Today, we’re excited to kick off a new employee spotlight blog series with our award-winning Senior People Ops Manager, Holly Bail!
Every year the Atlanta Business Chronicle partners with SHRM-Atlanta to honor HR professionals who are making an impact within their companies. Individuals are nominated in key categories and after the nominations go through a board of practitioners a winner is selected. Bail was nominated by a fellow volunteer at SHRM-Atlanta and was named the winner of the Most Effective Recruitment Strategy award in 2021. This award is a wonderful testament to Bail’s hard work and dedication, as well as the journey of Grayshift over the course of 2020.
The award ceremony was held virtually this year, but the consistently humble Bail, who states she much prefers to celebrate others than herself when asked how she chose to commemorate the honor, said she was happy to keep things lowkey and enjoy a bottle of champagne from her team. Congratulations, Holly!
In the interview below, we played 10 questions with Bail who was gracious enough to provide insight into how she came to be a Grayshifter, what it takes to win the talent war, and a peek behind the curtain into life when she’s not on the clock.
Read on to learn more about our award-winning HR extraordinaire and the face of Grayshift, Holly Bail.
How did you come to join Grayshift?
My background in recruitment is extensive and prior to Grayshift I worked for a professional services consulting firm with a focus on customer experience and user experience within the federal space. I did all the hiring and human resources for that organization. After being with the company for 5 years, the pandemic hit and that led to the opportunity for me to search for a new role and that’s how I came to Grayshift.
As a Grayshifter, what motivates you to wake up and go to work every day?
I always like to say that I’m the people champion at Grayshift. When I first read the job description for this role I thought, “Oh this is perfect for me! They need a people champion.” Anything that revolves around recruiting or building out HR processes, anything that’s driven around the people part of the business, and making sure that the business can accelerate in its growth, is what motivates me.
Grayshift is a high acceleration company. It’s very fast paced and I’m in a very fast paced role that’s not only a people champion role but a culture champion role at the same time. Everything that I do and that the HR team is focused on tends to revolve around three questions:
- How do we create a great experience for those that are coming to the organization?
- What do we do to attract and hire great talent?
- What do we focus on to retain that talent once we have it?
As a team, we have a clear vision of where we want to go next and I’m a big believer that people need to be seen, heard, and understood. People want to feel valued and that’s the approach that the People Operations Team takes to creating an experience at Grayshift.
We want to put magic in the mundane.
Is that how you’re winning the war for talent? By putting magic in the mundane?
It’s interesting; the war for talent. There are so many pieces you have to look at because these are individual people looking for a career and everybody is different, so everybody has different motivators. However, what I hear most often from people is that they’re looking for:
- Meaningful work
- A purposeful role
- Flexibility and flexibility working in their homes
Money is usually a little further down the list, but culture is huge. Culture tends to be either number 1 or 2 for most people so I always like to take a step back and ask myself, “What is the ideal culture that we want to build at Grayshift?” And I think that’s how you win the war for talent. You have a great story to tell, and you walk the talk.
You can say whatever you want when recruiting but if people come to the organization and experience something completely different, you have people exiting and word gets out that you’re not a destination or an employer that’s recommended. At Grayshift, we’re very fortunate that we get a lot of referrals and we’re very intentional about making sure that each touchpoint echoes our strong culture.
Our mission here resonates and we’re impacting creating a safer place, a safer world, based on the technology of GrayKey. People relate to that, and it gives them a purpose. Our workforce at Grayshift, according to a recent survey we conducted, is 91% engaged with what we’re doing here.
But to stay ahead in the talent war, to keep winning the talent war, we can’t get soft on these things. We constantly need to be communicating with and listening to our Grayshifters. I’m a big believer that you have to inspect what you expect and if you want to have a great culture you constantly have to inspect it.
What’s your day-to-day like at Grayshift as the Senior People Ops Manager?
I am a list person. I like to be organized and detailed because I’m task-driven. That’s me. So, I have the best intention every day with a calendar that’s been thoughtfully laid out and a journal on my desk with my day-to-day plans, but my day doesn’t always go according to plan. Stuff doesn’t always go to plan when your job focus is people which means I have to be flexible.
Life happens. Stuff happens. And I’m very fortunate that my natural disposition is one of optimism, high energy, and the desire to help people. It’s very natural for me to be in my role and do the things that I do every day even when I don’t plan for them. My typical day is not typical. It can be anything from 1:1s with team members and department managers to working on employee relations to recruiting, which can be very complex with a company that’s grown internationally, to vetting out new software we want to adopt and beyond.
We may make it look easy, but most people have no idea about all the nuanced items that go on behind the scenes just to even get a person to Grayshift. No two days are alike, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What or who inspired you to get into HR?
My mom was an HR director, and my father was an executive headhunter, and I would say I’m a hybrid of the two. My father was successful in sales, and I followed that path, but I also did that within the realm of human resources. I even owned my own company at one point.
Getting into HR was inspired by both of my parents, but I remember wanting to be an accountant at one point and my mom told me, “Girl, you have too much personality to be an accountant,” and then introduced me to a friend who had a recruiting firm where I started working. After that the rest was history.
What’s something you’re planning on doing in the next year that you’ve never done before? Personally, or professionally?
My big dream, on a personal level, has to do with travel. I love to travel. I love experiences and I was recently inspired by our new Strategic Accounts Manager in Germany, Bernhard Pawlak, when we were talking about Austria (which is in my top 5 places to visit). He told me when I plan the trip to let him know and he will take me snow skiing. I have never been skiing and I am giddy just thinking about Austria, the museums, the art scene, amazing food, and skiing with a fellow Grayshifter. To know there’s a Grayshifter in a country that could help me tick something off my list like that excites me. Now I just need Covid to behave across the world so that can happen.
What’s something that most people would be surprised to learn about you?
I have some crazy things I could share. I’ll go with the one that I think is hilarious: If anybody reading this is into professional wrestling, they’ll know that Atlanta (where I’m from) used to be the home of WWE Wrestling, and I think most people would be surprised to learn that I used to be a Diamond Doll. A Diamond Doll is someone who would walk out Diamond Dallas Page into the ring.
I used to body build and this came about because the gym that I went to was owned by Sting and Lex Luger, whom I knew very well, and a lot of wrestlers worked out there. One day Dallas and I were at the gym, and he asked if I’d be open to walking him to the ring, and I’m a very conservative person, but I agreed to help him out and wound up walking him to the ring several times as a Diamond Doll.
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?
Well, I have two. The first is a Maya Angelou quote that is very near and dear to my spirit, “People will forget what you said…but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
The other, for me, is that I believe in the book of Proverbs. There’s a lot of wisdom in that book and something that has helped me as an individual, and me coaching individuals, is Proverbs 16:24, “Kind words are like honey.” You should always taste the words that come out of your mouth and it’s a very helpful thing to remember when you’re trying to make sure you’re being kind, uplifting, and helpful to people.
What’s on your desk right now?
I have a wind-up T-Rex toy that adds a bit of silliness to my day and my husband’s beef jerky to give to Grayshifter, Kevin Ransom. My husband makes his own beef jerky and I send it out a lot to Grayshifters but the bag on my desk right now is for Kevin.
Let’s say you just won an unlimited supply of your favorite flavor donut for the rest of your life. What’s the flavor?
Boston Crème, hands down. All-day every day.