HR Strategy

Could this pro be the Ted Lasso of HR?

Wesley Price works to motivate and develop employees and leaders based on what fuels them.
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Wesley Price

· 4 min read

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Wesley Price didn’t plan to go into HR and employee development. After a college football career, he had aspirations of coaching on the gridiron. While coaching in the “junior college ranks,” Price landed a side gig in recruiting to make extra income. While he may have given up on being head coach, he hasn’t strayed very far from the nuts and bolts of coaching—he leverages those skills every day to coach staff and managers. “I think motivation is important, and that you have to understand what drives people and then apply that in how you communicate with them,” he told HR Brew. Got it, coach!

Price works as an employee development manager at Colangelo & Partners, a PR agency focused on fine wine and spirits. He’s part of a two-person HR team servicing between 70 to 75 employees. While there are moments when he thinks, ‘‘There’s no way two of us can do all this,” overall Price said the workload balances out.

What’s the best change you’ve made at work?

In a previous recruiting role, I led the push for updating the technology in our conference rooms to allow for video calls. Prior to that, we’d been unable to do remote interviews except for on the phone. I left the role before the pandemic started, but I have to imagine making that change beforehand made life much easier for everyone.

At Colangelo & Partners, I drove the change from an accrual-based PTO system to one that is now flexible. So far, employees have been appreciative of the switch. Most importantly, it should also help the company, both from a talent acquisition standpoint and for the bottom line.

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

Sometimes people fear interactions with HR as if they’re going into a root canal...thinking that people working in HR are soulless robots who don’t understand the realities of work and are simply there to enforce rules, fire people, and protect the company at all costs. That couldn’t be further from the truth, and I think people aren’t aware of just how much we’re pushing their interests as best we can behind the curtain.

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What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

I get tremendous fulfillment when people do something well that they previously struggled with. This could be an employee learning a new skill, managers getting better at giving feedback, or seeing someone improve into an engaged and productive employee after being on a performance improvement plan. I also enjoy getting to taste wine and spirits when I go into the office.

At Colangelo & Partners, does the office enjoy wines and spirits pretty often? What’s your favorite?

It’s a PR company that works with wine and spirits clients, so in order to be good at your job...people on our team need to really understand the products…That includes wine education, spirits education, internally with tastings and conversations, and also externally…As far as me personally, I don’t have a sophisticated palate, but I do enjoy getting to try different different wines. As I’ve aged, I’ve found that I like red wines more than I used to, but I would say my go-to drink is still a margarita.

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

Seeing companies thinking outside the box regarding work schedules. This could be offering 4/10 schedules, hybrid office policies, etc. Every company is different, so copy-pasting what worked 100 years ago and applying it to everyone across the board isn’t going to necessarily be what is best for business (and productivity) going forward. Personally, I am very much goal oriented, so the more I can focus on achieving things and making progress—rather than punching in at exactly 8:00 and out at 6:00—the more effective I’ll be and the more I’ll enjoy working.

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

The usage of AI in screening candidates for recruiting purposes is a double-edged sword. While it can be a great tool for recruiters to improve efficiency for massive recruitments with hundreds of candidates, it also turns the job search process into a game of who can come up with the résumé that will have the most relevant keywords for the technology to push forward. That’s not necessarily a good thing, or going to result in hiring the person that is best for the role.

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