#SHRM19 Speaker Spotlight: Amanda Haddaway, HR Answerbox


The solo HR practitioner is often pulled in so many directions they need a reliable partner to get the job done right. SHRM's resource center is designed to support HR professionals in small businesses by providing tools and guidance for their most challenging problems. Additionally, SHRM will soon be offering an HR Department of One Specialty Credential, please visit the SHRM website for the latest updates on the specialty credential.

With a growing number of #HRDOO's among SHRM members, these sessions for HRDOO's are predicted to be very popular at the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition, so there will be two dates/times from which to choose for this The Strategic HR Department of One: Act Like a CHRO to Improve Your Organization session with Amanda Haddaway.

Monday, June 24 from 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Tuesday, June 26 from 3:30 p.m. - 04:30 PM

I had an opportunity to catch-up with Amanda and hear a bit more about what she has planned for these sessions at the upcoming SHRM Annual Conference. Here's our Q&A:

Can an #HRDOO really be Strategic thru compliance? Is this possible?

Yes! Being strategic from a compliance standpoint means looking at and understanding the big picture of organizational risk. It’s important for HR Departments of One ( #HRDOO) to know their organization’s risk tolerance and to assess federal and state (and some smaller municipalities) compliance requirements. Conducting regular internal audits can help assess risk, correct errors and ensure compliance. HRDOOs should also think about training managers on compliance issues, too. Compliance isn’t solely HR’s responsibility. We’re all in this together.

Is there a difference between traditional and strategic Human Resources? (how do you define "Traditional" human resources?)

HR has really shifted its focus over the years. Our functional area was once very focused on administrative tasks and we’ve been able to shift away from that by streamlining processes and rely more on technology to automate some tasks.

Strategic HR allows us to:

  • Know, address and solve business problems
  • Have and use data to predict future issues and trends
  • Contribute a people perspective to discussions around long-term business objectives
  • Be innovative and a leader of organizational change

It’s the idea that we’ve moved from putting down those fire extinguishers and putting out fires and being reactionary to make the shift to being more proactive and having a better understanding of what’s going on in the business.

In your session you will address Business Elements to help the #HRDOO stay focused... can you give us a sneak peek into what some of those business elements are?

By focusing on the same things that CHROs focus on in larger organizations, HR DOOs can better show their value to their organizations and create better workplaces. In the session, I’ll provide strategic HR examples around compliance, performance management and succession planning. I have a six-step model that we’ll review during the presentation. If anyone wants the handout in advance, they can text ANSWERBOX to 66866.

How can an HRDOO make a transition to be viewed as the CHRO? Is a strategic focus a key element in this perception?

We need to move from that feeling of overwhelm in the day-to-day activities and think about longer term solutions for the organization. One way that I’ve been able to focus on this is to ask myself “what keeps my C-suite up at night?” Essentially, what are the big business issues that HR can assist and advise on to make the organization better going into the future. It’s also important for HRDOOs to prioritize – there are never enough hours in the day to get all of the work done, so try focusing on the most important tasks that are in alignment with the organization’s mission, vision, values and goals.

How does the #HRDOO shift the perception from TRANSACTIONAL to be perceived as STRATEGIC?

  • This is going to look slightly different in each unique organization, but think about ways to leverage technology and use data (metrics and analytics) to support your positions. We need to ensure that everything we do in HR is in alignment with the priorities of the business. Think about each area of the employee lifecycle and break down your current activities to determine which are transactional and which are strategic. If most activities are transactional, come up with a plan on how to shift the focus. Make important behaviors measurable and conduct ongoing evaluation to foster continuous improvement.

Amanda mentioned that she will also be leading a pre-conference seminar for HRDOOs. It’s part of the new (getting ready to launch) specialty credential for Departments of One. We’ll be meeting for a ½ day on Sunday, June 23rd and then there will be two virtual sessions after the conference. Stay tuned for more information on that!

ABOUT THE SPEAKER - Amanda Haddaway is the managing director for HR Answerbox, a boutique consultancy focused on solving the people problems that business owners, executives and managers face on a daily basis. Amanda has more 35,000 hours of experience in corporate HR services, which allows her to effectively partner with organizations to help them solve their human resources and employee challenges.

Amanda is a national speaker and author of two books. She serves as the director for the Maryland SHRM State Council. She is an adjunct instructor at Montgomery College and a trainer for the Society for Human Resource Management. 



SHRM Blogger Mary Williams is Regional Manager Business Operations and HR for Harbor Light Hospice. Harbor Light Hospice operates in 9 states under a philosophy of care that provides support and dignity to patients with life-limiting illness and their loved ones during end-of-life. Mary is responsible for HR functions for 4 locations in the state of Illinois and nearly 200 employees statewide. Mary is dedicated to developing and implementing well-organized processes and has extensive experience as and HR Department of One (#HRDOO) creating structure within an organization. She has a B.A. in Political Science and French with a minor in Philosophy from Eastern Illinois University. She holds her Senior Professional Human Resources certification from HRCI. Mary enjoys giving back to the HR community by serving on the board of her local SHRM chapter, DuPage SHRM, as Registration Director. This is Mary’s 2nd year as a member of the SHRM Blogger team. Connect with Mary on Linked In or on Twitter @conmkw.



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