Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms

Redefining HR Norms with Madison Buzynski and Kara Harris

December 15, 2023 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 4
Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms
Redefining HR Norms with Madison Buzynski and Kara Harris
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if you found yourself at a crossroads in your career, having to navigate complex situations such as laying off a co-worker? Welcome Madison Buzynski and Kara Harris, two HR generalists from VGM, who shed light on the emotionally charged side of HR that often goes unnoticed. They also discuss their journeys, striking a balance between the high-pressure requirements of their roles and the emotional toll it can sometimes take.

This conversation takes a deeper turn as we, along with Madison and Kara, question the norms and challenge the status quo in the HR industry, particularly in the face of a global pandemic. We also explore how VGM is leading the way in emphasizing mental health and emergency response preparedness as integral aspects of their HR policies. With a wealth of insights drawn from real-world experiences, this episode is sure to leave HR professionals and curious listeners with a newfound perspective on the HR landscape. Tune in for an eye-opening discussion that will challenge your preconceived notions about human resources.

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Speaker 2:

This is the Rebel HR podcast, the podcast about all things innovation in the people's space. I'm Kyle Rode. Let's start the show.

Speaker 1:

Hello Rebel HR community. We are here live podcasting at the Iowa State Shirm Conference. It is a wonderful day. We just saw an awesome keynote and I am joined here with Madison Buzinski and Hera Harris. They are both HR generalists from BGM. We are super excited for you to be here. You are actually the first podcast guest at this conference, so thank you for being willing participants in this experiment.

Speaker 3:

Awesome, it's our first time at the conference. First time at the conference Welcome.

Speaker 1:

Well, really, really appreciate you taking the time to sit down with us. I think one of the goals of this podcast is to connect HR people as a community and drive for better change in the world of work. So I'm fascinated. Both of you are relatively new to the HR profession. So first question, and whoever wants to take it? Was it what you expected?

Speaker 3:

Good question. Do you want to go? Do you want me to?

Speaker 4:

I can go. No, it wasn't what I expected. I thought HR was just. I love people, so I thought working with people and didn't even think about having to fire someone. And I remember before I started out in college, I was like I can never fire someone, Like I'll never be able to do that. And look at me now.

Speaker 1:

Look at me now I'm hiring all these people.

Speaker 4:

A year now and I've grown so much and, yeah, it's just, it's not what I expected in high school when I chose what I want to do with my life.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I definitely agree, kara. I think one thing for me was just the how involved we get with the lives of our employees and the difference that we make. I was, I was not prepared for that. I thought it was going to be pretty day to day doing some of the same things, but every day is new and different and we're constantly learning.

Speaker 1:

That is, I feel, like the understatement of the year, like it's always, always something new and different to figure out that you did not expect, so.

Speaker 1:

So I'm fascinated. I want to go back to something you mentioned, kara. So this is the termination, and you know, I know you both graduated with an HR degree, right, so you took the classes, you did the coursework. What was it like the first time where you're like, oh my gosh, I am actually in charge of a termination Like what, what was that like and how did you work through that in that first situation?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so it was really challenging. I remember my first one, note taking. I'm a big note taker, so play role playing. I have a colleague of mine who we just role played and kind of went through the different scenarios and like what could happen. So I think, really practicing and getting my mind to where I am and not thinking about anything else outside of it and just know that the end goal is there and doing what's right for the company.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. But also I've got to believe there's still like that gut check right.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

You get in the room to make the decision, it's hopefully the right decision, right, but it doesn't make it any easier. So, you know, hats off and I guarantee you that every HR professional that's ever had to go through that and reflect on that experience. I remember the first time I had to let someone go, I was like I was physically ill and I was like, oh man, you know, I must, I must have, you know, picked up a bug or something. And one of my great mentors, brad, took me kind of, took me in the office, put my hand, his hand, on my shoulder, and said, kyle, it's because you're a good person and you don't like doing this. Your stomach is twisting because you, you feel bad and you know, and thankfully you know it was OK to feel that way.

Speaker 3:

Right, it's never going to feel good to let somebody go, but if we're doing our jobs right, it's most of the time when you're in that situation you feel confident in the decision that you're making, and it's taken a lot to get to that point. So it's it's nice when you can really look at the information and feel good about it before you go through it. But yes to your point, it never, it never feels good.

Speaker 1:

Never. Well, OK, I will say, you know there are some situations where I'm like I'm OK firing this person, you know, but those are, those are the exception Not to rule right. In the end I very, very small percentage, which side note. That's why we write like all the policies for the like naughty people, Right, so right.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So you mentioned. You mentioned that you know, no day is the same and there's always, kind of always something different, always something new to learn. Yeah, what's maybe the biggest thing that's surprised you since you have started your HR channel is career.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and I think this has something to do with the time that I started being post covid, but the the mental health aspect of it. We are constantly navigating new situations there and trying to create best practices. Recently, our entire HR team became certified and it's all first name and that has been something that's been awesome. I've had the opportunity to not awesome that I've had opportunity to use it, but I have and that's been a new part of my every day. And here I can say the same that we're constantly navigating.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and you know, first thing I will say is congratulations to both of you for taking that kind of that focus on mental health. And I will just a shout out to BGM, your employer. I know that they are doing certification and mental health as it relates to emergency response and preparedness Right. And I think so to the organizations that are listening. You know, if you really do care about it, put a program together and form your team, start with your HR team. I think that's really critical step and it's something from my perspective. We didn't have that when I started in that profession. It was just kind of like, you know, put up or shut up, kind of buck up, you know, oh, somebody's having a hard day, well, I, you know, but but there wasn't a lot of programs and information on how to actually handle that as a human resource, as a professional. So I'm really happy to hear that that's been a big focus.

Speaker 3:

So yeah, I've been really diving into our leave management systems as well, and I think a lot of those same things can be said about FMLA, those kinds of things. Yeah, yeah. That is, it's something different all the time and it's constantly navigating that and I would say I probably grew up with a little bit more of the buck up and get through a kind of mentality, so it's really been a shift for me to think about. That's not always the answer. That's usually not the answer.

Speaker 1:

Right, right, there's yeah, yeah, I totally agree. So for our international listeners, there's all these acronyms that are just absolutely maddening in the United States FMLA, ada, adaaa. You could put a bunch of A's on the end of stuff, and it is it's. It's a mess to to work through, but it's also extremely complex and challenging for an employee, let alone for a, for an HR professional, to try to navigate. So we're at this conference, this is so. This is the first time we've done this and we're getting people like taking pictures.

Speaker 1:

You guys are famous Like like, you're going to have some LinkedIn tags and headshots and all sorts of fun stuff, so this is good.

Speaker 4:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So I'm curious. So we're, we're, we're, we're, we're sitting here, we're at this conference. The name of this conference is the Great Reset, and you know, I think that that it's a fascinating title. We interviewed one of the the conference organizers earlier about the reason for that that title of the conference. What does that mean to you, kara? The great reset?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so like not to mention, we kind of started our career after COVID. So I think HR before COVID was its own beast and now with COVID, post COVID, you know it's its own structure and trying to make it through the day and COVID has a lot of roadblocks. I was in an internship during COVID and you know we just had documents of here's a COVID slip to knock it, your, your COVID booster, covid shot and we're like oh, where do we turn?

Speaker 4:

to like we have no idea what to do, and yeah only the interns were in the office and everyone was home, and so it was just navigating that and Kind of resetting what HR really means now in this post pandemic world and, like Madison mentioned mental health now, and I Think it's just taking a step back and actually, you know, focusing on the care of our employees and Resetting what, what our purpose is.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely Madison. What does it mean to you?

Speaker 3:

I was just gonna say. To add to that, I think it's a chance to challenge the status quo and every aspect of HR. I'm really excited for the sessions right, very beginning right now. I'm excited for the sessions today and tomorrow to look for some of those opportunities. Bring things back to our business, to Find ways to innovate and to constantly be better and be ahead of the curve.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely couldn't agree more and, and I think, perfect for the first five podcast guests here let's, let's change the status quo, let's reset, let's redefine what HR can be and, with the help of two extremely talented young professionals that are our, just get started in the HR career. So thank you so much for joining us today, and VGM is lucky to have both of them.

Speaker 3:

So thank you, kyle, thank you.

Speaker 2:

All right, that does it for the rebel HR podcast. Big Thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, twitter at rebel HR guy or see our website at rebel human resources. Calm Abuse and opinions expressed by rebel HR podcast or those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Any of the organizations that we represent. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast.

Speaker 3:

Maybe you.

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