High Time for HR in High Tech


By Gabrielle Garon

If you’ve spent any time mentoring aspiring HR pros, it’s a question you have heard before.  The number one question I hear from individuals looking to break into HR is ‘How did you get into HR? How did you get your position?’

It’s a question followed up with round, eager eyes and a ton of curiosity, as if there is an element of magic to getting a job in HR.  Undeniably, there are plenty of people waiting their turn to join this exciting field.

Unfortunately, as per the labour market figures for HR, as a profession we’re in ‘excess’ with nearly a 1:1 entrant to job creation ratio. The HR brand is evolving; attracting people-loving, helpful and intelligent business leaders to the profession, and making the ROI unbeatable.

So, what do we tell our ambitious, goal-crushing, aspiring HR pros? Tell them this—‘Get into high tech. The high technology industry is booming. It’s sizzling hot, fast, and incredibly exciting. Vancouver is arguably the other Silicon Valley. Get a piece of it.’

HR in high tech is the ultimate learning experience, especially for aspiring professionals. The rules, systems, and culture are being built right now. It’s a living system, grown from team work and ideals mashed together with the speed of technology. Sounds fun, right?

To get into tech you need to consider a few things.

First off, how risk adverse are you? Businesses that are sprung to life by great ideas and open because of copious amounts of hard work are not stable environments. Things change more. Fewer things are certain. Moreover, you will work more than you have in any other job. You’ll also wear many hats. I’m currently the HR pro, office manager, and the renovation project manager.

If you’re still reading, here are a handful of reasons why you should consider joining the HR Tech club:

1. Because the business is built on an entrepreneur’s great idea the amount of organizational development work you’ll get to do is priceless. Just a few months ago I worked with our entire team to develop company values. Most. Fun. Ever.

2. Being agile and adaptable is crucial in a small, tech business. Change is the only thing you can expect and your priorities will do a 180 overnight. If you’re not agile now, know that learning to be is a fundamental skill for the future of business—and it’s a great life lesson. Allowing ourselves to change, shift, and flow is an act of freedom from restrictions. Try it out; you’ll hate it and then you’ll love it.

3. Freedom to be (almost) your true self is something HR pros give up in many organizations, especially the big corporate boxes. When our true selves are stifled, we’re not as creative, agile, and accessible. Our owner encourages my personal blog (in fact he was the one who suggested I do it!), allows me to promote it on our website, and is 100 per cent certain that my views are my views alone. It’s a pretty liberal concept.

4. Learning, learning, learning! Being in a fast-paced, changing, and dynamic environment allows us to grow as individuals as well as learn new skills. If I were working for a large corporate company, I wouldn’t get to do half the things I am responsible for today. From developing and executing our company recruitment strategy, to designing our performance management system, to going through the process to get a Labour Market Opinion approved — it’s a diverse experience from A-Z! Experience like this matters because it builds character, resourcefulness, and pride.

The other facet of the learning curve is the most wonderful of all: you won’t be doing it alone. Your CEO, founder, managers, and peers are all learning, too. The HR Tech community is also a welcoming, knowledge-sharing resource. Each meet up that I attend I’m left with one new name and email in which I can call upon that peer for help. It’s the norm in the HR Tech community to share knowledge with your peers and that is priceless for emerging leaders.

If I’ve piqued your interest in this growing and dynamic industry, get out there and start considering a start-up as your next HR gig. Know that it won’t be painless and you’ll take a lot of risks, but the payoff could be priceless.

Writer, advocate, connector, collaborator – Gabrielle Garon is a HR people pro with one of the Pacific Northwest’s top web development firms, ImageX. By day she does what she does best: helps, coaches, and influences positive change. Gabrielle got into HR because she really liked helping others and soon found an overwhelming curiosity for behaviour, motivation, and how it all intersects with business. Connect with Gabrielle: gabriellegaron.wordpress.com or @GabrielleGaron

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