Hiring Trends and Tactics with Sheila Davidson

Peyton Duplechien • 29 Oct 2021 • 8 min read

Episode 1: Hiring Trends and Tactics

Recently, Sheila Davidson, VP of Operations for Moneypenny US and Head of HR for VoiceNation, appeared as a guest on the first episode of Answer the Call. Answer the Call is a new podcast powered by VoiceNation. Tune in to the podcast and see the transcription below:

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You’ll see that the business will run smoother because your staff feels like they have a voice because, at the end of the day, the customers help make your business. But the staff is what drives it.
Hi, and welcome to Answer the Call a business podcast powered by VoiceNation. Today, we’re sitting down with Sheila Davidson vice-president of operations of Moneypenny US, the parent company of VoiceNation. As a leader in human resources, Sheila’s here to discuss and provide valuable insight on talent retention strategies, a topic that has been at the height of importance following the great resignation of 2021. Sheila, thank you for joining today.
Thank you for having me, Peyton.
Sheila, if you could please take a moment to introduce yourself, your role, and your mission here at VoiceNation and the Moneypenny Group.
Absolutely. I am, like you said, the vice president of operations and the head of HR here for the Moneypenny Group. I’ve been doing this for almost nine years, so it’s grown on me. I really like what I do. I like working with people, just like making an impact on our community and the world around us.
It’s great to have you on the show and we’re excited to hear more about what you might be able to share with us about some of these different trends we’re seeing specifically during the COVID 19 pandemic, we saw a workforce change. How has this affected some of the hiring trends?
Ooh, it has been it’s been a roller coaster, to say the least, you know, when COVID first hit, we sent everybody home for six to eight months and we’re so lucky that we had the equipment. Our staff here had the capability to just pick up what was on their desk, take it home and, and do their job from home. So it was a win on, on our end. Plus it allowed our company to, to keep moving, keep going forward were a lot of the rest of the world was, was shutting down, and hiring, you know, once we got back in the office, it was a whole lot easier to stay home for a lot of our staff, but we had some people who were determined to stay in the workforce. And so what we wanted to do as a company made it the best we could. We, we can’t control the pandemic. We can’t control how, how people are going to react or if they’re going to get sick. But what we tried to do was make it conducive to a work-life balance, allowing people, if they needed to be at home, allow them to be at home. If they wanted to be in the office, make the office a safe place for them to come to do their job comfortably and have that work-life balance.
Work-life balance has been a big buzzword. We’ve been hearing a lot recently. I mean, you’re seeing it all over the internet. You’re hearing people talk about it now when they’re interviewing. So you think this is a trend that’s here to stay.
I hope so because this is extremely important for people to know, you know, you come to work to do a job that helps you support the life part of that balance here at the Moneypenny Group. We want people to come in, do their best to work hard, but when they leave for the day, we want them to leave it here because it’s extremely important that they have that balance. So is it a trend? I hope not. Is it here to stay? Yes. And here at the Moneypenny Group, we’re going to do what it takes to help people balance that out the right way.
A lot of employers are wondering how can they work alongside hopefully this not trend, but how can they really start to integrate work-life balance? And it, so it’s not working against them as a business,
Listen to your staff. That is the most important thing out of a million things that they may say. Some things you can change, some things you can’t, but take the time to listen, have those touchpoint groups have those, one-on-ones have those town halls just to listen to what your staff has to say because if one person feels that way, you can bet your bottom dollar, that somebody else feels that way. And let them know that they’re heard. We might not be able to change what the issue is right now, but I promise you we’re working towards a better solution. So if you have, if you have it in you to listen, if you have an avenue, an open door policy so that it can come in and they can say, Hey, this is what’s bothering me. Now, this is the issue. You’ll see that the business will run smoother because your staff feels like they have a voice because, at the end of the day, the customers help make your business. But the staff is what drives it.
The open-door policy is something that’s really nice. If it’s actually set in the place. So you’re saying that a lot of business owners need to actually put it into practice and really stick true to it. If that’s something they’re advertising.
Yes, it is. And you know, a lot of people will say it, they’ll say, we want you to come in. We’ve got an open-door policy. We want to hear what you have to say, but it just doesn’t go to saying it. You’ve got to be approachable. You have to know that these people are doing this job eight hours a day. So they see what you, as a leader, don’t say they hear the calls coming through. They see the problem with the computers, the problem with the policy, even, you know, cause I write those and you know that you’ve got to make sure that you’re on that level. You just don’t swoop down to tell something to somebody to do something, but you actually listen and you put yourselves in their shoes. As much as leaders can get out in that workforce, get your hands dirty. Make sure that, you know, when you’re telling somebody you didn’t do this right. Or you did do this right. That you know exactly what you’re talking about lead by example,
What are some of the evolutions that have taken place over the last two years, since 2020 hit us?
Oh man, the biggest thing is just making sure you’re ready. And a lot of times you don’t know what you’re ready for, but just making sure that your business can be pliable, that you can get your employees to know that they are the most important asset to your company. We started off, I had to do a report last week and we started off in 2019. And during October we had 90 something employees. Now we’ve, we’ve got almost double that. And so when it comes to managing a group of 90 people to manage an in-group of 160 people, things change the way you do things change. And so I think what makes us successful and what will help us to continue to be successful is just having that, having that listening ear, keeping up with the things that people are saying that need to happen to enhance the workforce, to keep good people where they are. Because a lot of times it’s not just pay, money makes the world move, but people want to have an environment that is their second home to them. When they walk through these doors, we want to make sure that, you know, they may have had a bad day. They may have had a flat tire, but they know that where their safe place, when they walk in here, yes, we’re going to hold them accountable as we want them to do us. But this is your second home and your safe place.
We’re going off that second home feeling. One of the large changes that took place back in March of this last year is it. We moved into a new office here in Duluth right off Sugarloaf Parkway. That has some pretty incredible features. Would you mind sharing some of these updates and why you feel like they were so important for us to create?
Again, we’re, we’re swinging with the pendulum. And so a lot of times what happens is you’ve got to have a company that sets itself aside from, from everywhere else. I mean, you’ve got places that typically hire start you off at a lower amount that is not now hiring at a very, very high amount. So again, it’s not just money. That helps is the environment. So we want to make it vibrant. We’ve got glass all over the building, transparency. We don’t just want to say we’re a transparent and open-door company. You can see it. There’s not a room in this building besides the restrooms and the mother room that you can’t see inside. And so people typically their mood is their environment helps set the tone. And so we’ve got vibrant colors here. We’ve got plants here. We’ve got open sunlight here because it’s important. It helps elevate the mood that you’re in. It also keeps you there.
It does that greenery, that light people don’t realize how important it is. We’re starting to see these changes and office spaces where there’s a lot more light because traditionally the office was very eighties. It was very, nineties is very dark. Lots of fluorescent lights were really shifting into a new space that feels more comfortable, feels more like a space where you could actually be more productive, have a little more energy. It doesn’t feel like you have to fit into this mold necessarily either. Like you were able to express yourself. It’s a very expressive space. And I feel like that’s been really intentional.
Absolutely. We want to make certain that you’re, you’re going to spend more time here with me during the day in the office than you will with the family that you work to support. And so what we encourage our, our, our employees to do is bring artifacts, home, bring pictures of your babies, bring your dog pictures, bring, bring that quote that helps you be happy around the house. Helps keep you grounded, bringing it here because we want, if it’s just a tiny bit of, of who you are, your personality, we want it to shine here. We want this to feel like, okay, I’m comfortable here. This is my second home.
And the Moneypenny Group has been connecting and partnering with people outside of the office, outside of just their employees. We have been calling on the community to come in, come see the office, come meet us, come see who you are. One of the groups that we’ve been partnering with is Partnership Gwinnett. Can you touch on that relationship a little bit more?
Yeah, they’re a really, really good resource. You know, we, we work together. We try to get people from the community who may be looking for a starter job or somebody who may be looking for something in marketing or HR. And we, we want to collaborate with them to help people find the jobs, but we also want, they’re a great resource again, they know the county, so we want to be able to make sure we’re plugged in with them so that if there’s something they need from us or we need from them, or just to say, hello, they’ve been in the office a few times and, and we want to make sure that that partnership is nurtured. They, they do some really good stuff for the community and we are just fortunate to be a part of that.
And there’s an event coming up pretty soon a webinar that you’re going to be featured on.
Yeah. Actually, if you go to the www.Gwinnettchamber.org website, there is a webinar Wednesday, November the 10th from 10 to 11, about just talent retention, strategies, and tactics. Just speaking, with a few other people who do HR and operations, just to help us be in one sync and, and get people back to work who want to work.
And that’s so important right now. I know every business is eager, including us. We’re also recruiting before we go. Is there a way for interested applicants to apply for the Moneypenny Group?
Yeah, absolutely. Go on our website www.Moneypenny.com/careers, and it will tell you every job opening that we have, and you can just apply from there. Sounds great
And easy. All right. Well, thank you for your time today, Sheila. Thank you everyone for tuning in. See you next time for Answer the Call powered by VoiceNation.
Thanks, Peyton.
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