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HomeHR JobsHow this HR exec quadrupled her workforce in 10 years

How this HR exec quadrupled her workforce in 10 years


For a lot of employers, hiring new staff in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and its unsettled aftermath has proved a problem. Human useful resource executives who want to rent in a rush may need to seek the advice of with Katrina M. Jones, who, as senior vice chairman for human sources and expertise administration for Acacia Community—New York Metropolis’s largest Latino-led social-services nonprofit—is typically referred to as upon to employees a big, new shelter in just a weekend’s time.

That’s what occurred within the mid-2010s when then-New York Mayor Invoice de Blasio introduced a rapid-fire initiative to get a big homeless inhabitants off the streets. Jones recalled that metropolis officers referred to as Acacia Community on a Thursday and requested them to open a facility by subsequent week.

“Once they name, we are saying ‘Sure’ after which we work out easy methods to do it,” Jones remembers with fun. “We would have liked to hit our quantity [of new staffers], which was 200, so on that Thursday, I got here from the C-suite and I introduced the workforce collectively and I mentioned, ‘That is the aim … ’ We mentioned, ‘All fingers on deck,’ and we bought into the groove instantly and everyone had an task.” The subsequent day, candidates started arriving on the makeshift hiring middle that Jones and her HR workforce had arrange, and the brand new shelter was up and working days later.

And this was not a one-time prevalence. Jones and her employees at Acacia Community—which gives an array of neighborhood providers round healthcare, substance-abuse remedy and different wants of some 150,000 purchasers in America’s largest metropolis—performed comparable crash operations to launch COVID-19 isolation shelters for the town, opening three in three weeks. Earlier this summer season, Acacia was equally tasked by the town with accommodating migrants bussed from Texas and dropped off in New York.

Jones’ management in increasing the workforce at Acacia Community—which had roughly 700 staff when she arrived on the group a decade in the past and has swelled to greater than 3,000, with plans to rent tons of extra within the coming months to take care of New York’s array of social points—is a key motive she’s been named to HRE’s 2022 HR Honor Roll.

The accolades for Jones are additionally a recognition of the challenges she has confronted not solely in guiding Acacia Community’s enlargement regardless of the hiring headwinds of the pandemic but additionally the added issues of addressing ethical and social considerations round each employment and offering providers in predominantly Black and Latino underprivileged neighborhoods within the Bronx and Manhattan. One current Acacia Community effort piloted by Jones concerned working with New York’s Fortune Society—a company devoted to reintegrating former inmates again into society—to launch a program that supplied internships and coaching alternatives for individuals lately launched from metropolis jails, with potential job alternatives on the community.

“We’ve an individual working right here in HR from the Fortune Society—that is, I believe, her fourth week—and he or she’s being uncovered to a discipline that she thought she would by no means be capable of work in due to, sadly, dangerous choices that she made,” Jones explains. “However we welcome her and we enable her to study—whether or not we determine to maintain her or if she needs to stick with us after this—she’s gained priceless work expertise.”

Values-led work

Jones herself can relate to discovering a profession path in individuals administration considerably by chance. A local of Barbados who moved together with her household to america when she was 3 and grew up simply north of New York Metropolis in Westchester County, N.Y., Jones’ first job after incomes a bachelor’s diploma was as government assistant to the COO of a close-by nursing house.

She discovered herself working typically on HR points and, when her boss was let go by the nursing house, her parting request was that Jones be stored on to run that division. She finally earned her grasp’s diploma in human sources administration from Manhattanville Faculty and a certificates in HR management from Cornell’s College of Industrial Relations.

As CHRO at Acacia, Jones offers with most of the similar issues that confront her friends within the company world. She lately oversaw negotiations with a union representing Acacia workers that averted a strike, and in the course of the pandemic, the nonprofit has confronted new challenges due to so many would-be staff searching for hybrid or work-from-home positions, when most work with purchasers should nonetheless be carried out face-to-face.

Jones says her workforce at Acacia is taking a look at options resembling, “Can we get our time in in three days or 4 days as a substitute of a five-day workweek? Or, how can we provide advantages that cowl extra members of the family? So, we’re taking a look at issues like that, that we have now not considered previously—issues like trip sharing, or if the worker had a catastrophic occasion and so they don’t have sufficient PTO, can we share our PTO?”

However a typical workday for Jones additionally includes tasks that replicate the distinctive social mission of Acacia, resembling lately planning and serving to launch a job-placement program geared round navy veterans. She additionally works with exterior umbrella teams—such because the Bronx Companions for Wholesome Communities Workforce Subcommittee and a range initiative of the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Suppliers of New York State, Inc.—to strengthen Acacia’s alliances and study greatest practices.

Jones says she finds the most important problem—and reward—of individuals administration at an company like Acacia is constructing a workforce that shares these values.

“We’ve to be the gatekeeper, the goalie, to make it possible for we vet the people correctly and that they’re coming in to convey their greatest to the job as a result of it may be irritating,” Jones says of increasing the Acacia workforce. “They’re working with people who, sadly, have had setbacks of their life—whether or not it’s substance abuse [or] individuals who have misplaced their properties—so we have now to ensure we have now individuals which are trauma-informed and might present the extent of care, compassion and empathy that people want.”

See additionally: ‘The Magic of J&J’: Asserting HRE’s HR Government of the Yr
See additionally: This HR Honor Roll inductee is reimagining the healthcare workforce of the long run




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