Coworking with Kirstin Booher

Director of people operations at Codility
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· 5 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.

Kirstin Booher is director of people operations at Codility, a software company that creates computer engineer assessments for employers. After starting her career in hospitality management, Booher realized that HR was her calling. She recently told HR Brew about why technical recruiters need to understand the basics of coding language.

How would you describe your specific job to someone who doesn’t work in HR? At its most basic level, my team is responsible for regulatory compliance, payroll, and benefits administration. That might sound mundane, but we have the responsibility of amplifying the impact of the people function overall by driving efficiency, clarity, and scalability in how we work with the wider organization. My team plays a major role in ensuring our employees feel valued and engaged in Codility’s mission and core values, and it’s our responsibility to ensure our employees have what they need to thrive in life and at work.

How do your recruiters understand how to find the right engineering hires? On the technical side, it is a skill set, because engineering languages are always changing and evolving…so it really takes a recruiter who wants to keep up with all of those trends. And they don’t need to know how to code, but they do need to know how to speak the same language as the engineers, because ultimately, engineering talent is hard to find, and [candidates are] sought after. And in order to get the best one, you really have to make sure that they as a candidate are trusting your skills and knowledge and [you are] giving them safe places they want to work.

What’s the best change you’ve made at a place you’ve worked? The best change that I was able to make was to transform the engagement survey process from something that used to garner eye rolls and turn it into a valuable tool that produced a wealth of insights, driving direction and focus to the work of the people function.

What’s the biggest misconception people might have about your job? Many people think HR isn’t that difficult or that anyone can do it, as long as they have a basic understanding of employment law and the mechanics of running payroll. Not the case!

Employees are people, and people are endlessly complicated and fascinating in ways that can sometimes be unpredictable. What works today may not work tomorrow under different circumstances, and in order to keep everyone happy, engaged, and motivated all the time, it takes a certain kind of individual with, dare I say, “people skills” to help the business navigate the ebbs and flows of its employee population.

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What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your job? I have always been a customer service-minded person and, at the end of the day, HR is a customer service field. Instead of serving customers who I may only help once, my employees are repeat customers who I get to help over and over again. This is where the real impact and fulfillment lies for me. Every day, I get to be a trusted and reliable advisor who helps create a positive, human-centered work experience for my employees.

What trend in HR are you most optimistic about? Why? The flexibility of work that has emerged as a result of the pandemic. Employees have realized that they now have a lot of power to shape how work gets done going forward. They’ve proven that they can still be productive at home, balancing work and personal obligations equally. Every person has a unique set of challenges outside of work. I believe companies are starting to see that in order to attract and retain the best talent, they will need to recognize the importance of meeting people where they are and allowing them to work in the way that works for them.

What trend in HR are you least optimistic about? Why? Given the current economic climate, many companies are feeling the pressure on the bottom line, and my fear is that future progress and investment in DE&I will, at best, slow down significantly, or at worst be deprioritized and cut from the budget altogether. I sincerely hope that most businesses won’t follow this trend and will continue to make vital investments in their DE&I programming.

Tell us one new or old HR tech product or platform that’s made your life easier, and why. I cannot recommend Culture Amp’s engagement survey platform more highly. Their psychology-backed survey design and in-app analyses have been a critical tool for me in gaining support from executives as an HR leader at multiple companies. Without this data, my ability to validate the work my team does every day would be much more of an uphill battle.

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

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.