In most of our careers, we interact with Human Resources sporadically – for example, to work through our benefits packets in orientation and to work through common workplace issues along the way. For Tammy Daigle, Executive Vice President of Human Resources (or, as she likes to say “Chief People Officer”) at Vector Solutions, Human Resources is another area where Vector’s unique culture is reflected. From a proactive, forward-thinking approach to constantly evaluating and optimizing processes, here’s how Tammy focuses her Human Resources leadership style to reflect the same strategic approach that drew her to Vector initiatilly – in a completely different field.
Vector approaches HR differently, and that’s, in part, thanks to the leadership of Tammy Daigle and her team. Here are five strategies for optimizing Human Resources within your organization.
Tammy is not a career Human Resources professional. She arrived at Vector with an MBA and a tech background, where she had amassed considerable experience in building systems and communications, product management, and even ran her own successful company. Tammy, through her unique background, has successfully grown Vector from her position leading HR, demonstrating that it can be advantageous to think outside the box or think holistically when it comes to HR and how you want to lead your people.
“I’m not an HR career person, I didn’t feel like an HR person,” says Tammy. “But I am drawn to efficiency and making systems and organizations better. And I knew the Vector culture, which, in HR, I believe matters. A new person could have learned the tactical aspects of the job, but it would take time to learn us.”
HR can become a reactive place in an organization, a place to come with workday gripes and personnel skirmishes. At Vector, Tammy and her team apply a strategic approach, working as a committed partner that thinks proactively about talent and structural changes to hopefully mitigate challenges for employees before they happen.
“A formal complaint is a serious thing, but if your talented HR team has become a sounding board for informal complaints, something has gone wrong,” says Tammy. “Empower your valuable, talented HR team members; place them in a position where they can be forces of good within the company, ambassadors of your organization’s culture, and developers of talent.”
Every organization faces times of upheaval and challenge and, during the last twelve months of Tammy’s leadership of Human Resources, she’s guided her team and the employees of Vector through a pandemic and a volatile economic and political climate. During the intense weeks of the social justice movement, Tammy thought purposefully about how she was going to address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) with the leadership team, her colleagues, and everyone at Vector Solutions.
“As I was strategizing, alone at home, how I was going to lead our people through this devastating time and help forge a brighter future, I got a message from Vicki, our executive overseeing communications, to set up time to talk that night to work together. I am not alone in my position, no one is alone in their silo. At Vector, we are a team, and we realize we are better together,” says Tammy.
That means embracing varying perspectives and experiences as well.
“You have to mix things up, the new with the tenured, young with the…not-quite-as-young,” says Tammy. “I love visiting college campuses and seeing how these young minds are creating new ways and challenging ways we do things. Doing things because it’s the way you’ve always done it is not strategic – it’s how you get left behind.”
“My job is to lead – and a lot of people hear lead as ‘talk.’ I find it’s invaluable to listen instead,” says Tammy. “As part of our DE&I strategy, we acknowledged and discussed the social unrest taking place in our country during a company town hall, we made the commitment to develop a comprehensive DE&I program at Vector, and we asked for feedback. We did not do this in a hands off way – we held round table discussions and gave every interested person the opportunity to participate in conversations about race, diversity, equality, and other topics our nation was – and still is – grappling to comprehend. We had over a hundred people sign up – and then we listened.”
Taking the time to hear employees gave Tammy and the Human Resources team the ability to synthesize 5 key themes from the roundtable discussions to guide Vector’s progress in DE&I:
We also invited our team members to participate in a video and share what makes them unique:
The world has changed dramatically during the global pandemic and the future of HR is unclear. This uncertainty doesn’t rattle Tammy.
“At any other time in history, I might have had a good answer as to what’s next in the field of HR, and for organizations as a whole. I don’t know what the future holds for HR, but I do know it will be shifting. And that’s a good thing. COVID has presented challenges, but it has presented wonderful opportunities as well. We’re an online learning company, so we know the wealth of opportunity that online learning offers for learning, growing and professional development – and not just within our own course library. We’re focusing more on health and wellness, encouraging our team members to take the time they need to focus on mental, physical and financial wellness. These have been incredibly difficult times, but we are finding the silver linings where they exist.”
In Tammy’s professional life, there has always been a single, unifying theme: optimization. “I hope the legacy I leave behind will be that I dedicated myself to “writing and righting:” I’ve led us on the right path and that I wrote the script for the next team,” says Tammy. “My goal is always to leave a department or company better off than when I arrived.”
Tammy Daigle is responsible for human resources at Vector Solutions. Her focus is working with the executive team driving our employee and organizational strategy. She has worked in the technology and communications fields for more than 25 years and started three successful businesses: a technology consulting firm, a social networking website and a strategic consulting service for nonprofits. Daigle has mentored countless high school and college students as well as junior executives in technology and science careers, developed award-winning communications and engineering systems, and led multi-million-dollar certified project management initiatives.