What It’s Like Working at Pinnacle HR Consulting, LLC
by Ebony Stonewall-James
I recently interviewed Laura Jordan, Human Resources Generalist, one of my colleagues at Pinnacle HR Consulting, LLC. I am writing blog articles that will be published over the next few months about my colleagues and sharing their experiences about working at Pinnacle HR Consulting, LLC (“Pinnacle HR”). I will share my thoughts and experiences afterward. I hope you enjoy getting to know us and what we do at Pinnacle HR. Please listen in on my conversation with Laura.
Hi Laura, thanks so much for talking with me today.
How long have you been working at Pinnacle HR? I am approaching six months. I started in April of this year.
Tell me a little bit about your role and work. I am an HR Generalist. I work hand in hand with the Principal Consultant and Owner in the back office. Most recently, I have been helping to develop and document operational processes, creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Consulting Services team. I am trying to make their job easier. When I interviewed and spoke with them about how my position could best benefit them, they unanimously agreed that getting the info they needed in a centralized place was the most important thing. I’ve also been tracking and managing the recent updates and changes with Form I-9.
What was your background before joining Pinnacle HR? Most of my background was in recruiting. I was a Technical Recruiter before staying home with my kids. My career path is a zigzag: I started as a Tech Recruiter, then as an HR Manager for a small Government Contractor for a year, but I moved and had to leave that position. Then, I took a contract position while pregnant with my second daughter. Once she was born, I stayed home until 2011, when I started working with my husband. He is a partner in a biometrics company. He got involved in biometrics in 2003, and his company does biometric consulting and sells biometric collection products and software. I set up the HR processes and documentation for his company. I got involved in many things that were not HR-related: Project Management, Exporting, Shipping, Logistics, and Contract Administration, and I even ran a 2-million-dollar project for them. I also had to represent the company and sign a contract on their behalf at the Afghanistan Embassy.
Please describe your recruitment, interview, and onboarding process. Was it complicated or seamless, too long, just right, etc.? I found Pinnacle HR and randomly sent my resume to the firm’s general email. I didn’t know if I would get a call, but I did! The first time I spoke with the Principal Consultant and Owner, she reminded me so much of my best friend, who is a counselor. She was very calm and thoughtful in her responses. She was so intuitive, and I felt very comfortable talking to her. After our first conversation, I called my best friend and told her, “I just interviewed with your doppelganger!”
The firm was in the process of posting a Human Resources Generalist position. I was referred to apply for the job. Once the opening closed, I had a panel interview with some of the Consulting Services team members and a second conversation with the Principal Consultant and Owner. After a few weeks, I received a contingent verbal job offer. I was also interviewing for an HR Manager position with another company. They were interested in me even though I repeatedly told them they needed someone with Director-level experience. The money, expectations, and position were huge, but I didn’t want to turn down a great job with Pinnacle HR. I accepted this offer, and I never looked back. Every time I talked to the Principal Consultant and Owner, Kristina Griffin, I walked away from the conversation feeling good about it and not stressed. I am grateful that she and our team chose me.
Pinnacle HR has been a 100% remote work environment since 2011 and has employees in five states. Please share your thoughts about your introduction to our work environment. My last role was fully remote. I have worked from home since 2011. That was no shift for me at all. The difference is the collaboration with other people. In my last job, I had to make all decisions in a vacuum. All the other employees were working at a client site. Because of that, it wasn’t always easy to reach them. I had to make many decisions on behalf of the company, sometimes without input. I always had the company’s best interest at heart, so I made decisions that would best support the company’s goals. Eventually, they just trusted me to do it, which meant I worked with very little interaction with others in the company. Now, just collaborating face-to-face with my colleagues is a nice change.
How about working with our team? What has that been like for you? I interact with some consultants more than others, but I have positive interactions with everyone on this team. It’s been great from start to finish. Everyone is friendly and respectful of one another. I’m trying my best to support the consultants; their feedback has been positive. During the interview process, I thought working with a firm full of HR professionals would be Nirvana. Personally, I think HR is all about helping people. So, working with a group of people who all want to help other people, specifically working with nonprofits, has been amazing. It’s a big switch from working in the IT sector for a government contractor.
Since you’ve been on the team, please describe your training and any new skills and knowledge you’ve gained. I have taken 17 training classes since I started. My manager is so receptive to any opportunity for me to learn, and so far, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve always been fascinated with employment law and compliance. So far, I’ve taken FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), FLSA, I9, employment law training, and many others. I have also attended some client meetings to learn more about how we deliver consulting services.
What about life/work balance? What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from work? And, yes, for our blog readers, we focus on life/work balance at Pinnacle HR, not work/life balance. Working from home has always been a tricky thing for me. It can be hard to walk away from it. While working for my husband, there was never a break from work. I know our kids were sick of hearing us talk about work. I have three daughters, so my time is spent mostly with the family. I love traveling, reading, movies, and just being outdoors. I also enjoy crocheting. My grandma taught me as a little kid, and I picked it up again during the COVID-19 pandemic. The repetitive motion of crochet is very calming, and it’s a great stress reliever.
What changes would you like to see Pinnacle HR make? It would be great to have regular in-person meetings. I know it’s not feasible to do it regularly because we are all spread out, but it would be great even if it’s a once-a-year thing where we can be in the same room, or those in the DMV area could meet. Face-to-face interaction with my colleagues is something that I miss working remotely.
What else would you like to add, Laura? I’m grateful to be here. This team is amazing. We are so lucky to be together. It is a testament to my manager that she has been so careful in choosing the right people to bring on board to complement the team and maintain our drama-free environment. She respects that we have our lives to live and that our “outside of work” is more important than our “inside of work.” That is the culture she is building. She knows we are all professionals and will get our jobs done. Everything about working at Pinnacle HR makes me feel respected, and there’s an appreciation for every role.
Laura, thank you for spending time with me today and sharing.