To remain competitive and agile, you need connected and engaged employees and a future-focused HR leader. Andrea Brogger, Chief People Officer at TrueBlue Inc. is someone who keeps the company’s mindset of being a force for good at the heart of her work as she galvanizes and engages TrueBlue employees. In an interview with Insights Success, Andrea shares the importance of building a strong collaborative relationship across all levels of the organization. Below are the highlights of the interview:

Take us through your journey to becoming an HR leader.

For me, part of being a proficient leader is self-reflection. I enjoy reflecting on my journey and the key learnings I’ve gained along the way.

Increase your emotional intelligence. There is a tight connection between effective leadership and emotional intelligence.
Continuously focus on self-improvement. We cannot grow and learn without admitting mistakes, and more importantly, learning from them.
Be open to feedback but also actively seek feedback on your work. This is essential to evolving as a leader and achieving your best results.
Dedicate yourself to knowing the business. Mission matters, and to be successful, you need to connect to a company’s goals and the difference they are striving to make.
Lastly, leadership is not only the action of leading others; it’s about leading the way through our actions. I don’t take for granted the responsibility I have of mentoring and guiding others to meet their full potential.
How do you help ensure the organization’s messages resonate with target audiences?

The best way to entice any audience is to understand who they are and what they want. This may seem simple, but people just want to be heard and understood. Understanding what your current and potential employees are looking for in an organization is crucial to meeting their needs.

Engagement surveys are a wonderful tool to learn what is on employees’ minds. It’s important to go beyond the data, to talk to employees, and to understand what matters to them. This helps to keep your company’s offerings are on track. I’ve developed numerous successful developmental and mentoring programs based on feedback received from our employees.

What are the biggest opportunities for improving talent management?

I am a big fan of the agile approach to HR. Agile methods take pieces from agile tech and adapt them to support businesses and people. The agile approach represents an essential shift and an opportunity to provide a better framework that keeps HR connected and focused on the business outcomes while also creating programs catered to your people. Personalized and scalable solutions should be reflective of our dynamic and diverse people. We need to focus on robust and holistic solutions to any issues while always remaining agile and ensuring that we have the resources to adapt.

What values are important to you as an HR leader?

Several core values are in the fabric of how I operate as an HR leader: self-awareness, empathy, accountability, and growth.

Knowing my strengths and weaknesses and how each of them shows up is vital to my growth and allows me to build on strengths and identify areas where I need to improve. I often have to make difficult decisions; having empathy is critical as a reminder that people are attached to every decision we make.

It is important as a leader and as an advocate for our people and our people programs that I not only hold my teams accountable but also hold myself accountable. We must do what we say we are going to do.

Lastly, having a growth mindset and helping stretch the business is a vital value that I hold close.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as an HR leader?

I consider myself a lifelong student. I am constantly looking for opportunities to learn and grow professionally. I recently went back to school to get a second master’s degree, an executive master’s degree in human resources at Cornell University. There, I had the opportunity to learn more about the latest HR approaches and built a strong network of peers I kept in touch with and continue to learn from today.

I encourage my team to challenge the status quo. I want us to question how we can do things better, to think outside the box by looking at the what-ifs, and to overcome hurdles. As a result, we end up with new and dynamic ideas, and more importantly, we all learn from each other daily.

Are data and analytics important in your work?

Data insights are essential; they help HR professionals identify opportunities for growth, learning, and, most importantly, ways to improve. When it comes to analytics, the answer is always yes.

What are your future endeavors/objectives, and where do you see the HR industry in the near future?

My focus is to continue to work towards an agile HR framework and to ensure that the HR function is a strategic business partner. I want us to remain ahead of the curve for talent development and talent acquisition to help the company meet its goals.

As newer generations enter the workforce, they look for career growth and an individualized approach to their career development. Gone are the days of cookie-cutter, one-sizefits-all HR; we will need to transform into a concierge department with unique plans as diverse as our employee populations.

What advice would you like to give to emerging leaders?

Continually seek to learn and grow. Ask questions, always. Solicit and be open to feedback, input, and guidance. And remember, you can learn just as much from those you lead as they can learn from you as their leader. My favorite questions to ask are “What is working, and what isn’t working?” They always deliver valuable insight.

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