Alissa Penney from A Better HR, is one of our featured HR Lancers based in Texas. Let's learn more about her and what she does in our newest Q&A.
1. What do you consider your top 3 skills as an HR freelancer?
I specialize in data analytics, innovative workplace improvements, and my depth of employment law knowledge. These three specific skills have been developed over time, from the ground up, and are the ones that I am the most passionate about.
2. Describe two of your past projects/gigs you were hired for?
I've recently worked with a Texas municipality to revamp their employee handbooks (they have three!). Since they have three handbooks (one for their police department, one for their fire department, and one for everyone else), it was critical that there was consistency across all three. I enjoyed the project, even though I'm sure most of us feel that handbook revisions are tedious, because it gave the municipality a chance to focus on how they wanted their workplace culture to translate over to their policies.
A little less recently, I had the opportunity to conduct a compensation audit of an internal sales team to see if there were any disparities in pay. I got to do the number crunching that I enjoy and also presented my findings and recommendations to the C Suite team. During the course of the project, I identified a few key areas of concern that needed addressed and explored the solutions that would best fit the work environment. This project gave me a lot of freedom to explore and ultimately led to me educating the C Suite team on best hiring practices and quality analytics that should be done routinely to audit internal processes. I was pretty proud of that one.
3. Which project from your past work are you most proud of?
When I worked alongside a municipal police department, I had the unique opportunity to partner with the chief of police to establish a recruiting pipeline that focused on increasing candidate diversity. The chief of police was passionate about making sure that his police force matched the people that they served - his passion and desire to have me work with him to make it happen made me especially proud to be a part of his team. So we worked together to establish the framework and he turned over the project to me once he understood that I was able to make his vision a reality.
Anytime a leader trusts me enough to turn over projects of this level of personal importance, I'm just blown away at the relationship we were able to cultivate.
4. What's one piece of advice you would share to another HR lancer just getting started?
Stay active and engaged! In today's gig economy, the professionals who stand out are present and responsive.
5. Do you believe the HR/recruiting industry is poised for more freelancers?
I do, mainly because there are so many small and medium sized businesses that don't have a dedicated HR person in house. We've also seen the need for more specialized HR professionals increase exponentially over the last 10 years or so. These two factors, more than any other, will drive the need for more HR freelancers - businesses don't necessarily have a need for a full-time specialist but they absolutely need to ensure they're compliant and staying agile in the face of ever changing regulations. I believe that the more changes we see to the HR landscape, the more of a need there will be for HR freelancers.
6. What's a fun fact you want people to know about you?
I'm a huge data nerd. I love numbers and how they can inspire us to look at the world differently, especially in the HR arena. During a project years ago, I got so excited about the numbers I was running that I ran into the HR manager's office to show him the story it was laying out. If that doesn't say 'data nerd' I don't know what does!