Coworking with Tim Tumminello

He’s the senior director of people services and innovation at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
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· 4 min read

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Tim Tumminello leads a 10-person team of HR professionals at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, which he described as the “backbone of the hospitality industry” in the city. For more than 20 years, he has managed people policies for the center’s more than 500 employees, and recently took on company innovation, streamlining operations, and people processes. The 25-year HR veteran is excited for the new challenge, likening it to his start in the field at a wholesale meat distributor.

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

I am a results-focused leader who delivers talent acquisition, retention, and talent development solutions that help organizations realize the full power of one of their most valuable assets: their people. Focused on creating cultures that promote continuous growth by empowering and motivating employees to realize their full potential and bring their authentic selves to the workplace.

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

I’ve been given an opportunity to bring innovation to the organization, where my team is responsible for stimulating ideas, inviting creativity into the workplace, and supporting operational activities…all with a focus on optimizing resources. We aim to improve operations and service deliverables by facilitating the execution of multi-departmental projects, institutionalizing process improvements, and optimizing resources through cost-saving and revenue-generating initiatives.

What does that look like so far?

We did some culture work, and through that culture work, we came up with a group of employees that we call the Innovation Lab, which provides space for feedback and improving the employee experience and things of that nature. But we know there’s more to it. We’re looking at it as two different segments: culture work, and then process improvement, reimagining what we’re doing in certain spaces through innovation.

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

[That] I fire people all day long (eye roll). I often say that I have saved more jobs than people I’ve fired. I think organically, I’ve grown into a position where employees see me as a resource, rather than a disciplinarian.

What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

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The most fulfilling aspect of my job is when an employee grows with the organization and gets an opportunity to maximize their potential. It’s rewarding to see how people respond when you put them in a position they might not even think they’re ready for.

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

I am most optimistic about DE&I efforts. We’re opening up spaces for our employees to bring their authentic selves to work with a focus on capturing diverse ideas to become a cutting-edge organization.

Can you expand on how you connect DE&I efforts to employees bringing their authentic self to work?

That ties back into my responsibilities with innovation…We know that if we want to be innovative, we’ve got to allow employees to come to work being their authentic self. Because we want to hear different points of view and different perspectives. If we put them in a box and say, “No, you have to look like this. You have to behave like this,” then they’re not bringing their authentic self to work…and through those different perspectives, we know we’re going to get a better product. We know that. That’s the part of DE&I that fits directly into innovation that we know we have to marry the two, and we’re gonna see results.

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

This may not be a very popular answer, but I’m least optimistic about fully remote work positions.  We’re a customer facing company, and it just doesn’t work for us. From an administrative perspective, we offer a hybrid opportunity, three [days] in the office and two WFH. Even with a hybrid offering, I can see where it creates silos between our admin and operations departments. I feel that there are still a lot of kinks to be ironed out with WFH, and I’m a big believer [that] everything comes full circle. I guess time will tell.

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

It may sound simple but communicating through our EZ Texting platform has given us an opportunity to communicate directly with our frontline staff [who] may not have the ability to sit behind a device to receive an email.

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.