Welcome back to #WeAreGreenKey, where we shine a spotlight on the people behind our powerhouse recruiting team.
This week, we chat it up with Adina Goldman, Head of HR and Principal at Green Key. Originally starting as a Recruiter here, Adina quickly transitioned into HR when she realized where her skills would be better utilized. She talks with us about that early journey out of college, the day-to-day responsibilities in her position, and how she plans to continue building up the HR department at Green Key Resources.
How did you first get started in HR?
I first joined Green Key nine and a half years ago with the intention of becoming a recruiter. This was my first career move out of college. I had spent my summers during college in clothing sales, and a family friend suggested that I research recruiting and talent acquisition, because it had the potential to be a good fit, given my sales experience. The thought of being able to transfer these skills to a career where I would be able to help individuals in identifying their own career paths was exciting, and it felt like it could be rewarding even above the remuneration aspect.
I stumbled across Green Key, where I was offered the position as a Research Analyst for the Accounting + Finance and Financial Services Perm divisions, but my undergraduate degree was in Psychology, so I had little to no understanding of the world of accounting and finance. I was given significant training by several colleagues, most of which are still at Green Key today, to help me better understand the field, and I really enjoyed the people with whom I worked.
After a few months, I was advised that I was ready to move to the next step and start running a desk on my own, but I had some concerns about my ability to be successful as a recruiter. I was conflicted about these hesitations because I had grown to really appreciate and respect my colleagues and superiors, and I did not want to disappoint them, or to part ways with the company. At that time, I had discovered that the company’s human resources functions were spread out across a few different individuals, and there wasn’t a centralized human resources department.
During my undergraduate studies in psychology, I concentrated the coursework in organizational psychology, which is a discipline within the field that focuses on the science of human behavior as it pertains to the workplace. I had felt that entering a career path within human resources would have enabled me to apply my studies effectively and more directly, so I considered the company’s potential need along with my own strengths, and I wondered if there was a different path for me at Green Key.
I then approached Brian Blake [Partner at Green Key] and, to put it simply, asked him if there was a different path for me at the company. He spoke with the other partners, and they created a new position where I would be working directly for our COO, Todd Bernard [Partner at Green Key], and that was my introduction to Human Resources. I was quickly tasked with helping to centralize the many HR functions, and I was essentially learning the world of HR on the job, with Todd’s guidance and support. So that’s how I fell into HR; Green Key gave me the opportunity.
When you made the transition from recruiter to HR, did you know that is where you belonged?
Yes, and I felt that immediately my strengths and interests were better aligned with the job responsibilities that fall under the HR umbrella, including but not limited to operations, compliance, and benefits administration. I was excited about the opportunity to learn about these functions, create organization and new processes, and overall strengthen communication across the company.
What does the work of an HR Executive Director entail?
In the world of HR, each day is different, and the easiest way to sum it up is with change management, problem solving, and gap analyses. First, much of what I do is driven by legislation that passes at the federal, state, or local levels. We live in a world where legislation is constantly evolving, especially in the era of Covid-19, so I consistently liaise with our Employment Counsel on new legislation and the impact that it may have on our employees, and how we intend to address it. There is often a significant amount of problem solving involved with this task, and the question is how we can comply with new legislation while maintaining efficient workflows and processes that will hopefully result in minimal disruption to our employees’ day to day lives.
Next, an important part of my team’s work is addressing workflows and processes that may be outdated or could be revamped either with automation or other efficiencies. As technology continues to change, it’s our job to investigate how we can leverage off technology, where possible, to enhance our existing workflows and processes. My team is often tasked with streamlining communication and the sharing of information between certain vendors and our recruiters, and there is always room for improvement, so we are continually looking for feedback, to hopefully enhance these workflows and processes, to better serve our colleagues.
Then, benefits administration is a critical component of the work that I do. Health insurance can be very confusing, and it also requires a decent amount of financial savvy, which can be overwhelming. In addition to helping our employees navigate the world of benefits, we also run gap analyses which is where we look at what we offer to our employees, including everything from health insurance to commuter benefits, to parental leave benefits, and we aim to determine if there’s room for improvement. If there is a gap identified, the next question is what the benefit would be with respect to the projected costs, or what is more commonly known as a cost-benefit analysis. Further, cost is not necessarily the dollar value if there would be an associated expense, but rather the human capital spent in implementing a new benefit.
Finally, the common denominator with all the work that my team and I do is communication. We’re in the business of people management, which includes offering our employees a platform to make their voices heard and listening to them. Feedback is not only necessary, but it’s also vital in what we do, so that we can better assess where there may be gaps or room for improvement and change, that will ultimately benefit our employees in the long run.
What is your favorite aspect of working at Green Key?
For me, it’s the people. Starting out at Green Key, my colleagues invested time and energy in me, and I could tell that they genuinely wanted me to succeed as a recruiter. Obviously by now you know how that story went, but I can confidently say that these same colleagues have supported me in my evolution with the company over the better part of the last ten years. It’s also unique to work for a company where you feel that management is really rooting for you to succeed, and they make it a priority to reward effort and hard work.
I feel strongly that this is the reason why they took a chance on this path with me. When you give it 110%, they will exhaust every effort to find creative ways to maximize your knowledge, skills, and abilities. I’m also so thankful for the team that they have empowered me to build, as they are a support system that helps Green Key run and makes my job easier.
Why should someone work at Green Key?
You may find a common theme here with my answers, but it’s the people. One of my least favorite, yet most important, responsibilities is executing an exit interview if an employee chooses to part ways from Green Key. I’d say that one of the more common takeaways from these meetings is the employee’s sincere sadness about leaving their colleagues and their team. It’s the people that attract candidates to Green Key, and it’s the people that retain employees at Green Key.
What are your professional goals for the future?
In the world of HR, it seems as though the learning never ceases, and I think that’s a great thing. It’s challenging and exciting to be learning something new on a regular basis, and a goal of mine is to keep learning and evolving. To that effect, a more immediate goal of the new year is to enhance Green Key’s training and development program, to offer more learning opportunities to our employees, with the intent to make us all more well-rounded professionals.