Coworkers

Coworking with Danitza Salomé Montilla Tejada

She's the engagement and development specialist at 99Degrees.
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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.

When Danitza Salomé Montilla Tejada began working at garment manufacturer 99Degrees in April 2019, she did so as an office assistant before climbing the ranks to her current role in HR. She sees her work in employee engagement and development as a demonstration to employees that the company is actively investing in them and their careers.

How would you describe your specific job to someone who doesn’t work in HR?

My position is to develop initiatives, processes, and procedures that promote employees’ development and an engaging work environment…We try to meet from time to time with employees in roundtables…where they can share their concerns, how they’re feeling, something we can improve, [or] that we’re doing good, so we can keep doing it. So, those initiatives, we promote.

What’s the best change you’ve made at a place you’ve worked?

The best change I have made at a place I’ve worked has been to show people how your voice can be heard and your opinions expressed diplomatically and with patience, how important it is to understand and respect people’s opinions without judging, and most importantly, for people to know that the HR department is not an enemy, but it is there to support the team as needed.

What’s the biggest misconception people might have about your job?

Because I lead terminations, warnings, and policy enforcement, [that] I am the one responsible for [those processes]. [And] people not understanding the amount of work behind an initiative or an event, and being so critical when things do not go as perfect as expected.

What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

Seeing people’s happy faces when they enjoy an event, having people’s trust when they are going through a difficult moment and they consider you to be their confidant, and being able to see their happiness and relief in their face when you help them.

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When you hear the employees and when you care about them, the employee relationship that is developed [is] what drives them to work better, to do better, because if the company cares about them, they will care for the company and the people that are there and working with them.

What trend in HR are you most optimistic about? Why?

Employee relations will remain front and center. It is important to recognize how important our employees are, how motivation, quality, and efficiency can be boosted by engaging your workforce.

In order for an employee to be engaged, I think they need to feel that we are investing in them and we are developing them…When we do the engagement initiatives and the roundtables, they always say “Oh, I would like to have English class(es), and I would like to take this or that class,” so that helps us to start working on developing them…If we develop them, they feel more engaged in the work.

What trend in HR are you least optimistic about? Why?

Data-driven. It has been challenging to measure the relationship between productivity with employee engagement. We are a manufacturing company; of course, it is easy to measure productivity, it is easy to measure efficiency, it is easy to measure quality. But for us in HR, it is really important that we have engagement, and we know how important it is…It has been challenging for us to measure [engagement].

Tell us one new or old HR tech product or platform that’s made your life easier, and why.

When we implemented Paylocity as the new HRIS in our company. We adopted a mobile-first mentality, where employees can request their time off, stay connected through a community platform, and see their pay stub through a mobile app. That has definitely made my life easier.

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.