Member Profile: Alena Martin, CPHR
Alena Martin, CPHR
GuardTeck Security Co. & EverClean Facility Services Ltd.
Alena Martin started her HR career in 2003 and has since worked in unionized and non-unionized environments in such industries as service, food manufacturing, retail, IT and non-profit. Having worked in both HR and operations management roles, she sees HR not as isolated service function, but as an essential part of the business.
In her current position with GuardTeck Security Co. and EverClean Facility Services Ltd., a rapidly growing group of companies operating in BC and Alberta, she has launched a new HR function and continues supporting the business as a strategic and hands-on HR leader. She also works as a consultant, specializing in helping companies find HR professionals for their needs.
What inspires you most about HR profession?
The opportunity to help people and organizations thrive and realize their potential. HR function can make significant positive impact on employees’ work lives and the organization’s success at the same time. What differentiates great organizations from others is their people, and this profession touches every aspect of the organization. Helping to find common ground between the organizational goals and the employees’ professional goals is one of the most rewarding HR tasks. I think working with employees on their individual development plans and bringing it all together into the organization’s succession planning is an essential part of building great culture.
Why does “keeping people first” matter to business?
People are at the core of every organization. Every business is people business, whether the organization sees it as such or not. Thanks to technology, the world is much smaller than it was before, and people can live many professional lives in a lifetime. People have choice. They can choose to make your organization great, or they can choose not to. Having engaged employees contributes to having satisfied customers and stakeholders. The sooner any business understands that, the more successful it is in the long run.
What do you see as the greatest emerging challenge/opportunity for the HR profession?
New technology creates complex opportunities and challenges, as it has changed and continues changing how we work, in so many ways. Some jobs disappear, and some are created because of technology. As an example, one of the challenges created by technology within the employee engagement and performance management aspects is the work-life balance and work-life integration. How to support employee wellness in the reality where 24/7 work is possible, how to tailor solutions to particular industry, demographic group, and job.
What do you have on your summer reading list?
- The Tom Peters Seminar: Crazy Times Call for Crazy Organizations by Tom Peters
- Turning Your Human Resources Department Into a Profit Centre by Michael W. Mercer
- The New HR Leader’s First 100 Days by Alan Collins
- The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann
Were you not an HR professional, what path might you have chosen?
I really enjoy working in HR and wouldn’t want to change the profession. In a different life, I probably would have become a psychologist with a private practice.