I always was with my HR, being out and about and walking around and getting to know people in the business.”

Heather Skillman

A lot of the time we get comfortable just sitting at our desk and typing away and we are adding value. But in some cases, again, it’s just sitting behind that closed door… So in this case, what you’re doing is you’re getting up behind your desk and you’re walking out. What I did is I would talk to the managers that I supported, especially when I started in a new role. I’d say, ‘Hey, can I come to your staff meeting? I would love to meet your employees so they can get to know me.’ And some of the managers said, ‘Wow! I don’t think anyone has ever done that before. Why don’t people do that?”’

Heather Skillman

I was able to introduce myself and my background and see if they had any questions. It was really great to hear what they were going through and what their issues are. The more I learned about their issues, the better support I felt I could be for them and their managers… I brought the ‘human’ back to the Human Resources part.”

Heather Skillman

Learning about the business for me is really great because I could learn certain parts, but if I learned other parts of the organization, it just opened up my eyes to different things. I would talk sometimes to the marketing department, and I would learn what they would do. I would learn what accounting did. So I was learning lots of different parts of the business and that helped because when I was having conversations with my managers and the executives, when we were strategizing, I could actually have some good ideas because I had some ideas of all those bits and pieces, as opposed to being just HR.”

Heather Skillman

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