Successful talent attraction, retention, and employee engagement is directly linked to the employee’s experience before, during and after their employment.
As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Juanita Hendrickson.
For companies focused on diversity and inclusion, Hendrickson recommends that leadership insist on high standards and an inclusive environment that is both visible and interwoven throughout all aspects of the employee ecosystem. When fantastic employees feel connected, listened to, and enabled in their development, a company will become a destination for top talent.
Juanita A. Hendrickson leads the strategy for both talent development and management at Teradata, a company with nearly 10K employees. Juanita also leads the diversity and inclusion strategy for the San Diego-based company. She also has deep multi-industry insights into strategic HR leadership and has held various roles across the “People and Culture” spectrum.
Thank you for doing this! What brought you to this specific career path?
I always had an interest in coaching and people development, so it was natural for me to look for a career in human resources.
Can you share the most interesting story since starting your career and tell us what lesson you learned from it?
This is a story about a lesson I learned in one of my previous positions, where I reported to the founder and CEO. After about six months on the job, my role materially expanded and so I asked for a raise, poorly. I was apologetic about the request, not confident about my contributions, and I didn’t clearly articulate the value I was bringing to the organization.
Fortunately, the CEO led with compassion and grace — he asked me to come back the next day to try again. He even coached me on what I needed to outline as part of making my case. The next day I went back much better prepared and more confident. It worked. That conversation resulted in a near doubling of my original salary and also taught me about the value of being compassionate as a leader.
Wonderful. Are you working on any exciting new projects at your company? How is this helping people?
At Teradata, we always have new projects in the works to help our employees and give them additional benefits. Right now, we are in the process of redefining what inclusion means in our work environment. In practice, this means new high standards and active efforts to ensure our commitment to inclusion is interwoven through all aspects of the employee experience. While we will always work to evolve and improve in this area, our employees have already commented that they appreciate and value the ability to bring their “whole selves” to work each day, without feeling they need to edit who they are. We’re proud of that.
Definitely something to be proud of. Hiring can be very time consuming and difficult — can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill?
Hiring the right employees for the right position is always challenging. Here are my go-to techniques:
a. Take time during the interview process to offer transparent feedback on how the candidate is doing, where you see a fit and where you do not. You’ll see first-hand how they may respond in an environment where candor and transparency is valued.
b. Be exceptionally clear in your job posting about what the role is and is not: Is the role evolving? What will the role be accountable for? The best talent will engage and drive the process for you when they can easily envision themselves in the role.
c. Avoid the temptation to be too narrow. Be open to hiring a candidate that may need to grow and develop a bit, versus the perfect candidate. To ensure this works well, be clear from the very beginning about which skills that can be developed/taught and which skills a candidate needs to already possess.
d. Review the “brand” the candidate has cultivated for themselves on social media.
e. Rely on and leverage your current employees for referrals. They know best what it is like to work in your organization and can be excellent talent scouts.
Great tips! With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?
My go-to ways to attract and engage the best talent include:
a. Focus on your current employee’s experience, as it speaks most loudly to future talent and advertises the organization as a destination of choice.
b. Be active, present and engaged in your local communities. Even something as simple as serving on a panel at a local university generates new leads and connections.
c. Use your engaged workforce as a magnet and amplifier for your culture and environment. The best talent likes to be referred by someone they trust and hold in high esteem.
What are the 3 most effective strategies used to retain employees?
Retaining the best employees is so important. I think about that often and work to do the following:
a. Genuinely believe in them and expand their minds about what they can achieve using their strengths.
b. Show grace when they struggle or make mistakes.
c. Ensure employees have meaningful work and understand their contributions to the organization’s success.
Would you say it is also important to keep up with the latest trends?
You can always learn from the latest trend. My colleagues are very keen on the construct of Organizational Network Analysis and leveraging these insights in a predictive manner. For example, determining which employees may be most at risk for burnout, or where attrition could create organizational risk for knowledge or connection loss.
Can you give an example of a creative way to increase the value provided to employees without breaking the bank?
Employees always appreciate a bigger paycheck, but there are many more ways to increase the value they receive by working for you:
a. Coach, enable, and help them be even better at what they do. Make the time to give them this gift, and the value provided will be ten-fold.
b. Create a flexible work environment that aligns to what they need in the moments that matter to them.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
My idea is to always remain focused on bringing out the best in someone — don’t give up on them if they falter, don’t give up on them if they are not like you.
What is your favorite life lesson quote and how is this relevant to you in your life?
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank.
I firmly believe that every single one of us has something unique to give to this world and that there is a place for everyone to belong.
Thank you for sharing so many valuable insights with us today!