The Game Changers

Game changing continues: What I’ve learned after 10 more years in HR

By Yasmeen Qahwash

Mar. 3, 2020

Tiffani Murray was one of the first recipients of the Game Changer award when the program launched 10 years ago in 2011. In this Q&A, Murray discusses her journey through HR, what she has learned and how the industry has changed over the years.

Workforce: How have you grown professionally over the course of your career?

Tiffani Murray: I was about 10 years into my career when I was nominated for the inaugural Workforce Game Changer award. I had established myself in human resources and HRIS about five years prior, and had taken my background in computer science and industrial engineering into a crash course of a career change from that of a pure IT project manager.  There was so much to learn about employment processes from talent acquisition to sourcing candidates and compensation, benefits, diversity, performance management and succession planning. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to work for the most recognized brand in the world, Coca-Cola, and to learn from some of the best. 

Over the next 10 years I’ve continued to grow in my career, expanding from my initial specialty area of applicant tracking and recruiting systems to now include everything under the sun when it comes to HRIS. I’ve implemented learning management systems, rolled out performance management programs and technology, upgraded total rewards tools to allow HR to provide new benefit offerings and allow for precise compensation management. To round things out, I’m currently working on a new payroll implementation. I’ve also been afforded new responsibilities and scope, moving from a new manager to a senior management position and landing in a director role reporting to the chief human resources officer.

WF: How has your career changed?

Murray: My career has changed overtime because I’ve been afforded unique and challenging opportunities. I have gone from a consumer products company to contracting at a fast-casual restaurant chain known for customer service and a great chicken sandwich. I have been able to work for one of America’s top homebuilders and

took a turn as a consultant for one of the world’s beloved luxury sports car names. I’m now working for a hometown furniture retailer with 135 years of history behind it that has taken the stance of making HR technology a priority for the business and its employees.

WF: What are some of the changes or trends you have seen in HR over the past few years?

Murray: Technology, technology, technology. Since being named a Game Changer, the shake-ups in the HR tech world in terms of mergers, acquisitions and IPOs were plentiful.  They have slowed down and we are left with major HCM solution providers and niche players. Organizations will continue to swap out one for another and other organizations, believe it or not, are still making the move from manual disparate systems to one or two core solutions. There are still companies doing basic HR work, including recruitment processes, on paper, but this has decreased over the last 10 years. Many companies are still not on top of their HR technology strategies. Vendor selection, implementation and core HRIS strategy will be discussion points at the HR executive level and you’ll see more partnership between HR and IT here.

HR processes, including performance management, training, recruitment and assessments are all moving away from desktops and laptops and are essential needs for organizations to have accessible on their tablets, phones and devices. There is also a push for more employee engagement through workforce social channels that allow for informal mentor-mentee relationships, provide an opportunity for formal and informal feedback.

Tiffani Murray's HR career. 2011 Game Changer recipient.
Tiffani Murray, 2011 Game Changer recipient

Artificial intelligence has also been emerging on the scene over the past several years. How HR can use AI most effectively still remains to be seen, but companies are starting to explore this most readily in recruiting and also learning technology.

HR organizations have to now deal with a dispersed workforce that has three or four different generations represented in it. How do you cater to the needs of your outgoing employees who are close to retirement while still attracting the talent of tomorrow to take the lead? You’ll see HR organizations taking a look at benefits plans and programs, specifically vacation and paid time off, including parental and adoption leave and paid volunteer time. Companies that may have once had more of an “in-the-office” culture will need to assess how to roll out telecommute and work from home policies that are fair. You will see more HR teams scrambling to make life easier by adopting what many west coast companies already have. 

WF: What are some things that you value most about your career?

Murray: I love my career as I truly think I have a job that fuses the best of both worlds — working with a company’s most valuable asset, the employee population and also having the opportunity to implement and leverage some cutting edge technology to make processes simpler. Adding this type of value does have a bottom line impact for a business, whether it’s decreasing cost per hire or identifying ways to train employees real time, thus making them more productive to sell or provide services to customers more effectively and efficiently while increasing revenue.

WF: What have you learned over the course of your career in HR?

Murray: I have learned that HR is almost always looked at as the least valuable part of the business. Despite working across a myriad of industries, this has been the same. In every HR department, we have had to work hard to prove our value and worth to the business. I almost expect this now in any new role. I do think that over the past decade the climb has become less steep, but it’s still a climb.

Yasmeen Qahwash is an editorial associate for Workforce.

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