[HR.com] Interview with Jasmyn Farris, CPO, iSeatz

This story was originally published by HR.com. Read on their site here.

Jasmyn Farris is the Chief People Operations officer for iSeatz – a digital commerce and loyalty tech solution provider. She originally hails from New York, where she spent the beginning of her career in Financial Services and nonprofit work before pivoting to Hospitality, working as operations and marketing leader for several food giants including Danny Meyer and Chef Emeril Lagasse, and Burger King Corporation. Jasmyn’s strengths and passions center around organizational effectiveness and change management, strategic planning, and people operations. She has built Centers of Excellence in all of these areas throughout her career and thrives as a business partner to all cross-functional stakeholders.

In an exclusive interview with HR.com, Jasmyn talks about her HR journey and shares valuable insights on boosting employee engagement, HR challenges, the future of HR and much more.

Name: Jasmyn Farris
Designation: Chief People Operations Officer
Company: iSeatz
The total number of employees: 67 FTEs and 102 contractors
When did you join the current company: April 2017
Total experience in HR: 15 years
Hobbies: Knitting, bike riding, hiking, swimming
What book are you reading currently?: The Coddling of the American Mind

Excerpts from the interview:

What has your HR journey been like, and what influenced you the most to positively impact your career?

Jasmyn: My HR journey started as an operations leader in the hospitality industry where inevitably you become an HR leader because those lines tend to be very blurred. Working for Chef Emeril Lagasse and watching that organization provide pathways to meaningful, life-changing employment to many underserved residents of New Orleans really impacted me to think about things differently.

What inspires you about your role?

Jasmyn: The ability to solve problems for my workforce, in real-time, gets me up in the morning. Knowing that I have the agency, ability, and leeway to try different solutions and initiatives to really get at the root of an issue that is holding our team back from delivering their best work is exciting to me.

What advice do you have for HR pros to help boost employee engagement and retention in a remote, hybrid, or otherwise changed workplace environment?

Jasmyn: Challenge your assumptions by actually talking to your workforce about their perspective and their needs. Earlier in my career, I burned a LOT of cycles solving the wrong problems (or problems that I just assumed existed) versus verified issues that were uncovered by engaging directly with my teams and analyzing their feedback.

What according to you is one of the most overlooked issues facing HR today?

Jasmyn: CPO/CHRO roles have had to pivot and stretch to absorb and respond to new and evolving trends on the talent acquisition/retention/engagement spectrum. Often, HR leaders are also air traffic controllers for the organization; heavily involved in the operations of the business as they serve as business partners/peers to the Executive team members so inevitably they end up wearing cross-disciplinary hats. This isn’t necessarily a “problem” if they have the capacity to absorb these additional responsibilities but oftentimes, it leaves these leaders feeling stretched and overwhelmed.

What can HR do about “Quiet Quitting?”

Jasmyn: Work-life balance boundaries that were once clear and/or easier to set and monitor, especially for those of us commuting to an office, have become blurred and ambiguous in a distributed workforce framework. While “quiet quitting” may not be a new behavior, I think it’s trending or getting more attention/exposure because we are all still adjusting to a “new post-pandemic normal” and trying to determine what that means for us personally and professionally. Employers who are experiencing challenges with re-adjusting their hiring practices or workload distribution strategy to scale back to pre-pandemic levels will likely experience more of this behavior as their team members find alternative ways to make time for self-care and avoid burnout.

There are several things HR can do to address “quiet quitting” at their organization. HR should take the time to collect feedback and take a pulse of the organization, even if they can’t solve all the issues at once. This is a good first step toward re-engaging the workforce and understanding that priorities may have permanently shifted, which means we (as employers) may have to recalibrate our expectations. At iSeatz, we are focused on rebuilding our workforce levels to assist our team members in “removing multiple hats” that they may have been wearing throughout the height of the pandemic and we are proactively and transparently communicating these plans.

There are several creative new benefits that many organizations have adopted to better support their team members and iSeatz has done this as well -- including increasing paid time off, investing in company-wide health and wellness initiatives and providing company-wide professional training and development to improve the way we handle critical discussions, especially in a remote work environment.

Do you see any new job roles being created by the transformation?

Jasmyn: Yes. I’ve seen a wide array of specialist roles that have been identified and created as a result of the transition to remote work. Responsibilities that were organically absorbed by generalists in an office environment, have now fallen by the wayside or been deprioritized. Once organizations feel the gap, they create roles to specifically address those areas.

With so many changes happening, how do you build the HR team of the future?

Jasmyn: Again, many HR leaders have a natural inclination to be generalists, taking on a heavy burden of responsibility to keep the organization running smoothly. The HR team of the future will look different in different organizations. If you’re a small to medium high-growth, entrepreneurial organization, your team may need to consist of different profiles than if you’re a massive lifestyle business pumping out widgets. Either way, aligning your org chart to your company’s growth initiatives and skills gap analysis is a great start.

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You can also learn more about iSeatz by reaching out to marketing@iseatz.com.

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