Coworking with Cortney Lamar

Senior HR generalist at Jackson County Board of Supervisors
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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.

Cortney Lamar, senior HR generalist at the Jackson County Board of Supervisors, started her career as a police officer. She recently spoke to HR Brew about how to deploy new technology with a change-resistant workforce.

How would you describe your specific job to someone who doesn’t work in HR? Working for a government HR department, we tend to be the switchboard or catch-all for employee/employer/general public questions, comments, concerns, or issues. Our office is almost always the first point of contact for those who do not know where else to turn and we (happily) assist them by getting them the resources they need.

What’s the best change you’ve made at a place you’ve worked? I’d like to think that I am helping to erase any misconceptions people have about my department by bringing back the human aspect to human resources…I’ve managed to do this by simply putting myself into [employees’] shoes and asking myself how I would want to be helped if I were in their situation. We, as humans, can become complacent and dismissive to the feelings of others. But, by simply taking a little extra time to get to know one another, we can quickly gain the trust of those we serve.

What’s the biggest misconception people might have about your job? That those in human resources are simply paper-pushers and disciplinarians. There are so many levels to what we do that, unless you work or have worked in HR, you truly do not understand the depths of this career field. We are jacks-of-all-trades!

What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your job? Serving and helping others. I was born to be a public servant and the gratification I get from being able to assist those who come to me for help is very rewarding.

What trend in HR are you most optimistic about? Why? The local government sector is a little behind the curve in HR trends, but I have been very excited to see it gearing more towards technology. The pandemic forced a lot of places to redesign how they interact with their employees, and seeing local governments finally make the switch to web-based platforms that give employees more control over their information has been something I have been eagerly waiting for!

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Tell us one new or old HR tech product or platform that’s made your life easier, and why. We just made the switch to Workday in September and although it has been quite the learning curve (because it is a massive system), the more I learn and understand the capabilities it has, the more I am eager to get everyone onboard!

What’s your biggest challenge right now? We have a lot of employees who don't do technology, even the younger crowds [although] they’re more likely to use it and to be comfortable with it.But we have had a big challenge of people actually going on and wanting to use [Workday]. We have a lot of employees who retired after the [Workday] system was implemented because they just said, “I’m not dealing with this.”

How do you convince employees to accept new HR technology? I take the time out [to] show them the functionalities of the system. And I’m like, “Hey, look, you have a question [and] look, you can access that at your fingertips. You can look at the app and see it right here from your phone.” And once they learn how to get around in the system, they’re a little bit more comfortable using it. I’ve walked different department heads and their admins through how to submit changes on [Workday]. And now that they are a little bit more comfortable using it, I’m getting better compliance with people actually going on there and doing things themselves.

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.