A #SHRM22 Interview with Julie Develin, Sr. Partner, HCM Advisory at UKG and Chas Fields, Sr. Partner, HCM Advisory at UKG

Tell me a little bit about your background (s) and how it led to your decision focus on improving workplace culture and enhancing the employee experience?

Chas: My background is consultation and leading teams/projects on a large scale.  We chose this track because it narrows in on the problems HR leaders face on a regular basis.  We see people struggle daily in our conversations and we have the privilege of helping those elevate themselves and people around them with better practices.

Julie: My background is in HR, as a practitioner. I am also a graduate school professor in HR. I spent many years as an HR executive focusing on improving the employee experience at my organization through unique and forward-thinking policies. This background led me towards a natural progression in my current role, where I speak about improving workplace culture and the employee experience. It is a never-ending journey for employers and employees alike, and one that continuously changes as our world changes.

Can you give us some insight on what your presentation “The Four Pillars of Workplace Agility” is about? Where did the inspiration come from and what do you hope people can take out of it?

Chas:  Exactly what it says – too often we think we’re being agile, or we use the term agile, but there is so much that goes into being an agility driven team, person, or organization.  The inspiration came from a couple of areas – personal experience, the tech and tools we use, and requests from others who have heard us speak in other places.  We hope to convey “this is what it takes to be agile.”

Julie:  This presentation is largely about how to be prepared—and capable—of shifting on the spot when the situation calls for it. HR professionals must become great at being comfortable with uncertainty, and even a bit of adversity. Our current situation in the working environment lends itself to this topic, and I hope people can take away actionable and practical tips and tricks to become more comfortable with ever-evolving work situations, no matter the industry, company size, or employee demographic makeup.

Chas and Julie will be presenting several sessions at #SHRM22:

  • The Dangers of Secrecy: Ethical HR in the Era of Mutual Transparency at Work - In-Person Monday 06/13/2022 07:30 AM - 08:30 AM Central Time
  • The Four Pillars of Workplace Agility - In-Person and Virtual Tuesday 06/14/2022 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM Central Time
  • And be sure to check out their exhibitor session “We Can’t Unsee It – Employee Expectations, Priorities, and Impacts on Work – In Person Monday 6/13/2022 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM Central Time.

What’s the best advice you’d give an organization who wants to improve communication and increase satisfaction of their employees?

Chas: Loaded question!  Actively listen, respond with empathy and action.  Communicate, communicate, communicate with a sense of transparency and build trust.

Julie: Transparency is key. Employees are informed consumers, and we must remember that. If we aren’t open and honest, even when the news is not so great, they will see right through us, and trust will erode. When that happens it is hard to get that trust back.

Given this conference is centered around “Cause the Effect,” what about that particularly resonates with you?

Chas: We contribute to cause and effect.  We can’t forget that we’re the problem or solution.  We as professionals are constantly trying to improve.  Our focus (cause) needs to be for the greater good of our people so we can (effect) the greater good of the business.

Julie: HR has the be the catalyst for an ever-evolving work situations. We must embrace new ideas and embrace new employee expectations in order to thrive.

What should people be thinking about before they come to the conference to ensure get the most out it?

Chas: Schedule your time wisely!  Don’t let work get in the way of your learning experience.  I promise you, the work will be there when you get back.  Take good notes too and converse with your speakers, peers, and others.  Networking is so powerful at these things!

Julie: Remember your particular situation at work. No one presentation will give you all the answers, however they can give you insights into how you can grow and evolve as an HR professional, taking your business towards becoming or staying an employer of choice. Don’t expect to leave the conference with everything figured out, but do expect to leave the conference with an action plan and new inspiration and ideas on how to move HR—and your business, forward. Keep an open mind!

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