Coworking with Tristan Pike

She’s People Operations Director at New Leaders Council
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· 4 min read

On Wednesdays, we schedule our weekly 1:1 with HR Brew’s readers. Want to be featured in an upcoming edition? Click here to introduce yourself.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Tristan Pike is people operations director at New Leaders Council, a nonprofit focused on training and connecting leaders dedicated to social change. In our recent conversation, Pike told HR Brew about how the organization works to keep its more than 700 volunteers connected and engaged.

How would you describe your specific job to someone who doesn’t work in HR? In people ops, you get to wear as many hats as the people you’re supporting. So at a lean nonprofit, I get to have a hand in everything from recruitment [and] business operations, to fundraising. No day is the same, and I love it!

What’s the best change you’ve made at a place you’ve worked? For a distributed network of over 700+ volunteers, quick, easily digestible information is key. And we’ve had a lot of success with the creation of our first internal newsletter where we get to uplift the amazing work of our members, keep people up to date on operational best practices, and build connections at the national level. Communication is key.

What’s the biggest misconception people might have about your job? That I have an answer for everything. Best-case scenario is we predict future needs and address them before a challenge arises, but in reality, when so much has changed over the last two years, a big part of my job is partnering with our team to come up with creative solutions to novel problems that work for everyone all the way up from the individual level to the organizational level.

How is working with volunteers different from working with a traditional staff? You really want to honor the time that [volunteers are] giving to the organization. So they’re not doing this to get a paycheck. They’re really doing it because they believe in the mission and the power of our organization. So I think honoring that in everything that we do is a really crucial component of it. Making sure that we are constantly figuring out our best ways to express thanks and gratitude, and uplift the impact and the work that they’re doing so that they can actually see the tangible results of all of the hours of volunteer time that they’re donating.

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What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your job? My favorite part of my job has always been when I get to see my team grow and use the skills I’ve coached them on in their next endeavors.

What trend in HR are you most optimistic about? Why? I’m super proud to see DEI and belonging initiatives become commonplace. As we navigate workforce trends going through a massive upheaval, I’m hopeful that emphasis on belonging and connectedness can help address the burnout we’re seeing.

What trend in HR are you least optimistic about? Why? Your job is just one of many parts of your life and I think it’s unrealistic for companies to bear the responsibility for every aspect of an individual’s wellbeing. People teams can contribute to the infrastructure of what makes a healthy and fulfilling life *at work,* but wellbeing should include activities in your community with your neighbors and friends, ownership of your own personal health, and a fully realized identity independent of your job title.

Tell us one new or old HR tech product or platform that’s made your life easier, and why. We recently switched to Jotform as our survey tool, and the ease in which you can build automated workflows gives me *life.*

Want to be featured in an upcoming edition of Coworking? Click here to introduce yourself.

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.