Episode Episode 12
Season 4

I’m Not In HR! I’m A Business Leader Specialising In People

“As I grew in the evolution of my career I really did become a people specializing business leader. So my job is firmly and my feeling is firmly people first. However, I do work for a business right? And I am an executive. And so my job is to continually advocate for the people hence the business leader specializing in people. “

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Show notes

Every Season of Oven-Ready I like to talk to an HR leader that’s actually doing the job. Yes it’s great to learn about the high level developments and challenges in the profession and in the wider business but for Oven-Ready to remain grounded it’s great to talk to individuals on the front line.

In this episode of the Oven-Ready HR with Chris Taylor, our guest is Tracie Sponenberg. Tracie is an Executive leader focused on aligning people strategy with business strategy at privately held or private equity backed businesses experiencing growth. She is the Chief People Officer of the Granite Group, an award-winning, third-generation family-owned business, and is a Keynote Speaker on HR, Technology, Leadership, and Branding. Today, Tracie talks with us about the true meaning of being a Business Leader Specializing in People.

“A Business Leader Specializing in People”

[01:25]

Working in HR did not represent Tracie anymore. It diminished the power of HR and her work. Throughout her career, she became a people-specializing business leader. Her work prioritizes advocating for people.

Building Confidence

[03:31]

Confidence just came to Tracie. She was just looking at things around her that she could not be a part of. Seeing those things gave her a conscious shift in her mindset that developed into a growth mindset. She then realized that her world and network were small, and she decided to get intentional about expanding that. Eventually, she became comfortable with reaching out and talking to other people.

Is HR a lonely Profession?

[06:22]

HR doesn’t need to be a lonely profession. But by nature, it is. Many HR practitioners are the only HR practitioner in their company. That can be a lonely place, and you’re holding a lot of confidential information.Although, with larger organizations, HR can cave better support networks.

The 21st Century HR Practitioner

[10:04]

The modern HR Practitioner combines a deep understanding of business, technology, having that foundational HR knowledge, and making sure you’re embracing vulnerability and empathy and a growth mindset. Run everything through a lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, and making sure that that’s woven into the fabric of your company. Then be bold, courageous, and stand up for yourself and your people.

Can you get into HR Positions without prior HR Background?

[13:17]

Companies filling the Senior HR Positions with people who don’t have an HR Background can be seen as a bad thing. You don’t need to have a foundational background to lead HR or be a strategic HR leader. If you are leading with empathy, you’re leading with vulnerability, and you are a strong people leader. You have some foundational knowledge. It’s a wake-up call for those practicing HR in a tactical way and not a strategic way.

The Gen Z Expectations

[20:06]

Everybody wants the same things. People want to feel valued, and they want feedback. The generations coming in now are willing to voice that, and they’re not willing to stand for companies. They’re demanding and prioritizing change and improvement. That forces companies to design their culture and design their jobs for people instead of expecting people to fit into a box.

Tracey’s Agenda as an HR Leader

[26:24]

In addition to balancing everything in the company, Tracie and her company hired new talents in their way. They brought in a manager that took charge of building a learning path for every single position. They also did foundational work that became beneficial for the company.

Learn more about Tracie Sponenberg:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/traciesponenberg

Website: https://traciesponenberg.com/

My guest

Tracie Sponenberg, Chief People Officer, The Granite Group

Tracie is the Chief People Officer of the Granite Group, an award-winning, third-generation family-owned business, and is a Keynote Speaker on HR, Technology, Leadership, and Branding. Today, Tracie talks with us about the true meaning of being a Business Leader Specializing in People.

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