Business Podcast Post

Fractional HR with Mindy Honcoop

George Grombacher August 23, 2023

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Fractional HR with Mindy Honcoop

LifeBlood: We talked about what fractional HR is, what it is, the type of organizations it makes sense for, how to get employee buy-in, and when and why you should ask for feedback, with Mindy Honcoop, Fractional Chief People Officer.      

Listen to learn why many HR initiatives fail and how you can avoid common mistakes!

You can learn more about Mindy at AgileInHR and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Mindy Honcoop

Mindy Honcoop

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Many Han coupe is Mba, a fractional Chief People Officer and advisor, she is a speaker and consultant. Mindy, welcome.

Mindy Honcoop 0:12
Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to be here,

george grombacher 0:14
I’m excited to have you on tell us a little about your personal lives more about your work and why you do what you do.

Mindy Honcoop 0:20
I do what I do, because it’s a calling it started from a place of social work, I thought I was going to work with juvenile offenders. And going as an intern in college and working with that population, I started to see some, some common themes within the lives of the young people I was working with. And often it was where the adults in their communities and in their life were not were they were lacking a meaningful interaction, they often weren’t showing a sense of self worth or purpose. And this wasn’t being mirrored or, you know, these young people, you don’t learn how your sense of self worth from when you’re not born with this innate ability. And so, you know, when I started talking with the adults, and you start to see often some of what they’re taking home with them, and and they’re coming to these young people, it’s coming from their workplaces. And so very quickly started to get curious about what happens if we create healthier workplaces, and that these adults could come back a different version of themselves. And then how would these young adults lives be impacted where maybe then they wouldn’t even need me. And so I’m always one sets curious, looking for ways to really work myself out of jobs, and found there was a lot of synergy between what I was able to do and the value that would add within workplaces. And really, it’s about thinking about that workplace ecosystem, the humans that are in it, and being able to create that that project plan that those people that people framework that really ties, the people to the reason why they’re there to drive greater business impact, to really most usually impact a consumer or customer externally. And so you know, how do we create great customer experiences and employee experiences that drives Yes, productivity and profitability, but not at the expense of employee wellbeing, so that we do have greater communities and society. So I, at the end of the day, personally, I’m a person person, I love people, I love driving health, within ecosystems. And that kind of explains a little bit of everything that I do.

george grombacher 2:46
Putting the human back in Human Resources mandate? Yes. I bet you hear that joke a lot. I’m sorry. regretful that I made it. I hate I really dislike

Mindy Honcoop 2:59
Hey, sick. Oh, it’s not though, right. So many people are running away from HR leader, human resources. People, but people are humans. And at the end of the day, our workplaces are made up of humans. Humans are messy, we’re not perfect. And, and we need, we need to have the right resources and tools to equip us, especially in a highly, highly digital world. And you know, we’re not great at relationships to begin with, and then you add in the digital component, and it makes it even harder. And so that’s where I get really excited about my job as an HR leader, being able to come alongside workplaces to guide them, and how do we really think about our employee experience to make that better?

george grombacher 3:52
Now, you’ve been the the HR leader, the chief people officer, the VP of HR at some very, very notable companies, and you’ve made the decision to to become the fractional CFO or chief CHRO or whatever to, to come in and consult to companies. Why, why that shift?

Mindy Honcoop 4:12
Yeah, that shift came because I, you know, I really saw that my passion was around, let’s start working with companies before they grow beyond it. And then the, it’s harder to drive change in larger organizations. So I thought if I could start working, before it becomes a problem, the ability to change is more rapid. And there’s still the ability to adapt faster if you’re able to get to companies sooner. And so, but smaller companies, young founders, they’re not able to afford a chief people officer, and so those things don’t align. So the fractional piece allows the ability for a small company with small budget, to be able to work with someone like myself to be able to come alongside of them and really think through from an early stage, you know, how can we be thoughtful about building a people function and, and policies and practices that are going to enable us to actually scaling grow faster, because we were thoughtful, and be able to create clarity and consistency and alignment. So that we’re all as humans rowing together, to drive faster change with everyone’s, if you have the right people in the boat rowing in the same direction, and not against each other, you’re gonna get some more faster.

george grombacher 5:41
Yeah, it makes all sense in the world. And it makes sense that you want to find that for lack of a better term sort of sweet spot where the company is now successful, and the profitable things are going well. Now, let’s take a step back, or just kind of explore. If we were twice as big three times as big four times as big, how do we take what’s working and make that scalable?

Mindy Honcoop 6:08
So coming into a later start a later stage company write being able to take a step back and really look at, you know, what is going really well here? And what are maybe some of the things that are keeping us from being able to be better? Often, I someone’s mentioned this in the best way, and often you say current state audit, but you know, who wants an audit, no one wants to be audited. It’s really, you know, a lot of people get so busy in the day to day that we don’t take that step back to really understand what is holistically happening here. What is that current state, a colleague, a friend, a peer fractional worker said they do an HR X ray, which I thought, Oh, that’s really cool, and HR X ray of the organization to really help understand, you know, where are the strengths and the areas of opportunity, really, that SWOT analysis. And because often what we’re doing really good at, could be even better if we’re able to, you know, remove some blockers, in order to be able to leverage those strengths and, and to fuel those things. You know, oftentimes, as someone may be really great at hiring, qualified talent, and maybe maybe have great leadership development training, but they have really bad onboarding. And maybe we’re losing some of this great talent that we hired within the first six months, and and then all that time that went into finding this great person, now we’ve lost it. So if you know through an x ray, if we can see some of these strength areas, we can then yes, we can fine tune them. But then we can also kind of spend time on Hey, this is actually holding us back, we hired this great person, if we got the onboarding, right, then then how do we take some of the learnings from our leadership development program, if we saw that was a strength, and we can incorporate that into our onboarding? Because often onboarding is about how are we skilling that new person to be successful in this organization? So you can also see there may be things that you’re already doing, but you can apply it in a slightly different way, in an area that could be a blocker.

george grombacher 8:23
How do you help organizations to to get buy in to to change?

Mindy Honcoop 8:29
Yeah, so it’s really through the lens of ROI. And, and being able to, you know, think through what is that data. So when you’re looking at that x ray, that scan that current state, we’re there, you’re going to be able to get your baseline measures. And if you’re not, you’re not doing the X ray completely, you really need to understand what are those baseline measures that are indicating this is a strength of ours versus an area of opportunity? And how with that data, how are we then understanding, okay, this baseline measure, when we look at our competitive landscape, even if we kind of look outside of ourselves, their baseline measures compared to ours? Wow, this is, you know, this is something, you know, we’re losing people in six months for a reason. And so now we can start to make some hypotheses around if we do X, Y, and Z, we anticipate being able to increase or decrease this measure, buy, you know, buy a certain amount, and that then gets the buy in, in the investment because now you’re clearly being able to show a pain point, you’re being able to show, you know, this is a potential solution. These are the benefits that we’re expecting from that. And if we don’t do this, then we’re going to continue to see this negative impact on our ability to move these business objectives. Like if you’re losing key talent every you know At that six month point, you’re probably your engineering might be slowing down, or you maybe you’re not getting to deliver the value to your customer. Or maybe your customer churn is increasing, because their call support center is that you’re there talking to someone different every time. I mean, there’s so many different ways to be able to tie that directly to an impact on the business or the revenue. So that’s how I get by in

george grombacher 10:28
in terms of working with the existing HR team. How about that I imagined sometimes people are like, Who is this person? Are they taking my job? No, thank you. Beat it.

Mindy Honcoop 10:43
I hope that’s never the response. You hope that never is true. Hopefully, I usually try to come in along the side of from my hero story perspective, right where they’re in the heroes seat, I’m the guy that is just able to join them along their journey. For them to be successful. Not mean, I think for me to be able to come in and work it’s, it’s, it’s almost more like maybe this is not a good analogy. But I was thinking you know, Mary Poppins right Mary Poppins in this probably ages me, she comes in. And, you know, at first, it seems like she’s the hero of the story. But it’s not. It’s that family, right. And she’s like guiding this family to heal and come back together. And at the end of the story, she’s sailing away, but they’re not really sad that she’s going, you know, there is a moment of sadness, but at the end, they’re more celebrating themselves as the hero that this family has come back together. And Mary Poppins is a very fast fond memory in the past, she’s not the main character at the end of that story. And that’s, that’s what I hope to see like that, hopefully, that I am setting up. Organizations guiding them to be able to become self aware, self actualize. And, and really, then they don’t need me anymore.

george grombacher 12:08
I love it. And you said the top just about how you’re interested in making yourself, I don’t remember what you said, unnecessary are not necessarily needed anymore. Because that means you saw working myself out of a job working yourself out of a job. So I appreciate that. So what is your method of plying people? Is it a spoonful of sugar and making more bad jokes? I guess my question is, from from an engagement standpoint, getting employees to buy in getting the actual people to be to be involved. The reason why we’re here beyond just earning a paycheck.

Mindy Honcoop 12:47
I love this question, George, because so often, HR is surprised by what you have this exciting thing and why are employees not using it? And then you kind of take a step back and you ask well, well, what were the employees asking for? What were their needs? And often they don’t know the answer. And so this is where I love user led design. I use user led design and agile frameworks in my work. And it’s about, you know, when we think about what is the employee saying, if we don’t know, then how do we create those listening channels to truly understand who our employees are? And what are their needs? And how are we or are we not meeting them? And how are we allowing them to have a voice within the design process and being they’re the experts of the job? They’re the ones who do it every day? How are we allowing them to speak into identifying what the actual problem is, and then using their feedback and that data to help inform the design of the solution, but also getting their feedback through that designing process and allowing them to test it out. And so that when it’s delivered, now, you have early adopters, people who are excited about this, because they’ve been a part of the process, they’ve been probably champions that are now being able to tell more people it hopefully have a waitlist right very early, I wasn’t in that focus group. I’ve heard great things, I’m excited for this to come out. And often, that’s how you’ll start to see how to include the employee be able to get the buy in and then have that quick rate of adoption. And that’s what I did in my past as a chief people officer really trying to, you know, be with the employee and help them feel like they were a part whenever possible, of the of the process or technology solution selection and and and the launch of that.

george grombacher 14:49
If only there were a way for us to know what the employees were thinking. You could ask them. Exactly. Have you have you considered ask Give them what they think about things. Yes. Balancing or maybe not. Sometimes it’s clear what problems are within an organization and just asking, then the people that are involved, what do you think we should be working on? And they say, Well, I would like more vacation or we would like better technology. But there’s also this glaring issue. How do you, how do you? How do you kind of address that?

Mindy Honcoop 15:30
Right? I mean, because you can’t take what someone says just at face value, right? They may be, it may be there, it’s they’re saying one thing, but they’re meaning something else. And and so you need to just kind of like dig down in and be able to understand what is that full story here? Are we talking to just more than just that one person? What are the different viewpoints and perspective in addition to what is the data showing us? You know, you never want to also just use data without digging in, like data should just get you curious to help you ask some questions and want to explore more read, if you haven’t asked why five times about something, you probably haven’t gotten to your actual root cause problem. And if you’re not solving a root cause problem, then you’re probably spending a lot of money solving the wrong thing. And that problem will still be there. And you’ll be surprised why. And so I think it’s also about helping employees, if you don’t have a very transparent organization are really siloed organization, employees may not be understanding the pain points of other part of the organization, if they’re just the 10% of the 70%, like helping them understand how their pain points maybe are in comparison as the greater whole, you know, if we are transparent, if we trust our employees, if we’re able to share the right level of information, so that they are informed, how are we working together as one team, then the often employees are able to self govern and say, hey, yeah, I understand now why you’re pausing on this thing and waiting, because yes, that as a company, I want our company to succeed. I want a job, I want a paycheck, please focus on that first. But if you’re transparent about a roadmap, and why you’re focusing on something now versus something later, that often also can address some of the, the, the problem identification, when you know, some people hesitate, why would I ask employees? Because they may not be able or educated enough to to tell me what the real problems are. I as a leader know that.

george grombacher 17:50
I appreciate that. Thank you. Well, Mandy, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you?

Mindy Honcoop 17:57
Yeah, LinkedIn, I have all my information up there, my site how to reach out to me and I’m always look forward to speaking with people.

george grombacher 18:06
Excellent. What is what is the website?

Mindy Honcoop 18:09
Oh, my website is on Canva. It’s Agilent HR is gone a Canva website, the link is on my LinkedIn is like right on the top there. Okay, awesome. Future will be agilent But it is in process of being made.

george grombacher 18:25
Love it. Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did, show me to your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas can find Mindy on LinkedIn and then find all the links to all the other places that she is hanging out. And if you found value, and we’ve been talking about you’re an organization that you are wanting to help your people and you’re looking to grow could be a great opportunity to engage and see if there’s an opportunity to work together. Thanks again, Mindy.

Mindy Honcoop 18:55
Thank you so much, George. Appreciate it.

george grombacher 18:57
And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

Transcribed by

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